US Dating Rules

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US Dating Rules

5 Dating Rules You Should Try To Follow, According To A Therapist

I don’t think I need to tell you that dating nowadays is more difficult than it has ever been. Anyone with a phone understands that actually connecting with someone—and seeing them on a regular basis enough to form an actual, exclusive relationship (gasp)—is more difficult than eating an overdone steak. But here’s where the dating rules come into play: The road to finding The One becomes lot easier to traverse when you have guardrails in place to help you stay in your lane and shield you from less straightforward individuals.

Of course, everyone should have their own set of dating guidelines, tailored to their specific desires and requirements. In order to save you time, energy, and a lot of contradictory feelings, these rules should drive you toward good relationships and draw you away from what could become one-sided or poisonous ones (or not relationships at all, a.k.a. situationships). Keep in mind that the rules that are most important for you to follow may also be the ones that are the most difficult to follow, so don’t ignore your own dating rules simply because they are difficult. You put them there for a reason—have faith in yourself, girl!

Now, if you’re having trouble figuring out your own dating guidelines, I may be able to assist you. Because you can’t rely on Cupid to make all the magic happen, I coach a lot of women (and men!) on how to develop a good dating life (if only it were that simple…). In this chaotic world of modern romance, these are my top 5 dating rules to consider. Choose the guidelines that work best for you, discard the ones that don’t, and experiment as needed to come up with your own. There is no right or wrong in this situation.

1. Date multiple people at once.

Yes, you heard me correctly! Do yourself a favor and test the waters before committing to a committed relationship. Because if you don’t, here’s what’s most likely to happen: You meet someone you like, you go out with them again, things start to heat up, and then—bam—they either pull away, disappear, or tell you they’re not looking for anything serious. You’re now shattered because you’ve invested emotionally in them, but they haven’t invested in you at all. Disappointment stings when you’ve grown even the tiniest attachment to someone. Put a symbolic egg in numerous baskets to save yourself the pain.

2. Keep dates short.

I often tell my clients not to go on dates that last more than 90 minutes. Why? That’s long enough to get to know the individual on a superficial level and (ideally) sense a spark, but not so long that your mind gets carried away with the possibilities. Dinner dates that evolve into a five-hour bar crawl or movie night can be a lot of fun, but they can also leave you feeling befuddled and disappointed if nothing comes of the marathon session.

3. Be upfront about wanting a relationship.

If that’s what you’re looking for. There’s nothing to gain from concealing the fact that you’re looking for your forever partner, but there’s a lot to lose. For one thing, you’ll lose your emotional sanity if the person you’ve been dating insists on keeping things casual, and two, you’ll waste a lot (sometimes a LOT) of time.

If you’re scared that telling a potential partner you want to be in a relationship (in general, not necessarily with them) will scare them away or make you appear desperate, let it go. Anyone who leaves when you’re upfront about your objectives isn’t likely to stay in the long run, so you’re doing yourself a favor.

4. Avoid talking about exes on early dates.

For a reason, this is an oldie but a goodie dating rule: The first few dates should be light and breezy, with no discussion of previous relationships or breakups. Sure, learning about someone’s previous important relationships—and then opening up about your own—is a terrific approach to get to know them better and connect on a deeper level. But you’ll have plenty of time for it later, so save it for the first few dates.

If they bring up the ex, say something along the lines of, “I’d be happy to tell you about that stuff after we get to know each other a little better, but for now I’m really enjoying hearing about XYZ.”

5. Pay more attention to follow-through than advanced planning.

I completely understand why some ladies refuse to accept a last-minute date (or have a Three-Day Rule, or something similar), but I wouldn’t dismiss someone based on how far (or how little) ahead of time they initiate a date. Some folks just aren’t very good planners! And we’re all aware of how crazy life can be.

I would, however, pay attention if they make plans and then fail to follow through when the time comes—you want a mature adult who is ready and able—not to mention interested—to make things happen.

Of course, if you feel like they call you frequently out of habit or rarely make an effort to show you that they’re thinking about you, you should let them know…or block their number totally.

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