There are all kinds of cliché dating “rules” that get tossed around in conversation, but are they really worth following? Thanks to books, TV shows, and movies like He’s Just Not That Into You, it’s easy to get caught up in the supposed dos and don’ts of communication, emotions, and timing. But before you convince yourself that there’s a template for every relationship, take a look at these common dating myths, debunked:
- Wait to respond. There’s something to be said for playing hard to get every once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you need to let hours pass before you text him back. Instead, communicate with the people you date in the same way you’d communicate with friends to avoid any unnecessary games.
- Never mention your ex. While exes don’t need to come up in every conversation, it’s OK to talk about past relationships as a way to get to know each other’s dating history. Steer clear of awkward or uncomfortable specifics, but feel free to be honest about who you are, who you’ve been with, and what you’ve learned from past loves.
- Don’t be emotional. Putting up a few walls can be necessary sometimes, but it’s not healthy to regularly hide your feelings in a relationship. Aim for open, honest conversation, and know that it’s OK to experience negative emotions, too.
- Always offer to split the bill. Every situation is different, so know when to pitch in and when to let yourself be treated. If your date insists on paying, then it’s polite to offer to help, but you don’t always need to reach for your wallet.
- Make it about him. It’s true that people like to talk about themselves, but try not to be so selfless that your own needs or interests are ignored. To build a relationship that’s based on equal footing, strive for balance and compromise when it comes to conversation, dates, and responsibilities.
- Downplay your interest. If you’re worried about caring “too much,” don’t be. There’s nothing wrong with falling for someone, and when it feels right, chances are caring “too much” will feel like just enough.
- Never be needy. No need to play damsel in distress, but know that it’s fine to need another person every once in a while. While it’s great to be independent, there’s also value in letting someone help you when it’s necessary.
- Take it slow. Every relationship moves at its own pace, so don’t feel like you have to force a specific timeline. When it comes to love, follow your instincts, and stay true to what feels right to you.