The reason I am dating unscripted

Love does not and should not come with a how-to manual

Twenty-seven years on from Bridget Jones’s Diary and according to the Office for National Statistics the single population of the UK stands at 35%. And now the love self-help she was so fond of has spread online, there are now a wealth of dating gurus giving advice on how to attract, keep and win back a man.

This advice seems to come overwhelmingly from men and it is very prescriptive. All of the advice focuses on you changing your behaviour in the main, or looking out for the right ‘type’ of man.

Some of the advice focuses on how men are supposedly wired up. A lot of time is devoted to getting a man to get out of the sex driven part of their mind or to behaving in the right way to get him to commit.

Though thankfully not all of the advice is prescriptive as to whether you should sleep with him on the first date, there is still a lot of time devoted to how you should behave.

The behaviour is meant to show your value as a woman. Not coming off as too needy, but still making yourself available for him. Not hassling him at the ‘wrong time’ when you want to discuss something difficult. Complimenting him in a deep and meaningful way. The list of right and wrong ways to behave is endless.

It seems reasonable and it seems that there is a positive intention behind it. A lot of them have books and coaching events, largely not in the UK.

The most well-known Matthew Hussey gives guarantees on his advice that you will find a man in a set amount of time. Glamour has gushed about him, saying that his advice got the journalist in question a man in the time he stipulated.

I remain wary of the gushing. He does encourage women to keep their standards when they’re attracting a man, but he also disturbingly offers them scripts to win over the men they want. I’m frightened to find out if women pursue these scripts and if they work on unsuspecting men, it would be quite funny if they did.

None of this advice touches on how to manage the obstacles that life throws at you when you can’t keep to a set of behaviours to keep him hooked. When you can’t remain the perfect woman in his eyes.

The advice be yourself is very unfashionable and might not win you a man in two weeks or whatever the latest guarantee is, but it’s the best chance you have of finding the right person for you. If you adhere to someone else’s strategy for finding a man or woman you will end up with someone that fits them and not you.

A man’s idea of how to attract a high value man, might not actually get you the man that’s right for you. If your normal behaviour would repel a man, how long can you change to fit his idea of how you should behave.

This is clearly coming from a feminist perspective, but I’m not going to let the women off either. They equally offer prescriptive advice and disturbingly a lot of it has to do with attracting a rich man.

This isn’t going to save anyone’s life, but those lives that are saved need to love and love isn’t built on scripts and acting just the right way at all times. Attracting and keeping a man isn’t something that can be coached.

You can work on yourself, sure, but don’t lose yourself in the process, because there’s no guarantees in love. Hope for the best in a relationship, stay strong enough for the worst.

A bit of Matthew Hussey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbA73NNIOFE

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Sarah Morgan

I am an experienced journalist. My first joint book on mental health recovery was published in 2011. I was short-listed for aviation journalism awards in 2010.