Although we don’t need close relationships to satisfy our need for connection, and to be happy, they are nevertheless a great way to satisfy that need.
You can find plenty of articles on how to have healthy relationships, and I am no expert in the matter anyway. But let’s explore six ways here.
A big key, which we won’t explore in this book, is to act as though you love your partner. By acting as though you love your partner you will come to love them even more.
The handcuff story of Monica and Yvonne:
‘While looking around the market we came across a pair of handcuffs. Yvonne and I took one look at each other and said ‘Yes!’ in unison. So we attached ourselves to each other and proceeded to walk around the market. We didn’t take them off until we got home.
We learnt a number of things from this experience. People’s reactions were so varied and different. A few people asked us why, but not many. Lots of double-takes, lots of smiles and a lot of avoidance. But what struck us about the experience was how quickly we learnt to cope with each other cuffed together. By the time we got home we virtually forgot we had them on. The give-and-take that went along with the handcuffs was incredible. At first we were conscious of the situation but in the end it became so natural and wasn’t noticed or even questioned. I suppose it’s like a relationship with someone. It’s the first conscious effort at the beginning, learning to give-and-take, and understanding the newness and working at it together, until the give-and-take is a natural unquestioned thing, but never taken for granted. Because taking it for granted, like taking the handcuffs for granted, could have disastrous consequences.
Even though we were joined by the handcuffs we were still two individuals, two different personalities, and the handcuffs didn’t interfere with this. Also, while we were joined together, neither of us felt the other was taking the other’s individuality away.’