Shirin Rai Gupta is a writer by the week, impulsive baker by the weekend and forever hungry! She worked with a bunch of newspapers, wrote for a couple of magazines and tried her hand at corporate sales before declaring digital marketing as the home for her creative impulses.
There’s a thin line between dating and relationships and it’s curved awfully lot like a question mark. The only way to convert that little punctuation into an exclamation mark is to overcome the classic, scary and very rarely spoken about power games. If you’re going to graduate from the School of Dating and get admission into the Relationship University, you need to get great marks and ace these games. Sort of like Katniss and Peta from the Hunger Games. Except not like them.
Dating in 2014 takes just as much tact as is needed to pass a resolution in the United Nations Security Council. Finding love is one thing. Holding on to it is another and emerging victorious from the emotional minefield? A completely different thing all together.
Power struggle # 1: Who’s going to call first?
Call me old fashioned but a text just doesn’t cut it after a first date. Flowers aren’t necessary, but do call. And don’t even think about leaving your message for voicemail to pick up. But that’s the thing: Who WILL call? If you’ve been raised on a diet of Hollywood rom-coms like I was,you would have heard about the ‘Two Days Rule’. The guy, for some self important reason, wishes to leave the woman hanging for a good 48 hours before calling and asking her out again, even if he loved seeing her the night before. Well ladies, time to flip the game a little and catch ‘em by surprise. Call. Yes, you do it. No, you’re not going to seem clingy. You’re not going to be ‘that girl’. You’re going to do yourself a favour by eliminating those wasted hours of waiting and wondering, sometimes staring at the newest zit accusingly and constantly replaying the date in your mind to figure out what you may have done wrong. Take the power in your hands and call. Don’t leave a message, you slave to technology! NO. Call. Say you had a good time (because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have called) and ask him out if you want to. Be specific about when you want to see him, ‘cos ‘whenever he wants’ is just never the right response.
Power struggle # 2: Why’s she with me? I bet she’s on the rebound.
Men. So many of you have self esteem issues that I sometimes wonder how you manage to walk straight without toppling over! If one more perfectly good man talks self deprecatingly because he feels that he cannot match up to the glitter that she always leaves around because she’s just SO glam, I’m going to have a seizure. She’s with you because she likes you. Simple. If she’s as gorgeous, smart and engaging as you say she is, she’s probably spoilt for choice and she picked YOU to go dancing with. Which means that she likes you. Not her ex, not your best friend and definitely not the random at the edge of the bar you insist on being jealous of. Possessive is cute (sometimes). Cautious is wise (in the beginning). But Insecure is plain unattractive. It’s possible to fall for someone who likes none of the same things, hangs with different circles and doesn’t have the same idea of what’s hot. Trust me. She won’t run away the day she finds her brain-twin.
Power struggle # 3: I got the tab.
What’s so sexy about always getting the tab? Why do people do the cheque dance? Why do some men feel obligated to pay on the first date and are ultimately happy to go dutch once she’s definitely their ‘girlfriend’? Honestly, I don’t know. But what I do know is that you’re going to need to find your comfort zone and if you can establish it on the very first date. good for you. Just like with online shopping, you should be able to use whichever payment option you like. Without interest! Time and money may be the cornerstones of power as per every ‘moral tale’ you ever read, but when it comes to love, it’s all about sustainability. You pay, let him pay, play rock paper scissors to decide who gets the tab this time or split it to the last decimal point for all it matters but just don’t fret about it. The more you overthink this absolutely blah detail, the more nervous dating will make you.
If you can work around these and find yourself still in like or love, you’re ready to take it to the next level.
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