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The Rules Book - Do the Rules Work for Dating?

Don't read it if you're not serious about marriage

This article, like The Rules, is for women who are serious about getting married.  Men will not understand it and women who don't want to get married will have no use for it.  Women who want to get married, but not right now, will probably think it sounds desperate, manipulative, and unromantic.  It is none of those, but it can appear that way if you don't have the motivation to really hear what they're saying.  

But if, like me ten years ago, you are serious about marriage, and you don't understand why the same cycle keeps repeating in your relationships, you won't care who likes the book or doesn't.  All you want to know is, does it work?  Is it worth my time to read?  The short answer is: I'm happily married now.

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What The Rules book says

The Rules explains why two questions most women have at some point are related: how can I get the man I love to love me? And why won’t the men I can’t stand go away?

The premise of The Rules is that men love a challenge. If you want a man to act like a man, and treat you like a woman, challenge him as a man. Easy to say, very tough to do.

Why the Rules are controversial

I see the controversy over The Rules coming from two directions. First, it is politically incorrect to say that there are anything but minor physical differences between men and women. Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider don't really bother with arguing; they just point out that, like it or not, for whatever reason, this is what works with men. If you act this way, men will treat you the way you want to be treated. If not, they won't.

The other part of the controversy is that though the Rules are simple, they are VERY hard to do when you really want to know where you stand with a man. Therefore, there are a lot of women out there disparaging the Rules not because they don't work, but because the women couldn't or wouldn't follow them. It is sort of like listening to high school dropouts talk about college. They might be right that college is pointless, but you naturally don't pay attention to them saying so because the more likely explanation is, they are lazy.

So I suggest you don't waste your time listening to anyone criticize the Rules, unless it is a woman married to someone you respect, who has read and understands The Rules. Even then, if you look closely at what she did, she may be like women I know who don't like the political incorrectness of The Rules, but they did, for some other reason, exactly what the Rules recommend, and that's why they're married. Meanwhile, the friends of these women, who listened to their recommendations, aren't married, or are married in name only.

Are things really different today?

A common criticism of The Rules book is that it is going back to the Stone Age, and things are different today.

Well, our grandmothers let men pursue them; they got married far more easily than today, and there wasn't a lot of moaning about commitment-phobia.  Has human nature really changed in a couple generations?  Culture changes, but men are still men, women are still different, and there just might possibly be a reason that women who do the pursuing seem to be the ones who end up unhappy.  Anyway, you don't have to agree with the reason.  Just take a look at real life and see what actually works. 

Do the Rules work? What do you think?

How to challenge a man

The Rules are all about being a challenge to men. Even women like challenge – in fact, that’s probably your biggest problem with the men in your life who won’t go away. You may even have liked them at first, but now they are no challenge to you because they are always there.

Remember the country song that says, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” Now put the shoe on the other foot, and imagine what it does to a man’s interest if he isn’t sure whether you’ll be there if he stops pursuing you.

Unfortunately, the man does have to have at least a spark of interest, and you can't control whether you are the type of woman he likes. The Rules book gives tips on how to strike any sparks that may be possible, while keeping your heart from being broken if everything stays cold and dark. But its main point is how to turn sparks into flame.

The Rules for the 1600s

I came across a poem where Ben Jonson (1573-1637) describes the you-don't-want-what-you-get-easily principle in action, the other way around.

From That Women Are but Men's Shadows by Ben Jonson

Follow a shadow, it still flies you;
Seem to fly, it will pursue;
So court a mistress, she denies you;
Let her alone, she will court you.
Say, are not women truly then
Styled but the shadows of us men?

Do you have to follow the Rules to get married?

The Rules book is not really rules.  It’s really about an attitude.  The instructions are just the method for faking until you really feel like a prize any man would be lucky to get.  The instructions are written that way because in capturing a man’s heart, you will have scary times of not knowing for sure what the man will do, and, you just want to know RIGHT NOW what he thinks of you.  The Rules are written to keep you focused on the long term – to keep you from digging up the relationship seedling before it has a chance to sprout.  

If you can manage this attitude all by yourself, you don’t need the book.  But since for a couple generations now women have been raised to tell men exactly what they think of them, mysterious elusiveness is for most of us a lost art as much as canning, breadmaking, and milking cows.  

Objections to The Rules

No, you won't have to act like this forever, and it isn't being mean to men.  

