RSS

Category Archives: Relationships

After the Break Up…

image

It’s never easy to understand why a woman chooses to remain in an abusive relationship.  Why a woman chooses to keep enduring, hoping that he will change and even if he doesn’t,  choosing to keep managing the situation. 

It’s never an easy decision to make.  Choosing to walk away from a relationship especially one that has lasted long enough to produce children.  It’s never easy to say I’m done. I can’t take this anymore, when you have invested a decade or more of your life,  living with another human being.

As I have often argued, choosing to stay or to leave are legitimate personal decisions.  Because we are not God,  we cannot tell whether a relationship that seems to have wilted and dried can turn around and begin to blossom like fresh roses.

For those who choose to stay,  there are legitimate concerns.  For starters, breaking up is the easy part. Yes,  you know he was wrong for you. If you remain with him,  you’d probably be dead.  Why,  living with him has been not living.  All your friends support you move and have been there for you. Now that you are out, what next?

No one ever warned you how lonely the nights would get. How a pillow and duvet are no  replacement for a warm body.  Except of course you are ready to either jump into the next relationship that comes your way or you are willing to explore multiple one night stands.

No one ever warned you how bad you would feel when at the end of every event you attend,  when everyone begins to go home with their partners you would have to make your way home alone because it’s still a little awkward for you to be seen with another guy so soon.

No one ever told you how heartbroken you would be when you scroll through your phone looking for that one person to talk to but you have to consider if it will be too late to call because they just may be with their own partner.

No one ever told you how hard it will be,  when your income has dwindled so and you still get to take care of your kids and you. And before you make each purchase you have to look at the bigger budgetary picture.

No one ever told you how heartrending it would be when you hear a song you both used to love and all you feel like doing is running back into his arms but you end up crying into your pillow instead.

No one ever told you that there is a possibility that you will never have a happily ever after. That you may end up alone,  never ever getting someone else to call your own. Because single ladies are still having a hard time and here you are burdened with four children.

No one ever told you how much you will miss getting sex on demand.  That you just may end up with just your fingers,  hairbrush,  dildo or some other sex toy.

No one ever prepared you for the difficulties of single parenthood.  That there would be times when you would wish you never had to be the only one in charge of the kids and their unending drama.

No one ever told you how out of place you would feel  being single again having to answer all the awkward questions,  not knowing what you will say that will be turned to gossip.

No one ever told you how awkward it would be becoming so self conscious in the midst of your married friends who suddenly seem to be keeping their husband’s away from you because you look like a cougar on a prowl.

No one ever told you of the awkwardness of being forced to date younger guys and all the drama that comes with it because the alternative just might be dating a widower or a fellow divorcee.

No one ever told you,  because they loved you so much so that all they wanted was to secure your life and then wish everything positive upon your life.

And you can survive.  You can move on.  Break the clutches of loneliness and depression,  one day at a time. Accepting that it is okay to cry when you are overwhelmed. 
Accepting that it is okay to ask for help.  Accepting that it is okay to make another mistake in love, knowing that it will hurt each time but loving all the same. 
Accepting that you can never go it alone, you need to make friends even if they are going to end up leaving.

Breaking up may be the easy part, but it is the toughest of the easiest parts. The rest depends on your positive attitude. Choosing to count your blessings each day. Reminding yourself that being alive is better than sex on demand that feeling alive is better than not finding another man.

And I know I have said this before but I’m going to say it again.  It’s okay to cry. And who says you can’t have a happily ever after alone…did you ever read that the Fairy God Mother had a Fairy God Father?  But just watch her dishing out happily ever afters with joy. Inspired yet?

N.B: This piece is primarily written with those who left an abusive marriage in mind.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2016 in Relationships

 

Tags: , , , ,

When it is time to walk away

It was Craig David who sang ”
I’m walking away from the troubles in my life. I’m walking away oh to find a better day”. A pointer to the fact that you don’t always have to sit tight and endure something that could kill you in other to prove that you can.

This post is not directed at people who are ready to run at the first signs of trouble. Those are a different specie and need a prayer of stay-at-itiveness, rather it is for those who have been on the hustle of remaining and want to continue staying but are worried if it is all a waste.

