Following is an excerpt that struck me as so simple but probably as something a lot of us don't do. I know I haven't been known to follow this rule.
Ever heard of a zero-tolerance policy? It's a fancy way of saying "no second chances." Zero-tolerance is a great rule to have in place when it comes to your love life. That doesn't mean you can't argue with a guy you're dating, or even forgive him for being immature, at times. What it does mean is that no matter what's going on between the two of you — good or bad — you always feel respected. You always feel valued for what you bring to the relationship.
If you have to exercise the zero-tolerance policy, and actually dump a guy, you'll feel lonely for a bit. You'll worry that no other boy is going to want to date you, because you're such a pain. And yes, the boys you break up with because they don't treat you well will tell their friends you're a pain. (Or a bitch, which is the Official Favorite Word of Guys-Who-Treat-Girlfriends-Like-Dirt™.) The thing is, you won't get the reputation you'll worry about getting. At least not among the guys who deserve your time. They'll see a girl who knows what she's worth, and isn't willing to accept any less. And deep down in a place most guys don't even know they have, they'll think, "If a girl that self-confident chooses me, it must mean I'm worth something, too." Any boy who makes that realization is a boy you can bring home to meet your dad.
Excerpted from “Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal,” by Philip Van Munching. Copyright © 2005 by Philip Van Munching. Published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher. © 2005 MSNBC Interactive