Challenge is not the only thing men need; you won’t have to act uninterested forever.  It will just seem like forever while you’re waiting for the phone to ring rather than picking it up and dialing!  It’s tough at first because in today’s society it takes a while for a man to really believe you’re not desperate enough to chase him.  But later it won't take nearly as much of your effort to keep him thinking you are a special prize.   

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Many have said the Rules are about being mean to men.  Quite the contrary; niceness is not only okay but encouraged.  What you can’t do is pay special attention to a man who hasn’t earned it by making a commitment to you. 

Men will say you are being mean to them, especially if they are used to getting whatever they want from you.  Just pay attention to their behavior instead of their words, and you will notice you are actually giving them something – excitement, romance, a reason to do more and act better than they thought they could.  

Do The Rules work?

So, do the Rules work?  Yes.

Read old books, watch classic movies, talk to women who are happily married about how they got that way.  You will find a common theme of an obstacle in the relationship that the man had to overcome, and the value he places on his wife after that matches how hard it was to overcome the obstacle.  The Rules work by being that obstacle, by allowing a woman to define her value in a man’s eyes.    

Am I right?

Where The Rules is incomplete

One area in which I partly disagree with Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider is where they say not to get intimate too early in the relationship. 

I say wait with that till marriage (might happen sooner than you think!)  God made physical intimacy for marriage, and you mess with His design at your own peril.  Even if you don’t believe in God, it's still true that nobody buys a cow when its milk is free. 

Now, what if the milk is expensive today, but you think you can get it free in a few weeks or months?  Many men will wait for free milk.  But if the milk looks good, and it’s never even going to be cheap, a man will invest in the cow pretty quickly.  Once he’s made that investment, he's very proud of the milk that's his alone!

What about Ellen Fein’s divorce?

Ellen Fein did get divorced about the time The Rules III came out (she is now remarried). She claimed it was irrelevant to the Rules.

I agree. The Rules are about getting married. It is really a different, though overlapping, skill set from that needed to stay married, which is why there are a lot of wonderful women who cannot even get a date, and horrible women who get proposals all the time from men who should know better. The Rules book is not a substitute for the communication, courtesy, and kindness that a good marriage requires.

The Rules and how I got married

I discovered The Rules in the late 1990s. I was so glad to have an explanation for the cycle that seemed to keep happening in my life - I’d meet a man I couldn’t stand, who would then pay a lot of attention to me and I’d fall in love with him, and then the door would slam in my face.

I realized I had a lot of habits to change; most of all, I had to stop the call-up-anytime-to-talk relationship with my male friends. That's a brother-sister relationship, and brothers don't find their sisters fascinating.

It was hard changing my habits at 30, but loneliness and biological clocks are powerful motivators. Things didn’t change instantly, and quality men don’t come along every day at that age. But I started having a whole lot more dates, a whole lot less heartbreak, and a lot more attention from the quality men who were already in my life.

When I met the man who is now my husband, I broke a few of the Rules - before we even met, I asked him if he’d ever been in love (he said no). But for various reasons I didn't take our first dates seriously, so my attitude made up for broken Rules. It was obvious my life did not revolve around him. By the time I realized the relationship really might have a chance, I was confident enough in his interest to keep my emotions out of it till I had his commitment.

Seven months after our first date, when I was 35, we were married, and now we have three wonderful children too, which is its own miracle at that age!

While following the Rules

I wrote another article about things I did during the five years between reading the Rules and marrying my husband. You can decide whether or not I was actually following the Rules.

Books and sites about understanding men

Get the Rules Book

And the latest updates to The Rules


aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on May 30, 2016:

Hello, Male, I'd say first of all you probably were not all that interested in her or you wouldn't have considered the Rules, or anything else, an obstacle. So you may both be better off, because women really, really want to be really wanted, and if that wasn't how it was, she probably wouldn't have been happy in the end anyway. But also, from how you say it, I'm guessing she didn't do the Rules very well, or you probably wouldn't have known she was "trying the Rules" and she wouldn't have questioned any reaction you had.

The Rules work for non-alpha males too; in fact they work for everyone to some extent, because it is really about requiring respect in a relationship.

