BY WOLE OGUNTOKUN
THIS is a peculiar title to choose for an article on gender relations. It would sit comfortably in a write-up on political reform and in governmental circles.
However, The Whisperer has not strayed from his calling because even in relationships, there is a balance of power, which the savvy can sense if they open their minds to it.
There are some people who say the partner who cares less is in vantage position, that you mortgage your future happiness when you care for your partner more than this person cares for you.
Tales abound of many relationships that hit the rocks because one party had had enough of love they found cloying.
There is something that snaps in the minds of people when they are loved to the point of obsequiousness, when others love them without condition. It is perverse, I know, for shouldn’t one’s target in life to be to find another who can take us as we are?
Who will love us in spite of our foibles and weakness of character? It is amazing then, that being accepted for who we are only brings out the worst in us thus the abuse of power on the part of the person who has found love that asks for nothing in return.
In The Whisperer’s history, there have been those who have cared asking for little in return, but The Whisperer was yet to attain maturity and he let slip through his hands, relationships with the potential of immense beauty because he lacked understanding in those moments in his life.
There are many of us who have met people who would go any distance for us, do anything to make us comfortable, and all this to their own detriment.
However, it appears there is something in the DNA of mankind that revolts against finding happiness in situations like this.
Our hackles rise and our natural suspicion grows when we are loved for no reason. Maybe in some way, it is proof that we do not really think we are worthy of goodness and therefore unknowingly only seek those who will treat us with ignominy.
I have stood on both sides of the divide, a few times giving far more of myself than I ever received.
There was the strange case of a girl I met and cared for several years ago. She was intelligent as well as good-looking and claimed to love me. There was only one slight problem at that time — I cared for her more than she did me.
Once I drove across the length of the country so I could spend a few days with her. One day she told me to my face that women did not like men who fawned over them.
Unfortunately for her, she underestimated my ability to assimilate traits that are essential for survival, and I learned that lesson she taught me well.
Somewhere along the line, the invisible barometer that measured the depth of our caring for each other diminished and I could not be bothered anymore. What happened was truly amazing to see.
The less I cared, the more she did and it proved the perversity that sometimes exists in relationships we sometimes erroneously call “love”.
The Whisperer does not advocate caring less for your partner. Rather, the suggestion is that your love is at par, and that you do not keep score of who is caring more for the other at any particular time. Just like the old Teddy Pendergrass song, “not 70-30, not 60-40, talking ‘bout the 50-50 love...it’s so good loving somebody when that somebody loves you back”.
There are people who have left partners after taking advantage of their essence and their personal wealth. Sometimes the leaving is not as a result of some carefully-thought out plan to take and abdicate but a way to get out of a situation they consider stifling and which they feel they can find no long-term pleasure in.
EVERYBODY is somebody’s fool is what the adage says and sometimes the most hard-headed person becomes a fool for another and is taken advantage of.
It is a truly well-developed person who will not take advantage of “what he did not have to struggle for”.
Sadly, that is the reality of life, to misuse goodness when we find it because it is freely available and to leave scorched earth behind when we are done so none other might be able to profit from that land.
Having someone care for us without any conditions gives incredible power whether it be a friendship or a love situation.
As I stood watching a very beautiful woman whose kindness to me has been extraordinary, I remembered all the times I had abused power given me whether in friendships or relationships and I purposed then in my heart that I would, until the day I leave this planet, always appreciate people for who they are and never seek to take advantage of them.
I also remembered the times I had been taken advantage of and told myself I would be careful to recognise unprofitable situations henceforth.
As an aside, an old friend from my youth-service days, who has lived in Europe since after the conclusion of the programme, contacted me a few days ago. I remember her as my human definition of still waters, a person so gentle she was calming to the soul.
I look at the friendship we had then and which still subsists because neither took advantage of the other and I hope for this kind of friendships and relationships for all who read this.
There are people who have ignored our moods, eccentricities, our tantrums and have seen only the good in us. The first rule is that you ensure the person you are in a relationship or friendship with is really someone you want to be with. The old saying is that you do not sniff what you have no intention of eating.
Once you have made up your mind that you want to be with this person, you make an effort to get rid of the self-destruct button that compels you to chase off those that love you.
Tell yourself every day you are worthy to be where you are, to have someone else care for you the way you do and purpose in your heart to give as good as you get.
It is all in the heart, and your heart will usually follow the path you direct it on.