Not every relationship has to immediately lead to marriage. Sometimes a relationship is cruising right along at the perfect speed, not too fast, not too slow, and you’re happy just where you are. Don’t feel pressured by others to propose or jump ship because they can’t understand how you can be content with your life the way it is.
Case in point: I met my friend Dan in 2005. A few years later he met a woman named Jenna and they have been in a serious, committed relationship for the past 5 years, living together the past 2 years. Everyone always asked him when he was going to propose, but Jenna never pressured him. They were happy. They finally got engaged last week, on their terms, in their own time. They haven’t set a date yet, and that’s okay too. They’re enjoying the bliss that comes from being newly engaged!
Everyone needs to stop imposing their timelines on other people. You know, the “must call in 48 hours” rule and the “must ask me on a date 3 days in advance” rule and “3rd date sex” rule and the “one year dating, one year engaged” rule. It’s okay to have guidelines by which to live, but there’s no need to enforce those on your friends. If they are happy, then you should be happy for them.
Whenever women complain about a guy not calling within the two day range, my best friend always tells the story of how she and her hubby met ten years ago. They were at a mutual family friend’s Shiva on a Thursday night and he asked for her number and said he would call her after the weekend since he was going to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Two weeks later the phone rang and he wanted to know if she was still interested. Luckily, she was in the middle of finals so the long wait didn’t bother her. She accepted the date and they had an amazing night filled with conversation, laughter and flirting. Yet again, he didn’t call for another three weeks!
Once again, my BFF accepted the date and made a conscious decision not to make a big deal out of the time lapse between phone calls. After the second date they were inseparable and two years later they were married in an elaborate Jewish wedding. Now that their third baby has arrived, I asked BFF-in-law if he remembers why he made his wife jump through hoops. He says the waiting game was a test and that he wanted to call her really badly but wanted to make sure she wasn’t a “Rules Girl” first (or following some equally obnoxious dating theory). Since she didn’t hem-and-haw over the time in between phone calls and subsequent dates, she passed his own set of (equally obnoxious) rules.
In this case, they were both worth the wait and it ended in the ultimate success, but the type of test my BFF’s hubby used will often lead to failure. Most women nowadays will not accept even a phone call – not to mention a date – after a few days. But it really depends on you and your overall dating attitude. If you’re busy dating and working and exercising and socializing then waiting a few extra days for a phone call isn’t a big deal because you wouldn’t have time to schedule a date right now anyways. However, if you’re desperate for a date two days already feels like an eternity. The thing is, you don’t know if the other person is still healing from a bad break-up or purposefully doesn’t call because it is expected. There are always exceptions to the rules.
Next Up: How to apply these rules to JDate.
When you meet someone on JDate set rules cannot be applied. I am a big proponent of using JDate as a means to an end (meaning if you are on JDate then you should use the website to meet someone in person not just waste time trading emails back and forth). At whatever point you offer up your phone number (I recommend almost immediately) the clock starts ticking down from 48 hours — that’s 2 days, which is the expected time frame you would call someone if you got their number after meeting them at a bar.
But if the other person isn’t ready to call or isn’t totally convinced you are worth it, then the digits will be ignored and another email will be sent in its place. This is not always bad, but you should set yourself a time limit for a phone call, and when plans should be made by, before abandoning ship. Concessions need to be made, whether it’s allowing a phone call after two days, accepting a first date in the middle of the week or overlooking typos in emails and text messages. Relationships need compromise to thrive, even if that means meeting halfway from the first day.
You made a few mentions of when it’s OK to break “The Rules” and give someone “a pass.” Here’s my problem. I’m 66 and was married for 43 of those years. My wife died a year ago. I haven’t dated since we got engaged, a year before we were married. Frankly, I’m not even sure I was aware of all “the rules” even back then, and I’m positive that I don’t know what they are now. So where can I find a brief summary of “the rules”?
Dear Rules Shmules,
I’m sorry for your loss and I do hope you find someone special to spend the rest of your life with; I’m happy you’re on JDate looking. But, I’m glad you don’t know what “the rules” are! “The Rules” was a bestselling book telling women how to date in order to get married. It told women not to accept a phone call after 2 days, not to accept a date for the weekend after Wednesday, and so forth. I met my husband at a bar and moved halfway around the world to be with him a week later, so obviously I didn’t follow ”the rules”, nor do I recommend that women (or men) should. That said, the idea behind them isn’t bad. For the most part, the book told women to hold tight to their standards, but most men find a strict rules Woman to be obnoxious. Count yourself to be among the lucky ones that your dating demographic doesn’t know about, or follow, the rules. If you like a woman, call her. And if you want to see a woman, ask her out immediately. If a woman is following the rules by the book, you probably don’t want to date her anyways. Good luck!