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Read Letter

The Seven Sensitivities

My dear Jil, seems you want to eat your cake and have it. Keeping two lives on hold allows you to have it both ways while claiming you’re trying to choose. Flip the coin the other way and see how it works. What if a guy while dating you decides he now wants to decide between you and his ex, but the ex was not in the picture when you started your relationship. How will that feel? But that’s exactly what you’re trying to do to your boyfriend.

You broke up with your ex, started a new relationship. But to please your dad you decided to generate a competition for your affection by creating a two-way race between your ex and your current boyfriend. Whatever the binary outcome of this three-way relationship you’re setting up, someone’s going to get hurt. You ought to be able to determine who you want – whether the new boyfriend or your ex. It’s not fair to create a competition between them. Your current boyfriend never signed up for this competition.

It would seem from your mail that your heart is with your new boyfriend. But your dad wants early marriage for you so he’s championing the older gentleman, the one you’re not satisfied with. If you don’t realise it now, you’re going to realise it at some point in the near future: your dad is not going to be in the marriage with you, and you shouldn’t sacrifice your love and happiness to please him. When your dad is gone, you’ll have the consequences of the wrong choice he instigated to tend to. Just make up your mind who you want to date. You can’t keep two lives on hold because you want to be the beautiful bride. It’s inherently selfish.

So what happens to the guy who loses out in this strange competition? How’s he supposed to feel? You’re only thinking of yourself. It would have been another thing if both guys proposed to you about the same time. But the old relationship was dead before you met your new boyfriend.

And there are worrisome factors in this whole set up. After marriage, is your dad going to be directing what goes on in your home? It’s a legitimate question. Is your family going to be interjecting in your marriage? Is their opinion what will rule the marriage? In which case whatever decision you reach with your husband on any issue is still subject to a referendum by your family. That won’t bode well. At some point your husband is going to start feeling like an outsider in his marriage. It’s going to be you and your family versus him. And things can easily spill over from there, especially if HIS mum decides to get in on the act as well. She may want to defend her son.

You had a relationship with someone you didn’t love. That relationship struggled on many fronts, one of which was cultural gap and level of exposure. Why try to force it? You’re from a rich home, you’re well-travelled. The guy is not. He feels intimidated, is lacking in self-confidence. And it shows. It’s why you had problems. He lacks self-esteem. You on the other hand are a strong woman. And you’re a bit controlling. Which is why you struggle with being his girlfriend. He’s not “man enough” for you. Would those factors disappear with marriage? Not sure. He’ll need to accomplish significantly to overcome those gaps. And it’s hard to accomplish significantly without self-esteem. So you’re locked in with the issue of his self-esteem. Besides, your father’s standing in society intimidates him.

Perhaps you need to ask yourself whether your father wants you to marry him because he feels he can control him. The excuses he gave to disqualify the other guy don’t seem tenable. The reason you like your new boyfriend is because he’s confident and self-assured. In colloquial parlance, he can “handle” you. You ex lacks this capacity. It’s why you could make all the critical decisions concerning the marriage without consulting him. He doesn’t even have a say concerning number of kids. It’s all about what you want. You’ve even determined how the Christmas holiday will be spent in your marriage. Every December everyone must report at your father’s estate. What about HIS family?! It would seem this guy is a fulfiller of sorts. He exists to fulfil your wishes.

The irony is, because he’s “pushable” you can’t respect him. And so getting what you want, having your way will bring you unhappiness and lack of fulfilment. When things are this way, the starting point is always self-examination. Perhaps you need to honestly ask yourself if you’re not selfish and self-centred. Your new boyfriend clearly won’t take all this pushiness. Which again creates a contradiction. Because he won’t take nonsense from you, you love him; but there’s the likelihood of clash of wills.

I’m saying with this attitude whatever relationship you go into you will have issues. Selfishness is a contradictory fact in a relationship. If you’re selfish you’ll be obtuse to the advantages of selflessness. You can’t access the advantages, can’t even understand the existence of such. And so you’re struggling with three issues:

Issue one: You see your marriage as an extension of your family. Everyone in your family has a say.

Issue two: You want to eat your cake and have it, but you’re not a magician. Only magicians can. And we know that’s trickery. So no one can truly.

Issue three: You exhibit acute selfishness. You feel the world should wait on you. And it doesn’t matter how many people get hurt in the process.

These things don’t forbode a great marriage. You’re setting up yourself for your man to either walk out on you, or accept inferiority.

Selfishness prevents us from seeing ourselves. It’s a very strange mirror. It allows us to see only our desires. Actively trying to be “daddy’s girl” can harm your marriage. Can mean seeking to please your dad to the detriment of your marriage.

Parents have to be careful about meddling in their children’s marriage. Such meddling has torn many marriages asunder. Parents have moral authority. Notice how many young men can’t confront their mum even when her pair of scissors is trained on the fabric of their marriage. And you ought to exercise wisdom. Sometimes parents seek to correct THEIR marital mistakes by meddling in their children’s marriage. They want to fashion the marriage they should have had. Of course if you and your spouse want to spend your Christmas break in the country home of your dad that’s okay. But it should not be imposed. That’s parental tyranny.

Your husband should not be made to feel like a stranger in his own marriage. You can’t pack your marriage with your family to the detriment of your husband’s viewpoint on such family matters. Any more can his mum insist you MUST come and see her regularly, or insist you divulge conversations in your marriage. “We” is a pronoun you ought to pursue in marriage. Too much “me” and someone in the marriage begins to suffer emotionally.

That a guy is not complaining about something doesn’t mean he’s not suffering from it. He may just feel impotent, or feel it’s wise to keep quiet. So he keeps quiet and bears it all in silence. Until pushed over the wall. That you keep getting away with a particular trait in marriage doesn’t make it right or appropriate. It’s dangerous to keep pushing your partner. You don’t know his breaking point. He himself doesn’t know. But don’t make your partner feel cheated in a marriage equation. And you’ll do that if you keep pushing a selfish agenda. When a partner feels cheated and reaches breaking point, insanity follows. That’s that point in which everything is breakable. There’s no more restraint.

It’s important to be sensitive in a relationship. And there are different sensitivities, seven in number:

  1. There’s the sensitivity to your partner’s feelings. It makes you hold back from doing certain things.
  2. There’s the sensitivity of affection. Romance is born of this. It removes the hard edges from a relationship or marriage.
  3. There’s the sensitivity of care. When your partner is down, or ill it makes you attend to the person.
  4. There’s the sensitivity of touch. Can be sexual in nature. Makes you aware of erogenous zones of your partner.
  5. There’s the sensitivity of expression. It makes you avoid saying hurtful things to your partner. There are no go areas even in altercations.
  6. There’s sensitivity to impression. It’s what makes a woman appreciate a man’s effort, it’s what makes a man commend a new hairdo or the commendable efforts of a woman.
  7. Then there’s sensitivity to mood. It makes you know when to joke about something and when not to.

These seven sensitivities will serve you well in marriage. If you don’t pay attention to them you’ll hurt your partner.

I’m not saying you should be perfect. None of us are, none of us will ever be. But we keep improving on the last version of our self. Simply make up your mind who you want. Don’t put the lives of these two young men on hold in a prolonged choosing ritual. It has to be your choice and no one else’s. That’s what marriage is about.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Marriage, Ex, Choices

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