PQ 16.2 — Do I take responsibility for my choices, or do I expect my partners to make them for me?

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PQ 16.2 — Do I take responsibility for my choices, or do I expect my partners to make them for me?

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What a question. That was my reflexive reaction to reading it: What a question.

I showed this one to a friend of mine, and their verbatim reaction was also “What a question.”

Granted, the writers of More than Two never intended for me to do this series in which each chapter end question became an individual essay prompt in isolation. The authors’ purpose for the chapter end questions is stated as the following when they’re first introduced in Chapter 1:

We find it’s not very useful to tell you what you should do. It’s far more effective to pose questions when you’re contemplating a course of action. We will do this throughout the book.

You’ll likely note that it doesn’t say anything about writing responses to them. Or posting them for other people to read. That is something I  decided to do because I found them very thought-provoking.

I’ve loved some of the questions as a jumping-off point. Other ones have been far more difficult to respond to. Sometimes because they’ve forced me to engage with vulnerabilities that aren’t always easy. And sometimes because they just come off to me as really weird when I’m considering them on their own.

This is one of those cases where it’s the latter. Where the question just kind of hits me funny when taken by itself.

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I think one issue with the way the question is worded is that there’s an underlying assumption I’m taking issue with: That if you allow partners to make decisions for you, you’re doing that in order to offload personal responsibility. Sure, that could be the case. But there are other reasons you could be doing that (for example, proxy control).

And I also feel like the question doesn’t acknowledge the middle ground between two possible decision-making responses:

  • “I surrender to my partners’ decision-making for me and my life.”
  • “Fuck y’all. My way or the highway.”

These aren’t the only choices. There’s collaboration. There’s shared responsibility for joint decision-making.

I mean, I suppose one could argue that taking responsibility for one’s own choices actually falls under the umbrella of this middle ground and NOT the unilateral self-focused decision-making approach that it hit me with when I read the question. I can see that case.

But holy cow. My knee jerk reaction to the exact wording was “what a question.”

The way it stands, I also suspect the person who actually needs this question as a wake-up call wouldn’t hear it as something that applies to them. Or realize that they’re, in fact, doing the latter.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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