Now it’s always great to get praise, but it’s probably
more valuable to get challenged.
One of my deepest beliefs is that everything is that, at
least in part, is wrong. That’s where the opportunities for growth, enjoyment
and evolution lie.
If we had it all figured out there would be no point to life. So we’re all just bumbling along, working it out as we go.
And really there is no one right answer. We all start from different places.
The most valuable lesson for Tiger Woods would be useless for someone just starting to play golf.
So I think it is more useful for you to have multiple perspectives. For a little while I have been wanting to get more interaction from readers. This seemed like the perfect way to start.
So two brave individuals have taken up my challenge and offered their answers.
To refresh your memory I have added the original question. Then what they thought I missed and their answers.
I enjoyed your latest issue immensely. I subscribe to a lot of ezines but not many like yours. I love being challenged to think more deeply about people’s dilemmas than Dear Abby or Jerry Springer offers
I really liked the fact that you were direct and firm. And I think you gave some pretty good advice to this woman and the multitudes like her. She can’t continue to try and fit his square peg into her round hole (if you’ll pardon the visual).
We need to love people as they are, not as we wish they would be. This is the reason for so much disappoint when a relationship evolves from the niceties and absurd perfections of dating into bad breath and farting. We tend to idolize or Hollywoodize others.
But I wonder if you gave enough thought to his side of this.
Some people, lots of them, want to have their cake and eat it too. And if we wait for them to voluntarily make some choices it ain’t ever gonna happen.
If we tell our teenager how we feel about the importance of a clean bedroom and leave it up to the goodness of their heart be prepared for rats and cockroaches.
If we tell them they can’t have the car or take away their cell phone, the room is magically spotless or at least close enough to pass our white gloved inspection.
If the philandering husband is caught and the wife lets him know that if this ever happens again she and the kids are gone, he MAY think of that before porking the next door neighbor, maybe not.
But if she says, “oh well honey, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Boys will be boys. I would really appreciate it if it isn’t too much trouble if you keep your pecker in your pants.”
Sheesh, it is like she is handing him a blank check. She may as well go over to her neighbor’s and help her pick out the lingerie and put the condom on the pillow.
This guy needs to make a decision.
Enough time has passed for him to evaluate what these women mean to him and
whether there is any benefit to maintaining ties, unless of course it is so he
doesn’t have to make a commitment to his girlfriend.
Bingo. Buddy, you are in the game or not. Spit or get off the pot.
You quote scriptural sources. I submit to you Rob that they do offer different laws and interpretations and are responsible for much strife throughout human history. But they also have some things in common.
They all agree that murder and theft is bad and that people need to make familial commitments.
Just my thoughts, keep the good stuff coming!
Thanks for taking the time to share your views. I’m glad you’re enjoying the Case Studies.
Do you know I’ve never had so much feedback from a Newsletter. It caused quite some controversy. And almost everyone pointed out that I never mentioned the Man’s ‘failings’ or ‘responsibilities’. There’s a reason why…
He never wrote to me and I doubt he read it, or even knew anything about it.
Everyone’s looking for fairness. You do your bit and I’ll do this. But we don’t all agree on the rules – or as you pointed out live by them.
That’s where it all goes wrong. You cannot rely on other people. And you could spend all of your life trying to get one person to stick to their commitments or responsibilities and never succeed. You’d just end up burnt out, miserable and bitter.
Yes, but that is the way it is. Most people spend much of their lives stressed and frustrated all because other people and situations don’t work out in the way they think they should.
The people most successful in any area of life are those who respond to ‘what is’ rather than ‘what should be’.
My answer was based on my philosophy that your happiness should be unconditional. In other words you can be happy regardless of what happens or what anyone else does.
If I set down a list of suggestions for her boyfriend, her happiness would seem to be conditional. So if he didn’t comply she would have cause to be unhappy.
Relying on other people or situations is a very insecure foundation to base your happiness.
The next point you make is that people will try to get away with what they can.
Well yes, I could have addressed this point. But my answer to these questions can only ever be a snapshot. There are steps that I would suggest long before that would mean this type of situation wouldn’t come up in the first place. The way people act in a relationship is set up long before the situation arises.
As you – and others – have pointed out, recently I’ve been quoting scriptures a fair bit. There’s a reason for this. It was kind of by accident, but I realised that most people totally misunderstood Jesus.
