Toni Munoz-Hunt’s modern advice column offers stylish solutions to relationship questions. Click here to read more Model Behaviors! Dear Toni, I’m a single dad returning to the dating game after a five-year marriage. I recently had my forty-second birthday, and with two small children, I’m not looking for the same woman I would have dated years ago (hence, my failed marriage). Today, I’m more concerned with reliability, durability, and less maintenance. I’d love to find a more independent woman, but what do I do once I’ve found her? Can you teach this old dog some new tricks? RJ Dear RJ, Are you a fan of Consumer Reports? The best way to ensure that you don’t pick a lemon again is to do your research. Since you’re trying out an entirely new make and model, so to speak, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with its features. The Independent Woman you seek - the IW - might be more of a reliable ride. You won’t feel all the small bumps and sharp turns like in your last relationship. But, and this is a big but, the IW roadster goes from 0 to 60 in three seconds flat. And she doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. The IW is the Bugatti of the dating world, and there aren’t too many men out there who can handle her. Lucky for you, I have the inside track. 8 Rules For Dating the Independent Woman (IW): 8. Don’t call or text more than three times a day. The IW has more testosterone than most men. It’s better to let her wonder what you’re up to, instead of syncing your Outlook Calendar to her phone. 7. Assert yourself. Strong women crave an even stronger man. This doesn’t, however, give you permission to get all Alec Baldwin. 6. Support her career. For most IW’s, the career is the most important aspect of life. She’s not looking for a man to complete her, but a partner that complements her already full life. 5. Take the lead. This woman has a way of dominating decisions - where to eat, what to do on a date. Don’t let her run you over. Show her you’re in control, and surprise her with a plan. 4. Don’t do the typical. Remember, the IW has it all and does it all, courtesy of herself. So, skip the usual dinner and a movie, and take her on an adventure. 3. Keep you to a minimum. Guys often feel threatened by independent women, so they start peacocking. There are more than enough cocks in town, so don’t give her any reason to start comparing. 2. Don’t forget the Prince Charming. All women love a little fairy tale romance – even the IW. Open doors for her, stand when she leaves the table, hold her hand, and give her a compliment each time you see her. 1. Go out with a bang. Don’t keep her guessing at the end of a date. To let her know she has your attention (and to hint at what’s in store), give her a kiss with a little love tug just above the nape of her neck. RJ, good luck on your new journey with the Independent Woman. The past is made for the rear-view mirror. After all, if you don’t learn your lesson the first time, it’ll keep returning until you do. Until Next Time, Toni Image credits, from top: 1. Car-Luxury-Agency.com, 2. Chatelaine.com, 3. Flickr.com.