Screw The Love Rules: 4 Times When You Just Need To Follow Your Heart

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It doesn’t take years and years of dating experience to learn about the unspoken rules of love: "Be friends before lovers." "If you love ‘em, let ‘em go." The list goes on and on.

There’s a reason why these are well-known rules: They work; they’re tried and true. Generations of people have followed these rules, and turned out just fine; they found the loves of their lives, even.

The rules of love are great, but we all know the feeling -- that funny, anxious-nervous-excited feeling in your gut -- you get when you feel like going against the status quo and taking a chance on something.

We become consumed with thinking about what might happen if we break the rules and take a leap of faith. Nobody wants to live life wondering, "What if?"

Sometimes, you just need to screw the love rules and follow your heart.

Love Rule: “Don’t come off as too enthusiastic.”

When to break it: But what if you are excited about a new romance? What if he or she has swept you off your feet and you can’t help but gush and smile when you think of him or her?

You shouldn’t have to wait until the next day to text, or for him to call you first. If that someone is turned off by you wanting to spend more time with him or her, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, you should rethink whether or not that person is worth your time (or excitement) at all.

When I fall head-over-heels for someone, I won’t hide it.

Love Rule: “Be friends before lovers.”

When to break it: Sometimes, you can’t help it. There’s a clear attraction between you and someone else: this magnetic, I-need-to-get-to-know-this-person feeling.

When this is the case, pretending to want to be friends first for the sake of this rule will leave you unsatisfied and secretly miserable.

I’ve realized when you play the “just friends” game, your other friends will pick up on the pretending because your chemistry is so obvious.

Love Rule: “Don’t invest time in a relationship that won’t work out years from now.”

When to break it: I traveled halfway around the world to do public health work, and though I wasn’t looking for it, I found love.

My world was turned upside down and my mind was filled with so many questions: How is this going to work? Am I just wasting my time? What will happen years from now?

It wasn’t until I let go of my worries and allowed myself to just be, that I realized this unexpected turn in my life made me so happy.

The beautiful thing about life is it will always be unpredictable. The best planner in the world cannot know what the future will bring, and if you abandon love because you’re worried about what might happen years from now, you might miss out on something amazing.

Love Rule: “If you love ‘em, let ‘em go.”

When to break it: This is a love rule I actually approve of, but only if it’s interpreted correctly.

If you love someone, you need to let him or her go and explore the world, accomplish his or her goals and do what will be best for him or her.

But, you don’t need to let go of love.

You should support your significant other and “let ‘em go,” but at the same time, you don’t need to abandon him or her. The truest love is strong enough to survive any amount of time or distance.

If you know you have something wonderful, why would you ever need to let that go?

The rules are there to protect us so we don’t get hurt, so we can play it cool and write off heartbreaks with the cliché, “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

But if you don’t allow yourself to get hurt, you won’t allow yourself to truly love and be truly loved in return.

Sometimes, you need to ignore the rules, take a leap of faith and throw your heart into the ring. You may come out hurt and devastated, but you may also end up finding that person who is worth breaking all the love rules in the world.

I can't promise screwing the love rules will work for you, nor can I say exactly when it’s okay to break them.

I abandoned the rules long ago, and though it’s left me vulnerable; I know I won’t be left with any what ifs. This article is my leap of faith, my letter to someone who I hope will take a chance on me.

After all, as the saying goes, in the end, the only chances we regret are the ones we didn’t take.