Member Rara Avis
I'm guessing my answer would depend on the relationship, Christopher. If you think she would make a decision about having a baby without first consulting you, then I guess she can't complain too much.
I think a relationship, by definition, is an assumption of responsibility. If all that's being shared is a bed, that's not a relationship, it's convenience. Does she need to know? Or does she just deserve to have her input considered before a decision is reached?
In truth, every decision we make impacts other people, and obviously the world can't be consulted at each turn of life's path. I wouldn't necessarily recommend telling your boss you're "thinking" of looking for a new job, for example. But whether we share our thoughts or not, with a boss or a significant other, I do believe we are always responsible for them. Tell the girlfriend and accept the consequences. Or don't tell her, and accept THOSE consequences.
And, yes, Sharon, I think controlling thoughts and emotions requires discipline. No, scratch that. It requires consistent practice, and THAT requires discipline. And like most things in life, it's rarely perfect.
Most of us would accept that our actions are a reflections of our thoughts and emotions. But I think it works the other way around, too. That's why, as a kid, acting sick would eventually make me feel sick. I'm not crazy about your example, so let's switch it 180 degrees around. Let's say there was someone you strongly disliked, and you consistently treated them like they were dirt. Do you think that would do anything other than reinforce your feelings? What if you treated them as if they were your best friend? Not an act, but a sincere effort? That's an extreme example of what I'm talking about, but I don't believe it's an unrealistic one.
Act confident, and you'll eventually feel confident. Act scared and furtive, and you'll eventually (usually quickly!) feel fear. Act angry, and you'll eventually put yourself into a berserker rage. Of course, I'm not talking about fooling other people. I'm talking about fooling yourself.
I believe we have a lot more control over our thoughts and emotions than most people realize. I'm not even talking about esoteric techniques like bio-feedback or meditation, either (though I think those and other esoteric techniques offer real value). I think most of us ALREADY exercise that control, albeit unconsciously in most cases and certainly imperfectly. Writers, in fact, do it better than most, though method actors have it down to a true art form. After all, before we can influence the feelings of others, don't we first have to influence our own?
Consider this: If we don't have at least a large degree of control over our thoughts and our emotions, is there really anything we can call free will?