Everyone feels like an expert on love.
We’ve all been in relationships. We know how they work. We’ve dissected our friends’ relationships. Surely that gives us more expert status than the average psychology major!
But being the designated love expert among your friends isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
There are some serious downsides. Little ticking bombs buried beneath the fragrant field of love. 😉
Before I dig them up, let’s look at why someone might want to wave the banner of authority in matters of the heart.
Why Be a Love Expert?
There are two main reasons anyone aspires to be a relationship expert:
- They have a natural knack for giving good advice. They’re the go-to person for their friends.
- They want to know everything so they can stop messing up. They’ve had enough of doing it by guesswork. They want evidence, research and hard science.
For others, there’s a third motive:
- To become Carrie Bradshaw.
If “Sex and the City” wasn’t your thing, let me explain.
Before the explosion of bloggers and reality television, there was one woman telling it like it really was. The single life wasn’t romantic. It was lonely, ridiculous, and embarrassingly hopeful.
But we proud “Sex and the City” fans didn’t give up. We kept company with these women on their search for love. We persevered in the face of narcissists, toy boys and unattainable millionaires.
I was never going to live in New York City, and my writings about men weren’t likely to end up a nationally syndicated column, but I wanted to be that kind of heroine. One who put her life in service of copy.
And here I am, so something must have worked. (Trust me: it wasn’t the shoes!)
Once you’ve decided to become a relationship expert, there are a few ways you can go about it:
- You can pursue an academic route. You can major in psychology or get counseling credentials.
- You can blog about your romantic misadventures. With luck, you’ll even get a book deal.
- You can achieve fame in another field and use your profile to pontificate as a “celebrity love expert.”
- You can start charging your friends for advice. A professional career has to start somewhere!
But here’s the price you’ll have to pay…
Your Own Messed-Up Love Life
Although you’d think a relationship expert would know exactly what to do in her own relationships, you’d be wrong.
Case in point: Carrie.
For all her wisdom and insight, did she sail through her love life mistake-free? Nope.
Knowing the theory doesn’t necessarily make you better at APPLYING it.
And that’s a GOOD thing!
A lot of marriage counselors come from divorce themselves. That doesn’t disqualify them from giving advice. If anything, it makes them more empathetic. They’ve stood in their clients’ shoes. They know how hard it is.
The more you know about relationships, the less you can sweep your own problems under the carpet. You have to be honest with yourself. You can’t apply high standards to your clients and lower standards to yourself.
It’s tough. Knowledge highlights where you’re failing. You know when you’re not practicing what you preach.
For all your profound intentions, you’re only human. And that hurts.
But that’s not the worst of it…
The Pressure! The Expectations!
The minute you put yourself on a pedestal as an expert, other people will attach expectations to you.
They’ll wonder why you’re not anything like they thought an expert should be.
They’ll doubt your credentials. They’ll rip your advice to shreds.
And we haven’t even talked about what it does to men yet.
Does being a relationship expert make you more attractive to men?
In my experience, it’s not something to bring up on a first date. First dates are nerve-wracking enough. You don’t want him to know you’re evaluating his technique with a professional eye.
It takes a ballsy guy to feel he’s a match for a woman who might just make him the subject of her next column. The catch? The confidence that keeps him around might just be the tip of an iceberg of arrogance.
So is the title of “love expert” worth it?
Or is it better to just stick to solving your friends’ romantic problems?
It comes down to this:
Do you want to become a love expert for yourself…
Or because it really matters to you whether OTHER people find love?
If it’s for yourself, then there are better ways to get lucky in love.
If it’s for others, then I shall bless you with the relationship expert’s maxim:
Here’s to a lifetime of mistakes and heartbreak!
(Because otherwise how would we learn??)