5 Dating Rules It's Totally Okay to Break

Today’s society is one of many norms and expectations. Although this applies to every part of daily life, it seems to be the most present in the world of relationships and dating. Women in a heterosexual relationship may expect the guy to pick up the tab every date or open her car door every time, and although these are classic forms of chivalry, it’s time for women to take control sometimes. In a world of growing feminism and a fight for gender equality, some of these dating rules are totally okay to break. Here are some of those rules that college women believe are acceptable to forget.

1. Waiting hours (or days) to text them back

It’s normal to be nervous about texting a new fling, or even SO, back right away. No one wants to seem desperate, and many women want to play “hard to get,” but according to Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, “There's this idea that you should always wait a certain number of hours to text your SO back—some people even extend this to days! If you're interested in the other person, I would just reply to them immediately (or when you have time). Playing ‘hard to get’ isn't always a good idea.” Playing hard to get could easily make someone you’re interested in think that you’re not, causing them to move on or look elsewhere. It’s okay to be straight forward with your feelings; it can make the relationship a lot less confusing and avoid "situationships."

2. Not having sex on the first date

This one tends to be controversial because of the clear double standard in today’s society regarding the sex lives of women versus men. Many women believe having sex on the first date may ruin their chances for a long-term relationship with that person or make them appear “easy.” Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, believes that, "If you and the other person are feeling each other and both consent, there isn't a reason to try to talk yourself out of having safe sex on the first date. The unspoken rule that you shouldn't have sex on a first date is severely outdated. If someone wants to judge you it, let them because they aren't worth your time." No woman should feel ashamed for sleeping with someone after the first date. If the chemistry is there and the sparks are flying, it’s okay to break this outdated rule.

Related: 7 Signs You Should Just Make the First Move Already, As Told by Moms

3. Having him pick up the tab every time

It’s a long-lived rule that the man in a heterosexual relationship should pick up the check every time. However, this doesn’t have to be a norm for everyone’s relationship. It’s totally okay for the woman to pick up the tab sometimes. In fact, it shows equality in the relationship. Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University, says, “I'm all for breaking the rule that guys should pay for everything. It plays into traditional gender roles that are outdated. I will gladly foot the bill not even just once in a while. As long as my SO puts in obvious effort and doesn't become dependent on my checks, I think it's perfectly fine.” This doesn’t mean the woman should pay every time, but splitting the check 50/50 or taking turns paying for meals can create a healthy, balanced relationship.

4. Every conflict must be resolved

It’s instinctive to want every single argument to end happily with both parties in complete understanding of one another, but that just isn’t the reality in most relationships. There will be situations and topics of which partners may never see eye-to-eye, and that’s okay. In a relationship, it’s important to pick and choose your battles. Not every single conflict will be resolved as you see on TV or in the movies. No relationship is perfect, and there are no rules when it comes to how people should work through their problems. What's important is that you know how to communicate with your date or SO in a mature way.

5. They should make the first move

Forget waiting for them to make the first move. There’s nothing wrong with you going for what you want. As Autumn Dube, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, puts it, “There's always the idea that guys should make the first move. This isn't the case anymore. If you're into someone, ask them out! If you're attracted to them, let them know. There's no shame in going after what you want and from our experience, people find confidence attractive. Be honest with yourself about what you want and then go from there.” Most of the time, the other person is too shy to make the first move or unsure if you're interested, so by making the first move, this insecurity can easily be resolved.

Many social rules and norms are being replaced or forgotten as time goes on, and dating rules are no different. You should no longer feel restricted; it’s okay to take charge in a relationship when it comes to money, sex or communication. It’s okay to stray from the classic norms and make your own decisions. Every relationship is different, so there should be no set rules for the world of dating.