The #1 Relationship Myth [debunked]

Q. Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve been talking to this guy for 5 months. At first neither of us wanted anything serious but I’m almost 30 and my friends are getting engaged left and right and my family’s putting pressure on me to settle down. It’s like this ticking clock follows me everywhere.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I recently buckled to the pressure and I had ‘the talk’ with him. He said all the right things but we still only see each other maybe once every 8-9 days and we don’t text consistently. My friends say I should have another talk with him. What should I do?

A. If you listen to relationship advice from friends and family, you’ll wind up unhappy or

single. Unless you happen to come from a tribe in which everyone innately has what I like to call uncommon sense when it comes to relationship skills – and I’ve never seen one of those tribes.

The problem with following advice from friends and family is one I can explain through math – which is ironic because I’ve always hated math.

Back to the problem:

People are more likely to wind up divorced than to stay together. N>50 (The divorce rate is just over 50%).

Your friends and family are ‘people.’

Of those who remain together, most do so out of loyalty, financial need, or an unwillingness to change.

Which lowers the probability further that the people you’re heeding advice from are, themselves, in relationships that you’d like to emulate.

And even if they are in successful relationships, the likelihood that they are aware of what they do and don’t do that renders them happily coupled is, well, unlikely.

You see what I’m saying?

Do not seek relationship advice from friends and family. Doing so has caused intergenerational relationship pathology – and what’s worse – doing so implies that those skills are natural, organic, and something we should expect to be born with.

They are not. See: N>50

Now for you: 

What are you doing to increase how often you see this guy, or how often/consistently you text? I think you were hoping that ‘the talk’ - which I’m presuming consisted of you telling him that this situationship needs to transition into a relationship or you’re out – would result in him making significant changes.

And that’s where you made your mistake.

You need to initiate the changes you want to see - not wait passively for him to change. Call him more consistently. Ask him for one or two nights a week that can be your nights.

Let me know how that goes. I’ll be happy to do a follow-up.

Gender and Orientation: Female, Straight.