Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Stealing" boyfriends/girlfriends?

This is another topic that makes me hesitate before writing about it. After all, I feel that most people (perhaps Chinese in particular?) don't agree with what I think. Despite the criticism I may receive, I still want to say something on it.

This is the statement I want to argue about: "Stealing" another person's lover (lover=boyfriend/girlfriend in the following) is a very bad act that everyone should condemn.

How can people "steal" when you don't own?

Why do people hate it? Note the use of the word "steal". Stealing, of course, is not only unethical but also illegal. That's pretty obvious. However, for something to be stolen from you, you first have to own it. So, the phrase "stealing her boyfriend" implies that she owns her boyfriend. That brings us to the question: Do we own our lovers?

Slavery is long gone and we surely cannot own a person legally nowadays. So, when people talk about "stealing lover", it's in the emotional sense. Is it really owning? Can I say I emotionally own your Lamborghini so if you drive it you're stealing it from me?

It's okay for your lover to leave you as you do that too

Now, you say

"Even we just own our lovers emotionally, you're still stealing them; stealing is stealing!"

Alright, let's look at the issue from another perspective. Now, your lover is leaving you for someone, which, effectively, is the same as someone stealing your lover. How does that sound now?

"In that case, it's my lover's fault. S/he shouldn't be leaving me for someone, that's betrayal!"

So, you're saying that once a person is in a relationship, s/he cannot not leave his/her lover?

"Yes!"

Even s/he doesn't like you anymore and sees someone who's a better match?

"Yes!!"

Have you ever dumped anyone before?

"Ehhhh.... I didn't "dump" anyone, it was just that we found that we weren't that compatible to each other..."

So, different from what you just said, it's okay for you to leave your lover, right?

"Hmmm... Well, s/he can leave me, but not for someone else!"

I see. So, as long as your lover is leaving you for any other reason (even because you're ugly), that's a legitimate reason.



S/he is leaving for someone, physical or virtual, anyways

Think about it guys. When a person leaves his/her lover, s/he most likely is not planning to become a monk/nun. Later on s/he is going to meet someone and start a new relationship. And, assuming that we're sensible, we would anticipate a better new lover compared to the old one (looks better, smarter, more caring, more compatible with your living style, you name it, I can't define your meaning of "better"). In other words, you expect that you will become a happier person with the new lover. Whether you can find one is another question.

The point is, even though there isn't any physical "stealer" when s/he leaves you, s/he is leaving you for a virtual better lover, unless s/he plans to be alone for the rest of his/her life (if s/he really would like to be alone forever than being with you, there's something quite wrong about you :P).

If it's okay for your lover to leave you for a virtual lover, why is it not okay for him/her to leave you for a physical person? In both cases, s/he is looking for something better than you.

The vague definition of "stealing"

Also, the term "stealing" is difficult to define and people interpret it in different ways.
  • Your boyfriend leaves you and be with another girl the next day and you call it "stealing"
  • Your boyfriend leaves you and be with another girl after six months and you say "it's good for him to meet someone he likes to be with, I wish him all the best" because you have a new boyfriend anyways
The key issue isn't really about how long he waits before being with another girl. The key issue is whether you're happy about it. If your boyfriend is some kind of jerk and you think about how to get rid of him all day long and some dumb girl comes by and "steals" him, wow, you say "You guys are such a lovely couple! Wish you guys good luck!". If you really love your boyfriend and still think about him three years after you broke up with him, you'll still call it "stealing" when he sees a girl who doesn't even know you.

Notice how subjective the idea of "stealing" is? When is it really "stealing"?

Marriage comes to rescue

"If my lover may leave me someday, how am I supposed to feel secure around him/her?"

To answer that question, the keyword is marriage. Marriage certainly means different things to different people. You should have heard of some kind of marriage vows before like the following one:
I, (name) take thee, (name) to be my wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish, 'til death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; thereto I pledge my love
All these marriage vows carry a main message:

No matter what happens, I'm not going to leave you.

The groom or bride may say the vow without paying much attention to it. Many couples divorce each other every year. People may think marriage doesn't mean much as long as they're together.

But that doesn't change the fundamental meaning of marriage.

If you pay some attention to the vow, you should notice that it is extremely heavy and can easily be the the biggest promise you will ever make in your life.

When a husband leaves his wife (or vice versa), s/he is breaking a promise that was made in the face of God. That, certainly, is unethical. But that's not the case for boyfriend/girlfriend.
If a boyfriend/girlfriend is bound to the same moral ground a husband/wife does, what does marriage mean then?

After all, it's your pride

I always think that loving someone means that you want him/her to be happy, unselfishly. If your lover meets someone whom s/he will be more happily be with, why don't you let him/her go?

If you resent your lover for leaving you, it's not because you love him/her so much, it's because you love your pride more than him/her

Let's say your son tells you that he'll be happier and have a brighter future of career if he moves to another state, will you let him go? I bet you will, since you want him to be happy. When you truly love someone, you just feel happy when s/he feels happy. It's that simple.

If you are angry, that's because you can't accept the fact that someone is "better" than you and it hurts your pride, although you know that "better" isn't really a good term to use when you talk about finding a soul mate. You just know that someone is "the one".

Last but not least...


Just another thought: maybe you should thank the person who "steals" you boyfriend/girlfriend. You certainly don't want your lover to be stolen after you marry him/her; that's call a divorce.

In a sense, the stealer gives you a chance to look for someone whom you really can share the rest of your life with, isn't it? :P