Cover image for Love games : how to deepen communication, resolve conflict, and discover who your partner really is
Title:
Love games : how to deepen communication, resolve conflict, and discover who your partner really is
Author:
Waldman, Mark Robert.
Publication Information:
New York : J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
251 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781585420056
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
BF575.I5 L68 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

"Games are for kids, " one might think, but learning experts disagree. Through games, we discover -- young and old -- how to get along with others: in school, in the workplace, and at home. In Love Games Mark Robert Waldman reminds us how deeply rewarding and entertaining game-playing can be.

Included here are more than one hundred ways to develop intimacy, improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance sexual and recreational activities. Whether played with a partner, a family member, a friend, or even alone, these games range from the serious -- learn how to redirect an emotional confrontation into a productive encounter in five minutes or less -- to the outrageously fun -- explore personal values and sexual taboos by creating an erotic fantasy with a seductive alien creature.

Drawing upon well-established techniques used by authorities such as M. Scott Peck, Margo Anand, John Gray, Jack Kornfield, Caroline Myss, and Thich Nhat Hanh, Love Games offers practical ways to work through relationship problems and use imagination to open up unexplored avenues of love.


Author Notes

Mark Robert Waldman is a therapist in Woodland Hills, California, and the author/editor of The Art of Staying Together . Founding editor of Transpersonal Review , he lectures frequently on the topics of psychology, religion, spirituality, and love.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Those who are willing to be vulnerable, silly and intimate with another for the sake of a relationship will enjoy this gentle primer for couples on improving communication. In the first of two parts, Waldman (The Art of Staying Together) discusses conscious intimacy. More than simply spewing out one's thoughts and feelings as they arise, he says, effective and respectful communication requires awareness and skillÄwhich readers can develop by playing the games Waldman outlines. The second part of the book comprises games related to themes of discovery, sensuality, negotiating conflict, problem-solving, romantic writing and having fun together. Though it is largely based on a synthesis of the work of such popular psycho-spiritual thinkers as Herbert Benson, Harville Hendrix and Thich Nhat Hanh, the appeal of Waldman's approach lies in the enticing way he has repackaged what are essentially relationship exercises. For example, "Charting Your Anger Away," in the chapter on dealing with conflict, is what is known to academics as a "self-monitoring exercise" (the game involves keeping a daily record of anger-inducing events and thoughts). Waldman's other games include charting one's family, sentence-completion games, treating your partner to a "care day" and role playing. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

One might reasonably think that a book with this title would be filled with lots of fun ideas and lighthearted ways to connect with one's partner. But it's not. Waldman, a therapist and lecturer, has a rather unusual notion of what constitutes "fun"--the exercises included in this book range from the mildy disturbing (yawn at each other at least ten times) to the outright bizarre (impersonate each other for an evening, including dressing up). Moreover, he has chosen "games" that could be construed as quite tiresome--such as sentence completions repeated over and over--or just outr‚, such as the one in which participants describe an erotic encounter with an alien built exactly to please them. All in all, a marginal purchase for public libraries.--Pamela A. Matthews, Gettysburg Coll. Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One The Art of Playing Ask a child if he would like to play a game and you will see his eyes light up, but ask a grown-up and you will probably see a look of surprise, uncertainty, and doubt. As experts have noted, too many adults have forgotten the value of play.     For a child, play is the essential tool for learning about life, "a bridge to reality," as Bruno Bettelheim once wrote. Through play, a child experiments with different ways of constructing the world, for organizing feelings and thoughts, and making sense out of the complexities of social interaction. For an adult, it offers access to the unconscious processes within. And in science, imaginative play stimulates creative insight and discovery.     A game goes one step further by bringing fantasy and play into the world of relationships. In games, children learn how to get along with one another, and in many tribal communities, games continue to serve as a means for developing relational skills. They may even decide the political and economic future of a nation.     In our country, game theory has been applied to corporate management training, community development programs, and for strategic defense. Games show astronauts how to dock in space, and they are even used--for better or worse--to predict the outcome of thermonuclear war.     In therapy, games can be used to teach family members how to get along with one another. They illustrate how individuals interact, and they can help disputing couples resolve their differences in safe and effective ways. Even a game as simple as Pick-Up Sticks can highlight the psychodynamics of a family feud.     