— From Our Readers

The dating rules I had to break to meet the right partner

I started out my dating life as a serial monogamist. From my teens until well into my twenties, I held on tight to my relationships, especially the difficult ones. Nothing worth having should be easy to get. I would find the formula to make a difficult relationship work. Guess what? No formula. No success. In my late twenties, I gave up on serial monogamy and started dating in earnest for the first time.

I had no idea what I was doing.

As an identical twin, I grew up with a healthy respect for rules governing fairness and equality. I became an adept rule maker and follower, and eventually a lawyer. So, when I decided to start dating, I devised some rules:

(1) Blind dates could happen only during non-primetime (e., coffee or lunch, maybe weeknight drinks if he came highly recommended).

(2) Primetime dates (e., Friday or Saturday night) had to be preceded by at least one non-primetime date.

(3) No calling him after the first date. If he didn’t call me within a week, write him off. If he called too soon (within a day or two), regard his eagerness with suspicion and distrust. Something must be wrong with him.

(4) No matter what, hide the crazy.

Rule #4 was the most important one. All the others were made to be broken (albeit with often-disastrous results). But hide the crazy—hide my insecurities, my fears, my everyday peccadilloes (like my rule of allowing only liquids on the fridge’s top shelf), basically, hide the real me—that one was a keeper.

I had to appear perfect to find the perfect partner. Right? Nope. The result was seven years of bad dates, as if my rules had shattered a mirror and jinxed me.

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