Feature image by The Gender Spectrum Collection.
There are a few things we can all agree help make relationships work — OR ARE THERE??? Maybe it’s more complicated than that. Here are the supposedly ironclad relationship rules that we don’t necessarily agree with!
“Don’t try to be something to everyone. Be everything to someone.”
Don’t do that. Don’t be someone’s everything, don’t try to be someone’s everything. Don’t let someone be or try to be your everything. You will both slowly drain until there is nothing left in either of you. Wanting someone to be your everything can be selfish. You can’t be everything for someone. Be realistic…
You’re not going to be someones partner, friend, parent, colleague, sibling, karaoke buddy, rollercoaster pal or pineapple on pizza date. It’s healthy to find the things you need in multiple corners of your life. I’m sure you’ll live a fulfilling life, where your only support isn’t in one person and if you have a “person,” that person will probably feel a lot healthier and less drained and able to show up for you when you need them too.
Dani Janae, Writer
I hate hate hearing that you have to stay and work things out: you don’t! no matter how old you are you don’t have to stay with someone who you aren’t happy with. We are all gonna die at some point so don’t spend your precious days working on something that is exhausting and heartbreaking. If you wanna leave, leave. They say that if it’s meant to be it will be or some other shit, so there may be a chance to get back together when you’ve both done growth work separately. But don’t count on that, do what you gotta do.
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer
I don’t think you should love anyone unconditionally. I think love should always have conditions. Sure, you can love someone despite certain flaws, and you can love someone’s rough parts, but loving unconditionally is a dangerous thing we’re sold that can sometimes lead to staying in a relationship for too long. Love should be earned constantly. It should not just be a given. It can be renegotiated, and it can evolve.
Malic White, Writer
I don’t dig the “never go to bed mad” adage. Sometimes we need to take time to process so we can communicate with our partners more accurately and honestly, and it might be a better idea to “sleep on it.”
Rachel Lewis, Writer
Arguing is good for you. I don’t think you should get violent or scare each other, but I also think that if you’re too focused on your inside voice and seeming “fine” when you are not fine, you end up just failing yourself and your emotions. My therapist told me to have 1 day dedicated to talking out a problem, and to just let my emotions exist, and that day was more helpful than any other day. It’s about balance (please don’t throw things at each other) but also about being true to yourself, and sometimes you’re just too fucking pissed to bother seeming a “normal” level of anger.
Renea Baek Goddard, Writer
I’m sorry, but I’m not a mind-reader. Nobody is. The idea that you should always anticipate your partner’s needs, moods, and feelings — or else, god forbid, you’re probably not that close to them—is completely ridiculous. Not only that, but expecting your partner to read your mind all the time is a recipe for disaster. Believe me, I used to do that, and all it did was breed resentment. In fact, I think the opposite of this expectation is way healthier: always asking your partner how they feel and what they need, and always giving them the space to communicate with you about it directly.
Reneice Charles, Writer
Some of the best growth in my relationships has come from going to bed angry so that one is definitely trash to me. I also don’t think your partner has to be your best friend? First of all no one could ever, my best friends are amazing, and second I think that’s far too much weight to place on a romantic relationship. I guess that’s my issue with most common relationship rules or advice, it all seems like a lot of telling people not to be their true selves, to accept bad and forgive bad behavior, or to be hyper focused on managing and anticipating their partners feelings over their own. I think that’s also why a lot of people believe they can change their partners which is the worst belief of all.
Shelli Nicole, Writer
YOU NEED TO HAVE SECRETS.
I know as women loving women we love talking and sharing which, yes, I encourage. I don’t think you should have an entire identity that you keep from your partner or that you don’t keep communication open but – Its ok to keep some shit to yourself.
You need things that are your own. Your own money, your own space in the home you share and information that is just for you.
Also WE DON’T NEEED TO LIKE THE EXACT SAME THINGS.
I am not trying to fuck/marry myself. There is a difference between sharing interests and having things in common which, obviously, you need. However, we do not need to be so similar that there are no new things that you can introduce me to.
It’s important for you partner to be able to add to your life in many ways and that happens when you’re different. You try new things, go to places you never would have set foot in and explore parts of yourself that your partners differences bring out in you.
And lastly – I don’t have to like your animals and you don’t have to like mine. We can still be together while I talk shit about your fucking cat.
Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor
“You have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else” is bullshit, to be perfectly frank. I’ve struggled with intense self loathing my whole life, and while I can acknowledge that it’s made it harder for me to navigate conflict in some cases, it’s also not stopped me from having very deep, life-changing romantic relationships with people I continue to care about to this day. I find it terribly insulting that I am somehow supposed to be barred from being in a functional relationship because of my mental health, that I don’t deserve someone else’s affection unless I have dealt with my myriad issues. Also listen, some of us aren’t that great! I don’t NEED to love myself. Leave me alone.
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PROCESS EVERYTHING WITH EVERYONE.
2. YOU NEVER HAVE TO MOVE IN WITH YOUR PARTNER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO.
3. SAYING “I LOVE YOU” IS NOT A PROMISE.
4. ANOTHER HUMAN BEING CANNOT PROVIDE YOU CLOSURE.