First off, let me say that as long as man cannot tell the future (and I use the term man loosely in this instance to also mean woman) there is no way of telling for a certainty whether ones endurance will yield the desired results. All we have sometimes is our survival instincts and our threshold.

Our survival instincts tell us when something threatening is headed our way. For some, this instinct is very sharp, they can smell trouble from way off. Others allow their instincts to go blunt. For instance, a lady -desperate to get into a relationship that will lead to marriage- meets a guy and without conducting ‘due dilligence’ gets into a relationship with him. He proposes, fire alarms go off in her head – mostly negative- but she chooses to believe this is for real. The first couple of months after the realities of marriage hit her, she finds she should have listened to her survival instincts.

While dating, love and relationships is a sweet place to be in, we should never forget how sour everything can quickly turn if we are there with the ‘wrong’ person. For this reason, we should never ignore any nagging feelings we are having about someone we are involved with. Even if the person is sincere, our feelings can get in the way of a great relationship.

If we ignore our survival instincts and do get into a relationship, all we will be left with is our threshold. Let me explain something about the word ‘threshold’. If you notice on the floor of doors there is “a piece of wood, metal, or stone that forms the bottom of a door and that you walk over as you enter a room or building”, that piece is the threshold. It is that point that if you cross it signals that you have entered the building as opposed to standing outside.

Each of us has a threshold. That point that if we cross it, or are pressured into crossing, we will be going beyond our limits. We need to know our limits as should our partner lest we commit physical or psychology murder.

My stand is that whatever pushes you beyond your threshold is not worth fighting for. Walk away.

A man or woman who physically or psychologically abuses others, always using emotional blackmail to try to get them to do their bidding is not worth fighting for.

A man or woman who is a serial cheat, no matter how often they return to cry and beg for forgiveness will always cheat, they are not worth fighting for.

A man or woman who refuses to pitch in, to contribute their own quota in the building of the relationship either emotionally or financially, is not worth fighting for.

A man or woman who has lied to you so often that when s/he say ‘good morning’ you have to check your time to confirm has lost your trust and is not worth fighting for

What you choose to do when you discover you have reached your threshold is your business and I won’t even judge anyone who stays. But, for those who choose to leave do not let the world make you feel you are the one who is disloyal. Anyone who pushes you to your threshold is not worth the fight…Walk away while you still can.

P.s. the second installment of this piece will deal with women who choose to walk away and how they can cope.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: , , ,

When Love Goes Sour

At the onset of every relationship, both parties expect a happily ever after. You love and cherish this person that’s why you got into a relationship with them to start with.

But let’s accept this one reality: no matter how much you try there are some relationships that just won’t work. Even the scriptures say there cannot be a fellowship between light and darkness. Sometimes both parties are simply incompatibility. Incompatibility is a big word but its importance in relationships is even bigger. (Okay I read that somewhere)

These days some use the even more complex term irreconcilable differences to explain incompatibility. Simply put it is when you can’t find the basis of a continued relationship. Let me share some scenarios:

This guy wants to marry. He is scared of all the “wild  and free” Lagos girls so he goes to the village. After marriage he discovers that the girl wants sex everyday. He can’t cope.

A lady gets married and after marriage she discovers the man is impotent.

A guy who believes in saving for the rainy day ends up with a woman who is a spend rift.

A woman who loves her partner discovers that he loves his mother more and would revert to her in making all major decisions.

Either of the partners discovers their mate is a serial cheater.

All of the scenarios create compatibility issues. They become irreconcilable differences when both partners see no way of working around their issues. So what should the couple do if they can’t stay together?

Truth be told there are genuine reasons to end a relationship. The bible lists sexual immorality but also mentions that physical, emotional, psychological abuse are grounds for a separation.

When a marriage hits troubled waters, the ideal would be to keep working at the relationship until it is obvious it won’t work.

When marriage has not been contracted, depending on the level of the relationship, both parties should still work at resolving their differences. However, it is far better to end a courtship than to end a marriage.

When a relationship ends, it should be possible in an ideal situation for the two parties to sit together and like rational adults decide to go their separate ways in peace. It should be possible to separate on a friendly note. It would take a great deal of maturity on both sides to accomplish this.

But who am I kidding? Maturity in marriage is more if the exception than the rule. Which is why these days we have messy divorces and break ups with each partner trying to win against the other in the court of public opinion.