About being alpha or beta, it's true that some of us don't want alpha males, but what you are calling baggage may actually be confidence, which is something all women want in a man. Women SAY they despise some things about men, but watch the actions. You may have noticed women don't always know what they want. I have seen a woman divorce a man because he tried too hard to be whatever she wanted him to be - actually she wanted him to be who he was and show her why it was a good thing. (She still should not have divorced him, I'm just saying he could probably have prevented it by refusing to grovel.)

Male on May 29, 2016:

I had a girl try the rules on me. She asked me why I stopped pursuing her and have since found someone else. I explained that my current girlfriend showed interest. Rules work fine if you want an Alpha male, but with that comes all the Alpha Male baggage women despise so much. If you are happy with a Beta male, I implore you to throw the rules out the window.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on October 13, 2015:

Leigh, true, the picture I have on HubPages is very unattractive because I wanted to be as anonymous as is possible while having my picture on the Internet. But actually, before me, my husband dated a lingerie model, who felt he was too good for her. I have lived in upstate NY and like most people in upstate NY have no desire to live in NYC.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on February 14, 2015:

Susie Q, you said it so well. My opinion, remembering myself at these ages, is that no one can tell a woman between the ages of 13 and 30 anything about romance because she thinks she knows everything already! Life has a way of humbling us. As for not being emotionally invested, my husband says he thinks I didn't take his intentions seriously until I was walking down the aisle and saw him there. There is some truth to that!

Susie Q on February 13, 2015:

What a great article! Agree with the author 100 percent! Was just re-reading this book and just amazed at how much sense it made. When I first read TR in the nineties, I thought it was a great book with excellent guidelines...but did not apply to me! I thought my only problem was having a hard time meeting men, when in actuality, I had no idea how to interact with any men, spent way too much time being lonely and solitary instead of being social, involved, engaged, friendly, happy, and proactive. Now, in my forties, I realize I have wasted decades thinking that someone would just recognize how wonderful I am just 'because'. No more! Am fully engaged in making my life as uh-mazing as possible with more activities and interests than anyone should have. Not wasting my time feeling sorry for myself anymore and meeting lots of great people! One thing I realized while re-reading is how emotionally difficult it is to follow TR. Rejection and loneliness are so painful, it is easier to chase someone than to accept the pain, but that's exactly what we have to do. And not just accept the painful emotions, but ignore them and keep going, doing all the distracting and interesting things I can pack in, until I feel better. Maybe I'm just repressing my emotions, but it beats lying in a fetal position under my covers with slow, hot, miserable tears poured down my face for days and days, if not weeks and weeks like I did in my twenties and thirties. And it gets easier and easier to date and evaluate the men I meet without all the emotional investment of past days. Another thing I notice is how often men will come back to see how you're doing without them...heh heh.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on November 24, 2014:

Eve, I would say the Rules are not about randomly playing hard to get; they are about making sure you only respond to a man who treats you with respect.

Men and women haven't changed; this "revolution" just changed men's assumptions about women; so that men assume women are the same as men and want to be treated like a man. Of course, women usually think they want to be treated like a man, until they find out that men don't treat men as anything special! Virginity is talked about as something both silly and impossible, but if anything, men's real respect for virginity has increased due to supply and demand!

Sounds like the Zimmerman book would not significantly disagree with The Rules; radiating, receiving, and responding without initiating are great guidelines.

Eve on November 23, 2014:

Playing hard to get, after the sexual revolution, doesn't work! Read Janet Ong Zimmerman about 'allowing yourself to be wooed.' It really works! Never initiate, but Radiate, Receive and Respond. Never initiate, but never ignore!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on August 12, 2014:

Yes, well, first there is the question of whether it is possible for men to really understand women or women to really understand men, and then, if possible, would we want to anyway? It is fun to be always discovering.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 07, 2014:

Interesting. I have never heard of this makes me wonder what other secrets all you ladies are keeping from me!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on February 05, 2014:

If you are a woman trying to act like a man and attract a woman, or a man trying to act like a woman and attract a man, I can think of all kinds of reasons why the normal messages between the sexes will get miscommunicated.

sexyman on February 01, 2014:

This book the rules does not work I am a lesbian I tried very trick in this book for a year and it doesn't t work these girls are giving out bad advice. It is going to get these women into a lot of trouble

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on January 13, 2014:

Michael, you are right. "Doing the Rules" is not a game, at least not any more than a dance between two people is a game, but women can and do play games that look like it, and men should and do discourage games-playing. The difference is in whether a woman has a basic respect for men. A woman with respect for men appreciates their nature of wanting to conquer, and encourages the man to act in accordance with his manhood.

