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28May/162

Three Secrets to a Successful Relationship Part 3 (Learning)

Yesterday, my man beat me...Again. In Scrabble.

The final portion of creating a successful relationship is the ability to learn from each other daily.

Many couples meet and silently agree that neither will change no matter the amount of time spent together or the circumstances that would invite and encourage change.

If you want the relationship to breathe and have life then it is imperative that you each learn and teach one another daily.

The lessons needn't be huge, life changing or mind boggling. Small bits of learning can have the same effect over long periods of time as gigantic paradigm shifting insights.

Whenever there is a showdown in my house via the Scrabble board, I learn a better more strategic way of playing and at least two new words.

Many times I have had conversations with friends that resulted in learning something about myself and also gave me a fresh perspective on how I think.

This comes in handy when taken back to the primary love relationship and utilized as a means to bring a richer more insightful you into the fold.

Being mentally and intellectually challenged is a great aphrodisiac and often leads to greater intimacy both sexually and otherwise.

When the brain is stimulated because it is taking in new information and processing it, the body generally follows.

When I incorporate something new, I often get an electric spine-tingling surge of energy.

When I am presented with something new, I often get a psychological gut punch which lets me know something new is happening.

As a young queer, I often longed for the teaching of an older, wiser paramour.

In my 40's, I often stated : no man has anything to teach me; older doesn't mean wiser and I hope when I'm in my 40's and beyond that I have utilized my mind and years well and have something to share.

While arrogance and pure idiocy kept me alive, it didn't do much for my learning curve (books and great films took care of that).

Part of the arrogance was based in the reality that I didn't know to look for this attribute in men and didn't know how to make it a part of my "must have" list.

At 31, a surge leading to a case of happy pants was enough to get the party started.

At 40, it came to me: you love conversation and learning. Find someone who is a sparkling conversationalist and brilliant.

Not a buffoon full of hot air who likes to hear himself speak.

I used this self knowledge to seek an individual interested in both an exchange of ideas and what someone else's viewpoint might entail.

How do you find this very elusive and tantalizing attribute ?

Look for a man who is committed to growth.

If you have the same conversation more than once does he provide a slightly evolved point of view ?

Is he willing to try something that may or may not work ?

Does he welcome ideas and innovative ideas that are not his ?

Does he invite you to disagree ?

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15May/160

Three Secrets to a Successful Relationship Part 2 (Laughter)

Does he still make you laugh ? I haven't seen him naked lately... Dorothy Zbornak, The Golden Girls

More than a year ago, I wrote about my insane need for comedy and laughter and even wrote a formal invitation for the brilliant Margaret Cho to marry me (Cho you missed out; I'm hitched).

After writing this post and continuing with my insane obsession with what makes love work, I stumbled upon a great insight.

Laughter.

I looked at my most fulfilling and uplifting relationships and realized this is one area that consistently presented itself.

Much like the primary secret of successful relationships (shared values), comedy and the ability to find humor in things as a couple is what is needed. Like values, comedy is individual and personal. What I am referring to here is the ability as a couple to create shared joy via comedic interaction with the environment.

Couples often design their own comedy "bits" based on what they find mutually amusing and downright hysterical.

For years, I stated that my closest allies made me laugh and learn something in every conversation.

With humor as my guide, I began searching for different types of love.

My man needs to be funny as hell. Period.

Living in this country and in this world can be scary, frustrating and at times downright fucked (up). You better have a "ride or die" soldier at your side who can point out things that are ridiculous and comical.

My man does incredible characters and voices (Brooklyn hood rat, British society maven, Irish brogue, Maine and everything in between) there is never a shortage of character driven humor and insight in my home.

By constructing the ability to delight one another, we have made a place to retreat when things occur that leave us frustrated.

Having been in relationships that had no humor taught me that this is not the type of interaction that I either require nor can accept.

As a black man who dates white men and has to deal with classism, racism both internal and external, community upset and social interaction on a daily basis, it is wise to have something that will allow for safe and ongoing navigation.

A shared sense of humor is one thing that will allow for continual victory when facing the aforementioned destructive variables.

So what do you and your man joke about ? Find hysterical and ridiculous ?

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