Dating in a 2.0 World, with Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola (Part 1)

Greg and AmiiraI have long been a fangirl of Greg Behrendt’s. He’s Just Not That Into You has been my Relationship Bible for the past decade. And then when he co-wrote THE definitive break-up book, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken with his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt, I became a fangirl of hers.

Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I recently got to connect with Greg and Amiira via Skype, and I became a fangirl of THEM. The couple they are is the couple everyone wants to be. They crack each other up, finish each other’s sentences…but not in an annoying “couple on Facebook who shares an account and floods your timeline with cheesy ‘date night’ pics and public declarations of love” sort of way. More in a “Wow, this is a rockstar couple who has been through the dating fire and all of its many losers, crazies, and creepers before they came together, so now they really cherish and respect the magic of finding their perfect match” way.

It’s been a decade since He’s Just Not That Into You blazed onto the scene, created a cultural phenomenon, and changed the game of dating forever, and a lot has changed since then (texting and tweeting and online dating – oh my!)…so I wanted to know what Greg and Amiira had to say about “Dating in a 2.0 World.”

Turns out they have a lot to say about it. A lot that you’re going to want to hear.  A lot that might even rock your world a little, in the same way He’s Just Not That Into You did ten years ago…

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The Single Woman: Okay, so tell me about the new book, It’s Just a (Bleeping) Date!

Amiira Ruotola: After we wrote the breakup book we had a lot of people asking, “Okay, now what? So, I know how to break up and how to get through a breakup, but I’m not dating, no one’s asking me out, I don’t know how to meet people, dating doesn’t exist…” And there was a lot of that sort of feedback.

Greg Behrendt: It felt like the right third piece, a little triangle, like “Alright, this relationship you’re in is horrible, and here’s how you get out of it, and then here’s how you start over, and here’s how you start again, but knowing what you know from both pieces.” Knowing that you can recognize a crappy relationship, knowing that you will live through a breakup, and that’s just part of the game. There is no protecting yourself if you’re going to actually put yourself out there. And here’s the way we think is the smart way to do it.

AR: And also, we both made all the same mistakes that everybody makes, before kind of wising up to the idea that, okay: There is an order to how things go and when you pretend that that order doesn’t exist when it comes to relationships, you generally are not successful. You know, you don’t just go on a job interview and say “Which one’s my desk? Because I’m starting today.” There’s a process. You have to be vetted and you have to vet them and you have to agree that it’s going to work out for both parties before it happens. And it’s like that with everything. You know, you don’t eat horribly for two weeks straight and then wonder why your pants don’t fit.

GB: I do. I’m always baffled by it. I don’t understand.

TheSW: (Laughs)

AR: There are cause and effects to all of it. For whatever reason, when it comes to relationships or dating, women are so quick to overlook giant red flags or to not require somebody to actually step up and be clear with their intention to ask them out. You know, it’s a lot of “hooking up,” or “hanging out,” a lot of ambiguous non-dating and not a lot of dating.  I think that women think that if they ask for anything that they’ll have to settle for nothing, as opposed to going “Well, I’d rather have nothing.” If he won’t call me ahead of time, make a plan, and then show up at my house to take me there…why is that the caliber of human being I want to be in a relationship with anyway?

GB: It feels like to me, that as a whole, in general, women put so much of the outcome on the man, as opposed to deciding their own outcome, you know? And we talk about this a lot in the book, where people have this thing where they say “I don’t like to play games. I’m not a game player.” Well, there is actually a game to be played here and it’s called “Don’t freak people out with your need.” Don’t lead with that, because it’s frightening. No one likes need. You don’t like it from your friends, even…you know what I mean? It’s an unattractive quality because no one knows what to do with it. You’re actually handing someone an unsolvable puzzle that you know they can’t fix. You know that thing you’re looking for from me? I don’t have for you. Your self-esteem, your self-worth, where you are in life…I can’t solve that for you. I just want to be around you while you solve those problems yourself. Even if you’re just trying to solve them. And with women, it seems like there is this panic of like, “Well, what if this guy doesn’t work out? What if I’m totally alone?” It’s like life rafts…you just grab onto anyone thinking, “No real boat’s going to come for me so I might as well hang onto this log.”

AR: (Laughs hysterically)

GB: That’s the name of the next book: “I’m Hanging On To This Log.”

TheSW: It does seem like women are trained to believe that we do just have to settle for whatever’s standing in front of us. But I don’t just blame it on the man. I think a lot of times, men aren’t rising up because women aren’t demanding or asking or expecting them to.

