4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 1

I'm grossed out by predatory online marketing towards women dealing with confusion and heartache.

I get that, when you're strug­gling, a quick web search here and there can be ther­a­peu­tic for know­ing you're not alone.

But it doesn't take long before you're bom­bard­ed with some (often guilt-​tripping) BS with the big promise of a quick solu­tion for eter­nal love.

Even though I'm in a hap­py rela­tion­ship now, it's BECAUSE I BROKE ALL THE "RULES" and act­ed out of authen­tic­i­ty — not what­ev­er games these books are try­ing to sell.

Here are just four examples of shitty dating advice marketing I've encountered.

[NOTE: This post is an expan­sion on a cap­tion I wrote on my Instagram — with some extra deep-​fried and salty good­ness. Also, a lot of the advice in ques­tion IS tar­get­ed towards het­ero women, so I'll use pro­nouns accordingly.]

1. "What to text to captivate his attention and make sure he never pulls away again."

There is no 100% guaranteed way to know why someone pulled away!

… let alone do some­thing about it. They might be:

  • Going through some shit and bat­tling inner demons
  • Mixed-​up and unable to tell up from down
  • Triggered due to their own insecurities
  • Preoccupied with oth­er things
  • Unsure whether you share the same values

…or have any num­ber of poten­tial­ly pet­ty reasons!

Someone else's behav­ior is not nec­es­sar­i­ly about you. There are lim­i­ta­tions to your role in it, espe­cial­ly if they're unable or unwill­ing to artic­u­late what both par­ties can do.

You can't control what another person does. What you can do is decide your boundaries on when to:

  • Work with some­one who shows through repeat­ed behav­ior that they are hon­est­ly trying.
  • Lean away your­self and see what happens
  • Walk away entire­ly — out of self-preservation.

NOTE: This isn't about play­ing games. Ultimatums are attempts to con­trol and pun­ish their behav­ior; to get the desired reac­tion. Boundaries are about man­ag­ing your time and ener­gy so that you have your own back. There's a difference.

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 2

2. "What women need to know about men" / "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."

These articles, books, and courses often assume that:
  • All women are preoccupied/​anxiously-​attached and want to get hitched ASAP.
  • All men are dismissive/​avoidantly-​attached and distant.

That black-​and-​white think­ing just isn't accu­rate. The writ­ers lure you in with, "Men and women are dif­fer­ent, no mat­ter how much you don't want to admit that."

Maybe they hon­est­ly believe that. There is a grain of truth due to social con­di­tion­ing, but it's not innate or absolute.

If you grew up in a very tra­di­tion­al envi­ron­ment, you might notice a stronger cor­re­la­tion. But if you're queer and have many friends of a dif­fer­ent gen­der? THEN GET REAL! You KNOW that peo­ple exist on a spec­trum, instead of in neat lit­tle boxes.

Also, FUN FACT: The author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, prac­ti­cal­ly got his Ph D. from a diplo­ma mill. And it's old news. So maybe take his input with a grain of salt.

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 3

Feeling lost? These podcasts can help you learn about attachment styles:

They're both inter­views with the award-​winning ther­a­pist and activist, Aida Manduley, LCSW. There are end­less resources about attach­ment the­o­ry out there, but I'm just giv­ing you a few free ones that helped me per­son­al­ly as a start­ing point.

And even if the gender-​essentialist assumptions were accurate?

Then, all the same, you don't have to tol­er­ate an insecurely-​attached partner's behav­iors if they push you to ques­tion your self-​worth. If you're feel­ing dys­func­tion­al and want to work on healthy ways to expand your win­dow of tol­er­ance, do it with a secure base.

That might mean tak­ing time out of the dat­ing pool to work with a ther­a­pist to discern:

  • Where your trig­gers came from
  • What sto­ries you're telling yourself
  • When this pat­tern originated

In that case, under­stand that your dys­func­tions in rela­tion­ships, in gen­er­al, may play out with the prac­ti­tion­er. As well, it may take time to find the right ther­a­pist for you. It sounds corny, but inte­grat­ing life lessons into your rela­tion­ships is a jour­ney, not a destination.

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 4

3. "Is he emotionally unavailable, or are you just too pushy?"

This exam­ple is a more spe­cif­ic sub­set of the one above, but it's one of the more guilt-​trippy head­lines I've seen. Again, your role in anoth­er person's behav­ior is lim­it­ed. Plus, there's only so much you can change for any­one else, and vice versa.

Surround yourself with people who:
  • Take into con­sid­er­a­tion how you feel.
  • Listen with curios­i­ty while min­i­miz­ing condescension.
  • Have your back when you're struggling
  • Foster healthy bound­aries for all par­ties involved

That's not ask­ing for too much from peo­ple you keep in your life; that's the bare min­i­mum. Choose peo­ple who choose you. And hold your roman­tic part­ners to at least the same stan­dards as your friends.

