Humans love control, and that personality trait certainly doesn’t disappear when we’re embroiled in a relationship; if anything, that urge just gets stronger. This need to control can turn into possessiveness, jealousy, clinginess, mistrust…feelings that can get out of hand really quickly. The last thing you want is for your relationship to be riddled with that garbage, right? Y’all want to have fun, and make out, and trust each other, and all that mushy stuff. So why so so many folks insist on implementing so many whack, controlling “relationship rules” (often unwritten) onto each other?
Help me understand, guys, because I really don’t.
We get messages from readers all the time about relationship concerns regarding partners masturbating, partners staying friendly with an ex, partners daring to like an Instagram photo of someone else…like, can we please chill for a second and realize that all these restrictions are a little silly? To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, check out these nine things you thought you couldn’t do in a relationship, but you can. Oh, and if your BF/GF tries to enforce any of these rules on you, it’s definitely time to have a little talk.
Watch PornThis is of constant debate among our readers, and it's understandable as to why: Porn is controversial, and some people have a relationship with porn that can be unhealthy and obsessive. Every individual and every couple will have their own take on it, but here's mine: A good partner is not, in any way, shape, or form, replacing you with a random Pornhub video. Porn can be fun to watch, porn can be a turn on, the body gets excited, urges occur, and...well, you can guess what happens next. The idea that the average person can't watch porn and maintain a happy, loving relationship is pretty ridiculous. If your partner starts treating you poorly or acts as if you're being unfaithful because you're watching porn, you need to have a serious discussion with them, because it's not going to go away. And if you, the reader, are the one who is pressed about your partner's porn habits, you should be able to express your feelings but understand that giving an ultimatum between you and porn--especially if your partner isn't even a porn addict--can come across as pretty extreme and a sign of insecurity. Maybe it's not the porn you're worried about. Get ready to unpack some feelings that might go beyond a low resolution blowjob video. Pinterest
Still Think That Other People Are Hot AFThe idea that you can't find anyone else remotely attractive the second you enter a relationship is...absolutely absurd. I mean, we still have eyes, right? You should get to a point in your relationship where you can comfortably express how hot you think someone is without a bout of jealousy. Now, if you start indicating to your partner that you wish that they were more like [insert Hottie McHothot here], or vice versa, then we've got a problem. Don't feel guilty about your celebrity crush or thinking that that one guy in biology class is kind of cute. As long as your relationship stays faithful, it's all good. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Have Guys As Friends (And JUST Friends)IT. IS. POSSIBLE. TO. JUST. HAVE. A. PLATONIC. RELATIONSHIP. WITH. A GUY. People who say otherwise are not only looking at this from a heteronormative perspective (THERE ARE GAY GIRLS, YOU KNOW; THEY AREN'T INTO GUYS), they're also making the assumption that a girl can't even chill with a guy without thinking about having sex with them. Um, trust, it's...it's entirely possible to just be friends with a dude. I know, some guys get really nervous about the prospect of their GF hanging out with other guys--and likewise, girls can have apprehension about their boyfriends hanging with other girls--because they don't want anyone makin' moves on bae. But when it gets to a point where romantic partners are monitoring your time with male friends or having paranoid freak outs all the time...that's an issue. The only time it's fair to express concern about this is if there's suspicion that the platonic friend has romantic feelings; you know, some unrequited love scenario. Otherwise? Chill! Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Not Feel Deliriously In Love Every Waking SecondSo here's the thing about really really loving your partner: You're not going to feel Beyonce level "Crazy In Love" every second of every day. You just aren't. People get used to each other, things that used to make our stomach's flip become routine, and our stomachs flip a little less, and sometimes you'll even be annoyed or borderline upset with your BF/GF/whomever. But that doesn't mean you've fallen out of love with them! Don't freak out if you don't feel exactly the way you did when you two first kissed. You'll know if/when your romantic feelings are really starting to fade, and it'll be more than just a lack of butterflies all the time. Sailor Moon
MasturbateOkay, there are honestly people out there who think that masturbating is cheating. Guess what: it's not, and don't let a romantic partner suggest otherwise. Oh, and if you're the one who can't handle the idea of your partner having any sexual pleasure without your direct participation...please, get over yourself. The To-Do List
Crave Alone Time Without You BaeWe all need space, even from the people we care about. It's easy to feel smothered or overwhelmed when you dedicate virtually all of your time to them. Please, do something by yourself! Hang with some friends! Watch a movie with your parents! Anything! And feel chill about your partner doing the same, because as awesome as you are, nobody is obligated to want to be in your presence every minute either. Oh, and anyone who suggests that you're a bad girlfriend because you want some alone time is someone you need to kick to the curb. Clinginess can quickly turn into possessiveness; let's make sure to avoid that sooner rather than later, shall we? Freaks and Geeks
Be Friendly With An ExYes, it's possible to be friendly with an ex without it being a threat to your current relationships. Every relationship ends in their own way; some end badly, some end on a pretty okay note. Assuming that someone who is chill with their ex is secretly thirsty for them is unfair. Nobody should jump to conclusions, okay? Skins
Liking Other People's Social Media PostsThere's a difference between happily sliding into someone's DMs (or letting someone slide into yours without curving them), and liking someone's gratuitous selfie on Instagram. Following some hot internet personality on Snapchat is not the same as cheating. And you can totally like some bikini pics without wanting to be unfaithful. We all take social media behavior a little too seriously when it comes to this kind of stuff. Chill, and only become concerned if there seems to be active communication on the DL between you and some random Instagram chick. Sarah Wintner
Not Tell Them EverythingDon't get me wrong, I think a romantic partner can be your strongest, closest confidant. But that definitely takes time, and even with all the time in the world, there might be some things you'll always feel more comfortable divulging to your BFFs as opposed to your partner. Hell, there might be some things you just keep to yourself, or between you and a therapist, or you and a parent. Who know, whatever the combination, you're not obligated to fess up to bae whenever something is on your mind, and vice versa. Clueless
Do you disagree with anything on this list? What other kind of relationship rules do you think are total BS? Tell us in the comments!