Relationship Rules You Can Break
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Bend Your Bond1 of 11
By Natasha Burton
Many of the “rules” concerning relationships tend to over-generalize—and play up the guilt factor—by suggesting that all couples should be doing X to be successful. However, each relationship is different, so the advice rarely applies to everyone. With this in mind, here are ten bendable rules to get you from dating to settled down and beyond, while also strengthening the other important bonds in your life.
Rule To Break #12 of 11
Don’t call him after a date. Traditionally, men steered the romantic course: They asked you out, they solidified if you were indeed “going steady,” they proposed marriage. While men are still typically the ones getting down on one knee, following up after a date to thank the guy for taking you out is not only polite, but it also shows him that you’re interested. Besides, if a simple post-dinner call scares him away, then he’s not the type you want spend much time with anyway.
Rule To Break #23 of 11
Withhold physical contact to keep him wanting more. Talk about outdated (and sexist). This rule relies on the idea that women should play games with men in order to keep them interested—not “give them what they want” too early. While some men may lose respect for women eager to jump into this aspect of a relationship, recent research from the University of Iowa shows that having sex early on doesn’t destroy a budding relationship between those who are looking for a committed relationship.
Rule To Break #34 of 11
You should have girls’ night once a week. We all know a woman who drops her friends the moment she gets into a relationship, and most would agree that this behavior is unhealthy. But making time with the ladies mandatory takes the fun out of it. Planning a bigger event, like just-us-girls weekend getaway, can be more effective than trying to meet a quota.
Rule To Break #45 of 11
Friday night has to be date night. Similarly, setting strict rules on when you spend your time with your guy won’t do your relationship any favors. Unless you already have set plans on the night in question, don’t whine to your boyfriend, “But Friday’s date night,” if he tells you he wants to hit up the driving range or grab a beer after work with his buddies. Remember: quality over quantity.
Rule To Break #56 of 11
Don’t move in together until you’re engaged. This rule is based on the old-fashioned notion that no man will buy the cow when he can get the milk for free. While cohabitating used to be labeled as a precursor to divorce down the road, the most recent research on the topic, from the National Center for Health Statistics, shows that couples who lived together first have almost the same success rate as those who waited to move in until after they tied the knot.
Rule To Break #67 of 11
You must walk down the aisle. While many still believe that getting married legitimizes and solidifies a romantic relationship, particularly in religious communities, the tradition began as a property exchange (hence the father “giving away” the bride). The necessity of marriage continues to shift with the times. According to the latest census report, married couples represent less than half of the U.S.’s total population, indicting that people are waiting longer to wed or choosing to be together without marrying at all.
Rule To Break #78 of 11
You have to be completely independent from your parents before you commit to someone else. While being self-sufficient is ideal, in today’s slow-to-revive economy, roughly 40 percent of twentysomethings have moved back in with their parents at least once, and many couples are forced to ask their 'rents for loans, even a place to stay, before they can stand on their own. As long as you both don’t expect your family to support you forever, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help.
Rule To Break #89 of 11
Your spouse should be the only one you confide in, about everything. Psychologists and marriage therapists largely agree that over-relying emotionally on your marriage can damage it. “It's not realistic or even healthy to expect your spouse to meet all of your needs,” says Susan Pease Gadoua, LCSW, on PsychologyToday.com. While more intimate issues are best kept within the confines of your bond, having a pal or mentor to discuss, say, your career goals, can relieve you and your spouse of sole responsibility for each other’s inner lives.
Rule To Break #910 of 11
Always put your children first. Experts maintain that having a strong marriage will greatly benefit your kids’ lives. So, bending this rule doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to put your marriage before your kids; rather, it encourages you to continue to make your relationship with your spouse a priority after your children are born. Think of it as putting your family—spouse and kids—first, a move that will benefit everyone.
Rule To Break #1011 of 11
You can never talk negatively about your mother-in-law. OK, this is a tricky one, we know. But if you and your MIL clash, then you may need to constructively discuss the issue with your husband in order to create a better family situation. There comes a time in every man’s life where he needs to honor the woman he married over the one who gave birth to him, whether that means standing up for you or having a frank chat with her in private.