10 Unspoken Rules of Dating in 2024

September 21, 2023

Dating in 2023 looks a lot different than it did even just a few years ago. With the rise of dating apps and evolving social norms, there are new "unspoken rules" for navigating the modern dating scene. Here are 10 key unspoken rules to keep in mind when you're dating in 2023:

1. Assume you're not exclusive until you have the talk

In today's dating culture, it's becoming less and less common for people to automatically become "official" after a few dates. Don't assume you're exclusive with someone until you explicitly discuss it and agree to be in an exclusive relationship. Until that conversation happens, assume the other person is likely still keeping their options open and talking to/seeing other people.

2. Consent is mandatory

Consent should be an absolute bare minimum requirement for any physical intimacy or sexual activity. Both partners need to expressly agree to engage in any sexual acts. Don't make assumptions or push boundaries - if there's any doubt or hesitation, stop and check in with your partner. Healthy relationships require mutual consent.

3. Ghosting happens

Unfortunately ghosting - when someone completely stops responding with no explanation - has become fairly common. It's rude and hurtful, but it happens. Try not to take it personally if you get ghosted - reflect on whether there were any red flags, learn from the experience, and move on. Don't obsess over someone who disappears on you.

4. Texting etiquette varies

Everyone has different texting styles and habits. Some people love being in constant contact throughout the day, while others prefer to text sparingly to make plans. Don't make assumptions or get upset if someone doesn't share your exact texting preferences. Discuss what communication frequency you each like.

5. Splitting the bill is okay

While traditional etiquette often dictated that the man pays, those notions are outdated. Don't be offended if your date wants to split the check - or even cover the whole bill. Be gracious and appreciative either way. Take turns treating or find a system that works for both of you.

6. Take it slow with social media

Resist over-posting or declaring your coupledom too soon on social media. While some couples love broadcasting their relationship all over Instagram immediately, keeping things more private early on allows you to nurture the relationship outside the glare of social media. See how things progress before going "social media official."

7. Not everyone wants marriage/kids

Don't assume every person you date is looking for the same long-term relationship goals as you. Have open conversations about whether you both ultimately want to be married, have kids, etc. Don't try to talk someone into major life decisions they don't want - find someone on the same page.

8. Their past is their past

While it's normal to discuss relationship histories, don't obsess over someone's past partners or experiences. Judge them by how they treat you - not on their previous relationships. Everybody has a past, so focus on building a future together.

9. Set boundaries around exes

Speaking of the past...establish boundaries about contact with exes early on. Are you both okay with staying platonic friends with exes? Is any communication off limits? Talk through these scenarios before there are any hurt feelings or situations that feel like "emotional cheating."

10. Honesty is essential

While mind games used to be part of dating tactics, authenticity is essential today. Be honest about what you're looking for and how you feel. Games waste everyone's time - look for someone who keeps it real.

The unspoken rules of dating are always evolving, but keeping these guidelines in mind can help you navigate things smoothly. The keys are being direct, maintaining open communication, and finding someone who shares your values and relationship goals. Approach dating in 2023 with patience, empathy and honesty for the best chance at success.

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