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Letter to Jil

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My dear Jil, the problem I see here is you don’t know when to stop negotiating affection and desire. You’re like a poor algebra student who doesn’t realise 4a+3b is a final answer and not 7ab. You wanted this guy. For many reasons he couldn’t look your way. He finally does and you move into a coy state. Shouldn’t you seal the deal rather than keep editing the terms of the relationship contract? The guy is now interested in you and you’re playing out of reach. You’re trying to make it seem you weren’t interested in the relationship, that he’s the one chasing you without your prompting. All this to assume leverage and control? Also to make you feel wanted?

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My dear Jil, I think the seeming complications in this relationship are being driven by your insecurities. It seems the things you’re worried about are nothing to this man. He doesn’t care. For instance you’re worried about whether you’re fine enough for him. (He had a beautiful girlfriend). But he wants you. Which means you’re beautiful enough for him. You’re also allowing his profile and achievements intimidate you. That’s a bit understandable. And yet he wants you. You really don’t know why he wants you do you? He doesn’t want you because of your beauty, he wants you because there’s “something” about you that resonates inside him. There’s something. You said it yourself: you just click! You just seem to get along. You can talk freely with him, you’re free with him, you can be yourself… And you feel safe around him. When you met the chemistry was instant. Continue reading

My dear Jil, to be honest with you I don’t understand why you’re walking around imagining yourself damaged on account of some past abortions. And you WERE a teenager for goodness sake!  Now, of course different folks have different attitude towards abortion, but that’s beside the point. It’s done, it’s done, you can’t reverse history. You can’t keep living in regret. At some point you have to accept the past for what it is and move on with your life. Of course, there’s moral provincialism at play here and it’s largely dictated by culture and religion. That’s the reality of the society you live in. It’s a context in which abortion is treated as a definer of character and essence. The hypocrisy is that the impregnating male is not held equally responsible. And so he can’t have any residual guilt about the abortions. After all you didn’t impregnate yourself. A boy did. How come you’re the only one bearing continuous guilt for the abortions? He’s moved on. You better move on too. Continue reading

My dear Jil, I present a few nuggets from my letters to you this year. Here they are:

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There are what we call invisible losses in life. These are losses we sustain without even being aware. The way life is structured a great deal of the value we derive is hidden in others. Therefore what they think of us matters. Call it social credit.

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My dear Jil, I was talking to a dear friend the other day and she told me as soon as she said “I do” she knew she had made a horrible mistake. That’s a terrible realisation on a wedding day. It’s sad to know that you just signed an agreement that will bring you grief. I wondered how she felt from that moment on, what her expectations were for the marriage. But of course such thoughts are swallowed up by festivities, until the next day when you’re alone with yourself. You wonder what you’ve done. Before that moment the momentum associated with planning a wedding carried her forward. The picking of wedding gown, the design of the cake, the enthusiasm of parents… These things can carry an apprehensive bride to the altar.

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My dear Jil, the problem is, you see yourself as some sort of control panel. You’re controlling. It’s why the relationship can’t work. And given the facts of the relationship your assumption of control is rather ironic. You’re trying to control what you shouldn’t even be trying to control. Continue reading

My dear Jil, I do understand what you’re going through. Better than most. I have a heart seasoned understanding of life that is tempered by experience. It still boils down to you, the decisions you have to make. This is your life, no one else’s. When you find yourself confronted with an unresolvable situation what you need is a decision. An unresolvable situation is something beyond you, something you can’t alter or do anything about; it’s something that lies in the purview of another person. We delude ourselves imagining we can solve humans. Yes, we can solve human problems but no one has yet been able to solve a human.

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My dear Jil, I’m afraid you need to protect yourself. That’s the first order of priority. If he’s going to be messing around and catching all sorts of venereal diseases then you have to protect yourself. You must insist on his use of condom. You’ve been lucky three times. You’ve received treatment for venereal disease on three occasions on account of his philandering. You may not be fourth time lucky. My worry is that he’s going to catch something of the order of HIV and infect you. That’s a higher order of magnitude than all you’ve dealt with so far. And this is a young marriage. That’s what makes it so worrisome. If he’s all over town in a two-year old marriage something is either seriously wrong, or something wasn’t right, or he’s got a problem. The corollary though is that your insistence on condom to protect yourself will affect future conception. But at least you’ll be safe. And you already have a son.

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My very own Jil, I met a very beautiful girl yesterday. She captivated my soul, cultivated my heart. There was a gentility to her, an exciting peacefulness. I didn’t pay attention to that beauty at first. Not for years. That was because the beauty of her heart so outshone her physical beauty it became secondary. It has been my fortune to be husband to that beautiful girl. She is a wonderful woman. How lucky I am. God must truly love me. Try as I may I can’t get over that heart. The kindness, the love, the giving, the selflessness… I have been loved by that heart. I am being loved by a wonderful woman.

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