I chatted with Amy over email and once again got schooled on dating and love wisdom that’s oh-so right-on, if a little hard to swallow sometimes. Is there anything harder than realizing you are actually the one in control? That you are in fact in charge of the types of relationships you have? Read on for a dose of no B.S. love advice, which—surprise surprise!—has a lot to do with a sense of self. Oh, and the rules of texting, of course! Maybe we just have to hear it one more time for it to sink in. Don’t be surprised if you end up plastering your walls with this wisdom…Not that I’m tempted to do that or anything…
DivineCaroline: In my experience, women have trouble taking control of their dating lives. They have no problem going after their career with intention, but when it comes to love, they are much more passive. Why do you think that is?
Amy Laurent: Women like this (ahem, I know the type…) find it far easier and less scarier to apply themselves in their career arenas. They become focused, intentional, and super confident in their skills to succeed in order to thrive in their given professions.
Now, to put yourself out there in dating takes a lot more moxy, in my opinion. A lot of it includes elements out of your control. From not knowing what the other person is thinking or thinking you aren’t “good enough” can be outright terrifying. It takes bravery to date, and confidence in knowing who you are and not losing yourself into the falsehood that if someone rejects you, it means there is something wrong with you.
This is the most common fear that single women have, which makes them go temporarily stupid and lose their balance when they meet someone they like. Of course, when a woman meets someone ugly or she’s not attracted to, she’s in the driver’s seat and is completely in control. This feeling of confidence and knowing one’s own worth should be existent and present at all times; whether you are with George Clooney or George Castanza (No offense, Jason Alexander, I love ya!).
So this is why you see completely competent, secure career women sometimes become shriveled up meek and insecure daters who completely mess it up. There’s a lot on the line now. It’s their feelings and vulnerability that isn’t present when they are going after their careers in their superwoman costume (which includes one great lasso and some pretty smokin’ red boots.)
This issue is one of the very reasons for writing my hand guide 8 Weeks to Everlasting, by the way. It’s not always taught to us clearly and addressed by women. The problem or obstacles can easily be corrected.
DC: So true! That’s why you suggest having goals when it comes to love and dating in your book. How can a woman have goals in this department without coming off as desperate? Or setting herself up for failure?
AL: What I mean when I say “goals,” is knowing the core values and deal-breakers for what’s most important to you. Have you ever heard of the notion that when you write things down, they typically become more real and thus, in turn more apt to come true? Life & professional goals are taught to be written down, so why should this not include love goals?
That being said, don’t even think about making it a long laundry list. This isn’t about drawing up a perfect man or women and having him/her come down made-to-order from outer space. Trust me, your perfect person can come in a FEW different variations so don’t even go there! So Instead of 20-50 things including “tall, brunette, wears suits” – try narrowing your list to 10-15 of the most important traits in a person that you can see spending your life with.
DC: You talk about how women are in charge when it comes to dating. How can that be when so many people prescribe to “the rules” that men make the first move and women wait?
AL: All the decisions and power lies where the woman sets the boundaries by saying “yes” or “no” to things. It’s the woman that sets the pace, sets the parameters, and dictates how she will be treated and looked at by the man (for instance, are you a casual play-thing or relationship/girlfriend material?) This is all up to the woman, and the woman has the most control via means of her “influence.” A misconception is to view it the other way. The core of power does not come from the one who is initiating (the man).
DC: So your book focuses on the beginning of relationship. Why is the first eight weeks so crucial in a relationship?
AL: These are the make-it or break-it days of a lasting relationship. More often times than not, this is the stage where so many can mess up a potentially amazing thing with someone because they got insecure, overanalyzed, jumped the gun or acted irrationally. Of course, everyone loves the stage where they can let their hair down and at the time they know they are about to become girlfriend/boyfriend. The first 8 weeks from when he says “hello” and asks you out for the first time is the toughest, most strenuous stage for many women to master. And it’s their only roadblock that separates them from having good relationships, to failed ones.
DC: What do you think is the most common mistake women make in the early dating stages?
AL: Women like someone. They start overanalyzing. They start obsessing, instead of remaining cool and calm, they allow themselves to fling their emotions head on into this person, instead of remaining open yet pacing themselves. They cancel plans with friends and jump to his feet as soon as he calls- instead of staying busy and letting him plan around her. They send him 5 texts in a row. They send a text first, period. Oh, the list goes on and on…
DC: So is that the texting trap you speak of? How can women avoid it?
AL: My first rule, is if you have a vagina, NEVER SEND THE FIRST TEXT OR CALL. Always let him initiate first. You also don’t want to get sucked into the texting trap, where you literally are having your dates over text during hours of text chatter. Remember, you set the pace and there’s nothing more solid in the forming of a great relationship early on where you are slowly getting to know each other IN PERSON.
DC: As professional matchmaker, what are the main differences you see in how your male and female clients approach love and dating?
AL: I see some of the issues and advice I am giving women can translate for certain men – everyone I see as an individual. You have to, otherwise you’re a dopey matchmaker who doesn’t really know how to help people. That being said, if you’d like me to generalize I would say women lose their marbles and overanalyze too quickly, men have their absurd laundry list of 1,000 things where 90 percent of it can be thrown out in order not to lose out on their dream girl. What I require of anyone I am matching is this: in order to find true love you have to trust me, listen to what I am suggesting for you, and follow my rules. Those are the only three things, and I will get you to your perfect partner.
DC: What has professional matchmaking taught you about men that every woman should know?
AL: Men like women who can be adaptable. Every man wants his dream woman to be someone who can just “roll with it” sometimes. She’s just as attractive in a tank-top and jeans as a black cocktail dress. Don’t be high maintenance, always be humble (as if you aren’t aware of how beautiful you are), and learn to roll with the punches.
If I may also add a few more pointers (I’ve been doing this for seven years, after all) Don’t be a whiner, and remember one thing; there’s nothing like sense-of-self and confidence that truly turns a man on. You don’t have to be Gisele Bunchen. Own your *@#& and stop doubting yourself. Oh yeah, did I mention don’t be a b@&#?