Here’s a letter from a reader:
“You said we can change people’s behaviors by holding higher images of them.
I am living with someone who considers us broken up and that he is my ex. He has fallen in love with someone who lives in Geneva. I am living with him because at the moment I do not have the money to move.
I love him, and we still have sex.
I want him back in love with me.
Suggestions? Thank you!”
This is an excellent letter because it opens up so many cans of worms at once. Fine situation to be in for an afternoon of fishing. Otherwise, the news is less auspicious.
First, allow me to clarify: yes, you can change people’s behaviors by holding them to higher images of themselves. It may be the only way you can do that. However, this only works in a consensual setting of an ongoing relationship of trust and mutual respect.
For example, if you walk up to some poorly-dressed person on the street and just start dispensing fashion advice, it’s not likely to go very far. Whereas the same advice to a friend, child or relative may have an effect.
The second zinger in this letter is the “I love him and we still have sex” part. All while the boy says he’s in love with someone else and considers the two of them broken up.
This is what I call Big Mac sex. Big Macs taste pretty good but are fantastically fattening (and maybe even poisonous). They also have minimal nutritional value and replace food that would be good for you. Also, you need both hands to eat a Big Mac, which means that you are in no position to accept the filet mignon that the world may be offering you.
The filet mignon in this case is the good guy who is into Mindy and would like to have a meaningful relationship with her. But what good guy would be dumb enough to date a girl who’s not only living with her ex but also having regular sex with him and professing to love him still and want him back?
This is the ultimate lose-lose situation.
Finally, there is the statement I want him back in love with me.
Do you? Really? I mean, it seems like this guy is giving you a pretty raw deal here. And yet, you want him back in love with you?
This exhibits two of the cardinal Tao of Dating sins. First, it’s forgetting that fulfillment is a feeling, not a person. Seems like Mindy here is assuming that somehow, Mr Ex is going to bring her fulfillment and no other man can. Is that true? Considering how there are 3 billion other men out there, it seems an unlikely proposition.
It’s also violating the principle of abundance (see 3 billion other men). Surely there’s someone out there with whom you can do better, Mindy.
It’s understandable that Mindy is in a bit of a quandary with her living arrangements. However, we’re never as stuck as we think we are, and Mindy’s got some homework to do. Once she starts disentangling herself from her ex and setting some boundaries that show respect for herself and him, then the door opens for further evolution in her life. That much is in her power.
Be sure to chime in with your comments regarding this matter — very curious what kind of experience others have had with this.