As usual, Wednesday is reader question day. I’m sorry I have been MIA for a while. I have been working on an amazing project called Still A Mum which is a product of this blog. One of these days I will write about it here. Now, over the last 3 weeks I have been receiving a lot of reader questions most of them leading to the same question “Should I stay or leave?” Young men and women having a difficult time in their relationships wondering what to do. If you are wondering whether to stay or leave, you’ve come to the right place.
You can leave a courtship, not a marriage: Before we even get started, let me make it clear that I am from a school of thought that says marriage is for forever. Yes, I know there special circumstances like physical abuse and infidelity and others. But that is not the conversation we are having today. So, this post is not about divorce. This post is for a dating relationship. Clear? Good, let’s proceed.
What is the issue? Each couple is different and the issues they fight about are diverse. Now, there are small problems that are easily solved with a sit down and good communication but there are big problems that are harder to deal with. Most times, these problems are recurrent and have been a constant thorn in the flesh. Even worse, most of these big problems are tied to a character issue. And this is where you decide whether this is something you can deal with or not. Let’s take a look at some good reasons to leave a relationship.
- Physical Abuse: There really is no discussion here. If your man beats you and you are dating, leave. There are no special circumstances that should make you stay. It doesn’t matter how much you love him or how often he says he is sorry after being physically abusive, ongoing physical abuse is dangerous and has nothing to do with love. If your partner physically harms you, it’s time to leave.
- Verbal/Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is equally bad. If your partner is constantly showing rage, blame, criticism, judgments, threats and other abusive means of undermining and controlling you, that is not love. Someone who loves you affirms you in private and public. They don’t make rude jokes that hurt and undermine you. They don’t isolate you from your friends and constantly put you down so you see how lucky you are that they “love” you. They are not ridiculously possessive, angry and suspicious every time someone stops to greet you. No, that is not love.
- Financial issues: Money matters are a big deal in relationships and they get even worse in marriage. If your partner is sitting at home unwilling to do anything for work that’s a huge red flag. You can tell a lazy even if you are both in campus. Someone who wants to watch movies all day all week is not someone you can build a home together. Other money issues include getting into debt because of over-spending or gambling. If you are constantly bailing your partner out financially, beware. If you constantly raise this issue and they are unwilling to change, walk away.
- Drug and substance addictions: Addictions such as alcoholism, drug abuse, pornography, gambling etc are bad for relationships. They require the person involved to desperately want to change enough to do something about it. If your partner is not committed to quitting, there’s only so much you can do. If they are doing something to kick the habit, by all means help. Support them through rehab, be their accountability partner; do what needs to be done. But don’t be an enabler – always bailing them out when they need money or in a case. If they are making no effort, it’s time for tough love. Leave. You don’t want a spouse who is always stoned, waiting for you to leave so they can steal money to fuel their habit. They will be a terrible spouse and an even worse parent.
- Affairs and unfaithfulness: If your partner is always flirting, hitting on other people alone and in your presence, don’t imagine this will stop when you get married. An affair does not always need to be the end of a relationship. There are couples that heal and find a way to move on. However, if your partner completely disregards your feelings, refuses to change (or even see the problem), you might want to consider leaving.
- Different Paths: Dreams change. People can want different things in their life. Partners sometimes go off on different paths. Often, this is not a problem, but sometimes it becomes a major issue. Your partner may want to move to another country or do something you feel sends you in different paths. You might need to evaluate the situation and see how to proceed.
- Fear of Commitment: This is a common one. If you are thinking marriage and your partner doesn’t see it even in the distant future, you might want to move on. Watch how they communicate about commitment. Talk that shows being completely against marriage or wanting to put it off for as long as possible is a sign, take it. Don’t let them make you feel embarrassed that you want marriage. A partner with one foot out the door is not good for you.
- Deception: Although the media has made us believe that lying is normal for men and women, it’s not normal for a healthy relationship. In order to have a real, deep and meaningful relationship with someone, trust is necessary. Don’t be with someone who is constantly lying to you for whatever reason.
- It’s unbalanced: A relationship requires that both people be committed and give equally. If you are in a relationship where you do all the work and your partner makes no effort, they may be trying to say they’re not that into you. It is exhausting to carry all the weight alone. You can’t carry them all your life.
- Constant drama: There are people who attract drama in their life like flowers attract bees. Every time, there is something going on. This week they are fighting with their parents and next week they have a case at work. If you look keenly, they are always the victim. Love should not be a constant headache and relationships are not a soap opera. Let your partner decide they want a calm reasonable life and then they can be with you.
Let’s stop there for today. Next time we shall look at some bad reasons to leave as well as principles to consider when making this tough decision. Thanks for reading!
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.