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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The Dumbest Relationship Advice People Actually Followed

For as long as there have been relationships, there has been bad advice about relationships. These folks have learned their lesson and are sharing their stories to keep you from making the same mistakes.

1 / 10
adviceCourtesy Kendra Callari

Myth: “Play hard to get”

“When my now-boyfriend and I started dating, I played hard to get—like really hard, to the point where he sat down and said, ‘I don’t know if I can handle this. I need to be needed, cared about, and wanted.’ Hearing that he felt this way was like a knife through my heart. This whole time I was trying to be sexy and confident by pushing myself away to let him know I didn’t need a man to make me happy. Now, when my friends tell me they’re playing hard to get, I remind them that he too is human and if he feels as though you’re toying with him, he may just walk away.” —Kendra Callari. What to really tap your inner confidence? Here are 14 things confident people never do.

2 / 10
adviceCourtesy Janis Isaman

Myth: “Give him a chance”

“That’s terrible advice, because you generally know in your gut whether or not a person has what you’re looking for when it comes to a long-term relationship. Think about how hard it is for people to find ‘the one.’ There’s a reason they don’t show up left and right. I ended up giving so many guys a ‘chance’ when I wasn’t even attracted to them.”  —Janis Isaman. Don’t miss these 7 expert-backed tips to getting the love you want

3 / 10
adviceCourtesy Steve Silberberg

Myth: “You snooze, you lose”

“I pursued an ill-advised relationship with someone because I was afraid of snoozing on the opportunity. I was generally not very popular and had limited dating options, so I felt as though I was not in a good position to turn away someone I was attracted to who was interested in me. So, with the added fear of missing out, I pursued someone I knew deep down wouldn’t be a good match. I can’t say the relationship ‘crashed and burned,’ but it did fizzle out pretty quickly.”—Steve Silberberg. These hilariously bad pieces of advice are the opposite of what you need.

4 / 10
adviceCourtesy Jenn Watterman Moore

Myth: “Split everything 50-50”

“Sharing the cost of meals can be a nice gesture, especially at the start of a relationship. When things get serious and he’s now paying every tab, you’ll likely start seeing a decline in the amount of dinners and date nights. Sometimes a man likes to show a woman how much he likes her when it’s not sustainable for his budget. Unfortunately, if you can’t sustain what you’ve showed her in the beginning, you will lose her. I learned quickly this wasn’t the way to go.”—Jenn Watterman Moore. Learn how to discuss finances in your relationship with these guidelines.

5 / 10
AdviceCourtesy Conchetta Jones

Myth: “Always trust your friend’s advice”

“I was in one of those ‘break up to make up’ relationships. When we moved in together, we’d have some good weeks and some not-so-good weeks. On the not-so-good weeks, I’d share what was going on with my girlfriend. She would listen to me gripe and sometimes cry, and would always have something negative to say about my guy. Finally, after several months of this, she told me I should just leave him—that he didn’t appreciate me and I was better off without him. She came over to our home to help me pack up my things and get settled in at another friend’s house. After two days, I missed my guy and wanted to make up. When I went to discuss things, I found the my friend and my guy asleep in our bed. That ended both relationships for me. From that incident I learned: Do not discuss personal things in your relationship with just anyone. Make sure the person giving you advice can be trusted and is truly looking out for your best interests.” —Conchetta “CJ” Jones

6 / 10
adviceCourtesy Helen zuman

Myth: “Don’t let someone else decide who you should date”

“For five years, in my twenties, I belonged to a commune/cult called Zendik Farm. The leader, an older woman named Arol, once advised me to dump a boyfriend I still loved because, in her eyes, my relationship with him was preventing me from serving the cause. I did as she advised, and eventually internalized her views so thoroughly that I dumped future boyfriends without prompting whenever I feared my involvement with them might put me at risk of betraying Zendik.” —Helen Zuman

7 / 10
adviceCourtesy Stacey Greene

Myth: “Everything in marriage should be 100 percent even”

