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There are some universally acknowledged truths when it comes to dating. These themes are repeated on sitcoms, in romantic comedies and in your buddy Paul's hookup stories that he totally swears are true, bro.

And, according to science, most of it is wrong. That's right; somehow, you know even less about romance than you thought you did.

Gamers Are Lonely Virgins

What We Thought:

We have previously pointed out how the "nerdy gamer who has never touched a boob" stereotype persists in movies and TV right up to this very minute. When most people think of gamers, they're likely to picture a very thin or very fat loner whose romantic resume consists of a few steamy Xbox Live chats (and that one time he got flashed on ChatRoulette).

But Science Says...

Sorry, non-gamers, but those WoW nerds probably have a more active love life than you do. The 2008 study we linked there found that gamers were twice as likely as their non-gaming counterparts to go out on dates in a given month.

Admittedly, this is considered less about video gamers suddenly becoming suave ladies' men and more about the way the growing gaming market is swallowing up people of all types. That includes millions of attractive ladies, guys.

Also, don't forget the rise in multiplayer games. You've got party games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band that are great ice-breakers (have you ever tried coming up behind her and offering to help her play the song, then letting your hand "accidentally" fall onto her boob? Don't do that.). Then of course you have all the people who have actually met in online games like World of Warcraft, some of whom have gotten married.

Add it all up, and you arrive at the indisputable scientific conclusion that video games are an ass magnet.

Online Dating is a Last Resort for Losers

What We Thought:

You can't blame us here at Cracked for having a negative view of online dating, considering how many sites apparently have to rely on spamming our comment section to get the word out.

Sure, dating sites no longer carry quite as much stigma as they once did; plenty of couples now freely admit that they met online (and not just those annoying couples in the eHarmony commercials). Yet, you still see them mocked across pop culture as the last chance for the desperate, smelly and altogether irksome who can't survive real-life encounters.

The stereotypical online date is usually a wacky horror story--the guy who was seven inches shorter and 60 pounds heavier than he claimed to be, the woman who looked nothing like her picture and confessed that she was married and also a dude. And of course the serial killers are also a problem.

"Your picture made you look way taller."

But Science Says...

Studies show that one in five dating site users goes on to marry someone they meet online, and 94 percent of couples who develop a relationship online will make it to at least the second date. Those numbers blow away what you get meeting people the old fashioned way.

"Favorite hobbies include: adjusting the speed on this treadmill with the boner you just gave me."

Why? One reason is people seem to be more open and honest online. It's counter-intuitive, since the stereotype is that every hot girl is really a 40-year-old man, and the Internet in general seems to be made up of people playing characters behind anime avatars. How could that possibly compete with the honest, soul baring that takes place on any given night at a singles bar?

"I love Bon Jovi too! And so does this boner you just gave me."

But what they're finding is that in the world of online dating, that layer of anonymity makes people more willing to confide in each other without feeling like fools. Think about it. You'd probably never confide in some random chick at a bar that your tough exterior is just an act and that you've been emotionally wounded ever since you watched your pet Turtle, Fluffy, get hit by a car when you were eight. Yet, people don't hesitate to say that stuff in their blogs. Especially for guys, the physical separation seems to just make it easier to open up.

Online dating is also a self-sustaining thing; more people than ever are using these sites, so the pool of online daters has expanded from hardcore computer nerds, escorts and the truly undatable to a wide range of people. It's gotten to the point that at least some of them are certain to share your weird-ass set of interests.

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Women Get All Emotional About Relationships, Men Stay Cool and Logical

What We Thought:

How many movies have you seen where the hysterical woman is bursting into tears over something her man has said, while the calm, collected guy is patiently trying to get her to calm down? While astride a chopper?

Even in "chick flicks," it's the same deal. You could call this the Sex and the City syndrome. Carrie Bradshaw and crew spend every waking moment dissecting their relationships. Whether they're at a fashion show, brunch, or riding camels in the desert, they let us know through dialogue or emotional voiced over monologues that they have men on their minds.

Meanwhile, the happily oblivious men of the show stomp on the ladies' hearts and then suavely return to pick up the pieces and wipe away their tears.

