As someone who has been in the same relationship for 18 years, I often get asked for dating advice. Over the years, I have developed the dating commandments which I share with friends as they pursue new promising relationships.
You should live by these dating commandments to increase the likelihood of finding a spouse, if you are so inclined. The dating commandments also decrease the awkwardness that comes with the inevitable break-up with that great date that is no longer because you broke a commandment.
Yes there are exceptions to every commandment, but do you really think that your new date is in that 1%? Read 'em and weep.
Age isn't just a number
The simplest rule to guarantee that you have a successful dating experience is to choose well. That means the minimum age you should date is half your age plus seven years. For example, if you are thirty the youngest person you can date should be at least twenty three years old. Half of 30 equals 15, plus 7 equals 22.
This works for all ages and allows for the gold diggers out there. You know the people cruising nursing homes. A rich 80 year old can date someone who is forty seven. Ka-ching!
Best laid plans
No this commandment is not about sex. You can only plan for as long as you have been dating. So if you met your Mister Right on Saturday, you can plan to get together on Sunday, Monday is not in the mix. If you have been dating for 6 months, you can plan a vacation in six months. You get the idea.
I always laugh when friends tell me that they are planning to go away to Europe next year with someone they just met. Plane tickets are often non-refundable and non-transferable. If your date is Rick Smith, plan to find someone with the same names Rick Smith to use the ticket when the relationship breaks-up. Not very easy if your date is named Idris Elba. By the way, you can plan that far ahead if your date really is Idris Elba.
His friend is my friend, even when he's not
Your date has his friends, you have yours. Now they will be mixing. Telling your date you don't care for his best friend is not the best dating strategy. Suck it up and keep your mouth shut. After all, your date may be doing the same thing. Remember his best friend thinks he will probably outlast you; he's just biding his time.
Vacation may not be all you ever wanted
You can only vacation together for the number of nights you have consecutively spent overnight. If you have spent a week of consecutive nights together at home then you can plan a week's vacation. If you only spend forty-eight hours together on weekends, then that ten day Hawaiian vacation may be a bit premature. Try a weekend getaway.
Come clean about cleaning
Relationships often have major problems around household chores that usually boil down to cleanliness. Whether it is always putting the toilet seat cover down, washing dishes immediately after a meal, or simply routine cleaning when you are in each other's space, a compromise must be reached.
A regular schedule of what needs to be cleaned when you are sharing each other's space, and who will do it, helps eliminate tension. If at all possible, eliminate the issue by hiring someone to clean. It's an investment that will definitely pay off.
Sometimes your money is his money
If you are of the same economic class, then you should share the responsibility for meals, movies and events that you attend together, or simply alternate paying. However, if one person is a student, while the other is a successful lawyer, you need to work out how things will get paid. That vacation you take in vacation in St. Bart's every year is out of reach for your student lover boy. Simply having the discussion will ensure that everyone has the best vacation and an expectation of how money works in the relationship. After all, you don't want to stay at a youth hostel. Doe's St Bart's have youth hostels?
Dating involves spending time in each other's home and car. It is critical that you be respectful of each other's space. You may hate hearing Lady Gaga for the 10,000th time, but changing the radio station or CD without asking will likely cause trouble.
No farting in each other's presence for the first year. Also goes for belching. After all, each of you deserves breathing space.
He doesn't complete you
No one completes you. You are a whole person; a circle. You and your date may become intersecting circles, but you both should be complete with and without each other. Isn't that a lot healthier? It also allows you to maintain activities and interests you do not share with your date. You can go antiquing and he can play Assassin's Creed.
No U-haul before the long haul
You must have spent a minimum of 120 overnights together before you consider moving in. That means you need to wait over a year if you are spending two nights per week together. So don't plan on renting that U-Haul just yet. If you break this commandment, plan on renting another U-Haul to move out. Be sure to save the boxes.
Two weeks you'll hate
Once you have been dating or in a relationship for over a year, you'll come to realize that you may love your partner 350 days a year; it's the other fifteen days that you need to worry about. On those days, no matter what the issue, simply repeat this mantra "This is one of the fifteen." Just saying it makes you take stock in whatever is bothering you about your partner and whether it is a big deal.
Have the discussion of when it's appropriate to turn off those hook-up apps. If you've followed the commandments you deserve exclusivity.
Now that you know the commandments, think about your previous relationships and whether they were brought down by breaking one of these dating tenets. Did you move in too quickly, take an extended vacation too early, or put too much pressure on your date by planning three years ahead? Follow my dating commandments and you will have a nice long term relationship, may be even the final one. I guarantee it.