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“You could have been more subtle.” Christian was holding his wife’s journal in his hands. He handed it to her. “Why did you do this? Why leaving this wide open on my desk?”

            Lisa shrugged her shoulders.

            “Because you don’t listen to me.”

            “You’re saying that since the day we met.”

            “Well, I was hoping you would change in time.”

            Pressing both eyes with the thumb and middle finger, Christian pulled a bench and sat down by the washing machine.

            “What is it that you want to tell me?”

            “Please, don’t be sadistic. It’s all written. Don’t make me telling you.”

            “I think I’m entitled to an explanation, then.”

            “Don’t do this to me, Chris. This is already hard enough.”

            “At least tell what do you want from me.”

            “That’s up to you to decide, don’t you think?” The glass of orange juice slipped away from her hand and blasted on the floor. Christian fetched the paper roll to start cleaning. She was paralyzed, looking at him, by her feet. “I had to do it. I tried to warn you several times, Chris, but you wouldn’t listen. You just didn’t care.”

            “You know I bloody care, Lisa. There’s no one in the world I care as much.”

            “If only your words matched your actions!”

            Christian rose his head to face her eyes.

            “Did your words match your actions, Lisa?”

            “Of course they did! That is why I wanted you to read them.”

            “And you still can’t say them to me.”

            “Why are you insisting on that? Just make a decision! Stop torturing me like this.”

            “What do you think you’re doing to me, Lisa?”


            “Why did you want me to read it?”

            “I told you. It’s too hard for me, Chris!”

            “Why not writing a note, instead of exposing your journal, like that?”

            “A note? Why writing you a note if it’s all in there?”

            With all his energy, Christian ended cleaning the floor and started brooming the glass.

            “I don’t believe this,” he muttered.

            “I don’t believe this either,” Lisa replied.

            The broom flew across the kitchen towards the open window. Someone screamed outside but Christian didn’t listen. He was yelling to his wife:

            “I don’t rape souls! I don’t rape souls, Lisa!”

            She stared at him, before looking down to the unread journal in her hands. He bursted out of the house.

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Paradise and hell are in the same place. Quite frequently, paradise is an expectation and hell is the final result. The striking evidence of this is on the dynamics of couple relationships.

Hell takes the form of psychological war. Couples inflict upon each other severe violence right from the start.

The first aggression is the romantic narrative. Though ethic values are fundamental, most dos and do nots are absurd and doomed to failure. The denial of this absurdity and the commitment to fantasies makes aggression kicking in rather soon.

To avoid war, couples must understand without prejudice the basic elements that make them a couple in the first place. These elements are behaviors towards one another they must guaranty at all costs: 1) provide emotional support and safety; 2) provide sex. That’s it. More than this is selfishness.

Number 1) is prone to highly abused interpretations, so it’s best to make this clear: provision of emotional support and safety can never be made at the expense of one’s identity, character, personality, vocation and all other components that are unique to an individual. People are who they are and that must be respected. Demanding change or improvement is extreme violence.

There’s one fundamental rule in all kinds of human relations among adults: each person must do it’s best to become autonomous and independent, that is, to avoid being a burden. Most couples take the provision of emotional support and safety as the enthusiastic offer of services and availability. Worse, they take offense when the companion makes no offers or refuses to provide such services. This is pure manipulation, venom, psychological war with chemical weapons.

A couple is a consensual connection between two distinct individuals who commit to make each other happy. This happiness relies on emotional support and safety and on sex. Unrealistic and selfish demands make happiness impossible. This goal has no room for illusions about rights and duties. It’s up to each individual to evaluate realistically how much satisfaction can enjoy and provide when taking this commitment, instead of blaming the companion for what is missing.