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11 Antiquated Dating Rules Women Should Stop Following

Some traditions are meant to be broken.

© Getty Images From letting your date open your door to not splitting the bill on the first date, here are 11 backwards dating etiquette rules you don't have to follow.

By Michelle Darrisaw, Oprah Magazine

Sure, good manners and chivalry will never go out of style-but that doesn't mean we need to subscribe to the same dating rules our parents did. If you want to share a smooch the first night you meet, have at it. Feeling generous? By all means, pay for dinner. Did you two really connect? Then, no, you don't need to wait three days before texting. It's time to challenge these old-school ideals in favor of more modern ones.

Ready to start? Relationship experts debunk the most outdated courtship rules.


1.You should leave it up to your date to do all the planning.

If there's a music festival you've been dying to go to or a new Sandra Bullock movie you want to see, you can take the lead. Otherwise, you may end up disappointed before the sparks can even start to fly.

"No one is a mind reader, so it's unfair to hold your date to that standard. Plus, planning it yourself shows you're willing to put in mutual effort and interest," says licensed psychologist QuaVaundra Perry, PhD, of Perry Psychological and Consultation Services.


2. You have to dress up.

If you're wearing something that you can't walk (or breathe) in, you'll probably spend more time thinking about your blisters than the person sitting across from you. Of course, you'll want to follow the venue's dress code, but if you don't feel like your best self in a bodycon dress and stiletto booties, then wear whatever brings out your most important asset-your smile. Cheesy? Maybe. But also, true.


3. Always let your date open the door for you.

It doesn't mean the person has bad manners just because they reserved the right to not open your door or they forget to pull out your chair a few times. If they've been respectful in other ways, keep it all in perspective.

"If these things are important to you, however, you should tell your prospective partner," says Dr. Perry. "You may just find that they prefer to show chivalry in other ways you haven't considered."


4. Skip the serious topics.

Admittedly, first date conversations can be awkward. But they're even worse when you hold back from asking pertinent questions that could determine whether someone is the right fit. You don't have to share in their beliefs, but you should probably be aware of where they stand. After all, asking "So, where did you grow up?" will only take you so far.

"We should be able to talk about money, sex, and politics in the 21st century," says Maryanne Parker, founder of etiquette company Manor of Manners in San Diego. "A date isn't a networking event or a business meeting where you can't discuss uncomfortable subjects. Otherwise, how will you learn about each other's views, opinions, and interests?"


5. Follow their lead.

Contrary to some backwards beliefs, you don't have to allow your date to dominate the conversation or dictate your every move. If there's a topic you're passionate about or something you disagree with, speak up and let your personality shine through.

"Traditionally, women were expected to follow the man’s lead, zero in on his topics, ask questions, and draw him out. This only reinforced the inequality of the relationship; his thoughts and ideas were the center of the attachment from the beginning while she pretended to be interested, and put her life in the background," says Dr. Jory, author of Cupid on Trial. "This is what we now call 'male entitlement,' and we ought to be seeking 'mutual entitlement' on our dates," she says.

"Mutual entitlement means both men and women share the same rights to assert, control, limit, and set boundaries. The conversation should be about common topics," she adds.


6. Constantly play hard to get.

Acting distant in hopes of getting someone to desire you is dated, not to mention manipulative. Of course, there are studies that suggest acting shy or playing coy makes you more attractive-but it's risky. What if holding out on your affection or not being honest about the way you feel makes the person want to give up the chase? Then what?

"This used to be tactic used to make a woman feel more in control," says licensed psychologist Dr. Eliza Belle. "It was taught as a way to allow the 'pursuer' to do all of the work to initiate and maintain the relationship. But, in all actuality, it results in the woman being inauthentic and misrepresentative of her true feelings and, most importantly, wasting her time. Ultimately, you can only pretend to be intentionally disconnected for so long before you or your partner realize you're in a relationship you really don't like."


7. Don't kiss on the first date.

Feeling an instant connection? Lean into it. Literally. But if it takes longer for you to build that sense of trust and intimacy, then it's perfectly fine to hold out on kissing your date. The takeaway here is that it's up to you, not some old-school dating etiquette.

"If you and your date have chemistry, there’s nothing wrong with casual physical intimacy as long as you both consent to it," says April Davis, who is a life coach and founder of matchmaking service, LUMA. "The key to successful dating is communication. If you really want to kiss them, and you’re unsure of how they feel, say, 'I’ve had a wonderful time tonight, and I’d really like to kiss you. Is that okay?' Some may think this kills the moment, but I say it’s better to be respectful of the other person’s wishes."


8. Never split the bill.

If you take responsibility for your own portion, then you don’t have to feel the burden of "owing" your date later-whether it be a phone call or a second date.

"Even in today’s modern dating world, who picks up the check is still one of the most awkward and, frankly, stressful aspects," says Davis. "One recent study discovered that 65 percent of women opt to pay on the first date. I always advise clients to split the check, no matter what, because it shows you’re generous and not reliant."


9. Avoid making the first move.

A generation back, it was often thought that a woman, specifically, would come across as too desperate, aggressive, or needy if she took initiative. Yes, we're rolling our eyes too. Now that we're in the age of online dating, where singles are using dating apps or sliding into someone's DMs to express their interest, it seems pretty antiquated to wait on someone to ask you for your number.

In other words, take charge by tapping into your inner-Beyoncé for a confidence boost. After all, the worst thing the object of your affection could say is "no," but at least you can handle the rejection knowing you put yourself out there. Besides, if the person you've been eyeing can't handle your forwardness, all signs point to them not being worth your time. In the words of besties Oprah and Gayle, tell 'em, "boy bye."


10. You can't go out with anyone your friend has dated.

It's always been understood that if your friend or someone you know has dated a person, they're off-limits to you. But dating coach and matchmaker Lori Salkin disagrees.

"Just because your good friend went on a date or two with someone, and it didn’t work out for them, doesn’t mean that person is off limits for you," Salkin says. "Most of us are in smaller social circles, and if we start limiting ourselves, we automatically narrow the dating pool." It's important to be sensitive to the other person's feelings, and of course, ask for permission. But if they're cool with you having dinner with someone they shared one cocktail with, then swipe right.


11. Write them off if they don't show up with flowers.

Ah, the days when your date came to your door with a single carnation or bouquet of fresh blooms to show their admiration. Well, don't be disappointed if this doesn't happen.

"Thanks to dating apps, singles are spending many more nights out, meaning, buying flowers for each prospect basically requires getting a side hustle," says relationship coach and author of You Lost him at Hello, Jess McCann. Instead, let gifting flowers be reserved for special occasions.

And as far as that one rule we should all obey: don't ghost, a.k.a leave the person hanging without at least a polite explanation-even if it's a lie. Having good manners never goes out of fashion.

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Love Magazine: 11 Antiquated Dating Rules Women Should Stop Following
11 Antiquated Dating Rules Women Should Stop Following
Some traditions are meant to be broken.
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