The typical New Year's resolution might involve setting rules for yourself, but that's no fun. You know what is fun? Letting go of all those useless rules you've imposed on yourself—especially when it comes to love and sex.
Throughout our lives, we're given some pretty impractical, hard-to-follow, and occasionally downright sexist dating advice. And honestly, a lot of it doesn't even work! When we forbid ourselves from doing things that feel right, we only end up feeling deprived. Like diets, dating rules needlessly restrict us, so instead of imposing more restrictions on yourself, here are some rules we think it's time to let go of this year.
Popular wisdom has it that if you go on a date or meet someone cute at a party and then text him or her right away, you're coming on too strong—hence the advice to wait three days before reaching out. But since when is showing interest considered a negative trait? Last time we checked, people like people who are actually into them. Forget about this dumb rule and text your love interests whenever you want. If they like you less because you took the initiative, maybe they're not the best choice of partner anyway.
2. Don't Sleep With Someone on the First Date
There's nothing contradictory about sexual chemistry and long-term potential. After all, you'll ideally have both with your SO. Plenty of people who have sex on the first date end up in relationships, and relationships can even begin as one-night stands. There is some research suggesting that people who sleep together quickly have less happy relationships, but that's probably not strictly because of the sex; it could be a result of relying on it instead of working on your emotional intimacy. As long as you focus on being intimate in more ways than just that one, there's nothing to worry about. Someone who judges you based on your sexual decisions is, once again, #notworthit.
3. Only Date People Who Meet Your Specific Criteria
We're terrible judges of who's best suited for us, and sometimes it can surprise us who things work out with. Specific rules like dating only people who look a certain way, college-educated people, or people who live near us can lead to writing off potentially great matches. It's important to have standards, but ask yourself if your standards are helping you or just unnecessarily weeding people out. (Though if your criteria include "doesn't have a criminal record" and "pays their bills," you could probably stand to stick with them.)
4. Wait for the Other Person to Make the First Move
This is a guideline that majorly backfires, especially if you're a straight woman (a group that receives this advice pretty damn often). And it's a lie! Women who send the first message on dating sites statistically have more success than men and supposedly end up with more attractive partners than do women who wait. It is the 21st century, after all. Assertiveness should be a desirable quality in a woman, not a turnoff.
5. Try to Be Friends With Your SO's Friends (and Vice Versa)
The Spice Girls would probably beg to differ on this one, but if you wanna be someone's lover, you don't have to get with their friends—and they don't have to get with yours. It's convenient if your social groups can merge, but the important thing is that you like each other, not that you like everyone in each other's lives. If you don't want to be around certain friends of your significant other, he or she should respect that.
This list could go on and on because, basically, there are no rules. Just do your thing and have fun. If your love life makes you happy, you're probably doing it right.
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