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Jill Martin: It’s time to rewrite the antiquated dating rules my generation grew up with

Digital creator Tinx and relationship expert Tracy McMillan will join me in figuring out the new rules for finding love.

When we wrapped the first episode of “The New Rules for Finding Love,” my new streaming special on TODAY All Day, every single person in the room came up to me and said, “I am going home and giving my (husband or wife) a big hug — I didn’t realize how complicated and scary dating is!” 

As if dating in general wasn’t hard enough, we are fighting a pandemic and advancements in technology have both helped and hurt our ability to connect with each other. Meeting your right person is not an exact science. There is no magic formula. That said, I do think there is definitely a framework for success. Take social media: The constant scrolling is an energy drain for people of all ages. But there are benefits to incorporating technology into dating. If I was still single, I would only do first dates over FaceTime. In 20 minutes I would know if there was chemistry, physical and emotional attraction, and I would know if either of us wanted to follow up with an in-person date. 

But apparently, first dates over video aren’t a thing. “No one my age does that,” my 24-year-old cousin told me. My response? Make it a thing. Why waste your time when technology allows you to have a virtual drink or coffee with someone without leaving the comfort of your own home? I am not saying that you shouldn’t ever meet face-to-face, but a FaceTime first date will get my vote every time. 

We need new dating rules — and not the ones I grew up with, either. The old rules that were written about and talked about when I was growing up are outdated — waiting three days before calling someone back, saying you aren’t available even when you are, always ending the date or conversation first. I don’t believe that is the way to find your perfect person. I believe many of those actions just represent rude behavior and game-playing. When I was growing up, I would head home to look for the red light on the house phone, indicating I had a message. Now, everyone knows that most of us have our phones at all times and see texts, if not instantaneously, within a few hours.

The old rules that were written about and talked about when I was growing up are outdated — waiting three days before calling someone back, saying you aren’t available even when you are, always ending the date or conversation first.

I thought it was time to gather a group of women from different decades and backgrounds to help people out there looking for love, while most importantly maintaining self-love and self-respect. On my new show, I’ll be joined by Christina “Tinx” Najjar, a digital content creator, as well as Tracy McMillan, an author and relationship expert. We all share our journeys, vulnerabilities and what we feel will help you in your path to finding your person. 

This show is what I wish I had growing up — real, raw and honest conversations about relationship topics that are typically taboo. We get into it. For example, when Tinx brought up being cheated on and how to get through that experience with grace and integrity, I asked if anyone in the room had not been cheated on. Not one person raised their hand. If we normalize discussing the painful stuff, maybe the pain will be less for the next person going through it, because they will know that they’re not alone. Isn’t it our responsibility to help bring positive energy into other people’s lives? I think it is. 

In terms of my story, I started the pandemic in a breakup with my then-fiancé, Erik Brooks, totally heartbroken. Now we’re back together and planning our wedding. Life is messy. I’ve briefly shared the story behind our rollercoaster relationship, but I’ve never really gotten into the details. On this show I do. I felt it was disingenuous to not tell my own story, since, at its core, this show is based on truth, honesty and vulnerability. I share this heart-wrenching part of my life in hopes of helping other people find their way. 

Getting back together with Erik, after a 16-month split with no contact, was complicated yet beautiful in some ways. The process was important. It gave me confidence both in our relationship and as a woman. Although the “baggage” we each brought to the relationship the first time around didn’t match up, it does now. We did the work. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has stuff. It’s about whose stuff you can deal with. Finding love is like a puzzle. And I’m here to help you solve it. 

Watch “The New Rules” streaming April 4 at 11:30 a.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET all this week. Go to or stream it on Peacock or your smart TV. 

Jill's Date Night Picks

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This is an alluring scent that is based in vanilla — so it feels nostalgic and yummy — but also gives me a pick-me-up on days I need a little lift. It is travel size and lasts a long time — you will be noticed (in a good way) the moment you step into a room. It is extremely inviting. 

I love the way this makes me feel as I am a big believer in the no-makeup makeup look. I put it over any lipstick or gloss and it just makes me feel a little sexier. Self-confidence is what it is all about. (It comes with SPF as well, which is a major boost for summertime!)  

A good pair of jeans will take you a long way. Jeans, a white T-shirt, a blazer, a great pair of heels and a cool bag are always the perfect date night outfit for me! 

There is a series of books that I read and re-read every day, by Don Miguel Ruiz, called “The Four Agreements,” and one in particular: “The Mastery of Love.” It teaches you that you need to be “full” and your own best advocate before you can truly give yourself to someone else. Hope you enjoy — it was life-changing for me.