Michael on January 12, 2014:

What women don't understand is men can sense if a woman is playing games with them, and at that point it is game over. No one should tolerate that, man or woman.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on February 13, 2013:

browneyerules, thanks for the comments! I especially like your observation that those who don't follow the Rules make more men available for those who do!

browneyerules on February 13, 2013:

Having your cake and eating it is a great thought , but unfortunately we would become fat ! Just like the book advises short term gratification is never the answer, as is true and applys to 'The Rules'.

After years of rule breaking i finally found the willpower to go against what i wanted to do (which i did in the past), instead i chose to have a little restraint !

Four months ago i met the type of guy i have dreamt of for years hes very similar to me career driven groomed good looking great sense of humour !

Although i haven't got married just yet , 'The Rules taught me that i could be myself instead of hiding behind numerous glasses of wine to hide the nerves on dates!

At the age of 21 i married - a non rules marriage which ended horribly but through this book i decided to leave and make a new life.

Women who refuse to leave there bad behaved husbands or boyfriends may sneer at the book but it does work , as i can vouch.

Although Ellen Fein's (the author) marriage did not workout after years, this has nothing to do with the book no one is perfect and maybe even she herself found it difficult to abide by as we are all human and society has influenced us that short term gratification is the answer !

As you and I know is not the way to achieve positive results!

We dont go into an exam without revising , nor do we get slim by over eating!

To achieve anything in life requires willpower and self restraint which is what this book promotes.

browneyerules on February 13, 2013:

This book is fantastic i have read it since i was 19 years old i have all the books ! i did everything to rebel against the rules and it was clear that nothing i did on my own worked to keep me happy and content, this book is like a religion stick to it and get great results, dont then you cannont comment on the rewards you get by having lots of willpower and tons of self esteem!

Times have changed and this book researches in the basic format of men and women we are completely different.

For those who critise this book ususally are unhappiliy married and darent take the plunge to leave as that takes willpower, or have zero amounts of willpower to do the rules!

I have discussed this book for years and got negative feedback mainly from women!

If you dont believe in this book then dont buy it ! There will be plenty of men left on the shelf for us rule abiders!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on January 07, 2013:

Thank you, juliataylor. I have been meaning to write some related articles, in case they may be helpful to anyone, so your comment gives me a reason to try to get to it soon, although with other stuff going on in the beginning of the year, "soon" might mean "March"...but I'll try.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on December 22, 2012:

Hello Ana, how about this: The Rules filters out unworthy men. It does not filter out boring men. You filter those out yourself!

A lot of why they are boring is that The Rules don't only apply one direction. Both sexes tend to disrespect someone who is available anytime for anything and asks nothing in return. The Rules are written for women because we have more tendency to break them, and also because men rarely read relationship books.

So the way to get a worthwhile man is follow the Rules, and refuse to marry anyone boring. That will filter out all the men except those who both treat you with respect and require you to treat them with respect.

It is not like there are huge numbers of amazing men out there - it almost certainly will be a while before you find Mr. Right. But a while is better than forever, and way better than spending your life with someone whose love you are not confident of.

Ana on December 19, 2012:

Like someone already said, "The Rules" will filter many men.

The problem is that it won't filter unwhorthy ones like you wrote, instead it will filter those who have enough self-esteem not to waste their time with a girl/woman who look disinterested.

Following the rules today is the best way to get a boring unconfident man (or to stay single if you keep some standards), he may marry you though and if all you want is marrying regardless of the kind of guy, then follow "the rules".

The key is to know what you prefer :

- A dull, low self-esteem boring guy that you'll have no problem keeping, that won't be demanding and that will probably marry you.

