Ep. 285 – Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider: How to Get the Relationship You Deserve… Advice from “The Rules” Authors

the rules author

I sat down with two women the other day. And I can’t decide whether they’ve completely ruined my life or helped me. I decided they were going to help me decide before this podcast was over. Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider are the authors of the classic book, “The Rules”.

I know this book inside and out. Every woman I ever dated back in the 90’s and early 00’s read “The Rules” AND were following them. I felt like I was talking to them on behalf of every single person I’ve ever dated. (And every man who’s ever been frustrated by a woman they’ve dated.)

“The Rules” tell women how to date and WHO to date. But more than that, it teaches you to have self respect. How to bring the center of gravity back to yourself. And stop outsourcing your self-esteem to some other human or some idea of being with that human.

I’ve been married twice. I told Ellen and Sherrie about both of my marriages, but I kept something things private, too. I told them I’m going to give their books to my daughters. I want them to read it.

“But I don’t know if I want my future girlfriend to read it,” I said.

Maybe that’s because I’m a little lost. And I want her (whoever she is) to be a little lost with me.

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  • YollySnow

    They really helped me out with a phone consultation about a year ago. They were right!

  • YollySnow

    Also I think I saw that James got an apartment, but wanted to say that he inspired me to try doing Airbnbs etc. for a year! But the minimalism is a bit tougher–I’m actually spending the weekend going through a storage space I am renting, and throwing away/giving away/selling as much as I can, given time constraints.

  • Elyse

    Great interview. So many thoughts swirling in my head…
    1) Not everyone needs to follow these rules but they are great for those who have bad instincts and/or poor self-esteem.
    2) Their notion that the husband is the boss once married made me uncomfortable (that’s a slight exaggeration but not much). A more progressive approach would be that the marriage needs defined roles. This is coming from someone whose marriage roles have always been unconventional but I don’t know anyone who has a happier, healthier relationship than ours.
    3) Most importantly: By waiting for women to make themselves known to you by way of your blogs, books and public appearances, aren’t you more likely to attract women who are “aggressive” and intrigued by your public persona and/or business success? This is a very passive approach. Internet dating, or another way of meeting women, would put you in the driver’s seat and might help you find more compatible prospects.
    Best of luck!

  • saikat93ify

    “But I don’t know if I want my future girlfriend to read it,” I said.

    Aren’t you married ?

  • LMN50

    Hi James, after hearing you mention to Feris the # of unread emails you have, not sure you will see this..but here you go. I discovered you and your material prior to an ultra marathon I was training for. With all the hours of training on the trails, lets just say I binged listened to loads of your podcasts. When I describe you to others I say you are the russian doll of question asking…you have an amazing skill so many thanks for all that you do. Today’s podcast however, was the first one that I did not care for. As someone who has been happily married for 19 years and often asked how we do it, I found the authors advice to be so confusing. Why would you ever want to start a relationship by playing games? Would you play that same game if you were starting a friendship? I think NOT. Your time will come when you meet THE one who is inspired by your unique characteristics and wit and who will do the same for you, you just haven’t yet. The best relationships are those based on honesty (from Day 1), that come from the gut feel and those where there is mutual inspiration. If you ever want to have your first listener as a guest to explore another perspective, let me know.

  • Lorenzo St. Dubois

    These 2 authors have probably created more cat ladies than anyone else. I salute you!

  • Loved your interview with the Rules girls! The perfect woman is waiting for you to be ready for her, I know.