All the Rules

Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right


By Ellen Fein

By Sherrie Schneider

Formats and Prices




$9.99 CAD



  1. ebook $7.99 $9.99 CAD
  2. Mass Market $10.00 $13.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 15, 2008. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The search for Mr. Right starts here. This simple set of dating dos and don’ts-combining The Rules and The Rules II-will teach you how to find (and keep!) a man who treats you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

You are a creature unlike any other (Rule #1)-that’s why you need… The Rules. Refreshingly blunt, astonishingly effective, and at times hilarious, All the Rules will lead you to where you want to be: in a healthy, committed relationship. These commonsense guidelines will help you:

Lead a full, satisfying, busy life outside of romance.
Accept occasional defeat and move on.
Bring out the best in you and in the men you date.

Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, these time-tested techniques will help you find the man of your dreams.


Begin Reading

Table of Contents


Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at Thank you for your support of the author's rights.

Author's Note: "We are not licensed to practice psychology, psychiatry, or social work, and The Rules are not intended to replace psychological counseling, but is simply a dating philosophy based on our own experiences and those of thousands of women who have contacted us."






Sound familiar? You may have heard these rules already… from your grandmother! The reason she used them, along with generations of women before her, is that they work! When you follow The Rules you learn how to be a "creature unlike any other"—confident, radiant, happy. You understand why the man must make the first move—and why you should never chase him. You stop waiting anxiously for the phone to ring—because you're too busy living and pursuing your goals whether he calls or not. You stop making excuses for him when he doesn't call. You don't accept a weekend date after Wednesday. And you don't have sex on the first date. Or the second. Or the third.

For years, the authors of this book have been using and passing The Rules along to their single friends. For years, the word has spread, with the growing number of "Rules Girls" supporting each other and going to each other's weddings. Now it's time for you to discover for yourself…


The Rules

Book I

Chapter I

The History of The Rules

NO ONE SEEMS to remember exactly how The Rules got started, but we think they began circa 1917 with Melanie's grandmother, who made men wait nervously in her parents' parlor in a small suburb of Michigan. Back then, they called it "playing hard to get." Whatever you call it, she had more marriage proposals than shoes. Grandma passed on her know-how to Melanie's mother, who passed it on to Melanie. It had been a family treasure for nearly a century. But when Melanie got married in 1981, she freely offered this old-fashioned advice to her single college friends and coworkers, like us.

At first, Melanie whispered The Rules. After all, modern women aren't to talk loudly about wanting to get married. We had grown up dreaming about being the president of the company, not the wife of the president. So, we quietly passed The Rules on from friend to friend, somewhat embarrassed because they seemed so, well, '50s. Still, we had to face it: as much as we loved being powerful in business, for most of us, that just wasn't enough. Like our mothers and grandmothers before us, we also wanted husbands who would be our best friends. Deep inside, if the truth be told, we really wanted to get married—the romance, the gown, the flowers, the presents, the honeymoon—the whole package. We didn't want to give up our liberation, but neither did we want to come home to empty apartments. Who said we couldn't have it all?

If you think The Rules are crazy, don't worry, so did we. But after much heartache we came to believe that The Rules aren't immoral or outlandish, just a simple working set of behaviors and reactions that, when followed, invariably serve to make most women irresistible to desirable men. Why not admit it? We needed The Rules! Nineties women simply have not been schooled in the basics—The Rules of finding a husband or at least being very popular with men.

Soon, we got bolder and began to talk louder. These Rules—they worked! Although they were old-fashioned and unflinching, they were extremely effective!

At first, we were uncomfortable with some of the premises which seemed to fly in the face of everything we'd been taught about male-female relations; but—there was no getting around it—success talked. We swallowed some of our preconceived theories, followed The Rules faithfully, and watched as so many of us got married (along with being career women or whatever else we were).

There we were—a secret underground, sharing the magic, passing it on, doing what historically women have done for each other since the world began—networking for success. This time, though, the stakes were larger and the victories sweeter than any corporate deal. We're talking marriage here—real, lasting marriage, not just loveless mergers—the result of doing The Rules. The simple Rules. The How-to-Find-a-Swell-Husband Rules.

