We’ve said it before, modern dating has become increasingly confusing for a lot of people. The dating rules were thrown out, forcing you to decide which rules, if any, you want to follow. With everyone giving you different advice, it often is not clear what the right thing is to do in any given situation. That confusion often sabotages your chances of getting what you want from the dating process.
It’s even harder for women as they no longer have the support of society to say no to some of the new cultural norms like: hanging out dates, casual sex, moving in without engagement, and other less than desirable treatment.
So you must buck the norms to say “no.” That can be tricky if you are a “people-pleaser” and find it hard to say “no.”
One of the major reasons that women have trouble with modern dating is because it can be hard for them to be their own “Brand of Sexy.” I coined that term in my book, and it means doing what’s best for you, whether other people like it or not. It means making your own rules.
Here are the 5 Steps to make modern dating work for you by Being Your Own Brand of Sexy:
Make Modern Dating Work Step #1: You Always Have A Choice
If you have any tendency to be a people-pleaser, you are probably tempted to “go with the flow” rather than “make waves.”
But, when you realize that you always have a choice, you can start to understand that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You have veto power, even if he plans the date or makes suggestions about what to do. All you have to say is, “That’s a good idea, but I don’t feel comfortable.”
Make Modern Dating Work Step #2: Media and Peer Pressure Solutions Might Not Be Right for You.
Women broke free of the need to conform to the role of the 1950’s Happy Homemaker. Nowadays, we face enormous pressures to conform to a new, hyper-sexualized ideal. We went from, “if you have sex before marriage, you’re a tramp” to “If you’re a virgin, you’re a prude.” You must decide for yourself what works for you.
How much do you want to conform to increasingly unrealistic and unattainable beauty ideals? Is going along with a societal 3-date-rule about having sex really being true to your own needs? Does it give you the healthy relationship you desire or cause a string of crash-and-burn kind of relationships?
Make Modern Dating Work Step #3: Slow Can Be Sexy
When you are dating a man you really like, it might be easy to jump into the sexual part of a relationship. But have you given yourself enough time to get to know him to know if you can have the kind of relationship you want?
Is it enough time for you to develop the level of trust you need for that kind of intimacy? Be honest about how you feel about sex and intimacy. Do what is best for you, not what others expect you to do.
Make Modern Dating Work Step #4: Your Voice Matters
If you are a bit of a people-pleaser, it can feel a little confrontational to say “no”. Of course, you don’t want to come across as pushy or argumentative, but are you taking it too far? Ask yourself:
- Do you often put his needs before yours?
- Do you agree to activities or situations that you’re not comfortable with to avoid an argument?
- Do you find yourself ignoring your gut instincts for the sake of others’ feelings?
You may worry that if you express yourself, you’ll lose him. It could indeed happen, but if he disappears, you’ll know he really wasn’t that into you after all. Or maybe he’s the kind of guy who wants things his way all the time. What’s important is that by using your voice, you did what was best for you, whether he liked it or not. This process can lead you to determine which men truly care how you feel as those are the ones who make the best partners.
Make Modern Dating Work Step #5: If a Man Isn’t Respecting Your Voice, Move On.
When you draw a clear line about where you stand and what your feelings are, his reaction will tell you if he can’t change who he is, if he’s testing you, or if he simply doesn’t care how you feel. If he’s genuinely sorry and wants to change, you may have a workable relationship. If he ignores your feelings, if he says he’s not looking for the same level of commitment you are, or if he lies repeatedly, it may be time to move on.
You don’t have to say yes to everything and conform to societal expectations. Check in with yourself first and make sure you are comfortable and happy and that your needs are being met. Then, you can become your own “Brand of Sexy.”