Dear Marcia

July 22, 2011
By

I’m going to Burning Man for the first time this year with my partner and I want to make sure our relationship doesn’t implode. What are some things we should watch out for?

Burning Man is a weird and wonderful place where all sorts of mind-blowing stuff can happen. Some things are predictable, however. Here’s what to know ahead of time.

You will fight and it will probably be because you’re dehydrated. If you catch yourselves fighting, doesn’t assume it mean the end of the world. Stop and check your self-care. My camp once had a rule that if you see two people getting snippy with each other, separate them and make them drink water and sit in the shade for a bit. This rule saved several relationships that I know of. Make it your own.

Time works differently on the playa. When you’re making dates with your sweetie, try to schedule them according to the sun rather than the clock. It’s much easier to meet up back at camp “around sunset” than to try to do something at 4pm. Clocks have little meaning in an environment of immediacy, and you’ll only cause yourself frustration if you try to hold someone to the clock.

Expectations will fuck you up. If you think something is going to be a certain way, or your sweetie is going to do a certain thing, you will almost always be disappointed. It is far better to set some intentions, do the best you can, assume others are doing the best they can, take responsibility for getting your own needs met, and then roll with whatever shows up.

There will be eye candy. Lots of it. Sweaty, scantily-clad eye candy. Get clear ahead of time what is and isn’t okay, and what your intentions are in regards to this eye candy. Do you want to make out with strangers together on Threesome Thursday? Look but don’t touch? Plan one day where you go your separate ways and whatever happens happens? Talk ahead of time about what you each want, but don’t push each other’s boundaries. Burning Man is a strange, magical place, but you want to be on speaking terms when you leave. Respect your boundaries and agreements.

For more handy tips, check out the Burning Man Relationship Survival Guide at http://tinyurl.com/bmrship

Talk things through ahead of time, but stay flexible and spontaneous. Be nice to each other and enjoy the ride!

Love,
Marcia

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