The Dating Rules

Gay Dating

The Dating Rules for Gay Couples

Jonathan Welford

Written by: Jonathan Welford

Jonathan Welford

Jonathan Welford is a dating and relationship coach, author of three relationship coaching books and regular columnist. He heads up a coaching and therapy practice specializing in dating and relationships. He lives in the UK with his husband and their English bulldog named Lola.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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What are the dating rules? What is the order of things that should happen while dating?

These are common questions I see from my dating clients.

In an ideal world, this would be the format:

1. Meet online or in real life.

First you meet a fantastic guy on a dating site like Match or an app like Grindr, and you hit it off.

Or maybe you chat up a single man in line for coffee or groceries. Maybe you started dancing at the club and felt good vibes.

Either way, you feel a connection and arrange more time together to get to know each other more.

2. First date.

Choose something informal for a first date like coffee and a walk around a gallery or exhibition. Cinemas or theater dates aren’t good because you don’t get time to speak to each other.

At the end of the date, go in for a kiss on the cheek and a hug.

3. Second date.

This includes a romantic meal somewhere nice with a more intimate setting and more getting to know each other. You may want to end the evening with a more passionate kiss.

4. Third date.

This could be a meal at one of your houses with a few drinks and a nice meal. If you both want, the date could lead to the bedroom, where there will be fireworks and passion.

“I have a little project for you:

Write your own rulebook.”

5. Mixing up dates.

A few weeks down the road, introduce each other to friends and officially become a couple.

6. Introduce each other to the parents.

This is a big step. Meeting a partner’s parents means you are starting to integrate into their lives. You’re forming a serious relationship.

7. Discuss moving in.

Sometime over the next year or so of consistent dates and good conversations, you might begin to discuss living together. Maybe you’re spending so much time together already that you’ve practically already moved in.

8. Think about a civil union or marriage.

Sometime between year two and three, if they are committed and in love, a gay couple may look to buy a home together or think about a civil union or marriage.

If we all followed these rules, there would be no need for all those wonderful dating websites and my job as a dating coach would be made obsolete.

I followed the rules up to stage four but then sped things up. My partner and I moved in within three months and were married in less than eight months!

Other people are together for years before they move in together. Some people sleep together on the first date or sometimes before they even know each other’s names!

The dating cycle is different for different people.

If you feel you are being rushed, make sure your date knows what your rules are.

There is nothing wrong with changing, adapting and merging two people’s ideals and outlooks.

Nothing is written in stone. However, the key thing is to communicate your feelings.

In my dating life, when I was playing the field, I always made a joke about the “Third Date Rule.”

I declared before meeting someone that I never slept with a new date before the third date.

This whittled out the guys who only wanted one-night stands and established what sort of guy I was.

Needless to say, I didn’t always stick to the rule, but if I did end up sleeping with them on the first night, they felt important that I’d broken my rule for them!

I have a little project for you: Write your own rulebook.

Don’t feel like you need to email your rulebook to any potential dates, but keeping the principles in your mind will help you with your expectations.

What are you going to write in your personal dating rulebook? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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