You may laugh, but there’s still an etiquette to dating that involves so-called rules. Of course some rules may change with each generation but there are certain “dating truths” that persist, decade after decade.
These Truths Have Outlasted the Fads of Every Generation’s “Dating Rules”
We’re not here to talk about the types of truths and rules based on modern living that will change with the times (“texting a breakup is OK” ). No, these are the “unwritten rules” of dating, the ones based on human nature, the language of love, and sociocultural norms based on the way we live and have lived for centuries.
You probably don’t want to hear this, but in many respects, what was true for older generations is still true today. Come on- a kiss is still a kiss! No matter what decade, what century you’re from, the gaze of a lover, the red-hot look of someone across the room at a party, or the warm feeling you get when snuggling at night…those things just don’t change.
This is About the Unspoken Truths of Dating
The same goes for some of the most common unwritten dating rules. They’re perennially true, only in this case nobody really talks about them. Some are uncomfortable truths and most are things people just don’t want to admit to.
Here are 7 unwritten rules of dating. In spite of yourself, we think you’ll find them amazingly relevant, no matter what your age, your situation or who you are.
1. Everyone hates playing games but we all play them anyway. We simply can’t help ourselves. It’s our way of showing value, actually…our own value. If you’re so blasé that you take hours to respond to a text, then you’re adding perceived value to yourself. The other person can’t help but feel anxiety when your text doesn’t come right away, no matter how much he or she tells him/herself they don’t care.
It’s the people who take games a step too far that make these sorts of rituals unpleasant and annoying. The art of dating requires that you know how far to go and when to simply be yourself.
2. We all put on a front for the first date. It’s built into our genes to want to impress. Birds do it with feathers, humans do it with behavior. We try harder. Whether it’s dressing up, trying harder to be funny or witty, or simply putting on those hot dance moves you’ve been practicing, we all have our own version of putting on a front on a first date.
3. Sometimes dating success is just being in the right place at the right time. Millions of dollars and countless hours have been poured into research on how to meet members of the opposite sex. The online dating business is thriving, algorithms for dating chemistry continue to get tweaked, and now there are apps for finding singles in your area, like Tinder.
Nevertheless, guess what: sometimes it’s just dumb luck and you find your dreamboat in the most unexpected places. Timing is everything, as they say- all you need to do is make sure you’re ready when that time comes!
4. All your standards regarding the opposite sex can go right out the window when you’re really attracted to someone…and it doesn’t matter! Are you one of those girls who read The Rules, by Ellen Fein? You know, the bestseller that inspired the movie He’s Just Not That Into You? It presents girls with a mega list of rules to follow in order to land they man of their dreams.
Or are you one of those people that has a “list”? You know what that is…! He must be tall. He must have a high-paying job. He can’t smoke. Lots of people have a “list”.
Without judging, we’re just going to say that no matter how much you buy into the “rules” for dating, or no matter how much you’ve worked on creating a firm “list” of requirements…
…they’ll all disappear in a poof the minute you find a seriously attractive guy.
List-makers: before you know it, you’ll be giving it all up for a short, unemployed chain-smoking hottie, regardless of your list (see above). Rule-followers: you’ll forget about the rule regarding “letting him approach”…one look, one second of direct eye contact from across the room and you’ll find yourself moving right in!
5. Your rule about “Sex on the first date” also goes right out the window when you’re attracted to someone…and it doesn’t matter! Again, we’re talking about breaking silly rules. “No sex on the first date” is actually a nice rule to have, generally speaking, but once you find a “winner”, it vanishes.
Because sometimes, let’s face it: your body knows best! That’s all we’re going to say.
6. Dating usually brings heartache. There are only two outcomes to every date you’ll ever have: you’ll either stay together for a very long time or you won’t, with the latter resulting in someone feeling bad. It’s an unfortunate truth about dating, but as great as it can feel when everything goes well, there’s a much higher probability that someone gets hurt.
It might be because one of you likes the other way more than vice versa, or because you fall hard for someone that’s already involved in a relationship, or you have to tell a really good person that you’re just not into him, or somebody cheats…the list is endless. Love is sometimes very painful, even when it turns out great.
7. You’re more likely to hit it off with someone who’s just like you. Blech, that sounds terrible but it’s true. The National Academy of Sciences did a study in 2003 that found people really just want to date someone that’s like themselves.
What they’ve been telling us for aeons, that opposites attract, is just dead wrong. Even when you think you’re dating someone very different from yourself, chances are there are major elements of personality, background, social status, economics and level of attractiveness that are very similar.