Not Your Mother's Rules

The New Secrets for Dating


By Ellen Fein

By Sherrie Schneider

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$13.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 8, 2013. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The authors behind the ubiquitous dating bible that launched a worldwide movement are back, accompanied by their daughters, with brand new advice updated for the modern era.

How long should I wait to respond to his text message? Can I friend him on Facebook? Why did he ask for my number but never call me?

When The Rules was published in 1995, its message was straightforward: be mysterious. But for women looking for love today, it’s not quite so simple. In a world of instant messaging, location check-ins, and status updates, where hook-ups have become the norm and formal one-on-one dates seem a thing of the past, it’s difficult to retain the air of mystery that keeps men interested.

Now, with help from their daughters, the original Rules Girls Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider share their thoroughly modern, fresh take on dating that will help women in today’s information age create the happy love lives they want and deserve. Whether you’re a 20-something dating for the first time, a 30-something tired of being single, a 40-something giving advice to your daughter, or a 50-something getting back in the dating game, this book has the answers you’ve been waiting for. The Rules include:

  • Stay Away from his Facebook Profile
  • Make Yourself Invisible and Other Ways to Get Out of Instant Messaging
  • Stop Dating a Guy Who Cancels More than Once
  • Text-Back Times Chart
  • Don’t Just Hang Out or See Him 24/7
  • TTYL: Always End Everything First– Get Out of There!
  • And much, much more!

Providing the dos and don’ts you need to stop making mistakes and start finding romance, Not Your Mother’s Rules will revolutionize dating today just as The Rules did nearly 20 years ago!


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Table of Contents


Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at Thank you for your support of the author's rights.

Authors' Note: We are not licensed to practice psychology, psychiatry, or social work, and The Rules is not intended to replace psychological counseling, but is simply a dating philosophy based on our own experiences and those of thousands of women who have contacted us.

Chapter I

Why We Wrote This Book

HAS YOUR MOTHER or another relative, friend, or acquaintance ever said, "You're so pretty, smart, and nice—why don't you have a boyfriend?" Did you feel speechless because you couldn't figure it out either and were not sure what you were doing wrong in the dating department?

Women today manage to graduate with honors, climb the corporate ladder, win Olympic gold medals, and even run for president of the United States, but getting a guy to ask them out or commit is next to impossible! Alas, we know the reason why most pretty, smart, and nice women don't have a significant other: they either pursue guys or act too eager when guys make the first move!

Here's how it all started: About twenty years ago we were having dinner with five friends at a Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side in New York City, a scene sort of like one from Sex and the City, but before Sex and the City existed. Every woman brought her dating problem to the table. We noticed that the women who played hard to get, either on purpose or because they were truly busy, got the guys, while the women who asked guys out or showed too much interest got dumped. We put two and two together, watched it work in real life, and decided to write a dating book to share the secrets of this phenomenon to help every woman on earth—not just our friends—date successfully.

Simply put, The Rules are a way of acting around any guy who initiates conversation with you, whether in person or online, so he becomes obsessed with you and wants to commit. Yes, it's about playing hard to get, because guys love a challenge and lose interest when anything is too easy—especially women.

The Rules became an instant best seller and was translated into twenty-seven languages—because guys are the same all over the world! We appeared on just about every TV and radio show, preaching the play-hard-to-get gospel. We started a worldwide phone and e-mail consultation business and a free Rules network; we have helped thousands of women date with boundaries to find self-esteem, love, and marriage.

Now we want to help you date successfully; we want to share our time-tested secrets with you, which are applicable whether you're dealing with texting, Facebook, instant messages, or Skype. You can truly do The Rules on any guy, in any situation, and get the fabulous payoff: a guy who is crazy about you!

Are you tired of guys texting you or friending or messaging you on Facebook, but not asking you out?

Have you heard of The Rules, but are not sure how to apply these dating secrets to today's technologies?

Have you had it with casual relationships and hookups and spending Saturday nights or Valentine's Day alone?

Do you wonder why some women who are not even as pretty or smart or nice as you get the guys, and you don't?

Do you suspect that you are doing something wrong, but are not sure what?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are reading the right dating book! We wrote Not Your Mother's Rules because how to get and keep a guy is not taught in high school, college, or even later in life. Women both young and old, including our clients, contacts, dating coaches, and those who are getting back into the dating game, begged us to write another book covering the latest shape dating has taken on. Even mothers wrote to us asking how they could help their daughters!

