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How to Be an Adult in Relationships

The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

By David Richo
15-minute read
Audio available
How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo

How to Be an Adult in Relationships (2002) is the definitive guide to effective relationships. It focuses on how we can all become more loving, and more open to love, both for our own benefit and that of the wider world. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, author David Richo explores five concepts of mindful loving, and how they can be applied to relationships throughout our lives.

  • Couples wanting to deepen their commitment to each other
  • Anyone seeking a meaningful relationship
  • Individuals wanting to end a relationship peacefully

David Richo is a psychotherapist, teacher, writer, and workshop leader. His work emphasizes mindfulness and loving kindness as the foundation of personal growth and emotional well-being.

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How to Be an Adult in Relationships

The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

By David Richo
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo
Synopsis

How to Be an Adult in Relationships (2002) is the definitive guide to effective relationships. It focuses on how we can all become more loving, and more open to love, both for our own benefit and that of the wider world. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, author David Richo explores five concepts of mindful loving, and how they can be applied to relationships throughout our lives.

Key idea 1 of 9

Five aspects of mindful loving are central to love relationships.

What’s your first childhood memory? Perhaps it’s your parents reading you a story, or bandaging your knee after you fell.

As children, we rely on our parents to meet our emotional needs, and to make us feel safe and wanted.

The emotional support we seek when we’re young can be broken down into what the author calls the five A’s. They are attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing others to be who they are.

Receiving these five hallmarks of love is crucial to building a coherent identity and personality and to developing self-esteem. But they’re also essential to building strong bonds with our partners in adulthood.

Here’s the key message: Five aspects of mindful loving are central to love relationships.

At every stage of our lives, we need the nurturance of loving people who are attuned to our feelings and responsive to our needs. The five A’s outline all the things we need as individuals to foster personal power, cultivate serenity, and enhance our ability to love and be loved.

Let’s take a look at these five things.

First up, attention. In relationships, being attentive to our partners means listening to their thoughts and emotions. Often, this involves being what the author calls a “mindful witness.” Our loved ones may have suffered abuse, betrayals, or hurts in the past and, as their partners, it’s our job to listen to their stories respectfully.

Second, there is acceptance – of ourselves and others. Mutual acceptance is the bedrock of a healthy relationship. When we find someone who loves us – with all our feelings and emotional burdens – we feel liberated. We don’t have to hide behind a mask because our partner loves us for all that we are.

The third thing is appreciation. This involves valuing our partners’ gifts, knowing and understanding their limitations, and supporting them in the pursuit of their dreams and desires.

Affection is the fourth A on the list. It involves holding and touching our partners in respectful ways. Receiving affection in the form of kisses, hugs, or even a gentle smile across a room helps us feel loved and wanted. It meets our childlike need to feel safe and secure.

The fifth and final A is allowing life and love to be just what they are – with all their sorrow, ecstasy, and heartache – without trying to take control. This is what it takes to be present in a relationship: to love and to be loved.

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