7 Ass-Backwards Dating Rules That Need Revision

The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right I first discovered this handy, little, self-help book back in the summer of ’08, and I’ll admit that, initially, it had me hooked. A good friend of mine a self-proclaimed “rules girl” came back from college that summer with a new boyfriend, the supposed “Mr. Right,” and a new attitude towards dating and she credited it all to The Rules.

The next day, my friends and I were all at Barnes and Noble picking up our own copies, which we read cover-to-cover in about two days. We lived by those rules that summer, acting all aloof and playing hard to get with the opposite sex but somehow we still didn’t wind up with “Mr. Right” at the end of the summer.

It wasn’t until re-reading parts of the book recently that I realized just how dated and ass-backwards some of the rules are. I’ve taken the liberty of choosing 7 that I think need the most revision.

Rule 7: Don’t Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday
While I may agree with this rule, it’s just too unrealistic in the world we live in. If people still “dated” in the traditional sense of the word, then I’m all for some advance notice. But let’s be real, we all lead busy lives (things come up), so planning a date a week in advance is just not always possible.

Rule 12: Stop Dating Him if He Doesn’t Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine’s Day
Yes, those are both important and romantic days of the year, but are you really going to end a relationship if you don’t get the perfect gift. Stop being so damn materialistic a romantic gesture is just as important as a gift. What if he planned a romantic night in, but didn’t buy you some fancy jewelry? You’re not going to break up over it… nor should you!

Rule 16: Don’t Tell Him What to Do
Really? Rules like this are basically meant to set women back decades. Here’s what I get from this: be submissive, obey your man and shut your mouth woman! Umm… how ’bout not. If a man can’t handle being told what to do, then he’s not the man you want to be with anyway.

Rule 22: Dont Live with a Man (or Leave Your Things in His Apartment)
Ok good luck trying this one. I know that studies show that living with a man before marriage is more likely to result in divorce, but I just can’t agree with this one. And I certainly can’t agree with not leaving anything at his place. When your lives start to meld and you become more and more serious, it’s inevitable that your belongings will start to meld too. Personally, I believe that living together before marriage is the best way to test compatibility.

Rule 26: Even if You’re Engaged or Married, You Still Need The Rules
If you still need to be playing by “The Rules” when you’re about to get married, then you have bigger problems than a book can help you deal with. The whole point of finding someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with is so that you can stop the silly games and rules. If you still need them, then you have not found “the one.”

Rule 31: Don’t Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.
Chances are if you’re following “The Rules” like it’s some sort of sacred document, then you probably do need a therapist. And any qualified professional will tell you to stop leading you life by “The Rules”… it’s not healthy.

Rule 34: Love Only Those Who Love You
Now this is just crazy talk. Control your heart and feelings that’s what this rule is saying. We can’t help who we fall in love with, and if we could, then we wouldn’t need books like “The Rules” in the first place.

  • Miu Petals

    I hate to say it, but… I disagree with a few of your points on the rules. I think you’re taking the rules a little too literally and are simultaneously confusing/missing their basic points.
    Rule about not accepting a date ? I think the point of this rule is that if a guy is hitting you up at 8 o clock on a Friday night to go out, chances are… you’re clearly not a priority to him and he’s “not that into you.” When a guy is really into you… he’s thinking about planning a date with you ahead of time because he wants to make sure he gets to see you
    Rule about romantic gifts ? if a guy is reallllly crazy about you and loves you, he’s probably going to make sure he has a thoughtful, romantic gift picked out for you, and not just a tee-shirt and CD. A romantic night in definitely would work here. It’s true though.. if he’s really into you, he is most likely going to try to come up with a nice, “romantic” gift
    Rule about telling him what to do ? I don’t think this rule has ANYTHING to do with being “submissive.” I think it’s about the fact that guys hate when they feel like their girlfriend, signif. other, etc. is trying to “change them.” They don’t like to feel as though their girlfriend disapproves of who they are or how they dress, etc. and is thus, telling him what to wear or how to act, etc.
    Rule about loving those who love you ? I think this rule is just about loving yourself enough to not put up with a guy that treats you like #### and obviously doesn’t love you because you know you deserve better and do not need to put up with a guy that doesn’t treat you well because you can’t get better
    LAST POINT…. Pretty sure somewhere in that book they talk about the fact that the rules are written so literally and “all or nothing” because it’s meant to be taken that way by girls who let guys treat them however they want, start doing their guy’s laundry for him after dating for 2 weeks, call him twice a day every day, and the only time they hang out is when he’s bored and has nothing better to do. If you’re not that type of girl, you don’t need to take the rules so literally – the rule about NEVER calling the guy first…. More like: in general, let him call you up and put in the effort to making plans etc., because, after all, you’re too busy being a fabulous social butterfly and living your wonderful life to be calling him at all hours of the day AND if he wants you, he has to prove that he’s worth your time… guys want to feel like you chose them – not that you were willing to take any guy that waved hello because you’re desperate for a relationship