At home, a casual game of cards may help us unwind, while a recreational game like tennis can enhance our health. Complex games like chess can help us improve our concentration and cognitive skills, and if they are carefully constructed, they can even help us to achieve a state of mind that brings us into extraordinary states of consciousness and peak performance. In such a state, we are functioning at our best.     If games are so potent in developing childhood, adult, and therapeutic skills, why not employ them for the development of love? If we approached relationships as we would a complex game--with dedication, imagination, and a willingness to learn--we could, as professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests, bring deeper meaning and enjoyment to our lives: [For relationships] to be enjoyable ... the partners must discover new potentialities in themselves and in each other. To discover these, they must invest attention in each other--so that they can learn what thoughts and feelings, what dreams reside in their partner's mind. This in itself is a never-ending process, a lifetime's task. After one begins to really know another person, then many joint adventures become possible. Suggestion for Using This Book Each game in this book is designed to exemplify a specific aspect of intimacy, to break down the complexities of relationships into understandable contexts, and to introduce practical ways in which we can develop our relational skills. In this sense, a love game becomes a metaphor for the work and courage it takes to develop conscious intimacy. The risks we take can be fun if we keep alive the imagination that a child brings forth in play. It is simply an invitation to go deeper into your soul. Practicing Alone: At Play in the Fields of the Mind As you read through the games in this book, take a moment and play them through in your mind, as if you were actually engaging a lover or a friend. How does each game make you feel? Does it intrigue you, or challenge an old assumption? Or does it strike you as silly or absurd? Does the idea of playing it with your partner make you nervous, excited, or both? The discomfort that a game can evoke may indicate unconscious barriers we have toward certain kinds of intimacy.     Just the simple act of reading about a game can change the way we see and feel, for intimacy is as much a part of our imagination as is the actual exchange we have with others. Our thoughts, as well as our experiences, shape our attitudes about every aspect of love, and a new idea may be all that it takes to find a new approach. Journaling: Exploring the Powers of Ink While you read, keep a special journal of your comments and impressions, noting how different games affect the way you think. In the act of writing, one learns to listen to one's self more carefully, an ideal tool for improving one's communication strategies and skills.     Experiment and play with your journal--color it, add a drawing or a poem, scribble gibberish--but make sure you write something every day. It doesn't matter whether it's a paragraph or a page, as long as you explore some aspect of intimacy and love. Make a list of the games that you would be willing to play with your partner and those that make you feel uncomfortable, along with your reasons why.     At various times, read passages from your journal to your mate; it is an intimate act of love. But knowing that your journal may be shared will affect your writing style. You may, for example, notice a greater hesitation to record certain feelings and thoughts. Instead of writing from yourself (which is a major key in the development of conscious intimacy), you may find yourself writing for someone else, censoring many personal reflections. If this happens, make a mental note of it and write about it if you can. Remember: You do not have to share anything you feel uncomfortable with, but, as time passes, you may find that it is easier to talk about it. With distance, emotional charges fade, and to share such a journey with someone you love can bring great satisfaction and joy.     Writing may also be a safer way to express vulnerable issues. By slowing down your thinking, it can interrupt destructive emotional states and give you time to better organize your thoughts. Over time, you can look back over your writing and see things that you could not grasp before.     Like intimacy, writing also requires commitment, for it can be quite challenging to express one's deeper feelings and moods. Writing, however, can help you communicate better because it forces you to translate emotional realms of experience into a language that others can grasp. Wooing Companions to Play: Enticements and Pursuits Now comes the difficult part: convincing another to play an intimate game. There are many ways to woo your partner, but the easiest is simply to read passages from this book. Tell your partner about a game that intrigues you, explain the reasons why, and then ask her if she would like to play. Encourage him to speak openly about his reactions, his curiosity, or fears and share as much as you can about yourself.     The invitation itself becomes a game, as does the conversation that unfolds. How do you entice her to play? What are the rewards, the dangers, and the rules? Every step of the invitation is a dialogical adventure, and even if the two of you never actually play the game, a movement into intimacy will have been made.     