Gosh! I know I am no relationship coach and frankly, I try to avoid speaking on the subject because I have realized that not too many people share my views on what an ideal relationship should be, and honestly, I’ll be more uncomfortable if they do. Nevertheless, I feel the urge to break the silence and destroy the myth around “breakup-induced suicides”. I must say that there is nothing romantic or sane about killing yourself physically, emotionally or psychologically because of a breakup. I have a “tough love” saying that goes “Dumbville hath no foolishness like a woman (or a man) who loses her (his) will to live because of breakup”.
For as long as the world has existed, the human race has been gifted with emotions that are fickle and run dry. Change has been a constant feature of human evolution and growth. Take me for example, growing up, I used to love pounded yam. It was a Sunday evening tradition for my family. But today, I don’t eat it. I don’t know why; maybe I’ve had enough, maybe my taste buds are weary of it, maybe I’m just sick of the hype. I really don’t know why but I’m no longer a fan of pounded yam. On the other hand, I used to detest boiled yam. I remember thinking as a child that tiny bits of yam will get stuck in my little throat like paracetamol pills (silly, right?). Well today, I’m big on yam and egg sauce. In fact, there is this veg oil, pepper, salt and maggi combo that my brother taught me. You have not lived until you’ve ate yam with that (lol). Anyway, my examples may not be totally related to this discourse, but I’m kinda saying the same thing; change is a constant feature of life. If our choices of clothes and food can change, so can our choices of friends and partners and sometimes no matter how hard we try, no matter how giving and forgiving we are, it doesn’t matter the sacrifices we make maintain normalcy, we simply cannot stop people from changing.
That being said, please note that I’m not trying to make an excuse for or justify the actions of the “heart-breakers”. Seriously, some of them deserve to be hung by the neck for their gravity of their betrayals. But I’m not writing for them. I’m writing for you and me. I’m writing for those of us who despite the sincerity of our hearts and steadfastness of our commitments to our relationships may become victims of the inevitable change. I was particularly prompted to share these thoughts by the story of girl who took her life because her long-term boyfriend dumped her for another lady. I can call her foolish all day but I’m sure she had her reasons which may be tenable. The thought of starting over, the years of sacrifices which cannot be measure or repaid, the lost time and opportunities, the denials and devotion are big issues to confront at the wake of a breakup. And our emotional thresholds are different. Not everyone has the emotional strength to pick themselves up and keep living as if nothing has changed. This is why I counsel you, as I have counseled myself over time, to get insured during every relationship. Here are some advices you may want to consider
Don’t make sacrifices you cannot live with (alone)
Every relationship demands certain measure of sacrifices. It’s one of the valves that supplies nutrients to the heart of any relationship. However, you must insure yourself by making sane sacrifices. If your sacrifice will make you ever dependent on your partner, reconsider it. Don’t drop out of school because your partner has enough money to take care of you and your family. What if he leaves you without alimony or he dies or goes bankrupt. Get your certificate; it’s a form of insurance. Don’t become estranged to your family because of your partner.You are forever related them and they are ever going to be yours even when your partner takes a walk. Don’t give up a job with great prospects just because your partner wants you too. And please, don’t be the only one making all the sacrifices.
Here is what I do before giving you a cup of sugar (making a sacrifice), I ask myself: Do I have enough to last my needs?; Do you really need it?; Is this important for our relationship?; Do I have to?; Can you get it elsewhere and it makes no difference?; Where does it leave me now?; Does it place me at your mercy?; If we cease to exist will I be okay?; If I need a spoon of salt tomorrow and you deny me, will I feel offended? among others depending on the nature of the sacrifice involved.
Don’t be dependent
This is a crucial lesson for me in every relationship, even with the one I have with my family. We all must learn independence. That doesn’t mean that you don’t want your partner’s input or you are on your own in your relationship. No. It means that you are aware and equipped of your ability to stand alone even though you have chosen to walk with someone. I personally think that girls have been conditioned by culture to depend on their men for so much that it’s going to take conscious efforts for them to build a sense of independence and know that they can be alone and be very happy. Whatever it is your partner “supplies” you with, build yourself a personal bank from which you can make withdrawals when he takes a walk.
Don’t think yourself into an impossible position
I understand that emotions are very strong and they can make you feel and assume incorrect facts but you must tread carefully. Don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t live without someone. It’s the lie of the century but if you believe it long enough, it will start manifesting itself as your truth. Give your best in your relationship but know that it’s not the reason you are living. After I lost my hero, my perspective of what/whom you can and can’t live without changed. Now I say to myself, “life may not be the same without you but I can surely live without you”. This is true because before your partner came along, all you have been doing was live without them. The only person you can’t truly live without is you.
Detach your self-worth from your relationship
Love makes us think and act silly. Soon we start attaching our self-worth to our partners or our relationships and we think and say things like“He/she completes me”. No they don’t! If they do, it means when they leave or die, we cease to be complete. Detach your sense of self-worth from your partner and your relationship. No human should be empowered to control how you feel about yourself. Insure your self-worth and let God, whose love is forever enduring complete you. Remember, we are complete in Him.
Be ever prepared for a fresh start
This is the boldest and scariest yet crucial insurance we all must make. I am terrified to even talk about it because sometimes the thought of starting over chokes me. Starting afresh is very difficult especially after years of investment and devotion but it is a phase we must prepare for. You need to have a periodic conversation with yourself and ask the question even I try to avoid “Can I begin again if I have to?” I think the reason why people choose to ignore warning signs of a failing relationship is because they dread a fresh start. Most people (women especially), endure abusive relationships because they can’t comprehend the thought of starting all over. Nevertheless, it may be difficult and seemingly impossible but it’s never too late to start again. Insure your emotions and be sure that if it all caves in like pack of cards, you can pick yourself up and start again.
Nothing and no one is worth your life
Let me go Christian on you for a minute. I’ve really been “brainwashed” by the notion that I was purchased at a very expensive price that nothing else can afford, so I don’t undervalue my life. I just know that however tough it gets, I can’t stop living. I agree that sometimes we can get so confused, betrayed and overwhelmed with negative emotions that living becomes a senseless activity. But I can only encourage you to daily encourage and reassure yourself in God’s love and His great plans for your life. If you love God and walk in His purpose, all things, including your breakup will work for your good. You just have to believe it. If Jesus will go through so much trouble and humiliation to save just you, nothing and no one is an excuse enough to make you quit on life.
I know there are really extreme circumstances, but you just have to cleave to the will to live. Sometimes, the only reason I don’t give up is because I know that worse things have happened to men but they went through and emerged as testimonies and so can I. Also, I believe that sometimes the requirements for a smooth sail to bliss are lessons from mistakes and failed relationships. They empower with the firsthand information we need to make better choices.
In conclusion, please know that like most insurance, you may never need this one after all but it doesn’t hurt to know that no matter what happens, you have all it takes to be back on your feet. If you are going through a breakup or any rough patch, remember that “this too shall pass”. Let go, let God, stay alive and live.
I love you very much. #Shewrites