We wrote this updated version of The Rules to teach women how to capture the heart of Mr. Right in the new world of dating and romance. But the truth is, all the old Rules still apply! We strongly encourage you to read or at least browse through All the Rules in addition to this book; some of the content may seem a bit outdated, but the spirit of our message is still the same. In 2013 there are some nuances to the older Rules that weren't even on their way to existing yet in 1995! We've included a few Rules here that have come up in our previous books, but with updates pertaining to today's dating world. We even use some of the same terminology in this book, like buyer beware (Rule #22) and Next! (Rule #31). We also wrote a quick reference guide about the most important Rules to keep in mind from those books in Chapter VII, "20 Rules That Bear Repeating." Your mother may have bought you a copy of this book, or maybe you bought it yourself to find answers. No matter how it got into your hands, we will teach you how to use The Rules in a world full of texting, tweeting, wall writing, booty calling, and more—all of which has changed the way everyone dates.

But before you can do The Rules, you have to understand that men and women are different. This fact may seem shocking because you were raised to think that men and women are equal and that women can do anything they want. Women can become doctors and lawyers and make the same salaries as men. They can run marathons and even run for political office! While all this is true, women cannot be the pursuer in a romantic relationship without the possibility of getting rejected, hurt, or perhaps even devastated. Men and women are not the same romantically. Men love a challenge, while women love security. Men love to buy and sell companies as well as extreme sports like mountain climbing and bungee jumping, while women love to talk about their dates and watch romantic comedies. In fact, one of the guys we interviewed for this book said, "I could never be a girl—you talk about relationships too much!" LOL! It's true: A woman gets a text or e-mail from a guy she likes and she forwards it to five girlfriends to analyze it. A guy gets a text, thinks about it for less than a second, and then turns back to the football game. Vive la différence!

The other thing you need to understand is that men are extremely visual and cannot be attracted to a girl just because she is nice, smart, or funny. They know who they like instantaneously. It may sound bad, but physical attraction is everything for a guy. He can't possibly love your insides if he doesn't love your outsides, so it's a waste of time to initiate contact. You may not be his type or look and he will eventually dump you for the girl he is physically attracted to. Conversely, while women also have a type/look, they can grow to like a guy who is funny or successful. But a guy just can't do it! Women are more emotional about love and can be swept away by a guy's personality, while most guys can't get past a woman's looks. Yet another way men and women are wired differently!

Knowing these differences between the sexes will help you do The Rules—play hard to get—because being a challenge is the secret to getting a guy. Men are easily bored, so if you want a guy to pursue you, don't act so interested. Treat him a little bit like a guy you don't care for! As we wrote in our first book, don't speak to a man first, don't ask him out, don't accept last-minute dates, don't see him too often, and don't date him forever. These are the keys to dating!

So why Not Your Mother's Rules—and why now? Facebook, Gchat, texting, and other social technologies have made it almost impossible for women to be elusive and mysterious. Every woman is glued to her cell phone and guys can reach her morning, noon, and night. Not exactly hard to get! How exactly can a woman do The Rules under these new circumstances, you ask?

We were talking to a new client who was just out of college and she was complaining about how hard it is to follow The Rules with the new levels of accessibility. She said that, thanks to The Rules, she knew not to call men or ask them out. And thanks to The Rules for Online Dating, she got that she shouldn't contact a guy after looking at his profile or respond to a wink. But texting, Facebook, Gchat, Twitter, and Skype were throwing her for a loop. She didn't know if The Rules applied—and if they did, how exactly? She had so many questions! Was it okay to text a guy first? If you had to wait to text back, how long was Rules-y and how long was just rude? Were there new Rules for all this? With all due respect, she said, technology has changed so much since our previous books were published—everyone texts constantly now and thinks nothing of friending guys and tweeting all day long, so how was it going to all work out for a Rules Girl like her?

Another client called with similar questions, and then another client and another, and then our own daughters and their friends were asking us questions, so we knew we had to address these issues—we knew we had to write this book! Everything is different now, and more instantaneous, so how could The Rules possibly apply?

We remember back in 1995 when readers labeling themselves feminists scoffed at the idea of not calling men and rarely returning their calls. Now not calling men first is considered normal!

While this book is for a new generation, nothing has changed about what women want in a relationship: to be able to trust that a guy loves them for who they are, and to know that he will be there for them. The Rules still apply!

