If you are in a new-ish relationship, chances are good that you have discovered a vaguely aggravating fact about people–most of them love (loooove) giving advice to people in relationships. They love it. They crave it. They need to do it. The only problem? Most of this advice is not exactly what anyone would call “good” advice. In fact, a lot of it is legitimately, genuinely bad. And, potentially, could be the cause for the downfall of your relationship if you actually listen to it.
Of course, most of the people who give out bad advice don’t have evil intentions at heart. (Well, probably.) It’s just that they have absorbed a lot of the toxic, heteronormative feelings about relationships–most likely from the relationship advice that was given to them when they were in their early relationships. But the cycle stops here! I am not bold enough to say that I, personally, have the key to all relationships, ever, and can comfortably dole out the right kind of advice that suits each and every person in a relationship. But I do know enough to be able to spot some genuinely terrible relationship advice when I see it. So, check out the relationship advice that you should never, ever listen to:
1. You have to keep score in order to keep a relationship healthy:
Sure, the idea here is…cute. But the execution? Not so much. Plus, if your gauge for a successful relationship looks like the scoreboard that was used to judge behavior in elementary school, that’s…probably not a great sign.
2. Girls should never, ever pursue a guy:
Uh. No. This is outdated, patriarchal BS. If you like a guy, let him know. Don’t, like, stalk him or anything, but you can definitely get away with a fair amount of pursuing.
3. But, also, if you are a girl, it is your duty to go through “hell” to keep the relationship going:
Some pretty egregious mixed messaging going on here! (Also, if a relationship is “hell,” that’s a pretty good sign that it should just be over.)
4. A “real” boyfriend is…kind of abusive?
The last thing on this list is, obviously, vital for a relationship. But some of the other things–most notably “gets jealous” and “is overprotective”–are more of a sign that a relationship is borderline abusive, not that it’s “real.”
5. You have to send texts like this after a fight:
Yes, you should talk things out after an argument. But saying something like “your ass isn’t going no wherez” after a fight is a little…much, no?
6. Having mood swings and, in general, being sort of a nightmare is the most adorable quality that one can have in a relationship:
Your partner should accept you for who you are, mood swings and all! (We all have them, after all.) But, lately, it’s become trendy to act more needy and more breakdown-prone for…unclear reasons? Either way, it’s probably not the best thing to do for a stable relationship.
7. You should be the couple that surprises people by still being together:
Why? This implies, to me, that the relationship appeared so unstable from the start that everyone assumed that a breakup was nigh, or you and your partner have both been flirting with other people so it seems as though the relationship has ended, or the relationship is so boring that no one cares about it one way or another. Either way, uh, this might not be the best thing to aspire towards.
8. You shouldn’t give relationship benefits without a real relationship:
Now, when it comes to, like, emotional labor, this is a good rule of thumb. But part of me suspects that this is a take on the “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” aphorism, which is really just…not applicable to any human person in the dating world today. So, give out whatever relationship benefits you feel like giving out. It’s 2017. Who cares.
9. Everyone needs to adhere to…whatever is happening here:
I don’t want to think about it too much so I am just going to move on!
10. EVERY guy must do this AT LEAST once:
11. People should be rewarded for, like, basic relationship requirements:
Loyalty is important! But it’s something that should be expected–from both you and your S.O.–not lauded. If you’re in a relationship with someone who expects you to constantly praise them simply for not cheating on you, that’s a sign that they’re high drama and probably not worth your time.
12. These are the ONLY things required in a relationship:
This seems both…highly specific and highly vague at the same time, right? Basically, just create your own relationship rules with your own partner when you get the chance. Don’t go solely off what other people tell you to do.