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Relationship Rules

This is a post I've wanted to write for a very long time but I never felt like it was the right time, but now that we've seen the relationship through (ie got married) I feel like I'm in a position to discuss. So, with Valentine's Day approaching I thought now is a seasonally appropriate time to talk about relationships. 

First off can I just say that I am so glad to not have to date anymore - not in a haha I'm married and you're not way but in a girl, I've been there and I get it - it's HARD attitude. Looking back on my own dating life I can say with absolute confidence that one of my biggest "problems" was feeling the pressure to follow all the "rules". Please y''all as someone on the other side let me just keep it real for you - YOU DON"T HAVE TO FOLLOW ANYONE"S RULES WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR LOVE LIFE!
 
What kind of rules am I talking about? Well, let's start off with the ridiculous notion that a woman can't ask a man out. First off, it's 2017 and there are plenty of same sex relationships and gender stereotypes are being fought daily so the fact that this one is still out there boggles my mind- ladies you can ask a guy out and that doesn't make you forwards, desperate or kinda slutty - it makes you a grown ass woman who has met a man you are interested in seeing again and aren't afraid to do something about it. That brings me to another rule I'm tired of hearing about - online dating. It's 2017 and I know people who either won't do it, or will be embarrassed to admit they do. We live in the digital age people - if you want to meet someone stop waiting for them to magically find you and get online. I actually met my husband through Facebook - Shaun and I are both members of the same business fraternity and before he moved to Memphis he posted in the local alumni group looking for recommendations on things to do around town and I messaged him asking what kid of things he was interested in. Now my initial reach out was just a habit because I love Memphis and I really, really hate it when people move here and talk down on the city so I always want to see new to town people find their place here but I quickly realized hey this guy is a. single, b. attractive, c in my age range and d. we have stuff in common - I should try to meet him - and so I did. If I hadn't been online dating though I probably wouldn't have been open to or had the nerve to approach a guy I only knew because we were in the same Facebook group. I invited Shaun to a group event and we hit it off at that event and I'd like to say that I would have had the courage to ask him to hang out without that group event being available and I'll never know but I'm telling you, just do it. Worst case scenario is you get a no and you have no Friday night plans, but guess what - that's the situation you are already in without asking.
 
Another thing I had to learn to let go of was getting rid of the list of requirements or the ideal of what the guy I wanted to be with would be like - I'm so glad I met my husband when I did because if I had met him earlier in my life I would have been so busy looking for this guy that doesn't exist because I made him up in my head I would have looked right past him. The first time I met Shaun he came in with spiked hair dressed like Jon Gosling was his style inspiration (this was back in 2013 y'all so think the whole Ed Hardy look) - lets just say it was not his style that attracted my attention. But here was this guy and he's cute, outgoing, funny and I just liked spending time with him, so did it really matter that he was dressed terribly ( and yes, Shaun has completely changed his style since we first met but I promise y'all that was his own doing upon realizing his look didn't fit in). Shaun is also four years younger than me which ordinarily would have been an automatic pass and when we first met he had moved out here to help with his brother's company and was staying with him - so he didn't have a secure job or home situation. I tell you all of this to point out that when we met my husband was in a very different phase of life than I was and ordinarily that would have caused me to say nice to meet you and move on.
 
After we met at the group outing Shaun asked me to "hang out one on one sometime" and while part of me was oh, lame ask me out for real dude the other part of me was bitch please, you have no plans this weekend the worse that could happen is you spend a few hours with a nice guy you might not be interested in romantically. So we hung out and we had a GREAT time - so much so that when I didn't here from him for a few days I said to myself this is BS and messaged him. The old MandySue would have said he doesn't meet your list of requirements and he didn't call you so move on but the 2012 MandySue said you guys had a great time, aren't you curious as to why he hasn't reached out and aren't you tired of dating BS, don't you at least want to know??? And so I reached out and we went out again, and again and again until next thing you know it's been a year and he moves in, and then a little over a year after that goes by and we get engaged, and then another year goes by and now we're married.
 
You know the funniest thing about it all? Shaun didn't call me not because he wasn't interested but he didn't think I was interested! A little explanation - our first date was at a outdoor concert in the park and I was way lamer than I'm telling y'all you should be and pretended like I was going to go to the concert anyway when Shaun asked if I wanted to hang out one on one so I told him oh, sometimes I take my dog to this park where they have concerts, do you want to come. This was a lie people, Haley had only been to this park once before and It was with another guy- but Shaun didn't know that. At the end of the night Shaun said he didn't know where he parked (which he still does to this day BTW) and so I offered to drive him around to help find his car - when we found his car I stopped and he went to give me a hug and Haley rushed in the middle. Now I know how ridiculously over protective Haley could be and I didn't want her to bite Shaun so I said oh, you better go before she gets upset or something like that. Meanwhile, Shaun thinks I'm using Haley as an excuse to reject the hug. And when I look back at the wonderful times we've had together in the almost four year since we first met it still makes me laugh to think it almost never happened over a stupid hug.
 
So my point is don't get hung up waiting for the other person to call - if you had a great time and want to see them again just say so; if it's someone you just met but you'd like to get to know better just say so, if it's someone you like but they don't meet your ideal or your friends ideal than get over it -  and maybe get better friends. If you want to kiss someone after the first date than do it. Don't count the number of dates before you're "allowed" to sleep with someone - you are allowed to sleep with who you want when you want and if you don't want people's opinions on it than don't talk about your sex life with people beyond the person you are having sex with. Life's short, too short to be wondering where your prince charming is and waiting for him to rescue you. Take the rules and tell them to go to hell - it was the best thing I ever did.

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