The Twelve New Rules of Dating

by eHarmony Staff

Times have changed — and so have the rules regarding the biggest game of your life!

No More 'Waiting Game'

It's done. Dead. Over. Yes, we have now officially declared it ... no more waiting "three days" after a date to contact your new love interest. We never liked that silly rule, anyways. If you had an amazing first date, text them the next day and let them know...

Be Familiar with Modern Modes of Communication

Speaking of texting, if you don't do it, you might want to learn ... fast. Especially if you are returning to the dating scene after a long haitus. Smartphones can make your romantic life a little easier and a lot more fun. And your dates are going to text you. If you don't like it, let them know.

Be Careful What You Share Online...

Or at least be very aware of what you share online - especially in the social media arena. If you decide to show off the pics from a wild night on your Facebook page, remember that your potential dates might have access! Your friends know that you are an upstanding citizen, but a first impression by a stranger could lead to some wrong assumptions. Avoiding any "inebriated" tweeting is also highly recommended!

Ethnic Barriers Matter Less Than Ever

In the past ethnic differences often meant other significant differences as well - differences in faith, geography, and cultural preferences. It is now more and more common for individuals to share these socio-economic institutions, independent of their ethnicity. The ethnicity of who you date is still an important personal preference, but it is less a fundamental of compatibility.

Your Past is Always Present

Prepare to be Googled. Your dates are digging around in your past before they even shake your hand. If you were arrested 20 years ago at a protest, be prepared to talk about it. If your jazz group has a review in the local paper, your date may be humming one of your tunes. If your past is less than savory, be prepared to explain why you’ve changed.

Play Coy at Your Own Risk

People are busier than ever, and they have more opportunities to reach out to dating prospects than ever. This means if you like someone, you better let them know. The days of sitting around and pretending that you don’t really care in the hopes that your disdain will drive your suitor crazy are OVER.

Gender Roles are Negotiable

Sometimes the woman wants to pay for a night out -- and sometimes it's the guy who stays home to raise the children. This means your old fashioned dating rules will have to be a little more flexible nowadays... and that is a wonderful thing. Embrace it!

40 is the New 30

It's not just Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore who look amazing and decades younger than they actually are. We are all living longer these days, and in many cases aging alot more gracefully. Maybe it's time to reconsider -- and widen -- your dating age parameters.

Marriage is No Longer Always the Goal

The "old maid" stigma is long gone. Some couples are opting to have families, live together and share a life without tying the knot. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but a long-term, satisfying relationship equals happiness -- and a perfect fit for many.

Do Not Assume Exclusivity

This may not be a brand "new rule," but it is important enough that it made the cut. In this modern landscape of romance, there are more people multi-dating than ever. If you have been seeing a special someone for a few months and are assuming that they are only seeing you - it is a really good idea to check. Communicate your expectations and hopes and get on the same dating page.

The World is Smaller Than Ever

Thanks to technology, we can all communicate more effectively than ever. You can have nearly- real conversations via things like Skype (great for long distance relationships) ...

The Best Rule of All – Charm Matters More Than Ever

In a fast, casual, abbreviated world charm, grace, etiquette and consideration count more than ever. In times past, when manners and social graces were more common, it was assumed you would present a natural charm. But in the age of Tweets, a phone call makes a man seem like Sir Walter Raleigh. Make a point of holding to the best parts of the past - thank you notes, phone calls, thoughtful surprises, and other affectations of a gentler age.

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