- Or a confident, interesting one who will require you to show your best self to get him and keep him, but who, in exchange, will make your life an incredible, relentless adventure.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on October 26, 2012:

Sorry, kallini2010, I meant to answer you before. I think it is useful, as you say, to think of dating as a type of interview situation. Nobody does interviews (or the Rules) for fun, and if dating is fun, that is just a bonus. Not having fun is no reason to quit, until you reach your goal.

ts77, you said it, and anyone who disagrees should look at how you are obviously speaking from experience!

ts77 on October 26, 2012:

the rules is a great series of books,and this is why i follow them

it is about respect.NOT about games,or trapping a guy.It is about respecting ourselves,not being so available,and having a life.It is about making plans for the wknds,and if the guy waits until fri to call,then too bad we are busy.ifi did this rule with an ex,he would not have probably called me much sooner during week.It is about not being a doormat if he is dating others.

let the guy pursue.let him notice,and talk to you first.he will like you more.Don't say hi first....let him chase YOU

and if you are going not invite him to family things or weddings..he wil lget scared off...only do so if you are actually engaged or married.and don't be with a guy for 5 yrs,then get pregnant then live together.he won't marry ya,and if he does,it is only because he feels he has to

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on July 28, 2012:

Yes, I agree - these strategies are based on principles that were true thousands years back.

I read two books by Robert Greene "48 Laws of Power" and "Art of Seduction". It was very interesting, it changed my perspective. I am not the type to play games, though, or maybe I am just not ready for it.

There is another book that I intend to read "Calling in the One" - or 7 weeks to finding the love of your life - it is based on the principle that in order to find anything (like a job), you have to be ready and you have to look for it and you have to actually DO IT.

So, I think, anything will work - as long as you do it.

Maybe when I finally am ready to mate again (after my 16 years of the first marriage) - I will devise and follow a strategy.

Strategic thinking and courageous doing win the battles.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on July 27, 2012:

kallini2010 - thank you! There is another book I've read called "The Art of War for Lovers", written with the idea that a lot of the military strategy of Sun Tzu (ancient military strategist whose writings are still studied by armies today) works quite well in finding a mate. I thought it was an interesting idea. Half the book says much the same thing as the Rules, the other half I thought was useless.

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on July 27, 2012:

There is one of those ever-green subjects - relationships. Do the Rules work?

I would say - "The Game is Still the Same" - we all like to play games and when we are pursued, we run, when someone runs away from us - we pursue.

I even read about marriage as a dance of anger and not only anger - but the principle is the same - come closer, retreat, come closer - retreat - lure in...

If it worked for you, great and congratulations on those three kids!!!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on July 26, 2012:

t, yes, there are two reasons to follow these principles: 1) it's how men work, 2) it keeps us women from convincing ourselves a man is interested when he isn't.

t on July 26, 2012:

i think the rules is a great book,and this is why...

if gusy can't call by wed for a date,and do nothing but text,that tells me maybe i am just 2nd choice.Women should not wait around to make plans,if the guy don't call,then we have to move on,make plans with our friends,etc.the book is good with this rule

why should women call or text guys at all?they say to call,yet won't respond back.i been through it ex would pull the crap on me...for now on,i think he should do all the contact.sue i should answer..just not al lthe time.

i am not pursing guys.just not working for me.if they want me..they wil lcome to me.i have a new online ad,some write,then i reply..then nothing.ok, least i am not getting hopes up.i am not writing first

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on July 26, 2012:

Talk is cheaper than a date. If you just stay happy and friendly but turn your attention somewhere else (because there is so much in life to do you can't spend much time talking to someone who hasn't yet convinced you why you should settle down) , you'll find out where you stand. Probably closer than he's admitting now. But if not, better to find out now while you (at least think you) aren't interested.

As far as I've noticed, long or frequent conversations make men tend to want a rest from a woman, but (if the man isn't actually clingy) almost always makes a woman feel more connected, and therefore more attracted, to a man. ("He's the only one who *understands* me!") So, to say nothing of physical intimacy, even much conversation without commitment tends toward to heartbreak.

Keep it light, brief, and friendly, and you will find out if he is just friendly.

acmh0210 on July 26, 2012:

Hi, great article and made for interesting reading, especially the man point of view comments. I have The Rules at home but haven't followed it to be honest as haven't found anyone I would want to settle down with. However, I have been speaking to a guy I met through work for 10 months now and we went from him clearly being interested to saying that his work was too much at the moment and he didn't want to get into something he couldn't give his time to which is fair enough. Still we have since spoken on and off but are now speaking virtually every day and at least two or three times a day sometimes more. Question is though, is he even interested? We have conversations about things and he says he wants children etc but we haven't had "a date" and I am not sure whether he is just being friendly. Any opinions greatly received!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on July 20, 2012:

prairieprincess, I think your comment is going to be a great encouragement to single women who read this while wondering if they should just call they guy and say everything they think.

