What happens after exhausting every lifeline that comes with keeping a relationship? Ones that include having to apologize after every misunderstanding, exchanging gifts after arguments and then, making up the “sofa” way. If you are not as experienced, I hope you enjoy this piece about how taking a break helped save my relationship.
“Adekunle Ade-Adeoye is my name. I am assuming you know what friends might call me. If you don’t, “problem tie niyen” (that is your problem). Well, one of my two problems is that I like my space a little more than necessary. I’m saying at times, I just like to be alone (and in the house). One might start to think I am introvert, maybe even sadist. No! I play way more than I enjoy being alone. Fast rewind to 2014, I got the most wonderful Christmas gift from the universe—the girl of my dreams. Her name, Deola.
I met Deola at a conference 2years ago, where we had only said our greetings and passed by each other. The time was wrong to approach her, so I withdrew. Months after, fate brought her to me- on Facebook. That was my chance to get my message across. If you know, then you also know how difficult it might be to convince a smart lady with typed words. Long story short, that was it. We were dating already, even though I was out of the country at the time.
As you would imagine, the fire was hot; the love was strong. We were thousands of miles apart and it just never felt like it –not even once. There was always that part of my life to look forward to as I went to bed every night. Without error caused by the time difference, our messages delivered exactly the time the other person needed them to. It was intense; I started to wonder if there could ever be an end.
As interesting as the experience was for both of us, it was mainly difficult for me to ascertain if it truly was love, or just a feeling that would pass. The only answer was to wait on time.
Another two years passed like the storm. It was time to come settle in Nigeria. I got taken by this mixed feeling of not knowing what to expect. The Deola I met four years ago may have change. I was concerned, at that point, about how beautiful she may have gotten. “Fat, but ugly, maybe?” I thought to myself. Guess I just could not get myself to think the part, let alone visualize.
Finally home, I was not disappointed. She looked finer than wine. From the moment I saw her, the experience changed. It was fun being around each other morning till night, locked in without a job. The foreign money was there, hence, no cause for worry. For a long time, we had no issues to settle, no fights to forget. It was all fun until third parties started lurking. Those that loved us and those that needed us to stay apart so they could come in to either of us they liked.
I remember the day she saw a message on my phone. It was from a lady, with whom I had my bad days. And though I was no longer seeing her, it was hard to believe. Deola was furious. It was my first of seeing her like that. After about a month, accompanied by series of apologies and gifts, she got herself to let go. We were back on the same page, but with conditions. It got too difficult for her to trust me. That’s one time I might not forget. But with efforts from elderly people, it would have spelled doom for the relationship.
Time passed, and we both started to get tired. Now broke and jobless, we would both scream at each other when pissed. That was no matter how little the offence was. We had been living together since I got back. Giving that I like my space, I was beginning to feel uncomfortable have someone around all the time. I sometimes wished she would just go sleep elsewhere and just let me be for as little as a week, but I wasn’t getting that. Rather, it was one fight after the other. Hell, it was no longer fun being together. We would break up and then settle the same day. The spark gradually faded.
I packed few things and left Lagos for Abeokuta. We decided to take a break from all the drama. We both looked ready for that, maybe even a breakup. The plan was to stay for a month, maybe forever, if nothing looked promising. Days turned to weeks and no one called the other person. I was not disturbed at first. There was an influx of ladies of all shapes and sizes.
In my eyes, that was also the best time to reflect on my personal life; to set new goals and focus on another reasonable activity.
I noticed I had been too dependent on her. So many things I got used to having her do for me came back to me as being very tedious and time-consuming. I lost weight, because I stopped feeding well and my mind was heavy all the time. There was no one to share thoughts, ideas with. There was a big void that seemed like no other person could fill. After a month of being lonely, I realized nothing good would come out of keeping my distance. I knew right then that apologizing would have been easier than walking away.
I was beginning to miss her the way I never thought I would. To top it all, I began to see her updates on social media as she uploaded cute pictures of herself. That, I must confess, made me jealous, and scared. A wise man once said ‘the scariest thing about distance is you do not know whether they’ll miss you or forget you.’ It was time to make things right.
Guard down, I returned to Lagos. My mind was clear as cloud. “Hopefully, she’d be glad to see me,” I thought to myself. I have been away for close to two months and she particularly looked like she moved on. I still had to show. Turned out that the brave step was the right thing. She welcomed me in, with joy on her face; one might think she missed me, too. The long hug ended everything for the day. Even she was not ready to talk. All she did was rub her skin over mine like the lost cat that just returned.
The following morning, we had the long chat. We made up, but with more conditions. One I remember is to always apologize within the same hour an issue arises. I also realized saying ‘sorry’ would mend more broken ties if everyone would master the habit.
The break we had opened my eyes to how much I could miss her if we finally broke up. Also that I do not necessarily need to be alone to have new goals or have adventures. And that this lady was the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with. These things I was sure about, at least.”
However, while you might be thinking of taking a break in your relationship, you be aware that there are some tips to note to ensure you make valuable use of your time during your time apart. Ones that, most likely, couldn’t be handpicked from my love story. The following are top five.
Never Give Room for Worry.
To panic after making the decision is always an impulse. Never forget that worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it only empties today of its strength. While your mind keeps taking you back several steps, you must find solace in relaxing your entire body to avoid more stress. You are taking a break, remember?
Get More Self Time.
Mood often gets the better part of its victims in situations where a break is necessary. This is why some times, being alone comes as a reflex action. However, the purpose of being alone, drowning in thoughts of various kinds, must be defined. See the break as a chance for you to reflect on the good and sad times you had pre-break, particularly to brew a foolproof plan to make things better if and when you finally get back together.
Since there is generally this feeling of not being “responsible” for anyone when taking a break, you may want to pull back on allowing every individual (of opposite sex) into your life. “Grief can make you vulnerable…” (Melinda Gayle; Acrimony). The easier you find yourself being around them, the easier it gets to want to move on for good, which mostly, is the bad idea. If you value your relationship, no matter the stage it is in, you must hang on. Replacements may not come in form of life. It may be a new job, an adventure, anything fun, actually. As much as you need a new activity to replace that which disturbs you, there must be that special place in your heart for that person you claim to love. It is not a breakUP.
It probably sounds difficult to not want to miss your partner. How is it possible to just let those times not cross your mind even once? Reminisce on what good, little and large, you have enjoyed in the company of your partner. It is true that you do not know if they miss you back, but do your part always in accordance to the belief that the other person misses you as well. Even when you are taking a break, you are still allowed to miss your partner.
End the Break; Make the Big Move on its First Hunch.
We know what they say about the intuition. That’s your subconscious leading you back to happy days. The first thought of making up that comes to your mind is that which you must follow. Maybe not that lazy voice that comes as soon as you go on the “strike”. Do not follow the latter. It just might be the result of how dependent (on your spouse) you had been, which has made it difficult for you to run daily activities without help.
And hey, the other problem I had was not being able to contain the funny feeling I got those times I tried to check her live updates on social media. Damn, my baby looked so fly. Argghh!
Though it may never be enough, let us all #liveRight. Taking a break can be beneficial, after all.
– As sent in by A-cube.