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.

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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.

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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.


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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.


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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!

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I don’t make any money off this post.

I’m just a self-improvement con­nois­seur and had to get some­thing off my chest, lmao. My degree was in biol­o­gy, but I also have over five years of prod­uct review­ing experience.

Read more about me here.

Currently, I’m in a rela­tion­ship where both my part­ner and I have done work to undo our tox­ic social conditioning.

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

6 Responses

  1. Violet says:

    I love this rant! I com­plete­ly agree!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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