Ever read The Rules? The Game? Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? If so, I strongly recommend this book as an excellent alternative – and antidote – to all of them.
Rather than setting out a list of directives that are supposed to somehow transform your love life (and force you into a rigid stereotype in the process), Meg Barker carefully deconstructs the fundamental assumptions that most of us make about relationships in the first place – and invites us to think about whether those are what we really want at all.
Are all love relationships about two people? Are friendships and romances really that different? Is sex vital to a ‘healthy’ relationship? How important is it to be ‘normal’? Is there such a thing as ‘The One’? Is it realistic to promise that anything will last forever? All these questions are considered but, crucially, Meg doesn’t offer any set answers (cos that would kind of be going against the whole point, see?).
If you’re already in or considering some form of non-conventional relationship, whether non-monogamous, kinky, queer, asexual or otherwise, I would also strongly recommend this book. As Meg herself points out, people who challenge conventional rules can often make the mistake of grasping onto their own alternative ‘rulebooks’ as tightly as do those in the communities they left behind. This book tackles that, offering plenty of practical tips for working out what you really want and how you can make sense of that with the people in your life, without getting drawn into just another role that doesn’t really fit.
The academic perspective is useful, but it can also make it slightly dry at times, so be willing to bear with it. Similarly, for those of us used to quick-fix self help books, it can be frustrating not to be given a nice, easy (or not-so-easy) list of things to do. However, the fact is that there is no relationship quick fix, and I welcome a self help book that isn’t trying to give us that.
Rewriting the Rules is available on: