The four pieces of dating advice you need to dump right now

Do not take three to five business days to respond to a text.

As a single looking to mingle, the advice heaped on by couples hoping to help is overwhelming at best.

“It’ll happen when you’re not looking,” they tell you with that gleeful look in their eye, as if your one true love is just around the corner, before launching into a tirade of instructions that’ll lead you to happily ever after.

But are they right?

When it comes to dating, which pieces of advice need to be dropped? Source: Getty Images
When it comes to dating, which pieces of advice need to be dropped? Source: Getty Images

Not exactly, according to Stella Ladikos, therapist and founder of Meraki Mental Health Training, who says we’ve all been conditioned to believe that we need to follow certain paths to find our person.

“For some people, it does come from parenting, like what they've grown up seeing or hearing,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “But I think social media has also contributed to the construction of some of these dating rules.

“The choice that people now have where they can be messaging 20 different people on social media all at once and going out on all these dates, they can just pick whoever's the most attractive based on their photos.. and it’s changed the whole dating landscape in how people engage, relate and form relationships.”


So, when it comes to dating advice, which pieces should be ghosted for good?

You don’t need to play games

Think you need to wait for them to message first then play hard to get and not reply for days at a time?

Think again, according to Ladikos who said the idea of following any kind of arbitrary rule is “getting quite old”.

“An issue I’m dealing with a lot with clients is the whole thing about there being these rules about what you should and shouldn’t do,” she said. “Like, ‘oh they haven’t done this, so I’m going to give them the silent treatment.”

Don't play games and take days to respond to a text, said Stella Ladikos, therapist and founder of Meraki Mental Health Training. Source: Getty Images
Don't play games and take days to respond to a text, said Stella Ladikos, therapist and founder of Meraki Mental Health Training. Source: Getty Images

She explained that “all those little silly rules” won’t lead to very fulfilling dating experiences.

“All those sort of arbitrary rules discredits the power of just actually stating what your needs are, and having open and honest communication and transparency,” she said.

“For a lot of the clients that I work with, a lot of the tension and things that happen in their relationship boils down to that idea that they're not communicating. They don't have the tools to communicate and they're essentially playing games.”

You don’t need to love yourself first

We are all a work in progress and while we should endeavour to heal any past traumas, Ladikos said you don’t need to wait until you’re “completely whole” before you start to date.

“I think the whole idea of, you have to love yourself first before you can date someone, is a little bit restrictive,” she said.

You don't need to fully
You don't need to fully "love yourself" before you start to date. Source: Getty Images

“It communicates the idea that you need to be whole and perfect before you can go out and date and that's just not the reality, because even if you do feel as though you are pretty happy and whole, everyone always has room for growth, change, improvement and self-discovery.”

She warned this “limited belief” could also be harmful.

“I think everyone has a complicated relationship with themselves and this messaging discourages people from entering relationships in which they can grow and learn, and also reinforces this belief that they can't be loved if they're still a work in progress, as we all are.

“So it can actually compound some pretty horrible feelings of, I'm not good enough to be dating, or, I’m not good enough to be in a relationship because I'm still dealing with stuff.”

Love isn’t meant to be hard

There’s this idea, Ladikos said, that love is meant to be hard work, and if it’s hard, it means that it’s worth it, and if you have to fight for it, it means it’s real.

Which is “absolutely not” the case.

“Of course, it’s normal for couples to have disagreements and differences of opinions, but if you’re feeling like you’re really working so hard at making it happen, chances are it’s just not meant to be,” the therapist explained.

She said a loving, trusting and transparent relationship shouldn’t be hard. It should be easygoing.

“Even when you go through difficult times, it's not you versus that person,” Lakikos said. “It should be you together as a team versus the problem."


Don’t force yourself onto dating apps

“I had a client that was told by a previous therapist that if they want to find someone they need to be on the dating apps, going out every week, putting themselves out there and going out on dates, and that was actually stressing out my client way more than the idea of dating,” Ladikos explained.

Instead of this constant pressure, she advised singles to find activities they were interested in that might open them up to meeting someone.

“Whether it's a sporting club, a book club, a church club, or a volunteering group, because number one, those things are also great for your mental health, but they're also opportunities to meet people and potentially meet people that might be similar to you,” Ladikos said.

“I think when you're desperately searching to find something, you may not actually end up finding what's meant for you and you're more likely to settle for less than what you deserve. Or settle for someone that doesn't actually match your energy or your value.”

And deep down you know that you’re worth more than that.

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