I've never been one for making a list of resolutions, but one over-arching manifesto – a sort of permanent note to self – makes a lot of sense to me, especially after some of my questionable love-life decisions last year. So this year I have decided to adopt a dating mantra of either, "Yes" or "No" – and no prevaricating.
I wish I could take credit for the philosophy but, alas, I can't. A friend put me on to the work of American author Mark Manson. He's a dating coach, but we'll forgive him that and cut straight to the heart of his manifesto, which, simply put, involves only going ahead with a romantic situation if the response is an emphatic yes, from both parties, otherwise you're just selling yourself short.
As he puts it: "There's a grey area in dating many people get hung up on – a grey area where feelings are ambiguous or one person has stronger feelings than the other." He reckons, for men, a huge question is often whether to be persistent and continue pursuing a woman even when she seems lukewarm, whereas for women, it tends to centre on dealings with men who make their feelings ambiguous. Erm, yeah! Any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
"She said she's not interested, but she still flirts with me, so what do I need to do to get her?"
"He treats me well when he's around, but he's hardly around. What does that mean?"
"He says, 'Let's meet up next week' but then appears to have emigrated. Or possibly died."
The problem with this grey area, says Manson, is that it gets to the point where we spend more time analysing behaviours than actually, you know, behaving. Then – and here's the (somewhat harsh) kicker: "If you're in the grey area to begin with, you've already lost. Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? What does that say about you?".
It says it's time for a new approach. And so, here I am, bidding farewell to a 2014 of, frankly, ridiculous levels of romantic ambiguity – the ex who comes and goes, and comes and goes; the guy with a girlfriend who's enjoying the flirt; the friend-of-a-friend who reckons he's over his ex but isn't... and don't even start me on unanswered texts. For 2015, unless it's a "Yes", it's a no from me.