Pick two, three, or four games that you think your partner might like to play, and tell him or her how you made your choice. In so doing, you are showing your partner how you perceive his or her interests and concerns. If you want to be a little more seductive, ask your partner to pick out several games that he or she believes would be interesting to you. Better yet, ask your partner to pick a game that he or she doesn't want to play. As you find out the reasons why, you will learn a great deal about each other's values, needs, and fears.     You can step even further into intimacy by talking about one of the games that you personally found intimidating. By showing your vulnerability, you demonstrate courage and strength, and doing so will also encourage your partner to do the same. You can experiment further by discussing one of the games that you think would make your partner uncomfortable to play. Then ask your partner to do the same, to select a game that he or she believes would be difficult for you to embrace. By doing so, you demonstrate to each other your capacity to recognize the other person's feelings--a powerful step toward intimacy that couples often overlook. Such conversations can prepare the way for exploring the more provocative games in this book--there are quite a few! But remember to respect the other's space. If your partner doesn't want to play a particular game, let it go without judgment or interpretation. At a later time, you may be able to reapproach the topic with greater ease.     But what if your partner doesn't want to play at all? There are several things to consider. Perhaps it isn't his way to work through issues of love, or perhaps she is preoccupied with other pressing concerns. Talk about it, focusing on your own feelings and desires but avoid expressing criticism or blame. As an alternative, you can write down your thoughts in your journal and then share them at another time. Or, you can play these games with a friend and then share your experience with your mate.     Other forces may also inhibit some people, for a game that promotes intimacy may bring to the surface unaddressed issues that seem too threatening to share or explore. For example, if a person feels fragile or insecure, openness can be perceived as a threat. If your partner reacts with discomfort but cannot tell you why, this may be what's happening inside. Usually, an affectionate embrace and a word of support are all that is needed to break the ice, but occasionally a therapeutic hand will help.     Love games, however, should not be used as ploy to change our partner's behaviors and beliefs, a task that some lovers attempt to embrace, but which usually ends in pain. An old Sufi story illustrates this point. There was once a young man who decided to bring wisdom and happiness to the world, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not enlighten a single soul. After many years, he realized he had failed, and so he prayed that he could at least have the power to influence those closest to him. Still, no one had changed. Finally, when he was humble and old, he realized a simple truth. "God," he now prayed, "please grant me the patience and the time so that I may begin to change myself."     In this spirit, it is my hope that Love Games will entice you to reflect more deeply upon yourself: to think about the underlying meaning of intimacy, to question your own behaviors and beliefs, to gently expose your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and to share your journey with those who are closest to your heart. If only one of these games were to help you become more compassionate and kind, then those who know you will benefit as well. You will be practicing the art of conscious intimacy and love. Using a Friend for Support With certain games, you may actually find it easier to practice with a special platonic friend, someone you can trust to support you through times of need. For example, a friend may be more willing to listen to your angers and fears, whereas your partner may feel somewhat overwhelmed. Lovers have more to risk, and they have less time or distance to absorb the impacts of a difficult exchange.     Friends also provide a different level of feedback. They may be more honest and direct for the simple reason that they do not have to share your bed. With a good support person, you have less chance of losing yourself in the intricacies of romance. Finally, by engaging a trusted friend, you may have an opportunity to explore new levels of dialogue, intimacy, and trust. Creating a Game Plan Let's assume that your partner or friend is willing to play some games and has made a commitment to join you in an exploration through this book. The next step is to decide what kind of commitment to make. How much time would you like to spend, and on which days? And how should you structure the games? You may use the following suggestions, altering them as you see fit, to create a plan that suits you and your partner the best: · Sit down with your partner and make a list of the games you want to play, skimming through this book to see which issues attract you. Try to include as many of the recommended games that are described in the following section. · Put a star by any game that your partner chose that makes you a little nervous to play, and talk about it in depth. Together, decide if or when that game should be played. · Select one game that both of you think would be fun to play. The positive reinforcement will stimulate the desire to play more games. · Place your game list where you can see it every day, and add to it as you read through the book. Place a