  • Miu Petals

    I hate to say it, but… I disagree with a few of your points on the rules. I think you’re taking the rules a little too literally and are simultaneously confusing/missing their basic points…

    Rule about not accepting a date – I think the point of this rule is that if a guy is hitting you up at 8 o clock on a Friday night to go out, chances are… you’re clearly not a priority to him and he’s “not that into you.” When a guy is really into you… he’s thinking about planning a date with you ahead of time because he wants to make sure he gets to see you

    Rule about romantic gifts – if a guy is reallllly crazy about you and loves you, he’s probably going to make sure he has a thoughtful, romantic gift picked out for you, and not just a tee-shirt and CD. A romantic night in definitely would work here. It’s true though.. if he’s really into you, he is most likely going to try to come up with a nice, “romantic” gift

    Rule about telling him what to do – I don’t think this rule has ANYTHING to do with being “submissive.” I think it’s about the fact that guys hate when they feel like their girlfriend, signif. other, etc. is trying to “change them.” They don’t like to feel as though their girlfriend disapproves of who they are or how they dress, etc. and is thus, telling him what to wear or how to act, etc.

    Rule about loving those who love you – I think this rule is just about loving yourself enough to not put up with a guy that treats you like #### and obviously doesn’t love you because you know you deserve better and do not need to put up with a guy that doesn’t treat you well because you can’t get better

    LAST POINT… Pretty sure somewhere in that book they talk about the fact that the rules are written so literally and “all or nothing” because it’s meant to be taken that way by girls who let guys treat them however they want, start doing their guy’s laundry for him after dating for 2 weeks, call him twice a day every day, and the only time they hang out is when he’s bored and has nothing better to do. If you’re not that type of girl, you don’t need to take the rules so literally – the rule about NEVER calling the guy first… More like: in general, let him call you up and put in the effort to making plans etc., because, after all, you’re too busy being a fabulous social butterfly and living your wonderful life to be calling him at all hours of the day AND if he wants you, he has to prove that he’s worth your time… guys want to feel like you chose them – not that you were willing to take any guy that waved hello because you’re desperate for a relationship

  • Ian Shaw

    I take exception to two of your exceptions. We’ll start with rule 22. If you don’t know you’re compatible before you move in, likely you’re not compatible at all. Living together before marriage is such a thing of both insecurity and wishy-washiness that I couldn’t handle being with a woman who wanted it. My wife and I took the plunge, and we’re far happier than most we know who lived together, most of whom are now divorced…only one couple remains.

    The second is rule 34. You may not be able to control who you develop a crush for, but its plain lazioness or melodramatic bull to think you can’t control how you act on those feelings. I’ve seen divorces come from this logic too. Love is as much choice as feeling, so if you’re already committed elsewhere, or you find yourself drawn to a toxic relationship, grit your teeth and walk away. The feeling will go away if you don’t get dragged along by it, and you can choose not to be.

  • Ian Shaw

    I take exception to two of your exceptions. We’ll start with rule 22. If you don’t know you’re compatible before you move in, likely you’re not compatible at all. Living together before marriage is such a thing of both insecurity and wishy-washiness that I couldn’t handle being with a woman who wanted it. My wife and I took the plunge, and we’re far happier than most we know who lived together, most of whom are now divorced…only one couple remains.

    The second is rule 34. You may not be able to control who you develop a crush for, but its plain lazioness or melodramatic bull to think you can’t control how you act on those feelings. I’ve seen divorces come from this logic too. Love is as much choice as feeling, so if you’re already committed elsewhere, or you find yourself drawn to a toxic relationship, grit your teeth and walk away. The feeling will go away if you don’t get dragged along by it, and you can choose not to be.

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