My clients frequently ask me, “What are the rules of dating?” Well, I’m not a fan of dating rules because they tend to make you seem phony and when broken can damage your self-esteem. Instead, I teach my clients how to maintain healthy boundaries, express themselves properly, take care of their own needs, take responsibility for their actions, and value themselves most. All these actions are the true rules of dating but below are ten specific behaviors to live by to help you find a great relationship.
My Rules of Dating
- Don’t play games. Doing things because you think you should instead of how you feel is playing games. Always be genuine to keep it real and get a good response from your date.
- Don’t manipulate communication. The idea that you have to wait a certain amount of time after a date to send a text or respond to one is playing games (see rule #1). A good relationship is built on healthy communication. If you had a great time, tell your date. If you’d like to see her again, tell your date. Want to wish her a good night? Go a head, just make sure it’s within a half hour of leaving her. Anything after might be creepy, then it’s better to wait till morning.
- Never communicate emotions via text. Texts are only meant to exchange short bits of information, two text fields at most! Any emotion that you want to express needs to be face to face or at least speaking on the phone. A good rule of thumb is to never text anything you wouldn’t say to his face, or that you should say to his face.
- Don’t stop being you. Keeping an active social life with your friends and family is crucial to being a desirable partner. Don’t leave your calendar open to be available for your person of interest. It’s good to be unavailable sometimes, just suggest another day to let him know you’re still interested. Having your own life will help you make a smart choice about who you’re willing to share it with.
- Teach your partner how to treat you. Boundaries are a requirement for any relationship to succeed. The first time she doesn’t something you don’t like that’s the time to calmly let her know what you would prefer her to do instead. If you say nothing, you just taught her that’s ok with you. Check out How to Have Healthy Boundaries
- Don’t ignore red flags. After a breakup my clients can always tell me the red flags they observed but put up with instead of taking them as a sign it wasn’t the right relationship. When you spot a red flags ask about it, express your boundaries. If the behavior doesn’t change then dump him. No excuses!
- Know and enforce your deal-breakers. The more relationships you have the more deal-breakers you become aware of. Make a list of all the behaviors you can’t deal with and the requirements you need to have. Then when you spot them in a date it’s time to move on. Deal-breakers and requirements are non-negotiable.
- Don’t carry relationship baggage. While we do learn from each relationship we have, all your new partner needs to hear about is you. Succinctly bottom line how long your last relationship was and when it ended. Anything further isn’t relative or helpful to starting a new relationship. If you’re not cable of dating without talking about your ex the you’re not ready to date. Stay single until your heart is truly open and available.
- Don’t cyberstalk your new love interest. Becoming friends on Facebook and connecting on Instagram are ok as long as you live in the present. Do not view all her previous posts and most definitely don’t “like” them so she knows you looked. Any information you want about her past you should get directly from her. Snooping is never helpful because if you find things that upset you it causes you to act inappropriately.
- Don’t let sex make you stupid. Having sex too soon causes hormones to get involved and makes it harder to make good choices. Check out When to First Have Sex and How to Turn a Hookup Into a Relationship