Does Your Relationship Have Too Many Rules? -Stephanie Bailey
Have you ever dated someone who seems to have a lot of rules when it comes to being in a committed relationship with them? For example, how you should kiss, touch, or look at them? These types of rules make intimacy a chore. You find that what you wear or how you act when you go out with them needs to be different from when you are with friends—as if there should be a significant difference at all! This person might even have rules for how you interact with others when you go out to events as a couple; i.e. not wandering or leaving them behind, not being allowed to look at the opposite sex, or letting someone touch you disrespectfully (this includes hugging or pecks on the cheek). This, my friends, speaks controlling issues loud and clear!
There should never be rules or requests when dating which change who you are as an individual. When someone starts to expect major changes in your behavior because you are in a relationship with them—that is definitely a red flag! Yes, most people will make slight adjustments for the sake of the relationship; i.e. not staying out all night with friends, and not going out as often as they did when they were single. I get it. However, when you go from going out all the time to never seeing your friends because your significant other has issues with it, are you actually in a healthy, lasting relationship? Probably not.
My previous boyfriend was not only controlling, but also insecure. Of course I was not aware of this when we first started dating. The interesting thing was that all of his insecurities and control issues were hidden until weeks after I moved in. When we finally made our appearance as the new “in-love-moved-in-couple,” all hell broke loose. His emotional issues were incredibly overwhelming; and made what should have been a fun, exciting, and joyous time was a nightmare. Instead of enjoying our night, I spent the whole evening calming my boyfriend down. Uck!
There is nothing less attractive than a man who is jealous, insecure, and crippled with control issues. Since it had been a long time (almost 15 years) since I last lived with a guy, I didn’t put too much weight on the little “rules” he was placing—they all seemed normal and for the most part, doable. However, soon the rules started to become exhausting and overwhelming to the point that I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) follow them. That’s when I realized the relationship felt less like a loving partnership, and more as if I was being locked in a box. The bright light that made me who I was inside, started to dim. I was a trapped butterfly in a cocoon; I had a hard time understanding where that confident, secure man I first started dating went. The rules he created brought our relationship to a point where I no longer recognized myself—nor did my friends. Our relationship became toxic and before my wings were completely clipped…I ended it.
Rules are important when it comes to sports, but they shouldn’t exhaust the potential of a relationship. If you find that your relationship has too many rules, it’s probably time for you to make a new rule for yourself: “I will only be with someone who loves and accepts me for me.”