checkmark by the ones that interest you the most and play them first, beginning with those that you consider nonthreatening and safe. Later, when deeper confidence and trust have been established, you can explore those games that seem a little more risky or make you feel vulnerable. · Feel free to modify the games in any way you see fit, or create some new ones of your own. As relationships mature, we sometimes take our love for granted, forgetting the importance of spontaneity, playfulness, and romance. · Try to play at least one game each week, setting aside an hour in a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed by people or phones. By creating a disciplined approach to intimacy, you enhance the power of these games. · Think about one of the games the day before you play, and immerse yourself with loving thoughts about your mate. On the day you have set aside, check in with your partner to make sure that you are both in the right mood to play. If you are stressed out, consider one of the relaxation exercises in chapter 2. · After you have completed a game, take some time to relax, together or alone, and reflect upon the effects of the exchange. Work with your journal, adding a few comments throughout the week. · Some games can be emotionally intense, so on the following day, take a few minutes to talk with your partner about residual feelings and thoughts. It is always a tender act to inquire about your lover's psychological state.     Most important: Don't forget to have fun as you explore these relational games. Be playful and warm, take a few risks, and let your imagination soar. Spending an Evening with Friends For even greater excitement and intrigue, spend an afternoon or a day playing love games with other couples and guests. Call up your friends and invite them to a mystery evening of entertainment and prepare some special food and drink. Better yet, tell your friends to bring something wonderful to share, and when they arrive, blindfold them and give them samples of tasty treats as described in "Tangerine Love" (chapter 5, game 5). Then introduce them to "Two Thumbs Up" or one of the theater games outlined in chapter 9. Next, take your party on an imaginary journey into relaxation (chapter 2, game 5). Now you can shift to a more provocative game like "Confessions and Lies" (chapter 4, game 21) and conclude with the outrageously funny "Love, Asterian Style," in which you describe your ideal alien tryst.     Feel daring? Ask each person to pick one game at random. Even if you do not play it, the discussion will lead to a meaningful exchange and a deepening of intimacy among friends--more exciting than an evening of Trivial Pursuit and safer than a round of Truth or Dare! Games People Should Play As you experiment and read through this book, I encourage you to give your fullest attention to the following fifteen games, for they are essential to the development of conscious intimacy. The first three are also integral in bringing out the effectiveness of many other games. The Relaxing Journey (chapter 2, game 5). This wonderful exercise, created by Josie Hadley and Carol Staudacher, incorporates the fundamental elements of relaxation--breathing, muscle relaxation, guided imagery--and will take you and your partner on a pleasant journey to inner peace. It should be used as a warm-up exercise every time you engage your partner in a serious discussion or game, for relaxation breaks down defensive barriers that interfere with the development of intimacy. This exercise also incorporates a posthypnotic suggestion to help you enter a state of relaxation whenever you choose. The Intimate Yawn (chapter 2, game 3). This simple technique will show you the quickest route to becoming fully relaxed, but it is the most difficult one to convince people to do. If you can suspend your self-consciousness for a minute, you will see for yourself how effective this exercise can be. Dialogical Meditation (chapter 3, game 1). This simple exercise is one of most challenging games in this book: while it promotes rapid intimacy, it can also bring up intense feelings of vulnerability. The game itself is a combination of three techniques: breathing and relaxation, free association, and a modified version of insight meditation. When two people sit down to play, they will enter an altered state in which they will find themselves, in a matter of minutes, talking about profoundly personal issues. Conversational defensives will be on hold, and the willingness to talk about vulnerable feelings and issues will be enhanced. The Sentence-Completion Game (chapter 4, game 12). Popularized by psychologist Nathaniel Branden, this creative exercise provokes spontaneous dialogues on just about any topic you choose, and it will safely uncover feelings and thoughts that are often unconsciously repressed. The Melting Hug and Hugging Meditation (chapter 5, games 1 and 2). These two exercises by Margo Anand and Thich Nhat Hanh are basic training for developing sensual conscious intimacy. In particular, they will show you how much one misses in one's everyday physical exchange. Indeed, all the games in chapter 5 will expose you to realms of sensual intimacy that couples can easily overlook. Contemplative Love (chapter 5, game 17). More of an attitude than a game, this approach to sexuality suggests that you abandon all of what you have previously learned about making love and sink into the spontaneous joy of a mystical erotic embrace. Checking In and The Friday-Night Solution (chapter 7, games 3 and 4). If couples would adapt these two weekly exercises, the majority of