Memoirs of a Single Dad's Dating Rules For Adults Over 30

This is part 4 of a four-part series on dating rules originally published on This set of rules are for adults over 30 and were assembled after nearly 8 years of personal dating experience. Following these dating rules won't guarantee success or happiness, but not following them may.

Part IV in the series of dating rules for responsible adults brings us to the rules that should apply to everyone. These rules are so basic and fundamental that everyone should attempt to follow them to the best of their ability at all times. Obviously, rules of any kind come from someone’s set of morals and values.

I’m a Midwesterner, so my set of morals and values may differ from yours, but I really believe there are some core morals and values that are universal to all Americans and even to some extent, to everyone on earth.

Remember, these rules are not for teenagers, or even those in college or in their early to mid twenties.  No set of dating rules can apply to all adults (ahem, you know what I'm talking about, right???), so let’s have a reminder about who I’m targeting with my example set of rules:

To Whom Do These Dating Rules Apply?

Generally speaking, you are…

  • an adult approaching or over the age of 30,
  • relatively intelligent and educated,
  • seeking a long-term relationship as the goal,
  • and, most importantly, mentally stable.
These rules are so basic and fundamental that everyone should attempt to follow them...

To Whom Do These Dating Rules NOT Apply?

If you've already read the first three parts in the series, then you know why I try to be so specific about my target audience. If you didn’t, let’s review.

These ‘dating rules for adults’ do not apply to the following types of "daters":

  • those seeking only to hook up (whether they are honest about it or not)
  • spouses cheating on their husbands
  • ‘professional’ daters that have been in the game for years
  • casual daters not really seeking a partner (although, I could argue they should apply)
  • other socially deviant daters that gravitate to sites like and

Quite frankly, daters that fall into these areas of dating have their own set of rules entirely. I highly recommend you learn those rules (if they indeed exist) before you delve into those dating worlds.

You should probably get my book.

Memoirs of a Dating Dad is a book I wrote about my experiences in dating as a single dad.

Sometimes crazy, sometimes meaningful, always insightful - all of my experiences in dating as a single dad taught me some very valuable life lessons.

Memoirs of a Dating Dad is ten chapters of hilarity, sadness, anticipation and disappointment - all of the feelings and emotions that are inevitable when dating in today's jungle.

Download my book from Amazon today and be sure not to make the same mistakes in dating that I did!

Dating Rules For Adults - Number 1: Don’t Fake It

I know what you’re thinking – and that’s not exactly what I meant.  Although, that would technically be covered by this rule as well.

I’m not talking about faking it during sex; I’m talking about faking being interested in someone just to have something to do on a Friday night.  It’s selfish of you and doesn’t do anything positive for your dating life in the long run either.  It simply prolongs you actually finding someone you are interested in.
We have our rose-colored glasses on in the beginning of the relationship.

In my personal observation, the majority of relationships start out in the beginning just about as good as they’re going to get. That doesn’t mean that a great relationship won’t stay great or your relationship with your ‘one’ won’t mature over time and become even more fulfilling.  It just means they call the beginning of the relationship the ‘honeymoon phase’ for a reason.

We have our rose-colored glasses on in the beginning of the relationship. We’re bound to overlook flaws, annoyances and some red flags. The issue becomes when we start to recognize these problems but, for one reason or another, choose to ignore them.

We string our date along hoping either they’ll change or “it won’t bother me that much”.

Core issues don’t correct themselves and they usually only become more intolerable over time.  Bottom line: when you start to notice what you consider to be deal-breakers in a relationship, confront the problem, attempt to resolve the problem (if you so desire) and if the problem isn’t resolved in a timely manner, exit gracefully.  Don’t close your eyes, bury your head in the sand and hope for the best.

That’s not how relationships work.

Dating Rules For Adults - Number 2: Keepin’ it Real(istic)

I’m a grown man – I’m 35 years old now and I know (pretty much) exactly what I want in a partner and what I have to offer that partner.

The problem?

As we mature (in age, anyway), the dating field narrows exponentially.  For example, let’s pretend the below characteristics are my deal breaker selection criteria for my potential mate.  My mate MUST be…

  • Between 30 and 40 years old
  • Single
  • Never Married
  • No Children
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Job

My selection criteria aren’t all that unreasonable.  Or are they?  Let’s crunch some census data and do the match math.

Is Your Dating Calculus Impossible to Achieve? Do the Math.

  • Of the people in the US in my specified age bracket, 51% are women – that leaves me with 21,000,000 matches.
  • Of those 21,000,000 total women, 15,263,000 are married, divorced or separated.  That leaves me with 5,737,000 matches.
  • Of those 5,737,000 women, only 4,446,000 have never been married.
  • Of those 4,446,000 never married women, approximately 37% will have children.  That leaves me with 2,800,980 matches.  Nationwide.
  • Of those 2,800,980 matches, 33% will have a bachelor’s degree or better.  Not a bad ratio!  You go, girls!  That leaves me with 924,323 matches.  Nationwide.
  • Of those 924,323 single, never married, no children, college-educated women, 655,000 have no income.  That either means they have no job because someone else is supporting them or they are independently wealthy.  I’ll give 55,000 of them the benefit of the doubt and only subtract 600,000.  That leaves me with 324,323 matches.  Nationwide.

Are my "rules" for who is a match realistic?

What if I had other selection criteria?

What if I only wanted to date women under 5’7” with brown hair, pink toenails, blue eyes and within a 25 mile radius?

We’re talking about…oh, say 2 matches or so!  My point here is that our selection criteria should be realistic.  There simply isn’t the quantity of singles out there to support our habit of being as picky as we have become in our ‘maturity’.

Sure, when we were in our teens and twenties the sea of potential matches was never-ending.  We’re more mature now and our tastes have matured along with us.  Make your list and check it twice, but don’t let too many of your deal-breakers be for arbitrary reasons or you’ll subtract yourself right out of finding a match!

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Golden Rule of Dating

/ˌɡōldən ˈro͞ol/
noun informal
Do unto other daters as you’d have them do unto you.
"The single man followed his gut and the golden rule of dating and called his date the next day."

Dating Rules For Adults - Number 3: The Golden Rule of Dating

This rule is likely one that makes the most sense, the one that will make people stand up and say, “Yeah, we SHOULD do that!” and garner all kinds of initial support only to have most people not practice it.

The Golden Rule of Dating: Do unto other daters as you’d have them do unto you.

In other words, treat daters with the same level of respect that you expect to be given.  The problem with this one is that ‘respect’ is a relative and very subjective term. For instance, some people consider a polite, “No thank you” to a potential suitor to be respectful while others consider it to be rude and just a little too forward.  Some like to be told straight up what the situation is while others prefer to be let down easy so as not to bruise their egos.

Last time I checked, no one walks around with what their preference is pinned to their lapel, so your guess is often as good as mine which one they prefer.

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What do you think? What dating "rules" do you have that you'd like to share? Be sure to leave a comment below!

What do you think? What dating "rules" do you have that you'd like to share? Be sure to leave a comment below!

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