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Dating blarney: busted!

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In the spirit of applying the luck of the Irish to your love life, we’ve gathered an array of dating blarney we’d like to see permanently obliterated. Learn what our experts have to say, and you may soon be on your way to finding relationship gold that’s not hidden at the end of the rainbow.
Bit of blarney #1: There’s no such thing as love at first sight.

Reality: Actually, there is... but interestingly, it happens more often for men than for women. “Men can fall in love instantaneously when they lay eyes on someone attractive because they’re so visual,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, a noted anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of Why We Love. Women, on the other hand, are biologically programmed to “fall” differently: since women aren’t as visual, they’re slower to feel smitten. “Women at least have to talk to the person!” Dr. Fisher says.

Bit of blarney #2: Men should always pay for a first date.
Reality: If a woman invites you, you are her guest and she pays. “Stop the diving-for-the-wallet dance,” says etiquette expert Gloria Starr. “The person who asks is the person who pays. Women can and should plan dates.” But Starr cautions against going Dutch from square one — let one person or the other pay. She says that dividing the check is a bad way to begin a new relationship, because it sends a message that neither one of you is investing in the bond.

Bit of blarney #3: Single women rearrange their schedule to see a guy they like.
Reality: “In a study of hundreds of Americans, we found that men were more likely to change their patterns and habits to be available for women,” says Dr. Fisher. So, if a man is interested in a woman, he might actually be the one waiting by the phone or obsessively checking his email so that he can redo his schedule to see his sweetie.

Bit of blarney #4: If a guy doesn’t immediately show his interest, he doesn’t really like you.
Reality: Actually, the reverse is more likely to be true. If a guy likes you and doesn’t want to mess things up, he’s more likely to move slowly. “Some of the worst dating disasters I’ve heard of involve men who dazzle with their insistence that you’re The One right after they meet you,” says Dalma Heyn, therapist and author of Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy. “You feel flattered and thrilled, get intimate, and then he’s gone! He only wanted to woo you, not win you.”

Bit of blarney #5: You should play hard to get to land a man.
Reality: This belief usually goes hand in hand with some others, like a woman should never call a man, always pretend to be busy, and never say yes to a date unless it’s far in advance, right? Wrong. “When it comes to dating, there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow,” says Joni Mantell, a psychotherapist and love coach who practices in New York and New Jersey. Yes, being hard to get can be a quality that confident people possess — confident people are more discerning. “But fake confidence or toughness creates distance,” cautions Mantell. Develop confidence and your own rules, and the right partner will get you... difficult or not!

Bit of blarney #6: It’s always a mistake to date someone at work.
Reality: “It often works — if you are smart about it,” says Ronna Lichtenberg, author of Pitch Like a Girl: How a Woman Can Be Herself and Still Succeed. Lichtenberg suggests some ground rules: Don’t date more than one person in your office, and only go for it when the chemistry is definitely there — i.e., do not use your cubicle as a regular pick-up joint. Of course, you should stick to common sense and corporate rules regarding boss-subordinate dating. Make sure you both agree beforehand on what you’ll tell your coworkers. Finally, Lichtenberg advises, “Don’t do it if you are prone to bad breakups. And don’t lie — you know if you are.”
Bit of blarney #7: Sex is just an animal urge for men.

Reality: Actually, Dr. Fisher says that men tend to regard it as a more intimate act than women do. “It’s easier for a woman to find someone to have sex with her if she wants it,” she explains. “For women, sex is a real gift to men. Men have to do the courting, so when they do sleep with a woman, they feel a closeness because they’ve ‘earned’ it,” says Dr. Fisher. Too bad that doesn’t always extend to cuddling!
Bit of blarney #8: Women can’t deal when a relationship ends.

Reality: Studies show that three out of four people who become extremely upset and take drastic measures post-breakup are men. Says Dr. Fisher, “It’s a myth that women take breakups harder!” Sure, women get sad about it (enter weepy movie marathons and ice cream on the couch), but since more guys are raised without the tools to deal with their feelings, they tend to be the ones who actually flip out after a bad breakup. Lesson learned? Toss a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to your guy friends who are mourning a breakup, too.

(Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a writer and performer based in New York City whose work has appeared in magazines such as Marie Claire and Fitness as well as numerous online publications.)

by Kimberly Dawn Neumann




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