We finally decided to write this book when Heather, twenty-six, e-mailed us about what she thought was a life-altering dating experience. Heather had met a really cute guy at an upscale bar the night before. The next day he had texted her three times before 5 p.m. We were impressed. Three times? "Yeah, I lost my phone. By the time I found it after work the next day, there were three texts from him. The first message was 'hey, it's Cory from last night, great meeting you, text me back when you get a chance.' The second was 'are you doing anything tonight?' And the third said, 'are you free this weekend?' I can't believe I got asked out on a date this soon, I guess he really likes me!"

We told Heather to text him back that night, "Hey, nice meeting you too. This weekend is great." She did not have to divulge that she lost her phone. This way Cory would think that she had other things going on besides him, so he could get used to having to pin her down. Once you text a new guy back immediately, he begins to expect it all the time and the thrill of the chase is gone.

Had she not lost her phone, Heather and Cory would probably have texted back and forth all day and he might have gotten bored and not have been so quick to ask her out. But not having instant access was a breath of fresh air and made him act fast. Heather got to know right away how this guy felt instead of wondering how he felt, and also wondering why all the marathon text chatting wasn't leading to a date! What Not Your Mother's Rules can do for you is similar to the effect of losing your phone for a few hours here and there. It will help you create an air of mystery and a rare longing from guys.

We also felt compelled to write this book because many of the women who used The Rules to get married almost twenty years ago want to see their friends, sisters, and nieces in healthy relationships, or at least not getting hurt unnecessarily by men. They want other women to experience the same happiness they themselves found by dating with self-esteem and boundaries. Older women who are divorced and now back in the dating game or women who have never been in a Rules relationship often call us to say how confused they are about e-mailing, texting, and other technology, so we wrote this book to help them as well.

Additionally, many mothers are understandably nervous about how to deal with their daughters dating and feel helpless or out of touch ("She never tells me anything!"). We have also written this book for them, including a special chapter teaching them to help their daughters do The Rules without forcing it on them. Our Rules for Mothers will help them encourage their daughters to confide in them and ask for advice instead of shutting them out of their lives. We hope all women, especially daughters and mothers, bond over this book!

Remember, The Rules are an ageless, timeless recipe for romantic relationships. Follow The Rules and you get a guy who is crazy about you. Break The Rules and you get heartache. Whether you are eighteen or twenty-eight or forty-eight years old, we believe all the answers to your dating dilemmas can be found in this book. Not sure how to act or how to dress on dates? See Rule #1 and Rule #2 about being and looking like a Creature Unlike Any Other. Not sure when and how to text a guy back? See Rule #6, with our tried-and-true reply timetable. Not sure about splitting the check or how long to Skype or what to write on a guy's wall? See our chapters on not buying his love (Rule #19), long-distance relationships (Rule #15), and Facebook (Rule #10). We've covered it all! We've also included special commentary from our daughters, who grew up with The Rules and can help you apply them to a younger generation and the latest technology. Sometimes a twentysomething can best understand what another twentysomething is going through. We felt it was essential that our daughters weigh in with their unique perspective on the dating dilemmas facing their age group.

If you want to get the full benefit of this book, don't just read it—read it over and over again. Study it like a textbook. You might even want to highlight sentences that help you remember each Rule. You might want to meet up with other Rules-minded girlfriends on a regular basis to discuss the book and go over your dating problems and our answers as a group—there is strength in numbers! You might want to tear out key pages to put in your bag so you can quickly glance at them in the bathroom on dates.

Without further ado, we present Not Your Mother's Rules!

Chapter II

The Daughters Weigh In on The Rules

AS THE DAUGHTERS of the authors of The Rules, we wanted to add a little of our own observations and experience in applying The Rules to new times and advancing technology. After all, it only makes sense to include our opinions in a book meant, at least in part, to help people in our generation! Obviously, we are not the relationship experts, but we have learned what dating should be like by watching our moms give women everywhere these successful tools for dating. We've heard about every issue you can imagine and how our moms recommended handling them—by now, we pretty much have The Rules ingrained as part of our DNA! For us, The Rules is not a game you play to catch a guy, but a way of life.

Would we be Rules Girls if our mothers hadn't written the book? Totally! Our moms have never pushed this way of dating on us, but we both have traditional values and believe in old-fashioned courtship, even today. Guys should always pursue girls first—because it works. The fact that our moms wrote The Rules makes us more knowledgeable about the subject, but that's about it. We have seen for ourselves that girls in real life—and on TV or in movies—who chase guys don't feel good about themselves and usually end up getting hurt or dumped.

