We’ve come a long way since “going steady” and “getting pinned” were considered benchmarks for a flourishing couple.
Nowadays, people can more easily define a “basic bitch” than their own relationship status. While the times have most certainly changed, I’d argue that there is still a desire and need for a few common courtesies.
They may even be all the more important now that single Americans outnumber their married counterparts for the first time in history.
We may call it hooking up rather than dating, swipe on our phones rather than approach strangers in a bar or blur the lines between friendships and romance, but that doesn’t make our methods any better or worse. In fact, even casual flings can be healthy and fun.
With all due respect to Pat Benatar, love doesn’t have to be a battlefield; we all just need to agree on a few basic ground rules. So, whether you’re a guy or a girl, gay or straight, looking for love or just a good lay, here are your 10 commandments of modern dating.
Consider me God in this scenario.
1. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Feelings
Let's be real here: Are you actually into this person or are you keeping him on the back burner in case nothing better comes along? If it's the latter, channel your inner Moses and let those people go.
You might hurt his feelings in the moment, but you'll be doing him a favor in the long run. Trust.
2. Thou Shalt Honor Honesty Above All Else
Ditch the Tough Guy and Cool Girl act already and be yourself. If whomever you’re seeing can’t appreciate the real you, then let it be their loss. Let your freak flag fly!
Someone who really likes you will appreciate your special snowflake-ness above all else. Who knows, you might even a share a few quirks.
3. Thou Shalt Not Judge Based on Superficiality
You'll only date someone taller than 6'0"? Only be seen with someone smaller than a size 4? Stop picturing what Instagram filter you'll use and start imagining your day-to-day relationship.
Would you call that person to bitch about your boss? Could your friends survive an entire weekend away with him? Consider these your new baseline requirements.
People will spend .000035 seconds evaluating the hotness of your significant other then go right back to figuring out which "Girls" character they're most like from a Buzzfeed quiz. That'll be it.
4. Thou Shalt Have Sex Whenever Thou Is Ready
Buying dinner is not a one-way ticket inside someone’s pants, nor should you expect it to be. In the same regard, waiting until after the stereotypical three dates does not ensure a healthy, long-term relationship.
Go with your gut, and do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. In today’s Tinder-verse, everyone and anyone can get laid if they really want to, so just be real about what you want.
If being that upfront sounds more awkward than waking up next to a stranger, I’d start questioning your logic.
5. Thou Shalt Not Covet The “Timeline”
Ah, the timeline. In a perfect Stepford world, everyone would find the lid to their pot by 22, be married by 26 and pop babies out by 30. Alas, we live in reality. And, by the way, it’s much better out here.
Life is not a race with some imaginary finish line, so stop comparing your journey to everyone else's. Being a real adult is about finding out what makes you happy and going for it. Everything else will fall into place after that.
6. Thou Shalt Not Take Everything Personally
A very wise friend once wrote, “Ultimately, it is completely possible to be absolutely in love with someone who is wrong for you.” Remember, you are no less valuable just because one individual doesn’t feel the same spike in hormones as you do. They just weren’t the right one.
7. Thou Shalt Believe Those Who Say They Aren’t Interested
They may not always say it outright (see: commandment one), but people who are no longer invested let it be known.
If they ignore you, cancel plans constantly without a valid excuse and generally don't make you important, they are sending a clear message. Listen up, pay attention and move the frig on.
8. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery (Sidenote: Also A Real Commandment)
I recently rekindled with an old flame only to learn after our date that he’s already in a serious relationship. Bad move. It’s time for all of us to grow up and be honest with each other. If you’re unhappy in your current relationship, end it before moving on. Case closed.
9. Remember Thine Own Heartbreak
We've all been there: the tears, the overindulgence in junk food, the righteous indignation when relaying the story to friends. But do we ever consider the effects when we’re the villains in this scenario?
Not every ex-girlfriend is crazy, not every former boyfriend is an asshole, but we should all take a little responsibility for when we've played those roles.
That doesn't mean whipping ourselves nightly (unless you're into that sort of thing) or banishing ourselves to a lifetime of loneliness. It just means learning from our past mistakes.
10. Thou Shalt Do Unto Others, As Thou Would Have Them Do Unto You
Feelings are bound to get hurt when emotions are this involved, but it all comes down to Aretha Franklin and her famous spelling bee: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. As long as we can all agree to that, the other commandments will fall into place.