It is really sad when two people who at one time professed undying love for each other, begin to tear each other apart after a break up. It is even worse when such people begin to reveal each others confidential talk in a bid to get back at the other.

Just as in some relationships it is one party that feels hurt the more when things go south, you may find that one party is the one bad mouthing the other. Should the other party then join in and create more quagmire? Certainly not. They should simply be firmly resolved to be the bigger person. This of course is not easy, no one would hear bad things being said about them without feeling the need to retaliate. But it still is the better thing to do.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the one that does the most talking that feels the most hurt. You never know what people refuse to talk about. So people in general should be careful about commenting or taking sides when a relationship goes sour.

If your relationship ends, it is better, smarter to have your say in your heart, cut your losses and move on with your life.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: , ,

The Verb Called Love.

For the last couple of days I have contemplated on life, love and relationships. What makes two people who vowed to love and to cherish till death do them part suddenly give up and walk away from each other?

I’m a sucker for love. Seeing two people pledge allegiance for each other must generate in me a feeling similar to catching that second when the sun sets. It is simply beautiful. It is therefore heartbreaking to watch love wither and die.

I have heard people say before now that love is a verb. But I never gave much thought to it until recently. Saying to someone “I love you” does not necessarily mean that you do. Like faith, love is proved by works. These works must be visible to the object of your affection. They should be able to clearly state that they are loved. As in the case of a parent-child relationship, each partner should say: I know s/he loves me because… And then be able to give concrete and tangible proof of such love.

This love moves the two people to stay together, each seeking the interest of the other. What does it mean to look for ones interest and why is love like that?

Looking for ones own interests means being selfish. It means the person spends all the time in the world of “I”. When one says:  I don’t like the fact that you spend too much time in the bath. The focus is on self.

Not looking for ones own interest simply means that one does not bother about what one wants but what the other wants. While in the bathroom, ones thought will be, “let me hurry and come out because she gets so cranky when I spend so much time in the bath” while she thinks “he enjoys spending a lot of time in the bath, I better read a book so I won’t notice all the time he has to take”.

Remember, when s/he said yes, it was because they saw something in you and fell in love with it. It is your duty to keep that something on and growing and getting better so that they don’t lose interest. It is called a relationship because each must have something to relate with.

Yet, we are imperfect and we end up being selfish or forgetting our duty of keeping the relationship. Love dies. Then what? I am a strong advocate for making love work again. If at all it is possible, love deserves a second and third chance.

But here is the thing: do not confuse love for pity. Especially in a situation whereby one of the parties is more interested in making things work out. It is always better, safer to understand what feelings motivates a reconciliation lest it becomes a case of a dog returning to its vomit and the two parties will be left miserable.

Far better than getting back together is never getting separated in the first place. Someone sang: If you love me, show it. Love is a verb, never put your partner in a situation where they have to guess whether you love them at all. The answer to the question: Does s/he love you, should be an unequivocal without any form of hesitation “yes”.

It will be a good idea to check in from time to time to be sure one has not stopped one’s partner from remaining in love. When ones partner falls out of love, one has to take responsibility and make love return except the basis for the relationship was not mutual love and commitment in the first place.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: , ,

“Lagos Marriage” and the Importance of Background Checks.

My mum used to talk about a kind of relationship which she tagged “Lagos Marriage”. By her definition, it means meeting a guy or a lady in Lagos – which is far from our village in Abia state – falling in love and marrying them without bothering about the type of family the person comes from. It is premised around the belief that the man and the woman are the ones getting married and so it does not matter whether his family or her family approve or not. After all, at the end of the day, it is the man and the woman that will get to stay together.

I guess what my mother was trying to explain in her own way is the modern concept of marriage and the nuclear family arrangement that most ‘enlightened’ people subscribe to. You can meet a guy, get pregnant for him and you both begin to live together before he decides whether he wants to introduce you to his parents or not. Conversely, he introduces you but you really should not be bothered if he is the only one that appears to ‘have a head’ in the family. It doesn’t matter if every other member of his family dropped out of school, or are drunkards, wife beaters or any other vice, as long as he is an angel.

Of course, back in the day when parents chose wives for their sons and husbands for their daughters, it was imperative that a background check be run by both families before they agree to the union. Though some of these checks bordered on the eccentric and mundane, I believe that it is very important that such a check be run before any marriage is contracted.