We have grown up with texting, Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, Gchat, Twitter, and a whole bunch of other social networking sites. We know that all this instant communication has made dating harder and more confusing. However, we have watched girls make grave errors with guys by writing all over their Facebook walls, tweeting at them, texting them 24/7—we've even seen a few stage 5 clingers, which we promise never ends well.

We all know what it's like to have a huge crush or fall hard for a guy, and not be able to get him off your mind. Obviously that's why all anyone talks about is dating! Invest your time and get busy with school, work, friends, hobbies, sports, and clubs—not just with guys. Do something you can be proud of for yourself.

Sprinkled throughout the book, you'll find our opinions on topics our moms just can't really relate to as well as we can: tips for keeping yourself from texting a guy, how to deal with a study-abroad relationship, what the deal is with Foursquare, handling a Facebook birthday invite situation, and much more.

The sooner you start learning and doing The Rules, the better. We have seen far too many dating heartaches and wouldn't want any of that happening to you!

Chapter III

Hug Your Daughter and Other Rules for Mothers

IF YOU'RE READING this chapter, you are probably wondering how you can help your daughter with dating, no matter how old she is. You are an important part of this book—you can influence her in a way no one else can! In fact, during consultations we always ask our clients, "What does your mother think of this relationship?" because we value her opinion and perspective. Perhaps you have tried to help by giving your daughter a copy of The Rules. Perhaps you have tried to lead by example, by being Rules-y in your own relationships. Mothers have written to us or scheduled consultations about their daughters. Many were frustrated watching them break Rules or act out or by the way their boyfriends were treating them. Sometimes they were concerned that their daughters had no boyfriends at all. But like with anything else, these mothers sometimes had to wait until their daughters were ready to listen. We tell them the same things we tell clients: in order for The Rules to help, their daughters have to want to use them, and they must trust their mothers to steer them on the right path.

The first and most important thing you can do to help your daughter is to be there for her. We have interviewed hundreds of young women and have come to the conclusion that those who became promiscuous or acted out sexually did so because they did not get enough attention, affection, or approval growing up. As part of our private consultations, we offer childhood and dating history sessions and have been shocked to find out how many of our clients who have trouble dating had disapproving or absentee mothers. Some mothers rarely hugged their daughters or gave loving or encouraging words, or were too busy and just not home that much. There were few bedtime stories, brownie-baking sessions, or back rubs. Some mothers were even resentful that they had to work full-time and raise a daughter, so they treated her like a burden or nuisance. Others were just having a difficult time of their own, whether divorce, a serious illness, or something else, and did the best they could. Obviously, we feel that daughters would grow up a lot better if their mothers showered them with praise and love.

Jillian, thirty-three, who recently found The Rules, told us that her mother was so emotionally uninterested in her that she never felt attractive or desirable. In college and in her twenties, she was flattered by the slightest interest from guys, like her married boss and guys who never asked her out. She had little or no interest in guys who did like her, because she was so obsessed with the ones who didn't. We spent hours helping her recover from her mother's indifference and teaching her our motto to "love only those who love you." We suggested she join a Rules support group so she could meet other Rules Girls who cared about her situation and stop bad dating patterns. We sent her e-mail links to pretty clothes and gave her advice on how to act on dates. Years after having given up on dating, Jillian joined an online dating website and started to go to clubs and parties. She is now in a serious relationship with a guy who spoke to her first and texts her, "Good morning Gorgeous!" every day.

If you are a mother who has been too busy for your daughter for whatever reason and she seems to have gone astray or you are afraid she might, the solution is love, love, love! All you need is love! If she lives at home, start hugging her today and every day going forward. It is never too late to show affection. Rub her back, brush her hair, kiss her cheek—daughters need to be fussed over. Every day that you hug your daughter is insurance that she won't be looking for love in all the wrong places. She's getting affection from either you or some stranger. Let it be you! Physical contact is that important. We know you are busy, between work and cleaning and paying bills and checking e-mails on your cell phone, but it takes only a minute to text your daughter in the middle of the day. Have lunch with her, go see a chick flick together, or take her shopping! Everyone is busy, everyone has long to-do lists, and no one has any time, but if you don't make time for your daughter now, she will have plenty of time for trouble. It's never too late to be a good mom.

How can you spend time with her if she's not around? If she's in college, ask if there is a weekend or weekday when her workload is light and you can visit. Volunteer to take her friends out to dinner so you can get to know them, which will help you better understand her. If she's working, do the same: see if there's a day off or weekend that you could make a girls' day for just you two. Don't beg or burden her if she can't make the time; just letting her know you want to will help her see that you care.

