Having been raised in a culture where dating was taboo and forbidden, "dating rules" were not instilled in me growing up; rather, they were invented based on what I do know best: myself. I know who I am, what I want, what I can offer and what I'm willing to do for love. We live in a world where there is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, funnier, etc. So as women, how do we feel confident and empowered in the world of dating?
1. Be bold and make the first move.
There's nothing more empowering than going after what you want in life, and this includes dating. Traditionally, we are taught to wait until the man makes the first move. Don't make the first move; you'll look too aggressive or masculine, right? NO! We are all individuals with wants and desires, regardless of gender. So, next time you are at your local coffee shop and you see a man you're attracted to, say hello or spark a conversation. Better yet, ask him for his number!
2. Have your voice heard and initiate contact.
Once you've gone on a few dates and really begin to like this guy, your girlfriend or the latest Cosmo article may tell you to wait for him to initiate contact again. Two days pass and he doesn't contact you. You freak out and replay every moment of your last date in your head, questioning what went wrong. Don't you dare contact him because that will make you look needy, right? NO! If you want to reach out, then by all means do so. You like him, so let him know. Follow your heart and pick up the phone.
3. Make it fun and plan your next date.
Traditionally, many women look to men to plan dates in the early stages. After all, if he's interested he should prove it by taking the lead, right? NO! There's no better way to show someone how much you care by performing small acts of kindness. Dating is a two-way street and both parties should be equally invested in spending time together. Don't wait around for your guy to plan all of your dates. Instead, take matters into your own hands now and then.
4. Get invested -- emotionally and financially.
There are a lot of varying views on paying for dates. Some men want to provide, others feel it's fair to split the bill. Some women want to be pampered, other's want to feel self-sufficient and pick up the bill. Don't ever offer to pay because it might insult the man and you need to be taken care of, right? NO! To truly feel empowered, treat your date.
5. Get intimate when you're ready, not when somebody tells you you should.
Thanks to society's rules of dating, you may ask yourself the "right time" to become intimate with the person you're dating. Don't hop into bed too soon or he'll get the right idea, right? No, don't wait too long or you'll miss your chance, right? NO! Each relationship moves at a different pace. This is a personal choice, so be empowered and don't allow other people's judgment or criticisms affect your decision.
Empowerment comes from within. Whether it's business or personal, once you consciously choose to not listen to your intuition, you have disempowered yourself. Know what you want and who you want to be and go with it, and the rest will fall into place. The moment you disregard all of the external noise or "rules," you will not only feel empowered, but liberated, and there is no greater feeling than freedom.