Do you know your worth? Honestly, do you know when to walk away from a situation before you lose yourself?
These are questions everyone should ask themselves. Especially, if you are in a courtship that is going downhill. To be real frank, some people do not know how to walk away from a troublesome situation, in terms of dating. However, some times, when you are in what appears to be a meaningful relationship, you may not want to let go. When you begin dating, the newness is so addictive. You are engrossed in getting to know your potential mate. This is the time to learn their likes, dislikes, and crucial information that will dictate whether or not you continue the courtship. Ideally, it is suggested that you take your time and keep any sexual intimacy at bay. However, sometimes, you incorporate the sexual intimacy before you have commitment. Nowadays, most dating relationships start out with sex, then both parties decide if they want to commit to one another. This method is completely the wrong approach because as WOMEN, we cannot just have sex with a man and emotionally detach. Men on the other hand, they can have intimacy with multiple partners and keep their emotions in tact. Obviously, men and women are wired differently, no arguing that. Some women would argue that they can do what men do and be emotionally de-attached. However, Sheila tried this approach and wound up getting emotionally consumed to an unworthy gent.
Sheila met Philip while traveling out of town on business. He was an executive at a finance firm her law office worked with. Philip had key accounts in Africa and therefore had to travel often. He being Nigerian, was happy that some of his new clients were based in Ghana and Nigeria. It afforded him the time to see family back home. Philip is handsome and gainfully employed man with no children, at least that’s what he led her to believe; later you will learn about his double life. He being the oldest of his family was responsible for taking care of his mother after his father passed away five years prior. She admired this about him as she wants a man that is family oriented.
After three months of dating, Sheila decided that she wanted more. She fought the desire to be that kind of woman that demands a man commit to her but she was not keen to letting Philip slip through her fingers. In her mind, she felt it would be foolish to let “Mr. Right” pass her by. As their courtship progressed this awesome man became the torn in her flesh. The trips to Africa seemed to be more frequent than normal. He became unreachable, especially while visiting Nigeria. Sheila is normally a confident woman but began struggling with insecurities whenever he was in Nigeria. Normally when he is traveling, they Skype and speak on the phone at least twice a day. The last trip was different, very different.
At 11pm (Eastern Standard Time), Sheila dialed Philip while he was in Nigeria, which as 4am his time. When she hadn’t heard from him all day, she could not go to sleep without hearing his voice. There was nothing that could prepare her for who answered the phone on the receiving end. Let’s just say, it wasn’t Philip. The woman answered the phone with her voice very groggy. Sheila immediately hung up, believing she had dialed the wrong number by accident. When she called back and the same voice greeted her, she was tongue tied. The woman said, “Hello, who is this?” Sheila said, “I am looking for Philip.” The woman said, “Who might I ask is calling?” Sheila said, “This is his girlfriend calling from the States” The woman hung up the phone after a very long pause. Sheila was fueled with venom and called the number back repetitively but no one answered. She had a sleepless night and called out of work the next day. About midday Philip called her and sounded cheery and clueless as to what transpired the night before. When she confronted him of what happened, he laughed and said you must have dialed the wrong number. Oddly enough, Sheila fell for his excuse and left it alone. Literally, she convinced herself that she called the wrong number and made no mention of it again.
Philip returned from Nigeria the following week and all was well again in their relationship. Three months went by and he informed her that he had to go back home because his mother was ill. She thought nothing of it but requested that he agreed to call her daily. Of course he agreed, but he did not keep up to his end of the deal. He called her the first day he arrived but did not call her for two days straight. On day three, she called him at 1am (Eastern Standard Time), which is 6am his time and guess who answered his phone…yes, non other than the same woman. Sheila was not tongue tied this time around. She asked the woman, “Who is this and why are you answering my man’s phone?” The woman in her very thick Nigerian accent said, “What is this?! What do you mean your man’s phone? Why are you calling my husband’s phone?” Sheila said, “I am sorry Miss, I must have dialed the wrong number because I am trying to reach my boyfriend Philip and he is not married. The voice on the receiving end fell silent. She replied, “No my dear, you have the right number, Philip is my husband and he is the father to our 3 children”. He is sound asleep and I just happen to hear the phone going off as I am preparing breakfast. Sheila was silent for what felt like a decade.
