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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Debunking common magazine relationship advice

Everyone wants a healthy relationship. Ask monthly glossies like “Cosmopolitan” and “Vogue.” Tips from experts proliferate the Internet, with love experts preaching the virtue of communication, trust and commitment.

You don't have to be best friends with your partner's friends, but it's good to be friendly. EZRA MARGONO/THE STATESMAN
You don’t have to be best friends with your partner’s friends, but it’s good to be friendly. EZRA MARGONO/THE STATESMAN

Then there are some tips that are better off being ignored. Tips like:

1) Know everything about each other. Everything.  According to every love expert since the dawn of time, the mark of a good relationship stems from knowing each other’s Facebook passwords, underwear sizes and the name of the puppy they had as a grade-schooler. Don’t know his favorite color? You two are so not meant for each other.

Solution? There are probably better things to worry about in a relationship than knowing the size of your partner’s pupils.

2) Communicate, but never nag. Boyfriends and girlfriends alike know what it is like to be on the receiving side of a good nag. While naggers will give a thousand and one reasons why they do it, nagging – whether active or passive aggressive – is the one thing every relationship suffers from. It’s not even as though naggers are being annoying on purpose. This, to them, is “communication”.

Solution?  Say it once. Say it twice. Then leave it alone. While communication is an oft-touted solution to every good relationship, no one likes to repeat themselves or hear the same things all the time. Expressing oneself clearly is a good behavior hygiene. But if the listener is still not responsive, then it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.

3) Always do the things they like. Magazines are not the only ones advocating shared activities. But what happens when the girlfriend’s an avid rock climber but the boyfriend hates heights?

Solution? There will always be someone compromising and being miserable in the name of making their partner happy. But there is nothing wrong with having completely different hobbies and spending a little less time together. Absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder.

4) Be friends with their friends. This goes right up the alley with tip one as some of the worst relationship advice ever given. Sure, it is nice to be friendly with your boyfriend’s buddies, but dating someone of a group does not mean you have to be instant friends with all of them. Want to get along with your girlfriend’s friends? Better keep that at a minimum.

Solution? Be friendly, but do not take it to heart if they’re not your automatic best friends. And for the sake of your partner, don’t get too friendly too fast. After all, they are not the people you are dating.

5) Always be you, no matter what anyone says. Don’t grow. Don’t change. Don’t let your partner make you a better person and let you realize flaws you’ve never realized about yourself. If he or she is not satisfied with you, well then, that must be their fault.

Solution? A healthy relationship brings out the best in each other. A regular relationship stagnates. Although it is not healthy to date someone who does nothing but pick out your worst points, a good relationship does not coddle either. So do not feel persecuted next time a boyfriend or girlfriend critiques you. Accept it, value their judgment at your discretion, and then decide if you want to adopt it or not.

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