Books

30 pieces of dating advice from literature

We may moan about our other half every now and again, but like Mr T in one of those notorious rants of his, we pity the fool that has to embark on that precarious venture known as dating.

Dating and its hoped for consequence, love, are tricky things to get right. Naturally, films can help with dating advice, but we also like to think that we’re equal opportunists (!!!) when it comes to matters of the heart (and bedroom), so we’ll often throw the floor open to literature too.

As Nietzsche once remarked: “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

So gen up on these 30 pieces of dating/romance/love advice. And remember to thank us in your groom’s speech. You’re welcome.

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature

    Dusk and Other Stories (James Salter)

    “Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they're ready to leave.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 1

    An Ideal Husband (Oscar Wilde)

    “Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 2

    The Dark Tower (Stephen King)

    “No one ever does live happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 3

    House of Meetings (Martin Amis)

    “When you’ve lost all your play, guess what love becomes. Work. Work that gets harder every hour.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 4

    Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

    “Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 5

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)

    “Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell. That was Doc's mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 6

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)

    “Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 7

    Blind Willow, Sleeping Women (Haruki Murakami)

    “I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 8

    A Woman of No Importance (Oscar Wilde)

    “Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity… women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 9

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

    “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 10

    All’s Well That Ends Well (William Shakespeare)

    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 11

    Invisible Monsters (Chuck Palahniuk)

    “The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 12

    The Four Loves (C.S. Lewis)

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 13

    The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

    “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 14

    A Room With A View (E.M. Forster)

    “It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 15

    The Fall (Albert Camus)

    “You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 16

    This Side of Paradise (F Scott Fitzgerald)

    “I'm not sentimental. I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last - the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't.”

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  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 17

    Fifty Shades of Grey (EL James)

    “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 18

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

    “Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 19

    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)

    “When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 20

    Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

    “It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of a man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire... Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 21

    My Father’s Tears and Other Stories (John Updike)

    “It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 22

    Our Mutual Friend (Charles Dickens)

    “Love is in all things a most wonderful teacher.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 23

    Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

    “Flirting is a woman’s trade, one must keep in practice.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 24

    Jude The Obscure (Thomas Hardy)

    “People go on marrying because they can't resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month's pleasure with a life's discomfort.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 25

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover (D.H. Lawrence)

    “But that is how men are! Ungrateful and never satisfied. When you don't have them they hate you because you won't; and when you do have them they hate you again, for some other reason. Or for no reason at all, except that they are discontented children, and can't be satisfied whatever they get, let a woman do what she may.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 26

    The Brothers Karazamov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

    “Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 27

    Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 28

    The Dying Animal (Philip Roth)

    “The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open.”

  • 30 pieces of dating advice from literature 29

    The Rules of Attraction (Bret Easton Ellis)

    “What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me.”