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Read Letter

Need, Want And Availability

Dear Jil,

I hope you don’t believe this gentleman. He’s taking you for granted. He stands you up and texts you the next day that he couldn’t call because his phone had problems. Tell me, is there only one phone in the entire country? Was he marooned on a desert island? Siberia? He had no access to any phone, not even a friend’s phone or the phone of a family member? You really don’t understand men do you? Here’s what I think happened (and don’t let anyone insult your intelligence in the name of love):

This gentleman secured a date with you five days before the date. On the day of your date, he gets a phone call from this other lady he’s always been interested in. If he had his way he’d rather date her than date you and when she showed up you were auto-relegated. He simply substituted you for her and goes on your date with her. He didn’t know how to cancel your date at the last minute in good conscience. So he switched off his phone. That way he could legally say his phone “wasn’t working!” It’s a truthful lie! And he didn’t want you calling. That would complicate his date. His new date might ask who is calling.

And so while you were fretful, and wondering, and calling, he was having fun! But there was a problem: his exciting date doesn’t really want him permanently. He can’t take care of her future. She’s bidding up her assets, hoping for a guy with good money. She has ideas on her future. His exciting date was thus unattainable: fun, sassy, pretty, good PR value but unattainable. You are wife material – sedate and sensible. Home maker not party raker.

He wishes this other lady had some of your features but the logic of life dictates otherwise. Bean cake cannot transmogrify into pastry cake even if both are cakes! Whatever he was hoping for from this other lady he didn’t get. His anticipation overshot the runway. And there comes that moment of realisation and disappointment – a hollow sense that questions wayward assumptions.

Unlike with you, he couldn’t get character commitment from her. And no emotional commitment either. He wasted his money and his hopes. And the prodigal son remembered his phone. That was when his phone resurrected from the dead, in two days unlike in Scriptures. Bottom line, you’re what he needs but not what he wants! And what he wants is not available. It’s the contest of these three forces – need, want, availability – that causes so much confusion in young men.

Which causes problems for ladies. Explains erratic emotional see-sawing and return to cardio-emblematic regurgitations. Need and want must coincide in him if you are to be valued and appreciated: he must want you, he must need you. When they don’t coincide, young men can turn into alchemists, seeking to create fool’s gold from base elements. This gentleman will keep trying to play the field. He’ll keep looking for a sassier you, until he runs out of runway.

You won’t understand why he’s by you but not with you. Your outlook to the relationship will become tentative, hopeful, tinged with wanting. You won’t get emotional fulfillment. He’ll keep an emotional bubble gap between you and him. You’ll feel him but can’t reach him. He’ll be absent-minded when you’re out. It’ll be like he’s enduring you, and he can end an outing erratically. You may yet succeed in marrying him. Life and family may conspire to produce such result. His mother may like you for one. He may run out of prospecting age. And there’s stable you, waiting.

He’ll be dutiful in marriage but you won’t have him. Is that what you want? I ask because I know a woman has the capability to pursue a goal, and win to prove a point. Women have been known to beat themselves in races. I’ve seen girls being treated shabbily by boyfriends yet they insist on marrying them. It’s like a transaction begun that must be completed, even when the future clearly portends unhappiness.

Some women will stubbornly endure pain just to arrive at a compulsory destination of marriage. They’ll believe in conversion by solemnisation. They’ll believe the man will change, that he’ll love them as they desire. Yet marriage is not a magic wand. “I do” is not a magic potion.

The reason we date is to get to know people, to find out about them in a civilised progression before committing. Dating is a data gathering program, a feasibility study, a glove fitting exercise. And I say with Johny Cochran refrain: if the glove doesn’t fit don’t force it.

*Sigh* Well, this is my take. The decision as always is yours.



©Leke Alder 2013

Tags : Respect, Commitment, Availability

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