AR: Men will be as lazy as you let them be, and if you’re the person that lets them come over at 5:00 a.m. for sex, then that’s what they’ll do. They’re not going to ask you out to dinner. But it has to be a collective effort from women to decide that they’re going to change the way this goes. Women set the tone, men follow their lead; however, women are afraid to believe that that’s true, because they’re so afraid they’ll get nothing. And there definitely is an element of biology to it, and if the things you want are marriage and children and so on, there’s that thing that starts messing with your head and your heart and you start making negotiations. You start justifying why it’s okay if you let go of all the things that you really want and the way you want to be treated.

GB: It’s like one of those shows where you go: “Alright. Can you make a whole dinner out of what you have in the refrigerator?” On a bigger level, on a more sort of global level, if women don’t take control of it, it’s never going to change. And it has to sort of happen as a group effort. You guys set the tone. With the exception of really creepy dudes, we’ll do whatever it takes to be with you. Unless we just don’t like you enough. And then you have to decide what it is that you want. Amiira and I are definitely not prudes, but if that’s something you’re going to do – if you’re going to have a casual sexual thing – you better make sure you can handle it. And don’t lie to yourself about it because the only person you’re telling the lie to is you. It’s just weird to say to yourself “I’m fine with this,” If you know you’re not fine with it.

TheSW: I think it’s very rare that a woman actually is fine with that sort of relationship. A woman calls it “friends with benefits” because she just wants to keep the man around, but a lot of times, for the man, it IS just friends with benefits. For a woman, it’s like “My heart’s involved, but I’m going to pretend like this is casual so I don’t freak you out and you’re out of my life all together.”

GB: Also, society has made it okay for men to be okay with it. I don’t even know that anytime someone has that intimate of a thing that there isn’t some residual for both parties. It’s just human intimacy. Unless you’re just dead inside. But most guys get afraid of what comes next. Their fear is like “Oh, that WAS real.” Men wouldn’t react to it so much if it didn’t feel so real and if it didn’t mean something. And they don’t want it to mean something. So they know, otherwise their reaction wouldn’t be so strong, and they’re fighting it, too, saying “Oh, I’m not ready for this.” I think most guys know “I shouldn’t have done that.” It’s not like most guys are like “That’s just what I do!” Unless they’re the worst person alive. And that’s possible too.

TheSW: I think I might have possibly dated the worst person in the world a few times! (laughing)

GB: What we always say is, the guy that we’re talking about that for you is a total jerk, for someone else is going to be a real gem someday. It’s just what you guys made when you came together. There are girls like that, too. You know, you went out with her and you were like “That girl was insane!” And now she’s married to a doctor and she’s fine…but when you went out with her, it was just your chemistry and whatever you guys made just didn’t work. You know, everyone has their collective stuff.

AR: Women forget that to somebody, they’re a big deal. You might not have met that person yet…but you’re someone’s Angelina Jolie. You’re someone’s giant great big deal and they won’t be able to believe that they get to wake up next to you every morning. But you have to  believe that about yourself. You know – someone is going to be your Ryan Reynolds someday. Someone is going to be your thing, like “How did I get so lucky?” But if you don’t treat yourself with value, the person that will also value you is not going to come.  Women don’t remember that they’re going to be a big deal to someone, because they have that panic of wanting to lock something down and wanting to feel that they’re something to someone instead of everything to the right one.

To Be Continued…

You can grab Greg and Amiira’s new book here …and DO NOT MISS THEM TONIGHT ON Oprah’s Lifeclass on OWN at 10/9c, when they’ll break down these topics and many more, like “Are men REALLY ever intimidated by women, or is that a cop-out?”

Sound off in the comments below! Have you read He’s Just Not That Into You? Did it change the game for you like it did me? Do you think women are letting men off the hook too easily in modern dating? I want to hear from you!

13 Responses to “ Dating in a 2.0 World, with Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola (Part 1) ”

  1. Christina
    January 3, 2014

    Reading this book He’s Just Not That Into You has changed my life .It gave me the strength and confidence I need to think more highly of myself and know the signs of when a guy really isn’t that into you.I was able to move on from a previous relationship and know that someone better will come my way.I’d rather be alone then be with someone whose wasting my time and isn’t into me.

