6 Dating Rules That Definitely Do Not Apply Anymore

Whether you’re returning to the dating scene after a brief hiatus or you’re a dating veteran, there are some rules you’ve probably been following religiously. And you know what? It’s probably the reason you’re still single. Some of the love laws you swear by are no longer relevant. Nowadays, the general rule of thumb is if you’re interested in someone, don’t play games. Be honest and upfront about your feelings. Simple, right? Here are six dating rules you should ditch right now.

1. Don’t return a phone call until 48 hours later

Man checking his phone

Avoid these outdated dating rules. | Thinkstock

What are you waiting for? People are busy and no one has time to breathlessly wait for a phone call. In the past, dating experts reasoned that waiting this long would make your love interest think about you obsessively, and once you called, he or she would be putty in your hot little hands. While it’s true you’ll be on that person’s mind, you might not be associated with positive thoughts. Your honey might just be thinking about going on a date with someone who is more available.

Roughly 24 hours is the most you should wait to call someone back. Use common sense — and common courtesy. (And don’t wait an entire day to return a text.)

2. Play hard to get

Cat covering its eyes

You might not get a second date if you do this. | Thinkstock

Follow this rule if you want to be alone. Also follow this rule if you like house-sitting while your couple friends go away to the Caribbean. And you should especially follow this rule if you have aspirations of one day becoming the best cat parent in the whole wide world.

3. Men should pay for all dates

Man touching money in his pocket

This outdated rule will set you up for failure. | Thinkstock

Nope, wrong. All relationships should have an element of give and take. It would be unfair if one person is always giving while the other sits back and takes. So, if your date offers, it’s OK to let that person pay from time to time.

Stefanie Safran, relationship expert and founder of Stef and the City, gave some sage advice on the matter:

While it’s fair for a guy to pay in the beginning, it’s not fair to expect a guy to pay all of the time — especially if both parties make a similar amount and have expenses like student loans, a car payment, etc. This expectation to many couples has changed, although there aren’t any rules on how to update it. It really comes back to both people discussing expectations so that both feel they are getting their needs met.

4. Dates should only take place on Friday or Saturday night

Man and woman holding hands

Go for a spontaneous mid-week date night. | iStock.com

Any day of the week is fair game. Why limit yourself to two or three days out of a seven-day week? Live a little!

“There are lots of reasons you might want to date on a weekday or in the afternoon: the place you are going, work schedules, prior commitments. Be open enough to toss aside dinner and the movies for coffee and boogie boarding, going to an amusement park, or a game of pool and a beer,” Leon Scott Baxter, relationship expert and author of The Finance of Romancetold The Cheat Sheet.

5. There is only one right person for you

Woman holding straw hat.

Stop looking for perfection. | Thinkstock

This one isn’t really a rule, but we’ll throw it in there. It’s a myth that tends to lead a lot of people astray. So here goes: Don’t be too picky. You may just miss out on someone who could make you deliriously happy. Resist the urge to criticize each and every potential love just because your exact specifications are not being met. Put the list away, forget your “type,” and just get to know and enjoy the company of a few new people.

As Andy Stanley writes in The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating:

Consider this. Every man and woman who have navigated the pain and complexity of divorce stood in front of a preacher, priest, or justice of the peace and made vows to the right person. Every single one. But eventually they discovered something wrong with Mr. or Miss Right. Then there’s this. A good many divorced men and women had already located right person 2.0 while in the process of divorcing right person 1.0. And the whole thing begins again.

6. You must wait at least three dates to have sex

couple in bed together

Trust us — do what you want in regards to your sex life. | Puhhha/iStock/Getty Images

You’ve heard this outdated rule before, or perhaps you have your own set time allotment before you can have sex with your date. We encourage you to do whatever you’re comfortable with in regards to your sexual activity. If that means you want to hit the bedroom with your special someone on the first night you meet them, you should feel free to do so. Or, you might want to wait longer than the traditional three-date rule — and that’s totally cool, too.

Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler