I’m beginning to see a common thread between much of the language used in popular culture about relationships between men and women. There seems to be a great deal of game playing going on. For every tip about “game” written on Red Pill/manosphere forums, there might be double the amount of language made available for women in popular music, self-help books and other sources. One book stands out as the pinnacle dating bible for women: “The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right,” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider,” was published more than 20 years ago. Full of manipulative dating tips, such as wait for him to call and pretend to be busy, the book continues to be read widely in spite of its very obvious flaws. Why is game playing so popular among dating gurus?
My time away from Ladies Again has changed my views on everything
I apologize for my long absence from Ladies Again. This past year has been a whirlwind for me in a number of ways. In the past 12 months, I quit my job, started a new job training program, and traveled in Asia. I also began a self-healing journey, as corny and pretentious as that sounds. Much of my healing focused (or focuses?) on reducing my anxiety around relationships and dating. The creation of Ladies Again is a product of that anxiety, since the site was designed to be a repository of information about femininity and traditional relationships. Quick! I have to boost my femininity before I end up old and alone forever! I always prided myself as being an anti-feminist who hated today’s blase misandry, but the truth was I was deeply afraid of being used or manipulated by men.
It all started with the end of an unhealthy relationship, which forced me to recognize that I was repeating the same relationships over and over again. I signed up for therapy, which is when I confronted the fact that my father was not involved in my life, and that the fear of being a lonely single mother was guiding the decisions I made in my relationships. I also realized that I was preoccupied with relationships and love, and this is evident in the number of relationship-related articles published on Ladies Again. Dating gave me a lot of anxiety. I spent much of the past year working on that anxiety. Now, I see dating anxiety in others everywhere. I would bet that many popular dating columnists and pick-up artists have this kind of relationship anxiety and preoccupation with dating as well. MGTOW, for instance, may be a way of trying to manage dating anxiety by dropping out of the sex market altogether. After therapy, I realized an irony that was so intense that it smacked me in the face: I was so afraid of ending up alone that I was attracted to the men most likely to abandon me.
I had to admit the truth. I have always been honest and open in my friendships with other women, but I resorted to playing games with men. Without seeing positive relationship role models in my own home or family, I followed much of the foolish dating advice given in pop culture by armchair experts like pick-up artists, talk show hosts, and advice columnists, among others. Sometimes, there are quality articles from professional psychologists (like this one), but most of it is garbage. Play hard to get. Wait for three months to have sex. Return his calls late. Don’t talk about your ex. Never depend on a man. Make him pay for everything. Let him take the lead in all decisions. Much of this advice is outdated, illogical, and makes dating more complicated than it needs to be. At best, modern dating advice works well only for people looking for casual sex. At worse, dating advice teaches people to be dishonest. In the long run, you lose by following mainstream dating advice. Who wants to be in a relationship with a man or woman who does not answer their phone calls, doesn’t open up about their past, and allows the other person to dictate all relationship decisions? A person who is clearly not interested in establishing a healthy and open relationship.
My new dating mantra is “it depends.” It all just depends! The only thing you can do is go with your gut–if a person is giving you anxiety or making you feel insecure, it’s not a good fit. It is impossible to apply firm rules to a dating world that has been affected by the forces of industrialization, urbanism, feminism, misandry and secularism. Firm rules work only for individuals confined to their own religious or political communities, like Mormons for instance.
So, I stopped stressing out about relationships and dating. I decided instead to spend much of my free time with my friends and family. I learned to dance in the past year, something I never thought I would do. I finally had the time to volunteer and read fiction books. I also threw my dating rules out of the window. It doesn’t make sense to pretend to be something you’re not just to hook someone in. Finally, I stopped putting marriage and children on a pedestal. I am just starting to realize that a person’s contribution to the world does not have to be based on their ability to marry and have children. Snooki and Kanye West have children, and that doesn’t make them healthier than a random childless person. It’s probably for the best, for example, if sociopaths, addicts and narcissists decide to skip marriage and children altogether.
Ultimately, it all depends! Oh, how freeing it is to admit that truth. I will continue to write for Ladies Again, but the focus of my writing will now include details on my own self-healing journey. I will write about my efforts to be more open, honest and caring. Stay tuned!