Sometimes I think that love is a scam.
It didn’t used to be…
Not before the whole commercial complex designed to make you think that love is something you buy with cards and online dating memberships and a better breath mint.
A long time ago, love had to do with people relating to each other…
Talking, dancing, visiting each other’s houses, spending time together.
But now, when you hear or see the word “love,” something is being sold to you. A romantic dinner, the perfect gift, a sexy perfume.
And that wouldn’t be such a bad thing—we all like that stuff—except for the scare tactics involved.
You see, if they’re going to sell love to you, they need to make you believe that you won’t get love without it.
The people who have love, they already have this thing. They’ve got it figured out. You’ll be left out if you don’t do it, too.
That love you have? It’s not the right kind of love. It’s not as good as this other kind of love. You need to buy this thing to make it better.
What happens when you’re fed these messages over and over again?
No matter what you do, you feel inadequate.
You don’t get the love everyone else has because you don’t have what everyone else has: the body, the hair, the youth, the lifestyle.
Even if you’re in a relationship, it’s not enough, because you’re not going on the picture-perfect vacations or wearing his-and-her sweatshirts or gazing at each other’s eyes at a fancy restaurant.
That’s the scam.
You live in a world designed to convince you that you have to do what other people tell you in order to be loved the “right” way.
And that’s just the beginning….
I’ve been studying dating and relationship advice for over 15 years. In that time, I’ve learned the rules like a pro just so I could break them. 🙂
Here are the 3 love rules I MOST want you to break…
So you can be free to love your way.
Rule #1. “It’s your job to attract men.”
I can’t think of a more toxic rule than this one. It is NOT your job to attract men!
It is your job to create a healthy relationship with someone willing and capable of doing that work with you.
There are lots of men out there. If you want to attract men, you can play up your sexuality. You can play hard to get. But then you end up with a MAN… not necessarily a great relationship.
Men are not the prize here.
The real prize is a healthy, loving relationship.
And that’s extraordinarily tough to create.
Most men won’t have what it takes to create that relationship with you.
That’s why you need to NOT attract most men.
You should be turning away or turning off 90% of men, so that the only ones who are taking up your time are the guys with healthy hearts who might be able to create something beautiful with you.
Rule #2. “It’s your job to spot Mr. Right.”
There’s this myth that once you find the right person—who you’ll spot instantly from the moment you lay eyes on him—you’ll live happily ever after.
So of course you spend all your time trying to spot Mr. Right.
You look for those obvious markers like how he looks, what he does for a living, his status, how masculine he is.
And you end up with someone who looks good on the outside…
Which may or may not have ANY relevance to what he’s like in love.
What you seek is what you find.
You end up with very different results if you’re looking for the “perfect man”…
Versus someone you can create an amazing relationship with.
Once I was chatting with a fellow relationship coach, and I mentioned that the only quality that mattered to me now in a man—something I felt was rare—was kindness. I was only interested in being with people who valued kindness in the same way I did.
She smiled at me and said, “You’ve grown up.”
At my age, that’s stating the obvious!
But what she meant was that I’d moved to the next level in soulful relating. I was no longer distracted by the surface things that impressed me as a young woman. I was in it to last.
A lot of research has come in describing the qualities that make men great lifelong partners. Qualities like agreeableness, the ability to accept influence from you, emotional intelligence…. You can’t see those things at a glance.
No wonder we don’t look for them. We look for external qualities, thinking those matter.
But the science is clear. It’s not a man’s job or his looks that result in lifelong happiness. It’s the internal qualities like humor, forgiveness, empathy…
And it takes time for those qualities to reveal themselves.
Rule #3. “Look to the past for role models.”
We have this idea that there was a Golden Age of Relationships that we need to get back to, when the men were men and women were women and everyone lived in perfect harmony.
It’s a great thought, and I wish it was that way.
But history tells a different story. Betty Friedan made it clear that even the perfect 1950s housewife, with her handsome husband and white picket fence, was deeply discontented.
We need more than a man.
We need so much more than to just be married.
We need support, we need partnership, and we need a home life that helps us flourish and become our best self.
We can’t create that by looking to the past.
The past has some terrible role models.
For most of human history, until quite recently, it didn’t matter if your relationship was good for you. It didn’t matter if your relationship was toxic.
You stayed in it because you didn’t have any choice. It was about survival.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that love was even considered relevant to marriage.
And even then, if your husband abused you or controlled you or refused to let you do anything, you had to obey.
This idea that we should have personally fulfilling relationships in which we get to keep our autonomy and work together as partners? That’s radically new.
If we want relationships that are both loving AND healthy, we have to do things in a new way.
We’ve got to look to science, which is revealing new insights all the time.
And we’ve got to challenge the dating myths that make us feel inadequate.
Love isn’t a pink candy heart.
Love is the great human adventure.
And you don’t have to follow anyone’s rules to get there.