Your squad is probably on point when it comes to advice... most of the time. And when they're not on point, they mean well. But they're probably occasionally giving you relationship advice that you should totally ignore. We're all a hot mess of mistakes from time to time, and we all have different experiences with relationships. But that doesn't make us experts in what you need in your specific relationship.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I've debunked loads of terrible advice. Sometimes, though, I was too late, and the terrible advice caused a tidal wave of drama and miserable feels. Because who doesn't trust advice from their besties? They know us better than we know ourselves, right?
Maybe. But bad advice is still bad advice. And your friends don't have to face the consequences when you take their bad advice and it blows up in your face. Check out the following bits of bad advice, pieced together from my years on the job, and see if any of it has come out of the mouth of your babes. And if it has, you should correct them, ASAP. Here are 11 pieces of relationship advice to ignore.
1. Side People Are Just A Way Of Life Now
If you're worried that your partner is cheating on you and your squad tells you "that's just what people do now," you do not have to suck it up and accept that as your truth. There's an alarming trend, at least on social media, that's an acceptance of cheating and a competitive, catty, tear down of those side folks. You don't have to "win" your partner or be the best in their stable if you are building a relationship based on monogamy, trust, and respect. And if you are in an open relationship and can't get a handle on your jealousy, then open relationships probably aren't for you.
2. You Need To Be A Freak In The Sheets
Have your friends told you that if you want to keep your partner, you need to be a freak in the sheets? This is terrible advice, and I'll tell you why. You do not have to degrade yourself, objectify yourself, or do things you're not comfortable with in order to keep your partner. And if you don't do those things, and your partner cheats or leaves, it's not your fault. It's theirs. Sexual compatibility is important, but in healthy relationships, it involves communication and experimentation in a setting where everyone feels safe and comfortable. You are enough as is.
3. If They Double Text, Run Away
If a person double texts, paragraph texts, or only speaks in emoji, it has everything to do with their text style and very little to do with what kind of partner they'll be. The way people text and when they text you back can depend on work schedule, what they have to say, if they're busy, or how much they feel like texting at the moment. If you want to know what kind of person they are, you need to spend real, actual face time (not the app) with them and skip making assumptions based on texts. Unless, of course, they're texting you unsolicited genital pics or disrespectful nonsense. That's when you can make snap judgments. You have my permission.
4. You Need To Check Their Phone
Nope. Sorry. I mean, it makes sense that if you're worried that your partner is lying, cheating, or otherwise engaging in shenanigans, that you'd want to snoop. Go through their texts. Hack their Facebook. Look under their mattress. But you can't do that. Because it's an invasion of privacy. Healthy relationships are based on trust, and if you can't bring up your concerns with your partner and talk about them truthfully, like adults, then you shouldn't be in a relationship. And that goes double for partners you just can't trust, no matter what they say.
5. Your Standards Are Too High
I heard someone tell a classmate this when they gave their wish list for their perfect partner. True, no partner is perfect, but if you have a list of standards, you don't have to compromise that list for anyone, no matter how hot they are. Wanting things like respect, trust, affection, equality, and good sex don't mean you're asking for too much. They mean you know what you want. Don't settle because your squad is over you being single. Unless, of course, what you want is for birds to help dress you in the morning and your partner to fight dragons for you. Then listen to your squad. Or maybe date an animal trainer or special effects artist.
6. Boys Will Be Boys & Chicks Are Crazy
Stereotypes are stereotypes! Male-identified people don't get a pass for cheating, being emotionally unavailable, not being romantic enough, not caring about your interests, or not doing their fair share of the housework just because these are some common male stereotypes. The same goes for the bajillion stereotypes about female-identified people. Bad behavior is bad behavior. And you're not really doing your feminist duty of making the world a better place if you're not challenging your squad when they reinforce gender stereotypes. Just saying.
7. They Totally Deserved It
If your partner did something crappy to you and you did something crappy back in retaliation, that's not cool. Two wrongs don't make a right, according to my kindergarten teacher. And I know your bestie is just trying to make you feel better, but you don't want friends to enable your bad behavior. Especially if the retaliation is something you haven't done yet. If you're going to get your relationship back on track (if that's the goal), then it's going to be much harder to recover from two crappy events than just the one. Communication, not retaliation.
8. They're Your Soulmate
Eye roll times infinity. I'm not trying to hate on anyone's spirituality or whatever, but there are literally dozens, maybe even thousands of people out there you could fall in love with and make a happy life with. Just because someone gives you really strong feelings, or you're having a hard time getting over them, doesn't mean that you're cosmically connected and their bad behavior gets a pass. No partner's bad behavior gets a pass, no matter how strong the chemistry. You don't have to excuse anything that you're not OK with in the name of true love.
9. Don't Be Needy/Clingy/Emotional
Forget that noise. You feel how you feel when you feel it. If you're going through something emotional, and you need your partner to be there for you, don't hold back because you don't want to seem emotional. If you need support, don't be afraid to ask for it because you don't want to be needy. That's some real emotional dishonesty, and a good partner wouldn't want you to do those things, anyway.
10. You Need To Tell Them How You Feel
Sometimes this is great advice. But not always. If you're going through something with your partner, or with yourself, and you're just not sure what to do, sometimes it's in your best interest to figure that out. Sometimes it's better if you cool off, or think about things, or write lists, or whatever it is you have to do in order to get a little clarity. If all partners told each other every time they had temporary mixed feelings for another person, felt attracted to a co-worker, missed being single, or wanted to punch their partner in the throat (just in thought, not action) then there would be no couples left on Earth. You're an individual and your partner doesn't have an automatic right to know everything you think and feel just because you're a couple.
11. It's Time To Put A Ring On It
What is it with people? When you're flirting people are all, "when are you going to start dating" and as soon as that happens, they're all "when are you going to put a ring on it or move in together" and then it's "when are you going to have a baby?" My 35-year-old ovaries have a hit list full of people asking me when I'm going to squeeze one out. No. You can't let other's influence the trajectory of your relationship. You can date for a million years and never get married. You don't have to have kids, ever. Don't let your squad pressure you.
This is just a tiny slice of the bad advice pie, but the main takeaway is that even the people who love you the most and want the best for you can lead you astray. You don't have to let them.
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