Today’s Tip: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

So, my dears, how did Valentine’s Day go?

He loves me:

He planned ahead/scheduled me well in advance of Valentine’s Day.

He made reservations/plans for something or somewhere he knew I would enjoy.

He told me he loves me.

He proposed!

He introduced me to his friends/parents/children.

He bought/made/gave me a romantic gift. Money is not the objective here; it’s romance. As CUAOs, we would prefer a card with a poem he wrote inside and signed “Love, …” over something practical that he spends beaucoup bucks on. So: card with poem/song he wrote over iPad, flowers over laptop, jewelry over expensive kitchen appliance, weekend trip over new car… you get the picture. Gifts are a great way to gauge how he feels about you. If he loves you, he doesn’t buy you something he would buy his grandmother. She gets the silk scarf and/or bouquet of daisies; you get the heart necklace and/or a dozen red roses. She gets the #1 Nana necklace; you get the sparkly diamond engagement ring. So be honest with yourself: Was it a romantic gift? If not, it’s a good time to take a good look at this relationship…

 

He loves me not (Probably—there’s a SLIM possibility he’s very spoiled or that a terrible precedent was set at the beginning of the relationship):

He waited until the last minute and asked the same day or night before.

He took me to the least romantic pub in existence where he watched xyz sports game/whatever was on the TV more than he spoke to me.

He bought me a coffee pot and zero flowers or candy.

He somehow made it sound like it would be SO romantic if I cooked dinner for us… But really, it just meant that I got stuck grocery shopping, paying for the food, lugging it home, cooking and cleaning, setting the mood, and all that joker did was bring the wine!

He makes me second-guess myself all the time. Is this a relationship or not? Is he just killing time? Just wanted a date so he doesn’t feel like a loser on the romance holiday?

He completely skipped Valentine’s Day but he called me for a date the next weekend…

He took me out on Saturday night (or ON Valentine’s Day) but didn’t actually acknowledge the holiday. (Even though I wore red and heart-shaped earrings.)

We’ve been “together” for 6 months. He got me a card and flowers, but he didn’t sign the card “Love, …” and, come to think of it, he never says it.

He invited me me over. He made dinner (a BIG batch of lasagna he intends separate into portions to eat every day for lunch this week). While we ate, we watched a movie he had pirated. But it feels like it was just really a ploy to get me into bed because immediately after dinner, we had sex, then he went directly to sleep.

 

So are you still plucking the flower or do you have a clear picture? Are you feeling blue because something on the list above happened to you? Don’t worry—you’re not alone in this. The above scenarios are ALL true stories that have happened either to me or one of my besties. We are in this together, ladies. Let’s change it!

Maybe there are some gray areas or you’re in the “bad precedent group” and you need to chat about and/or fix it– that’s fine too. Maybe you know the Rules but your mom/girlfriend/sister thinks you’re being too picky or crazy or overanalyzing and you need a fellow CUAO to look at it with fresh eyes. I’m here for you. Shoot me an email at datingadvicebyalicia@gmail.com or head to my Consultations page and fill in the boxes. We can sort this out together. Why not, right? Do you have more time to waste if he’s not in love with you yet?

All the love!

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Today’s Tip: Valentine’s Day

So, ladies… What is your job on Valentine’s Day? To be aware and observe!

Has he asked you to be his Valentine and pinned you down for a date yet?
Has he made reservations or plans for the date?
Has he been dropping or picking up hints about a gift?
Has he asked/figured out your favorite flower or your preference toward silver/gold/white gold,  or white/milk/dark chocolate, etc.?
Does he use the “L” word?
Have you only been together for a few weeks? …And you’re not sure how he feels quite yet?

OR…
Is he acting disgruntled about this “fake holiday that was only invented to sell cards and chocolate”?
Is he bitter and resentful that there’s a holiday where he’s “expected to compete with other men to show how much I love my woman… because I love you every day and why should I be forced to prove it today?”?
Is he cranky that “everything will be crowded and overpriced.” Then asks you if you’re “sure you REALLY want to do something on such a silly ‘holiday’?”
(Are you reliving a crappy past relationship after having read the above quotes? Me too. I won’t name names, but they’re actual quotes. Take some deep breaths and let that go, because it will only poison a new relationship. Let the new guy have his clean slate!)

Now is the time you get to see how he really feels about you; so keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. A man in love acts much differently than a man that is not. So pay attention! We will reconvene when Vday is over to assess the situation.

A little prep on your part:

So… What if he “forgets” or never mentions Valentine’s Day?
If he doesn’t mention it, you don’t either! As far as you are concerned, you have other plans (that he can wonder but will never know about). Don’t sit home sad. Get dressed up, go out, and find a new man! Or do what my bestie and I used to do on Vday when we were single at the same time: dress up in adorably festive outfits and hit a restaurant that’s not exactly a date spot for a newer couple… For us it was the spiciest Szechuan we could find. Tearing and snotting (so very ladylike, I know) over our bowls of dumplings in chili oil and spicy beef noodle soup was so much fun we didn’t give a second thought to Vday (except that we bought each other chocolate and/or flowers)! Also in the category of “non-date food,” anything awkward, super spicy, and/or messy to eat: chicken wings, BBQ ribs, tacos, burgers, ramen, crab legs…

What about a gift for him?
No mushy cards, chocolate, jewelry, poetry, champagne, etc.! Reread the part in The Rules about what kind of gifts are appropriate to give him (or my previous post about gifting– but choose a smaller gift than you would get him for Christmas or his birthday. No need to break the bank.). Hint: If you’ve only been on a few dates, the answer is “nothing.”

