by Rhonda E. Frost
I’ve been divorced since 2004. I’ve had meaningful relationships since. I’ve dated and had countless conversations about expectations, love, dating and marriage. I’ve learned lots since 2004 and I will tell some of those stories and lessons in an upcoming book. I feel qualified to offer this advice to men because I am a woman and I know what I need, expect and want. I also have had hundreds of conversations with women about their experiences with dating and how real the struggle is for the single woman looking for love and commitment. I’ve heard every dating story known to woman! These 7 dating tips are just a start.
Before I go into my tips for you, let me just say this. I am one of the lucky ones(or unlucky depending on how you look at it); I get my fair share of dating opportunities. I get to talk to y’all regularly on social media and in real life. I see what you do and what you say, first hand. I also get to interview men as a writer, so I am privy to lots of stories and much raw honesty!
To be clear, these recommendations apply across the board no matter the man’s title. I have dated men with different backgrounds, from IT professional, small business owner and retired, to Doctor, Sr. Vice President, and President of such and such. I’ve met assholes as well as some amazingly kind and good men along the way. And yes, I’ve also dated a married man (or two or three). So yes, I can advise you on what we need and want from you, unflinchingly. And age is not a factor, young or old, too often men still miss the mark, either on purpose or because you just don’t know better. So, allow me to reintroduce some rules.
1. Treat us like you would want someone to treat your mother, daughter, sister, or best female friend-I don’t think I need to add much to this. If you love and respect your female family members and you want the best for them, you know what this means. Talk to her and treat her like you want someone to treat your mama (in my India Arie voice)
2. Don’t lead with your wallet -That is unless your intentions are to do the following: Contribute to her life (pay bills or buy her gifts), allow her to share in your good fortune, or unless that is what you want her to value you for.
I cannot tell you how many men I’ve met who start out in the first hour, or first week, by telling me how much they make, what their title is, how much is in their 401K, or how great their credit is. And while I want to know that you are financially stable and bring something to the table, if that is what you tell me first, it sends mixed signals. I am thinking you must want me to know for one of three reasons: 1) You are bragging (which is a huge turn off) 2) You want me to know you can take care of me or 3) You are about to add value to my life(see above). Other than that, I am not sure why that is what you tell me first.
If none of these are your intentions, why lead with that information? It’s the equivalent of a woman stripping naked at the end of the first date to reveal her beautiful body and makes no other move. She just stands there naked long enough to let you see, then she simply puts her clothes back on, and continues the conversation as if it didn’t happen. It would be perplexing, no? In your mind you might have been thinking something else was about to happen, right? My suggestion: Lead with your intentions, your character, realness, kindness and your story. Tell her what you want, need and hope for.
3. “No” means no-If you are trying to get to know a woman or are dating and she tells you “no” to sex, “no” to a date, “no” to staying over or anything else, remember that “no” is a complete sentence. Unless you want to end up in jail or be accused of some horrible crime, just accept it. Live to pursue her or someone else another day. It’s always best to indulge in what’s offered freely. Her body and her time are hers until she decides to share it with you. Period!
4. If you meet a woman who is in crisis, financial, emotional or otherwise-either be man enough to step in and see how you can help, or bow out gracefully before you become intimate or invested. The last thing any woman in crises needs, is a man who knows about her current difficulty, and who acts as if it’s not real.
In recent months I had this experience. I met someone while gainfully employed (actually I had known them for over 30 years and they came back into my life), and during our “getting to know each other better(again)” phase, I was laid off work. This person was delighted to be back in my life and I was happy to conversate and see where we could go. We chatted all day every day, he sent texts, and called at all hours of the day and night for months on end. He was fully aware I had been laid off. Over time, I noticed that not once did he ever ask, “how is everything going with your job search”, or “how are you managing your bills and life in the middle of the layoff?”, or “is there anything I can do to help?”. But to be fair, he did take me on some trips, and he did profess to “love” and care about me and stated he wanted us to grow old together.
This nonchalance, aka selective ignoring of reality, went on until I said something. He was in the middle of talking about taking me on yet another trip to some exotic island and while I absolutely love traveling, all I could think was, this person is disconnected from reality or selfish(yes, selfish!). Neither of which are good things.
I wondered why he didn’t instead say, “hey, although I want to take you on another trip, what I think is smarter is to see how I can help you, maybe I can give you the money I plan to spend on the next trip to help you out a little, how does that sound?”. But he never did. I pointed all that out to him, and it went south from there. We never recovered from this disconnect.
