James Garner and Gena Rowlands

I know a thing or two about relationships, not because I have been in a bunch of serious ones, but because I was born with a rare gift to offer sage wisdom and advice that I can’t actually apply to my own life. What…..a #blessing. That, coupled with my 839792742947 girl and guy friends who come to me with their problems and my thirst for knowledge, have made me an authority on the necessary reading material for living happily ever after with someone of the opposite sex (in case that’s on your bucket list or whatever). Digest these gems and thank me later.

5. Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. This is the original book about THE CRIPPLING DIFFERENCES between men and women and it’s still a bestseller for a reason. It explores the way men and women think, act, communicate, love, fight, etc. and is seriously eye-opening if you’ve never really pondered this phenomenon before. You might think your boyfriend thinks exactly like you. Guess what? YOU ARE COMPLETELY FUCKING WRONG. A few things–this book is repetitive (to really drill the knowledge into your brain) and sometimes I think it makes women seem too weak, but maybe that’s just me being a SENSITIVE FEMALE. Bottom line, it’s a must-read, but feel free to skim and just dive in deep when you need to. The underlying principles are the most important and will have you thinking about the opposite sex in a new light, understanding your man when he shuts off or disappears completely (love when that happens), and 100% improve your relationships. For the record, men should absolutely read this, too.

4. Why Men Marry Bitches. Don’t get all uppity about the title, you sensitive betches. This isn’t an instructional for being Regina George (or even better, Kristin Cavallari from Laguna Beach Season 2). It’s a “sharp-witted manifesto that shows women how to transform a casual relationship into a committed one.” BUT WAIT. Even if that isn’t your goal at the moment (read: you don’t even have a crush to sling a tit pic at), it has majorly valuable content (including #RealTalk from dudes), and is more entertaining than Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I literally scanned and emailed pages of this book (yeah I have a scanner, ndb) to help a girlfriend understand why her dude was being distant right after they had sex because it was nicer than saying “Stop being clingy and crazy. Go out and do something instead of staring at your iPhone and he will come around.” The underlying theme is being an independent woman who knows what she wants instead of a desperate gold digger/drama queen with zero life skills, and it will probably help you in your text game as well. You’re welcome.

3. The Five Love Languages. WHO HASN’T READ THIS RAISE YOUR HAND. If you raised your hand, take that hand, grab your damn credit card, and click over to Amazon or head to Barnes & Noble on your lunch break for the love of God. This book was such a game changer when I read it in 2007 prompted by a guy I was dating at the time. We did not work out because he wanted to sleep over on school nights UNINVITED and snore loud AF then wake me up at 5 a.m. when he left for his church league basketball games or some shit, but I digress. I’m glad I read it because it changed me for when I reunited with my ex for the 647th time later that year and all the relationships after that (I say “all” like there were a lot). This book is about how people express and receive love in five different ways: Words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, personal touch, and gifts. I’m not even going to delve into it any deeper. Fucking read it. If you’re single, read the one for singles and if you’re in a relationship, read that one. It will also most likely improve your relationships with your friends, family, colleagues, Tinder matches, etc. Any questions? DIDN’T THINK SO. (PS, all guys should read this, too. I repeat, ALL GUYS SHOULD READ THIS, TOO. There’s even a version made just for men.)

2. He’s Just Not That Into You. Oh this beautiful classic written by Greg Behrendt (who I hung out with over donuts back in March and discussed the proper protocol for females asking for happy endings from male masseuses, what?). I’m sure you read this 2397249274 years ago (I read it in college and I’m like, 47 now), but it never hurts to have a refresher that when he’s not calling you, dating you, sleeping with you, blah blah blah, he’s (probably) just not that into you. Shit, I think I need to read this again.

1. Fuck Yes or No. This essay might be my favorite of all…and it’s the shortest….and free! #ThereIsAGod. It starts with the question: “Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you?” And it just gets better/deeper from there. To get personal for a minute, this article speaks to my soul because I have (almost) always abided by this concept in my adult love life. If someone doesn’t like me, why would I like them? What the hell is that? Girls liking dudes who treat them like shit (and vice versa)? I mean, what? Have some self-respect. You’re an awesome person (maybe). Isn’t it the best thing in the world when you like/love someone and they like/love you back just as much? If a guy was like, “I’m just not that into you,” I’d be like, “Thanks for being honest; you are no longer attractive to me BYE,” instead of pining for his dumb ass. It’s literally my number one criteria for someone I want to date: 1) He wants to date me, 2) He makes me laugh, 3) He knows the difference between your and you’re. I’m easy to please. So ladies (and gents), read this one as often as you need to and ask yourself: Fuck yes? Or no?

the-notebook-7

You all will probably get into awesome relationships now and/or get married and I’ll still be over here trying to find Mr. Right (or is it Write?) on ChristianMingle, but I’m 100% ok with that. Glad I could help. And if you’ll excuse me, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about donuts since paragraph five.

LYLAS,
Ashley

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Guys + Dating, Inspiration, Pop Culture + Social Media

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