As a single person, you tend to receive a myriad of unsolicited dating advice. Your friends think it’s their responsibility to “rectify” your situation, even if you are content with being single at that moment in time.
I am quite familiar with being the single person, as I didn’t enter a serious relationship until age 25. For over a decade, people constantly told me how I screwed up my dating life and incorrectly handled crush situations.
Now, as someone who is in a happy and healthy relationship, I get to look at dating advice from the other side. To be honest, I find a lot of it problematic. It’s almost as if people take what happened in their own lives and assume that everyone else experiences dating and relationships in the same way.
The truth is, every situation is unique. What worked for me may not work for you. In particular, I am tired of seeing dating advice that assumes that men and women have to play specific roles, implying that somehow your relationship will not happen if you don’t conform to these ridiculous heteronormative standards.
“Ladies, if a man is interested in you, he will ask you out.”
Recently, I saw an Instagram story from an influencer who was sharing the “best dating advice” she had ever heard. I didn’t save the screenshots, but the premise of it was that men will always ask women out if they like her. Men don’t want a woman to take initiative as they see it as threatening. They like chasing the girl, not the other way around.
I can’t believe that this advice and variants thereof are still being thrown around in the year 2021.
First, this sentiment is incredibly sexist. Why are women still expected to take a subservient role in society? Why do men have to lead the relationship?
If I learned anything during my single years, it’s that you can’t expect your crush to intrinsically figure out that you like them. When you like someone, you have to put in the effort to talk to them, and whether that’s led by the man or the woman is irrelevant.
Honestly, if a man has a problem with a woman initiating a relationship, then he should seriously re-evaluate his priorities.
Second, dating advice that focuses on what men and women should do is not inclusive of the LGBT2Q+ community. As someone in a heterosexual relationship who identifies as a cis woman, I cannot speak on behalf of LGBT2Q+ people, but gender-neutral dating advice would benefit everyone.
The traditional gender roles in heterosexual relationships are incredibly outdated, despite the expectation to adhere to them still existing.
Men are told to run the relationship and not let the woman take control. Women are seen as the property of a man and exist solely to attend to his needs. A successful career woman is seen as threatening to a man as he is supposed to be the one to provide for the family while the woman stays at home to take care of the children.
While yes, it’s generally true that men still tend to initiate dating in heteronormative contexts, it doesn’t mean that it should be expected in the year 2021. When I’ve been rejected by a crush, it was solely because there was no mutual interest, not because the man was threatened by my initiative.
In a non-heterosexual relationship, neither person has pre-conceived expectations based on gender. Either partner can initiate dating or do most of the cooking and no one will think anything of it. The same standard should apply to heterosexual relationships.
Re-framing dating advice away from gender norms will benefit everyone. As a cis heterosexual woman, I don’t appreciate being told that I have to act a certain way because I’m a woman. My partner and I should have the freedom to do what works for us, and not feel pressured to fit into these preconceived notions.
Of course, no dating advice will ever be one size fits all. Even in our valiant attempts to be inclusive of all types of relationships, we will always be somewhat jaded by our own experiences and cannot speak with authority on dating experiences that we’ve never had.
The bottom line is if you still want to be helpful to your single friends, understand that they may not agree with or benefit from your advice.
And on the flip side, if you are a single person who frequently seeks counsel from friends and YouTube binges (no judgment, I’ve been there), take everything with a grain of salt, even if they claim to have magical advice that works 99.9% of the time.
Ultimately, you have to do what you think is right, even if it goes against everything you hear about your prescribed gender role in society.
Previously published medium
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