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Chapter 2 The 13 Laws of Relationships

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” Albert Einstein


I believe that there are certain immutable rules affecting relationships – so immutable, that I call them laws instead of rules. Like The Law of Gravity: drop an object, and it will fall – no negotiation possible, it will happen. Violate any of the 13 Laws of Relationships and your relationship will get worse, become a living hell, or end. Pick your poison – no negotiation possible, it will happen.

I really wanted to have 10 laws, because everyone has lists with 10 in them, but I kept thinking of more and came up with 13. Sorry, it’s an imperfect world – get over it. Actually, upon reflection, 13 may not be a bad number when discussing relationships.

If you think one of the 13 Laws doesn’t apply to you, maybe you don’t want to believe it because you badly want a relationship to work out. (By the way, if you’re so special how come you haven’t won the lottery yet?) These Laws of Relationships are some serious stuff – deny their validity at your own peril.

Unfortunately, just telling someone what to do doesn’t work for most people, especially for kids being advised by their parents. Yeah, my teenagers take everything I say right to heart – NOT! But sometimes, days, weeks, months, maybe years later, I’ve overheard them giving the same advice to their friends! However there is a small window of opportunity for change in people who have suffered, are without a good direction to change toward, and are really motivated to change. We need to learn what those changes are and how to make them.

OK, time to introduce those 13 laws…

                    The 13 Laws of Relationships

       (Listed in order of importance – most important first)


1.  If you’re not OK alone, you won’t be OK together.

2.  Sex is really important.

3.  Base long-term relationships on more than physical attraction.

4.  You cannot change your partner through sheer force of will.

5.  If you’re in a codependent relationship, it will go badly.

6.  Trust, once broken, is almost impossible to restore.

7.  Cheating is lying and will kill trust.

8.  If you’re disrespectful to your partner, you will kill love.

9.  If you hit, you will kill love.

10. Money issues become relationship issues.

11. Kid issues become relationship issues.

12. It’s OK to say no.

13. Laughter is really important.

Almost a Law: If you’re too young, your relationship may not last.

Well that’s it. The 13 Laws of Relationships – hopefully good enough to give us a start on this thorny problem of how to achieve and maintain good relationships.

Pretty simple huh? Don’t violate any of the 13 Laws and your relationship will be good, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately this is more like what my cousin Matt so eloquently stated after years of being the patients’ attorney in a state mental hospital where most of the patients had been abused as children: “I don’t know how hard it is to make kids great, but it’s really easy to screw them up.” The analogous situation with relationships is that even if you and your partner are conforming to all 13 Laws, it’s still going to be an uphill battle. The only thing conforming to the 13 Laws does is give your relationship a chance.

In the chapters that follow, the 13 Laws will be discussed in detail with concrete examples to help you understand them and change into someone who is no longer violating that law. At the end of each chapter is a tear out summary page of the main ideas and suggested changes. After finishing a chapter, tear out the summary page and stick it on your refrigerator door, bathroom mirror, or wherever so you can more easily review and assimilate the material. Remember that change is accomplished through keeping the goal in mind and PRACTICE!

Have at it, enjoy, and best of luck making needed changes and achieving a good, maybe forever relationship.

“There are so many things about which some old man ought to tell one while one is little; for when one is grown one would know them as a matter of course.” 

 Rainer Maria Rilke