A new book by Dr Meg Barker, senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University, explores the complicated and contradictory rules of relationships. Rewriting the Rules, (Routledge), asks questions such as: Which to choose from all the rules on offer? Do we stick to the old rules we learnt growing up, or try something new and risk being out on our own? And what about the times when the rules we love by seem to make things worse, rather than better? This book considers how the rules are being ‘rewritten’ in various ways, giving the power to the reader to find an approach which best fits their situation.
Dr Barker said: “We are currently in a state of massive uncertainty about relationships. Never before in our history has there been more advice available on who and how to love, and never before have the rules we receive about relationships been more confusing and contradictory. At the same time that everything from official forms to social networking sites seem intent on defining us by our relationships there is less and less clarity about what exactly we’re talking about. If we were honest perhaps we’d all tick the box which says ‘it’s complicated’.”
The book examines the wide variety of rules which exist including those relating to sex, gender and conflict, and looks at both old and new rules of relating, and how these might be useful to people today. For instance with more and more people committing to each other through marriages and other public ceremonies, the book explores the ways in which different people interpret these promises, the tensions that can occur when people have different interpretations, and what alternative commitments may be made if the usual conventions are being rewritten from scratch.
The book is available now, published by Routledge.