Maintaining a healthy relationship post-apocalypse

In most of the western world romantic love is the ideal. From day one we are told it will conquer all, that there is a specific kind of ‘true’ love that overwhelms all obstacles and ensures your safety and happiness. This is a lie. Love exists, but a happy and successful relationship post-apocalypse will need a lot more than just love.  I decided to talk about how to keep yourself- and your relationship- alive and healthy in the hellish future.
Lets talk for a bit about the sort of love we’re told to expect by the media. This love is wild, dramatic. It happens when two people who seem to really dislike each other meet in a stressful circumstance. Regardless of how incompatible they are, they fall in love, which makes it great. Because that totally works in real life. If you’ve had more than one or two relationships I shouldn’t need to tell you this is nonsense. That kind of ‘love’ rarely lasts, and is rarely healthy or supportive when it does. More to the point, if required to survive, it will get you killed.
Picture this. You are hunting for food. Just you and your lover. Awww. But you disagree on which way to go! Your hollywood-approved belligerent sexual tension means you argue, and snipe at each other over which way to go. You’re distracted- so distracted you don’t hear the threat sneaking up on you. BAM. You’re now slaves to a set of raiders. How could you have solved this? Well, several ways, but for the purposes of this post we’ll talk about the ideal Apocalypse survival relationship skills.

1: Loyalty.

You need to be loyal to each other.A lack of interpersonal loyalty will get you killed or enslaved faster than anything else. If all you think about is getting yourself fed and rested with no concern or loyalty for your partner, how can you form an ideal survival partnership?

2:  Set tasks according to skill

Maybe one of you’s an excellent shot. Maybe the other is a brilliant scavenger. Either way, think tactically. While both of you should be willing to take on any task necessary, it’s better if the person who is more skilled in a particular way performs that task most often. Practice this in every day life in order to have it up and running when the end comes.

3: Communication

Relationship experts tell us that effective communication will keep a relationship strong. In post-apocalyptia it will keep you alive. No ridiculous expecting the other partner to be psychic- tell them what you want them to do. In every day life this can be telling them you want to make a big deal on your birthday or want to see that new show rather than hoping they just ‘guess’. After the end, it could be telling the other where to hide in an emergency, or where there’s a good stash of tinned food. Bottom line is don’t expect them to know things if you don’t say.

4: Respect.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but if you don’t respect each other you don’t actually love each other. Lack of respect is destructive to a relationship, but how much more so in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? You don’t want to feel like the person you should be able to rely on thinks you’re an idiot.  It breeds resentment, which causes lack of communication, which gets you killed. You cant rebuild society with someone you don’t respect.

5: Trust.

And not just the regular sort of trust, like being able to trust they won’t cheat on you or rifle through your private emails. You need to have complete and utter trust- to be certain they wouldn’t sell you to a rape gang, to trust that if you got bitten by a zombie they would shoot you in the head. Look at the person you love. Could you trust them to divide your limited food and water supplies fairly and evenly? If you can’t, leave them.

6: Compromise

When you love each other, in order to keep the relationship successful, you need to compromise. What the money gets spent on, where you go, where you live. When one partner compromises more than the other, the relationship flounders. When the world is a nuclear ravaged wasteland, compromise will be even more important, and over more important things. Which direction to go in for shelter. Whether to trust the nice man with a third eye or just shoot the freaky mutant dead. Who drinks the last bottle of pre-bomb wine. If you can’t compromise effectively, you’ll argue, and then we’re back to wasted time and energy and death.
If you can’t do this things in your every day relationship, you have a potentially bad relationship. If you can’t do them when faced with murderous robots, you’re dead. Spend time practicing these skills, and perhaps both you and your relationship will survive.

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