Let’s forget the dating “rules” and start making our own!

When Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider published their dating manual The Rules back in 1995, the world of relationships was a very different place. With guidelines like, “Don’t accept a date for Saturday after Wednesday,” and “Never talk to him first”, it seems a bit laughable now that anyone would take the book’s advice to heart.

Even so, when the book was updated in 2012 for the digital age, lots of the same crazy rules still applied. “Don’t date a man for more than two years without a proposal” was one guideline. “In a long-distance relationship, he must visit you three times before you visit him,” was another. Having just found a copy of this book at my friend’s house last weekend, I was both weirded out and a little intrigued by the contents.

Although my pal admitted she’d never really taken any of the rules on board, the fact that the 1995 book was successful enough to be updated 17 years on means that someone, somewhere was listening to the author’s advice.

The world of dating has come a long way in the last few years. With the growth of Tinder and other online dating apps, we’re free to control things for ourselves. Who cares if that guy you met last week hasn’t called? He’s not worth it. Move on. We can see someone new every weekend just for fun and nobody’s going to bat an eyelid.

So let’s forget about antiquated rules like waiting for him to send the first text or for him to do the asking. Guys are just as nervous as us when it comes to dating. Next time you’re debating whether to make the first move, just take a deep breath and do it. Send that first message on Tinder. Add him first on Facebook. If anything, he’ll be grateful that you’ve set the ball rolling.

We’re often scared to make that first leap because we worry that he (or our friends, or his friends) will think we’re over-eager or way too forward. The truth is, the only person thinking that is us. And the little shot of anxiety that coming with hitting “send” is just a healthy part of dating.

As for rules like, “don’t accept a date for Saturday after Wednesday,” unless a man is in serious need of being taken down a peg or two, refusing his invite purely because he didn’t give you three full days’ notice is just a touch crazy, don’t you think?

Let’s put our worries aside for a while and just go with what seems right when it comes to dating. If things don’t work out, maybe it’s because the two of you just aren’t a good match, not because you didn’t follow “the rules.”