She just wanted to be in a relationship, so she got into a relationship with a mjango she had known for a week. My jaw dropped , but I got it back up when it crossed my mind that that is not news especially in our times. Mind you, I too have almost been in the same spot but I must give it to her – One week is a record man!
It was in February 2019 when she was scrolling through whatsapp stories and stumbled upon a picture of a not so badly looking guy. Not so badly looking I say, because later on in her story she says that he was not her type physically and partly in terms of personality. But her loneliness was stronger than an extra tall dude and a face like the head of a nail. She was never sure she would love again after a series of ugly relationships. All of which she now believes she didn’t put enough effort to make them work. Now even if she did, she told herself that she needed to put extra, two or three bull elephants of effort to make her relationships work. She was determined. Saying that she cannot be the unluckiest girl in the world anymore.
When she looked around, starting with her girl friend who had posted the not so badly looking guy – they were all in relationships. Maybe all of them were not so admirable but at least they were something and they seemed happy. If the duration of dating is happiness, then her girl friend had five years of happiness in her bag already. Damn! She envied that like King Ahab on poor Nabboth’s land. She wanted five years of her own too. By force, by fire! She was lonely and desperate. She really wanted to feel loved.
Within the same week her girl friend hooked her up with, let’s call him Tony. The cloth of their hearts caught fire and they later met in a mall. She was anxious.
“I was nervous because of getting into a relationship with someone in a week. In a good way though.”Maybe even too anxious to dress up for it because she wore a t-shirt, a pair of jeans and canvas to a first date. Also because she wanted to be simple. Coincidentally, he had worn exactly the same. Even the colour of the t-shirt seemed like someone had leaked the dress code. As if the coincidents were not enough, they discovered that they shared the same birth dates. How sweet is that, you might ask. But maybe the sweetness began and didn’t see the next sunrise. Leave alone the fives years.
Back to her anxiety. She couldn’t even eat. Her tummy had too many butterflies and eating would be like hurling hailstones at them. And that’s not nice because butterflies are beautiful. They sweetly sneaked stares into each other’s s eyes on their first date not knowing that behind the eyes was a vanity full relationship. It was only a matter of time until the sweetness that comes with a new relationship wears off in the same way the smell of new clothes does after the first wash.
Some of us would argue that taking time to know someone before diving into the pool of love or rather infatuation with them is momentous. For many reasons and probably the pivot of it being ‘So as to note any red flags.’ Better to walk into a battle field knowing what to expect to fight than not knowing at all. Otherwise, you’d be like an emperor that goes to a battle naked. Naked of clothes, weapons and an army.
But tell that to a girl who has been lonely for the calendar knows how long and you’ll get nothing less than a blue tick or a “Mscheew!”
Her new boyfriend was four years older than her. He was not the first guy she had dated who was older than her. Infact, time and again I have heard people advise that a man should date girls who are younger than him. They argue that girls mature faster than boys and so mjango, you being almost older covers the gap your maturity at her age wouldn’t. However, some ladies have complained that some of these older guys are still boys in trousers and Subarus.
She started to feel like she was under pressure to grant him his dream relationship. That he was too hard on her. He overreacted to little things and had an unforgiving temper. Cap that with being the jealous type. He breathed steam over the fact that she has a male best friend. No, that was not the limit. He caused a scene in her inbox when she posted a picture she took with her niece. The niece was pecking her on the cheek. Shrug.
“Two weeks into the relationship, he began to ask me about sex.” To him, relationships are made stronger when people get intimate. She told him that she was a virgin, but he wasn’t patient enough with her.
“Do you believe that relationships are made stronger when a couple get intimate?”
“No!” Without hesitation. “I am also religious. I cannot go around having sex with someone I don’t really know. I mean, knowing someone is really the hardest thing ever. I just asked him to be patient with me but clearly, he was trying to make the relationship ‘perfect’ like others.”