It is of course possible to use the principles to manipulate, though that is not the intent of the book. Sometime I should write a review of another book I have (from the 1920s!), which really did recommend the cold-blooded use of the same principles. Scary.

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on July 20, 2012:

Aethe, great article! I do agree that the basic premise of "The Rules" are bang on. I think the tone of the book may have come across as manipulative, but regardless, the idea is solid.

My husband and I dated and broke in between. The first time, I was doing the opposite of the rules: I was readily available and needy. Then we finally broke up. Afterwards, I was a much less available and had my standards that I was determined to stick with, and he seemed to respond and asked me to marry him. It wasn't manipulation but it was me knowing what I wanted.

I do believe that women need to back away to see if the guy really wants her, or just wants a female. If it's really her, he will come back and chase her. It took my husband six months but he finally figured out what he wanted, and we are now very happily married! Thanks for a great hub!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on June 18, 2012:

Thank you, "me". I am thinking of writing another article (goal: by the end of June) about what I did between first realizing I needed to change the way I was doing things, and when I got married. As in, things that worked, things that didn't, things that helped me get through the days my phone didn't ring.

me on June 17, 2012:

I love your article! I do think the same!!! It happened to me too, that I followed the Rules but then (I started being in love with him) started breaking the Rules and I chased him....then his interest dropped and end of I know by my own experience the Rules work....!!!

at the moment I am reading the book called "Passion Paradox" (Delis/Phillips) it is more psychological explanation why the Rules work....

back to you, I would love to hear more about how you "followed" the Rules....

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on June 16, 2012:

Meesh, do I ever know the feeling! I know four months seems like forever, but it's really not long to retrain habits from your whole life. I was 30 when I started to realize how un-womanly I acted around men, and it was 5 very long years before I met my husband, but only 7 months till we were married.

My roommate (who was attractive, outgoing, and blonde) seemed to attract hordes of men and I didn't. But as I started doing the Rules, I did start to get dates, romantic dates, quality dates, and with quality men. (Quality as in things like being sent airplane tickets to fly out to attend a formal occasion with him on the other side of the country.)

If you think there aren't a lot of quality men out there, it's because...there aren't. The best of anything is a small minority, so don't be surprised when you are trying to attract quality men and they don't come along every day. You only need one, if he's the right one! Looking at how life has gone for me and for my roommate, let me assure you it is better to attract a few good men than hordes of humans who happen to be male.

What makes men happy is to have a woman be something different, interesting, womanly, whom they can never quite figure out. So keep doing the Rules, read Fascinating Womanhood for inspiration on what really fascinates men, and keep smiling as if you were the Queen of England and national dignity depended on it!

Meesh on June 16, 2012:

I've been practicing the rule for about four months and so far it's been pretty upsetting. I can't get one damn man to chase me! I am average fitness about 29% body fat which I am working on changing. I am attractive, outgoing, blonde! I am working hard to keep myself well groomed and made up every day not something I believed in doing before as my family raised me that I should not have to wear make up to be pretty that I'm pretty the way I am. That I should not have to look put together but someone should love me not for what I'm wearing. Well all that didn't work. I've had about eight serious relationships since the age of 17 been engaged with a ring once and with out once. And every time each guy that I settled for has let me down. I tried so hard to make them happy and they always let me down, they cheated or had too many problems that I facilitated by being codependent. I am trying hard to stick to the rules but the only way I actually get any interest from men is online dating and that usually is one date and then they say they will call and they never do. Also I have an incredibly difficult time getting guys to call they ONLY WANT TO TEXT!! Any thoughts on how to get a guy to call? or should I just cave and text? the rules say not to call them? so should I use the rules exactly the same for texting? Usually when I ask them to call I never hear from them again.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on June 05, 2012:

KurtSt, the Rules very much allows women to let a man know she likes him. There is just a disconnect between what women and men think is being communicated.

When a woman thinks she's saying she's interested, a man thinks she's needy.

When a woman thinks she's acting disinterested, a man thinks there's a chance.

When a woman really is uninterested, a large percentage of men thinks there's a chance.

You're welcome to assume I don't know what I'm talking about, but I can't think of a case I've ever seen where the man was interested, the woman was interested, the woman acted according to the Rules, and the man didn't get more interested.

