Robert Ringer says emphatically that as the experiences have rolled with the years, he has found himself becoming less and less willing to get close to any situation that has the potential for the one thing, which is intolerable to him: hassling. And Webster defines hassle as a heated often protracted argument. These experiences are often exasperating.

If you are already in a shaky relationship, hassling cannot be avoided very easily. If your lover is hassle oriented, it cannot be avoided at all. Ringer believes that everyone has a little “Happiness Plug” at the back of his head. Should a person’s Plug be pulled, he is doomed to a frantic life of hassling, problems and general unhappiness.

Men and women are equally susceptible to losing this vital plug. How can you tell if someone has lost her Happiness Plug? If you are sufficiently attracted to a woman to spend a lot of time with her, be alert to how often you get boxed into “cannot-win” situations. “If the Plug is either gone or deteriorating, you will often find yourself in positions where you are “damned if you do and damned if you do not.”

Such situations are unhealthy; they hold the dangers inherent in being in close proximity to a neurotic person over a long period. Under such circumstances, it is easy to become a victim of what Ringer calls “I am Crazy/You are Sane Theory.” That is if you attempt to carry on a relationship with an irrational person, given enough time he can make you think that you are the one who is neurotic. “Moreover, since you more closely involved in a love relationship, you are not only a convenient target, but your ability to think rationally can be impaired by emotion.”

If you are lucky enough to be living with someone who does not have her Happiness Plug pulled, you will easily recognize it. She will be going out of her way to seek pleasure rather than conflict. When the Plug is missing, your lover will display a perverted delight in finding, if not synthetically creating cannot-win situations for you.


A compromise is either a rational or an irrational selfish act. You “give in” to your lover when your Scale tells you it is worth it – that what you get in return justifies your actions. When you “compromise” is this manner, you are being rationally selfish. But if you give in too often, and do not feel good about it, you are probably being irrationally selfish. “Giving in too often is the result of cheating – feeding your Scale incorrect information.”

Ringer advises that if a love relationship requires too much compromise on both sides, it is probably an opposite-attract situation. That is not good for either party. “Both you and your mate should be spending the majority of your time doing those things which bring you pleasure. If you are not, then your prime interest vary too much.”

If your lover wants to play by a set of rules that you either do not approve of or do not understand, that does not make him a bad person. It just makes him different. What is exciting, Ringer observes, is that there is someone out there – there are many in fact – who already see life much the same as you. It may not be the same kind of love you have right now, but, in its own way, it can be just as good or better.

Ringer suggests that we listen to the compromise signal if it is trying to get our attention, when we do the right thing instead of the instinctive thing. “Do not yield to the tormenting myths of custom and tradition which intimidate you into believing that for some unknown reason you should spend still more of your limited supply of time trying to work out an unworkable situation.”


If you are looking, something is wrong. By looking, we are not just referring to an occasional stare at a beautiful woman or a handsome man. We are talking about looking for someone to touch. Being human, Ringer supposes we are all entitled to a slip now and then when it comes to “cheating.” “It is not advisable, but it is understandable to some degree; forgiveness is certainly justifiable under the right circumstances.”

However, what is unacceptably worrisome is the man who cheats regularly on his or her spouse, yet claims to have a good, or even great, marriage. If you are looking elsewhere, it may be a sign that something is missing at home. Do not hide from it; shielding oneself from reality never brings good results.

Two people who are honestly and selfishly in love – who derive pleasure from one another’s existence on a value-for-value basis – do not lose the feeling of physical attraction with age. If they are meeting each other’s needs and growing in the same direction, the physical attraction will increase.

Remember: looking out for Number One requires the ability to recognize and the courage to acknowledge even the most painful and unpleasant realities. If you are looking, it is a warning signal that something is wrong in the relationship. Whether it is you or your lover who is doing the looking, the signal is there. In either case, do not delude yourself. Have the courage to acknowledge reality; analyze what is wrong and do something about it.

Ringer believes that more often than not, “The Other Element” has evaporated – which means it is no longer a love relationship. “That chemical affinity may have died without your being consciously aware of it, but it is unlikely that the factors which contributed to its death over a long period of time can now be corrected.”

He advises that if your tendency to “look” stems from a basic insecurity within you, then you must make conscious, rational effort to resolve that problem. If that is not the case, the rational solution, although most people dread facing it, is to sever the relationship and look for a partner who satisfy your needs to the extent that you will not have the urge to look.


A crummy love relationship is one in which you consistently give more than you receive. If you are in that predicament now, cut it off before it goes any further. Just because you have invested a number of valuable years in a relationship which has caused you more pain than pleasure, that does not mean you should throw away additional years enduring more of the same. Do not try to hide it or smooth over it; ignoring the realities will only cause it to get worse. “Do not leave the determination of your happiness (or unhappiness) in the hands of another person; you should be in control of your own destiny.”

Ringer believes that no reason is sound enough to keep a crummy relationship together. The worst excuse of all, he stresses, is children. If kids are involved, give them a break. Get out of your mate’s life so your children can enjoy both you at your best – in happier states than they now see you.

If you stay together under miserable circumstances, not only do you and your spouse suffer, but the children, who had nothing to do with creating the mess in the first place, are forced to endure the pain of watching you quarrel or be exposed to a bad advertisement of marriage. Change is a very scary thing, and it grows scarier as you get used to a set way of life.

The only reality is the present. What a person is today and what you feel for him today are realities. The past is over; it is something that no longer exists. The future is a possibility or, at best, a probability, but not a reality. Only that which you are now experiencing with your lover is reality.

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