Modern Dating Rules
I hate to disappoint, but there are no real rules. I can say from firsthand experience, as well as second-hand from friends that there is no perfect way to approach the dating scene. You can put on the foxiest outfit, go to the most romantic restaurant and still come up empty handed. You can do everything ‘wrong’ (have food stuck in your teeth, get into a heated political debate or talk about exes) and find yourself scheduling a second or third date. If the chemistry is there, things will work out the way you want them to regardless of the way your hair looks. If it isn’t, then aren’t you better off if things don’t work out anyway?
On my first date with the man who is now my common-law husband, we broke tons of the dating rules that I’ve heard. I was sleep deprived and had been running errands all day, so I know I looked a little ragged (and probably smelled ragged too). He was broke and could barely afford to pay for the meal we only half ate. We both drank a little too much too fast and got rambly and giggly. We covered a variety of topics including our exes and embarrassing stories. I found out he was a smoker, and beforehand I was determined never to date a smoker. Afterward we went to the apartment he was to move out of soon, where he didn’t even have a real bed and there were clothes all over the floor. I spent the night, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you we did more than just watch Fight Club. Essentially we unintentionally failed at all the dating rules we had been told and just had a good time instead. Almost 4 years later we’re still together and happily breaking all sorts of relationship rules (did I mention that I moved in after only 2 weeks?). The point here is that it will do more for you to relax and be yourself rather than stress out over presenting some sort of immaculate version of yourself that might get you nowhere.
So here are my dating rules for you:
- Set yourself some standards based off of your own experiences and desires as opposed to what you’ve been told – and be willing to be a little flexible if he/she is not exactly what you expected. If you want to have sex on the first date, go ahead. Nobody else’s judgement really matters. If you have a firm belief that you should wait until the tenth (just throwing a random number out there), there’s nothing wrong with that either. Only you can judge what you want out of a date or relationship, and only your opinion matters.
- Be yourself. Seriously. I know that sounds lame, but I can’t stress enough how important that is! Why would you want someone to fall for the cultivated version of yourself you present on a date as opposed to the real thing? I’m not saying you have to put everything out there on the table immediately, or that initial impressions don’t matter. But it’s better to find out early on whether or not they’ll like you for who you are, and not an idea of who you can be.
- Go into the date prepared for anything. It’s just a date, it’s not a relationship yet. It’s okay if you go out with someone once, or even a couple times and it doesn’t go anywhere. Almost nobody find “the one” on the first try. Be prepared for a bad night. Be prepared for awkwardness. Be prepared for the best date of your life. Be prepared for a completely average evening. If you go in with certain expectations it can colour your experience and affect the outcome. I personally think it is better just to let things happen and see where the night (or day) will take you.
- Don’t try to force things. Attempting to force a connection where there isn’t one won’t do anyone any good. Like I’ve said before, chemistry is the key. If you have it, you’ll know.
- Just relax. I know, I know. Another piece of lame advice. It sounds like common sense, but I am pretty sure a lot of people head out to their date in near panic mode. There’s a 100 percent chance that your date is as nervous as you may be, and has come into the date with all sorts of hang ups or expectations too. The sooner you let go of that anxiety, the sooner you can begin to enjoy yourself. Plus, I promise it makes things a lot less awkward when you’re not spazzing over every word or hand gesture.