When you’re starting to date someone, there’s a bit of a dance going on as you figure out each other’s likes, dislikes, assumptions and specific rules. Not everyone follows the same rules, and not everyone understands that the person they’re dating may find something offensive or hurtful. In this article, we’ll discuss the dating rules for modern relationships, whether they’re assumed from the beginning or are discussed and formed by the couple. When dating is confusing, this list will help you clear the air.
Assumed Dating Rules:
Though many rules of dating are assumed and can be found in most relationships, it’s hard to navigate the waters when you’re not sure of yourself. We’ve made a list of several common assumed dating rules that you’re likely to encounter; by knowing them, you’ll know what’s expected.
1. You actually are physically attracted to each other. This dating rule is important! Lying to yourself about this is a bad idea. If lack of physical attraction is a deal-breaker for either of you, you need to face up to it. You don’t need to be mean about it, just be honest and tell your partner that if you both decide to pursue a relationship, it has to be based on something more from the beginning
2. You will use birth control unless you have already discussed it openly, and even then, some precautions should be taken. This dating rule is vital because no matter how wonderful the other person is early on in the relationship, if you get pregnant together and it doesn’t work out, it’s much more than just some temporary emotional pain. You’ll have to work together to make things right for the child that’s born, and the emotional pain the child will suffer because of these issues.
3. You will have safe sex. Until you both know you can trust each other, this dating rule keeps you safe. Whether this is a recent test, protected sex or waiting until the relationship is further along, you should always take precautions to protect yourself. If your partner is pushing you on this matter, it’s a good sign that you need to back out of the relationship. Partners who don’t respect your boundaries now won’t respect them later.
4. This can sometimes be an uncomfortable dating rule, but when you’re starting out, you don’t need to tell him if you are seeing other guys. While you’re dating, you’re in the “try before you buy” stage. If the relationship continues and becomes more serious, you do need to tell your partner. If your partner expects you to be exclusive and you’re not ready yet, you should both sit down and have a serious heart-to-heart talk about it. If he’s demanding you settle down, you may want to walk away. Pretending to be okay with it will leave you miserable later on.
5. On the other hand, just because you’re dating, it doesn’t mean it’s exclusive until you discuss it with him. Don’t think that your partner will assume that the relationship is exclusive if you haven’t talked about it yet. If it’s important to you that your budding relationship be exclusive, talk about it. If he’s not willing to be exclusive, then back out of the relationship . If he won’t respect your wishes now, he won’t do it later in the relationship.
6. Another good dating rule is that your conversations are a good way to gauge how serious you each are in the relationship. If you’re having regular discussions about kids, marriage and future plans, then you should assume that he is somewhat serious and there might be marriage potential. At the same time, if you find that either of you are changing the topic of conversation, you should take it that there is some discomfort in getting too serious just yet. Stop and talk about what your expectations are in the relationship to help keep it real.
7. Don’t rush into things. It’s natural to take things slowly and be a little aloof at first as you get to know each other. You’re not going to have kids with or marry the first guy you date, so this dating rule helps you enjoy the courtship! Along the same lines, don’t settle. If there’s something that’s keeping you from getting the best out of the relationship, don’t accept it as being better than being single or that you’ll end up lonely in later years.
Divorce leaves just as many people lonely because they settled, became miserable and had to get back out as those who stuck to their guns and waited for someone really phenomenal to walk into their life.
8. Don’t put all the details online! Discretion is a good thing. Though we’re a bit farther along these days than the antiquated, “a lady reveals nothing,” your partner may wonder what else you’ll share if you’re willing to put every last intimate detail on Facebook, making this dating rule a good one to remember. At the same time, if you’ve done something in the past, don’t try to hide it. If you screwed up in the past and have been able to fix the situation, you need to own up to it. If you’ve had problems in the past that could still create issues with the relationship, you should definitely own up to it!
Dating Rules Requiring Some Discussion:
Not all dating rules can be assumed, especially with the vast differences between cultures or even just different parts of the country. Misunderstandings can come about easily but are also easily avoided by taking some time to sit down and talk through your differences. These dating rules may require some discussion to figure out where you both stand, while others may require some compromise if you want the relationship to work.
9. Practically the most important dating rule that requires discussion is what you are comfortable with and not comfortable with. This includes meeting family or friends, exchanging addresses or keys, loaning out credit cards and any other details. In addition to the more mundane issues, when it comes time, you should have an open talk about what is okay and what isn’t okay sexually.