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18-Aug-2017 14:10

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Seventeen years and a handful of bad experiences with guys later, I started to wonder what went wrong. The answer I eventually came up with wasn't that I had some personal defect, but rather that my expectations had been set to an unattainable level, causing me to become attached to people and moments that weren't exactly what they seemed.

This was the result of the fact that I suffered from a habit of wanting what I couldn't have, because it was exciting, and because I never wanted to settle for what was "easy."What's worse, I was always attracted to stereotypical "assholes." But, I wanted a "fairytale" so badly, I would accept and manipulate moments and people to fit into what could be "my fairytale."How did I come to this conclusion?

Californian stand-up comic Greg Behrendt had an accidental career change while working as a consultant on Sex and the City, the hit US comedy drama starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

He had been brought in, he says drily, because they realised the creative team was "two gay guys and seven women".

But, of course I didn't believe that, because I still wanted to be situations I created in my head about this "womanizer," our situation mirrored everything I had read about in the book. I realized that every other time, I was more invested in the idea of the guys I was chasing than I was in them as people.

If he didn't call, he wasn't thinking about you, and if he wasn't thinking about you, he probably wasn't into you. For the first time, I felt what it was like to really connect to someone on a different level, and to truly mean it when I said, "This one is different." It turns out, he may have thought the same thing.

I struggled with accepting this a lot, though, as it felt like this time might be different. And just like that, I had broken the rule, this time, without even trying.

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This isn't to say I disagreed with the lessons I'd just learned, because, on the contrary, it was more fear that it was 100 percent true, and that's a scary thought when the romanticized perception of love you possess gets outshone by a near-mathematical equation of it. I didn't want to believe it was true that there were no exceptions to any of these rules.

"Oh yeah, but I remind them they are taking the counsel of a clown." Does the presence of "pudding" – a very British word – in the title suggest he has a trained eye on us?

"In the States, we have a dessert called pudding, which I love," he explains. If you put it in your mouth, spit it out and put it back in, it tastes exactly the same.

I didn't want to believe you couldn't change a person. It might not be the intended purpose, but typically, if a rule has been imposed, chances are that its also been broken.

Yes, we're young, and maybe we're all just too immature to understand how relationships work, but at that moment, it really felt like no matter how old you were, to "the rules" were as much a fantasy as the fairytale stories themselves. Why do "the rules" of relationships have to be any different?The book, co-written with SATC writer Liz Tuccillo – and two sequels written with his wife, Amiira Ruotola – sold three million copies.

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