For years, we had been sharing them with the women we knew, both at home and at work. For years, women had been calling us to check up on points: "Did you say that you have to end the date first or he does? I forget."

Then one night, during a Chinese dinner in Manhattan with a few of our single friends, we heard Cindy mention something about these… er, Rules… that she'd heard about from a friend in California. We knew it! There could be no mistake. These were the same Rules one of us had followed in New York to find her wonderful husband. The Rules had crisscrossed the country, bouncing from woman to woman, from suburb to city, until here they came right back to us over egg rolls in Manhattan!

But—and here's the catch—Cindy got them wrong!

"The Rule says men have to end the date first so that they're in charge," said Cindy.

"No, no, no. WRONG. The Rule is you end the date first so that you leave him wanting you more," we explained.

It was then that we decided to write The Rules down so that there would be no mistakes.

Chapter II

What Are The Rules?

HOW MANY TIMES have you heard someone say, "She's nice, she's pretty, she's smart… why isn't she married?" Were they talking about you, perhaps? Ever wonder why women who are not so pretty or smart attract men almost effortlessly?

Frankly, many women we know find it easier to relocate to another state, switch careers, or run a marathon than get the right man to marry them! If this sounds like you, then you need The Rules!

What are The Rules? They are a simple way of acting around men that can help any woman win the heart of the man of her dreams. Sound too good to be true? We were skeptical at first, too. Read on!

The purpose of The Rules is to make Mr. Right obsessed with having you as his by making yourself seem unattainable. In plain language, we're talking about playing hard to get! Follow The Rules, and he will not just marry you, but feel crazy about you, forever! What we're promising you is "happily ever after." A marriage truly made in heaven.

If you follow The Rules, you can rest assured that your husband will treat you like a queen—even when he's angry with you. Why? Because he spent so much time trying to get you. You have become so precious to him that he doesn't take you for granted. On the contrary, he thinks of you constantly. He's your best friend, your Rock of Gibraltar during bad times. He's hurt if you don't share your problems with him. He is always there for you—when you start your new job, if you need surgery. He even likes to get involved in mundane things, such as picking out a new bedspread. He always wants to do things together.

When you do The Rules, you don't have to worry about him chasing other women, even your very attractive neighbor or his bosomy secretary. That's because when you do The Rules, he somehow thinks you're the sexiest woman alive! When you do The Rules, you don't have to worry about being abandoned, neglected, or ignored!

A woman we know who followed The Rules is now married to a wonderful man who doesn't try to get rid of her to go out with the guys. Instead, he becomes slightly jealous when she does her own thing. They are very good friends, too.

Men are different from women. Women who call men, ask them out, conveniently have two tickets to a show, or offer sex on the first date destroy male ambition and animal drive. Men are born to respond to challenge. Take away challenge and their interest wanes. That, in a nutshell, is the premise of The Rules. Sure, a man might marry you if you don't do The Rules, but we can't guarantee that yours will be a good marriage.

This is how it works: if men love challenge, we become challenging! But don't ask a man if he loves challenge. He may think or even say he doesn't. He may not even realize how he reacts. Pay attention to what he does, not what he says.

As you read this book, you may think that The Rules are too calculating and wonder, "How hard to get do I have to be? Am I never to cook him dinner or take him to a Broadway show? What if I just feel like talking to him? Can't I call? When may I reveal personal things about myself?"

The answer is: Read The Rules. Follow them completely (not à la carte) and you will be happy you did. How many of us know women who never quite trust their husbands and always feel slightly insecure? They may even see therapists to talk about why their husbands don't pay attention to them. The Rules will save you about $125 an hour in therapy bills.

Of course, it's easy to do The Rules with men you're not that interested in. Naturally, you don't call them, instantly return their calls, or send them love letters. Sometimes your indifference makes them so crazy about you that you end up marrying one of them. That's because you did The Rules (without even thinking about it) and he proposed!

But settling for less is not what this book is about. The idea is to do The Rules with the man you're really crazy about. This will require effort, patience, and self-restraint. But isn't it worth it? Why should you compromise and marry someone who loves you but whom you're not crazy about? We know many women who face this dilemma. But don't worry—this book will help you marry only Mr. Right!

