Relationship Advice: The Reasons It Can Actually Cause Irreparable Damage

Seeking the help of others, especially those whom you trust, is a common move. While you assume all relationship quarrels may warrant outside opinions, a group of folks offering relationship advice is far from necessary. In fact, it can often look more like the peanut gallery than objective commentators, which you don’t need adding even more drama to your personal relationship woes.

When it comes to you and your partner, you’re the only two who really know the inner workings of it all. So, steer clear of unsolicited relationship advice as much as you can, because it can actually cause far more harm than good.

1. The advice comes from other people’s experiences

Two multi ethnic affectionate girl friends embracing

What works for your friend may not work for you. | iStock.com/UberImages

Your friends will speak from their own experiences, rather than yours. And seeing as you’re looking for advice on your relationship, and what you should do, their relationships really have no bearing here. “Even the people you trust the most, your friends and family, are just a conglomeration of their own experiences with love,” The Liberty Project says. How you should be handling your own issues is something outsiders aren’t privy to, so do yourself a favor, and leave their advice behind.

2. It may be the wrong advice for you

Lying down and sad

Think twice before taking advice from a friend. | iStock.com/Marjan_Apostolovic

Everyone has an opinion, and if you allow yourself to listen to the opinions of others, you could be in for a real upset. Because every individual, and relationship, is different, there’s really no way for someone — especially those who aren’t trained professionals — to know what is right or wrong for you. Following someone else’s suggestions about what’s good for your relationship could cause far more harm than good.

3. It could keep you from seeing a therapist

couple on a couch visiting with counselor

Seeing a therapist may be the best thing for you. | iStock.com

Taking the advice of others could affect your decision to see an actual relationship counselor. While we’re discussing why taking relationship advice from others could potentially yield undesirable results, seeking relationship advice from trained counselors, therapists, and medical professionals is a whole other story. In fact, counseling may be the best thing for your relationship. If you listen too much to others, though, and are convinced you’ve got everything figured out, it could cause you to avoid it altogether.

4. It could influence you to change who you really are

couple on a date at bar

Changing who you are for someone else is never a good look. | iStock.com

We’ve already established that some advice can steer you in the wrong direction. But particularly bad advice could result in the belief that you really do need to change who you are. The trouble with this line of reasoning, however, is that it will never work. As psychologist Joni E Johnston points out in Psychology Today, playing dumb or lowering your standards will only jeopardize the true essence of your character. So, just be yourself, and don’t let anyone else convince you of doing otherwise.

5. You could end up attracting the wrong mate

woman with her boyfriend in car

Change who you are, and risk attracting the wrong mate. | iStock.com/AleksandarPetrovic

There are lots of reasons you could be with the wrong partner. But for the sake of this argument, let’s say you took relationship advice prior to finding the person you’re with right now. Perhaps you sought tips and tricks on how to attract the perfect mate from your friends, and you ended up with your now significant other. Well, here’s the major issue with this one: If you were sticking to other people’s advice, you may have landed their best partner rather than yours.

You and your friends are not the same, which means you could be looking for much different things in a partner. Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a new relationship, or are still on the search for that special someone, make sure you steer clear of unsolicited advice of this kind.

6. You’ll constantly be trying to change your partner

couple paying bills online at home

Did you really fall in love with your partner’s potential, instead of their personality? | iStock.com/CreativaImages

Advice comes in many forms. Some helpful, some not so helpful. And one of the least helpful kinds of advice is when others are breathing down your neck about how something in your relationship needs to change. As psychotherapist Patrick Wanis, Ph.D., told Glamour, one partner wanting the other to change isn’t the recipe for a happy, healthy relationship. Case in point: Your mother thinks your partner should make more money. Her advice? He or she needs a new career.

That trickles down to you, and eventually, you’ve listened to your mother so many times before, you start believing what your partner does for a living isn’t good enough. But tread lightly with this one, as this type of unsolicited advice can quickly turn to harsh ridicule. Eventually, you and your partner could end up with more problems than you started with.

7. Negativity tends to be contagious

sad woman grasping her head

Listening to an angry friend’s relationship advice isn’t in your best interest. | iStock.com

If you surround yourself with negative people, you run the risk of developing a negative outlook, too. Similarly, listening to a friend who has a sour taste in their mouth from a previous relationship isn’t the best policy. Not only will their bad attitude rub off on you, but you’re setting yourself up for failure. Sure, every relationship has some downfalls to it, but refusing to see the positive won’t help your case in the slightest. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of anyone who’s particularly bitter when it comes to matters of the heart.

8. It forces you to compare your relationship to others

Couple taking photo of themselves on cruise

Other relationships can look perfect, but that’s never the reality. | iStock.com/michaeljung

A little healthy competition can be good in some cases, but not when it comes to your relationship. Between your friends’ “perfect” portrayals on Facebook and their unending depictions of marital bliss, it can be hard to not compare yours to theirs. But try your hardest to not fall into this habit, as it will only leave you striving for a fairy tale that doesn’t exist.

9. You’ll feel judged

Young sad mad sitting by the window

Some people can make you feel like their way is the best way, but it’s not. | iStock.com/Marjan_Apostolovic

When an unqualified person offers up advice on your life, despite whether their intentions are well-meaning, it sends a signal. In their opinion, they know how to run your life better than you do, and that can result in some pretty heavy feelings on your part. Your reaction may be to listen to this advice at first, but in reality, you could wind up feeling judged; a feeling that your way isn’t the right way. But guess what? It’s your life, and no one else should be judging you for it. If the person giving you advice is acting holier than thou, Thought Catalog says you should definitely keep your distance.

10. You’re the one who cares the most about the relationship

young heterosexual couple sulking

You’re the only one who has to live with the choices you make. | iStock.com

Even if they have your best interest at heart, at the end of the day, the person giving you advice is not the one having to live in the relationship. You are the one who’s most invested, not your friends. “Some people’s automatic response would be to split up, get a divorce or give up on the relationship but they wouldn’t be the ones going through the heartbreak or the pain and it goes the other way around too,” Identity Magazine says. Your friends may encourage you to stay with your partner, for instance, but you’re the one who will suffer the consequences if you’re stuck in a terrible relationship. You, and you alone, knows what’s best for you and your relationship, so have confidence in your own advice, rather than resorting to the advice of others.