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It’s only been a few weeks since the world learned that John David Duggar and Abbie Burnett are courting, and yet, to look at photos of the happy couple, you’d think it had been much longer.

For one thing, they seem much more comfortable with physical contact than any of their predecessors.

Abbie Burnett with John David
Photo via Instagram

Yes, John David and Abbie are breaking courtship rules — and they don’t seem to care who knows it.

Not only are they openly flouting his parents’ rules regarding limited physical contact, JD and Abbie seem to be blazing their own trail in just about every other respect, as well.

For starters, they both have multiple social media accounts.

This may seem perfectly normal for two people in their late twenties, but for the Duggars, it’s virtually unheard of.

While it’s not a hard and fast rule, Duggars typically don’t join social media until they’re engaged.

Which, as far as we know, John David and Abbie are not.

John David Duggar Sits with Abbie Burnett
Photo via Instagram

So that’s out of the ordinary, to be sure … but it’s the content on those social media pages that really has fans scratching their heads.

For starters, Abbie wears pants.

Again, in most of the world, that’s perfectly normal behavior for a 26-year-old woman (or anyone else, for that matter) to engage in.

But if you’re a fan of the Duggar family, you know that women are forced to wear long skirts until they get married, at which time, their husband determines their dress code.

It’s not the most progressive system in the world, but for years, John David’s sisters have participated in it uncomplainingly.

But Abbie is not a Duggar — and it seems she has every intention of sending that message loud and clear.

John David Duggar, Girlfriend Abbie
Photo via Instagram

In addition to embracing John David in public, being active on social media and wearing jeans, Abbie has broken perhaps the biggest Duggar rule of all.

Okay, the second biggest (as far as we know, she and JD are not engaging in premarital sex).

Yes, John David and Abbie have been skipping church.

Online sleuths pieced together info garnered from the couple’s social media pages and determined that they’re often off doing their own thing while the rest of the Duggars are at Sunday services.

And we probably don’t need to tell you that church is quite a big deal in Duggar Land.

It’s enough to make fans wonder — why are John David and Abbie allowed to get away with so much more than his siblings?

John-David Duggar and Abbie Grace Burnett
Photo via Discovery

The answer seems to have much to do with age.

John David is 28, which means he’s beginning the courtship process much later than expected.

As such, it seems that he’s being allowed much more freedom than Josh and Josiah, the two previous Duggar males to enter relationships.

Of course, the real reason that John David is given so much leeway can be found on his birth certificate — but it has nothing to do with when he was born.

Yes, JD is a man, and as such, he isn’t bound by the ridiculous set of rules that confined his sisters for so long.

Jim Bob and Michelle might have preferred that John David had ended up with a more traditional courting partner, but at the end of the day, he’s male, which means they trust him to do what’s right.

Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.