Sometimes, due to arbitrary social norms, two people who love each other cannot be together. According to psychologists, secrecy can strengthen a relationship, since it increases intimacy and complicity.

However, relationships that are not supported by family and friends tend to be of lower quality. But there is some good news, social norms, opinions, and rules can be changed.

We’ve rounded up 5 forbidden relationship stories from people who fought against the rules to be together and somehow won.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony

© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / MCL Films SA / Walwa Films / East News

Let’s put ourselves in the life of the famous queen of Egypt Cleopatra and the powerful Roman general Mark Antony. The union of these governors began for convenience and political advancement, but what began as an alliance soon turned into love. However, the couple broke up because Mark had to marry the sister of the Roman ruler, Octavian.

Despite being married, Mark was still in love with Cleopatra, and after three years apart they reunited and continued their relationship. Mark divorced Octavian’s sister, causing the furious Roman ruler to declare war on Cleopatra.

Despite their efforts, the couple lost the war and took their own lives. Octavian decided to honor Cleopatra’s last wish, which was to be buried next to the love of her life, Mark Antony.

Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson

© Courtesy Everett Collection / East News

When it comes to royalty, there are different sets of rules and etiquette that they must follow in order to maintain their titles and positions. Edward, Prince of Wales, and Wallis Simpson, an American aristocrat, met while she was married.

The couple and the prince were close friends, but Edward and Wallis quickly fell in love. Edward’s father, King George V, died during this period, so Edward was proclaimed King of the United Kingdom.

Wallis decided to divorce a second time, while King Edward tried to get the royal family and the church to accept her. But their union met strong opposition, so King Edward had to abdicate the crown to be with Wallis.

Announcing his abdication, Edward said, “I found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and carry out my duties as king as I would like without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Richard and Mildred Loving

© Loving / Raindog Films and co-producers

The Lovings’ love story made American history and will probably be in textbooks one day. Richard was a white bricklayer of Irish and English descent, and Mildred was of African American and Native American descent.

Their relationship was prohibited by the laws of their home state of Virginia, as “interracial” marriages were not allowed. So the Lovings had to leave home for fear of imprisonment.

However, Mildred and Richard loved their hometown and wanted to return, so they decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the Lovings was unanimous, so they could return home and raise their children together as a couple.

In the end, Mildred and Richard’s courageous love helped end segregation laws across America.

Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams

© A United Kingdom / Fox Searchlight Pictures and co-producers

The reason this couple couldn’t be together was also the color of their skin, but just like the Lovings, they had a happy ending. Seretse Khama was then appointed chief of the Bamangwato tribe, and Ruth was a white English worker.

The couple encountered opposition to their union from the Seretse tribe, the English government, and Ruth’s father. However, the couple married in 1948.

For years, Seretse and Ruth were exiled from their home country, and in order to return, Seretse had to resign as chieftain for himself and his heirs. Seretse gave up her title to be with Ruth and her children.

The former chief returned home to his family as an ordinary citizen, but years later, Seretse became Botswana’s first president.

Do you think ’forbidden’ relationships can exist nowadays? What would you do if you were in a ’forbidden’ relationship? Let us know in the comments.

Preview photo credit Courtesy Everett Collection / East NewsTheodora, Slave Empress / Lux Film and co-producers