“Keep in mind that sometimes the rules that are most crucial for you to follow through on might be the ones that are the least fun to keep…”
Now, if you’re struggling to figure out your own dating rules, I might be able to help you out. I coach a lot of women (and men!) on how to cultivate a healthy dating life, because unfortunately, you can’t depend on Cupid to make all the magic happen (if only it were that simple…). These are my top 11 dating rules to consider in this wild world of modern romance. Choose the rules that work for you, ditch the ones that don’t, and of course, experiment as needed to find your own. There’s no right or wrong here.
1. Date multiple people at once.
Yes, you heard me! Before you enter an agreed-upon monogamous relationship, do yourself a favor and play the field. Because here’s what’s most likely to happen if you don’t: You meet someone you really like, you go out with them again, things escalate, and then—bam—they either pull away, ghost, or tell you they’re not looking for something serious. Now you’re crushed because you’re emotionally invested in them—but they haven’t invested at all in you. When you’re even the slightest attached to a person, the disappointment stings. Spare yourself the hurt by putting a metaphorical egg in several baskets.
We loves to be alone
2. Keep dates short.
I like to tell my clients not to let dates go on for more than 90 minutes. Why? That’s enough time to get to know the person on a surface level and (hopefully) feel a spark, but not long enough that your brain starts getting carried away with the excitement of the potential. Dinner dates that spontaneously turn into a five-hour bar crawl or movie night can be incredibly fun, but they can also leave you in a state of confusion and despair if nothing develops from the marathon outing afterward.
3.Avoid talking about exes on early dates.
An oldie but a goodie dating rule, for a reason: Talking about past relationships and breakups gets heavy fast, and the first few dates should be light and easy. Sure, finding out how someone’s last few major relationships ended—and opening up about how yours did, too—is a great way to learn about the person and connect on a deeper level. But there’s plenty of time for that later, so hold off for the first handful of dates.
If they bring up the ex convo, divert it with something like: “I’d be happy to tell you about that stuff when we get to know each other a little better, but for now I’m really enjoying hearing about XYZ.”
4. Don’t feel obligated to send a thank-you text.
Oh man, the thank-you text. Is there any text more debated and controversial than the one that directly follows the first date? I know some people think the woman absolutely should send one shortly after the end of the first date to let the other person know that she’s interested, and then others think it should always fall on the guy (assuming you’re pursuing a male prospect).
“As long as you thanked your date warmly and sincerely in person before parting ways, I believe there’s no reason to send a follow-up text.”
I’m sort of old-school when it comes to pursuit dynamics, which evolutionarily speaking, tend to be led by the male. As long as you thanked your date warmly and sincerely in person before parting ways (which, btw, you absolutely should do whether you’re into seeing them again or not), I believe there’s no reason to send a follow-up text. Doing so can put them in a position where they feel obligated to respond in a certain way and removes any healthy tension on their part of wondering, Oh, she said she had a good time; I think she likes me, but I’ll have to feel her out in a few days. That’s a great place to leave them.
That said, if you worry that you were a little standoffish or far from flirty on the date (I get it…nerves!), you can reassure them that you enjoyed yourself via text. Don’t overthink this. It’s not a job interview—if you know you showed your enthusiasm in person, the ball is in their court. Let them throw it.
5. Wait at least a few dates to have sex.
I’m not anti- first-date sex, but I’m also not necessarily for it. As a therapist, I know that it’s it’s very, very important to truly know not only someone’s intentions but also whether their actions align with them, and that’s hard to figure out upon first meeting them.One-thousand percent, to each their own, especially on this topic—but in my professional opinion, a dating rule that can really come in handy for sparing your precious heart is avoiding sexual intimacy until you know you’re both looking for the same thing. If that’s just a sexual connection, great! But if it’s something more, like an actual relationship, you want to make sure that that’s their goal, too. Because having sex only makes you feel even more attached to a person…and can sometimes make you feel down on yourself if they don’t end up committing to you. No one needs to feel that.