Your job now is to treat the man you are really, really crazy about like the man you're not that interested in—don't call, be busy sometimes! Do all of this from the beginning—from day one! Do it from the second you meet him—or should we say, the second he meets you! The better you do The Rules from the beginning, the harder he will fall for you.

Keep thinking, "How would I behave if I weren't that interested in him?" And then behave that way. Would you offer endless encouragement to someone you didn't really like? Would you stay on the phone with him for hours? Of course not!

Don't worry that busyness and lack of interest will drive him away. The men you don't like keep calling after you've turned them down, don't they?

Remember, The Rules are not about getting just any man to adore you and propose; they're about getting the man of your dreams to marry you! It's an old-fashioned formula, but it really works!

We understand why modern, career-oriented women have sometimes scoffed at our suggestions. They've been MBA-trained to "make things happen" and to take charge of their careers. However, a relationship with a man is different from a job. In a relationship, the man must take charge. He must propose. We are not making this up—biologically, he's the aggressor.

Some women complain that The Rules prevent them from being themselves or having fun. "Why should dating be work?" some ask. But when they end up alone on Saturday night because they did not follow The Rules, they always come back to us saying, "Okay, okay, tell me what to do."

Doing what you want to do is not always in your best interest. On a job interview, you don't act "like yourself." You don't eat cake if you're serious about losing weight. Similarly, it is not wise to let it all hang out and break The Rules as soon as you begin dating a man.

In the long run, it's not fun to break The Rules! You could easily end up alone. Think long term. Imagine a husband you love, beautiful sex, children, companionship, and growing old with someone who thinks you're a great catch.

Think about never having to be alone on Saturday nights or having to ask your married friends to fix you up. Think about being a couple! Unfortunately, however, you must experience some delayed gratification in the first few months of the relationship to achieve this marital bliss. But has wearing your heart on your sleeve ever gotten you anywhere?

There are many books and theories on this subject. All make wonderful promises, but The Rules actually produce results. It's easy to know what's going on when you do The Rules. It's very simple. If he calls you, pursues you, asks you out, it's The Rules. If you have to make excuses for his behavior—for example, he didn't call after the first date because he's still hung up on his ex-girlfriend—and you have to think about every word he said until your head hurts and you call him, it's not The Rules. Forget what he's going through—for example, "fear of commitment" or "not ready for a relationship." Remember, we don't play therapist when we do The Rules. If he calls and asks you out, it's The Rules. Anything else is conversation.

Chapter III

Meet a Rules Girl

IF YOU HAD EVER met Melanie, you wouldn't have thought she was extraordinarily pretty or smart or special, but you might have noticed that she had a way of behaving around men that put prom queens to shame. Melanie did the best with what she had: she wore makeup and clothes well, and acted elusive. Unlike other, prettier girls who ran after men or made themselves available every time a man called, Melanie acted indifferent—sometimes aloof, sometimes nice, but always happy and busy. She didn't return their calls, didn't stare at them (a dead giveaway of interest, see Rule #3), and always ended phone conversations first. "I've got a million things to do" was her favorite closing line. Melanie's boyfriend eventually proposed to the one girl he thought he would never get—her!

Who hasn't met a Melanie? Haven't we all known women who seemed to be experts around men? Men don't appear to unnerve these women or trip them up. They have a certain self-confidence around men that has nothing to do with their looks or their jobs. Melanies simply feel good about themselves—they can take or leave men—which makes men have to have them. Call it reverse psychology or whatever you want, but Melanies always get their man.

When you meet a Melanie, especially a plain and simple Melanie, you want to go up to her and ask, "What is it, what are you doing that make men run after you? What's your secret? What am I doing wrong?" A genuine Melanie would probably say without too much thought, "Oh, it's really nothing." The born-again Melanies—former Rules breakers who have learned their lesson after being burned by chasing men—would probably say, "Yes, there is a secret. Men love a challenge. Don't talk to them first, be busy sometimes, turn them down once in a while (nicely!)."

