Before surgery three years ago, I was never serious. I was a playboy, though my academic performance was good. During my recovery period, I turned to the internet because the doctors didn’t allow me much activity.

I played in online tournaments in a game that has groups according to nations, known as rooms or lobbies. I played in my national room and got a good reputation. I was offered the job as moderator of the room to control mischief, block people who weren’t certified to play, and monitor negative interactions between boys and girls.

During this time I found a girl from another country in the lobby. That one click, for an invitation to the game, changed my life. We talked. I gave her a song by Anathema, and she said she listens to Anathema. I was literally shocked nobody in that room but us listened to them.

From there we found a mutual friend in another country who happens to be her brother’s best friend. It was a miracle.

We talked day and night and became famous in the room for our relationship, just as I was famous as the leader of my team in tournaments. She was 17 and I was 20. We facebooked and connected on Skype. I was never a boy who loved gadgets, but I bought a cell phone so we could message with WhatsApp.

For 11 months I was the happiest boy on earth.

That changed when I realized I never had a dream of my own. It was her love that persuaded me to aim toward the highest. And I did. Somehow I grew a wild thirst for knowledge. I have a dream now to be the greatest architect in the world.

But within six months, I realized her mind is empty. For four months I kept telling her to read a book to her own taste and have something on her mind. She said she was doing it, but she never told me what book. Then two months later she started lying about it.

I thought of the children we would have. Will they think their mother is an embarrassment? Would she suffer depression as a result? I did not want her to be unhappy, so I ended our relationship before it grew too mature.

One day I found her flirting with a boy, and that gave me the final impression. I left her with one message. “Grow knowledge.”

Now I feel that I’ve done wrong. Was it right to leave her? I can’t understand whose fault it is.

~ Ajay  

Ajay, she was only 17. She made you want to better yourself and she helped you grow. But she didn’t grow with you or in the same direction. Maybe it is for someone else to help her grow.

When you try to force another person to change, they will do one of two things. They won’t change, or they will lie about changing. Only we can recognize our own potential, because we are the only one in power to make that potential occur.

Other people can recognize our potential, but they have no power to make us realize that potential. When a man sees a woman’s potential, he sees only a reflection of himself. Until she sees it, it is nothing. If I recognize potential in you, what am I seeing? What I desire for myself in you.

Just as a woman who wants children might think “he would be a good dad,” a woman who doesn’t want kids would not experience that quality in the man. Both women would be putting on him what they want. Recognizing potential often has a cunning quality. It says, “I wish this person to have this benefit for me.”

You made a suggestion and it ignited nothing. That’s fine. But what you felt from her ignited a blaze. Build on it.

~ Wayne & Tamara 

 Column for the week of July 8, 2013

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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