Saturday, April 09, 2005

How To Get Married

Next in my ongoing experimentation with dating and relationships: an ex-boyfriend who is now married says the following is guaranteed to get me a husband. I'm not sure I want to be married, but no strategy could possibly make my love life worse.

My-ex-boyfriend-who’s-now-married, let’s call him Steve, says:

ASSERTION #1: It takes 3 to 6 months of dating someone to evaluate whether or not he is appropriate for exclusive dating.

ASSERTION #2: You can't effectively evaluate a partner if you are sexually involved with him.


Based on those two beliefs, Steve advocates the following:

1) Never date a guy exclusively until you’ve dated him casually (once or twice a week) for MIN 3 months, preferably 6 months. If he proposes exclusive dating far earlier, be concerned.

2) Always date several people (as many reasonable candidates as possible) concurrently during the “casual dating” phase because it increases your odds of success.

3) By the end of the third date, get answers to the big questions that determine primary compatibility:
a) When does he plan to marry?
b) How many kids does he want?
c) Any prior marriages?
d) Smoker, drinker, drugs?
e) Religion?
f) Is he stable in his career?
g) What country/state would he move to, given the chance?
h) In his free time, does he prefer to stay home or go out, etc.?
i) Any chronic health conditions, or sexual diseases?
Et cetera.

4) Never have another date with a guy after you uncover an incompatibility in one of these major areas. You may think saying no to additional dates with the majority of men reduces your chances of marriage. Just the opposite is true. You are keeping an open space in your life for the right guy instead of blocking the right guys by keeping a wrong guy.

5) Never have sex with someone unless you have mutually agreed (in a clear discussion) to date exclusively, and you have agreed you are compatible on the "big issues." Before that, any intimacy beyond a quick kiss is also OFF LIMITS.

6) Don't continue having protected sex more than a few times, unless you've had AIDS tests together.

7) Never move in with someone without being married.

8) There is a 12-month (or maybe shorter) TIME LIMIT once you are in the exclusively-dating-having-sex phase. If you don’t have an engagement ring on your finger after 9 to 12 months in that stage, walk away and don’t look back. Having a cherished woman walk away often is what motivates a man's proposal.

9) Never get engaged unless you have been dating (casual dating and exclusive dating combined) him at least a year.

10) No dating whatsoever if there are emotional attachments still lingering from a previous lover.


Steve’s final comments:
Living and thinking these rules attracts people who are ready for a marriage commitment. It’s a good idea to ask the life compatibility questions BEFORE even having a first date. And, yes, when you ask a man those questions, it WILL scare some away: the ones who are years away from being ready to propose to anyone, even the “perfect” woman.

I ran Steve's rules past several friends who think he's raving and will be divorced within the year. I actually don't think that evaluation is fair or reasonable because some of this stuff makes a lot of sense to me, especially the part about not dating anyone after finding an incompatibility red flag. I think that rule right there would prevent a LOT of heartache in the world.

If I really follow this all the way through, I figure the worst thing that can happen is that I end up divorced, which is still better than being single-never-married (see 2/25/05 posting “Single-Never-Married”). When you're at dead bottom, the only direction to go is up...

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