A recent study, published in the journal Psychological Science, explored the connection between personal ideals and reasoning and found that, while we may approach our friends' problems with wise, clear-eyed objectivity, we tend to view our own problems through a personal, flawed, emotional lens. It's no surprise that it's easy to give advice for friends regarding their finances, careers, love lives, etc., and not so easy to take our own. Thankfully, there is a lot of wisdom out there that has stood the test of time. In dating as in other areas of life, the classics never go out of style. So here are five nuggets of knowledge to swear by when you it. Photo: Getty Images/PhotoInc
1. Keep the past in the past: You know that glazed over, uncomfortable look a woman gives when you go on about a girl you used to sleep with? Or the pit you get in your stomach when she references her ex-lover’s junk? No one likes to feel like they’re competing with the past. If she asks you about exes or how many sexual partners you’ve had, simply say you don’t think it’s important to what you have right now. If she can’t deal, you can do better. On your end, avoid altogether discussions of prior relationships of a sexual or romantic nature. She doesn’t need to hear it and, quite frankly, neither do you.
2. Don’t put her on a pedestal: A friend of mine said his grandfather once told him to never chase deals, streetcars and women. Reason being, there’s always another one coming and probably sooner rather than later. There are a number of problems associated with treating your new lady friend like a fine diamond. First of all: she ain’t. She’s just a woman, just like you’re just a man. Remember the old adage that no matter how hot she may be, someone, somewhere is totally sick of her shit. Don’t take this to mean that I’m not a fan of romance. I totally am. But it’s very important to keep a realistic picture in your head at all times of the woman you’re dating. Anything else is a recipe for disaster. And by “disaster” I mean, “getting totally screwed in the end. And not in the good way.”
3. Avoid leading her on: There comes a time in every man’s dating life when he realizes that it’s just not working out. The men are separated from the boys by how you handle it. If you’re a boy, you continue to use her for sex, throwing her compliments at the right moment to keep her hopes alive. If you’re a man, you tell her, in a polite, sensitive, straightforward manner that it’s just not working out between the two of you. Listen, it’s never easy to reject or disappoint another person. But if you aren’t that into her, you’re not going to get more into her with time. On the other hand, if she’s into you and you’re pretending to have some lingering interest in her, she’s only going to get more interested. This is going to make the inevitable crash that much worse. When you’ve decided you aren’t into it, tell her. The anticipation is worse than the actual event.
4. Respect relationship stages: Take your time, man. There’s no rush. She’ll be around and so will you if there’s any potential there. We’re not saying don’t follow the old first date kiss, second date make out, third date seal the deal plan. You don’t need to be a prude. But you should take things step by step. Casual dating, serious dating, living together, engagement and marriage all have their place in due time. Don’t ruin the moment by rushing into things. Life isn’t a romantic comedy where everyone gets hitched after two hours.
5. Steer clear of exes: Listen, I get that you and your ex have a history. But really, how many exes are you still good friends with? It’s alright to exchange the occasional email and to make nice when you run into them. But hanging around like the stench of a fart in an elevator isn’t helping you, her or the new woman in your life. Don’t try and force intimacy where there isn’t any anymore. As Biff Tannen might say, make like a tree and get outta there.