  2. Ashley
    January 3, 2014

    I agree, it is extremely hard dating in today’s time. My question or comment is how do you date after you’ve accomplished so many of your personal goals such as school, career, home etc but, no man. I’ve gotten caught up in this web because, I felt so accomplished I was ok with the the guy coming over to my place where I was most comfortable. While doing so I missed the fact or red flag that he was married and would never be a guest at his home. It is hard dating today. Now, after all the signs and lies I just had a baby from a married man that I thought I was in love with but, thats quickly changing because, he doesn’t want to have anything to do with his son yet still have a sexual relationship with me. My baby is three months and he hasn’t helped out in any way possible but he still wants sex with me. During my entire pregnancy he slept with me and now to be absent from the baby is hurtful. He lied about where he lives, his last name and his age and being married. He has three children already and he coaches kids, who would do this…. Now I’m all messed up because, as the conversation mentioned up top we date out of order.

  3. lea
    January 3, 2014

    I got so much affirmation out of this conversation , I can shake my head , Yes all the way through. However , I stand Here single 10 years my marriage split 8 I’ve been divorced , I dated and was fully engaged and quite involved. With 2 different men the first 6 years of all of that. The 1st of the 2 relationships ended when I broke up with him almost 3 years after we started hanging out lol and 1 year after my divorce from my hubby finalized. Ik but my exhubby was living with someone else too. Then there was Eric! Omg Eric I was Infatuated @ hello! I met him one month after I split from my ex but things didn’t happen until after I broke up with 1st Boyfriend I I don’t want a commitment I just want to hvae fun! Lol is how I approached Eric I don’t want a commitment but I think after the first year of Hanging out he was in love he never ssaid it and I I always kept us a secret I didn’t know he was inlove and wanted more I assumed from what he told me in the beginnig was true & he wanted a casual conspicuous thing so I accepted that. :( the dumb part I was inlove too! He left that summer with a rich ex girlfriend. 2009 I haven’t dated since. Don’t know how or where to begin!

    • Sue G.
      January 4, 2014

      If he was truly in love with you, then he would have manned up and had that conversation with you. The fact that he didn’t and took off with the “rich ex-GF” means that he wasn’t that into YOU. It sucks and it hurts, but it happened. I’ve been divorced for 11 years, only one (what I thought) serious relationship since. That man was so hung up on his ex-wife that he married her twice, she cheated on him both times and after divorce #2, he still bent over backward to help that barracuda out (“the furnace isn’t working”; “the water heater’s leaking”; “the kitchen sink is clogged”; and my personal favorite: “I can’t open a PDF document” – here’s a clue: double click on the attachment, psycho.) I had to re-read the first book to take it to heart. The second one, “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” is an eye-opener, too. It will change your whole outlook on life. I’m about to turn 47, and at the prospect of another 35 to 40+ years on this planet, the idea of never having someone tell me he loves me again is scary as hell, but I’d rather be alone than settle for some BS artist that only wants to use me.

  4. Anonymous
    January 3, 2014

    You are such an inspiration! I love your book and gifted one to my bestfriend! I read your tweets everyday and it has been a source of encouragement for me to move on. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring work! :)

  5. Huney
    January 3, 2014

    I will be very interested to read the book… I agree, ladies we are letting the team down. We need a global effort to make men man up…
    Otherwise… Where on earth do you meet people??? I meet lovely guys all the time… but they are doing what they should be doing… helping at home with their wives/partners.
    What’s available in the male population really do seem to want these casual flings & seeing so many gals are desperate for attention… they fold & the cycle continues. I think dating in the real world is somewhat different to celebrity dating… most of us come in contact with a limited amount of people… getting out there is usually all the wrong places all the wrong sort of people so a bit of a backfoot start. Plus we all know how overated online dating is.

  6. Anthea
    January 3, 2014

    Im in a unique situation and don’t really know what to do and would appreciate any advice on the matter. Im a divorced woman who met an amazing man who has 3 children. Fast forward 3 years later, we got engaged and we all ended up living together. There have been lots of issues regarding his children (son 14, daughter 16 and older daughter 19) and a crazy neglectful ex wife who has caused so many problems over the years. Son 14 ended up recently living with his mother as she was awarded the family house and block of land (ie she got everything) in the recent property settlement, providing the son lives with her. She was granted FT legal custody of Son 14 as he really wanted to live with his mother instead of us and so ex wife got the lot (including the son). Son 14 has a lot of issues and I was glad to be honest he now lives with his mother. In the mean time, Daughter 16 ended up moving out due to personal issues with her dad (my fiancé at the time) and older daughter was asked to leave (by me) as she is your commensurate user (lived rent free and contributed nothing to the house hold and she made no effort to find work).

