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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Rules of Dating

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

The Rules of Dating...
... Ruled Out

Everyone has heard of, and many have adhered to, a set of rules that apply to dating.  Such as, the man always has to pay, or has to ask the woman out.  They go back as far as anyone can remember, and can be so frustrating that some people actually ask, “Well, who made that rule?”  Nowadays, with times changing, there is definitely some wiggle room with people’s acceptance to change: women pay, women can (gasp) be taller than men, etc. etc.  Well I say, to heck with the rules!  Who did make them up anyway?  And since no one remembers, they must be very outdated, and it is time to rule them out.  Here are some popular Rules to Dating, and why I think they suck..



  1. The man should always pay—Hmm…do women not have money?  I understand that it’s a very gentleman-like thing to do to pay for the meal or whatever the date is, but it does seem a bit unfair that he should always have to pay.  Whatever happened to that thing called “equal rights?”  Women wanted it, now we got it!  On a first date, if it’s kind of an awkward, first meeting, maybe offer to split it.  He might offer to pay the whole thing, I know guys that have done that, but then again, I know guys who have split the bill, or let me pay, far into dating.  I also know men who refused to let a woman pay because they said they were “old fashioned.”  When it comes to this topic, it really depends on the person.  I think that the guy still holds that ideal that he is the one to pay, but there’s no reason a woman can’t break him of that habit.  Treat the guy to dinner.  He deserves it!
  1. The man should always ask the woman out—Boring!  So the guy at work you’ve been swooning over for the past three months is still single, chats you up every lunch break, and smiles at you whenever he walks by, but hasn’t asked you out yet.  Strange.  Guess you’ll just have to keep waiting month by month until he does.  No way!  Maybe he’s just shy.  Maybe he thinks you’ll say no and is afraid of rejection.  Whatever the case, if you like a guy and a date with him is something you want to pursue, then go for it.  Chances are, he’ll be flattered, and eager to go on a date with you.  And all you had to do was ask…
  1. The woman should be shorter than the man—Why does the guy always have to be taller?  Seriously—now who made the rule?  Because I don’t like it.  Being 5’9, I have dated some guys who “claim” to be 5’10, but as I found out, were not.  Then I dated taller than that also.  I always had issues with my height, as I grew fast, and was then taller than all my friends, but now, who cares?  People are people, and you know what?  You can’t change your height, so you better just accept it, and you should not judge whom you’re going to date based on height.  If someone is shorter than me, then I don’t care.  It’s the person I’m dating, not their measurements.
  1. The woman should be younger than the man—Maybe that was back in the day when sixteen-year-olds married 30-year-old princes and that sort of thing, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that age does not matter.  If he is ten years older than her, she is five years older than him, or if she is just a year older than him.  The only reason the number should matter is that maybe one person has had more life experiences than the other, because that is what makes dating so interesting and exciting.  Then they get to share those experiences with each other.
  1. The man and woman should come from similar backgrounds—Now that would be rather dull, wouldn’t it?  What’s wrong with a little diversity?  Dating in your little dating pool and never jumping out into the ocean might prove to be a boring dating scene.  To date people who are enticing and with different interests, you need to meet people who might not share an exact blueprint of what your life was growing up.  That only enhances communication, which makes dating all the more promising.
  1. Wait 3 days to call after a date—Lame.  I know, I know, it’s supposed to show that the guy has a life, a busy schedule and isn’t desperate to call up his new lady right away.  I’m not saying he should call 10 minutes after their first date has ended, but there is nothing wrong with calling the next evening to say hi or chat.  Plans don’t have to be made—it could merely be a friendly call, and then closed with, “I’ll call you in a couple days and maybe we can go out again.”  After all, isn’t it better to have some communication in between than just keep calling to make plans?  I think so.  Besides, it’s just a phone call.  You might as well use up your cell phone minutes.
  1. Women should be chased by the man— Are we playing tag?  If someone is always being chased, then what happens if they never get caught?  It’s a big waste of time and a bit letdown—for both parties.  People think it’s all about the chase, but that’s just some weird mentality to make dating into a game.  If you’re interested in someone, then do the mature thing and ask them out, and then actually follow through with it.  No one wants to be asked out and then wait by their phone for five days for a call, then schedule a date and cancel it, or say you always have plans.  After all that, one might find it’s just not worth it, and move on to the next dateable, and available, person.
  1. Talking about an ex is a big no-no—This is a tough one.  They do say never to talk about your ex when you’re dating someone new, especially not on a first date.  It can be a little intimidating to the new date, or also might signal that the other person isn’t quite over their ex.  But it also isn’t always bad, if looked at in a different perspective.  Sometimes, people just talk about their past.  It’s like if they were talking about an old friend, and yes, often times, their ex was an old friend.  They probably haven’t talked to or seen this ex for a long time, but of course they have memories together.  And just because he’s not with her anymore, doesn’t mean he didn’t have an awesome time at that Aerosmith show they went to.  Besides, he’s only telling you because you’re such a huge Aerosmith fan.  See, it’s not so bad.  As long as he doesn’t start crying and telling you how much he misses her.
  1. No smooch too soon! —What?  Pucker up, baby.  Hey, if it feels right, then go for it.  I think you’ve gotta go with your instinct on this one.  Yeah yeah, the ol’ rule says to never kiss on a first date.  But obviously, different circumstances have different outcomes.  If it’s a half hour coffee date with someone you just met and really don’t know, then maybe it’s not gonna happen right away.  But if it’s with someone you’ve maybe talked to for a while and then go on a date with and things are magical, and you’re gliding along the street and just happen to turn to each other and go in for that amazing first kiss—but oh wait!  The rule says no kiss on a first date!  Booooooo.  That would just ruin the magic.  If it feels right, you’ll know it.  And so will he.  And then, everything will just fall into place.
  1. Be mysterious—Everyone loves a mystery, sure.  And they say that being a little vague, or not telling all, will only intrigue your date, leaving him wanting to know more.  Of course you don’t want to spill the entire details of your life on the first date because then, what would you say on the second date?  But you also don’t want to be so mysterious and vague that you end up saying nothing and just seem boring.  You can be a little mysterious but you also have to be interesting.  And the best way to be interesting is to be yourself—so don’t try and hide that.

By following the “rules,” you put too much pressure on yourself.  You’re trying to remember so much that you forget to just go out and have fun and see if you might enjoy this other person’s company.  That’s what it’s really about.  Meeting someone, seeing if things click, and where things can go from there.  Why should you let a set of rules get in your way?  Toss em’ out the window.  Rules were meant to be broken anyway.


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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