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Read Letter

Living History

My dear Jil, I’m not exactly sure what you want from this gentleman. It’s been one complaint after another. Not exactly sure what you want him to do about the issues you raised. It’s either you’re going to accept him with his background or you’re not going to. You’ve got to make up your mind. You count it against the young man his parents went through divorce. But how exactly is that his fault, or his business? Boy met girl. Boy married girl. Boy and girl couldn’t work it out. Boy and girl got divorced. How is that the fault of their children? Why label the children?

You seem to be looking for an idealised background for the man you’d like to marry. Nothing wrong with that. It’s legitimate desire. Just go look for someone with that background. But your boyfriend does not have that idealised background. How’s he going to change his family history?

Again, I don’t understand this: why would you hold your boyfriend responsible for the sins of his father? So his father was a philanderer, so what? But your boyfriend is not a philanderer. Yet you hold him guilty by proxy. What kind of justice system is that? Obviously, he reacted in a positive manner to his father’s ways. He shunned it, repudiated his father’s lifestyle. It’s why he’s been faithful to you. He could have gone the other way but he never allowed his father’s connubial philosophy determine his marital values. And yet you hold him responsible as if he and his father are partners in crime. You seem to have a philosophy of “like father like son”. Are you ready to hold yourself up to the same standard you hold your boyfriend? Are you for example willing to be characterised by your mother’s erratic outbursts? Are you willing to be judged by the mistakes of your father? That’s how guilt by proxy works.

Of course, you assume your background is perfect. It’s why you’re using it as standard, judging your boyfriend by it. But have you spoken to your uncles and aunties about your parents’ history? You should! Do you by any stretch of imagination think your parents are perfect or that their marriage is perfect? Do you know how many times your mum has threatened to pack out of the marriage? Do you know how many times their marriage has been threatened with foreclosure? What exactly do you want the young man to do? Edit his past in real time? Edit his parentage? Invent another progenitor? Lie to you about his parents? I’m befuddled.

In the improbability you’re even able to do editorial work on the narrative of his background, you’d still run into a paradox. The young man you fell in love with was produced by that background you repudiate. You’ll need to perform a surgical operation on his soul to take out the bit of history you don’t like. But if you do, you won’t have your boyfriend, the one you fell in love with. You will have another man. You can’t erase someone’s past and arrive at the same man. We’re products of our past. By your own admission, this is a wonderful gentleman you’re dating. You find no fault in him as boyfriend. He’s supportive, faithful, loyal. So the fault is not in him. The fault has to be in you.

You’re seeking to invalidate and edit his past. How are you going to do that? And because his past is “imperfect” you’re dissatisfied with your relationship. And so you keep bringing up one issue after another. Yet it’s not compulsory you marry him. If you’re so dissatisfied with his history why don’t you leave him alone? Perhaps you need to take another look at yourself, look critically in the mirror. You seem very controlling, so controlling you even want to control the past. You forget life is full of all sorts of permutations. Some are lucky with in-laws, some not so lucky. Some have wonderful parents, some don’t. But judging by the rate of divorce in your society, your chancing upon a young man with an “unblemished” background may constitute a challenge to the laws of probability. Or is it that you’re looking for an excuse to dump him and all you can latch on is the absurdity of demanding perfect parentage of him?

Here’s your logic, and I hope you can see the absurdity: the son of an alcoholic must wind up an alcoholic. Is that necessarily true? By your logic the daughter of a prostitute must necessarily wind up a prostitute too. By what law? Also by your logic the son of a non-achiever must end up a non-achiever. Says who? People react to their background in different ways. Some emulate the bad behaviour of their parents, some repudiate. The daughter of a prostitute may for example hate prostitution. But your logic insists she must wind up a prostitute. And so you’re projecting arrant illogicalities into the life of this young man. Do you want him or not? Do you even love him?

If you like him but can’t accept his background you’re going to judge him in marriage. His background will be used as legal precedence. Everything he does will be lensed through it. He’ll be judged by it. If he as much as smile at a colleague your antennae will rise, as will your temperature. You’re going to see his father in him, whereas it’s your insecurity you’re projecting. So the real issue here is your insecurity. You’re projecting your fears onto your boyfriend, accusing him of his parentage. At the back of your mind you know you’re lucky to have him. It seems all too unreal. That’s what’s motivating your accusations. You feel the way to hold on to him is to have the lasso of an unsolvable accusation tethered to his neck. And so like a ram you can drag him in any direction. You actually think he minds your curviness whereas he does not. He actually loves it. He’s into curvy women. And his mum is curvy. Appreciation of beauty is entirely cultural. And so the past you’re trying to edit is actually what makes him want you and desire you. If God gives you the power to edit it away his desire for you will be gone.

As it is now the young man is confused. He can’t know what the issue is, and as is the case in such instances, he’s going to be solving the wrong problem. He doesn’t know what else he can do to please you. He’s done all he can. You shouldn’t run your boyfriend round the bend. He may never come back having taken the corner. And you’re troubling his soul with the illogicality of your demands. Men project the future. Right now he’s asking himself if this is the way it’s going to be in marriage.

I’d advise you come to terms with your insecurities, deal with the root cause. What is more worrisome is you feel you can do anything and say anything to him, just because he has an absorbent nature. But just like the hard disks of computers get full and memory space gets used up so it is with humans. He may just get tired of all the accusations someday, his partitioned hard disk full, his memory space unable to process further abuse.

Are you sure you want to lose this guy? Are you prepared for the possibility? You’re pushing him away, abusing him emotionally. If he feels every time he comes to you he’s going to be barraged with unspoken allegations he’s going to be wary of coming to see you. Means every time he comes he has to psyche himself up, got to pump himself full of emotional steroids, just to see his girlfriend. If it’s going to be like this, I’d advise you don’t go into marriage with him. You’re going to destroy his health with railing accusation.

We must come to terms with our fears of relationship, seek professional help where necessary. Relationships are big deals, marriage is a big deal. Our soul tends to be glued to our marriage certificate. It’s why divorce tears the flesh off the soul, why there’s so much pain as couples are pulled apart. Many divorces are marriages that should never have taken place.

And you have to be careful about those feelings you have. There are hints of jealousy in there. It’s why you try to put him down by attacking his background. Spouses should never be envious of each other. It leads to dangerous places. The more you see yourself as one with him the less the propensity for those jealous instincts. I’m saying watch it. Watch those negative emotions. If you can’t get rid of them ask God for help. He’s good at garbage disposal. I hope this has been helpful analysis.

Your mentor, LA


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© Leke Alder |

You can’t erase someone’s past and arrive at the same man. You will have another man. We’re products of our past. Click To Tweet
Tags : Appreciation, the past

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