    Ex wife ended up kicking son 14 out soon after (keeping the property which is miraculously up for sale now) and son 14 is now living with my partner (he moved out from living with me) as I refused to have the son living with me in my house…I felt bad but he is too troubled and needs intensive help. Im a teacher and feel for the lad, but he is deeply troubled and I cant handle his manipulative behaviour in my home, which is a result of him being raised by an equally manipulative mother.

    So now my partner needs to seek legal assistance (again) to re challenge his ex wife re the property settlement and is looking for a rental to live with his son.

    I do not like this situation and we only see each other now and then and he sometimes stays the night. The future looks bleak for us and after living together for over a year to now have to live indefinitely apart because of his son, Im not sure what to do. I don’t want this situation but understand his needs to be a father (to a very belligerent and disrespectful teenager). He will need to go back to court and I have already been through this with him when he was going through the property settlement last year. :(

    Ive stepped back from all the drama and Ive convinced myself I will go out with a nice man (no kids lol) if one asks me out. Im considered an attractive, accomplished women who is self sufficient and independent with a good paying FT job. My friends say ‘Im a catch” lol…to be honest I would probably go out for coffee with a nice man if he asked me out, but feel bad to actively pursue it, given what we have been through with my now ex”partner”. We are no longer engaged and actually technically we have broken up; we still love each other but if we are both really honest, we cant see a future together as he needs to be with his son.

    Its hard to “move on” as we have history and without the complications, we are so good together. But Im not convinced now (given what’s in store for “us” with his son and the court case) that I should wait around for him and want to make myself available to meet a nice uncomplicated man…but then I feel guilty.

    Any advice? Is it wrong to want to date others while waiting to see if things get sorted out with this man and his complicated family?

  7. Katey
    January 3, 2014

    I loved this interview. I also have all three of there books and just love them they’re very real and give great advice.

  8. January 4, 2014

    I have had two relationships that were “fwb” that I actually enjoyed and didn’t form any kind of unrealistic emotional attachment. Both were not long after my divorce and I wasn’t ready for any kind of emotional commitment. Quite honestly, I wanted to screw around a little bit and see what was out there. But I quickly got tired of the scum you find in bars and clubs. So I got reacquainted with a friend from high school and we discussed it up front that that was all it was. We liked each other, had a good time, had mutual respect but neither wanted anything more from the other and that was fine. It lasted a few months until he met the woman he is now married to and I met my next fwb–a much younger man! I knew because of the age difference we had no real future together but we are still friends and think highly of each other. Even though I remember both experiences fondly, I have since turned my life back to Christ and so the fwb relationship is out of the question. Knowing what I now know about soul ties, there’s no way I would ever do it again. But to say it’s rare for women to enjoy that kind of relationship is not at all accurate. The problem is, there are many women that enjoy that relationship and that kind of ruins it for the ones that don’t and want more from men, especially when the majority of men are perfectly fine with it.

  9. January 4, 2014

    This is so amazing! God bless you for sharing this :)

  10. Dahlia
    January 8, 2014

    I’ve only ever had a limited number of relationships in my life. As a 27 year old I’m very cautious of getting close to men from an emotional and sexual aspect. I always expect the worst mostly because of what I’d seen from other relationships around me. I have a lot of close male friends, in fact I find it easy to make male friends, however I always end up befriending guys who are younger than me as it keeps the relationship at a safe distance away from sex. Occasionally I meet guys who I feel I attracted to and frankly there’s always an issue that arises… “I’m not interested in relationships” or “I don’t like labels”. Fair enough. However it seems it’s become the same usual response I hear from guys. I never make the first move, as I don’t like to waste my time in a relationship that I know the other party isn’t as invested. How do I find someone who would be like me? Doesn’t mind getting into a relationship and seeing where it goes. I’m not in a rush to get married but it would be nice to find someone who isn’t so against the idea. I’m currently living in Egypt and here all guys think that women are after one thing, marriage, yet if I even mention a casual relationship, they assume I’m easy and just want sex… the in between doesn’t seem to register.

  11. suzi
    January 18, 2014

    I live in England and on Amazon here is a book calledIt’s Just a Date: A Guide to a Sane Dating Life: How to Get ‘em, How to Read ‘em, and How to Rock ‘em by Greg Behrendt that was published in 2009. Is the book mentioned here just a reprint of that?

  12. January 24, 2014

    I love these two. I own all 3 books. It’s Called a Break Up Beacuse it’s Broken has so saved me this last year. I went through what I consider the most devastating break up of my life. I think I read this book over and over again for the last 6 months. I finished it again a few days ago and I’m starting it over again as we speak. For ANYONE out there, these book are complete life savers. Greg is fabulous!

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