In fact, I am a believer in parents playing an important role in selecting who their children will end up with. Yes, I am aware some parents can go overboard with this, but it really is not my fault that you end up having a parent who cannot guide you, so you shouldn’t use your reality to judge mine. If I am blessed with parents who have wisdom and foresight, I see no reason why I should not allow their wisdom guide me where I am inexperienced.

No one really prays for a troubled marriage. But the fact remains that in marriage there are troubles. Jesus’s apostle Paul even said that those who marry are inviting tribulation to their flesh. When things go awfully wrong, there should be someone in the family that either the husband or wife can turn to, as a last resort to help in resolving their issues.

As a matter of fact, if you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to have anything good to say about any member of his family or who generally does not have anyone else he or she can talk to when you are not accessible, it is a sign of trouble. I will advise that you run. No degree of modernism should make it acceptable for you to get into a relationship with someone who does not have someone on earth whom they respect, fear or will listen to. Doing a proper background check in a family you wish to marry into will reveal if there is someone in that family that the person has regards for.

While it is still okay if the person’s authority figure is not within his immediate family, the fact remains that it is imperative that such an authority figure should exist. And no, I do not buy the idea of “the only person I fear is God”. Right here on earth anyone who wants to go into marriage should understand that he or she has to be subject to some human authority. It shows love for your mate for you to point out to them who these individuals are so that if anything ever happens that requires that an outsider steps in to resolve your issues they know who to turn to.

So, what do you think? Are background checks important in a relationship?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: ,

Should We Still Be Friends?

So I have been thinking of this scenario. Allow me to paint this picture in a few words. Perhaps you will see that it is a scenario you have been in, or experienced.

So you have this friend and you have been good friends. Let’s label this friend A. Then your friend has this other friend and they too have been close. Let’s label this friend B. Now ordinarily, your friends friend should be your friend, right? Now, let’s throw in the fact that friend B has done something that hurt you so deeply such that even though you have forgiven him, you still need time to heal. Would you like friend A to continue being friends with B while remaining your friend?

The issue of divided loyalty is as old as man. Adam and Eve were God’s friends until they listened to the devil. It was not possible for them to be God’s friend and the devils friend at the same time.Later Jesus would say, you cannot be a slave of God and of riches. So really, at what point would loyalty force you to cut off friendship with someone who is not a friend of your friend?

Granted, no one has a right to legislate for another who he or she should be friends with. Asking your friend to stop being friends with another simply because you both had a falling out can be seen by some as petty. Yet, there are instances where common sense dictates that you should limit your association with someone who is not friends with your friend. It really is a question of who is more important to you. I’m always talking about scale of preference. It comes down to: who is more of my friend among this two?

Some time ago, I had an altercation with someone on Twitter, before I could say Jack Robinson, three of this person’s friends had unfollowed me. At first, I felt bad about it. But upon giving it thought I realised that they did what they had to do. Obviously, a friendship with me wasn’t so high on their priority scale. So they took the side that most favoured them. They were loyal to their own person.

You may think that they did an immature thing. You may be one of those who think you can be friends with two people who do not see eye to eye because you are the bigger person. But really, I do not think it is possible for you to be very close to two people who are constantly antagonising each other. At some point, they will both wear you out. The question: whose side are you on will be a constant refrain.

But, what if you are in love with one of the parties. Let’s say your spouse has an issue with someone who let’s say has insulted them and refuses to apologise. If you and your spouse are really one can you conscientiously continue to fraternise with this person? What if for whatever reason your spouse tells you he/she does not like your association with someone, whose side will you take?

Of course, every situation is different and we cannot rule out the fact that the demands of a spouse may seem unreasonable. But, when you really think of it, does it not come down to the question: who is higher in your scale of preference?

Let’s throw in social media at this point. Should you continue to tweet at, retweet, follow or share with someone who through his actions has shown he has no regards for your mate. Should this be seen as maturity?

Remember, love does not look for its own interests but seeks the interests of the other. Of course, you can say it cuts both ways. You may say, if I am seeking your interests I should be able to realise that remaining friends with this person is important to you. But again, realise that if I have asked that you stop being friends with someone, it is actually in your interest. Would you be happy if I kept the feelings to myself and allowed it to fester until it leads to bigger problems?

