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Rewriting the Rules: An Integrative Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships 1st Edition
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"We all struggle with relationships but now the rules have changed. We need a new rule book, and this is it." - Dorothy Rowe, Psychologist and Writer
"Meg Barker reveals, step by step, how unpacking and rewriting the 'rules' can not only free our relationships from the ties that bind us, but also offer a path to deep self-knowledge and acceptance. A beautifully explicated journey to the heart of loving." -Dossie Easton, Marriage & Family Therapist, Co-author, The Ethical Slut
"To tackle the dos and don'ts that flood intimate relationships advice, Meg Barker's sharp, insightful, open-minded and friendly guide is here to help you navigate the mazes of modern love. Meg's pen is like a benevolent friend who's hand you don't want to let go. Hold on to Rewriting the Rules" - Esther Perel, Author of Mating in Captivity
"The publication of the rule-debunking book Rewriting the Rules is justified by its appeal to this massive audience looking for rules that work. Author Meg Baker subtly and seamlessly winds her way through the reader's psyche, deconstructing the search for rules that ward off the loneliness many people feel both inside and outside of relationships. Barker's concepts are well rooted in psychological theory and research, yet her use of popular media to illustrate the sources and the fallacy of relationship rules makes the book user-friendly for the general public. The author invites readers to consider the normalcy of confusion and uncertainty in life and relationships as they try to resolve the tension between how to find a connection with another human being and how to deal with that connection once in a relationship." - Suni Petersen, PsycCRITIQUES (Vol. 58, No. 24)
"Meg Barker clearly has a lot of experience in the field of love, sex and relationships, and this book is full of priceless nuggets of insight into the complexities and uncertainties of intimate relationships in contemporary Western culture. ... It offers information and advice in a jargon-free, friendly style, including many references from popular Western culture which non-therapists and non-psychologists may find accessible. There are questions to ask yourself and also useful diagrams simplifying complex ideas." - Suzanne Keys, Self & Society (Vol. 41 No. 2)
"Barker does have a real talent for challenging disturbing and rigidly held assumptions in our society and exposing their darker side and how this affects relationships. ... Many outside of our profession who are experiencing relationship problems would benefit hugely from reading this insightful book. It is also an essential read for all therapists, not only to develop their understanding of relationship issues and their social implications but also for their own personal development." - Angela Cooper, Therapy Today (April 2013)
About the Author
Meg Barker is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a therapist specialising in sexual and relationship therapy. Meg has previously published books on sexuality and counselling and is co-editor of the journal Psychology & Sexuality. You can read Meg’s blog to accompany this book at www.rewritingthe-rules.com.
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This book doesn't offer any easy answer. The author works very hard to *not* simply present new rules for the reader to follow. Instead, Barker asks the reader to explore the question of what rules have they been working under, are there alternate ways of engaging with those rules, and finally, can they live with uncertainty in place of restrictive rules.
This book begins an amazing journey for the reader, a journey of examining implicit assumptions and opening up communications. I heartily recommend it for anyone who is interested in examining how to live in our society.
Here are just two examples for us, not necessarily recommendations for anyone else, one about a serious matter and the other about a seemingly trivial matter, but one that was a constant source of irritation. We structured a "rule" that within the bounds of monogamy, each of us can do whatever we want, whenever we want, with whoever we want. So if she wants to take a trip to Europe with her sister, she doesn't have to negotiate anything with me, she just gives me a head's up that she's going. If I'm going to an event that she doesn't want to go to, like my best friend's wedding, I don't get offended that she has chosen not to go.
Here's a mundane, but important one: We decided on separate bedrooms and bathrooms. This does not affect our physical relationship at all. The reasons for this decision are: 1) We both need our space, 2) We each like different kinds of beds and bedding, 3) We sleep better alone, probably because our tossing and turning wake each other up, 4) We have different living styles that get on each other's nerves. She likes to sleep with our dogs. I do not. She likes to keep her bedroom and bathroom neat and tidy. I am more "casual." This sounds like no big deal, but it was a constant source of irritation before. We have similarly reached mutual agreements on money, family and lots of other issues.
My then estranged wife responded positively to the ideas in this book after every other approach failed. We have now systematically designed around all the sources of tension in our relationship, leaving us open to focus on what's really important, like being together, enjoying each other's company, having a much better physical relationship where she doesn't feel pressured and I don't feel I have to beg.
This book also provides a platform for a couple to talk about issues in a non-judgemental way, issues they probably should have been talking about all along.