I’ve heard people say that if a relationship is all cruise and no storms then it’s too good to be true. That a relationship has to hit icebergs on the way to Bahamas. True, but that shouldn’t mean you sit in a half wrecked ship with nothing but hopes that it will not sink to the bottom of the sea. That you can save it with your own hands. Your desire to cruise in the sea of love makes you mindless of the difference between a good cruise and a bad cruise.
I’ll let you be the judge of this particular one that had them argue one to many times every month. Those heavy arguments that leave your face looking all red, your throat feeling sore and your heart shrinked.
“I kept telling myself that things will get better later on. Everything was okay in the beginning until I felt like he was toxic. He was ready to criticize everything I did. He never supported what I did but undermined it instead. I really got discouraged. I didn’t stop convincing myself that I could make this work. I have always had shitty relationships and I thought my effort to understand the one I date would make them less shitty.”
“Do you think he probably was just not your type?”
“I don’t believe there is anything like type. Find someone and make them your type. If you want to have a man in your life, make a clear environment for them so that they can just come and adapt.”
“Don’t you think that making someone your type is more like trying to change them?”
“Well yes.” She chuckled. “I am kinda realising that now but it is a big mistake. I foolishly tried telling him how to love me.”
“Do you think he liked you?”
“He said I’m beautiful and calm.”
In my mind I told myself that any man would say that. We actually say that to the girls we feel like we’ve wrapped around our little finger. Those ones that somehow camped at our doorstep until we decided that, “To hell with it! Get in.” Not that we really wanted them, but they were already at our disposal and we have an instilled nature to always take the trash out when it’s full. However, not all of us intentionally wear those shoes to manipulate girls who hugged our legs and not willing to let go. Some of us wear them thinking we can actually make it work too. But deep down, we don’t confront the part of our instincts that confess that the girl is not good enough for us. She’s not who and what we really want. And so we will tell them they are beautiful. Nobody says they aren’t. Like gosh how would life be without ladies mjango. The thing is, for those girls we don’t genuinely like, we may push ourselves to say it. Sometimes it’s because we realise that they don’t esteem themselves that much. They have depended on us to tell them whether they are beautiful or not. And you bet people will only think of you as much as you think of yourself mama. From the onset, girl, if you don’t believe it from your stomach that you’re beautiful, then your man is not so likely to be any different. He may just be as unstable about it as you are, but he will tell you anyway. Maybe because he knows that’s among the ways to keep you stuck to him. Or he is also just as lost as you are but he cannot admit it and neither can you. And because you came to him and he is a man, he tells himself that, “Well, I don’t have much to lose. Let’s see where it goes.”
Disclaimer, I am not saying all men are like that. There can be a man who genuinely wants to be with you and is more than willing to help you through your insecurities, but you stand to benefit even more up to a high self esteem when you validate yourself with yourself and not him and his words.
It’s not our fault, neither is it yours, ladies. It’s both our fault. You not finding value in yourselves but instead validating yourselves through us, and we not being honest with you about what we want or even not being honest with ourselves about what we want too.
“And do you think he genuinely liked you?”
A stern no came after that. “He was too hard on me. He made the relationship like a marriage, owning me excessively and all. He micromanaged me and pretended to like the things I did. I still think he wasn’t patient enough with me. I expected him to know how to treat me. Why did he date me if he wasn’t sure he wanted this?”
I cleared my throat and said we do that quite a lot.
“Are you saying you didn’t spot any red flags at all? Because it seems to me you walked into a dungeon knowing you’re walking into a dungeon and even when you realised it was really a dungeon, you stayed in the dungeon.”
“I did. I did notice red flags but ignored them because the feeling was overwhelming. Remember what I told you I wanted. Even when he asked about sex, I knew that was red flag.”
