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Why My Boyfriend and I Play Like Kids and Are Happier for It

“Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful.” ~Susan Linn, Psychiatrist

We met at a job interview for a summer camp. At the time, I was twenty-two years old and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English literature and psychology at UBC. On the other hand, H was attending college in the hopes of one day becoming a high school history teacher. He also “liked to promote and support the development of children.”

During our first date, we grabbed coffee and spent some time at Indigo Books & Music. I was impressed. I had not only found a boy who was willing to tolerate my endless browsing, but genuinely seemed to enjoy it.

H was funny, dressed nicely, and most importantly, didn’t know much about me. Later, he would learn that I’d grown up a , that I became overwhelmed easily, and that I always took life too seriously. I valued the art of productivity and felt self-conscious when acting silly.

In our early days, we enjoyed sunbathing at the beach and went “playground hopping,” a term coined after spending an entire afternoon going from playground to playground, sitting on the swings, flirting. We climbed the various structures and found out we could no longer get across the monkey bars.

We had a typical “summer romance.” We sent each other flirty texts at work, and I chased him around the jungle gym during one of our outings with the kids. We played Connect 4 instead of strip poker and went to the candy store to buy samples of all our favorite childhood treats. He loved to make blanket forts and was always to blame for the ensuing pillow fight. We put on music and danced in our underwear in my bedroom late at night.

liking feelings relationship

Susan Linn

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