relational problems and destructive behaviors could be identified and defused. Because conflict and emotional turmoil are the two most difficult issues to handle in relationships, chapters 6 and 7 are devoted to managing anger and developing effective problem-solving strategies. Give the games in these chapters careful consideration, especially "Sitting with the Demons" (chapter 6, game 6) and "The Behavior Change Request" (chapter 7, game 11). Forgiving Difficult People and The Seven-Day Cure (chapter 7, game 14, and chapter 6, game 12). These two exercises foster the development of compassion in everyday life, but they specifically focus on the task of expressing kindness in difficult situations and toward people you like the least. The Couple's Journal (chapter 8, game 11). This is a very powerful way to maintain intimacy with your partner, even when you are physically separated from each other. You simply share a daily journal, but make sure you follow Jennifer Louden's suggestions and advice. Role-Playing Each Other (chapter 9, game 16). In this intensely pleasurable game, you switch roles with your partner and spend part of the day acting out and mimicking each other's style. Although it is surprisingly funny, it often mirrors parts of ourselves that we have not acknowledged or become aware of, and thus it brings greater consciousness to the dynamic exchange of love.     When working with complex games such as these, it is important to include a dosage of playful and romantic games, which can be found in chapters 8 and 9. Some of my favorites involve paper, pen, and a touch of plagiaristic deceit: "The Envelope Trail," "Post Office," and "The Poet Thief" (games 2, 3, and 7 in chapter 8). And, for those who wish to venture into the vulnerable shadows of intimacy, where the greatest potential for growth can be found, consider an evening of "Sharing Secrets," "Confessions and Lies," and "Healing Each Other's Wounds" (games 20, 21, and 22 in chapter 4). Of course, there is always a game or two that blurs the line between light and shadow, fantasy and fact, as you will discover in "Love, Asterian Style" (chapter 4, game 10), where you will encounter some of the most alluring alien lovers your partner is yearning to meet!     But before you jump into these intimate corners of the soul, take a brief inventory of the following games people shouldn't play--the ones that quietly put distance between yourself and others and that can deal intimacy an emotionally fatal blow. Games People Shouldn't Play In his 1964 best-selling book, Games People Play, Eric Berne presented a dismal view of personal relationships. In our society, Berne wrote, people rarely seek out intimacy. Instead, they play games: games to pass the time away, games to avoid the feelings of hurt and despair inside, and games that are highly destructive to awareness and spontaneity. These people cannot handle deep intimacy--they are too much in pain--and so they hide behind a variety of behavioral masks or "games": Alcoholic, Kick Me, Now I've Got You, If It Weren't for You, and Look How Hard I've Tried are some of the labels Berne applied.     All these games have something in common: they're played against people's partners, not with them. They have hidden agendas, they aren't honest, and they pull a person, through conversation, into a false level of intimacy. Let's take a look at some the communication styles that Berne and others have described, games that can kill off intimacy like the plague. The Empty Conversation This is one of the most common games people play, and it goes by many names: "Chitchat," "Small Talk," "General Motors" (comparing cars or some other item of no particular interest), "Psychobabble," and so on. In all these games no real dialogue exists. They are simply conversations to pass the time, to relieve boredom, or to distract oneself from negative feelings or thoughts.     In the Empty Conversation, no one really listens. You'll recognize the style with the first few words that are spoken: "Who won the football game last Sunday ...?" "Have you ever been to ...?" "Did you hear the one about ...?" "Why don't they do something about ...?" "Those damn politicians! Why, if I was ..."     Such conversations aren't always destructive, for they can also give us breathing space between more intimate interactions. But many people spend their entire conversational lives at this level, without ever realizing how much intimacy has been excluded or lost. Gossip This game is potentially more destructive than the Empty Conversation, because it tends to generate suspicion and distrust: "Did you hear what So-and-so said?" "Guess what those kids did down the street?.... Isn't it awful what the neighbor did?" As secondhand information, gossip is often used to indirectly express anger, frustration, and personal unhappiness.     We all play this game at times, but it is always hurtful to the other. How does it feel, for example, if someone gossips about you? Gossip is an invasion of privacy and personal space, a substitute for intimacy by talking about someone else rather than yourself. Here Comes the Judge Gossip becomes more serious when it contains covert hostility and anger: "Guess what that idiot did?" "Those damn________(fill in the blank with your least favorite minority) ...!" In its more subtle form, it may appear as an off-color joke, a sexist remark, or a racial slip-of-the-tongue.     Judges tend to take their internal problems and project them onto others. On the surface, they may appear friendly and sweet, but underneath they are angry and upset. They are blamers who think they are victims, and they feel deeply resentful, as if someone else were depriving them of their money, freedom, or security. They judge others but never themselves.     