Every time you go on a date, you're faced with 347 "rules" on how to act, what to say, when to call him, when to kiss him and how to play "the game." We're done with that. Dating rules are dead. The rules say that you should Always do this and Never do that, but our take is this: Never trust a rule that begins with "Never," and always question a rule that begins with "Always."
In It's Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: and Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked, we cover the gamut of dating rules -- everything from dating psychology, the first date, social media and dating to sex and monogamous relationships -- and show how The Rules can hurt your chances.
10 ways traditional rules can ruin a date
1. They make you less authentic.
Rules like "Men Love Bitches" have a sneaky way of making us play a game, put on an act and avoid being our true selves. But if you're dating someone, shouldn't they, well, sort of like your true self?
2. They make you over-think.
Dating should be fun. But how can you relax when you're counting the hours between calls, the days between dates, and whether he's following Rule 1138?
3. They're unrealistic.
Example: We've all heard the rule that you should "never date a co-worker." Only problem? The rule is blind to reality. 38% of working adults will have an office romance. So, instead of saying "Never Do It," it's more helpful to focus on strategies of how to do it well.
4. They weed out people you might actually like.
Maybe that guy a few cubicles over -- or the one who lives across the country -- isn't a practical person for you to date, but since when is love practical? The Rules make you doubt your instinct to take risks, and it's hard to find love when you're playing it safe.
5. They make you assume "He's just not that into you."
This rule makes you dump a guy at the first sign of trouble. True, certain red flags mean you should bolt, but sometimes, he just really is that busy.
6. The traditional rule of "The man should take her to dinner" can backfire.
Dinners can be weird. You have no escape, you fret over what you should order and whether it's in the socially acceptable price range (pasta or steak?), and then, finally: Stomachs. They exist and they have consequences.
7. They leech the fun out of dating.
In the sequel to The Rules, authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider even offer a grid -- yes, a grid -- that tells you exactly how much time to wait before texting him back, based on when he texts and how old you are. There's nothing fun about a grid.
8. They're prudish.
Okay, let's address our book's title: It's Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: and Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked. No one's saying that you should hook up on the first date. But if you want to? Go for it. (The guy's not going to "lose respect," and if he does, he's a hypocrite. He was in the same room.) We've heard countless stories where people have hooked up on the first date and then eventually gotten married.
9. They're sexist.
The rules spawn from an era when the woman's only job was to make sure the meatloaf was ready by 7 p.m., when we didn't have to worry about nonsense like "equal rights," when you could puff cigarettes when you're pregnant and when we had to follow rules like "Find a man who makes more money than you." Ugh.
10. They spread fear.
Most traditional rules are fear-based. You'll screw it up if you kiss him too soon! He won't like you if you pursue! Our take is a little more straightforward: Don't trust The Rules, trust yourself.
Andrea Syrtash (@AndreaSyrtash) and Jeff Wilser (@JeffWilser) are the co-authors of It's Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: And Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked. Available now.