Heck, they’ve even given him the wrong name.
And I noticed that he lived the strategies I had identified as those that would lead to the happiest experience in life. So I decided to call these strategies ‘The Jesus Strategy’.
But one of the things that almost everyone misunderstands most is the unconditional love… the ‘turn the other cheek’ point.
I never, ever, said let him have his cake and eat it – and put up with it.
I said let him be himself.
Just as She can be herself.
In other words, let each set the tone for who they are and the life and circumstances that
they want to live.
Once you set this clearly enough… people will only ever treat you as you want to be treated. There is no long-term value in ultimatum’s, bitterness or animosity.
People will do what they do.
Yes, you can induce them to do what you want them to. But it’s so tiring. You have to continually monitor that they’re fulfilling their side of the obligation. She’d drive herself crazy wondering if He was cheating on her.
For unconditional happiness, it’s better to let people be who they are, find out quick and then move towards the people you want to be around most.
With regard to theft, murder and familial commitments, I disagree.
Capital punishment, war, even eating meat could be classed as murder or just.
The definitions of murder vary.
Theft again depends on definition of ownership. Who really owns anything?
Someone once settled on some land and now they own that?
Money is only really an idea, can anyone own that.
Didn’t Jesus invite his disciples to leave their families?
Buddha also left his home and family?
Didn’t God ask Abraham to slaughter his own son?
My opinion is that these ideas are used more to induce people to do what is good for society rather than for themselves.
I’ve enjoyed your ques
tion and it was written so entertainingly. It’s nice when people write to praise my work, but it’s so much more valuable to be challenged.
Thank you. And now I have a little challenge for you…
I’ve been thinking about this idea for awhile. And now seems the perfect time. I’m inviting others to answer the same questions that I answer. To cover different views and aspects.
So would you be interested in answering this question?
If I understand your question correctly you want to know if he is fully committed before taking a major step.
You are concerned about whether his actions will match his words, whether he will follow through with his ex wife’s “severance package” so to speak.
We need to love others unconditionally, there is no question about that. But we don’t have to put our brains out to pasture and abandon all standards.
You would be irresponsible if you didn’t think this through. Sharing a nest is a lot different than sharing a date. It is a big step or should be. Many people take it too lightly, especially those with smaller children, but that is another subject.
Everything changes when you cohabit. How each of you squeezes the toothpaste, or which way you put the toilet paper roll on the spindle, favorite TV programs, choice of music, whether he puts his dirty socks in the laundry hamper – these things have all led to break ups.
Seriously, this week I got an ezine with the guy talking about how the night before his wife and him had a serious fight over – a crouton.
It seems that after two years you have a deep love and affection for each other and this may get the job done.
Many would tell you that living together should be a partnership, a 50/50 deal – I maintain that this is a prescription for disaster. We must have 100/100 commitment where we both give it our all.
That brings us back to your dilemma. It sounds like you are concerned about sharing a nest if he still has an eye on another chickadee.
Part of the difficulty in giving this kind of advice is that I only hear one side of the story. But if what you say is accurate he sure seems to have a list of flimsy excuses for staying attached.
It can’t be that his 30 something kids are going to suddenly be devastated that the dad that hasn’t shared the same nest for over 15 years is suddenly “abandoning mommy.”
I don’t know your beau, but I know a bit about humans. If I had to give it my best guess I would speculate that he wants to have his cake and eat it too. I suspect that this “still being married” business is an extremely good tool for avoiding commitment and remarriage.
My advice to you is to tell him to make a choice, to fish or cut bait so to speak.
I believe this is your best chance for happiness, which is what my advice is aimed at. You admit that it would bother you to live with a married man.
You can’t just read someone’s advice and say, “okay this won’t bother me anymore.”
Many times there is moral, ethical and spiritual luggage involved. These things run deep. But why say “yes” and then torment yourself?
That would lead to unhappiness. If you were demanding marriage from him my advice would be different but I think you are being reasonable.
If he decides to go in another direction it would be a pretty good indication to me that it would have ended in disaster anyhow. Love is not feelings and not words it is action.
If this does happen and you are suddenly single then use your head. Don’t give your heart again to a man still married if this violates your acceptable standards.
Why drive down a dead end street?
If he chooses to make you and your relationship his top priority, then don’t bitch at him about toilet paper, croutons and tooth paste.
Love him unconditionally.