I’m no pro at love. Not by a long shot. But I’m savvy enough to know bad advice when I hear it. The love game has changed since some common phrases applied to dating and relationships. Unfortunately this pervasive wisdom has prevailed.
Here you have the top six lies my mom has been telling me about love from when I was barely old enough to tie my shoes, up until last week. Damn you, motherly guidance!
6. That boy only teases you because he likes you
Sorry to say, ladies, but your mom started lying to you about love when you were only a youngster. This classic nugget of wisdom has waited dormant in your psyche since kindergarten, and it may be leading you to interpret a guy’s taunting as an indication he’s interested. Although this may be true sometimes, it’s also untrue a lot of the time. Take it from me — I grew up with a band of boys that relished taunting and teasing the girls, desirable and atrocious alike. Some guys are just equal opportunity haters. And even if his taunts are flirtatious, should his putdowns elicit your valuable attention?
Better advice: That boy might like you, but he’s probably just an asshole
5. You should let him make the first move
My mom advised me to sit tight when my now-boyfriend and I were first getting to know each other. She argued that if he liked me, he’d do what it took to get me. While I think that’s half true, I also think it’s perfectly acceptable to meet him halfway. If he’s single, eager to talk with or spend time with you, and you’re into him, why not go in for the kill, yourself? Maybe he’ll be relieved you took the pressure off him. Or maybe he’ll be forced to clarify his feelings. Either way, you’ll put an end to the uncertainty. (In case you were wondering, I eventually told my guy to “just pull the trigger already,” and we’ve been together ever since.)
Better advice: Avoid the friend zone by making your feelings known
4. Never go to bed angry
I’m a pit bull when it comes to confrontation — I strike without warning, I put up a mean fight, and I don’t back down until I defeat my opponent. It’s an ugly quality, but from what I’ve found, a common trait for us ladies. So to keep my tendency to fight all night in check, I force myself to hit the sack when I’m angry. I usually toss and turn, seething, for twenty minutes or so, but always sleep in bed with my boyfriend/nemisis. When I wake, rested and refreshed, I realize how silly my gripe was, or I understand a new perspective. So instead of staying up all night, bickering, sleep on it. The next day, if there’s still ill feelings, you can talk over coffee and smooth it over with a less antagonistic attitude.
Better advice: Take time to cool down, and tackle it when you’re level-headed
3. It’s the bigger person who apologizes
Again, I agree with the spirit of this advice. I think it’s almost always preferable to apologize, and avoid wasting precious time with the person you love, being angry. But please, oh please, don’t apologize for everything, all the time. Don’t apologize that the trash pickup guys skipped your house. Don’t say, “I’m sorry you had a long day,” or “sorry that restaurant sucked,” or “sorry the thermostat broke.” Women tend to vent about our problems, whereas men want to solve them. Vomiting a steady stream of sorries doesn’t solve anything, it only makes you feel bad about it. Instead, take a page from his playbook, and try offering solutions: give your weary man a shoulder rub, pick up dessert from your favorite ice cream place, or schedule a repair for the thermostat. Be the girl that makes good of a bad situation, not the one who wallows in it. Your man will love you for it.
Better advice: Say sorry when you’re wrong, fix the problem when you’re not
2. Never talk trash about him behind his back
Intimacy is tough, and you’re going to find yourself frustrated with your relationship every once in a while. It’s best not to hold those feelings in. When you need to vent, confide in the one friend who will lend an ear without reserving judgment. This person will agree whole-heartedly when you wax on about your idiot boyfriend, but won’t hold those words against you when you patch things up. She can empathize, without hating your guy. This is a rare friend, so choose her wisely.
Better advice: Don’t broadcast your frustrations to the world, but don’t hold them in either
1. Looks aren’t everything
Subtract sex, and your boyfriend becomes your pal. I don’t know about you, but I have enough friends. And although some relationships blossom from friendships, it’s physical attraction that sowed that seed. So don’t try to convince yourself to date a guy you’re not attracted to, just because you get along. You’re only setting yourself up for a sexless relationship.
Better advice: Looks aren’t the most important thing, but chemistry matters
What’s the worst relationship advice you’ve ever received? Tell me in the comments or tweet me!