If you're continually deliberating whether:
  • He's emo­tion­al­ly unavailable.
  • He pri­or­i­tizes you
  • You "earned" shit­ty behav­ior by doing some­thing wrong.

Then those are orange flags at best and BIG-​ass red flags at worst. That's fod­der for a whole-​ass oth­er blog post, and we'll revis­it that anoth­er day.

Also, personally?

I'm a worka­holic; I give peo­ple ample space because I need lots of space, and if any­thing, I'm incred­i­bly with­drawn to begin with in most cases.

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 5

4. "12 words to activate any man's innate drive to emotionally and physically provide."

Epsilon! Mu! Chi! Omicron! Find all 12 words to the robot's passcode!

Look, the grain of truth is that people do often enjoy feeling like:

  • Their input and effort matters.
  • People around them appre­ci­ate them.
  • They're con­tribut­ing a roman­tic partner's happiness.

It's also true that peo­ple bond through shared expe­ri­ences and help­ing oth­ers. That's not a man-​woman thing; those are cru­cial ele­ments of healthy part­ner­ships in gen­er­al. I've seen some of these e‑courses up close, and usu­al­ly, the advice would be fine (if it wasn't so heav­i­ly gender-essentialist).

However, the marketing is often misleading, and the advice can only go so far.

People mesh with each oth­er in dif­fer­ent ways, like puz­zle pieces. If you're not with the right per­son for you, then no com­bi­na­tion of words and games will change that. (Unless your nat­ur­al ten­den­cy is to play games. But that's not the major­i­ty of my authenticity-​seeking readership.)

You can't MAKE peo­ple love you.

If you've seen the clickbait marketing, you know I'm not quite doing justice to it:
  • "A 12-​word sen­tence that can make your man OBSESSED with you."
  • An ever­last­ing honeymoon
  • A "secret" that "only 10% of women know"
The compelling BS is simultaneously the best and the worst

And my rep­til­ian brain can't help but think, "BUT WHAT ARE THE 12 WORDS? I MUST KNOW!" and "I MUST JOIN THE TOP 10% OF WOMEN." They know how to stir up FOMO.

(You want to know the mag­i­cal 12 words? It's some­thing along the lines of, "Hey, I need your advice on some­thing. Can you help me out?" The point is more a bridge to give some­one a chance to step up for and serve you.)

But deep down, you know that 12 words aren't going to solve every­thing. The com­plex­i­ty of people's expe­ri­ences goes far beyond the scope of this glim­mer­ing mag­ic WAND — the wish-​fulfillment for their Whiny, Audacious, Needy Desire.

4 Shitty Dating Advice Marketing Ploys I'm Sick of Seeing 6

Let's wrap it up!

If you DID buy one of these pro­grams or ebooks, that's under­stand­able. My boyfriend says their mar­ket­ing makes HIM kind of want to read them — and he doesn't even have a man to use them on!

But be mindful of what your gurus stand for. Ask yourself:
  • Who is writ­ing these rules? What's their background?
  • Who is their tar­get audi­ence? What is the audi­ence seek­ing and will­ing to pay for?

There's always the draw of a quick fix to a com­plex issue. So con­sid­er that.

  • Who do these rules ben­e­fit? How?

Consider how the writer talks about men vs. women and whether it even con­sid­ers queer people.

  • Does this piece of advice apply to my situation?
  • Is there some­thing in my inter­nal BS meter that's going off?

If it sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is.

I'm not saying that the above ideas have never helped anyone ever.

But lis­ten­ing to the wrong input and talk­ing to the wrong ther­a­pist for you can be severe­ly detri­men­tal. Find resources that match your val­ues and put your mon­ey where your mouth is.

I'll even make answering the first question easier for you!

I don't make any money off this post.

I'm just a self-​improvement junkie and had to get some­thing off my chest, lel. At the time that I wrote this post, I was in a rela­tion­ship where both my part­ner and I had done quite a bit of work to undo our tox­ic social conditioning.

I'm sorry for the rant about shitty dating advice. But not really.

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7 Responses

  1. Ladykiller says:

    Thanks for shar­ing this great dat­ing advice!

  2. D. Dyer says:

    There is a real cru­el­ty to the way all of this advice seems to pray on peo­ple in their most inse­cure thoughts and moments.

  3. Prudence says:

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who winces when I see this kind of mar­ket­ing. Thank you for your detailed rebut­tals to these statements.

  4. Violet says:

    I love this rant! I com­plete­ly agree!

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