The dating rules I threw out the window when I met the one

We’ve all heard dating rules before. Don’t ask for his number. Don’t text first after a date. Don’t do this, don’t do that. And whatever you do, DO NOT APPEAR NEEDY. Hide your particular brand of crazy until you get your new guy hooked.

Despite many of these rules being outdated (and, come to think of it, sexist), I have to admit I used to follow some. Whatever the new relationship, I wanted to make sure of one thing: The person I was dating liked me more than I liked him. If not, I would at least want it to look like that was the case.

But all that changed when I met the one. I was enamored with him immediately. I didn’t want to seem as if I liked him too much, but I could barely contain the excitement I felt about him and our nascent relationship. I didn’t want to play games. I was all in.

I’m sure I’m leaving some out, but here are just a few of the dating rules I threw out the window when I met the one.

Don’t get serious too fast

Before I met the man who would become my husband, I dated a lot. For a time, I was a serial monogamist, going from one long-term relationship to another. Months into these relationships, the guy I was seeing usually would start talking about our future together. I generally would engage in these conversations to some extent. I meant no harm but, for the most part, I didn’t take much of it seriously. The future with each of my ex-boyfriends seemed distant and was more of a hypothetical scenario, the way I saw it, than an actual plan.

That changed when I met the one. Starting just about after our first kiss, I already felt myself falling in love. Before we were even “official,” I knew, I just knew, that he was the person I was going to marry someday. And I told my friends and family, even though I knew it sounded crazy. We’d only been seeing each other for a couple of weeks!

Don’t call or text constantly

How long should you wait to reply to a text message from the person you just started seeing? An hour? Three hours? Three days? I didn’t wait at all. I responded when I got the message, because I was really excited to hear from him. And I wanted him to know it. I didn’t want to make him chase me.

It wasn’t just text messaging. I called him, too. While driving to his house after work — invited, I swear! — I would call to let him know I was on the way. Instead of hanging up, though, we found ourselves talking (with me on speakerphone or using a Bluetooth) about how our days went. We often wouldn’t end the call until I was parking my car outside his house, where he was already waiting outside the door, ready to let me inside.

Don’t let him see how much you like him

I never wanted to care about someone I was seeing more than he cared for me. But with this guy I realized that was a real possibility. It’s not that my new love made it seem like he didn’t feel the same way for me; it’s just that I fell so hard so fast that I wondered how his emotions could possibly keep up with mine. Once I realized how invested I was, I didn’t dial it back. The old me would have tried to seem aloof. I probably would have spent less time with him for a while and reined in the text messaging and phone calls. The old me would have wanted him to think he had to work harder to “get” me. Instead, I let him see how much I cared about him and was overjoyed that his actions were showing how much he was into me as well.

Whether I agree with them or not, dating rules were created and became popular for a reason. For the most part, it seems these guidelines are meant to keep people from coming on too strong and getting hurt. And I understand that. I’m not saying everyone should do what I did, or that falling in love so quickly is always a good idea. What worked for me won’t necessarily work for someone else. But I know that once I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I couldn’t keep those feelings to myself.

Fortunately, the object of my affection felt the same way. And trust me, he was breaking dating rules, too, but maybe that’s a story for another day. At our wedding, my maid of honor had a good time telling guests in her speech how I knew I was going to marry my husband before we were officially a couple. “Well, “ she said with a laugh, “you’re really official now!”

(Image via Focus Features.)

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