Modern Dating Rules

Ask your parents what dating was like when they were your age, and they'll paint a very different picture. Things have changed a lot in the past 15 years or so, largely due to the introduction of dating apps, and our increasing reliance on smartphones - which means that in order to find romantic bliss, you have to adapt now and then, too.

“With most initial interactions taking place in virtual spaces, there is now greater pressure to present yourself in an engaging way to elicit information, transitioning from the digital realm to phone calls and in-person meetings,” Domenico said. and ultimately create real connections." Harrison is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in race and relationship therapy. "As society evolves, the rules of dating change, and it's important to equip yourself with the necessary tools to thrive."

Modern Dating Rules

Young people are waiting longer than ever to get married. Both men and women are more open about their mental health. People are becoming more open to dating someone older or younger than themselves, and they are starting to prioritize emotional intimacy as much as physical intimacy. These are just some of the major changes that show the rules of the game are changing.

So, can you keep up? Experts say it all comes down to your ability to follow these modern dating rules.

1. Don’t Use Your Phone When Dating

If there's one way to make a bad impression in the early stages of a date, it's to constantly text or check social media.

Angelika Koch, a certified life coach and relationship expert at Taimi, says this behavior, now known as "phubbing," is extremely rude to the person you're dating. and disrespectful.


Modern Dating Rules

Jacqueline Fae, CEO and founder of matchmaking company IDL Diamond Club, even recommends turning off your phone or putting it on airplane mode. At the very least, you can set it to "silent" so you're not distracted by the constant stream of Instagram and text notifications.

"Give your full attention to your date," she says.

Putting your phone away sends the message to your date that you are with your date and that you value the quality time you have with them.

2. Asking For Consent When Engaging In Sexual Intimacy

This should go without saying, but when it comes to physical contact with your date, consent is non-negotiable.

“Always prioritize consent and mutual respect in interactions,” said April Davis, CEO of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking.

This means that your partner freely, explicitly, and enthusiastically consents to any type of sexual activity that you are engaging in. Remember: Just because your partner doesn't say "no," doesn't mean they agree. Additionally, just because they may have consented to sex in the past does not mean they automatically consent to intimacy now or in the future.


Modern Dating Rules

According to the National Network on Rape, Abuse & Incest, here's what it takes to obtain and maintain consent:

Make sure your date is interested before initiating physical contact
Ask "Is this okay?" before moving on to another stage of intimacy
Check-in with your partner regularly to make sure they are still okay during intimacy
Look for physical (body language) cues that your partner is still comfortable and enjoying what's going on
Remind your partner that you can stop at any time

3. Be Brave Enough Not To Be A Ghost

Just because ghosting is so common now, doesn't mean it is.

Overall, experts agree that you should treat your date the way you'd like to be treated - which means politely telling them you're no longer interested. By the way, this rule applies whether you've been on one date or ten.


Modern Dating Rules

Dr Wendy Walsh, dating and relationships expert at DatingAdvice, explains: "Being ghosted can be emotionally damaging, but it can also save you from having awkward confrontations with this person in the future."

Relationship coach Karina F. Daves suggests sending a text message that goes something like this: "Hey, I enjoyed meeting you, but we seem to want different things, so I thought it would be best Let’s go our separate ways,” or “Hey, thanks for spending some time with me — I don’t think this is going to go in a romantic direction, but I’m glad I met you!” Such a simple message, Daves says, just It requires very little effort on your part but can go a long way in getting your date to move on.

"It's okay to change your mind while meeting someone, and it's okay to end the date early if you just don't feel comfortable, but don't leave the person hanging," adds clinical psychologist and relationship expert Betsy Chung, Ph.D. expert. "Always do your part and give the other person some clues so they don't wonder what's going on."

4. Discuss Boundaries Early

Dating without boundaries can lead to all kinds of harmful misunderstandings, conflicts, resentments, and other problems.


"This includes respecting physical boundaries, respecting each other's time and space, and being mindful of personal preferences and comfort levels," Davis said. "When both parties feel respected and valued, this sets the stage for a healthy and fulfilling relationship."

Boundaries can revolve around your need for personal space or alone time, your communication habits and preferences, or your possessions.

Modern Dating Rules

For example, in a date, this might look like:

Don’t discuss certain sensitive topics on a date, such as your salary or traumatic experiences
Do not send or receive nude photos
Not accepting late-night booty calls
Experts say the sooner you discuss these boundaries with your date, the better. That's not to say you need to list your expectations on the first date, but as you begin to connect, be sure to start communicating what you will and won't tolerate in a way that feels natural.

5. Be Honest About What You’re Looking For

Make sure you know what you want from the date—and that you communicate this clearly to your date—whether you just want to keep things casual or are interested in a more serious relationship.


Modern Dating Rules

"This is important from the beginning because it sets the stage for people to get to know and love the real you, rather than a carefully curated first impression of you," says clinical psychologist Betsy Chung, Ph.D.

Bretton Key, founder and CEO of Date Jar, echoed this sentiment. By being upfront about your intentions, you can avoid wasting your date's time if they don't see eye to eye.

6. Take Time To Heal Past Relationship Trauma

Most of us have some kind of baggage—whether it's attachment trauma from a parent or caregiver who didn't meet our needs, or trust issues from a cheating ex. Make it a priority to heal those wounds, says matchmaker and dating coach Ella Scaduto.


Modern Dating Rules

Maybe that means finding a therapist, joining a support group, or checking out some self-help books. However, if you choose to handle these issues, trust that it will pay off in the long run - because not only will you attract better-fitting, more valuable partners, but you'll also be able to serve them better.

7. Keep Your Online Dating Profile Up To Date

It’s time to replace that 10-year-old photo on your Tinder profile — and when you do, make sure your bio isn’t misleading.

"In the age of online dating, your profile is like your resume," Key said. “Keeping it fresh with recent photos and an accurate bio can help you attract the right match.”


Modern Dating Rules

Remember: Honesty is the best policy here. So if you've only been on a surfboard once, don't pretend to be an avid surfer because you think that will attract more competition.

“Gone are the days of trying to project a perfect image,” Davis said. "Instead, share your authentic self, including your passions, quirks, and yes, even your flaws. Authenticity is more attractive than chasing unattainable ideals."

8. Don’t Try To Sound Cool

News flash: Survey shows men are becoming more vulnerable. Don’t fight the trend – embrace it.

"Expressing your romantic feelings is a mature act," Harrison said. "If you feel connected, don't hesitate to express your interest. Doing so creates space for the other person to interact and engage authentically."
Modern Dating Rules

While our theme is vulnerability and authenticity, it's time to let go of the "wait three days until you call them" rule. If your date goes well, it's perfectly okay to follow up the next day and let them know you had a great time.

"Taking a few days to respond to a text message indicates that you're not very interested in the person, or that you're playing games," Koch explains.

9. Avoid The App Pen Pal Trap

Once you've established mutual interests through a dating app, experts recommend meeting in person as soon as possible so you can better gauge your chemistry and compatibility.


Modern Dating Rules

"Don't get into an endless text relationship with a stranger that lets your imagination run wild," says Walsh. "Send a few texts and then grab a cup of coffee together. This does two things: It allows you to get a reality check before you waste too much time diving into digital fantasies, and it can eliminate those "date apathetic," those who are interested in dating apps but aren't interested in pursuing anything. "