I know a couple (well, I knew a couple they’re not a couple
any more) who did everything separately. They occasionally
socialized together, but they also had lots of separate friends. He
gave up his job to train for a new career, and the training took
him away from home a couple of weekends a month. Whenever
he was home, she would be away working while he looked after
the kids. They hardly saw each other. He didn’t talk about his
training course to her, so she didn’t really know what was going
on in a large part of his life. Meanwhile he wouldn’t have any-
thing to do with her family because he didn’t get on with them,
and he didn’t have time anyway.
Well you know what happened. She had problems with a family
illness and he was no help, since he had no contact with them
and didnt really understand the ramifications. Meanwhile he
was getting increasingly involved with all his friends on his new
course, none of whom she had met. Inevitably there was a final
straw which drove them apart. I suppose the only consolation
was that they barely noticed when they split it didn’t change
much. No, that’s not fair, it was a very painful divorce but you
know what I mean.
If you’re not involved in your partner’s life, what are you there
for? How can you help them through problems when you don’t
know the people involved, or celebrate successes when you
don’t understand the background? You can’t just opt out of parts
of their life because you’re not interested. In the end the course
of events will opt you both out of each other’s lives entirely if
you do that.
RULE 39
84
T H E R U L E S O F L O V E
Be part of their life
RULE 39
85
R E L A T I O N S H I P R U L E S
I’m not saying you have to live in each other’s pockets. Of course
you can have your own interests and your own friends. In fact
it’s no bad thing to have something to talk to each other about,
which can be hard if you spend all your time together. But you
need to have some contact with as much of each other’s lives as
you can. Turn up to that office do, however ghastly you think it
will be, so that next time your partner talks about colleagues,
you’ll know who they are. Make sure you meet your partners
friends from time to time at least, and that you have some
involvement with their family.
Separate hobbies and interests are fine, but even if you don’t
want to get involved while your partner rebuilds that car from
scratch, at least be around to watch them take it out for a run
the first time. If you don’t want to try your hand at breeding
guinea pigs I quite understand, but at least try to learn their
names, and go along to the odd guinea pig show (or whatever it
is they do). Youll both benefit so much from being a part of
each other’s lives, so be there for the highs and lows even if you
skip some of the bits in the middle.
IF YOURE NOT INVOLVED
IN YOUR PARTNERS
LIFE, WHAT ARE YOU
THERE FOR?

Get The Rules of Love now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.