Gay dating: is the three-day rule all it’s cracked up to be?

4 min read

There are rules in the world of gay dating. But there is no correct time-frame or right answer to seek. Put simply, you'll know its right when it's right.

“Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.  Five is right out.”
– Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail

The date went amazingly.

He was charming. He was sexy. He was funny.

You get home, high on life (and maybe just a little giddy from the wine). And then… you wait.

He doesn’t text you the next day. Okay, he’s playing it cool, right? Fine. You can wait.

He doesn’t text the next day, either. Okay… And cue alarm bells. What did I do? Was it my progressive sociopolitical viewpoints? Was my humour too wry, too sarcastic? Was it the broccoli stuck in my front tooth?

You’ve given up. Move on. Plenty more fish. You know the clichés.

And then…

In the world of gay dating, the three-day rule goes thus: wait three days after your first date before you call or text. It seems simple enough, until you start to think about it. Do you call on the third day… or do you wait three days and then call on the fourth day? Is day one the day of the date, or the day after? What if he calls you before then?

This isn’t one of those ‘sound at its core’ pieces of dating lore – frankly, it’s just nonsense. To all singletons, here is my proclamation: There is no ‘correct’ timeframe in dating. Every relationship is unique, as is every dating process that leads up to a relationship. Allow things to move at their own pace; work on instinct, on what feels natural and right.

The main reason not to follow the three-day rule is because it’s secretly about the so-called infamous ‘chase’. I don’t know about you, but I want to start a long-term partnership with someone who likes me, not someone who’s interested because I appear aloof. The latter might seem cool and enigmatic for a short while, but it’s no basis for a long-lasting, meaningful relationship.

Making the first move can actually relieve a lot of the pressure.

If you’re concerned about appearing too keen – take a moment. Reassess the situation. Arbitrary rules can make things more stressful than they need to be. It’s not a game of chicken; you can call when you like. Numerous studies over the years have found time and again that straight-talking individuals are perceived as being better dates – there’s no confusion, they just lay it out there and let the other person do with it as they will. If your date is more concerned with the number of days or hours you waited before phoning him, you’re most likely well shot of him anyway! He’s certainly not a likely candidate for your life partner.

So, if you’re looking for something to replace the three-day rule, here’s my tuppence worth: texting.

Instead of calling your date one, two, three days later, send him a text message after you’ve parted company. Give it an hour or so and then text something along the lines of ‘I had a great time tonight’. It’s the perfect way to a) let them know that you’re thinking about him want to see them again and b) indicate that you would be interested in another date. There’s none of the pressure of a phone call, and none of the awkward waiting. How and when he responds then becomes his prerogative. Communications are now open. You’re interested. Their move. Either they’re interested, or they aren’t. Simple as that.

Now, instead of spending three days stressing about their level of interest, you know. You’re already moving forward. Next step, exclusive dating! Hurrah!


Navigating your way through the ever-complex world of dating can be confusing and tiresome. Here at Maclynn, we offer not only matchmaking, but relationship coaching too, with our in-house dating expert Madeleine Mason Roantree, who has over 15 years’ experience in helping people of all backgrounds to help themselves find their ultimate match. Why not pick up the phone and speak to our designated gay matchmaker Emma to see if this is something we can work on together – and help you find true love. At Maclynn (formerly Vida), we have an exclusive network of some of the world’s most exceptional gay men, all just waiting to meet that special someone. Get in touch today – find the man of your dreams tomorrow.


| 4 min read


About the Author

Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida MacLynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation.

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