My widowed friend met a divorcee who swept her off her feet. He was everything a woman of her age wanted, responsible, caring, thoughtful and handsome with a bit of romance to boot. I was very happy for her but couldn’t help but wonder what had happened in his previous marriage and how his wife had let such a catch go. Time passed, and I met a close relative of the wife who, not knowing I knew him, gave me a load down on his first marriage. Apparently, the man had been a typical example of the nomenclature known as a “Yoruba demon”. Yep!!, in his earlier marriage he had been a very irresponsible husband and father leaving his wife to cater for the family, pay rent and school fees, etc, he was known to leave home for days on end, coming home just to change his clothes and boy did he dress well, always looking good and smelling nice.
I was amazed at the feedback which by the way was corroborated by many of the ex-wife’s relatives and their mutual friends, because from what I can see of the man who has now been married to my friend for five years, the story is completely different. He is not only a complete opposite picture of the man he used to be, he is responsible and totally besotted with my friend. Sometimes, though it’s neither here or there and doesn’t absolve him of his choices in the first marriage, I wonder if he was enabled to be who he was in his first marriage and if in the second marriage he has found or been given the incentive to rise above who he formerly was.
I was still pondering on what made the man a totally different person in his two marriages apart from the individual women involved when I stumbled upon the following quote which gave some reasons why some relationships don’t work.
“Sometimes people walk away from love because it is so beautiful that it terrifies them. Sometimes they leave because the connection shines a bright light on their dark places and they are not ready to work them through. Sometimes they run away because they are not developmentally prepared to merge with another- they have more individuation work to do first. Sometimes they take off because love is not a priority in their lives- they have another path and purpose to walk first. Sometimes they end it because they prefer a relationship that is more practical than conscious, one that does not threaten the ways that they organise reality.”— Jeff Brown
Reading the above statement, I remembered a gentleman that I met a while ago. He had a small three-year-old boy in tow but looked to be in his late 50s, early 60s, so I innocently enquired if that was his grandson, he shook his head and said it was his son. Apparently, he had been married before and had children who were in their late 20s with his first wife. The marriage ended and he met his ex-girlfriend from the university who had remained unmarried all these years, struck up a relationship, married her and the three-year-old was the product of the union. Reminiscing, he told me that his second marriage was much better because he was in a good place emotionally, mentally and financially. He said although he loved his first wife when he got married to her, he was then too emotionally immature and unwilling to admit it both to himself and her and that if the truth be told he had no business settling down when he did and only did so because he didn’t want to loose his wife who was about the same age as he and was anxious to marry, it was the reasonable thing to do age wise and lastly he was getting to middle management at work and being married was a sign of maturity and responsibility.
We all go into relationships for different reasons and two people can find themselves in a relationship for widely different reasons none of which may be bad in themselves but may cause differing expectations of each other. A lot of us are not ready nor equipped for the demands, obligations, duties and burdens that come with our relationships. It so happens that when we get into a relationship we are confronted with our inadequacies and many of us are unable to handle ourselves or it properly. For some, they walk away physically while many walk away emotionally for it is possible to walk away from love with someone even though you are committed to them and also to walk away from committing to someone even though you love them.
We walk away from love if it’s so beautiful because of fear. Fear that it’s too good to be true, fear that we don’t deserve that kind of devotion, fear that it wouldn’t last, fear of what will become of us- if like we think, it ends. Fear of not being accepted for who we are, fear of hurting the person or the relationship. We walk away from love because we are not able to give of ourselves in the way we know we ought to, sometimes because we can’t because we are damaged emotionally and sometimes because we wouldn’t because we just don’t want to share ourselves for the time being. We walk away from love because love stretches us in many unpredictable ways and for some of us safety is a much more desired place than adventure because we never know where love’s adventures will take us. We walk away from love because we are too used to being alone and by ourselves and believe that love will hamper our style and harm our individual lifestyle.
There are many reasons why we all shy away from love and commitment and a lot of the reasons are valid and justifiable but a common denominator in all the scenarios I have painted is us, our ability or inability to receive or give love and the panacea is to find peace within ourselves first before we venture into another person’s life and if we are already in the relationship, it is to admit that the fault is ours and not the other person’s for some of us knowingly throw the blame at the other person in order to remove the focus from ourselves.
If you can’t commit, tend to avoid emotional intimacy, serial date, set high expectations for your partners, find it difficult to be vulnerable with people you are emotionally involved with, you had better sit yourself down and ask yourself why it’s easier for you to walk away or run away from relationships that will benefit you rather than stick it out. I can assure you, though you may be unwilling to admit it, that your behavior stems from deep emotional wounds and your refusal to tend to them and let them heal is crippling you emotionally.
Conversely, if you are the person that has found yourself alone after your loved one has walked away, please know that sometimes, especially when you’ve given all you have to the relationship, its death may have nothing to do with you. “Because so many of us carry shame, we have a tendency to personalise love’s leavings, triggered by the rejection and feelings of abandonment. But this is not always true. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the one who leaves is just not ready to hold it safe. Sometimes they know something we don’t- they know their limits at that moment in time. Real love is no easy path- readiness is everything. May we grieve loss without personalizing it. May we learn to love ourselves in the absence of the lover. ~Jeff Brown
The truth is that love will hurt but I am of the persuasion that not loving or allowing yourself to be loved will hurt more than you can imagine and in the long run you will regret never having loved than having been hurt in love.
Have a beautiful valentine.