In my own life experience, being a freshman at college opened up so many doors… I had many guys flirting with me constantly, calling me on the phone, meeting up with me just to talk or hang out around campus, or to simply be near me. I understood that any one of them wanted a relationship and a lot of them asked, but I held onto that card for someone that I knew was serious. My “plan” was to not get into a serious relationship at all my freshman year, I knew I was too young and naive to probably do well, but when one guy came at me with an entirely new angle, I caved. He was Christian and he wanted to “court” me. This special word “court” hooked me line and sinker, it signaled to me that he was probably serious about marriage and actively looking for someone longterm. It also helped (majorly) that he was a youth pastor assistant, he had the exact same goals that I had, actively mentored teen guys in high school, had the same religious beliefs, etc. So I broke my own rule and got into a relationship with him. It was an intense relationship, but only lasted for 4 months, he wasn’t all that he had seemed, he actually was living a double life – one as a chaste youth pastor, and the other as a playboy on weekends. After catching him in a couple of lies, and finding out about his double life, I trashed the relationship and moved on quickly. Any girls in their 20’s reading this need to understand that you cannot stay with a man who will ever lie to you, he is not ready to settle down or doesn’t value you enough to be truthful.
My husband is another story altogether 😉 He was a sexy older Junior (another rule of mine was to try to stay out of relationships with older guys that first year – granted he really was the perfect age). He saw me at a BBQ at the beginning of the semester at an event we both went to, he said he watched me there – watched me play volleyball, interact with the other people, and was extremely attracted to me. He said I met him, but I didn’t remember. He was great at teasing and soon became one of my favorite guys to be around – not only was he older, incredibly handsome, he was also hilarious and teased the crap out of me. He would walk me to one class (since his was in the same building and down the same hallway), and I remember him talking to me and getting distracted from what he was saying because of how handsome he was. He tried to feel out if I’d want a relationship with him and felt me shut him down immediately (I was serious about trying to not get into a relationship with anyone that first year). I remember regretting it when I learned he moved on quickly to another girl my age, and took her to an event he was planning on taking me (but I’d ridiculously said no to).
Once I had gotten into that relationship with the “courtship” impostor, my husband got angry and frustrated. The guys who were his fraternity roommates friends told him to just go after me anyway – to try to steal me away, but he decided not to. Once the courtship guy and I broke up, my husband resumed his teasing and being around me. He hadn’t exactly disappeared before, but there was a marked difference in how he had pulled away. Internally, he was looking for a longterm relationship – he had already had several girls that he’d been with and many more that he flirted with, and he was “ready” for a serious relationship. He drew closer to me emotionally, he felt I needed it – the break up with courtship guy had been unnecessarily messy because everyone believed he was a saint. His church had loved me, and everyone basically assumed we were “courting” for marriage. No one wanted us to break up, and he played the victim well. My husband became the epitome of classic masculinity for me – his strength and fearlessness was so intoxicating after being with someone who was a fake. I fell head over heels and we married only a year later.
I want to present to you some things I wish all girls in their 20’s knew so that they could navigate the dating realm better. This excerpt is from a blogger named Andrew, who writes at The Rules Revisited. He explains extremely well how guys think and how girls can optimize their prime years in order to find someone they’d truly want to be with.
Here is Andrew’s advice for what women should be doing in their 20’s when it comes to men:
Female game consists of three parts or stages:
- Making yourself as attractive as possible
- Making yourself approachable
- Filtering out the men that just want to have sex with you from the men that want to date you
While these general stages apply to all women, a woman’s age, experience and eligibility should factor heavily into her approach to dating if she wants to eventually find a man to settle down with. Therefore, various aspects of these three stages – or the components of each one – are more or less important at different times in a woman’s life.
As a girl in your twenties, you are moving into and living through your most eligible years, and should tailor your game accordingly. Your goal should be to meet and date as many eligible men as you can, in an effort to increase the statistical probability of meeting one guy that you can really love. In order to do this effectively you need to be honest with yourself, and filter out the men who will waste your time – even when you are tempted by your emotions, pride or biology to do otherwise. This requires that you spread your attention across all three stages listed above, in the following ways:
- Establish the right foundations. There are a number of things a girl should do in her teens to prepare for her twenties. If you haven’t done all of these things, or still need to work more on some of them, do so first. Because you have an age advantage over the girls doing these things in their teens, you will be able to learn some of these lessons faster and perhaps more effectively. But these steps are critical – they should not be skipped.
