As a person that finds great comfort in having rules, I’m sure it will shock you to hear me say that some rules are meant to be broken– especially when dating. Some of the “rules” I find ridiculously stupid include this notion that you need to play it cool, so that even if you really enjoyed a date, the girl should wait for the guy to text, and he has 3 days to do so if he wants another date. Well, what if I really had a nice time, and just want to send a thank you text that same night? What if that guy doesn’t want to wait 3 days to let me know he wants to get together again? Should we both sit home starring at the ceiling waiting to see who makes the next move? If you want to play it safe, then wait, but I say if you are playing for keeps, you have to go with what your heart tells you to do.
Another stupid rule involves intimacy– some have asked me if you are expected to sleep with someone by Date #3. Really? After age 30, who cares what date number you are on– what is more important is how you feel about the situation. Obviously if you want someone to respect you, then on Dates #1-2, I’d try to keep it at the PG-13 level, but after that, I don’t think there really are any steadfast rules. You have to go with your gut on this one, at least in my opinion.
Questions about when you have an exclusivity talk and discuss using the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are really hard to answer, because a lot depends on the two people involved, and what their expectations are about the relationship. Obviously when two people are just out to have fun, an entire 6 months could go by without ever having an exclusivity talk or using terms like boyfriend/girlfriend. Meanwhile, if by Date #3 you establish that you don’t want something casual, and you agree to have STD tests done and are committed to forming a deep bond, then I think without even having to say anything you’ve already established that this is something quite significant.
Personally speaking, over the last several years I got quite used to the “rules,” and it really did not bother me if someone went away for the weekend without checking in, or if they could not commit to planning a date more than 3 days in advance because they are so “busy.” But it also became quite clear to me that those playing by the “rules” would never be able to win me over. It would take someone with courage to go out on a limb and break the rules– someone willing to show that he actually cared, that he actually missed connecting with me. It would have to be someone that would actually make me feel special, which is really how it should be when you are playing for keeps.
The American Dating Rules are really more like guidelines, but keep in mind that there are times when they just won’t apply to a particular situation– especially if you venture into dating people from different cultures, which is quite common these days. Seriously, why stick to vanilla when there are at least 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins?
If the end goal is truly to find someone special, then you have to be able to let go of the rule book and throw some caution to the wind. In the pursuit of love, you can’t always play it safe, and you need to take a chance by giving it your all, and hopefully this passion will be reciprocated in kind. As Oscar Wilde so wisely stated, “never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.” I could not agree more– so go out there and find that someone that inspires you to bend the rules and makes you feel extra-ordinary.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.