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The New Dating Rules of 2018

A couple who followed these new dating rules for 2018, kissing in the snow while holding sparklers.

In dating, there are a set of often-unstated rules that people agree to. These rules aren’t so much about winning and losing, as they are about etiquette and expectations. But as times have changed, so have the rules. The days when, “don’t kiss until the third date,” and, “don’t call him, let him call you” was the norm are long gone. But what do we have to replace them?

Here are the new dating rules of 2018:

1. Split the check on the first date.
It’s 2018, and traditional gender roles are now negotiable. In fact, according to an Elle/MSNBC dating survey, 57% of women would offer to pick up the check on a date. A happy medium? Split the check on the first date. From the second date and beyond, you can decide what feels right for both you and your new match going forward.

2. It’s OK to have your phone on but don’t overuse it. 
Checking your Facebook feed during your date is definitely rude, but don’t completely turn off your phone. If your date is a dud, you’ll need an emergency text or phone call from a friend as a way out. So keep it in your pocket for easy access in case you need it. And if your date is going well, there’s no need for your phone to ever grace the table.

3. Text whenever you want.
Don’t be afraid about looking too eager. If you’re feeling someone, let them know as soon as possible. Don’t wait 24 hours or longer to let your love interest how much you dig them. The waiting game is an awful one to play. If you had an amazing date, text your date that night and tell them so. You’ll both feel better.

4. Third date schmird date.
Find your date attractive? Want to kiss him or her, and possibly even more? Follow your passions, friend. You don’t have to wait until the third date to be intimate with someone. Many relationships have grown from sleeping together on the first date, as well as waiting to knock boots at month three. Bottom line: do what feels right for both of you.

5. Age is just a number.
Jennifer Aniston and Leonardo DiCaprio prove that one’s attraction factor doesn’t have to expire with age. You no longer have to date within your age group. Don’t be afraid to cast your net wider, and you might end up catching a keeper.

6. Talk about whatever you want.
Politics, sex, and religion were once taboo subjects for a date. They might be delicate topics, but that doesn’t mean they should be entirely avoided. You should never censor yourself, especially when meeting a potential partner. State what you like, and what you believe in. Basically, be who you are. Because someone will end up loving you for you, which is what you want, right?

7. End the date well.
Unless your date was an absolute jerk, there’s no reason why you can’t part ways with kindness and respect. You don’t have to ghost your date or escape via a bathroom window anymore. Nowadays, thanks to our phone and computer screens, it’s too easy to think of people and experiences as disposable. Even if your date wasn’t the one, value the time and experience you shared and end your date, gracefully.

8. Honesty is still the best policy.
OK, so this isn’t a new rule but it’s definitely worth bringing up again. Did you have fun on your date? Would you like to see your date again? Let them know. Playing coy is not flirty; it’s annoying, and can also be construed as playing games. On the other hand, if you’re not feeling someone, then it’s best to politely tell your date that you’re not interested. Don’t be wishy washy. Be clear with your feelings and intentions, and let the chips fall where they may.

Although there have been been so many technological advances when it comes to dating, the new rules of dating in 2018 actually stem from something quite traditional and timeless: kindness, respect, and honesty.

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