This article first appeared on Your Tango and has been republished with permission.
When it comes to dating and relationship advice, there’s no shortage of tips to follow. While a lot of these pointers can help you go the distance, you shouldn’t believe everything you read or hear to be true.
Just like weeds among flowers, some of these so-called "tips" can actually cause your relationship to crash and burn.
It can be tough to spot the no-gos, especially if the advice is coming from loved ones who have your interests in mind. However, if you’re looking for a healthy, lasting relationship then you’ll need to ignore these relationship rules:
1. Demand romance.
When the butterflies disappear and cute gestures become something of the past, it’s normal to miss the initial romantic spark you and your man shared. While it’s perfectly okay to point out how things have changed and to even mention missing the little things, what’s not okay is to demand romance from your guy.
If you make it known that you expect him to perform cute gestures or threaten to end the relationship if he doesn’t step up his game, then a couple things could happen.
For starters, he may see you as shallow or self-righteous, and on that note, he’ll probably drop you like it’s hot. Or, if your efforts do pay off and he does bring back the romance after your nagging requests then you can bet it’s out of fear of being dumped, and not genuine affection.
Demanding romance is never a good idea. If you’re missing the way things used to be, then make an effort to reintroduce the little things yourself and soon enough your man should follow suit.
2. Mirror successful couples.
You may have been told to pay attention to how your happily coupled up friends or relatives behave, and to mirror their actions to find joy in your own relationship. The problem with doing so is that you’re only seeing one side of their relationship — meaning you don’t actually know what goes on behind closed doors or if that couple is truly happy together.
Instead of assuming that everyone else’s relationships are perfect, remember that’s never the case.
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Learning by example can be helpful in some situations, but if you’re counting on and copying how other couples function then it doesn’t encourage you and your partner to grow in your own way together. What’s worse is that it can create competition between relationships and stir up jealousy.
Learning by example is one thing, but don’t assume that just because the two of you can throw a dinner party as well as someone else, or that you adopt the same communication styles, that it’s going to fix all of your relationship problems.
Everyone has their own view on happiness, the only thing you can do is avoid others’ mistakes.
3. Find someone "better for you".
If your friends or family see your relationship in a bad light, tell you to find someone better for you, or say you deserve more then it’s important to, ask yourself what provoked them to say so. Your loved ones want what’s best for you but that doesn’t mean they necessarily know what is best.
Of course, there are situations where those close to you see you’re being taken advantage of, or are right to say you deserve better.
In situations where you’re profit-seeking or painting a one-sided picture though, don’t take their "loving advice" to heart. For instance, were you bad mouthing your partner or do you set and share unrealistic expectations of your significant other?
If your partner is going through hardships if can be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. During this rough patch, it’s important to support them, and not think about your own wants and needs. After all, a loving relationship is about more than getting attention, money or sex, and the two of you should be a team through thick and thin.
Remember that loose lips sink ships. If you’re blabbing about all the things your partner does less than perfectly, or share every dispute the two of you have then you’re tainting the waters.
4. You have the right to know.
If you have suspicions that your partner is hiding something from you or is up to no good, then have a conversation about your concerns. Under no circumstances do you have the right to violate their privacy, and just because you can access their chat conversations or bank accounts it doesn’t give you the green light to do so.
Your partner is entitled to their space and privacy and violating it is a form of abusive behavior that will destroy the trust between the two of you. Playing detective is never the answer and just because you might have been told that you "have the right to know", it doesn’t mean snooping is the way to go about it.
5. Show them who's boss.
While there is a time and place for taking control, a romantic relationship isn’t one of them.
Since healthy relationships involve two individuals coming together, unless you both have an equal say in your dynamic, one of you is going to feel disrespected and subordinate.
Winning arguments or getting your own way by threatening blackmail or withholding sex never works, but rather leads to animosity and separation. While it’s perfectly fine to make your needs and desires known, demanding those of your partner, bossing him around, or calling all the shots isn’t healthy for your relationship.
Relationships should never be a power struggle or competition.
6. Learn to bite your tongue.
Conflicts are inevitable in any relationship and are an important part of getting to really know someone.
In this way, they can even be considered a necessary evil for defining what is and isn’t acceptable in your relationship and for learning the things that bother each of you.
If you bite your tongue or suppress your feelings, it will only cause more problems. Why? Because if your partner doesn’t know what upsets or angers you, then he won’t know not to do those things.
Instead of keeping quiet talk about problems and issues when they arise, and encourage honest and open conversation between the two of you. Bottling up your feelings will only cause more trouble down the road.