12 New Rules for Dating in Today’s World

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Andrea Barbalich

By Andrea Barbalich | May 14th, 2019

“Women want companionship,” says real estate agent Carolyn Fox. She should know: She has been divorced twice, she was engaged to be married a third time until that relationship imploded, and she’s now happily involved with a man after being single in New York City for six years. During that time, she went on hundreds of dates. She was joined at the MM.LaFleur showroom in New York by Kristin Davin, Psy.D., a psychologist and relationship coach, and Tamsen Fadal, Emmy-award winning journalist and author of books including The New Single, for a panel discussion on “Dating in 2019,” moderated by Judy Herbst of Worthy. A roundup of their collective advice:

Deal with your last relationship

Whether it was a divorce or a breakup, it’s important to assess what happened, what part you played in it, and what you can do differently next time, Dr. Davin says. This will allow you to move into a new relationship without repeating patterns. It will also allow you to “connect the dots” so you get a better understanding of why you make the choices you do, allowing for healthier relationship patterns to emerge.

Identify what you want—and don’t want

If what you’re looking for in a partner or companion is vague, you’re going to go on a lot of dates that aren’t going to fulfill you and won’t get you closer to a satisfying relationship. If you decide that certain qualities are deal breakers—whether lying, financial instability, or emotional unavailability—hold firm on those.

Keep expectations in check

Many people try to meet the ideal person right away. That’s not realistic, the panelists said. Rather than putting the pressure on each date to be the one that turns into a lasting union, stay in the moment and understand that 95% of the time that will not be the case and that’s okay. Be patient. Have fun with it. And when dating ceases to be fun, take a break.

Abandon the “knight in shining armor” myth

There’s no such thing. Everyone has idiosyncrasies and baggage. Focus on the qualities that are most important to you rather than expecting perfection.

Realize it’s a numbers game

You may need to date numerous people before meeting someone you want to spend more time with. So go ahead and schedule lots of dates. (You learn from the ones who don’t work out, too.) On the other hand, don’t feel pressure to go out every night. If you don’t feel like it, just say no.

Try these dating apps

OK Cupid and Bumble worked best for Fox.

READ MORE: 5 Tips for Writing a Successful Online Dating Profile

Don’t obsess over your looks

Make an effort to look nice, sure. But don’t stress over it. The good guys—the men who are soulful and looking for real intimacy and a strong relationship—will find the beauty in you.

You may need to date numerous people before meeting someone you want to spend more time with. So go ahead and schedule lots of dates.

Have a drink

You can usually tell fairly quickly whether a date is someone you’d like to see again. So keep the outing short. Coffee works for some but can increase nerves. Others prefer a drink: It takes the edge off, and you can leave after one. Also: Choose a restaurant or bar in your own neighborhood where you feel safe.

Be willing to pay

Although the panelists said they appreciate it when a man picks up the check, Fox has an additional rule: She pays for her portion if she doesn’t want to see the person again. She asks for the check so she can leave quickly. Men do the same thing, she says: Check, please.

Abandon these eight words

Saying “When am I going to see you again?” at the end of the date gives too much power to the date, Fox says. Try this instead, if you liked the person: “Joe, I had such a great time. I have to go now, but I’ll see you around.” If her date wanted to extend the drink into dinner, she would offer a firm no. She didn’t give a reason. If she liked him, she’d say, “I have plans but look forward to hearing from you another time.” This adds to the woman’s cache, she says.

Don’t take rejection personally

Just as every date won’t be the right fit for you, you won’t be the right fit for every date. When rejection happens—and it inevitably will—realize it’s for the best, take it in stride, and get out there again.

Know how great you are

Many women put men on a pedestal. Seek out someone whose standard of excellence is as high as yours. And fall back in love with yourself, Fadal advises in The New Single. Whether it’s doing yoga, traveling, taking up a new hobby, or spending time with family and friends, do what gives you energy and makes you happy. This will help you rediscover your power, she says, and live your best life.

Andrea Barbalich

Andrea Barbalich

Andrea Barbalich is an award-winning editor and writer who has held top positions at Prevention, Reader's Digest, and other print and digital brands. She lives in Westchester County, NY.


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