Oh man, you guys, dating is hard. One minute you’re deliriously happy, enjoying your funemployment with the Daxamite (cough) bodyguard of your dreams. Then, one little lost family/identity reveal later and you’re single again. Seriously, it’s enough to make you consider less humanoid options like Ben & Jerry’s.
The worst part is, there are rules for this kind of thing. I mean, come on, Mon-El. You’re the Daxamite playboy prince! Don’t tell me you’ve abandoned basic dating etiquette just because your planet exploded into a fiery ball of death—or, alternatively, was ripped apart by Kryptonian space debris, or is perfectly whole, but has a poisonous atmosphere. (I’m not gonna lie, there was some conflicting information there.)
So, a refresher course it is: “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Twenty-Something Daxamite.”
1. Learn to laugh at things together.
Isn’t Game of Thrones hilarious? No. Okay, how about art theft? Police intimidation? Sexual over-sharing with passing acquaintances?
All right, all right, so maybe Supergirl and the gang have an odd sense of humor, but the important thing is they laugh together. Laughter will help get you through the tough times. Like that time you got locked into you workplace due to an alien threat and had to miss the Barenaked Ladies concert. Or the time one of you framed the other for grand theft. Or the time one of you was revealed to be the cruel monarch of an enslaved populace tricked into subjugation through substance abuse.
Sure, it’s tough when it happens, but there’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh and laugh. And laugh.
2. It’s okay to like different things.
Some couples have the same interests. They like the same movies and bands. Have the same friends. Even like escaping the same doomed planets together.
But if that’s not you and your significant other, that’s okay, too. You won’t always agree. You might want to break into a museum for divine museum sex, while they’re more interested in checking out the art. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your city together.
But please, please, please, for the sake of everyone involved: Don’t play dumb. I mean, really, Mon-El, Daxam didn’t have musicals? A culture based almost entirely of people getting drunk and living with miniscule levels of inhibition, and no one ever decided to bust out singing with no motivation? If musicals aren’t your thing, that’s cool. But I refuse to believe that a planet filled with debauchery didn’t have at least a few people singing on tables.
3. When you disagree, always respectfully disagree.
Couples aren’t always going to see eye to eye, and it’s okay to let your partner know that you aren’t fully on board with his or her life choices. Got a girlfriend whose relationship to the word “careful” is about as tenuous as James Olson’s relationship to the phrase “main cast”? It’s fine to let her know that you aren’t on board.
This is a big one. You can’t hide things. Everyone has a past, and it’s way better for your love interest to hear it from you than to find out at some really script-convenient moment. It’ll help avoid clichés like, “Why are you willing to blindly teleport aboard this seemingly hostile space craft?” and “I didn’t know you were completely invisible to video surveillance.” Oh, and my personal favorite, “Were you ever going to tell me?”
If you had already told her, Mon-El, the answer would be yes. So even if something seems silly to you, petty even, don’t be scared to let your partner in. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover she has a weakness for incredibly politically polarized meet-the-parents scenarios. But still…
5. Know how much to share.
Communication is key, and keeping secrets will only lead to trouble, but do take a moment to think about some of the details. Learn how to weed out the aspects of a story that aren’t completely relevant. Just a quick example off the top of my head, maybe don’t include the dialogue details of the girl you abandoned on your dying planet. It’s not only because the following exchange makes you look bad:
“Please don’t leave me.”
“Leave her. Come on.”
It’s also because it’s not very good dialogue. Just saying.
6. Always warn your love interest if your mother is Teri Hatcher.
You’re going to be carrying around a bit of baggage if your mom turns out to be everyone’s favorite Lois, and that’s OK. But it’s important to clue your significant other in on problematic family members.
Sure, it may be awkward to bring up your super aggressive mom/queen over Netflix binges. And no one wants to mention their currently kidnapped art thief little brother to their semi-law enforcement-connected boyfriend. But I promise your family’s crazy will be so much easier to handle if your partner is forewarned. You might even find you have an unlikely crime circle-busting ally.
Also, if Kevin Sorbo plays your dad, make sure that makes it into the conversation as well. No one likes a surprise Hercules.
7. Have a little compassion. (I’m looking at you, Supergirl.)
Mon-El isn’t the only bad alien dater in this relationship, Kara. Yes, he lied, and I’m not saying you should forgive him just because he feels bad, but you are Supergirl. Compassion is kind of your thing.
It’s not like every other character you like encourages you to look at it from Mon-El’s point of view. Maybe he is an evil prince, but considering the tone of this show, he might just be a guy who’s ashamed of his past. Maybe he didn’t lie to hurt you. And if, in the end, his reasons aren’t good enough for you, that’s fair. More than fair: You should never date someone you can’t trust. Still, dial back the self-righteous anger a little bit. You’re kind of proving Teri Hatcher right.
8. Know when to walk away, know when to run.
But really, in the end, it comes down to this. Kara and Mon-El, you two have only openly liked each other for four episodes this season. Four. Four episodes of technical together-ness, and so far you have broken up or decided this wasn’t going to work in all four of them. That’s excessive, even for a CW show. Next time the plot calls for you to get back together, take a step back and have some kind of conference. You may want to involve a polygraph, if one is available. Just please stop jerking yourselves, and us, around.
Katherine Siegel is a Chicago-based writer and director, and a regular contributor to Paste. You can find out more by checking out her website or follow her on Twitter.