Some relationship rules are useful. Some, while possibly well-intended, need to be avoided at all costs. Here's how to tell and 10 you should skip.

A healthy relationship demands more than good sex. 

But it certainly helps. What doesn't help is the abundance of bad relationship advice across the internet.

While these relationship rules are written with good intentions, some can be ill-informed.

It seems that couples are having less sex than they were a decade ago, so here are 10 tips that you should avoid if you'd like to beat the odds.   

Myth 1. Your Partner Should Be Your Best Friend

The relationship you have with your partner should be very different from the relationship you have with your friends. 

And it's good to maintain other friendships throughout a long-term relationship. Other friends can act as an important support network.

Acting as if your significant other is the only friend you have puts a lot of pressure on them and could place more stress on the relationship.

Make sure to stay in touch with your friends and make sure your closest friends stay around. They could be a saving grace in your relationship. 

Myth 2. Never Go to Bed Angry

We've heard this so many times and it's not good advice. Pushing a fight past its boiling point can tear a relationship apart and create resentment. 

Fighting while you're tired is a lot like fighting while drunk: You'll put less thought behind your words and be quicker to anger.

Take time and talk about it in the morning. Giving yourself some time to sleep on it helps you gain a fresh perspective the next day, and then you will be better decided about whether the issue is really worth addressing further, or simply letting go.

When the heat is over, it never hurts to give them a gift to ease the tension and make up or apologise.

Myth 3. Pick Your Battles

Terrible relationship rules will tell you to keep your problems to yourself. "You don't want to appear overly pushy."

Keeping the issues you have inside will only serve to eat away at you and turn into a much bigger problem.

Instead, you should approach issues you have civilly and thoughtfully. Try to lay out your concerns with prior thought to why you have such a problem.

Open communication is really important for a healthy relationship and when you have a problem, you should not only bring it up, but approach the topic with empathy. 

Myth 4. You Shouldn't Have to Ask Someone to Make Time for You

Men are assumed to be silent about their problems but this stereotype can lead to a lot of issues in the future.

As we stated above, open communication is really important for a healthy relationship. 

Don't be afraid to bring up a problem with your wife or girlfriend. Also, listen if she feels that way about you. Sometimes a romantic gesture or date night can make her feel appreciated. 

Don't be ashamed in any relationship to ask your partner to spend some time with you; the alternative won't be good.

Myth 5. Eliminate All Friends Of The Opposite Sex

Insecurity can be a big issue in a relationship. Partners and spouses may get jealous of a friendship you have with the opposite sex. 

But that doesn't mean you should just eliminate those friends, even though a list of relationship rules may suggest that.

Asking someone to get rid of their friends is an emotionally abusive reaction. Instead, you should try to bring your opposite-sex friends around your significant other.

Foster communication with your friends, your partner and you. It might seem like we're beating the same drum, but communication is very important.

Myth 6. Man Up!

There are hundreds of stereotypes for men and the relationship rules that ask you to reinforce those are wrong.

People might tell you not to show your emotions, keep your problems to yourself, and make all the important decisions. This can lead to a repressive and toxic relationship with the person you love.

Keeping yourself open and honest is a much better avenue for a successful relationship. The gender stereotypes of old are stale and consistently proven to be more harmful.

Myth 7. Don't Settle For Anything Less Than Perfect

Perfection is completely unrealistic, no matter what some love advice column about relationship rules tells you. 

Bringing undue expectations into a relationship at any point will only harm it. It's more important to actively understand and respect your loved one. 

BUT…. That doesn't mean you need to settle into a relationship that doesn't make you happy, or that you shouldn’t have standards. Striving for 'perfection' needs to be defined as making sure that your needs are properly met and that you feel some chemistry with your partner.

Work to create a strong relationship with an imperfect person. Seek better advice that doesn't work toward a destructive connection.

Don’t settle for anything less than this!

Myth 8. Split The Chores 50/50

Relationships can consist of a lot of compromises. Finding a balance is important but expecting that balance to be exactly even is unrealistic.

Keeping tabs on how many times you each washed the dishes or hung out the laundry will only lead to friction.

If you don't mind doing the cleaning and your partner doesn't mind cooking, this will be a better system than trying to equally split both. Talk about the kinds of chores that need to be done and work out who should do what.

In essence, if you can figure out how to compromise errands and chores in a way that makes you both happy, do it, and never expect an equal split.

Myth 9. Be The Alpha Male

Some women have a hard time making decisions and you may need to be the final deciding factor.

But being decisive and being dominant are not the same thing.

Being an alpha male implies that you are taking absolute charge and that you are making your partner take a submissive position. This will take away their decision-making skills and make them feel unappreciated.

Instead, discuss important decisions and be decisive on the small stuff.

Myth 10. Know Your Roles

Stereotypical gender roles are outdated. People are more complicated and typecasting your significant other won't benefit the relationship.

Assuming your wife or girlfriend needs to clean and cook for you, and you are responsible for making money isn't as feasible as it once was. Your wife may make more money and have a more lucrative career than you. That's all fine. 

The bottom line is that responsibilities are complicated and should be worked out in each individual relationship. Sometimes you may take the garbage out, bath your child and wash the dishes, and at other times your partner will do these instead.

You don’t have to fall into specific roles.

Getting Past Relationship Rules

Knowing when you are in a truly loving relationship is difficult. Being open-minded will help you find something truly rewarding.

Keep an eye out for bad relationship advice, especially if it asks that you don't communicate with your loved one, or if there is anything about the advice that goes against your better instincts. 

Communication, trust, respect and flexibility are the most important aspects of any relationship. Adhering to these concepts and steering away from the 10 relationship rule myths in this article will help create a happy and healthy environment.

I would love to hear your comments or answer any questions you might have about this post.

Yours sincerely,   


Dr. Carissa Coulston, Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MPsychol(Clinical), PhD, MAPS