I'm not sure about you, but I'm a total confider. If I'm dating someone, I have the hardest time keeping my business to myself and not asking for love advice from friends. Instead of figuring things out in real time, I'll call at least three of my pals and ask them to analyze, in detail, something he said or did that confused the hell out of me. And if I'm not sure about something that's happening in my relationship, you bet I'm asking anyone within three feet of me what I should be doing. Totally not healthy, I know. I'm trying to quit.
And through all this dating and relationship analyzing, I've come to realize that when you ask other people's advice on your relationship, instead of getting more answers, you're getting a ton more questions that can lead you to the completely wrong solutions. Whether that advice is given to you forcefully by your mother who simply can't resist dolling out the outdated tidbits or by a friend who has some pretty skewed ideas of healthy relationships, advice can put ideas in your head that shouldn't be there to begin with. That being said, here is some of the worst relationship advice I've ever encountered and even I knew not to listen to.
1. 'It's Your Duty To Please Your Partner'
Insert the world's largest eye roll here. This one goes under insanely outdated words of advice from relatives who don't know when to butt out of conversations. I don't have to tell you this is terrible advice, but it still felt necessary to put it on the list. I find the best way to shut someone up when this one is thrown out there is to calmly reply, “You're so right! Let me go make him/her a sandwich right now.”
2. 'If A Ring Isn't His/Her Aim, Leave 'Em'
You'd be surprised, but this one can come from people other than your mother and nosy aunt. Contrary to popular belief, not all relationships need to have marriage in mind. Unless you're at that point in your life when marriage is something you want, you shouldn't pass up on an opportunity to be with someone because you're not sure of what will happen in the future. Dating someone with the sole purpose of marrying them will narrow your prospects and potentially keep you from someone who may help you figure out yourself and what you want.
3. 'Don't Say That To Him/Her Unless You Want To Seem Crazy'
Once again, so much eye rolling. This is probably one of the biggest cases of internalized sexism masquerading as advice that you'll ever find. It's important to share your feelings with your partner, especially if something is bothering you. No, that person will not think you're crazy if you share what is upsetting you. They'll listen to you, and try to figure out how to navigate the problem in a way that works for the two of you. And if they do reject you coming to them with a problem, dismissing you as being an “irrational female” then you don't want that person to begin with. Communication is key to every relationship, and there's nothing crazy about it.
4. 'Make Him/Her Jealous'
Whether you heard this one from a friend or your fave '80s teen drama, it's not the case. When you're having problems in your relationship, whether it'd be feeling that person is cheating or not paying enough attention to you, the answer is never to manipulate that person's emotions. Jealousy won't get you anywhere. The quickest way to solve a problem is to discuss it openly with your SO and see where that discussion leads, no matter what John Hughes might have taught you.
5. 'It's OK To Snoop Every Once And A While'
Nope, it most certainly is not! Snooping on your partner is not only an insane invasion of their privacy, it shows that you have some trust issues going on. Once again, if you suspect someone of cheating the way to find out isn't trying every number combo you can think of until you crack the code on their phone. You're not 007, here. Try talking with your SO before doing anything dire. You may just find that your worries were completely unwarranted.
6. 'If You're Unavailable, They'll Want You More'
I'm not sure if this is a big thing outside of heterosexual relationships, but from my own experience this one always seems to get tossed out there when dealing with a guy. It's true that the dating game involves some level of enticement; if you make yourself completely available, whoever you're dating might start to feel overwhelmed that things are moving too quickly and lose interest. But if you're involved in a serious relationship with a person, the answer to your issues isn't to act distant. Acting like you completely don't need your partner will only exasperate the issue. Instead of prolonging the inevitable conversation about the distance that's growing between you, have that talk to begin with! Love shouldn't have to be a game and you guys should be beyond that.
7. 'That's OK To Lie About'
Chances are whatever “that” is, you shouldn't be lying about it. Unless it's something that doesn't need to be brought up in the first place (like the fact that you hate your partner's favorite top, or that you had a weird dream about your ex last night), you should probably be open about it. Keeping secrets from your partner is the easiest route to creating mistrust between the two of you. And that will lead to even more fights than being honest.
8. 'Long-Distance Relationships Aren't Worth It'
Yes, long-distance relationships are hard but that doesn't mean they aren't worth it. If you're in a long-distance situation with someone you truly care about, you shouldn't have to give up on them because of the added challenge. With the million possible ways we can reach each other (hello, Skype!) LDRs are no longer have to involve the strenuous task of sending a message via carrier pigeon to your love. If distance is creating rifts between you two, that's another story. But if you guys have it all figured out, don't let anyone change your opinion.
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