“The worst relationship advice I followed was from a feminist who said that marriage should be a 50-50 deal. My husband and I floundered around aimlessly the first few years of our marriage taking turns paying the mortgage, grocery shopping, and splitting the phone, heat, and electric bill right down the middle. I naively expected our conversations to also be equal and kept asking myself why he wasn’t sharing bits and pieces of his life and talking to me the way I did with him. We learned so much about the roles we were really comfortable with through trial and error. I learned that men usually do not open up the way women do and that our conversations will never be 50-50. He already knew I was never going to climb a ladder and tear off roof tiles any more than he was going to learn to make spanakopita from scratch! We’ve been married now for over 30 years and know where our comforts lie. We no longer feel the compulsion to have a tit-for-tat mentality and life has changed for the better.” —Stacey Greene. Here are some more relationship rules that good couples break all the time.

8 / 10
adviceCourtesy Jennie Laurent

Myth: “Finding love means following the rules”

“Someone once introduced me to a ‘rulebook’ of dating dos and don’ts. If I wanted to have a lasting relationship, I was to follow this strict set of rules. I dutifully followed this advice and found it to be outdated, robotic, and not applicable to this digital dating era. It was totally inauthentic and quite bizarre. It was not until I studied myself deeper, trusted and strengthened my own intuition and, most importantly, loved and understood myself that I found love. I also threw out the rule book and I am so glad I did because I soon found my soulmate.” —Jennie Lynn

9 / 10
adviceCourtesy Kevin Darné

Myth: “Follow your heart”

“We’ve all heard this saying. Essentially, it means to avoid ‘red flags’ or things that logically make sense for you to avoid in order to fulfill your heart’s immediate desire. I now subscribe to the following mantra: If something doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably not right for you. Never separate your mind from your heart when making relationship decisions. The purpose of the mind is to protect the heart. It’s also important to have your own list of wants and needs when it comes to a significant other. Only you know what you want. Compatibility trumps compromise. Each of us chooses our own friends, lovers and spouse. Generally speaking, people want to be loved and appreciated for who they are. If you or your mate has to make a significant change in order to make a relationship ‘work,’ there is a good chance you’re with the wrong person.” —Kevin Darné, author of My Cat Won’t Bark!

10 / 10
adviceCourtesy Mary Grace Donaldson

Myth: “Ask a friend get him to admit his feelings for you”

“During my freshman year of college, I pseudo-dated a guy graduated the year before I was a freshman. He’d stuck around at school doing his former work-study job while he looked for a job in his field. While we had an obvious connection, we just couldn’t admit our feelings for each other, and taking our ‘sorta’ relationship to the next level. A number of friends watched this cat-and-mouse game between the two of us play out for months, and, finally, one of them offered the advice that she open up to him about her own ‘boy problems’ to see how he’d react. The next thing I knew, she was no longer opening up to see how he’d react, but full-on crying to him as I watched from afar. In my head, I thought, ‘this was supposed to be about me!’ but she just kept telling her long, elaborate story—and was met with sympathy! The whole event took a different turn than I originally anticipated, and my friend seemed to have forgotten the original point—as she happily informed me later, ‘Gracie, now I see why you like him so much!’ The good news? They didn’t date, but I was sure concerned that they were going to start dating shortly after that day.”—Mary Grace Donaldson, founder and editor-in-chief of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Jenn Sinrich
Jenn Sinrich is an experienced digital and social editor in New York City. She's written for several publications including SELF, Women's Health, Fitness, Parents, American Baby, Ladies' Home Journal and more.She covers various topics from health, fitness and food to pregnancy and parenting. In addition to writing, Jenn also volunteers with Ed2010, serving as the deputy director to Ed's Buddy System, a program that pairs recent graduates with young editors to give them a guide to the publishing industry and to navigating New York.When she's not busy writing, editing or reading, she's enjoying and discovering the city she's always dreamed of living in with her loving fiancé, Dan, and two feline friends, Janis and Jimi.