Myths vs. Realities

Myth: Most people are very successful at dating, and never need help or advice.

Reality: Actually, most people have less exiting love lives that we think; TV, movies, and the media might lead us to believe that everyone else is dating a lot and the people are very happy with their romantic relationships, but this is often not the case. Just open up any men’s or women’s magazine, and you’ll notice that much of the content involves advice about meeting and connecting with potential romantic partners. If everyone was so successful and happy with their love lives, would these magazines sell as well as they do? (We know this example is far from scientific, but there is considerable empirical evidence that people don’t date as much as others think, and worry about their relationships a great deal when they do date.)

Myth: Physical attraction is the only factor that affect success with men or women, and if I am not successful, it must mean that I’m unattractive.

Reality: Yes, physical attraction has a large impact on people’s love lives, but it is not the only – or even the most important – factor. Research has shown that interpersonal style, confidence, behavior, and personality also play large roles in determining if another person will be attracted to us. Many people also think that, since attraction is important, they have to be the most attractive person in the room in order to get noticed. Actually, beyond a certain point, these other factors become far move important than being more attractive. Furthermore, even very attractive people can struggle with their love lives.

Myth: Many of the factors that affect success and satisfaction in dating and finding potential romantic partners cannot be changed.

Reality: Many things that make a person attractive to others are dynamic factors that can and do change over time. Much of this can be learned; just because you have not learned it already does not mean that you cannot learn it now. Think about when you became old enough to drive. You probably did not expect to all of a sudden be able to drive perfectly just because it was what others your age were doing. Instead, you had to learn how to drive, and it probably took you a while to get good at it. Just because you struggled to get it right the first time behind the wheel didn’t mean that you were forever doomed to a life without driving.

Myth: Dating problems are not really something a professional can address with me. I’ll be better off just reading self-help websites and asking my friends for advice.

Reality: Yes, your friends may have good advice for you, and information on the internet, in magazines, and in self-help books may help. But, if you have tried these resources to no avail, it may be time to do something different. It rarely makes sense to keep doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result. Just think: if the power went out in your home or apartment, and a really helpful friend of yours tried unsuccessfully several times to turn it back on, you would not have them keep at it. You would call in a professional.