You will find Melanies everywhere you go. Watch them carefully. Observe how they have made self-contentment and independence an art form. They don't look wildly around to catch men's eyes. They don't say hello first. They just go about their business.

It would probably be good practice the next time you are at a social event to stand back and watch the Melanies and The Rules breakers. Compare how the two types of women behave around men and notice the results. Notice how the Melanies intentionally don't carry a pen with them in order to give men their phone numbers and they don't rush to give their business cards. Notice the way they move around the room while The Rules breakers stand too long in one place, look anxious, or talk too long to one man. They make it too easy for men to ask them out—and, as you will read in this book, that's a big mistake.

One day, after years of watching girls like Melanie snag the men of our dreams, we asked Melanie how she got such a great catch. She took pity on us and told us about The Rules. She said that we were nice but we talked too much and were overly eager, and that we mistakenly tried to be "friends" with men rather than elusive butterflies, or, as she put it, "creatures unlike any other" (see Rule #1).

Needless to say, we were offended by what seemed to us to be downright trickery and manipulation. The Rules would send women back twenty-five years. What would the feminists say? On the other hand, Melanie had what we wanted: the husband of her dreams who adored her. It made sense to rethink our offended psyches!

Melanie assured us that plain-looking women who followed The Rules stood a better chance of being happily married than gorgeous women who didn't. Thinking back on our own dating history it did appear that the men we really wanted didn't necessarily want us. We'd be ourselves, friendly and supportive, and they thought we were great—but it ended right there. And, come to think of it, the ones we didn't particularly care for, the ones we didn't notice, maybe even snubbed, were the ones who didn't stop calling, the ones who were crazy about us. There was a message here somewhere: treat the men we wanted like the men we didn't want.

Simple, but not easy. But what did we have to lose? We wanted what Melanie had. So we did what she did, and—it worked!

Chapter IV

But First the Product—You!

BEFORE THE RULES can be applied for the best, most unbelievable results—the man of your dreams asking you to marry him—you have to be the best you can be. Certainly not perfect or gorgeous, but the best you can be, so…

Look your best! The better you look, the better you will feel, and the more desirable you will become to him. Maybe other men will start finding you more attractive and asking you out. You will no longer feel that the man you're currently dating is the only man on earth. You'll be less anxious and more confident. And when you look and feel good, you're less likely to break The Rules.

We are not nutritionists, but we do know that eating right—protein, fruits, and vegetables—makes you feel good. And that exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier and more energetic. So, in addition to a healthy diet, we strongly suggest that you shake your buns! Join a gym, buy an exercise video, or go jogging in a nearby park (also a great place to meet men who are jogging or walking their dogs). Make exercise exciting by playing music while you do sit-ups.

Diet and exercise and The Rules have a lot in common. Both require putting long-term goals before short-term gratification. You will have to experience a certain amount of discomfort when you can't eat a cookie and you can't call a man. But you want to be fit and you want to get married, so you do what you have to do. Make friends with a woman in the same predicament and jog together, go to dances together, and reprimand each other when either of you is tempted to break The Rules. You don't have to do all this hard work alone!

If you are serious about finding a husband, then you must change your definition of gratification. Gratification is a man calling you, pursuing you, and asking you to marry him. Gratification is not a hot fudge sundae or a hot date where you break The Rules!

Self-improvement will help you catch and keep a man. So try to change bad habits like slovenliness if you expect to live with a man. Men like women who are neat and clean. They also make better mothers of their children—the kind who don't lose their kids at the beach.

Now a word about clothes. If you walk around in any old clothes on the theory that what counts is only what's inside, not your outside, think again! Men like women who wear fashionable, sexy clothes in bright colors. Why not please them?

If you don't know a lot about clothes, read fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour, and Mirabella and books on the subject; consult a friend whose taste you admire; or enlist the help of a personal shopper at a department store. Trying on clothes by yourself in a dressing room can be overwhelming and confusing—not to mention painful if you are out of shape—so it's always good to get a second opinion. Why not a professional one? Personal shoppers can help you find clothes that look good on you and that hide your flaws, as opposed to clothes that are perhaps trendy but not flattering.

