It was so much easier for our parents. The long-time traditional guidelines for dating couples were starting to come apart when they were getting to know each other, but there were still a few key "rules" they could use to guide their actions. Nowadays, though, even those guidelines are being proven not important. What's a dating couple to do?

One of those "guidelines" very clearly warned a couple against living together before marriage. But according to the most recent information from the National Center for Health Statistics, couples who co-habitate before tying the knot have as good a chance of staying together as those who don't. The secret, according to relationship expert Bill Cloke, PhD, is to make an emotional commitment before living together. Sharing a residence to save money, or to "test" your compatibility, are not good ideas, according to Cloke

Another guideline said that couples shouldn't talk about money before marriage. Big mistake, according to Cloke. Couples should talk money before things get too serious, so that any financial issues one partner brings into a relationship can be planned for together by both members of the relationship. Cloke also recommends couples look at how they handle money individually, and try to share a budget, even if they don't share a bank account.

Probably the guideline that still has the most influence says that casual sex won't lead to a serious relationship. Not always true, according to a University of Iowa study. It discovered that a large number of relationships start with casual sex. The study suggests this happens because casual sex has lost its taboo value. The key to making it a starting point for a relationship? Don't always plan on having sex as part of dating. A relationship built on sex is not likely to survive, according to many experts. Relationships need to grow in and outside the bedroom for them to survive.

Do you [or did you] follow the old "rules" when you date[d] someone? Is there still something to the old guidelines, or have times changed too much for them to be relevant? Let us know your opinion, here or on our Facebook page.

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