So, should you really remain friends with someone if it is upsetting to your mate? Please share your views with me:)

 
22 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: ,

Cheers to a Happily Ever After

In the movies and romance novels, after the boy and girl meet and fall in love they always live happily ever after. Both parties seem to devote all their energy into finding each other, crossing hurdles put before them by family and even friends in other to end up together.
To be candid, in real life, two people who are in love may have to overcome a lot of obstacles to be together. Sometimes, the parents may say they do not want the marriage to happen. It may be because they see something that you don’t, but at other times their reasons may be selfish. In the later instance, you may choose to stand your ground and hold on to your decision as to who you want to end up with.

Let us rewind a little to a point that some people even find more difficult to manage: Finding a mate. Well, unlike In the movies, finding a mate may pose a level of difficulty for most people. People who decide to be selective may have at the back of their mind the type of person they want to spend the rest of their life with in terms of physical characteristics and temparament. If one is fortunate, one will find exactly what one is looking for, at other times, one may discover that ones requirements are simply impossible to find and one will be forced to settle.

So after the congratulations and calls of happy married life have faded and the gifts have all been opened and put away, there is the big matter of living daily with someone who you believe you have come to know during the months and years of courtship but who you may soon discover, you do not really know.

Marriage is no child’s play and people who are committed to staying in their marriage often discover that marriage is a whole lot harder than courtship. If you think you went through hell during courtship, expect hell and high water in marriage. If there is a flaw which you felt was just a little thing during courtship, expect that it will grow four fold in marriage. I will always tell my unmarried friends, if there is something he or she is doing now which you really cannot stand but you are trying to manage, never make the mistake of believing it will disappear after marriage. People you think you know change after marriage. It is a fact of life. There is something about waking up everyday with someone that amplifies little flaws.

Another honest truth: it is near impossible to find out everything about your partner during courtship. It is very possible to strive to be the perfect partner during courtship, but it may not be possible to continue with this routine after marriage.

Let’s take this as an example: Let’s say a guy is dating a lady who likes to keep everywhere tidy. Each time she visits, he does his best to make the house presentable. She may come in sometimes and meet the house in a not perfect condition, but she writes it off as one of those things. How will she feel when after marriage she discovers he has no interests in keeping the house clean at all, will not pick up after himself and will leave his plates unwashed after eating?

And what if before marriage, this lady was slim, just the right size the man wants and he takes delight in showing her off. Then after she has one kid, she gets so bloated and loses that shape that keeps the man happy when he sees her. What is more, she doesnt even seem to care how the man feels about it!

You will discover in marriage how little grievances, when allowed to fester, can lead to a total breakdown of the relationship. Let me share an illustration which, I believe, I first read in Covey’s ‘Seven Habits’. Marriage can be compared to opening a bank account. Of course, there is a minimum balance to opening an account. Even if the account is opened at zero, you are expected to grow it. So each day, you make a deposit or a withdrawal. To keep that account (read marriage) going you must strive to always keep the credit side higher than the debit side. If your account begins to bleed then disaster is in the air. So you must work at putting something, on a daily basis, into your marriage that will.contribute to the growth of the love you both share.

Let me share also an advice I got from a couple who have lived together for over four decades. Do not sleep anyday without resolving any differences, no matter how minor they may be, which you had during the day and then pray together before you sleep. It will take the highest form of hypocrisy to hold hands and pray with someone who you hold some thing against.

I told a married friend of mine recently, they just had a baby actually, how they must never allow the coming of children to stop them from having regular ‘us’ times. I always suggest a weekly date. It could be spent taking a walk, watching a movie, having dinner or lunch together or sharing in some other fun activity as long as it is done together. Couples who do things together, stay together.

As my friend Efe wisely put it, beware of being husband (or wife) zoned. You know that routine drudgery of being or doing what society expects of you. The intimacy in marriage is not just about having sex but being friends, talkmates, sharing, caring, being one in thought and in purpose and doing everything in your power to ensure that no chasm is created between you.

And here’s the thing: if your happily ever after isn’t going as you envisaged, you can do something about it. After all even a dormant account can be reactivated.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Relationships

 

Tags: ,