We should all do what works best for our relationship (and life). However, it would take me a millennium to count the amount of posts, and conversations I’ve been a part of, that are based on dependent thought. As humans we like to fashion ourselves as independent thinkers roaming our lives without a shepherd. Based on many years of experience, I’ve learned that a considerable amount of people dating, and in relationships, base their decision-making, and thought processes, on the opinions, experiences, and influence of others.
The Sheep Mentality
There are so many relationship experts and gurus out there giving advice. Reading all the books, blogs, and watching all their videos, can make navigating the dating and relationship world quite confusing. Consequently, knowing what to do next can be a very daunting task.
To a person who hasn’t traversed on this modern-day, grassy-plain of dating and relationships in quite some time, for them, understanding the process (and watching daters) can be quite intimidating. Therefore, even more bewildering. The chance of becoming lost in the wilderness of our own personal experiences, mixed-with relationship advice, meme’s, tradition, gender roles, socialization, and the opinion of others, is very high.
That being said, the best strategy has always been to do what’s best for your relationship. Don’t be led by those who use absolutes to dictate the path you, and your partner should take. This mindset is called the, “sheep mentality.”
In my next relationship we ain’t takin’ the paved road. Let’s create our own beaten path together.
Tradition, Meme’s, Gender Roles
One of the conversations I consistently have with daters and people in relationships is about tradition, meme’s and gender roles. Best strategy to tackle those topics? Do what’s best for your relationship. Don’t let a meme dictate how you will act, or react to a situation. Letting tradition be an edict on your relationship is a huge mistake. While the, “old ways” have pros, a traditional ideology has the inability to evolve with the times. This can be a major handicap in a modern relationship (with modern problems). Especially when you’re dealing with social media which didn’t exist back then.
In an article about How Gender Role Stereotypes are Crippling Our Love Lives, by Ken Page L.C.S.W. of Psychology Today, Ken says…
In love, as in all areas of our lives, we’re faced with endless variants of the same existential choice: authenticity versus a pre-packaged, safe persona. Tragically, strong women and gentle men — and just about everyone else — are still being taught to forsake their authenticity again and again in the arenas of dating, romance, and love.
A classic example is the successful woman leaving her high-powered job to go on a date. Successful women are told to “leave their fake balls at the office” or risk a failed connection with “real men.” This sounds very 1950s, but I can’t tell you how many successful women I know who are still haunted by that fear — and how often it’s validated for them by friends, family, and popular dating advice.
For instance, typically with traditional dating, women are socialized to be softer, more passive. Men are asked to be more aggressive, pursuing the woman like a rabid animal stalking his prey. Unfortunately, when you reverse these roles, society, and even more specifically, certain cultures frown against said “role reversal.” Albeit, a man is supposed to be a certain way when it comes to the woman he wants, and woman should play her role accordingly… right? Wrong. Do what works best for the two of you. If that means she approaches him first, so be it.
In particular, meme’s drive me nuts. Why? Because they are funny in some cases. A point overlooked, they are self-defeating and can be very hateful, and harmful. It’s like circulating a bad cold at your office. Meme’s are passed around from person to person until they go viral and they’re on everyone’s Facebook wall. As a result, the battle of the sexes begins, and nothing is ever resolved. Someone with the sheep’s mentality will be influenced by the meme, and place certain expectations (based on the meme) on the next person they date.
At the same time, we constantly jockey for position and battle on social media in an counterproductive way — when we should always do what’s best for our individual relationship. No one can tell you how to manage your dating process, or relationship. Ultimately, it’s up to you and that person to determine what works for the both of you. Not some made up meme, your mom, father, cousins, friends, or relationship guru. Therefore, not even tradition should dictate how you interact and communicate with the opposite sex. Like I said, tradition has it’s uses, but in most cases, a lot of those traditions are rooted in a different era and don’t have the same applications in 2018, as they did in 1960.
In addition, friends and family mean well, but oftentimes, they can be more trouble than they’re worth. My advice? Leave family out of your relationship, and build strong communication with the person you’re in the relationship with.
I believe there are some well-versed relationship experts with a wealth of knowledge to share. However, in many cases, their advice is absolute, and oftentimes very one-sided. In these cases, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Relationships are ever-changing. An ebb and flow, that can lead to ups and downs. It’s very difficult to create an absolute solution for every situation. This is why I create guidelines, not rules. I create strategy, not law. These guidelines are meant to give you support. However, it is up to you and the other person to determine the next, and final course of action. If you listen to experts all the time, and don’t listen to your mate, you will find yourself lost, and ultimately alone holding a cat, or walking a very small dog (alone).
Only you know the person you are involved with. No matter how much we may know about relationships, the subject-matter-expert is you. Do what works best for your relationship, not what someone told you to do (unless they give sound advice).
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