Dating Don’ts: A Celebrity Primer

The New Year is a time for taking stock, a time for looking back and learning as well as looking ahead towards a richer future, secure in knowing that the lessons we’ve learned this past year will help us lead a better life in the next.

Obviously, there is no better source for these life lessons than within the annals of celebrity gossip. Celebrities are richer than us, prettier than us, and—with rare exception—skinnier than us. We watch them onscreen and/or listen to their songs—why shouldn’t we learn from their mistakes?

Sadly for them, 2009 was a rough year for famous people in relationships. There were more breakups than there were deaths! But luckily for us, there are valuable nuggets of knowledge contained within almost every celebrity split … You aren’t going to love the same guy at 30 that you did at 13.

Susie Sprague reportedly had the hots for Corey Feldman since she was a wee child mooning over “Goonies.” And while Corey had been an adorable little moppet, his grown-up years were filled with drugs, 12-step programs, and reality TV. Five years and one kid into their marriage, Susie wised up and ditched her Lost Boy. Same goes for Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley, who met and fell in love when she was a teenager — after three years together, she grew up (sorta) and filed for divorce.

Don’t date (or marry) your dad.

Yes, I know, there are plenty of May/December romances that work out just fine, but there are going to be issues when your pop-cultural touchstone is “Gossip Girl” and his is “Gilligan’s Island.” If you don’t believe me, just ask Billy Joel and Katie Lee, Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia, Lily Allen and her 45-year-old art dealer ex, or TR Knight and the scandalously younger Mark Cornelsen.

Twitter is not for feuding lovers.

While some were titillated by Lindsay Lohan’s foray into lesbianism with DJ Sam Ronson, reading their snitty Twits proved that gay relationships can be every bit as boring and stupid as straight ones.

Crackheads aren’t marriage material.

Until their assorted arrests and stints in rehab, Blake “Incarcerated” and Amy Winehouse seemed to have a fairytale romance, but believe me when I tell you the drugs don’t work.

There’s a one strike rule.

When Chris Brown beat the crap out of Rihanna, it brought home the message that domestic violence can happen to anyone.

Don’t be anyone’s Pocket Pal.

Just like huge disparities in age, income and education, sometimes the size gap just can’t be overcome. Of course I’m speaking of teeny-weeny Christina Ricci and her jumbo-sized ex-fiancé. According to their reps, it was an amicable split due to the usual publicist-generated reasons, but c’mon. If your boyfriend can pick you up with one hand and zip you up in the pocket of his gargantuan windbreaker, it’s just not an even match.

Professional athletes are probably going to cheat on you.

I’m sure Elin Nordegren thought she was going to be the exception to this rule. I mean, for one, she’s gorgeous. For another, she married the most boring sports star on the planet. Tom Brady—I think we can all imagine him cheating. But Tiger Woods? His college nickname was “Urkel,” ferchrissakes.