I can think of lots of cases where men thought women were acting according to the Rules, and the women were trying to tell them to get lost.

Basically, men don't know when women are acting according to the Rules, because that's how they always thought women would act, and they have no idea until they have daughters how easily women's hearts are broken.

KurtSt on June 05, 2012:

Lynn, the Rules might work on some men as aethelthryth suggests. However, a large percentage of the male population prefers it when a woman does things to let a man know she likes him and will give up on a woman who acts disinterested, which is what The Rules tells women to do.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on May 29, 2012:

Lynn - Well, the best thing about the Rules is that it tends to keep men interested in you, but it is also a major benefit that it keeps your heart from being broken, or at least from being broken into as many pieces.

Lynn on May 25, 2012:

The Rules were a convenient excuse for me to act uninterested in men I was very attracted to so that I didn't get hurt again.

It's the truth. And I'm still single.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on April 05, 2012:

Jeannieinabottle, thank you for your comment, and to any single women who stop by here, I want to recommend Jeannieinabottle's Hubs for those days when you really need to read something lighthearted and humorous about singleness.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on April 05, 2012:

I've never read this book before, but I have heard about it. Even if I don't agree with women going back to the Stone Age, I do agree that men want to pursue women. No one wants anything if it is too easy to obtain. I've noticed if I pursue a man, it never goes anywhere. If I let him pursue me, everything is better. Great hub and voted up!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on March 26, 2012:

Well, KurtSt, speaking for me and most of my single female friends, any woman who has a life is likely to be out a lot (work, church, volunteering, doing things with friends, not to mention the dates it takes to give each reasonable man a chance). It often took me and my best female friend two weeks to plan a time to meet! So a new man in the life of such a woman is just going to have to fit the schedule and prove that he's worthy to move up in priority.

However, the key words you used are "if I have been putting forth the effort". In that case, you are not new, and if the woman is interested, you certainly should move up somewhat in priority - but you should not be displacing a female best friend until you have proved yourself interested in being a better friend! But if you are being treated better than her childhood best friend when you have been around for a month, you are very likely to soon feel stifled. The Rules is about balance, about preventing women from doing that to you.

I have heard of a woman who told a (very decent) man she couldn't go out with him because had to give her ferret a bath. That is not the Rules; that is a rude woman you should be glad to get away from! (I've had ferrets. Baths don't help.)

phdast7, thank you; I heard only negative things about The Rules before I actually read them. I just want other women like me to have a chance to hear what they actually say before dismissing them!

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on March 26, 2012:

I remember hearing about the Rules about ten years ago and of course there were lots of strong reactions back then, pro and con, just as there are now. You did a great job explaining the book's premise. Very well written and quite interesting. Voted UP, Useful, and Interesting. :)

KurtSt on March 24, 2012:

aethelthryth, I can tell you that as a man I want a woman who wants me. If you think men enjoy chasing after women who are behaving like they aren't that interested, you are generally wrong. Maybe some desperate men will continue to chase because although they are getting mixed signals, they think that they might have a chance. However, more experienced men will give up.

However, if I have been putting forth the effort and a woman is not reciprocating that way that I think she should, then she is either not that interested or is playing games, neither of which is what I would want in a woman.

You are correct in that the Rules will weed out men who weren't that interested, but it will also weed out a lot of men who really were interested. Why should a man tolerate that type of behavior when there are other, more mature women available who don't play those games?

Many women will often go out on dates with men they don't like that much just because the men are paying and maybe the women are bored or whatever. Men are well aware of this behavior and as they get older they pick up on certain behavior and are quicker to give up when a woman started exhibiting disinterested behavior, or at least that has been the case for me and most of the guys I know.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on March 24, 2012:

That would be a good assumption, KurtSt. The whole point of the Rules is to help a woman act like she's not that interested when she is - and only because that sorts out the men who weren't really interested in her from the men who are interested enough to make an effort to get her interest!

When not restrained either by convention, the Rules, or circumstances, most of us women have an amazing ability to completely blow out any sparks of interest in our efforts to get a fire going.

