No rules for dating after 40

I was sharing my dating life with a married friend. She said she was glad she wasn’t dating now because there are no rules. When she was dating (40 years ago) there were rules. “Like what?” I asked.

“No kissing on the first date.” “Really?” I responded incredulously. “I’ve had some fantastic kisses on the first date. What else?”

“No sleeping together on the first date.” OK, that one I agreed with. “Go on.”

“Men are gentlemen and open doors, pay for the date, make sure you get home safely.” OK, those are fine.

“But there really aren’t any rules,” I explained. “People come from different experiences, so you have to just be clear on what your rules are and don’t bend them.”

Which can be hard. If you are really into each other, it would be easy to progress as if you’d known each other for a while. “It just feels so comfortable,” you tell yourself. However, that momentary comfortableness will lapse into hurt and betrayal if you allow yourself to go farther than your “rule” would allow, then he never calls again. You feel used, undisciplined, and perhaps slutty.

So know your own rules and boundaries. And when you want to ignore them — or he is coaxing you to do so — know it’s time to end the date for today. I’m all for spontaneity, but know that sometimes spontaneous actions cause a lot of pain later.