7 Dating Rules You’re Better Off Ignoring, Inspired by Courtney & Other “Bachelor” Villains

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Every season, a villain emerges from among the contenders for the heart of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, and every season he or she has one thing in common: a tendency to break the show’s totally fabricated rules. And after watching evil model Courtney manipulate her way into Bachelor Ben’s heart this season, I’m ready to officially say it: She’s kind of brilliant. And so are most of the other “villains” of the past.

Is she a good person? I wouldn’t say that. Are the villains of the past good people? Even more doubtful, in many cases. However, they may be onto exactly what holds most of us back in dating: rules, rules, rules.

The Bachelor franchise is based on an alternate-universe-type set of rules. Go out with The Bachelor only when invited via date card. Make out with The Bachelor only in hot tubs or “fantasy suites.” Do not hunt The Bachelor down for alone time, force him to go near the water, and then strip while not-so-coyly suggesting skinny-dipping. Those who flout these guidelines on the show almost always find out two things: 1. They’re not really rules, and there are no consequences in violating them. 2. Oftentimes breaking the rules means coming out ahead.

Related: 10 Secret Perks of Going Through a Break-up

 All of which made me wonder: Which dating rules could you be better off ignoring, under the right circumstances? A few ideas:

  1. Don’t date a coworker. First of all, work is a great place to meet people who share your passions and goals. Second of all, it’s super hot to sneak around for copy-room flirtations and secretive after-work drinks. So if you’re in the clear, management-wise (no one’s going to get fired if when you’re eventually found out), it could definitely be worth risking potential future water-cooler awkwardness.
  2. Don’t date your ex. Sure, you broke up for a reason — but you were also together for a reason (probably many reasons). If you’re still thinking fondly about each other, there must be something there, right? Again, it all depends on the circumstances under which you broke up, but all exes shouldn’t necessarily be blacklisted.
  3. Don’t hook up before the third date, or maybe even the tenth date. We all know couples who have slept together on the first date and lived happily ever after, and people who waited forever to have sex, then broke up.
  4. Don’t be so picky. If you have an insanely long list of dealbreakers, that’s one thing — but we’re pretty sure the best time to be “picky” is when you’re choosing someone with whom to spend most of your time, possibly your life, and at least quite a few naked hours. You hereby are granted permission to be picky.
  5. Don’t ask about your date’s romantic past. For anyone over 30, and many others as well, discussing former flames is a font of valuable information, and a huge part of anyone’s life story.
  6. Don’t call too soon, or in the case of ladies, at all. Like #3, this isn’t a dealbreaker if it’s the right relationship. If anything, this will tell you right away whether this is the real thing or not.
  7. Don’t push to define the relationship. Once again, all this does is hasten the inevitable in a bad match, and make everyone happier in a good one.