Many single women are familiar with that popular mid-90s dating guidebook ‘The Rules: Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr Right’. In fact, among most of my female friends, it was considered a second bible and they swore by it. Strangely a lot of them remained single, but more on that later.
The rules of which the book spoke were pretty simple and, to my way of thinking, could be summarised into “keep him wanting more” and centered on making the male pursue you rather than the other way around.
So there will be a lot of confused women this morning following new research from the University of Iowa that found The Rules may not be the formula for lasting relationships they thought.
The study has found that “a significant percentage of current relationships began with non-romantic sex.”
Anthony Paik, an assistant professor of sociology, told the magazine: “People now view hooking up as a predictable, normal part of life and don’t let it contaminate or poison the beginning of a relationship.”
Early sex is a no-no according to the rules (and casual sex doesn’t factor in at all), so the fact a shag can represent a strong starting point is not good news for the authors. But I could have told you that for free.
I am blissfully married. My wife used to use the rules. She didn’t use them on me however. In fact when we met we were both incredibly busy with our lives and agreed, on our very first date, that neither of us was looking for a serious relationship. Just sex.
It was a blunt honesty not common at the time but it lead to an openness that, for us, allowed us to very quickly get to a point where we trusted each other completely. After all, we weren’t second guessing thoughts or playing games.
But that’s not the only Rule that seems to not work. Rule 22 tells women to not move in with a man or even leave things at his place.
Bill Cloke, the author of Happy Together: Creating a Lifetime of Connection, Commitment, and Intimacy, told Women’s Health magazine that it is the reason for moving in together, rather than the act itself, that is so vital to be honest about.
“Couples just need to be honest about why they’re deciding to move in together,” he said.
As long as couples are on the same page as one another in terms of the future, and have made an emotional commitment to get there, living together before matrimony is no bad thing, he suggests.