The Star (Nairobi)

22 February 2014

Kenya: You Know It's Time to Leave When...

Are you sitting in your room, wondering, how the hell you ended up in this desperate situation?

It's probably because you ignored the signs because he showered you with either gifts or sweet nothings, and you thought this outweighed the bad; Mummy dearest and friends kept telling you to stay away but you rebelled for what you thought was love when actually, it was pride; You believed that you made a good choice and they should have trusted your opinion and taste.

This person after all was the darling that you thought was nothing but an angel. "What do they know?" you constantly asked yourself in a bid to prove them wrong.

Later on, you realize how lucky you are to be sitting and asking how you ended up in a suffocating relationship. There are many who waited a little longer for him to change or for things to get better, but ended up not only losing the relationship but themselves and sadly in some cases, their lives.

At times the signs are right there in front of you, signs that you shouldn't be just walking but running out of Mr Wrong's clutches, but you ignore them. For some reason, you're always coming up with excuses for him; he's only human after all. These are just a few signs that it's time for you to leave:

He's 'too' nice:

It's not human to be happy all the time. It's normal to feel -- and to show -- a range of emotions. The guy who puts on a facade of perfection is especially alarming because he can do an emotional u-turn in a matter of seconds, and it can catch you off guard. Be wary if he appears unnaturally calm and in control of his emotions.

"One of the biggest liars I'd ever dated was the sweetheart everyone loved. He was kind, nice and always a smooth talker. Little did I know; this guy had been sleeping with a few of my former friends. His good looks and charm easily disguised the disgust I found," narrates Jennifer.

He acts like a god but he's a mere cowardly rat that infests your life. He appears perfect and only shows you that he is a happy guy. In fact you've never seen him upset or sad ever! But you assume that this fellow is amazing. Is it human to feel that something makes him so special that he only knows joy? This guy is capable of confronting you with the worst reaction you've ever seen. After all, they do say be weary of the quiet ones and don't judge a book by its cover.

Don't get caught up in his 360 degree change of pace that would involve your face.

It could be he throws a tantrum, or himself, at you for reasons you know nothing about, and did not expect as he's always "so calm".

"I dated one such guy. One day, he came to my work place and started yelling at me aggressively. I convinced him to follow me further into the shop. He begun to punch the wall and act up," Adhiambo says.

How long will it take him to go from punching the wall and start on you?

He doesn't take disappointment well:

If your guy throws a tantrum every time things don't go his way, it could mean he never learned how to handle setbacks as a child. Does he punch walls, break things, or erupt in a fit of rage when he's met with a letdown? If so, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he could turn those aggressions on you one day.

If his parents fought a lot and showed a lot of dispute in front of their child, chances are that's the way he grew to know that love is violence.

If his past has revolved around violence and his last girlfriend filled a p3 and yet you still want to give him a chance, you must have a death wish.

However, not all men are the same. A friend once told me that he never wants to be like his father. He accepts the side effects of being the son to an abuser. If your family was abusive make sure your mind isn't set on being attracted to violent partners. Report the matter when he seems to be interested in taking your life.

Mental and emotional abuse:

This is often the unseen torture a person experiences. He often called you stupid or a female dog and you took it as a joke, but soon his disregard for your feelings led to more insults. This person is capable of breaking you emotionally and mentally.

You feel trapped in your body and suffocated by him except he's not holding a pillow over your head.

If you find yourself doing what he thinks is right and your opinion is not valued, then it's time you realise he's a control freak.

"He never lets me go out. He always thinks I'm going to cheat on him. I can't have a say in anything," Linda says.

You know it's time to leave when he is constantly calling and texting you only to find out who you're with and why. He will insult you if you choose not to pick up his calls. Threats on your life are a sign you should look out for. If he does it once don't take it lightly, because that one time could lead to more frequent and dangerous encounters.

If you don't act on the issue then you risk eating disorders, depression and a budding need to satisfy the void due to the feeling of being alone and not being accepted. It could lead you to having increased sexual encounters, regardless the risk you might put yourself in. There is a desperate sense of fulfillment from your various lovers that keeps you going.

Gold-digging scum:

If he only seems to call you when your salary is due, then that is the gold digger in him making an appearance. This man will hunt you down once he knows you have money in your wallet.

He will show up at events with his boys only to buy drinks or whatever, promising he can pay for everything but in essence it's your money. Of course you pay because you're in love. He seems to show that as well since once in a while he will treat you. However when you look at the bigger picture this man has no respect for you and your hard-earned money.

He doesn't make wise decisions when he borrows money from you and always makes an excuse as to why he can't pay you back. When you go somewhere or do something he offers to pay, but when it comes down to it he pays less and hints at you paying more yet it was his idea to go out in the first place. This point isn't that you shouldn't foot the bill once in a while or help out. It's pointing out the guys who have no plan and are so dependent on your wallet for everything.

This kind of guy maybe earning money as well but he sees you as an opportunity to save his and use yours.

Don't be exploited by these kinds of men. There's no ring on your finger, and you owe him absolutely nothing. He has no authority to dictate how you spend your money or who you talk to. He also should never in a million years lay his hands on you. Do not let him put you down or insult your mind and/ or your body, that is proof that he is weak and not worthy of you.

It is okay to open up your heart to someone but use your mind as well. Ask yourself, "What is this fellow's background?" As your relationship continues to grow, continue keeping an open mind and being logical. It takes a lot of courage to leave an unhealthy relationship: sometimes it's a lesson; sometimes it is new found strength. I once read in a short story by Lisa Koekemoer titled Immorality that had this phrase, "... A woman is beautiful once she realizes her body is merely a veil covering the goddess inside, regardless of her age or how men treat her." It may very well be to become the best version of yourself; you have to leave the anchor pulling you down that is your unworthy man behind.

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