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A Preface

"You meet someone and you're sure you were lovers in a past life. After two weeks with them, you realize why you haven't kept in touch for the last two thousand years."  Al Cleathen


I wrote this book because it occurred to me that many relationships intending to be long-term, maybe forever, monogamous, romantic relationships start with such promise and end up so badly – needlessly:  “Good Love Gone Bad.” Buddy Holly put it well:


      “It’s so easy to fall in love.”


And I added:


      “but it’s really hard to sustain a relationship.”

 

   Although Buddy’s take is a lot more poetic than mine, mine truthfully completes the tale.

***

 

New relationships are like spring – rebirth, renewal, full of promise. People keep entering into them with the same hope and excitement over and over again, only to have those promising new relationships crash and burn – over and over again.

I’ve thought about this a lot and it occurred to me that it’s another sad example of the old cliché about what constitutes insanity:

 

    “Insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.” 

    – Anonymous

   Sometimes even when people know they’re doing it wrong, they’re incapable of changing their behavior, partly because change is so hard, but also because they don't know what to change or how to change it. Then I realized that there are certain basic rules or Laws of Relationships that if violated will absolutely crater a relationship – no chance not to. This book is a compilation of those laws with suggested behavior modifications to avoid violating them in the future, in the hope that your current or next relationship might fulfill its initial promise.

   Will observing these laws insure that a relationship will last? No, but violating any of them will insure that it will not last, or last in a way that will make you wish it wouldn't. What understanding these Laws of Relationships will do is give you:

·        a better read on whether someone might be a good candidate for a long-term, maybe forever, relationship partner

·        the knowledge to get at least your end of the relationship right, so you don’t kill it inadvertently

·        a chance to achieve the trifecta of relationships that we’re all shooting for, whether we realize it or not: TRUST, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, and REAL INTIMACY

   TRUST, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, and REAL INTIMACY are the recurring themes of this book. If you truly love and trust your partner, you may be able to achieve real intimacy. I’m not talking here about just physical intimacy – that’s relatively easy to achieve. The intimacy I’m talking about is when you can tell your partner anything, and likewise them to you, without fear of any response other than loving acceptance, and empathy. It just doesn’t get any better than that and that’s the crème de la crème that we’re shooting for in our relationships. Why settle for less than that? So if you can find someone who loves you unconditionally, and ditto you them, and you completely trust each other, and can be truly intimate with each other – WOW! That’s terrific, life-altering, as good-as-it-gets stuff. Hopefully this book will help you learn how to get there and once there, to keep from losing it.

***

 

I’m often blunt and direct (some would say too blunt and too direct – read on and I’m sure you’ll see examples of this), and I don’t believe in that warm and fuzzy stuff about how we’re both OK. I know I’m not OK and I imagine you’re not either or you wouldn’t be reading this book.

Like a lot of males, I’m a pretty simple creature – a bit slow on the uptake of things that don’t have to do with sex, food, machinery, sports, or sleep. (I’m sure I’m forgetting a category or two here, but like I said: simple – i.e., less is generally more.) Thus the style of this book is to go with the simpler rather than the more complex solution to an issue. Putting that solution into practice will be the difficult part.

I wanted to use a 30-year-old picture of myself on the back cover in addition to the current one (but there wasn’t enough room for that) to illustrate the point that we can be very different at different times of our lives (good reason not to get married young or get tattoos). I’m talking almost like different people, but still with the same tendencies we exhibited at a very young age, tendencies we need to recognize and understand if we’re to achieve the change we desire to have a good relationship. Since understanding is the first step to change (i.e., what exactly is it that we need to change), understanding is vital to our task.

To those of you who know me and are incredulous that I’m writing a book about relationships, my retort is that old cliché: “Do as I say, not as I do.” as well as: “I’m not totally useless. I can always be used as a bad example.” OK, I’m being a bit facetious here. The fact is that following the advice in this book has improved my relationship immeasurably and hopefully will do the same for you.


***


A lot of authors strive to make their books complete and comprehensive. While those are generally lofty goals, they can make a book overly long, tedious, and hard to understand – a “can’t see the forest for the trees” kind of thing. I’m going for simplicity here. If I miss something, I’m sure I’ll still give you a lot to think about and work on.

This stuff isn’t that complicated to know or understand. Implementing workable solutions is the special sauce. Having the issues and suggested behavior modifications laid down clearly and succinctly like they are in this book, makes it harder to deny their validity and keep doing the same relationship-killing stuffEach of the Laws of Relationships has a chapter, describing an issue and giving concrete suggestions for behavior changes that should lead to healthier relationships. The hell with space – relationships are the final frontier (well, relationships and raising kids.) And this book is intended to make people better at relationships.

Time to define the type of relationship we’re concerned with here. When I say couple, I mean two warm, breathing humans of whatever gender or sexual persuasion, who are trying to hang out together in a monogamous, long-term, maybe forever, romantic relationship. If your particular couple crosses specie lines or if one of the partners is not native to Earth or is not currently living or was never alive, then you need to find another book.

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. – Emily Bronte

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