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father and son talking about dating myths

Sure, one might say that dating is as simple as bike riding, but they don't mention the scraping your knees or breaking arms while learning your limits or the dangers of doing something while riding that the bike was never intended to do! Now is the time to step back from the storm of antiquated dating misconceptions. As a dad, you hold a unique position to guide your son through the perplexing labyrinth of romantic relationships. Let's challenge the misconceptions about playing hard to get, love at first sight, the friend zone, men always paying, and the alpha male stereotype. The goal is to assist your son in becoming not just a better dater, but a superior man that another loving individual will want to ultimately commit to as a life partner.

I think it's important though that before we start, our discussion here is primarily from a hetero-normative perspective but many of these myths and associated lessons can be applied to non-traditional relationships as well.

Additionally, it is essential that while having these conversations with your son so that it becomes an open dialogue where he can ask you questions or simply talk about the challenges that he faces as a young man in a world that is rapidly changing.

Debunk The Myth That Money And Material Wealth Is All That Matters

In father-son discussions about dating, it's important to debunk the myth that "You need money to show off if girls are going to want you." This misconception implies that attracting a partner depends on financial status and the ability to flaunt wealth. However, genuine relationships are built on deeper connections like kindness, humor, and empathy, rather than material possessions.

Fathers should emphasize to their sons that self-worth and attractiveness don't hinge on financial status. Confidence and a strong sense of self are more appealing than material wealth. It's crucial for young men to develop confidence in who they are, not just in what they own.

Dressing well is also an important aspect of dating, but it doesn't mean being extravagant. Fathers should encourage their sons to find a style that makes them feel confident and comfortable, while still being true to themselves. For instance don't wear footwear that is unstable just because it's trendy. Instead, find some comfortable dress shoes for men to wear on the date. It's about presenting oneself well without the pressure of expensive brands or trends. Not only will this save money in the short term but make sure that your son understands that a woman who just wants wealth an flashy stuff will never be satistified.

Ultimately, healthy relationships are based on mutual respect and understanding, not on one's ability to spend money or show off wealth. Fathers play a key role in teaching their sons that genuine connections are valued over materialistic displays, fostering a more realistic and grounded approach to dating and relationships.

Unraveling the "Playing Hard to Get" Myth

Often, you may hear that acting aloof is an effective strategy to garner attraction, but this dating myth warrants clarification. Let's examine the Attraction Dynamics to understand why. It's quite direct. Individuals yearn for appreciation, not dismissal. Being too elusive can result in a negative Rejection Perception. The person you're pursuing might feel unvalued, causing them to lose interest.

Striking a balance is key. Display interest, but also uphold your personal life and priorities. This doesn't imply playing games, but rather building a wholesome dynamic where both individuals feel esteemed and valued.

Bear in mind, it's about being genuine, not manipulative. Acting aloof might seem insincere, which can be a deterrent. So, be honest and show respect. This is how you cultivate a sense of belonging, not by pretending to be disinterested.

The truth is, attraction isn't a contest with winners or losers. It's a bond, a mutual understanding, a shared experience. Don't allow outdated myths to guide your actions. Instead, aim to gain a deeper understanding of Attraction Dynamics and Rejection Perception. It's not about acting aloof, it's about being hard to forget.

Debunking the "Love at First Sight" Fallacy

As you pursue love, you may find yourself drawn to the romantic idea of 'love at first sight.' However, we are here to unpack why this belief may be misguided rather than accurate.

'Love at first sight' is often mixed up with 'instant attraction' or 'sight infatuation.' Misunderstanding these phenomena can create an unrealistic perspective on love and relationships. Here's what you should know:

Instant Attraction:

  • It's an intense, immediate feeling that can easily be misinterpreted as love.
  • This feeling typically relies on physical appearance and overlooks the individual's character or compatibility.

Sight Infatuation:

  • This is a strong, short-lived passion for someone you scarcely know.
  • Infatuation can also be misinterpreted as love because of its thrilling and overwhelming nature.

This doesn't mean that you can't still feel that "love at first site" - I know when I met Heather I was immediately smitten and that feeling evolved quickly over that evening ... the next ... and the next ... and continues today!

Realistically though, actual love involves a profound understanding and acceptance of each other's flaws and virtues. It demands patience, effort, and time to grow. Thus, rather than chasing the misguided belief that they should immediately feel 'love at first sight' can damage the chances of a deep relationship evolving over time.


The Misconception of the "Friend Zone"

Shifting away from the captivating myth of 'love at first sight,' we now confront another misinterpretation often found in the realm of dating: the 'friend zone.' This 'zone perception' is commonly seen as a place where romantic aspirations meet their end, trapped in the limbo of being 'just friends.' It is important to realize that friendship isn't a second-rate prize, but a mutual understanding and bond of companionship.

To contest this 'zone perception,' it is necessary to accept that friendship is a form of intimacy. It doesn't represent a lesser level of relationship, but rather a distinct type of connection. A 'mutual friendship' might serve as the bedrock for a robust romantic relationship. Alternatively, it might continue to be a meaningful friendship, which is not a lesser outcome.

Bear in mind, every individual has the freedom to define their emotions and relationships. If you are seen as a friend by someone, honor their perspective. It isn't a dismissal, but a recognition of a different form of bond. The 'friend zone' isn't a banishment, but an opportunity for a 'mutual friendship.' Instead of feeling confined or disheartened, recognize the 'friend zone' as a chance to fortify connections and comprehension.

