Outdated Relationship Advice Men Need To Stop Following

Outdated Relationship Advice Men Need To Stop Following

From romance movies and bad pickup artist videos, to old-fashioned uncles at weddings, men are bombarded with terrible relationship advice. It’s outdated, often toxic, and can sabotage any chance of building a healthy, modern partnership. Guys, it’s high time we upgrade our love lives. Here are some of the most tired clichés you need to stop listening to so that you can embrace a mindset that actually helps create connection, respect, and yes, way better relationships.

1. “Play hard to get.”

Games and manipulation are not how you cultivate genuine connection. If someone’s interested, don’t make them decipher mixed signals or jump through hoops to prove their worth. Being emotionally unavailable is not the same as being attractive. Healthy relationships thrive on clear communication and reciprocated interest, not elaborate mind games that ultimately breed insecurity and distrust on both sides.

2. “Never let her see you sweat.”


This stoic facade might’ve flown in the past when vulnerability was equated with weakness, but modern women want a partner, not a robot. Suppressing emotions harms your own mental health, WebMD notes, and makes true intimacy impossible. Being able to share fears, insecurities, and needs openly builds trust. She wants to see the real you, and honestly, the confident strength it takes to be emotionally open is way more attractive than pretending to have it all together.

3. “Pay for everything.”

Chivalry isn’t dead, but the idea that a man must always foot the bill is. Modern relationships strive for equality. Offering to pay is gentlemanly, expecting to pay every time is outdated. Going Dutch, taking turns, or even splitting the bill based on income are all valid options. It encourages a sense of partnership, and takes the financial pressure off both parties, leaving more room for actually enjoying the date.

4. “Don’t talk about feelings.”

Emotional constipation is a recipe for relationship disaster. Bottling up feelings leads to resentment, passive-aggressive behavior, and erodes intimacy. Healthy couples discuss feelings, both positive and challenging. Learning to express yourself in an honest, respectful way is a crucial relationship skill. If you don’t know how, start learning! Therapy or books on emotional intelligence can be amazing resources for developing this often-neglected skill.

5. “Always have the last word.”

Needing to “win” every argument reveals insecurity, not power. Healthy relationships are about collaboration, not domination. Sometimes, you’ll agree to disagree, or even joyfully admit you were wrong – that’s maturity, and it’s way better for your relationship than clinging to being “right” simply to protect your ego. Prioritize understanding your partner, finding compromise, and leaving those petty ego battles behind.

6. “Make her jealous.”

young couple in an argument

If you need to manufacture jealousy to get a woman’s attention, you’ve already lost. Purposely making someone feel insecure is manipulative, toxic, and a surefire way to attract the wrong kind of partner. Women want someone who makes them feel secure, not constantly questioning your intentions. Ditch the silly power plays, and if she’s not interested in the genuine you, she’s not the right match anyway.

7. “Happy wife, happy life.”

Young couple sitting at the table with cup of tea and talking to each other during their date in cafe

This cutesy phrase puts an unfair burden on the woman to be solely responsible for keeping the relationship peace. It also implies men should be passive bystanders in their own happiness. A healthy relationship takes effort from both partners. Your own emotional needs, communication, and willingness to compromise are equally important in creating a fulfilling dynamic where you both thrive, not just one person placating the other.

8. “Don’t put her on a pedestal.”

While you shouldn’t blindly idolize anyone, treating women as less-than-human to protect your own ego is a toxic tactic. Women are real people with flaws and strengths, just like you. You pedestalize to avoid true intimacy, then are resentful when a woman inevitably isn’t the fantasy version you built up. See her as a full, complex person, appreciate her individuality, and you’ll actually have a shot at building something real.

9. “Nice guys finish last.”


This cynical myth is thankfully fading. Kindness, decency, and respect are not weaknesses – they’re the foundation of any healthy relationship. The problem isn’t being nice; it’s being a doormat. You can be kind AND have boundaries, be empathetic AND expect the same in return. Don’t confuse people-pleasing with genuine goodness. Women who value quality partners are absolutely drawn to men with good hearts who also have a backbone.

10. “Never apologize first.”

Swallowing your pride to save face is a recipe for festering resentment. If you mess up, own it. A sincere apology, devoid of defensiveness or excuses, demonstrates maturity. It shows you value the relationship more than always being “right.” Waiting for her to apologize first creates a stalemate, damages trust, and blocks the opportunity for the conflict to actually be resolved.

11. “A little jealousy is healthy.”

awkward first dateiStock/nd3000

Absolutely not! Jealousy stems from insecurity, either your own or hers, and it’s toxic to trust – a cornerstone of healthy relationships. Possessiveness is not the same as love. If you struggle with jealousy, work on your own self-esteem and practice trusting your partner’s choices. A woman constantly having to reassure you is exhausting and erodes the relationship from within.

12. “Don’t show your interest too soon.”

Playing the aloof “cool guy” is a relic from high school dating. If you like someone, enthusiasm is a good thing! Sure, don’t smother her, but letting her know you enjoy her company, respect her intelligence, or find her attractive encourages open communication and a natural connection to flow. Again, games breed insecurity, while genuine warmth and interest breed confidence in the budding dynamic.

13. “Focus on her looks.”

Being physically attracted to a partner is natural, but fixating solely on appearances creates a shallow foundation. Compliments are lovely, but make them go deeper than just looks. Notice her intelligence, sense of humor, kindness – what makes her HER. This shows you value her as a whole person, not just a trophy. Women want a partner who sees their soul as much as their body.

14. “Hide your flaws.”

Aiming for perfection sets you up for failure, and frankly, it’s exhausting to keep up the facade. Vulnerability is attractive because it’s real and allows for deeper connection. This doesn’t mean oversharing on a first date, but as a potential relationship progresses, showing your quirks, imperfections, and humanness is what allows someone to truly love the real you.

15. “Don’t do ‘girly’ things.”

Toxic masculinity harms men, too! Enjoying traditionally feminine activities doesn’t diminish your manhood. Like cooking, expressing emotion, dance, enjoying a rom-com… these are simply life experiences, not gender-coded traps. A secure man doesn’t feel threatened by blurred gender roles. Embracing your full self makes you more interesting and leads to a more dynamic relationship where both partners feel free to bring their whole selves to the table.

16. “Women only want [insert stereotype].”

Money, a six-pack, being a “bad boy”… those are tired clichés. Women are individuals with diverse preferences, just like men! Blanketing all women with the same desires paints you as narrow-minded and sets you up for disappointment. Instead of focusing on fulfilling a stereotype, focus on being the best version of yourself and let your authenticity attract someone who truly vibes with who you are.

17. “Bros before … “

men drinking alcohol at the pub

While friendships are crucial, healthy relationships don’t prioritize anyone over your partner all the time. Rigid adherence to this “bro code” breeds resentment. It’s okay to ditch the guys occasionally for a date night, be enthusiastic about your partner, and confide in your significant other instead of always defaulting to your buddies. Balance is key – maintain friendships AND nurture a fulfilling relationship.

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Josh grew up in Connecticut and thought he could never be happier away from big bodies of water until he moved to Minneapolis and fell in love with it. He writes full-time, with his lifestyle content being published in the likes of Men's Health, Business Insider, and many more. When he's not writing, he likes running (but not enough to train for a marathon even though his buddy won't stop asking him).