Some dating and relationship advice is sound and will help you navigate the tricky waters that appear when you try to mesh your life with someone else’s. That said, not all advice is good advice. There are some ideas that really should have died when you left middle school, but they continue to stick around. Here is some of the world’s worst relationship advice that continues to be repeated.
“Never go to bed angry.”
This is one of the most commonly touted pieces of relationship advice. The idea it is trying to convey is sound. After all, leaving issues to fester and breed resentment is a recipe for disaster. That said, the method that this piece of advice is proposing is going to work out about as well as trying to bathe an angry cat. Continuing to argue when you are both exhausted is a terrible plan. Sleep deprivation not only makes you more short tempered, it also robs you of your ability to creatively problem solve, annihilates your brain-to-mouth filter and, worst of all, makes it difficult for you to empathize with others. As such, continuing a frustrating discussion when you both need to go to bed can turn a minor disagreement into a shouting match.
Instead, reaffirm that you both are dedicated to finding a solution to the issue and that you still love each other. Then go to bed. That way, you can reassess the situation in the morning when you are both rested and come to a reasonable compromise.
“Playing hard to get is attractive.”
For some reason, adults continue to follow bits of romantic advice that once circulated around the middle school lunch table. The reality is, however, that most people do not enjoy playing games when it comes to a romantic relationship. Dating and relationships are fraught with enough risk, tension and confusion already. There is no need to manufacture more.
Playing hard to get might make your relationship more difficult in the long run. It might also prevent it from happening at all. If you keep giving off vibes that suggest you are entirely uninterested, many people will stop pursuing you. After all, why would they waste their time trying to form a relationship with someone who does not want one? Those who continue to chase after you are not good people with whom to form a relationship. They have clearly shown they have limited interest in respecting your boundaries. There is no reason to expect that to change after you two begin dating.
“It will happen eventually.”
The idea that you will find your perfect match when the time is right is a comforting idea. There is also a lot of truth in it. Unfortunately, many people interpret this piece of advice to mean that Mr. or Miss Right will simply fall into their lap one day like a particularly attractive cup of spilled coffee. This is nonsense. If you want to meet your future spouse, you need to be putting yourself out there and trying to meet people. This does not necessarily mean you need to put together an online dating profile. There are likely plenty of places you already go regularly where you could meet potential romantic partners. The gym, for example, is a fabulous place to get to know people. The same is true of a restaurant where you are regular. Look around and see who else is always at the gym at the same time as you or learn about the other regulars at the restaurant. Then, you can begin deciding who is potentially significant other material.
“Never bother with a second date unless the first is magic.” or “Always give them a second chance.”
These two pieces of advice are the extreme ends of the spectrum and are often offered to someone who is either new to the dating game or just getting back into the ring after a breakup. The problem is both pieces of advice are too extreme. First dates are rarely magical. There is simply too much potential for awkward silences and sticking your foot in your mouth. If you only went on a second date with people who gave you a fairy tale first date, you are more than likely dating either players or conmen. No one is perfect on a first date. That does not mean, however, that you need to agree to a second date. If your first date showed clearly that the other person was a controlling jerk, desperate for either marriage or sex, mind-numbingly boring or otherwise completely incompatible, do not waste either of your times with a second date. It is up to you to decide whether any long silences were the result of first date nerves or the simply reality that you two really had nothing to say to each other.
“Don’t call until three days later.” or “Be prepared to have sex on the third date.”
Every relationship is different. As such, hard and fast “rules” are a recipe for disaster. Some people might feel like they are being ignored if their date does not talk to them for three days. Rather than seeing it as their date being independent, they might interpret radio silence to mean that their date did not have a good time.So, they will not ask you for a second date since you apparently did not enjoy the first. On the other extreme, you should never feel pressed to engage in physical intimacy before you are ready. If you want to kiss your date goodbye after the first date, give them a kiss. If the most risqué thing you want to do after six dates is hold hands, then stick with holding hands. Anyone who tries to push you into something you are uncomfortable with is not someone worth dating. Kick them to the curb and find someone who will respect you instead.
People almost always mean well when they give you relationship advice. Good intentions, however, do not necessarily make something a good idea. Do not listen to these pieces of advice. If you have to choose, bumble your way through the relationship without any advice. It is better to fly blind than to deliberately point the plane at the ground and later wonder why you crashed. Besides, when it comes to relationships, acting with trust, respect and empathy will make both you and your partner happier in the long run than any amount of well-meaning advice.