If you are a single mother, you may feel that your love alone is not enough. Don't worry about that. A child can thrive with only one loving parent. One of our clients had a rageaholic father who never said a kind word to her, but her mother showered her with compliments and kisses. She married someone who tells her she is beautiful all the time! So don't think your daughter is seriously disadvantaged because you're her only loving parent. You alone can make a difference.

Further, if you want your daughter to date with self-esteem, you need to practice what you preach! In addition to following The Rules, that means not introducing her to every Tom, Dick, and Harry you meet. Wait until you are in a serious, committed, and exclusive relationship before having your daughter meet anyone. Keep the first meeting brief and lengthen them gradually.

Remember that young women can be sensitive and needy. You should try to give them attention so they don't feel cast aside or on their own. Making your boyfriend overly important at their expense is a terrible mistake. It's a balancing act, but you have to figure out a way to make your child feel loved.

At the same time, exercise some restraint. If your daughter is twenty-five or thirty years old and you don't like the way she dresses or the guys she dates, be careful not to criticize her too much; she will be much more likely to come to you if she ever needs help. If she thinks you are judgmental or controlling, she will rebel or be secretive. There is only so much you can control once your daughter reaches a certain age, so tread softly.

We all know mothers who are overly involved in their daughters' lives. They live vicariously through their daughters, wanting them to be beauty pageant queens or the most popular girl in high school. Or they friend their daughters' girlfriends and guy friends and boyfriend on Facebook, even when their daughters specifically asked them not to. These examples of overinvolvement, intrusiveness, and excessive attention are not healthy either. Being an "agent" mom or "friend" mom is better than being an absentee mom, but it can still backfire. A teenager needs love more than she needs to be pushed to have perfect grades or long fake eyelashes or to be cheer captain. Is that what she wants? She can make her own decisions and has to make her own mistakes. The best thing for you to do is be there when she needs you—to advise her, to console her, and to celebrate with her. But it's her life. If she grows up too fast, she will have a hole in her soul that she will want to fill with bad relationships.

Our Rules in this chapter apply to dads every bit as much as they apply to moms. Let's be honest, every dad wants his daughter to be a Rules Girl! He wants her to date with self-respect and not to chase guys or go on booty calls. What father would want his daughter seeing a guy 24/7 or sleeping around? We have had clients in college tell us that their dads bought them The Rules or paid for a consultation with us. We know dads care about how their daughters date, and that's why we wanted to include them in this chapter.

We've interviewed many dads and frankly feel they could have helped us write The Rules! One father told his twenty-year-old daughter, "Don't call guys, don't chase guys, and I have to meet the guy when he picks you up. He has to look me in the eye, and if he doesn't, he's hiding something." Not all dads are this involved or vocal, nor do their daughters want them to be! But we think dads can help their daughters do The Rules by giving them this book and by treating women with love and respect. We even know happily married men who told their daughters, "Just copy your mom. I dated many women, but she got me to marry her!"

We don't suggest scaring daughters into Rules-y behavior by saying that all guys just want one thing or by acting unapproachable and judgmental. Remember, dads, you want your daughters to be able to talk to you if they are not sure what to do or are in trouble. If you help her with dating now, you can breathe a sigh of relief when you proudly walk her down the aisle at her wedding!

Moms and dads, if you want to help your daughter have self-esteem and avoid dating problems down the road, here are our suggestions:

  • Give her a copy of Not Your Mother's Rules if you haven't already, as well as The Rules. Many of you contacted us saying that your mother gave you The Rules and you tried to pass down these words of wisdom to your daughters. But they read it and said, "What's an answering machine? This is so 1950s. Dating is harder now." So here's our response to that argument. Just tell her that chasing guys doesn't work and then let it go. Either she takes to it or she doesn't—and even if she doesn't now, she still may later on.
  • Speak frankly about sex. Tell her that sex between a man and a woman is a beautiful thing, that anything you do when you are in love is wonderful and special, but that random hookups are unfulfilling acts of desperation. You do not have to have a formal sex talk, but you should not pretend that sex doesn't exist. Watch a chick flick together and ask her questions about characters in the movie to lessen the intensity of the subject. Sex and the City


On Sale
Jan 8, 2013
Page Count
272 pages

Ellen Fein

About the Author

Ellein Fein and Sherrie Schneider are the authors of The Rules, The Rules II, The Rules for Marriage, and The Rules for Online Dating. They run a dating and relationship consultation service as well.

Learn more about this author