Always remember when you are shopping that you are unique, a creature unlike any other, a woman. Don't aspire to the unisex look. Buy feminine-looking clothes to wear on the weekends as well as during the work week. Remember that you're dressing for men, not other women, so always strive to look feminine.

While it's good to keep up with the times, don't be a fashion slave. Don't spend a month's salary say, on bell bottoms and clogs just because they happen to be in vogue this year. First of all, they may not be around next season, and, more importantly, you may not look good in them! We know women who have gone overboard with one look—be it man-tailored suits or oversized crocheted sweaters—and ended up looking overdressed, trendy, and not at all sexy. Be a smart shopper, not a runaway spender! Buy a few good classics and mix them with cheaper items.

Keep in mind that just because something is in vogue doesn't mean that it will look good on you or appeal to men. Men don't necessarily care for the "waif" look or like it when women wear long granny dresses and combat boots, however popular the look may be. They like women in feminine clothes. Wear a short skirt (but not too short), if you have the legs for it.

Also, don't feel that you have to wear designer clothes to attract men. Men don't care whose label you're wearing, just how your clothes look and fit on you. It's better to buy a no-name brand that looks stunning and hides your hips than a designer outfit that doesn't.

While you're shopping in a department store, stop by a cosmetics counter and treat yourself to a makeover. We can all look better than we do. Many of us don't realize our potential until we get a makeover, which, by the way, is often given for free with a minimal purchase. Pay attention to which colors are good for you and how the makeup artist applies them. Buy whatever he or she suggests that you can afford and go home and practice putting it on. Don't leave the house without wearing makeup. Put lipstick on even when you go jogging!

Do everything you possibly can to put your best face forward. If you have a bad nose, get a nose job; color gray hair; grow your hair long. Men prefer long hair, something to play with and caress. It doesn't matter what your hairdresser and friends think. You're certainly not trying to attract them! Let's face it, hairdressers are notorious for pushing exciting, short haircuts on their clients; trimming long hair is not fun for them. It doesn't matter that short hair is easier to wash and dry or that your hair is very thin. The point is, we're girls! We don't want to look like boys.

It will be easier to feel like a creature unlike any other if you follow good grooming. Manicures, pedicures, periodic facials, and massages should become part of your routine. And don't forget to spray on an intoxicating perfume when you go out—just don't overdo it.

Now that you look the part, you must act the part. Men like women. Don't act like a man, even if you are head of your own company. Let him open the door. Be feminine. Don't tell sarcastic jokes. Don't be a loud, knee-slapping, hysterically funny girl. This is okay when you're alone with your girlfriends. But when you're with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile. Don't talk so much. Wear black sheer pantyhose and hike up your skirt to entice the opposite sex! You might feel offended by these suggestions and argue that this will suppress your intelligence or vivacious personality. You may feel that you won't be able to be yourself, but men will love it!

In addition, don't sound cynical or depressed and tell long-winded stories of all the people who have hurt you or let you down. Don't make your prospective husband a savior or a therapist. On the contrary, act as if you were born happy. Don't tell everything about yourself. Say thank you and please. Practice this ladylike behavior with waiters, doormen, and even cab drivers who take the long way to your destination. This will make it easier to be ladylike on dates.

If you never meet men accidentally, go to everything—dances, tennis parties (even if you don't play tennis), Club Med. Just go, go, go—show up! Put a personal ad in a magazine, answer ads, ask people to set you up. Don't shy away from singles events with the rationalization that "The men who go there aren't my type." Remember, you are not trying to find large groups of men who are your type, just one! Don't lose sight of this concept. It will keep you going on those bad days when you are convinced that true love is just never going to happen to you!

Last but not least, trust this process. You may not meet your husband immediately after you have gotten in shape, bought some terrific outfits, and practiced The Rules


On Sale
Nov 15, 2008
Page Count
400 pages

Ellen Fein

About the Author

Ellein Fein and Sherrie Schneider are the authors of The Rules, The Rules II, The Rules for Marriage, and The Rules for Online Dating. They run a dating and relationship consultation service as well.

Learn more about this author