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There are many ways to describe women who go against the grain when dating men. ‘High-maintenance’, ‘difficult’, and ‘princess’ are just a few of the words reeled off by men who feel like things aren’t going to plan. In fact, they can often be bitterly resentful, leading many women to go out of their way to prove that they’re easy-going and chill girlfriends. Because if there’s one thing men seem to hate more than anything, it’s drama, right? How often have you bitten your tongue instead of starting a fight?

It was only when I stopped being afraid of what men would think of me, that I started to meet better humans, ones who were actually worth the time and energy I was giving them. How often have you said “thank you” to a drunken, crude compliment that makes your skin crawl? Or ended up giving someone your number because they pressured you? Only to end up going on a date and getting your feelings hurt, despite the fact you never liked them in the first place. Aside from the obvious, here’s why being a yes girl is never the right decision when looking for a boyfriend.

The scales are tipped in their direction

There is an old saying that goes “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”, and that is the perfect mantra for dating. I’ve watched friends of mine date guys who make me want to scream “what’s wrong with you?” in their faces, but they can’t see that they’re being mistreated. It’s all because they’ve given away their power. They are so afraid to rock the boat, that in a twisted irony, their boyfriends have created enough drama for the both of them. It seems that if your partner is given the final say on everything, not all of them use that power for good. Do you want to become the girl that never goes out because her boyfriend doesn’t like it? I know I don’t.

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Boundaries need to be set at the beginning

Oprah Winfrey once said, “No is a complete sentence”, and when is this truer than when getting to know someone? Questions like “shall we get another drink?” may seem innocent enough, but what if you really don’t want to and still say yes? Or that inevitable “come over” text that makes your eyes roll, but you still do it? Actions like these are doing you both a disservice. I once plucked up the courage to tell a guy exactly how I felt about how he’d been treating me, to which he replied: “so you’ve been lying the whole time?” I’d never seen it that way, but it was true. By never telling the truth, I’d been deceitful by omission and wasting both of our time. It can be all too easy to lay the framework for a relationship you don’t want by never speaking up.

You need to find out what you like

Dating is backward and forward – that’s why it’s called a game. In the beginning, it’s a journey of discovery and trying to decide whether you want to take things further. Saying no and taking a stand is an important learning curve when it comes to developing any new relationship. Some people just can’t take rejection, and isn’t it better to find out your dream guy throws a fit when things don’t go his way on date two, instead of year two? By being selective and an active part of big decisions, you are setting yourself up to meet someone who fundamentally agrees with you. I’m not saying to pick a fight every time he suggest you go somewhere you hate – concessions always have to be made on both sides – just if he continuously makes you uncomfortable then you must say something. Trust me; you’ll regret it if you don’t.

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It doesn’t have to be forever

Sometimes finding the one isn’t as important as finding the one-off. There is an undeniable thrill in realizing it is going to be just a one-night thing. In these situations, saying no can be liberating, especially with drunk confidence. Flirting then not going home with someone, refusing to dance, not playing along with his pickup moves – these are all things that can help getting used to saying how you really feel. Plus, it can also be a great reality check for that guy who isn’t used to getting rejected. Find your boundaries with temporary people then stick to them with that special person.

I am not suggesting to be difficult just for the sake of it – although perhaps that could be fun too – but just to figure out what you are and aren’t comfortable doing. Finding a partner that you want to be with can be the most frustrating journey, so being true to yourself l is helpful for both of you. Instead of trying to impress your man, you need to find one who is impressed by you and values your opinions. Plus, you’re allowed to change your mind – the things that excited you last week or last month may not excite you now and that’s okay too. People evolve.

The right person is most certainly out there, probably hiding behind a wall of time wasters. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, then speak up and do something about it. Who cares if a man calls you high-maintenance along the way? If he doesn’t understand, then he isn’t someone you want to be with anyway. So be strong, be brave, be difficult, and most importantly, be happy.

Cordelia is a graduate from Bath Spa University with a BA degree in Creative Writing, followed by MA in Writing for Young People. She loves the boundless freedom writing creates and is a chronic pen chewer, but don't hold that against her.

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