06/19/2015 04:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Heavy Relationship Is a Password (a Three Minute Refresher on Relationship Normalcy)


I need to know yours for this to work.


Couples share lots of things; bank accounts, sometimes a car. That HBO GO account that you're actually sharing because it's your ex's friend's account. That extra bedroom that she kind of ending up stealing for yoga. 

And if you fall into the 50% bracket of the population that has an ex-wife or husband (and thus, insignificant), you might even share the responsibility of raising children. Of course if you have an ex, you probably don't have a lot of trust in this person, which is why you're an ex. Perhaps you did at one point but it faded somewhere after... oh, I don't know, day one after you had kids. 


Recently, I wrote a blog about what I think is the new modern man; what a modern, 21st and-a-half century man is, something I believe that I am. No doubt, it's caused an innumerable number of arguments among couples (and for that I'm not sorry). It was kind of my intention. 

But this is all part of the renaissance. The new man. We're open. We're transparent. We have few things to hide (if any). 

But any serious relationship, one in which the topics of, "do we want a dog?" or "do we want kids?" is discussed, needs something other than trust and transparency to work. I need your password. Not to your Instagram or ovulation app (Although lots of folks have long-debated whether sharing passwords for things like email or our phone PIN helps or hurts a relationship (I am in the "it helps" camp), I need the password that will make you happy. 


Years ago, we would have met our girlfriend or boyfriend through a friend, through work, or God forbid, through grandma whose friend in the nursing home as a granddaughter "who's just perfect for you." 

A precipitous courtship would then ensue. Several dates. Actual phone calls. Very little texting or social media interaction. I mean actually talking to the person.

Texting while dating can be hazardous. Nuance is oftentimes missed. Sarcasm taken literally. Had you been conversing like normal people, you'd be learning their cues, even their innocent little peccadillos. What annoys them? When to ask and when not to ask "what's wrong," or "do you want to talk about it?" Our social passwords back then were easier to figure out than they are today. 


Think of your relationship as a crop, planted in a pretty, quaint greenhouse (built using renewable bamboo). The password is the Sun. And the process of understanding each other is the water. 

Like any crop, we need to nurture and toil over it. A good harvest means the two of you are simpatico. You both understand what the other wants, needs, and desires. Sounds important, right? Sounds like something you should probably know. 

But what is equally important, is understanding what she/he doesn't want, doesn't need, or doesn't desire. 

The big, $44 million question: "How do I get the password?!"

Just ask them for it. 

What do they need from you? What does he or she want from you? But don't neglect the question, "What completely bugs the shit out of you? Because I don't want to do that."

It is super-fucking-easy to date somebody. There's no course to take. No test to ace. Like having children, anyone can do it. Nobody tells you how to do it properly, you just sort of have to learn on your own, by example, or get a little deep with yourself.

What's difficult is being in a super-fucking-good relationship. One that lasts. One that makes other couples around you hate you for being the "kicking ass and taking names" couple. You're a team. One that's completely devoid of resentment, but inundated with adoration for each another. 

This needs time. Patience. And practice. 

Oh... and that password. 


Image: Elizabeth Renstrom