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Read Letter

Ceteris Paribus

My dear Jil, of course you’ve heard of the phrase, “Ceteris paribus.” It’s a Latin phrase meaning “other things being equal.” Another translation of “ceteris paribus” is “all other things being constant,” or “all else unchanged.” It’s a deploy of economists in determining causation and isolating variables. It’s almost like freezing time. But it’s not really real because in life other things are never equal. In life all else don’t remain unchanged, all other things are not constant, every action provokes a reaction; a change occurs.

You seem to believe strongly in that phrase, “other things being equal” because you never assume a reaction to the things you do. It’s why you willfully do something wrong in your relationship and somehow expect other things to remain equal on the other side. But that’s not possible. When you willfully do things to hurt your partner other things can’t remain unchanged. When you do those things you hurt him. And he can choose from a number of reactions. He can, for example, choose to absorb the hurt and just keep quiet; but be sure things have changed. At least some things or he can choose to express his hurt and let you know his feelings; in which case things have really changed. Or he can be quiet, absorb it, and notch it up in his compilation of things that affect your relationship, things he hates, or he can go passive aggressive and not say a word but you feel a negative hold back – things are no longer smooth; or he can quietly determine it’s one too many in a litany of constant hurts and pains, and decide to suspend the relationship; or he can decide he’s had enough with the relationship and call it off! Which will come to you as a surprise.You see, when we do hurtful things to people it’s hard for those we hurt to express those hurts in words. How do you describe

You see, when we do hurtful things to people it’s hard for those we hurt to express those hurts in words. How do you describe pain? It’s not always easy to rationalise a feeling or emotion. There are things that are difficult to express in words. And so when he does decide to opt out of the relationship it will be difficult for him to explain his decision in words. More so when expressing those things in words will make him seem petty. But he has his pain. He won’t say a word. But you’ll both know the truth – you in particular. Which is why when you do those things and you sense the effect, you quickly take steps to ameliorate the issue. But has it occurred to you, you might be pushing the guy too far, that you might be exhausting his elasticity? He’s not infinitely elastic and so can’t be infinitely absorbent. No one is. As much as he likes you, you may force him to that point in which you’re not worth it anymore; though one must wonder why you do these things. Why do you reply him tersely ’cause you just feel like it, or ignore his texts? You do these things deliberately and if you’re not careful, you’re setting up yourself for a shock. And instead of saying sorry when you sense his hurt, you paper over the issue with pretentious care as if nothing ever happened. All these things you do are actually very immature. They’re in the main negotiation of affection. You want the relationship to have an imbalance of desire so you gain control of the relationship. You’re withholding. All these things are absolutely unnecessary. It’s your insecurity and wilfulness showing through.

Truth is, you NEED what you pretend to repudiate. You obviously need his affection more. But you get him to lower his guard and want you, and then you start all the games. It’s so childish. Wilfulness won’t get you far in life. It puts people off, cuts you off life resources. And sometimes we’ve practiced a bad habit for so long we’re no longer sensitive to its effect on others. There’s no ceteris paribus in relationship. There’s cause and effect. Things don’t remain unchanged after we do stuff to our partners.

Now, he can decide to forgive the hurt, but the proof things changed is the very fact he decided to forgive. That your partner doesn’t express hurt over what you do doesn’t mean he’s not in pain over it. And this guy is bending over backwards, being patient and accommodative of you. If you persist in this wilful and hurtful stuff, at some point he’s going to feel you’re taking him for a fool; or he may read it that you’re taking him for granted and attempting to rubbish him. You see, you won’t see it as that, can’t even see it as that. And that’s not surprising. Selfishness blinds us and makes us insensitive. You’ve got to change behaviour or you’ll keep giving this guy fear about marrying you, keep putting doubt in his heart. A selfish disposition prevents us from putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. We can’t feel the pinch we create. Stop approaching relationship from a wilful perspective. It’s an attempt at emotional oppression.

At the end of the day, all wilfulness engenders in the other party is the feeling of being used. We end up using people in a relationship when our views are so obfuscated by our selfish needs. A selfish person keeps what he or she has but makes demands on the emotional and material assets of the other party. A selfish person has a self-centred viewpoint in a relationship. It’s a self-evident truth. Selfishness not only blinds, it robs us of ability to sense the feelings of others. Selfishness by nature does not permit or tolerate any other person’s interest, just one’s self-interest. Even on something that starts nobly, a selfish person will somehow manage to substitute the goal with a self-agenda. Selfishness demands stinginess of the soul, stinginess of emotions. It’s never about giving but what can be obtained. And when a selfish person gives, it’s with a view; it’s never altruistic. The gift is economically dispensed so “control” can be assumed. Emotional selfishness makes a lot of emotional demand but is unwilling to give. When there’s nothing to give emotionally but there is a lot expected of the other party, you come across as vicious in demand. Even to oblige the other party a minor emotional gift becomes a tedious bargaining process. That’s selfishness for you. At some point, such un-giving will weigh heavily on the soul of your partner. The cost of the relationship will be too high and you’ll lose it. Once the emotional cost of a relationship is too high, both the partner and relationship lose value. Stop the deification of self. There’s your partner to consider.

Your mentor, LA

Emotional selfishness makes a lot of emotional demand but is unwilling to give. Click To Tweet
Tags : playing around, one-sided relationship, Genuine love, Pushing buttons, Emotional, Change, Accusation, Control, Manipulation, abuse, expressiveness

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