A couple of years ago, while I was in school, I had this couple that were my neighbors. They were dating and hoping to get married, the lady was in her final year in medical school while the guy was doing his housemanship, the equivalent of post graduation internship for doctors.
They were the envy of the neighborhood, they were always together, did everything together, sometimes when coming home, I could, from the balcony of where I lived, see the guy chase the laughing lady inside the compound, finally catch her, carry her up, they kiss and he carries her indoors both laughing like little kids.
I could hear them singing sometimes for no reason and when one misses a note and ruins the tune, they’ll both laugh so loud that everyone in the neighborhood could hear them.
The lady was pretty, tall and light skinned. She had a nickname back then which she got for how radiant and pretty she was. The guy was not bad looking at all. Dark skin, manly handsome. He was a medical doctor and she was a medical student. He was already working and she was in her finals. They were just perfect.
One Saturday, someone called the young man and asked how he could be having his traditional wedding without informing anyone. He was with us in the neighborhood, he had a pair of shorts and a singlet on. It turned out that his girlfriend who was with him as at the Wednesday of the same week, who travelled home to “pick up stuff”, was actually gone for her traditional wedding. She never came back. She sent someone to come and collect her stuff from the guys house.
They weren’t fighting, at least not to anyones knowledge, no one has ever heard any form of altercation, no other sound besides laughter and music came out of that apartment.
The guy was as confused as everyone else, said they were not having any problems whatsoever, claimed he had no idea and could have sworn for her that she could never have done this.
The funny thing was, the girls friends didn’t know either, or at least swore they didn’t. None of their mutual friends, which they had a lot of, because they lived together, attended the wedding, none was aware. She alone knew what was going on all along, planned it and executed it, with some class I must add and fooled everyone.
So what went wrong and at what point?
Another young man who I followed his story, was in a relationship with this girl for a little over 4 years and they have been engaged to marry for a little over a year.
Through out the course of their relationship, the girl only complained that he could improve and get softer and more romantic. He was a little on the strict side and sometimes could be careless with words. On the other hand, his love for her wasn’t in doubt, he was caring, faithful and would die for her.
He on the other hand would only complain that she was a little stubborn, found it difficult taking advise, which would eventually blow up and his extreme strict side would show up and her detest for harshness crops up. She loved him too, she would support him in all that he does. Even though there had been times when he questioned her loyalty, she always came around to prove that she loved him above all other.
She was extremely beautiful, slim and had very kind eyes. She had this innocent appearance that endeared her to the him. He again, was not bad looking, he had a charming sense of humor, witty, had a kind heart. Despite her complaints, could be quite the romantic when he sets his mind to it. He had been faithful to her all through their relationship.
Now the second scenario looks a little more real than the first. Typical of most relationships. For every time they had such problems, they resolve to work harder on their relationship, try to fix things, even though preceded by an argument, but they always found a way to bounce back.
They understood each other like they were siblings. You wouldn’t want to hang out with these two, its like they were so close that they had their own language. They loved the same things, shared the same dreams, loved and accepted by each others families. They were apparently a happy couple. Their friends envied their relationship. They had lived together for the better part of their 4 year relationship, except for the job offers which separated them recently.
They were engaged for over a year and about 5 months to their fixed wedding date, she goes cold on him, like stone cold.
He calls to ask and she calls of the engagement over the phone, returns the engagement ring and starts a new relationship with another guy, all within a space of two weeks. She didn’t even give a chance for whatever the problem may have been to be discussed, let alone solved, that is, assuming there was a problem.
So what went wrong?
Lets try to see if we can make any sense of this.
We should understand that being in love is not always the same as being happy. We could be in love and still wont be happy and we could be happy without being in love.
We should also understand that there is a difference between two people who by virtue of proximity to each other have gotten so used to and fond of each other, which is further strengthened by the bond of physical and sexual relationships, two people who have been apart, longing to see each other, holding on to past memories, but not open to the fact that they may have grown apart and have become two different people and their physical absence aids absence of problems which they misinterpret to be a perfect relationship until they eventually see each other again, and two people who are actually in love.
A lot of times, one or both partners, in most cases, the female, in a seemingly happy relationship, despite the smiles and the laughter and the music and the sex and the whatever it is that we see that makes us think that she is having an awesome time, may actually not be happy, may be deeply sad and sometimes even depressed.
In some cases, it may be difficult to see, especially when the parties are in the relationship for fear of losing each other, rather than for true love, communication and understanding. The fear of losing each other is a very unhealthy reason for being in a relationship, because when that fear is there, we tend to bring up compensatory mechanisms with the hope of fixing the problem. Such compensatory mechanisms could be extreme emotions, overt romance, always smiling, even in the midst of very serious problems, hoping that time would sort the issues out and they’ll disappear.
Unfortunately, sometimes it does not happen that way, sometimes, those negative emotions build up so much that a part of their emotions explode and the extreme opposite of whatever they used to feel suddenly crops up and they become an entirely different human being and take extreme decisions which are detrimental to the relationship. Once those decisions have been taken, there is no going back. A new problem arises, how to escape from the present relationship.
Contrary to relationships where incompatibility is the issue, the constant fights and quarrels do not precede the break up. Here, incompatibility isn’t the issue, the issue is saturation with bottled up negative emotions. So the typical pre break up issues may not come up. The relationship proceeds as if all were normal till the awaited golden opportunity comes up. Any problem would serve at that point.
The second party is busy trying to solve the index problem while the fed up party is busy frustrating every attempt at a resolution. Why? Because the index problem is not the problem. Sometimes, by the time the golden opportunity problem comes up, the fed up party would have set up their contingency plan, started working on it and in more cases than not, infidelity is almost always present. In this case, we may chose not to call it infidelity because in their mind, the relationship is already over. A new one may or may not be on and what they are doing at that point is called the “Monkey bar”, where they swing to another relationship while not entirely letting go of the previous one yet.
In those few circumstances when the golden opportunity problem does not come up and the contingency plan is about to expire, then they make like the lady in our first story, they just up and leave, without reason, without explanation and without apologies.
These problems of pushing someone to the negative point of no return can be averted by communication. Communication is the single most important factor that holds a relationship together. It is on communication that trust is built, understanding is formed and love grows. When the communication channel is killed, the relationship falls apart inevitably. By communication, I mean, communication about the problems at hand and not closing that communication line till a compromise is reached and a solution is found.
Being sensitive to each others feelings is also a good way of preventing such quiet, yet extreme behaviors. Ask your partner how they are doing. Set out a time to discuss your relationship even in the absence of any apparent problems. Make them voice out any thing that may be bothering them, no matter how trivial, genuinely listen, show some love, show some care, don’t be judgmental, try to understand and try to sincerely work on the problem that is bothering your partner before it goes from a benign trivial issue to a malignant non resolvable problem.
Again, it should be understood that every relationship ends for a reason, sometimes to make you realize what you had and treat it better when and if you get back together. Sometimes its to make you understand yourself and make you a better person for your next relationship. Sometimes its simply because you were dating Satan.
Whichever your break up case might be, through the hurt, disappointment and pain, focus on the positive, sometimes if not most times, it might be a blessing in disguise.
The second part of this article would discuss practical and reasonable ways to get yourself to move on, if you have been a victim of such a relationship.
Have a blissful week.