- Adjust and improve your look as you become a woman. Continue to learn about your complexion, make up, fit and style, and continue to improve your appearance. Your efforts in this realms should be informed by three concepts: (a) your appearance matters, (b) your appearance is controllable, and (c) you can always look better than you do now.
- Embrace your sexuality. As you become sexually eligible and your confidence grows, you will begin to feel comfortable in your own skin – in a sense, literally. Your look should migrate from cute towards sexy. There is no longer any reason to hide your body, any more than there is a reason to suppress your smile or intentionally give yourself a bad hairstyle. Show off your figure with class of course, but also recognize that living in denial of your sexuality is a recipe for unhappiness.
- Realize that your male peers are growing up. As you move through your twenties, men will start to gain the upper hand in relationships, due to their high sex drives and promiscuous nature. You should have prepared yourself for this during your teens, but now it means that your defensive game (filtering, #3 above) will become increasingly important. Adjust your disposition towards men accordingly: don’t initiate contact, cut off guys who dump you, and – most importantly – wait for commitment before you sleep with anyone.
- Put yourself out there. Now that you are looking for a husband, you should – ideally – meet new men almost on a daily basis. The only way you will do this is by going to places and doing things to facilitate it. Creating this kind of exposure is a huge part of “making yourself approachable.” If this means forcing yourself into awkward social situations, so be it. If it means you have to hang out with people that you don’t particularly like, deal with it. But living in the suburbs with your parents, skipping happy hours with coworkers, or staying in on weekends will not accomplish this. You are the only one responsible for your own social life, so put yourself in living and working situations conducive to interacting with men, and learn to be social.
- Don’t waste your time. If you are interested in getting married, your mid to late late twenties is the best time to find your husband, and your early twenties is a close second. Wasting time in obviously dead-end relationships because you “just don’t want to put pressure on him” is bullshit – and is either a symptom of your insecurity, or just stupid. Make sure that your boyfriend knows what you eventually want, then be honest with yourself and cut your losses when you need to.
- Avoid men your own age. For most of your twenties, men your age will be either actively fucking around, or otherwise disinclined to settle down. Most (not all, but most) do not want to get married until their late twenties at the earliest, and they will do whatever women allow them to do in the meantime. You will be fighting a constant uphill battle if you try to date guys your own age. Instead, focus on men who are 3 to 6 years older than you. For example, if you start dating a guy who is 27 or 28 when you are 23, you could conceivably get married a year later. Avoid younger men like the plague and treat men more than eight years your senior with caution – there is probably a reason that they haven’t settled down yet.
- Recognize and seize opportunities. While 22 might seem a little young to be settling down, you would be stupid to throw away a lifetime of happiness with a solid man for three or four more years of partying, travel or “independence.” In your twenties, the upcoming five years always seem like they’ll be the most important ones of your life, but they won’t be. By the time you are 30 they will seem almost as frivolous and naive as your early teens seem to you now, so forget your concerns about “missing out.” A little foresight at this age will go a long way.
- Know why you are dating. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions surrounding relationships, to the point that you forget why you got into them in the first place. If your goal is to find a husband someday, remind yourself of this when you are tempted to sleep with a guy who clearly just wants sex, or when you realize that you don’t want to end up with the guy that you want to win back so badly.
- Decide what constitutes good enough. Forget the notion of “the one” – it is beyond absurd. Only those with an imagination suffocated by Hollywood will lament a loss of “Romance” in acknowledging this. Trying to attract and select “the one” (or even just “the best” one) out of numerous options will inevitably drive you crazy. Think carefully, decide what attributes Mr. Right has, then fight the urge to wait for something better once you find a man that has them. Write down what you are looking for if you find it helpful to do so.
- Resist becoming jaded. As you wade through the sea of men who are below your league, don’t like you enough, only want sex, or aren’t ready to settle down, make conscious efforts to stay positive about your prospects. This means pausing in the midst of your sorrows after being dumped, and recognizing that you wouldn’t value a man that was easy to come by, or that being rejected is part of life. Remember that it isn’t your failures (i.e. in relationships) that define you, but how you respond to them: so stop feeling sorry for yourself, get back up, and get back out there.
- Challenge yourself daily. Whether you do this by reading a book about raising children, forcing yourself to confront a difficult social situation, or learning a second language when you’d rather be watching TV, you should be constantly pushing yourself a little bit – improving your abilities, knowledge, and expanding your comfort zone. This is how you will stand out from the crowd.