Here’s a hint, if we can’t see you as someone who will help us, be there and show care about when we are down, we won’t see you as husband material. We won’t trust that you have our best interest at heart, and likely won’t want to see you, when we bounce back up. I must feel cared for and covered, in good times and bad. What you show during these times are trust and foundation building behavior.
Fellas, don’t waste a woman’s time if you can’t see her through bad times. Just go and do you. As the old saying goes, “she can do bad by herself”. Truer words have not been spoken. No one will blame you or be mad if you just tell the truth and bow out gracefully before you make her think you care. If you don’t want added responsibility, that’s understandable. Just don’t hang around and waste her time, pretending her crisis isn’t real and having “fun” is all that matters. And ladies don’t let him!
5. Keep your word-If you set a date, keep it and be on time. If you promise to do something for her, do it. If you say, “I got you covered”, cover her. Don’t say what you don’t mean, and don’t plan things you don’t want to do. Period! And if you must be late, or if a real emergency interferes with whatever intentions, be man enough to call, not text and tell her what it is. If that “emergency” happens more than once, it’s a game-it’s disrespectful of her time. Just don’t.
6. Date with a purpose-If you simply want some a** without commitment or expectation, that’s cool, there are women who want the same, for a small fee. You can find them most anywhere. But for the most part, women I know are dating with the expectation to “go together” aka to work towards a relationship, and/or marriage. After a few months of dating, you know if she is someone you could spend your life with, and invest your time and money into. You know. Be up front about what you want and need and don’t waiver. I get that marriage isn’t for everyone and not everyone we meet is ready for that level of involvement, be clear about wherever you are on the relationship continuum.
In the past decade, I have had a couple of men tell me at the onset of meeting them that they didn’t want any commitments and they were simply doing them. One of them, I decided to date anyway. Bad decision! I wrote about him in my first book, “Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man?”, in the “Single Man” chapter. The other one I met years later, he had just recently gotten divorced, he was in full swing, being single and free. When he said it, I took him at face value and respected his position. I didn’t get involved. We are good friends to this day, boundaries intact. I respected where he was coming from and I let him “do him”.
7. If you are married and dating someone else, be ready to handle it-Yeah I know this will come as a surprise to some (sarcasm), but there is a small fraction of married men who date other women outside of their marriage. It happens every single day, all day long. Check the dating site for married people, Ashley Madison, that site touts over 56 million “discreet” subscribers, even after the major security breech last year! People are about that life!
But I digress. If you are a married man and dating someone who is not your wife, please understand feelings get involved. Women, will want your time, they will want you to do things with them, care about their lives, surprise them with gifts and show love and affection, just like any other woman or any other dating situation. Now I won’t say all “side chicks” or mistresses want you full time, or want those things, some just want sex and fun moments and to send you home, but many do. And the more time you spend with her, the more likely the water is going to get muddy, as they say.
In African cultures, I am told it is acceptable for a married man to have more than one woman or wife, but I am also told that he has to man up and care for them all equally. Listen to this audio clip from an interview I conducted with a West African man on this subject. So, my advice is, if you aren’t able or ready to give her much of what you give the wife (within your time constraints and within reason, of course), then you probably should rethink your ability to date on the side. Unless of course the agreement is “no expectation” and the woman is “down”.
Even with that, I would caution you to be real and know that if you keep seeing a woman, keep making love to her and spending quality time, she will eventually fall for you and emotions will get involved. I would also caution you to think about everything you have to lose. This situation is akin to what I imagine drug dealing is like, the fast money, the high of beating the system, and the sexiness of the life (if I can use those terms), are all good, until you get caught or get shot.
And just like with drug dealing, in the long run, these situations usually end bad for all involved. But, if you do it anyway, man up and be ready for whatever. And whatever you do, don’t blame the “other woman” for the demise of your marriage or the spousal and child support you end up paying, or the house and cars you lose, after the sh*t hits the fan and your wife files for divorce. Take ownership! Grown men, do grown men things. All parties must handle the fallout with their grown-up panties and shorts on. Decide wisely and keep it 1000.
Of course there is so much more to say about dating and our current relationship status in the era of social media, and “swipe left or right” dating, but my hope is that these tips will give you something to think about. Let’s try the Golden Rule here, treat people how you want to be treated. Love people how you want to be loved. Respect how you want to be respected and be the type of person you want her to be or find yourself a toy and go play elsewhere. Sounds simple enough huh?