But Science Says...

A study of data collected from over a thousand unmarried young adults showed that men are actually more emotionally affected by relationship drama than women. They just don't show it. They're more likely to put on a brave face than post passive-aggressive Facebook statuses or complain about their significant other to their buddies. Meanwhile, they probably cry into their pillows at night after an argument with their girlfriend.

Researchers think it might be because girls generally have more close bonds with friends and family than men, so going through a rough spot with the boyfriend doesn't cut off their only outlet for emotional support. Guys, on the other hand, tend to confide only in their significant other. Emotionally, that means they have more at stake if things turn cold in the relationship.

So it is actually the ability to gossip with a tight-knit group of girlfriends that lets girls keep things on an even keel. So maybe we owe Sex and the City an apology.

Or maybe not.

Feminism Kills Romance

What We Thought:

The idea that feminists make bad lovers doesn't just persist among the older generation and fratty douchebag types. After all, isn't that one of the tenets of feminism, that women don't need men? Wasn't it the founders of the modern feminist movement who coined the phrase "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"? And aren't feminists the ones who refuse to shave their legs and shun all sexy clothing as a byproduct of male objectification and oppression?

So even if we're being as progressive and politically correct as possible about feminists, relationships just aren't their thing, right?

But Science Says...

The raw numbers say otherwise. First of all, women who identify themselves as feminists are, at any given moment, more likely to be in a heterosexual romantic relationship than women who don't (yes, "heterosexual," for those of you who secretly assume "feminist" means "lesbian").

But their boyfriends and husbands are surely miserable, right? Having to live with a woman shrieking at them about phallic oppression 24 hours a day?

Well, according to that same study, men who reported their partner was a feminist also reported more satisfaction with their sex lives than those who didn't. So as for the idea that feminists are abrasive, mannish women in flannel, either it's grossly inaccurate, or there are a lot of dudes who are into that kind of thing.

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Couples Who Live Together First are Better Prepared for Marriage

What We Thought:

Society has moved on from the old idea that an unmarried couple getting a place together are "living in sin." It just doesn't make sense, right? It's logical to move in with your significant other before making a legal commitment that is likely to end in tears and a hefty divorce settlement.

This way, you can find out before marriage that Mr. Right leaves the door open when he pees and hogs the remote, or that Ms. Perfect lets her dirty dishes fester in the sink for days on end. It's like a practice marriage. And if you're not compatible, well, you can call the thing off with no consequences.

Give it a rest already, Jack.

Surely couples who live together first are better prepared for marriage than those who learn only after the wedding that the love of their life is a slovenly and irritating human being.

But Science Says...

According to researchers at the University of Denver, couples who lived together before they were engaged have a higher divorce rate and lower marital satisfaction than those who waited until they were married, or at least engaged, to shack up.

Couples who play house pre-engagement are especially doomed for failure if, as many people do, they live together before marriage as a means of testing the relationship. Word of advice: if you feel the need to test your relationship, you probably already know something's wrong with it. For instance, if your boyfriend is cheating on you with a short, balding male prostitute named Fernando. Moving in together isn't going to help.

Actually, he's kind of handsome.

But researchers think this is where another factor comes into play. Rather than treating cohabitation as a profound and lifelong commitment, couples treat it as another stage of dating. So they're quicker to agree to do it than they would be to marry. But once they're living together, they find out breaking up can be next to impossible. Financially they adjust to having just one rent and utilities payment, and all of their stuff is there. A sort of inertia sets in.

After a few years of this, everybody in your life starts pressuring them to get married and they do it, because that's just what people do, dammit.

That's right: A whole lot of married couples out there are only together because one of them was too lazy to round up some friends to help them move that heavy-ass sofa and La-Z-Boy. It turns out that's not all that solid a foundation to base a marriage on.

You win again, La-Z-Boy.

Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!

For more common misconceptions in the dating world, check out 6 Ways You Can (Accidently) Attract the Ladies and 6 Things Men Do To Get Laid That Science Says Turn Women Off.

And stop by Linkstorm (Updated 07.30.2010) to see which columnist is currently on the market.

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