By this time I was puzzled and pitiful at the same time. Puzzled that she was determined beyond all red flags to make it work. And not just that. The feeling, she says, was overwhelming. Just the feeling. Sounds like a stunt guy who does things because of the adrenaline rush. Because it feels good to take risks like jumping from the roof of one building to another and riding a bicycle on a metal bar across a skyscraper. That’s just how I can make myself understand what wanting to feel loved feels like. Pitiful because I can only imagine how many more ladies, especially in this case, are out there with the same track playing in their systems. Their systems that they have made so vulnerable just so they may feel loved. Vulnerable to a big red flag that could make a diaper for a grown elephant. (What’s with me and elephants today though. Maybe there is one in the room.) And that elephant is none other than the fact that girl, you’re not putting yourself worth where it should be.
Okay, maybe I have assumed that the way you love yourselves is the issue. And so I asked her,
“Ever since we began this interview, I haven’t heard anywhere you have talked about your own security. Anywhere you ducked when you saw the wrecking ball coming your way. Name them, he was too hard on you, not patient with you, too jealous, micromanaged you, pretended to like what you did, discouraged you not once, not twice, tuned your relationship to what it’s not to look like other people’s relationships, did not genuinely like you, insisted on sex on the freaking second week. Have I missed anything? Assuming that is all, but you still didn’t budge, you even went on to tell him how to love you. Politely, kwani haujipendi?”
She laughed, stopped midway and said, “People are different. I just wanted to be happy. I first told you all I wanted was to get into a relationship. I had been single for too long.”
“One and half years.”
“Eh that’s too long.” I laughed because I even felt her.
“So I was lonely…”
“Can we also say you were desperate?”
She paused for a while.
“Yes. That’s the word.”
“So lonely and desperate.”
“Well then. So you said you just wanted to be happy. In the long run, were you happy?”
“No. I had to end it after five months.”
The dream five years was now five months!
“I couldn’t handle the depression anymore. I ended it through a phone call. I felt like he was not enough for me. I was lost, sad and questioned myself a lot. Like do I really have to be in a relationship with someone? Am I not beautiful enough? And he was just not patient with me like I was with him.”
“Wait, you have repeated that more than twice now. May I ask, if he had been patient with you, what more do you think was there for him to see from you?”
“Years and years of love.”
I laughed sarcastically and she laughed too.
“Yaani despite him being toxic, you would have loved him for years?”
“All I believe you need to do is be patient with someone.”
“Alright then. As we wrap it up, you dived into the relationship after one week of knowing each other. Seeing how that turned out for you, would you take your time in future and take things slow probably to at least filter out who you both are and what you’d be dealing with?”
“I don’t think I’ll wait. From that experience, I know how to work my way around it if I’m really into someone rather than wait.”
I said okay. And in the next five minutes, I asked for her permission to present her with a few realities I had observed. To start with, I repeated her own words to her and asked her where she has said something like, “If someone is really into me…” It’s just about someone and not about her. How she will love someone but not how that someone will love her. And knowing men and being one, I shared with her the ill side of us and the primary part of it being what is now not new to your ears,
“Men have little to nothing to lose.”
If he doesn’t love you now, he will not love you later. When your later is much greater. It only means that he loves something else that is not about you and definitely not you but something from you.
I asked and she said she is not the type that would approach a man. Okay. But she is the type that would make herself over available for a man. The one who should be putting effort in a relationship is a man. Because if a man doesn’t work, he definitely won’t eat. But don’t you think when given food for free he will most definitely take it with both hands? Then again, don’t you think that since he doesn’t work for it, he is bound to take it all for granted? He will sit on your couch, legs on the coffee table with socks that smell like he kicked an elephant’s butt and command you while you’re in the kitchen to bring the usual menu that he took no part in preparing and doesn’t give two shits about how it came to be. The house is yours, the couch is yours, the coffee table is yours, the food is yours and damn the bed you make love on is yours too but he still treats you like a maid. And you still worship when he walks in with his sick aura.
One word for ladies and even you gentlemen, TOXIC!
“So, my preaching is over. Your parting shot.”
“I think after hearing that, I’d say try love yourself much and have inner peace before wanting someone else to love you. Forgive yourself about your past.”