Girls Only Put Out For "Bad Boys" And Good Guys Always Lose

In father-son discussions about dating, it's important to debunk the myth that "Girls are looking for bad boys." This stereotype, often glamorized in media, inaccurately suggests that women prefer men with rebellious or disrespectful behaviors. However, it's crucial to understand that women, like men, have diverse preferences, and this oversimplification can be misleading.

Dads should emphasize to their sons the importance of being authentic and not trying to fit into the 'bad boy' image.

Healthy, long-lasting relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, and understanding, qualities often lacking in the stereotypical 'bad boy' persona. Encouraging sons to value respect, kindness, and empathy is key to fostering strong and fulfilling relationships.

Finally, it's essential to teach that open and honest communication is vital in any relationship. Understanding and respecting each other's needs and boundaries is far more important than adhering to any stereotype. This guidance helps sons develop a mature and respectful approach to dating and relationships, moving beyond simplistic myths.

Dismantling the "Men Always Pay" Tradition

Now, let's address an antiquated dating belief: the expectation that men should always be the ones to pay. This notion is not consistent with gender equality or financial responsibility. It's time to dismantle this misconception and clarify a few points:

Gender Equality

  • Men and women are equals, meaning the obligation to pay shouldn't fall solely on men. Equality involves sharing responsibilities, even when dating.
  • Instilling in your son the idea that he should always pay could unintentionally reinforce gender stereotypes. It's important to educate him that everyone is capable of covering their own expenses.

Financial Responsibility

  • The expectation to cover the cost of dates can place unneeded financial strain on young men. Teaching your son about budgeting and financial responsibility is key.
  • Not every date needs to be pricey. Promoting creativity in dating can result in memorable moments without excessive spending.

Keep in mind, dating is not about flaunting financial strength but about creating connections. By dismantling this myth, you're imparting to your son important lessons about respect, equality, and financial wisdom. Let's strive to raise sons who appreciate the importance of fairness in relationships.

Correcting the "Alpha Male" Aspirational Stereotype

A common misbelief to address with your son is the 'Alpha Male'  aspirational stereotype in dating situations. This stereotype regularly portrays a man who is always in control, emotionally detached, and overbearing. Yet, it is significant to communicate to your son that real strength doesn't lie in control, but rather in openness, compassion, and comprehension. Infact, while this Alpha Male might have once been the icon of masculinity and what women would seek out for marital partners - things have shifted considerably in recent years. 

In today's world there are many different archtypes and different women are attracted to different traits. 

It's important to note that these classifications are highly generalized and can oversimplify the complexity of human personalities. They are often used in social discussions but are not scientifically validated personality types.

Alpha Confident, dominant, assertive, charismatic Natural leadership qualities, confident decision-making, often successful in careers Can be overly competitive, may struggle with empathy, sometimes seen as aggressive
Beta Cooperative, friendly, supportive, empathetic Good team players, empathetic, strong relational skills May lack assertiveness, sometimes struggle with leadership roles, can be overly accommodating
Delta Reserved, independent, introverted, analytical Good problem-solving skills, independent, often creative thinkers Can be socially withdrawn, sometimes seen as aloof, may struggle with emotional expression
Gamma Adventurous, entrepreneurial, innovative, flexible Adaptable, often good at thinking outside the box, entrepreneurial spirit Can be restless, sometimes lack long-term focus, may struggle with traditional structures
Sigma Independent, self-reliant, introspective, mysterious Often highly independent, self-sufficient, unique perspectives Can be perceived as loners, may struggle with authority, sometimes lack conventional ambition

Remember too that not every man fits neatly into one of these boxes and that's ok. Instead of competing directly with other men, they should focus in finding a partner who embraces the qualities that they find valuable while embracing their own strengths and cultivating the positive aspects of their personality to make them as desireable as possible.

This is when the idea of redefining masculinity becomes relevant. It's about moving away from damaging stereotypes and welcoming a broader, diverse perception of what it means to be a man. This involves recognizing the elegance in being sensitive, compassionate, and emotionally expressive.

Breaking down stereotypes holds importance in this process. Your son needs to understand that being an 'alpha' doesn't make one a good partner, and that such labels can often result in harmful behaviors. Instead, genuine self-assuredness, respect for others, and emotional intelligence are much more appealing and healthier characteristics.

As a father, it's your duty to steer your son towards a more enlightened understanding of masculinity. In doing this, you're not only aiding him in becoming a better individual, but also contributing to a more accepting, loving society.

Sex And Intimate Relations Are Not Like What They See In Porn!

In discussions about dating, fathers need to address the myth that "Sex is what you see in porn." Pornography often presents an unrealistic and exaggerated view of sex, focusing solely on physical aspects and neglecting the emotional and relational elements essential to a healthy sexual experience. It's important for sons to understand that real sexual relationships are far more complex and involve mutual respect and consent.

Fathers should emphasize the importance of emotional connection and communication in sexual relationships. Real-life intimacy is about mutual pleasure, respect, and a deep emotional bond, aspects that are rarely portrayed in porn. This understanding helps in fostering a more respectful and fulfilling approach to sex.

Open and honest conversations between fathers and sons about the realities of sex are crucial. Teaching respect, empathy, and the importance of a partner's needs and boundaries is key to debunking the myths perpetuated by pornography. This guidance helps young men develop a healthy and realistic attitude towards sex and relationships.


As a dad, you carry the responsibility of helping your son navigate the complex world of dating, while debunking common myths and misconceptions. Your aim should be to impart lessons of respect, equality, and genuine connection. It should not revolve around games, stereotypes or outdated traditions.

Make sure your son understands that love isn't a battlefield, but a shared journey. Let's create a new generation of men who appreciate authenticity rather than resorting to games, who prioritize equality over dominance, and who seek deep connection rather than superficial attraction.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.

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