and Magic (Romantic Chemistry)
Stabilization (Emotional Maturity)
Frogs (Why is it so Hard to Find a Lover?)
Spaceship (All Systems Go)
Take a Long Time to Grow (Can People Change?)
is Like Water (Emotional Closeness is Like Food)
Sweet Distractions (The Safety Net)
for the Rainbow of Values (Friendship Plus)
Fear There Would be No Courage (Fear Means It's Real)
You're Trying to Relax, Don't Ask Questions (Let it Be)
the True Meaning of Fantasies (Genuine Acceptance)
the River (Spirituality)
from a few mixed metaphors in the above presentation, the central
and highly effective image of the book is the love dice. There
are two pairs of love dice (that actually come with the book,
or can be ordered free): red and white. The red pair guages romantic
chemistry, and the white pair guages emotional maturity. These
are the two keystones of relationship, and without high numbers
(fives and sixes) on the part of both partners, trouble is inevitable
down the road. Meanwhile, the fear factor is also crucial, as
fear of loneliness or rejection often compels people to settle
for lower levels of chemistry and maturity than we deserve. On
the plus side is the possibility of change: not so much in the
romantic chemistry department--which is basically apparent "at
first sight"--as in the capacity to grow stronger emotionally.
chapter features case studies of couples with various combinations
of numbers using the love dice, and correspondingly promising
or limited relationships. And at the end of each is an "assignment"
which challenges the reader to evaluate and take action.
when I'm feeling blue, I have only myself to blame for not doing
my homework! So with a deeper study in mind, let's take a closer
look at what needs to happen.
Harold Bessell, psychologist and author of The
Love Test, has provided two important tools for mutual
and self-evaluation, available in the appendix of Randy Hurlburt's
book: a Romantic Chemistry Questionnaire and an Emotional Maturity
Rating Form. Also there is Dr. Bessell's helpful chart distinguishing
infatuation and sex from "true romantic chemistry."
Infatuation, for instance, typically burns out after only 3-4
months. Similarly, sex or other positive attractions can be one-dimensional
and create the illusion of true romantic chemistry--"a permanent
force" which contradicts the popular wisdom that "romance
highlight the importance of romantic chemistry and to distinguish
it from its more limited disguises, we are assigned the task after
the very first chapter, to cultivate a non-sexual friendship with
someone for whom our romantic attraction is a "6"--for
two years! It is not required that the person feel the same height
of attraction for us. This is a tall order indeed, as the author
acknowledges. But it drives home his points about what is important
in this whole game that is not a game.
The assigments continue through a list of tasks
ranging from emotional self-help to having a conversation with
a sex worker. This is no vanilla relationship book for mallgoers.
It gives almost scientific advice: the odds of finding your soulmate
are 1 in 1296; but those odds improve to 1/27 if your emotional
maturity level is already high. Then Hurlburt
takes a modern marketing approach to finding love: you just have
to improve your odds by "kissing a lot of frogs." Kiss,
say, 20 a year (while also working on emotional maturity issues),
and you too can be rich--er, happily in love.
The way to that particular brand of paradise may
require some sacrifice, however: either patience or compromise.
The good news is, you get to choose.
Hurlburt could be on the cutting edge of relationship
work with such approaches as "Friends Plus." Such a
friend would say to you, "As your friend I am committed to
your emotional health including your sexual health. ...If you
are my friend and you are not getting sexual fulfillment, then
I will give it to you." This category fills in the often
challenging no-man's land between conventional modes of friendship
and sexual partnership. Here "'commitment' does not mean
the same thing as 'exclusivity.'"
The author coins a few other catchy phrases for
the new model of relationship-building. He writes of a "safety
net," an "emotional investment portfolio," and
a "rainbow of values," individuals, and relationships
in one's life at one time. This "value network" describes
a multitasking approach to dating, replacing the old single-serial
dating model, which just takes too darn long to process the numbers
of people required to bring our emotional life to reliable satisfaction.
While the appeal of Love is Not a Game appears
to be all about sex, love, and dating, the bottom line is always
emotional health. So when single, "the purpose of distractions
['irons in the fire'] is emotional stability." And once that
lover is found, "The highest purpose of sex is emotional
closeness." The author quotes some fairly controversial advice
about reaching that state--with some ironically old-fashioned
advice about "sexual surrender" and the woman's role
in "pleasing her man." But it's hard to argue if the
results are happy for everyone. It's really all about turning
each other on. That takes trust, confidence, and yes, surrender
by both partners to the love-force.
If you don't yet have a partner to love fully
in this way, this book will jump-start you.
--review by Nowick Gray
is Not a Game website
Love is Not a Game from Amazon.com