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Partner up if you can!

In 1978, I had almost zero knowledge about good relationships, but vast experience with bad ones. Hard knocks had taught me that one cannot get everything from another human being, or at least one can’t after leaving one’s mother behind. One can, however, learn to take what’s offered and to offer others what’s comfortable to give.

I’m reminded of another experience concerning cows. A weaning device is a metal prong on a halter that goes around a big calf’s nose. When the big calf  tries to suck his/her mama, the prong stabs her in the side. She kicks the calf away! I’ve often thought that men, especially me, should have such a device as they learn to get along with women who aren’t their mamas.

I think that most people have a biological need to partner up. If we do it in a rational way, discussing and agreeing on aspects of the relationship as we go along, it can be reasonably stable. People in partnerships are a lot more stable, and a lot more productive, on average, than they are operating singly. The statistics are in about that, even though there are lots of interesting exceptions.

The lessons I learned from deliberate communal living are good to remember in any relationship: keep the money straight, and don't let dishes pile up in the sink.

When I first moved to Freeport to work at Dow Chemical, I had the bad luck to get into a bridge game while visiting my new boss. I had no idea how devoted some bridge players are, so I casually agreed to play as his partner. I still remember his throwing down his cards after I blew the first hand. He yelled at me, “Always remember, YOU HAVE A PARTNER!” It was scary, but a good lesson to remember.

Elaine and I are currently enjoying our 37th year.

Elaine and I

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