It’s 2021 and as a romantic population, we’re over it.
We’ve changed our entire way of living. We’ve been fighting an invisible illness that has ripped us away from the people we love. It has changed our views on love and humanity.
We’ve had everything we’ve ever known about life turned upside down.
Our patience is thin. When we want to date, when we’re given the measly amount of time to visit a restaurant to mingle with our desired sex, we want simple.
Pandemic aside, it’s about time we ditched the antiquated dating rules. The dating laws defined by romance movies and novels with Fabio lookalikes on the cover. In the age of digital dating, masked interaction, and Skype intimacy, the ‘rules’ no longer apply.
We’re modern daters and it’s time the implied manners were scrapped.
‘Don’t share too much of yourself’
One of the sure-fire ways to scare off a potential suitor is by revealing too much of you.
Your life story, for one, and your pet hates. Even allergies, past surgeries and emotional scars. Be as closed as possible, mysterious even, and keep the person guessing. Keep them wanting more, says the dating marketing slogan.
Dating isn’t a sales pitch. Though dating gurus may have you think you’re pitching to a potential suitor, you shouldn’t have to hold back who you are to impress someone. That’s what this rule is doing. It’s telling you that you need to be someone else to keep the person interested.
The reality is that this rule is completely counterintuitive to ‘clicking’ with someone.
The right person will like you no matter how much or little you share about them. The right person will want to know everything about you. The right person will click with you despite your story.
‘Don’t share what you want from dating’
Talking about the future, your hopes and wants for romantic relationships, is strictly taboo on the first dates. Don’t let the other person know you want to get married, or have children, or even if you’re in it for a fling. Clarifying your intentions will scare the other person away.
I’m yet to meet someone who hasn’t appreciated a person’s honesty in a relationship. As we get older, we have less time and patience to fuss around with decoding a person’s intentions. Or decipher their style of dating.
If we engaged in a little more honesty, we wouldn’t have this constant battle of confusion. We wouldn’t exhaust ourselves dating someone who doesn’t share the same thoughts and feelings with us. Perhaps we wouldn’t be as jaded by the whole process either.
‘Don’t share your hopes for the future’
The ambition in people isn’t sexy. People can find your ambitious wants for your life pretentious and off-putting. Stay as humble as possible. By appearing humble, you look less materialistic and more community-minded. The worst thing you can do is look like a hollow goal digger.
Wanting more than what you have now doesn’t make you a snob. It means you are someone who wants a better life. This advice, in a roundabout way, keeps everyone in their place. If you had nothing growing up, you need to stay happy having nothing.
This approach to dating once again holds back people from being honest about themselves. The right person will love your goals and want to join you on the journey to meet them. Similarly, they may share your goals as you. This could be something you build on in your relationship, that bonds you.
‘Don’t express your real feelings’
When on a first date and someone says something offensive, insensitive or something you disagree with, don’t say anything. Listen intently, ask polite questions, but don’t say how you feel about it. Don’t object to what they say, otherwise, you come across as argumentative.
So if someone says something racist to you, you’re meant to sit there and take it? Or want to keep dating this person?
Just because you’re dating doesn’t mean you can’t tell a person when they say something out of place or insulting to you. Your voice is important. And compromising it during the early stages of a relationship won’t end.
It sets destructive precedence for the rest of your relationship. Forever compromising.
‘Don’t contact too early’
There is a time clock on how long between dates you can contact someone. You have to let at least twenty-four hours pass before sending any form of communication to the person. Even longer if you want to organise the next date with them. There is a line where you end up looking like a stalker, and you have to be careful not to cross that.
What happened to do what you want to do? Once again, we’re playing into a falsehood of behaviour. That we can’t do what we want to do in fear of rejection. But we aren’t being true to ourselves in that situation. If we want to make contact, we should be able to.
The reality is that getting to know someone takes time, too. And you have to be willing to invest in that time. The more time you leave it though, between dates, the harder that process gets.
You forget details about the other person. You lose your confidence around them. You see less of the life you’re trying to be part of.
It’s one of the only things in life we encourage ourselves to do less of, yet hoping to achieve the same result by doing so. Counterintuitive once again.
‘Don’t seem too eager’
If you like them, don’t tell them that. If you’re falling for that person and the experience seems fast, don’t tell them. If you tell them you like them, you lose your power in the relationship. You put the decision making in the hands of the other person, and now you’re at the mercy of what they want.
Do we really think that relationships are an endless power struggle? If you feel like your constantly doing war with your significant other, even over positive parts of your life, you will never be a team.
The way you move through life and tackle challenging situations will only grow harder. There are enough parts of your life to ‘fight’ with, it shouldn’t be your partner.
What is wrong with showing someone you like them? The problem with eagerness is that everyone has their own version of what it means. Some may say you’re being too eager when others say you’re not being eager enough. It’s impossible to get it right.
So don’t try to get it right at all.
There should be only one rule
I’m sure there are many I’ve forgotten, or some other implied I’ve failed to mention. And that’s just the point. There are so many rules that people forget the rules. They’re hard to follow. They do make any sense to the end goal. To find someone that makes us happy.
Our one dating rule should be simple. Do what feels right for you. If you feel like calling them, go for it. If you want to tell them you like them, express yourself.
The right person will love you no matter what say, what you do, or how often you call.
The rules don’t apply to everyone, so break them.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. I write about figuring about love and relationships by analysing my experiences. Some of the stories are altered to protect the people in my life. But my feelings are never compromised.
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