A variation of this game is Case Dismissed, where a person simply discredits or discounts another individual. "They have it better than they know" or "They're making a big deal out of nothing" are typical examples. Such statements are always hostile, and they certainly don't allow for the development of compassion, understanding, or tolerance. U-Turns In the previous games, conversational styles are usually focused on an invisible third person, but in U-Turns the opinions and judgments are directed toward the person one is talking with. He, she, and they suddenly become you: "If it weren't for you ..." "You're always so________(fill in your favorite criticism)." Other remarks show a propensity to manipulate and control, and often begin with "You should" or "You can't." These kinds of statements assume that the problem is always someone else's and never theirs.     Often, the person who plays this kind of game hides behind a seemingly innocuous question or dismissal. For example, "Why did you bother to do that ?" is really a disguised version of "I know better than you," and the person is really thinking, "You idiot." Vonda Olson Long, a communications professor at the University of New Mexico, calls these kinds of people One-Uppers and Discounters, because they always find a way to put you down as they try to take control. Their statements reflect judgmentalism rather than respect, and they assume that they can rescue you.     A popular version of this game is called Psychology, where one person advises and diagnoses the other: "You're depressed," "You're overly reactive," "You ought to calm down," etc. My least favorite line is "You need to see a therapist," because when the person who uses such a phrase comes in for an evaluation, it often turns out that he or she is the one who is in serious psychological trouble. However, if I were to gently point this out, U-Turners can't agree. After all, they are too caught up in playing the game of Expert. They know better than anyone else. War Games If U-Turn remarks escalate, they may lead to other more threatening ones: "If you don't_______, I'm going to______." People who make such remarks are about to engage in a simple game of war, posturing themselves defensively in order to overtake and control others. Often, in relationships where war games are frequently played, the marriage cannot be saved, for too much damage has been done to each party's self-esteem. Help Me, Feed Me These games are more benign, and in some ways more honest, because they reflect the underlying insecurities and fears of the person playing the game. "Poor me," "I'm no good," "Look how hard I've tried," "Honey, will you (help me, feed me, save me)?" and "If only I could ..." are typical examples of childlike behavior that can be seen in the conversational styles of many insecure souls. Such people genuinely cry out for help, but they have little to give in return. They avoid going deeply into themselves, and although they invite other game players to participate (the Let-Me-Fix-You types), the dialogue usually ends on a note of disappointment. These people are hungry, and, like starving animals, they growl at anyone who comes too close.     "Psychologically, [such people] have never evolved beyond the pattern of a child-parent relationship," writes Nathaniel Branden. "If anything is troubling them, they want and expect their partner to be fully available to them, fully interested in what they have to say, unreservedly present and compassionate. They are oblivious to the fact that their partner desires the same of them, and oblivious also to how rarely they give it." Good Games In Berne's view, the games people play are mostly hurtful, manipulative, and self-deceptive. But there are exceptions. Games like Helpful Servant, Teacher, or Nurse provide genuine value to others, even though they may have grown out of a childhood need to be loved. Players of these types of games often learn to embrace modesty, kindness, and generosity throughout their entire lives.     While most people, according to Berne, never free themselves from playing petty social games, there are a few who realize that autonomy can be found when they allow their deeper feelings to emerge: For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness, something which rises above the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is intimacy. But all of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared.     When we rediscover the spontaneity of the child, when we seek awareness in our acts of love, and when we expose the underbelly of our feelings to those we intimately know, we can begin the task of healing our partner's wounds. All that is needed is a little guidance to point the way--a simple suggestion, an experiment to try--and a willing lover and friend. These are the games that people should play: the ones you are about to encounter in the chapters of this book. As you work through these exercises, watch carefully for the kinds of destructive interactions mentioned above, for they can unwittingly creep into conversation, particularly when one feels vulnerable or insecure. Sit down with your partner and go over these "anti-intimacy" ploys, exploring how often and how recently they have been used, either toward your partner, toward others you do not like, or even toward yourself in the silent dialogues within. Copyright © 2000 Mark Robert Waldman. All rights reserved.