There’s really no official rule book when it comes to love but we all know a few relationship norms that have stuck with us for so long that we've stopped questioning them. But now, it’s time for these unspoken rules to die a quick death and be replaced with something more suited to today’s dating and relationship scene. Read on to find out what outdated norms should be changed–stat! 

1. Guys should pick up the tab – ALWAYS.   
Ladies, it’s the 21st century. We hold stable jobs; some of us even have businesses. We can take care of ourselves and pay for our own expenses. So there’s really no reason why we should expect the gentlemen to always pay for our food, our movie ticket, our shopping, or whatever else we do on dates. Take turns picking up the tab or go dutch–your guy will definitely appreciate the financial reprieve because dates can be really expensive. And if you offer to pay, do it sincerely and follow through with your words. 

2. Guys should always make the first move.  

Fancy a guy from the bar who’s been throwing you some flirty glances? Go over and talk to him. Want to hang out with a co-worker or a college batchmate? Send him a text or message him on Facebook. You don’t have to sit around and wait for a guy to approach you. If you like someone, go ahead and make the first move. Let him know you’re interested. Remember: confidence is sexy.


3. Girls should play hard to get.   
Paying attention to a guy who has shown interest in you doesn’t mean that you’re easy. It just means that you’re open to getting to know him. If you’re obviously into someone but insist on playing hard to get, it could potentially turn the other person off or give him the idea that you’re not really interested. Guys might like the thrill of the chase but if you send “I-don’t-care” or “Can’t-be-bothered-with-you” signals, then they’ll just move on.  

4. Couples do everything together. 

You and your guy definitely need quality time together but it doesn’t mean you have to be joined at the hip every second of every day. You have your life to live and your guy has his, so it’s perfectly fine to spend your days apart and do your own thing (your friends will even thank you for it). Having “me time” is a way of taking care of yourself, addressing your needs, and staying grounded in your identity. Couples often fall into the trap of having their worlds revolve around each other so much that their identities become too tangled up. Don’t get so lost in the “we” that you forget the “me.”   


5. No sex until the nth date. 
Sex is definitely a big move in a relationship but there’s really no hard and fast rule on when’s the right time to do it. Some couples might feel ready to take the plunge after the fourth date; others could be together for months or years but never feel ready to do it. It really depends on your values, your comfort level with each other, and your readiness to have sex, among other things. As long as you talk it over with your partner and you’re both on the same page, it’s fine to wait as long as you want, or not wait at all to have sex.   

6. After the first date, wait a day or two before calling or texting.    

Follow this and you’ll lessen the chance of turning him off because you seem too eager. Or so the love gurus say. But why wait to communicate? If you went out with someone and had a great time, go ahead and let him know. If you put it off for too long, you might send the wrong message that you’re not interested. If you’re nervous about getting turned down, pick a more passive way of communicating like a Facebook message or an SMS instead of a phone call. This way, you still get to close the loop while minimizing the ouch factor.    


7. Don’t be the first to say the “L” word. 

Some women put off saying the “L” word because they think the guy should do it first (see rule #2). They hesitate to show affection and suppress their true feelings until the guy makes the big move. But doing this will only cause a lot of second-guessing and weird, awkward interactions. If you like someone, don’t be afraid to let them know. Say “I love you” if you feel that it’s time to say it. It’s always better to be honest about your feelings to prevent the other person from making any assumptions in the relationship. 


8. You should get married first before moving in together.
Living together outside of marriage used to be taboo but in today’s society, it’s considered a normal thing–and for good reason. Economically speaking, moving in with your beau is a lot easier on the pocket since you can combine your finances and help each other with the expenses. It’s also a way of taking the relationship to the next level. Being with your guy 24/7 means that you don’t only see his good side–you’re also exposed to the bad, the ugly, the annoying aspects of him (and vice versa). It’s a true test of love and patience. Whether or not marriage is in the books, as long as you feel ready to start a life with your guy, there’s nothing wrong with moving in together. 
 
PHOTO: Ryan G. Smith/Flickr Creative Commons

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