It’s a common problem. High school boys sometimes get hit with huge testosterone bursts as they suddenly grow. It comes with painful femurs and easy tempers. It’s when boys who are insecure about love will be inclined toward jealous worry. Today’s blog is a letter from their partner, urging a different kind of relationship. If someone’s printed this off and left it for you somewhere, then they’re trying to tell you that they think your relationship behaviour is inappropriate and/or childish, and that it is leading toward disaster.
Real relationships need real commitment. And the commitment isn’t to each other. It’s to ourselves. Because that’s how you make a healthy relationship work. You focus on making yourself the most helpful, enjoyable person to be around and the rest just takes care of itself.
So, for those people who feel trapped by their relationships, I offer you this:
Dear Jealous Boyfriend,
Let me begin by saying that despite what you often choose to think, I am with you by choice because I wanted to be. I was naturally attracted by qualities you naturally have. This isn’t something I really decide—you know that. You didn’t decide to like me either, you just realized that you did. So if people are truly attracted to each other, they don’t have to do anything to stay attracted other than continue to be the person who was attractive in the first place. Magnets don’t try to attract each other. They simply are what they are so they do what they do.
The only thing that threatens that otherwise natural attraction is when you’re angry and upset about things you’ve been thinking about. For me that’s like seeing a restaurant window that looks really good, and outside it smells awesome, but when you get inside the food’s terrible half the time and the waiters are super rude and mean because they’re worried and upset that I might not come back. And because it looks and smells so good, I keep going back. But if it’s going to be bad food and bad service more and more of the time, I start to feel like I’m stupid for continuing to come here.
Look, your thoughts are very obviously not my actions. And no quality person is going to want to be in a relationship where they are always yelled at, are accused of things, or are generally treated poorly just because they either did some innocent thing like talk to someone of the opposite sex—or because you thought a bunch of scary thoughts that I have absolutely nothing to do with. I can definitely be responsive and I can recognize you’re worried and can act in ways that are helpful, but it’s not my responsibility to surrender my life just so you can stop worrying. Worrying happens inside your brain, not mine, so you’re the only one who can deal with that.
I need you to think about this carefully. Obviously no person is going to want to date someone who controls their life. I’m sorry that your life has lead you to believe that real relationships work by force, but I can tell you I didn’t want to date you for anyone else’s reasons but my own, and if I choose to leave it’ll be for the same reasons—mine. But I can’t force you to love me any more than you can force me to love you. That’s obviously not how love works. So we really only have one route to being in a relationship: we both volunteer for it, and we do that because we want to, and we want to because it’s enjoyable. So if you want to make sure I stay with you, rather than grabbing me by the arm and threatening me, you would do a much better job by acting in ways that are enjoyable. No one makes me spend time with my friends. I volunteer because they make me feel good. That’s important and worth remembering.
I’m sorry that events in your life lead you towards insecure thinking when it comes to relationships. I don’t take this personally. I know you don’t mean to do it and that it’s no fun for you to go through either. But I still can’t be a slave in a relationship. That will feel dead after a while and even you won’t want us like that. So let’s really work on this, because otherwise we’re just delaying our relationship’s demise.
Your thoughts are your thoughts and while it might be challenging at first, they are obviously entirely your thoughts, meaning they are ultimately in your control. So if you feel yourself knotting up in a rage, use the rage to remind you about the thoughts. And remind yourself that just because your childhood urged you to think that way, it’s still unproductive to us, and to our relationship, so think of something else instead and just come to me and be enjoyable.
Let’s glue ourselves together with joy. With fun. Let’s live with the least amount of anger and fear, and the most amount of orgasms and laughing. I would never leave a situation like that. So let’s quiet our minds and do that as much as possible.
I love you darling. And I love me too. So let’s build something that makes us both happy.
All the best,
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.