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"Parallel play" describes people who are enjoying independent activities in the company of another. For adults, what makes parallel play different than two people ignoring each other in the same room is a secure foundation underpinning their relationship. If you know that the other person is available and that, if you need them, they will pay attention to you, then you feel secure. Secure relationships give us the peace of mind to develop independent interests.

Adults who are more introverted can especially benefit from parallel play. It can give the sense of time well spent within close relationships and allows for adults to pursue the activities they would like to prioritize at that moment.

DH spends a lot of his time studying electromagnetism. (He's an Aspie who can enjoy reading an 800-page book on antennas from cover to cover.) When studying, he's in an absorbed state that I call "DH-land." If I want him, I say, "Earth to DH" and watch him come back to the real world. We spend a lot of time in parallel play since I have my own activities and interests.

I never heard of the term "parallel play" before but it describes our relationship well. We have been together since 1987 and would be lonely without each other...even if we spend a lot of time together not actually interacting.

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