Bad Dating Advice: 12 Maddening Tips You Should IgnoreBy Josey Miller
Just because someone gives you advice on your dating life doesn't mean you should listen!
1. You Don't Need Mr. Right -- Mr. Okay Will Do
If you're in your 30s, it's no longer "love is all you need," but rather "a pulse is all you need." At least, that's what Lori Gottlieb seems to suggest in her book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. She asks: "What's the difference between settling and compromising? When it comes to marriage, what can we live with, and what can we live without? How long does it make sense to hold out for someone better -- who we may never find, and who may not exist or be available to us even if he did -- when we could be happy with the person right in front of us?" But what's wrong with holding out until you find someone who has what you want? "By the time a woman hits her third decade, she has had enough time to get to know herself, what she is looking for and how to identify red flags," says Brenda Della Casa, author of Cinderella Was a Liar: The Real Reason You Can't Find (or Keep) a Prince. Don't waste your time on the wrong men -- if someone isn't treating you with respect, Della Casa says don't let it get past date three or four.
2. Cook Chicken and He'll (Probably) Marry You
Similar to the suggestion of baking cookies or apple pie during open houses -- the smell of baked sweets feels like "home" -- Glamour magazine claims that "Engagement Chicken," as they call the recipe, provides potential hubbies with that same just-like-mom-used-to-make it feeling. And if you want to marry a man who wants to, well, marry his mother, then whip up that chicken, chicky! But if not? "Instead of trying to find specific ways to 'make him fall in love,' focus your efforts on getting to know him and allowing him to get to know you to see if you're a good match," says Della Casa.
3. Never Accept Last-Minute Dates
It's Tuesday afternoon. You have no plans tonight (except maybe a spin class you're dreading anyway). The phone rings and it's the guy you just started dating: He was just given tickets to a play you really want to see. But it starts in three hours! Do you really want him to know you had no plans? Won't it seem desperate to accept such a last-minute offer? "The idea that a woman shouldn't accept a last-minute date offer is as outdated as the one that she shouldn't wear pants," says Della Casa. "While you shouldn't be so available that you get tossed into the 'sure-thing standby' category, there's absolutely nothing wrong with accepting a same-day invitation from someone you are interested in seeing."
4. Don't Let Him See You Eat Too Much
You don't want to look like a little piggy by ordering a steak, do you? Well then, order a salad or fish to show him you're a delicate flower! Oh, brother. "[A woman should order] whatever she wants!" says Della Casa (exclamation point and all). "The only thing a woman should think about when ordering is cost: You want to let him choose something, then stay in that price range to be polite." She also reminds you to avoid heavy garlic or onion if you're hoping for a goodnight smooch.
5.You Cannot Call for at Least Two Days -- It's the Rule!
Two days, three days, a week... If you call too soon -- or too late -- you will blow the whole thing. Really? Of course not. Actually, Della Casa recommends erring on the side of good manners: "It's always nice to send a 'thank you for a nice time' message, by way of text or e-mail, no later than the next morning." That communicates your interest and he'll reciprocate if the feeling is mutual. "That said, there is nothing wrong with saying hello every once in a while." Every three days, of course. (Just kidding.)
6. Wait Until the Third Date to Have Sex
Advice such as "don't shave your legs" so you don't let things "get too far" is another way of saying, don't have sex to soon. This is the same logic that generally goes together with "you shouldn't have sex until the third date." But, now, hang on: What if you do let it go "too far" sooner than that? What if you -- gasp! -- have sex on the second date or, heaven forbid, the first? Here's a thought: Don't get too caught up in those calculations. Instead, says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of Make Up, Don't Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples, use this rule: "Wait until you trust him." Can that trust be established over the course of one date? Maybe for you it can. And that's all that matters.
7. Ditch Him if He Goes Dutch
Interestingly, many women including Weil still wholeheartedly believe that the man should pay for the first few dates, especially if he was the one who initiated the date in the first place. But if he asks to split the check that doesn't mean you should break up with him. After all, he could be struggling financially in this economy, which we can all relate to. So, if you like him, give him the benefit of the doubt -- just because he didn't pay for the entire meal doesn't mean he didn't want to.
8. No Fireworks, No Second Date
Sometimes, even when there's no spark at all on date numero uno, good things can come to those who wait. "It takes time if it's real," says Weil. "Love at first sight usually fizzles after the initial fire cracker. You need to be patient and let it evolve [if you want it to] last." So is it always worth going on a second date? Our expert, believe it or not, says yes. She explains that there are too many factors standing in the way of seeing clearly when we first meet someone, making it hard to be objective: "Everyone has ghosts in their closet, so we tend to stereotype and have the tendency to stop a relationship [with potential] before it starts." So do you mean to tell us you really can't hurry love? Indeed. Diana Ross never lies. In fact, even if you have serious doubts about a new guy, he may not actually be a frog: Weil says, "Many times the spark can occur after the first kiss."
9. Maintain Some Mystery
How can you establish a relationship that's real if you're not being real? Trying to be mysterious instead of true to yourself means he's getting to know someone you're not. While telling him your entire life story on the first date isn't a great idea, Weil says waiting to reveal some less than flattering details "after the relationship is somewhat solidified" isn't being dishonest either. Be natural and honest, and see where it goes.
10. Bad Pick-Up Line? Back Away Slowly
Would you have the courage to approach a stranger who caught your eye? What you would say to strike up a conversation? Not so easy, is it? While clever pick-up lines can flow freely from the mouths of some men, it doesn't mean you want to date any of them. Consider this, says Weil, an awkward or tongue-in-cheek line probably means the guy is interested -- but just a little shy. Kind of endearing when you look at it like that, don't you think?
11. The Best Way to Get Over Someone Is to Get Under Someone's Skin
Not so fast! Before you jump into bed with someone else, "Make sure you know why your last relationship didn't work [before starting your next one]," suggests Weil. And you need to find closure before you move on. Weil says how you say goodbye is key: "Most people say goodbye when they're angry." Instead, says Weil, wait a while to talk about your relationship, your regrets and your wishes for each other's future. "Leave on a good note so there is no blame on yourself and there is no blame on him." And then can you move forward.
12. You've Got to Persevere: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
The only thing that should make you stronger while dating is a trip to the gym. Dating should be fun (at the very least tolerable!) and not make you feel like you are enduring something. So, instead just waiting for what you want, Weil suggests that you take the lead to set the precedent for what you expect from a new guy, so it's reciprocated. For example, if you call the morning after a date, it tells him you like a quick follow up, so he'll call you the next time.
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Bad Dating Advice: 12 Maddening Tips You Should IgnoreBy Josey Miller