When I heard about the book, It's Okay to Sleep With Him on the First Date my first thought was: ORLLY? Tell me more! After watching a whole parade of books about dating rules through my lifetime, from THE RULES to 30-Day Love Detox (no sex for the first 30 days), it's refreshing to see a book that's all about debunking traditional dating rules. But is the message too good to be true? The point authors Andrea Syrtash and Jeff Wilser are making is simple: Trust yourself.
Well that's easy to say if you're not a neurotic basket case with non-stop monkey chatter running through your brain. Don't we need dating rules to save ourselves from ourselves, or do dating rules really prevent us from being our most authentic selves? I decided to take some of the rules Syrtash and Wilser debunk in their book and see what my friends think about them. Turns out they've broken most of these rules, too -- with no regrets.
More from The Stir: 10 Dating Red Flags That Should Send You Running
I've quoted everyone anonymously.
1. Don't sleep with him on the first date.
"Yeah... in my experience, everyone gets pretty physical early on. Enjoy it."
"Just be careful -- use protection."
2. Always let the man pursue.
"I stalked and chased a guy down the street to get to meet him. I wrote to one guy I met at a party and wound up with him for two years. My current BF I invited to go on a trip with me as our first date. We've been together for 6.5 years."
"I have actively pursued two people and both situations worked out. I like being pursued as well, but it's never an active decision either way or a rule that I follow. I follow my gut — if I can't help but go after this person, then I do."
"I was the risk taker / aggressor in my current relationship and my guy thanked me for it because he didn't think he felt confident enough to pursue me. (He was still recovering from his previous relationship.)"
3. Don't be picky.
"I am picky. I encourage other women to be very picky."
4. Never talk about politics or religion on the first date.
'If you're really interested in pursuing someone for more than sex (and even then!), I say you need to know where the guy stands on religion or politics. If you love Rachel Maddow and your date loves Fox News, do you really think anything fulfilling can develop beyond a casual relationship? Not for me. Ask, and then decide whether this is a person with whom you wish to spend your time."
"I have strong political views. If those beliefs don't align at least somewhat, there is no point in going forward."
"Hell, that's how I screen people for nutjobbery."
5. Long-distance relationships don't work.
"I did a LDR once and it was difficult, but I was young and super in love. Right now I'd relish a LDR. Time for love and companionship and then alone time to be my introverted self, work a lot, have my own life, etc."
"I was dating for a couple years after a long-term relationship was over and finally concluded that there were no normal datable men in NYC. I was at a work convention in Nashville when I met D. He was intriguing to me, so very different from the types of men I was attracted to. But he lived in Tennessee. And he wasn't my type. Yet, there was something there. My girlfriends convinced me to call him and pursue the relationship, so I did. Two years later, he moved in with me and we've now been married for eight years. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and your zip code to find your love. Don't let the opportunity pass!"
"So far, this seems to be working for me/us. BUT, I think a lot of this has to do with current technology especially Skype and newer texting apps that let you text people in other countries. I honestly don't think I could've held interest for this long six or seven years ago pre-Skype. Seeing that person really helps a huge deal and keeps you going." (Currently in a long-distance relationship.)
6. Don’t date outside your league.
"I have only dated outside my league. Attraction is a wily thing. It doesn't always follow the rules we prescribe to it as a culture. It makes other people uncomfortable when you date outside your league. Sometimes really uncomfortable. It requires a lot of self-awareness and confidence for the 'higher-ranked' person. They have to be cool with what they care about vs. what other people think they should be doing."
"Does this mean up or down? HAH. I admittedly have low self-esteem so I honestly don't know what my 'league' is. I do think I date some guys who may be schlubby."
7. Online dating is only for losers.
"It's great way to find out what you want or don't want. You're also able to finally get out of your regular pool of friends / career group. Who knows, you may find out scientists and their methodology are really sexy compared to your flighty friends."
"I met (name) online." --About 20 of my friends.
8. Never say I love you first.
"In my current relationship, I broke this rule. But that's also because I knew he fit what I wanted. It stung a bit when he didn't return it but he was enough of man to say that he wasn't ready to say it and still needed time to heal from his previous relationship. He eventually came around."
9. Find a man who makes more money than you.
"I've always made more money than all the men I've been with. Knowing what I know now, I would say it's okay to find someone who makes less than you do but still understands money for long term reasons (savings, retirement, etc) and has the ambition to do something more. And, someone who's willing to support your career goals."
What do you think of dating rules -- are they helpful, or do they hold you back?
Image via mohd ashek mansor/Flickr