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What Every Single Girl Needs to Know About Dating

12/10/2014 08:39 EST | Updated 02/09/2015 05:59 EST
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Growing up, I always believed in fairy tales and bought into the idea that Prince Charming would sweep me off my feet and I would live happily ever after. After the age of 15, I started to realize that this love thing may be much more complicated than Disney ever led us to believe.

I observed that teenage guys liked the "hard to get" and "in demand" girls. So, without realizing it, over the years and through a lot of bad encounters and relationships, I adapted and went from sweet and innocent to sexy vixen with an edge. My self-respect went down hill and I thought all men just wanted was sex and a hot chick they could show off to their buddies. I undervalued my body and what I had to offer as a smart, loving and successful woman. This pattern of abusive and one-sided relationships continued. I often chose the hot guy because he was my "type." This pattern continued for years, hunting for men on dating websites for endless hours, lining up several dates each day and creating an image for myself that I thought was desirable. I aimed to be the sexy, in demand girl who no one could resist.

By my 30s, I finally realized that something needed to change. I wasn't getting any closer to having a family and/or meeting the love of my life. I realized that grown up men wanted that sweet and innocent Disney princess they could take home to their mom and dad. That sexy vixen was only good for dating and not for anything long term. So, I adapted and came to terms with who I really am. I may not be an innocent princess, but I am a sweet, beautiful, loving and loyal girlfriend. That sexy vixen still lives within me but is now only on display for one wonderful man who I love deeply and genuinely.

Now that I am in a happy and committed relationship, I have some valuable advice for all of those single girls out there. I wish I had this kind of wisdom when I was on the hunt for my Prince.

1. Within the first few dates, most men quickly label a women into different categories: Dateable, Casual Sex, Possible Marriage Material, Crazy and Clinger. Once he decides which category you fall into, it is next to impossible to change his mind.

2. Most men want to marry a sweet and innocent girl who is a prize that no other man has touched before. Although they realize that is next to impossible, they still like to believe it. So, even if you are not a perfect angel (and he knows it), don't tell him anything he doesn't need to know. Let him believe you are as innocent as he wants you to be.

3. Become a man's friend before sleeping with him. Most men will throw one night stands to the curb, but he will do anything for his friends.

4. If a guy really cares about you, he doesn't want to hear about how many guys you are sleeping with, how many guys you dated, how many guys are chasing you etc. Major turnoff.

5. The first three to six months of any new relationship should be relatively fun and easy. After that get ready for the real man to show his true colours. He can only go to that vegan restaurant with you for so long until he wants to hit the pub with his buddies.

6. Guys are just as insecure as women. They buy new clothes for dates, they strategically plan their approach with you and they hurt deeply when things don't work out. Most of them don't show their emotion or talk about their pain. They generally suffer in silence or with one friend they can confide in.

It took me 37 years to realize that fairytales only exist in movies and books. I did eventually find my Prince, but it was a painstaking and difficult process to get there. No matter how many self-help books or advice columns you read, it all comes down to truly loving yourself and not compromising your self worth to be something you are not. At times, it will seem like battling a wicked witch or an evil step mother would be much easier than going through the pains of dating.

Eventually, your Prince will come and he may not be your "type." Be prepared to be break patterns and love will come.

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