Writer Michael Fiore composed a dating “Bill of Rights” that can govern and guide you in your current or future relationships. I'll share it here, because I think oftentimes people get confused about what we're actually entitled to and have a right to expect vs what we think we want or need.
In a long term relationship you have the unalienable right . .
1. You Have the Right To Be Judged And Treated According To Your Own Words And Actions, not on the words and actions of the other a--holes, bitches, dorks, or douchebags your partner may have dated in the past. Just because your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend cheated on him with the entire college rugby team doesn’t mean your boyfriend can keep you locked in the closet every Sunday and prevent you from watching ESPN 2.
2. You Have the Right To Be Told The Absolute Truth About The Important Things (And To Be Mercifully Lied To About The Silly Stuff.) I favor being honest and direct, but our entire way of well-mannered life is predicated on not ALWAYS saying exactly what’s on our mind. Sometimes, you have to tell a little-white-lie to stay on the right side of the line of socially acceptable. In a relationship you have a right to be told the absolute truth about . . . Fidelity and cheating. Sexual desires. The state of your finances. Whether your partner wants kids. What happened to the dog. Whether your partner is happy. What your partner wants for the future. Whether your partner loves you or not. If your girlfriend and that guy with the strapping chest and jutting chin are actually “just friends” or not. ... And other earth-quaking, relationship shattering stuff. You have the right to be LIED to about silly stuff like . . . “What are you thinking about RIGHT NOW?” (You don’t always want to know.) “Do I look fat in this?” (Seriously, women still ask that?) And other minor pieces of BS. You also have the right to a partner who understands the actual difference between minor BS and important stuff and doesn't pick fights about the BS.
3. You Have the Right To Have Your Partner Be In Your Corner And Take Your Side In A Fight, Even If They Think You’re Totally Wrong. If you come home crying about how your boss is a raving a$$hole, your partner should just agree. “Yup, he’s an a$$hole.” No ifs, ands or buts. It's called having your back.
4. You Have the Right To Forgiveness And To Be Accepted For The Flawed Human Being You Are. In a long term relationship you’re going to do things to anger partner (and they’re going to do things to make you pull your hair out and plot their end.) Nobody is perfect. Humans are flawed. We all do silly stuff. So, you have a right to be forgiven by your partner as quickly and as completely as possible (or not at all.) If there’s something you’ve done that your partner simply can not and will not ever forgive you for no matter what you do or how hard they try, you have the right to be told that so you can make a tough but necessary decision. (Ouch, I know.)
5. To A Partner Who Encourages You To Be The Best You Can Be, Who Accepts That You’ll Evolve Over The Years, Who Doesn’t Try To Change Who You Are. We are all moths becoming butterflies becoming dragons. You have a right to a partner who loves the “Good” about you, accepts the “Bad” and celebrates the you they haven’t met yet. (This is why "Growth Mindset" is tops on my list!)
6. You Have the Right To Regular, Eager Nonjudgemental And Enthusiastic Sex.
You have the right to a partner who lusts after you, lets you know you’re sexy, is interested in your gratification, accepts even your weirdest kinks and desires and at least occasionally worships your body and makes you feel like the sexiest man or woman on the planet.
7. You Have the Right To Independence, Friendship And Privacy. You have the right to your own private space, your own private thoughts, your own private things, your own private life. You have the right to pursue your passions, to be friends with whoever you damn well want and to have parts of your life that have absolutely nothing to do with your partner. You are independent planets who choose to be in orbit. A partner who tries to control you should be thrown into the sun.
8. You Have the Right To Be One Of Your Partner’s Top 3 Priorities At Any Given Time. You have a right to a partner who drops everything for you in a crisis, who thinks about you when you’re not around, who celebrates you, encourages you and does random stuff for you at least sometimes without you even asking for it. Yes, other stuff (and other people) are going to take priority sometimes. (It’s life.) That’s real. But you should always be in the top 3.
9. You Have the Right To A Partner Who Sticks By You On The Bad Days, Months And Years And Helps You Get Back To The Good. There are days you’ll wake up aching and miserable. Mad at yourself or mad at the world. There are weeks life kicks you in the gut. There are years the whole damn world feels like it’s going to fall apart at the seams. You have a right to a partner who lets you cry on their shoulder. Who tells you it’s going to be OK even when it’s not and who realized one bad day (or one bad fight) doesn’t mean your relationship is over.
10. You Have the Right You Have The Right To Be With Someone Who Loves You. You have the right to be with someone who celebrates you and never puts you down. You have the right to be with someone who can deliver criticism with a kiss instead of a slap. You have a right to feel safe in his arms and adored in her embrace.
11. You Have The Right To Leave. You always have the right to walk away. Always. Yes, you should make the effort to fix the rips and tears in a relationship, but there’s no honor in staying in hell. If the bad days far outnumber the good . . . if the person next to you has turned into a stranger . . . if all you can do is cry and all they can do is tear you down . .. it’s time to leave. You deserve better.
Ready to assert and apply your Relationship Bill of Rights in your very own relationship? I can help. firstname.lastname@example.org