One feature of these strange post-Jesus times is that, increasingly, we eschew the traditional engagement-marriage-divorce cycle to form our own, unconventional yet intimate partnerships. Then we get older, and the gloss tends to wear off polygamy, swingin’ parties or daisy chains. On reaching the thirties, many men and women will decide to give long-term relationships a go, if only so that having an affair feels more exciting. But how to go about mastering the art of day-to-day companionship? How to deal with the thousands of compromises that make up such a union, when your life so far has been nothing but a succession of booty calls, casual pick-ups and serial bone-chumming? And how to keep it together when cohabiting with someone whose strange habits, bodily functions, and insane need to draw up a cleaning rota you now have to deal with Luckily HDUK is here to help, covering all you need to know so that your new romantic situation is a long-lasting and successful one. Well, some stuff you need to know anyway. Maybe. Here goes: The first thing to remember is that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, even if that’s not necessarily so. Greener, lusher, more attractive, extra fun to roll around in naked, and totally gorgeous to smoke. Grass with its own mystique, intrigue, additional inches of height, or skirt that looks more like a belt. To avoid temptation, try to make sure you and your partner don't encounter new people and never spend more than ten minutes at a time with your existing friends. This may require some forward planning, but if you both work from home, can avoid socialising at all costs, have the groceries delivered, and watch TV rather than venture out into a world of other men and women with their naughty eyes and pert bodies and ‘high street fashions’, then it can be achieved.
Most relationships run into difficulty around the three-year mark. That’s when the chemical in your brain
that makes a partner seem attractive runs out. Either that or it happens after seven (the fabled
‘seven-year itch’). Prepare for this by turning yourself into a different person at these junctures. With
modern technology it is simple to construct a whole new identity, utilising pioneering face transplant
surgery or amoral hypnotists.
Should you make the mistake of letting your bird or bloke get into a situation where they have the opportunity to flirt with a third party, nip it in the bud by challenging said individual to a duel (or ‘catfight’ for the ladies). It’s worth familiarising yourself with enormous seventeenth century duelling pistols to cover this
Always show a united front in public, that way everyone will recognise the two of you are together and respect
your ‘in a relationship’ status. This is best achieved by dressing identically whenever you go outdoors.
Many relationships are put under strain by the presence of a partner’s relatives; the dreaded ‘in-laws’. To avoid
the pressure of living up to their expectations and having to say the right thing when these people come to visit,
always hide in the bathroom and lock the door until they’re gone.
Remember – men are from Mars and women are from Venus! Don’t try to participate in everything together, particularly not if the activities will adversely impact upon your well-being. For instance, women can only end up in hospital after twelve pints and an impromptu vindaloo eating competition with ‘the boys’. Likewise, no good will come of a man trying to join in with an all-female bitch session about the uselessness of men (and boyfriends in particular).
Disagreements or conflict can generally be avoided by entering into a long-term relationship with an extremely vapid person. Ideally, this would be someone with no personality or opinions of their own to minimise the back-chat.
Helping each other overcome minor ailments is an excellent way to bring a couple closer together. For
example, the morning after an impromptu vindaloo eating competition, a girlfriend should apply a balm or
unguent to her man’s sore anal cavity. Similarly, men must be prepared to hold their girl’s hair when she
blows blue chunks down the sports bar toilet after one too many WKDs. Inserting a tampon for her when
she’s passed out is also worth a go, if you don’t mind learning how.
Never, ever get a mortgage together. I’m serious, just don’t.
At some point down the line you may be called upon to fake some kind of enthusiasm for the nebulous concept of ‘commitment’. One way to do this is to get engaged. Engagement has long been a loophole which allows couples to remain single for at least another year or, if played cleverly, the rest of their lives. According to convention, an engagement ring must cost two months salary (or, in old money, a pound of flesh). This expense is going to mean adapting to the associated hardships, like going nine weeks without eating. Such a change in lifestyle may be detrimental to your health, but men can avoid it by being unemployed. The out of work are allowed to make a ring out of something other than precious metals or diamonds. Like silly putty. Or love.
The novelist Kurt Vonnegut believed that, when couples fought, what they were really saying was: “You’re not enough people!” Solve this problem by only ever falling in love with schizophrenics.
Two people are more likely to stay together if their independence is otherwise curtailed. Surreptitiously
blinding or disabling a partner ensures they rely on you in a way they might not have otherwise
considered. This can be achieved by lacing their chilli with industrial weedkiller, and it will certainly
improve a relationship during the period of recovery, if not forever. With options for getting around limited
when your kidneys no longer work, love stays strong.
Finally, the secret to any successful relationship lies in keeping your partner entertained. Constantly be looking to surprise them, and treat every night you’re together like a blind date. To this end, women should model themselves on Cilla Black whose life is detailed in her excellent autobiography: ‘What’s It All About’, available now from all second-hand bookshops.