Turns out everything we think we know about dating is wrong. Or at least, it’s not entirely right.
Here’s how this all started: Every week I get several dozen emails from both guys and women asking for advice for dating but lately, I’ve started to feel like I’m living that movie Groundhog Day.
You know the movie where Bill Murray has to live out the same day over and over and over again? Every week, I keep getting the same complaints from both men and women about the opposite sex (men don’t want commitment, women are only looking to date men with money, you know the drill.)
What keeps this from being just another whine-fest is that these very same ladies and gentlemen tell me earnestly that these stereotypes do not apply to them. These guys may think that the ladies are only in it for the cold hard cash, but they swear up and down that they’re just looking for a nice woman they can spend all of eternity with.
The girls tell me that all guys want is bedroom action but they swear they’re just looking for Mr. Wonderful, whether he’s a teacher, an insurance adjuster, or the guy who rides on the back of the trash truck. The most common complaint hurled at men? Shallow.
So, I plowed through the mountain of emails cluttering up my desktop and set out to prove or disprove the top seven relationship stereotypes. And, in an effort to be fair and not just take the women’s side, I asked my pal and fellow love guru Michael Alvear, author of The Flirty Text Message Helper to weigh in as well.
So here it is, dahlings: Our seven biggest dating myths. Busted. (Mostly.)
Myth # 1: Men only want to date beautiful women
Okay, it helps. Men are visual, and we are all, genetically programmed to seek out the healthiest, genetically sound, and most fertile mate we can snag for our own. But for lots of guys, beauty, at least in the supermodel-y way we ladies tend to fret over, is not the be all end all for guys.
Thom, dater who hails from Toronto says, “It’s important for me to be attracted to the women I date, for certain. But I’ve dated and been attracted to a number of women who have some great feature that drove me crazy, like amazing lips or fantastic legs, who might not be considered beautiful in the traditional sense. The whole, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ thing is true, at least for me. I tend to go for women who are smart, with a really bizarre sense of humor.”
Micheal Alvear’s take: “Yes. It’s not that we don’t want the rest of the goodies — personality, kindness, humor, etc. It’s that we want all those gifts wrapped in a beautiful box!”
Myth # 2: Women only want to date the rich men
Sure, a big fat bank account is appealing for many women, but lots just want to date someone who is practical, responsible, and a decent human being. And sometimes, taking a look at how a guy handles his finances is one way to determine how he’s managing the rest of his life.
Patrice, a dater from the D.C. area says the whole money myth is just that, a myth. “That is a lie perpetuated by unsuccessful men (financially or in dating.) There are plenty of wealthy women who go after broke/less financially stable men in the name of love. Look at Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon or J Lo and her backup dancer. It is true though that many women seek some financial stability when they start to look for a potential spouse, but not all women. And finances are usually not the only factor.”
This brings to mind a quote from my favorite Marilyn Monroe movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
“Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?”
Michael Alvear says: “This myth is busted. Women want to date men who have a car but don’t live in it.”
Myth # 3: Men want sex, not commitment
Yes, men want sex. But many of them also harbor the same desires we tend to attribute to women — commitment, love, a family. When we assume that guys are only dating for sex, we do them a terrible disservice. Plus, the them versus us mentality isn’t doing us any big favors either.
Unfortunately, this is the thing we ladies tell ourselves when the relationship we’d hoped for doesn’t get any traction. (Guys, before you start working yourself into a lather of righteous indignation, remember you do the very same thing with the whole “all women are gold diggers” mantra.)
It takes two to tie the knot, and while the males of the species may have executed the greatest marketing campaign in world history by convincing all the women that they’re doing us a great big favor by walking down the aisle, many men actually do (gasp!) want to be in a committed and happy relationship. (Although sex will do in a pinch if that’s not available.)
Michael Alvear’s take: “Men like to think about relationships like a bacon and eggs breakfast: The chicken was involved; the pig was committed. We’d rather be the chicken.”
Myth # 4: The nice guy never gets the girl
Most mentally-stable women actually do want to date a nice guy. The trouble happens not when a man is “too nice” but when he is not masculine enough. Think weenie or doormat.
You can be the nicest guy in the world and still be a guy. That’s what we ladies are looking for. Don’t let us walk all over you. Don’t “yes dear” us until we’re practically catatonic. And don’t be afraid to take your testosterone out for a spin every once in a while.
Michael Alvear’s take: “Bull. Nice guys EVENTUALLY get the girl.”
Myth # 5: The longer you’ve been dating, the more likely the chances you’ll get married
This ends up being an issue for women a lot more than men. Women believe that the more time they have invested in a relationship, the higher the chances are that said relationship will eventually result in a trip down the aisle. However, in interviewing several hundred men in the research stage for my book Stop Getting Dumped!
, I discovered that men know within the first one to two years whether or not they want to marry a woman, and if they don’t feel it by then, the chances are pretty high that they never will.
In other words, after a couple of years, he knows enough about you to make the decision. So why do guys stay in a relationship for years (and years and years) when they’ve already decided that they don’t want to marry you? Because they’re comfortable, and maybe even happy in the relationship, and nothing better has come along to push them out of it. Like baby birds in the next. As long as the Momma bird keeps delivering worms to their bedside, there’s really no reason to leave.
As one anonymous dater put it, “My girlfriend and I dated for six years, and the whole time she put the pressure on for a ring. We ended up breaking up and I met my fiancée a few months later. The difference was I knew right away that she was the one I wanted to spend my life with.”
Michael Alvear’s take: ”Once you’ve passed the three-to-five-year phase, the chances slope down like a bent-necked pack mule.”
Lisa Daily’s take: Three years, tops.
Myth # 6: Men are intimidated by powerful women
An study of online daters quoted in the best selling book Freakonomics found that once a woman hit $100,000 in income, her appeal as an online dating candidate went down dramatically.
The truth is that only insecure men are intimidated by powerful women. Secure men are not. So instead of thinking of your kick-butt-in-the-boardroom ways as a liability, try looking at it as a way to weed out the needy masses. And remember that for many guys, there’s nothing sexier than a confident woman.
Ben, a dater from San Diego sums it up: “I love powerful women. Bring it on.”
Michael Alvear’s take: ”Yes some men are intimidated by powerful women, but less and less so.”
Myth # 7: Love conquers all
Love, much like spackle, can smooth the cracks of life’s ups and downs, but it’s not a cure-all for abuse, alcohol, drug or gambling addictions, mommy issues, a compulsion to speed or shoplift, or the inability to remain employed.
Some relationships can exacerbate a problem. And some problems are just too big to overcome without some serious professional intervention.
Michael Alvear’s take: “PPFFFT! (the sound of coffee spraying out onto my
screen). Love ain’t enough.”
Love looks different to everyone. And the good news in all of this, dating stereotypes aside, is that there is at least one universal truth: There is someone for everyone.