P.S. Dress nicely, keep your manners about you, and don’t forget to say thank you (sans gushing).

P.P.S. Don’t rope yourself into planning and cooking the romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day! It’s a TRAP! You’ll get stuck with the trip to the store, the expense of the food, the planning and cooking of the menu, the burden of entertaining- driving yourself nuts cleaning your place, possible dish duty, cleaning linens, and you’re the one setting the romantic tone! How wooed can you feel if it’s all your responsibility? Leave the romance up to him- until it’s his birthday, or you’re married (and even then, do you want to do the cooking and romancing on your anniversary??)

Love and luck!

Today’s Tip: How to Make a New Rulesy Start

Hello, loves! On this eve of all eves I want to wish you a very happy beginning to a brand new year! I hope you all have some fantastic plans to ring in the New Year. Perhaps you’re seeing a man you’re Rulesing? Maybe a singles’ mixer? Hosting a party? Or a night out with the girls? Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

A fresh start! Don’t you just adore those? As I was searching through a stack of books yesterday, I found the Rules Journal that Ellen and Sherrie gave to me during the certification process. I don’t write in it because I prefer to do my journaling a bit differently from the way the book is set up, but the journal is genius. It’s set up so that every week you focus on one Rule (or piece of a Rule) at a time. With the beginning of the New Year, I thought this idea could come in handy for anyone that’s brand new to being a CUAO and CUAOs that are struggling to remember or stick to The Rules. Learning The Rules is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. So taking it one week at a time, practicing, and focusing on one Rule at a time, will help build your success, confidence, and trust in The Rules. If you don’t buy the Journal, you can still do this yourself. Have a little heart-to-heart with yourself and make a list of The Rules you find most difficult. Chat with yourself about why they’re difficult for you, and choose one Rule per week to work on. You will make progress in doing The Rules and learn a lot about yourself in the process: win-win!!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Today’s Tip- Holiday Rule 2: What to Gift Him

‘Tis the season to be giving… But what should that look like? I know a lot of you are super conscientious and are already thinking about shopping for your boyfriend’s [insert your particular gift-giving holiday for the season here] gift. I’m going to give this one to you straight. Here are the “Do’s” and “Do not’s.”

What NOT to get him:

  • Anything that is mushy/romantic (no pictures, poetry, jewelry, chocolate, cologne, or love songs). Let him be the romance factory in the relationship.
  • Anything that tries to change him or forces your taste on him. (You want him to wear button-down shirts, but he doesn’t like them. You think he looks great in yellow; he knows he looks like Big Bird. You want him to read a book on politics or relationships or business…) You love him for who he is!
  • Anything sneaky or manipulative (You want to place reminders of yourself in his home so you buy him throw pillows for his couch, or a blanket for his bed, or plates, or wine glasses, or monogrammed towels, etc. Pictures also fall into this category.) If he loves you, he is already thinking about you all the time. If he isn’t, why are you buying him a gift? Register for all that stuff together when you’re planning the wedding!
  • Anything alive.

 

So what kind of gift DO we give the man in our life? Something he will like, fits his interests, and doesn’t break the bank (no more than $50-100). Here are some ideas:

  • Bottle of whisk(e)y (rye, scotch, bourbon), rum, brandy, or tequila
  • Small batch craft beer (You can customize a 6-pack in a worthy beer store.)
  • Beer recipe book (recipes that mimic famous brews) since everyone is into brewing these days
  • A book on a (nonromantic) topic he would enjoy: sports statistics, woodworking, horror or sci-fi novel, a travel book about what/where to eat in Japan because he will be there for business next month (not the honeymoon trip you’re dreaming of), the Civil War, the history of tattoos, etc.
  • A hat: baseball, flat cap, winter
  • Hoodie/sweater/button-down/polo shirt
  • Gloves and/or a scarf (Store-bought. Do not make these.)
  • Sweatshirt/T-shirt of his favorite sports team
  • Cigars
  • A video game
  • A DVD (documentary, action movie, superhero movie, Best of xyz Sporting Event) he’d like and some snacks: Sriracha popcorn, pistachios, mixed nuts, pretzels, beef jerky, etc.
  • Miracle Berry Tablets and a bag of lemons, limes, and oranges (And I highly recommend some Tums for after he raids the entire fridge.)
  • Geeky gadgets or t-shirts
  • A fancy straightedge razor

So what do you get the guy…

…you’ve been seeing for a month? Nothing! It’s only been a month! Don’t scare the dude away.

…you’re married to? Anything he would like!

Today’s Tip: Holiday Rule 1

The holiday season is upon us! That being the case, there are a few Rules we really need to keep in mind at this time of year. Over the next few weeks I will review them all, but let’s start with this one:
Let him lead!
This Rule has a lot of branches, but the one you need to focus on the most during the holidays is that you shouldn’t be introducing him to your friends before he introduces you to his friends… Or your family before you meet his family. I know it is tempting with all of the gatherings and get-togethers. And the best friend that’s in from out-of-town. And the aunts that sit you down every holiday to itemize the efforts you’ve been making to meet a man. And you’ve gone to the last 2 Thanksgivings alone. And it’s what I call “Diamond Season.” But you have to let things develop at the right speed. If you don’t rush and you play your cards right, you could be celebrating your own engagement by this time next year!