If you’re just getting started, forget about these rules once in for all because they’re either sexist, self-deprecating, or simply create unnecessary problems.
At the beginning of a relationship, a lot of people establish a series of rules to make things go smoother and avoid unnecessary problems with their partner. Previous experience with relationships will always help us see what rules work best. But movies, TV shows, and of course, social media can also provide us with other rules that, despite being outdated, we keep believing unconsciously. So, if you've just begun a new relationship, here are some of those rules we should reject and forget about because they’re sexist, unhealthy, or they just create unnecessary problems.
Look good for your partner
This is a big no-no you should always remember. Not only for your relationships, but also for other aspects of your life as well. If you want to get in shape, get a new haircut, give your wardrobe a makeover, or try a new beauty routine, do it for yourself! After doing a little research on a few dating sites, I found that one of the most common pieces of advice they give is to make an effort to look good for your partner. This is wrong on so many levels, but mostly because it’s subjecting part of your self-care to someone else’s opinion, which might make you forget that you’re valuable with or without a partner. Moreover, you’d be indirectly letting someone else have control you. Being in a relationship shouldn’t mean that you change who you are for someone else. And if that person wants you to look or dress the way they want, just dump them. They don't deserve you.
Force your partner to go with you to family gatherings
I know it’s always nice to bring your significant other with you to family gatherings or to see your friends, but you can't force them to go if they don't want to or if they have something else to do. Part of being in a mature relationship is knowing that you can’t be together 24/7, and that even though you want to share many moments together, there are times when you need to be on your own. Just as you have a circle of friends and family, they have theirs. So, if they’d like to go to spend Christmas with their family instead of with yours, that's totally understandable. However, this rule should be reciprocal: just like you won't force them to go with you, they shouldn’t force you to go with them. To put it simply, it’s all about communication and respect.
Pretend to pick up the tab to make them pay
This rule is so, so old, and we should forget about it once in for all. This is just one of the many mind games we're taught to play when we're flirting with someone. Instead of helping things along, what they do is they make your relationship more unequal. If you start to act like you're going to get the bill, do it because you actually intend to pay. And if they still insist on picking up that tab, you can buy something for them later. Or, if you want them to pay, be honest and tell them you didn’t bring enough money, but remember to pay them later. Leave the mind games behind, and build an equal relationship from the beginning.
Wait for them to text you first
This is closely related to mind games and the idea that you shouldn't text or call first, so you don't look “easy” or “desperate,” or to see if they’re really interested in you. Let’s be honest, if you’re worried about looking “easy,” that’s your pride stopping you from opening yourself up to someone who might care about you. If you feel like texting them, just do it. Again, if you’re honest from the start, you’ll avoid those unnecessary problems and issues that come from poor communication.
Give “doses” of affection to keep them begging for more
This kind of advice sounds pretty cruel to me and like another way to encourage codependent relationships. You’re not a dealer trying to hook a client with a drug. Also, the need to have them eating out of the palm of your hand is a way of letting your insecurity hurt your relationship. Why else would you do that, if it’s not because deep down you’re afraid they'll leave you? If they really care about you, they’ll stay. Yes, being in a relationship implies a kind of vulnerability that not everyone is comfortable with, but you have to be open to let that person love you. So, if you feel like holding their hand, kissing them, or hugging them, do it (of course, don’t forget about consent!).
Wait until they say “I love you”
I get why most people are afraid to say “I love you.” How can you love someone you’re just getting to know? Another big issue is that we expect the same response after we say it. I mean, it wouldn’t be nice if you said the famous three words and they just answered with a “thank you” or with Han Solo’s “I know.” So, the easiest way to avoid that awkward scenario is to wait for them to say it first, so you know you’re safe. But this is another way your ego and pride stop you from being true to your feelings and accepting that vulnerability that comes with being in a relationship. If you feel you love them, say it. Maybe they were also waiting for you to say it first. However, if the worst case scenario happens, it's not the end of the world. Everyone's emotions work differently, so maybe they're just not ready yet to express their feelings as openly as you did.
Don’t bring up anything embarrassing or “dirty”
You might not like to think about it too much, but being human includes many “dirty” stuff, like drooling, peeing, menstruating, and pooping. And if you truly want to let your partner know you and to know them, that means that there will be moments when it will be inevitable for these biological processes to surface. What if you’re at your partner’s place, and you want to go to the bathroom? Don’t tell me you’ll use the old-fashioned "I'm going to powder my nose" excuse because you don’t want them to know that you, a human being, actually pee. Of course, I'm not saying you should explain all your biological processes in full detail or spend a whole evening talking about your bowels, but if it’s necessary to mention them, do it naturally. There's nothing to be embarrassed about!
Give up activities you love for them
Last but not least, this idea of sacrificing a part of yourself for the sake of your relationship is complete and utter BS. There will be times when you’ll have to postpone an activity or a hobby to be with them, but giving them up entirely or renouncing your dreams because of them is the best sign that it’s moment to say goodbye. No one should ask you to forget about such an important part of yourself and your growth as person. If the activity causes problems between you, like being apart for too long, talk to them and see how you can solve it without forgetting about your dreams.
Many of us grow up hearing these rules from many different sources, but even if they’re old and other generations followed them, that doesn’t mean we should follow them too. Here are other articles about rules you can check out to improve your relationship.
Photos by Brandon Woelfel