Thanks to this subreddit, which led me to the books The Surrendered Single and Secrets of Fascinating Womanhood, my life radically changed for the better. So I wanted to summarize some of the concepts in these books, as well as talk about how I applied these concepts to achieve lovely results :)
But first, a snapshot of the “before me”:
Pretty, loud, hung out with men, drank beers with them and cracked jokes, got into intellectual debates. Sound familiar? The problem wasn’t that I was an overweight, obnoxious feminist. In this day and age, I was a normal girl. Many men asked me out, and my behavior was socially acceptable and encouraged. So I had no idea anything was wrong. Except I couldn’t find a relationship I wanted. For 2 years. I was starting to go “where have all the good men gone,” until I snapped to my senses and circled back to this subreddit.
The vase metaphor that changed my life:
Old saying but I first read it in The Surrendered Single. A vase contains both yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) energy. The structure of the vase is yang, and the void within is yin. The void is able to receive flowers, thus giving the structure’s hardness its purpose.
I would have never conceptualized it like that! In graciously receiving, feminine energy gives purpose and meaning to masculine energy.
In previous relationships and dating, I felt uncomfortable receiving big gifts or big help. I was subconsciously afraid that I didn’t deserve it, or that if he keeps giving, he’d see our relationship as unbalanced and resent me. In Men are from Mars, the author explains that appreciation is one of the primary needs of “martians” and that in enthusiastically appreciating his gifts, you’re actually making it easier for him to fall in love.
Practice: My new boyfriend found out I make videos as a hobby, and offered to lend me his equipment. Before, I would’ve said “no it’s ok” but instead, I squealed and thanked him. He looked so happy, and he has been finding so many little ways to help me out in daily life.
Before RP, I enjoyed men planning dates and paying for them. I thought I was being feminine, but I completely forgot all the subtle ways of receiving. In The Surrendered Single, the author reminds us to stay relatively quiet on dates so you can receive your date’s entertainment, instead of trying to entertain him yourself.
This was huge! Before, I would get men to laugh, and they seemed to have so much fun on our dates, but only maybe half of them would ask me out again. I never realized that me trying to be entertaining was not only competing with their spotlight (that they want you to admire) but also accidentally conveying low-confidence. I thought it took high-confidence to joke around and “be weird,” but it took another level of self-assuredness for a girl to be comfortable with smiling and staying silent, knowing that it’s the man who has to prove himself to her, not the other way around.
Practice: After reading about this, I smiled at and reacted (“Oh wow!” “Really?” “That’s amazing!” - When I genuinely felt it) to my dates, trusting them to lead the conversation, trusting them to remain attracted to me even if I don’t display my humor and intelligence right now, trusting them to ask me questions if they really want to know. It was really hard at first. I felt so scared of being boring, of being thought of as dumb. But almost everyone wanted a second date, including my now boyfriend :)
STFU: don’t probe:
When I started dating again, my friends and parents wanted me to immediately suss out the career prospects of my dates. I intuitively knew not to do this, and to instead wait for them to reveal it themselves. But sometimes even innocent questions are not innocent to men. In Men are from Mars, the author blew my mind by saying women need caring whereas men need trust. If I share my plan for the future, I WANT people to ask me how I’m going to achieve it. But a man might see excessive questions as you don’t trust him to know how to get there. When I first read about this, along with the “be quiet” thing, I took it overboard. At the end of one date, the man said “you haven’t asked me a single question!” It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between a probing question and a question of genuine interest. I came up with this to help me:
Probing question: evaluates his future potential, evaluates whether his plans will work out, traces the past to find trajectory
Curious question: gets to know who he is right now (like what’s your favorite food?)
Bonus question: if he’s talking about a technical subject that he knows a lot about but you don’t, and you’re somewhat interested, ask him to explain (like how does that work?) and watch him beam!
Practice: I resisted my parents’ nagging and did not ask my boyfriend about his career while dating. I was enthusiastic and accepting when he revealed anything about himself, like saying “sounds like fun!” when he said he plays video games. In no time, he naturally told me about his future career and financial plans. I didn’t probe into their feasibility, I just revealed my excitement for him, because my intuition actually tells me to trust him.
STFU: Not offering help:
Just don’t offer help or advice unless explicitly asked, otherwise you’re sending the message that you don’t fully trust him, which undermines his natural tendency to lead.
Practice: He took me to a restaurant, but it was unexpectedly closed. He apologized, but of course I just smiled and shrugged. He started looking up a different place, but his phone wasn’t working and he complained a bit. Well, my phone was fine, and before RP I would have said “let’s look it up on my phone,” but now I just kept smiling, and leaned my head on his shoulder as we waited. He fixed it quickly and took me to the new place, and he was in a great mood for the rest of the night. This is a minor example but when a man complains about an obstacle, it is NOT an invitation for us to help! It’s maybe subconsciously to make the obstacle seem tougher, so we can praise him even more when he overcomes it ;)
There are also a bunch of other tidbits from the books I've applied, like "would you" vs. "could you" mode of requests (asking for your needs to be met), "girlish" showing of anger and other negative emotions, disclosing feelings and preferences instead of logical reasoning, and had great results! I'm running out of time for now, but I'll try to write about the specifics in the comments. Thanks again to this subreddit for showing me the principles that have made such a difference in my life :)