KurtSt on March 24, 2012:

Doesn't the "Rules" instruct women to not always answer the phone and frequently not return phone calls? If a woman did that with me, I would likely assume she wasn't that interested and move on.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on January 03, 2012:

tamron, keep up the good work! You may fascinate some low-quality men along the way, but they're still men and good practice for how to treat a high-quality man when he comes along. You never know what you may inspire in a man who's never been seriously challenged before.

tamron on January 03, 2012:

I remember those days chasing men it was exciting at first but it soon was nerve racking embarrassing and darn right humiliating. Nowadays I just keep busy if one comes along fine and dandy if not no loss. Great article!

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on December 12, 2011:

Kikl, you said it perfectly.

KikI on December 11, 2011:

The Rules are great for women , Why?.They prevent us from getting emotionally involved with a man before he has proven his worth.Its about boundaries and self protection.If any woman chased a man she will tell u just how painful and degrading it is.

aethelthryth (author) from American Southwest on May 30, 2011:

Many good points, especially that women have asked for equality and aren't so happy with the result that followed.

I do think that a woman who really knows what she's doing can convince a 22-year-old that he wants her even more than he wants being on his own. But it would have been tough even for our grandmothers to do that, and women today know much less about what men want than our grandmothers did. Also, most 22-year-old women think they don't want to get married. Actually, a theory I've come up with based on my own and others' reactions at those ages is that you can't tell a woman anything between about 13 and 30. Anything they don't know about how to treat men by 13, they won't bother to learn till they're 30. After that, some humility sets in with the first signs of gray hairs and wrinkles.

Oh, and the "faking it" was not about doing something you don't really mean, but more like what you have to do to start a physical fitness habit. You have to act for a while like someone who actually likes getting up at 6AM to go running for a long time before you really feel that way. Likewise, a woman has to *act* like a woman who can't be had by every man who comes along, no matter how wonderful, for a long time before she *feels* confident enough to actually not run after the man begging him to pay attention to her.

I very much appreciate your perspective, and I'm sure any women reading this will too, but if the Rules sound strange to you, all I can say is, few if any men have any idea how differently women think than men in this area.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on May 29, 2011:

First of all congratulations on your marriage!

I suspect the real reason why you were engaged so quickly had very little to do with "The Rules". A woman who is age 35 and is interested in getting married is most likely dating men close to her age or older. Men in that age group are more open to getting married. A girl at age 22 who attempts to use "The Rules" to get her 22 year old boyfriend to marry her is likely to fail. The guy just checked out of his dorm room or escaped from his parent's basement! Marriage is the last thing on his mind! (Rules or no rules). People get married because BOTH people want to. (Finding someone who wants what you want is a better use of your time than trying to "convince" someone that you are "the one".)

Like attracts like in the long run. "The Rules" are likely to work on men who were raised to look for the qualities espoused in the book when it comes to selecting a wife. Certain regions of the country are more likely to have men that are more familiar with "traditional courtship".

However for the majority of "young men" in America the rules are not likely to work because those traditional dating techniques were destroyed by women long ago. The vast majority of "young women" today have chosen to be "Equal" over being "Special". The birth control pill, abortion rights, higher income opportunities, and artificial insemination have made men practically unnecessary! LOL!

Strict laws have also changed the way a man pursues a woman.

"The premise of The Rules is that men love a challenge. If you want a man to act like a man, and treat you like a woman, challenge him as a man" (The so called CHASE is dead)

Today at anytime a woman can call what use to be considered "wooing attempts" by a man "sexual harassment" or "stalking". A man is better off walking away from a woman who "acts like she's not interested in him." No means NO and men now days are looking for women to meet them half way.

"The Rules book is not really rules. It’s really about an attitude. The instructions are just the method for (faking) until you really feel like a prize any man would be lucky to get……(you won’t have to act uninterested forever)."

Aaah, The old "bait and switch" both sexes have been known to "fake" behavior in order to get what they want from each other. It's not uncommon for men to say beautiful things, worship & adore, spoil women with flowers, poetry, and gifts..etc only to marry them and take them for granted! A woman who acts alluring, sexy, and enticing will not have a happy man if it turns out she doesn't deliver based upon his expectations. "When we change our circumstances change". Whatever it took to win your mate's heart is the same thing it will take to keep them. "Faking" gives way to disappointment. The only rule that matters is "Be Yourself" and if that is not enough to convince your man that "you are the one" then it's very likely he is NOT the one for you! Ultimately we are all looking for someone who will love and accept us for who we are! One Man's Opinion! :-)

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