3 Pieces of relationship advice you should actually ignore
Regardless of their expertise or state of mind, girlfriends, mothers, even bosses are quick to offer their opinion.
Particularly when it comes to relationship advice.
While a sounding board is great, and talking through problems and experiences can help bring clarity, talking to the wrong people at the wrong time and taking their insight for fact as opposed to opinion can not only steer you wrong, but can completely derail a really good thing.
When it comes to seeking dating and relationship advice, it's important to:
- Consider the source.
- Consider the current headspace of the source.
- Take their opinion as an opinion, not fact.
- Listen to your gut first. Only you truly know the situation since you're in it, not them.
- Don't immediately act on the advice. Take a beat, at least a day, to digest and process their insight before deciding whether you want to integrate it into your own, discard it all together or alter your opinion based on the light that theirs shed.
- Consider communicating with him, not her. Are you spending too much time communicating about your relationship with your friends, and not enough time communicating about your relationship with your partner? Communication is the foundation, glue and often the remedy for misunderstanding in relationships. Take your emotions out of the equation and work on having conversations that express where you are coming from, how you are feeling, what's going on in your body and heart and you just might find that you have found the magic elixir to maintain, heal and strengthen your relationship.
Be wary of advice that...
- Comes from a person who is currently in a place of insecurity, unhappiness about themselves or their relationship.
- Comes from a person who tends to be jealous or competitive with you.
- Comes from a person who really doesn't understand who you are, what you are looking for, what your relationship style is or what your comfort level is within a relationship.
Common advice that you shouldn't take
1. Don't sleep with him too soon. Whether it makes sense for you to have sex on the second date, fifth date, only once you are in a committed exclusive relationship, after 90 days or wait until you're married is something that only you and your partner can be the judge on. No matter how passionate your friend is on the matter, just like if you decided to wear ugly underwear, or even if you didn't shave your legs, in the heat of the moment it's your conviction that matters. Do you have a connection that warrants that type of intimacy? Are you more interested in a good time than deep emotional intensity? Is the moment just right so you're going with it? What matters when it comes to having sex is that you feel good about your decision, you don't feel pressured and you and he are on the same page. Once the decision is made, don't torture yourself with judgment or regrets and don't let your friends make you feel bad. Only you and your partner know what's right for your relationship (whatever that may be) at the time. Anyone else's opinion is irrelevant.
2. Dump him stat! Don't be hasty with the advice you get from your girlfriends. If she says that your guy is a jerk and you should immediately exit the relationship... take a beat to think about if that's really the right move for you or if your issues can be worked through. Is the problem truly a non-starter or a deal-breaker? Or is it a surface issue that can be remedied through better communication, deep understanding or therapy? Sure, your boyfriend truly might be acting like a jerk right now, but if you cut the line just because your friend said you should, you might quickly regret the decision, miss him and end up sending an "I made a mistake, please take me back" text shortly thereafter. Now you are risking being in an even worse place with the relationship. Why?
- Since you broke it off for no good reason, you have begun to create an environment of distrust. How does he know that you won't just pick up and leave again in the face of a misunderstanding?
- You may feel like he wasn't committed to the relationship. But guess what? You're the one who left. He might not have spent enough time with you, but you dumped it altogether.
- Your in/out attitude makes you appear to be wishy washy, or worse, controlled by your friends. It's difficult for a guy to commit himself... his time, energy and heart... into something that he doesn't know is secure and trustworthy.
3. Follow the "rules" of dating. You might not even realize that the "rules" you are following are actually games. Well they often are. If you are abiding by "the rules," you might be allowing the conventional dating expectations to dictate when you should call, not call, make yourself available, pretend to be busy and tiptoe around the truth... which isn't lying, it's just not being exactly transparent. Well screw the rules! It's time to get real, break down your barriers, be your authentic self and step out your strategy to finally meet "the one," as opposed to just another "someone." It's time to follow your feelings. If you're interested in him, it's OK to be the first one to reach out, whether it's online or in person. Available tonight? Be spontaneous and go out with him on a whim. Get raw. Open up. Share something about yourself that's substantive. That's the purpose of the first date, right? Fly your red flags. Show your vulnerable side; it's the best way to create a real and deep soul connection. If you want to find that deep guttural love, the love that lasts, that hooks your heart and implants itself in your soul, you've got to screw the facade, the protective layer, the walls, the hiding of the feelings and the front. You have to be raw. After all, you're not looking for a friend. You're looking for love. If you want depth, you've got to dig deep and form your connection there.