happy couple in love holding balloons

Forget rom-coms. Being in a committed, long-term relationship takes energy, effort, and, yes, damn hard work. Some days, it’s not easy. Some days, it is. However, the painfully over-the-top, sickly sweet rhetoric around relationships can often be too much to stomach. Here are some of the so-called love rules you need to stop believing.

5 Love Rules to Toss Out ASAP

1. Monogamy is the Only Way to Go

Boy meets girl…. Meets another boy and/or girl? Gone are the days when this was a topic solely discussed in hushed tones amid conspiratorial glances. Non-monogamous relationships aren’t quite the taboo they used to be. In 2016, national statistics found one in five Americans had been in a relationship of this type.

What’s more, open relationships can be just as satisfying as monogamous ones, according to a recent study from the University of Guelph. As a golden rule, it’s important to structure a polygamous relationship so it suits both you and your partner. So long as you’re both getting what you need from the relationship – psychologically and sexually – you’re likely to be satisfied with the setup, noted Jessica Wood, research lead.

2. Relationships Should Be Fairy Tales

Quit comparing your relationship to everybody else’s. On the surface level, most couples seem content and blissfully in love with one another. However, you should remember you only see one side of them – the side they show the public. No relationship is a fairy tale 365 days a year… and neither should it be.

couple having an argument

It might sound cliche but every relationship is as unique as the people in it. Presuming there’s a one-size-fits-all formula for a happy life together is naive. In the end, it’s important to remember each couple has their own way of getting along. As long as you and your partner feel happy, supported, and fulfilled, that’s all that matters.

3. Arguing is a Sign of the End

Whether it’s bickering about whose turn it is to load the dishwasher or fighting about your finances, all couples argue. Should these spats become more and more frequent, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the beginning of the end. However, that is likely not the case – so long as you argue effectively.

Couples who argue effectively are 10 times more likely to be in a happy relationship than those who ignore their problems, the Guardian recently reported. The reason is approaching issues oftentimes helps to solve them and means they won’t fester under the surface for years to come.

4. You Should Do Everything Together

Spending every minute of every day together might sound utterly romantic on the surface, but it could be a recipe for disaster. Making this mistake is a surefire way to fall into a humdrum routine and, frankly, get tired of each other’s company.

friends hanging out

Not only should you spend time with your own social circles outside of the relationship, but it could also help to make plans with other couple friends. Research from Wayne State University suggested that double-dating, i.e. hanging out with other couples, could be an effective way of relighting your romantic fire. The results suggested socializing this way could lead to a happier, more satisfying relationship.

5. You Can “Fix” an Unhappy Relationship

Staying in a relationship when you’re desperately sad is a mistake. In fact, it could quite literally kill you. People in unhappy relationships are more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those in happy relationships, according to a study conducted by the Medical University of Vienna. The research also linked being dissatisfied in a relationship to feelings of hopelessness and depression.

You may be under the impression even the most toxic of relationships are salvageable, but that’s not always the case. Should your partner or your situation be causing you distress, the smartest move may be to simply walk away. While there’s no doubt this is a difficult decision to make, putting your mental health first is crucial.