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The Dating Rules for Today’s Singles

This couple followed the new dating rules for 2017 and met each other and now they're laughing and kissing outside.

Wait two days before calling them back, don’t talk about past relationships, always pay on the first date…these are some tried and true dating rules that go back decades. But with so much changing so fast, a lot of the old rules just don’t apply anymore. While it’s still nice to pick someone up or take the time to make a reservation at a nice restaurant, it’s not really necessary anymore. So what is?

Here are eight of the new dating rules for singles looking for love:

1. Let them know you’re interested. 
Playing hard to get might be endearing to some, but with so many people out there and more opportunities for the person you’re into to move onto someone new it can backfire in a big way. But who has time for games these days? It can make you look difficult and really doesn’t serve any useful purpose, says Justin Lavelle, who writes extensively about relationships and online dating. “If you like the person let them know. If you don’t, make it clear. Whether online or in-person, responses aimed solely for playing hard to get will likely ruin any chances of a good thing.” There’s no point stringing someone along, either.

2. Don’t be afraid to be honest. 
Whether it’s online or in person, there’s no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. If they suggest going to a baseball game, and you’d rather do anything but…be honest and suggest something else. You’ll find out if there’s real chemistry by being who you are. You wouldn’t want to fall for someone who thinks you’re someone you’re not, would you?

3. Have sex whenever you’re ready.
That can be after the first date or it can be after the 50th. The old rule of having sex on the 3rd date needs to be thrown out the window. “In the same vein as ‘be yourself’ just do what feels right for you. Same with calling. If you want to call 10 minutes after a great date… call! Basically, don’t set yourself up for games with timeframes and deadlines that somebody told you years ago. Go with the flow and do what feels right,” says Lavelle.

4. Don’t expect exclusivity right away. 
With online dating being one of the most popular forms of meeting people these days, it also means that a lot of people have a lot of choices—hundreds of matches, messages, text buddies, and even exes just a few clicks away, explains David Bennett, a certified counselor and dating expert. “This means many people are dating around, in complicated relationships, or at least sorting through the many options. Some will eventually choose one person to commit to, while others may not commit until they’ve had their fill.”

5. Plan the appropriate first date.
Your date doesn’t have to be an expensive dinner at a five-star restaurant anymore. And, in fact, it probably shouldn’t be. “It used to be you’d likely know a person somewhat well before you went on a first date. With online dating becoming more popular, you may only know the person from a bio, a few photos, and some text messages,” explains Bennett. So, it’s a waste of money to plan an expensive first date with someone whom you may have zero compatibility with. Instead, Bennett says to plan something simple and inexpensive, like a few drinks and walking around at a public festival, to see if there’s chemistry.

6. If you want to make a move, make a move.
Women, if you see someone you’re interested in, go up to them, get their number, ask them out! That old rule that women shouldn’t approach a guy doesn’t apply anymore because roles have evolved so much that if you don’t approach someone because “the guy should always approach the woman” you could miss out on meeting a really nice guy.

7. Don’t overwhelm people on social media. 
In the past, if you didn’t live with the person you were dating, you likely had very little contact with them, except for some phone calls throughout the week and a few weekend dates, explains Bennett. “Today, with text messaging and social media, you may literally be in contact in some capacity during every waking hour (and even sleeping hours, if you’re a “sleep texter”). However, it’s easy to come across as needy and overbearing with constant contact like this. Make sure to give people some space.”

8. Don’t worry about the spark. 
Love at first sight is rare and the idea should only be left for Nicholas Sparks novels. Lavelle explains that while the spark is mostly related to a real strong physical attraction, there are many other traits of a relationship that people connect on. “Maybe you’re really in tune with someone on a mental, spiritual, or emotional level. Some would argue that these things create a more solid foundation than just pure physical attraction. So don’t despair if you don’t feel that spark. You may still be on to something good.”

The biggest dating rule of 2017 may just be to throw the rules out the window. Along with thechanges in technology and social dynamics, dating is evolving as well.

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