50 pages 1 hour read

Jay Shetty

8 Rules of Love: How to Find it, Keep it, and Let it Go

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2023

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Summary and Study Guide


Eight Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It, and Let It Go by British life coach and former monk Jay Shetty is a self-help book and New York Times bestseller published in 2023 in the love and relationships sub-genre. Shetty applies principles he learned during his three-year period as a Hindu monk to navigating romantic love and offers eight “rules” to follow to improve one’s relationships through different stages. The book emphasizes the themes of Learning and Emotional Growth; Love as a Practice; and Autonomy, Equality, and Partnership. In 2020, Shetty published Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, which was a Sunday Times bestseller. Shetty is an international speaker and podcast host with over 50 million followers on social media, and his self-help videos on YouTube and other sites garner billions of views. In 2017, Forbes magazine named him in their 30 Under 30 List for his media contributions.

This study guide uses the first Simon & Schuster hardcover edition from 2023.


The book consists of four parts, and each part consists of one to three rules, which each comprises one chapter along with several practical exercises for applying each rule’s information and advice. The book applies ideas from the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, and other Hindu texts to romantic relationships. The text particularly focuses on the four stages of life in the Vedas: Brahmacharya ashram, or student life; Grhastha ashram, or household life; Vanaprastha ashram, or retired life; and Sannyasa ashram, or renounced life. The text connects these stages to four sections on preparing for a relationship, practicing love during a relationship, protecting and strengthening it, and perfecting love with all people. Along with the Hindu texts, the book refers to scientific studies, psychology books, and anecdotes from the author’s coaching clients for illustration.

Part 1 concentrates on preparing for love. Rule 1, “Let Yourself Be Alone,” explains how to move from loneliness to solitude and learn how to be comfortable being alone as a key component of preparing to be in a healthy relationship. It outlines three phases for moving toward an appreciation of and comfort with solitude and stresses the benefits and skills of solitude for the self and for cultivating future relationships. Rule 2, “Don’t Ignore Your Karma,” addresses the concept of karma, how it is a way of thinking that impacts choices, and how childhood events and ideas influence the choices made in adulthood. Shetty elaborates on the “karma cycle,” which starts with events or ideas from childhood, which then impact current decisions, and those create influential outcomes. Part of the karma cycle involves creating new events and ideas to refine future decisions. Shetty discusses the influence of parents, movies, and first relationships on ideas of love and how to change one’s thinking about these influences. He also discusses five unhealthy partner types and how people attract certain types of partners.

Part 2 begins with Rule 3, “Define Love Before You Think It, Feel It, or Say It,” which describes concrete steps for creating one’s definition of love before embarking on a relationship. This occurs by understanding the different stages of love: initial attraction, creating realistic expectations to combat unrealistic ones, encountering and growing from differences, and building trust. Rule 4, “Your Partner Is Your Guru,” addresses how people in relationships can learn from each other by viewing each other as teachers, and the majority of the chapter addresses ways to be a better teacher or student, based on guru and disciple qualities from Kripamoya Das’s The Guru and Disciple Book. Rule 5, “Purpose Comes First,” explains how each person in a couple should have their own purpose and support the purpose of the other person. It outlines the four “fundamental pursuits” of the Vedas: purpose; work and money; pleasure, connection, and relationships; and freedom from material things and spiritual connection. This chapter also provides a “pyramid of purpose” for finding and pursuing a purpose.

Part 3 first introduces Rule 6, “Win or Lose Together,” which concentrates on resolving conflict and using struggles to grow. It addresses key areas of conflict that couples have (money, sex, and parenting) and different types of arguments based on the “energies of being” in the Bhagavad Gita, including a five-step process for how to confront these arguments together. Rule 7, “You Don’t Break in a Breakup,” considers how problems in a relationship can lead to growth or a breakup, including how to make this difficult decision and have a healthy breakup. Shetty tackles the problem areas of abuse, infidelity, and loss of interest or intimacy and why couples might need to break up because of these issues or how they can stay together.

Part 4 comprises one rule, “Love Again and Again,” which encourages a shift toward love beyond one’s romantic partner to family, friends, the community, colleagues, strangers, and the Earth.

The book also contains interludes between parts that consist of letter-writing exercises (writing a letter to oneself, a partner, or the world to facilitate healing) and meditations on self-love, compatibility, healing through love, and connecting to the world.