Hopeful romantics often daydream about a fairytale ending to their dating story: marrying that prince who finally found you – the woman who lost one Ugg boot in the mall or being awakened with a great kiss from that other prince whose lip mastery breaks the unfortunate spell of the bad kissers.
Aside from the happy endings, are there lessons from fairytales and fables that apply to the beginning, middle, and endings (not always happy) of dating and relationship stories?
Let’s ponder this while enjoying a light arugula salad in expectation of overindulging at Thanksgiving.
Little Red Riding Hood: You might think the dating moral of this story is – don’t ever talk to or interact with strangers. Not a realistic goal for someone trying to meet their “one.”
Consider this updated moral for dating purposes: be smart when encountering strangers: pay attention to visual or other signs that you might be interacting with a scammer. Rely liberally on Google image search or veracity, an image search app for your cell phone. Use all available security tactics.
The Fisher and the Little Fish: A small gain is more valuable than a large promise. Another way to say this: be satisfied with what you have.
This is a perfect tale for the online dater who meets someone he or she really likes but can’t stop window-shopping for a possibly hotter/better/thinner, etc. match. I’m not talking about early in a relationship when it’s prudent to keep your options open. The moral applies when someone in an exclusive relationship that is working goes online to see if there’s someone “better” out there.
The Two Goats: It is better to compromise than to come to misfortune through stubbornness. This is a perfect fable for relationships and no updating of the moral is needed
The Little Mermaid: Try new things and activities outside of your comfort zone. Getting outside of your comfort zone may be needed when you are creating a new life after a divorce or the death of a spouse. You’ll find yourself in new social situations and trying new activities or hobbies. Regardless of whether your goal is to meet people or to enhance your creative life and sense of accomplishment, sometimes you may need to take a leap even if it’s scary.
Brave: Be brave. See The Little Mermaid. Bravery, of course, is a close cousin of stepping outside of your comfort zone.
The Salt Peddler and the Donkey: Two can play the same game.
Let’s say you like a guy but he’s an erratic communicator with long gaps between texts or calls, invitations on short notice, and an occasional date cancellation. You could certainly ghost him – and be justified – but sometimes, guys need a dose of their own medicine.
This “revenge” scenario calls for you to be strong and have a few other male possibilities keeping you busy. If Mr. Poor Communicator texts you after a week’s silence, don’t reply for a week. If he cancels on you, reschedule and cancel on him. You get my drift. This may seem petty, not worth your time, etc. True. And, although, you’d rather Mr. PC be a better communicator and boyfriend, this tactic may be surprisingly satisfying.
The Mice in Council: Many things are easier said than done. Finding the one – or one of the ones – certainly seems to fall into this category.
The Three Wishes: Think carefully about what you really want in life and plan ahead. Make a list of must have qualities in a partner and check your profile to make sure you reflect (or have) those qualities. Evaluate each new man you go out with and ask whether he possesses those qualities. If not, move on.
The Hare and the Tortoise: Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t give up! It may take awhile but keep on working the dating life. Take breaks as needed, try new sites, discontinue sites that aren’t working, and try new activities to meet men in real life.
Oh, and you don’t have to be a princess to have a happy ending.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating. And Happy Thanksgiving!