The woman said, “Hello, are you still there”? Well, if you do not want to speak, let me speak to you plainly. I love my husband and he is a good father but I know that he has been stepping outside of our marriage. In our culture, it is (somewhat) condoned that men will have other women. It is not easy to accept but it is what it is. He has been careful to not bring this to my face but I see he has gotten sloppy. I cannot tell you to leave him alone, that is up to you to decide. However, he is not a man that would put a woman before his family. Therefore, I strongly advise you to reconsider your dealings with my husband. Again, the choice is yours but please respect me and not call my husband at these unforgiving hours again! The wife hung up the phone and that was the last time for the duration of Philip’s trip that she called him.
When he returned two weeks later, she picked him up from the airport. When they got to her place, she cooked dinner and made love to him. She literally went on as if nothing had changed. In fact, she never brought up the conversation she had with his wife. Some people would say that Sheila is a fool. Most would say that she is stupid with very low self-esteem. However, though all of those statements may be true, there is more to it. In her case, she does not know her worth or how to teach someone how to value her worth. Therefore, what she is willing to accept, who are we to judge.
I realize as human beings that we decide who we choose to give our hearts to. It is not easy to open up to others, especially when you are not certain how they will reciprocate. Oftentimes we search for quality people because in this world we live in, more often that we suspect, people don’t always have the best intentions. Though they appear as they are genuine, their true self always gets revealed. Moreover, we are not psychics so we are unable to decipher who will be the real deal. Realistically, we cannot live our lives without giving people a chance to show their true colors. It is inevitable for us to learn to accept people for who they are and then you must adjust accordingly.
Recently there was a shift in my life, a shift I did not foresee happening, nor did I plan for it. The shift felt more like a shove, a punch, a swift kick to the jaw. The pain was instant and the hurt was deeper than a sword being forced deep into your heart. The sword however, cut both ways, and the blood (which was the pain and disappointment) poured through me and spilled into every crevice of my life. Though on the outward it appeared as though I was fine, inwardly I was slowly decaying. At that moment in time, I lost something, someone, very close to me. I thought of ways to get back what I lost because to me, I prefer quality over quantity any day. Not to mention, the minuscule thing that brought about the dissension was not worth me risking the lost of someone that important to me.
However, it was not up to me to decide when the reconciliation should commence. It has to be something both parties wish to engage in. If either party is not willing to have closure, then trust me, it will not be resolved. In my efforts to reconcile, I realized that there was more bad than good. It was confusing to me that I kept this individual in my life for such a lengthy period of time. To add to, acceptance was painful because I had to accept that this person was not truthful about how they felt about me. One thing that I respect is honesty but I have no tolerance for phoniness. If you are for me, then “Hooray”, if you are not, then communicate what is bothering you. No one person is perfect, so it is obvious that you are going to say, do, or even act out in a way that may be deemed inappropriate.
Therefore, I can respect when someone who claims they (love you like a fat kid loves cake) tells you how something you are doing or done is affecting them; at whatever capacity. What I do not appreciate is when that individual chooses to hold things inside and when they (unleash the dragon) attack you by bringing up stuff that happened years prior. No matter how truthful the claim, it is not fair to the person on the receiving end to be confronted with past issues, that were never brought to their attention. Nonetheless, as I sat and listened to the verbal lashing, I wondered, how many times have I been around this person and never, NOT ONCE, did they mention their true feelings.
Inwardly sitting there and listening felt like a brutal attack. I heard things that I did that I forgot that I did and stuff too long ago to remember, so I had no recollection because unbeknownst to me, their had been an underlying issue. Needless to say, when it came time for me to defend myself, it fell on deaf ears. I learned a great deal from that situation and hopefully, someone out there in cyber world can learn from what I endured.
For starters, avoid the following…
1) Don’t wait years to bring up things you don’t particularly like about your friend.
2) Don’t act like everything is cool if in essence, it really is not.
3) Take ownership for your part in the situation and don’t get defensive. Well at least TRY not to be defensive
4) Listen very careful to what they are saying
5) Forgiveness does not mean you will go back to being friends
6) Respect how people handle things, even if you don’t agree with their approach (we are all human beings and we all deserve the same respect)
7) Don’t use social media to air your dirty laundry (you can’t bad mouth someone conducting a matter in a classy way but ratchetness is and will always land you in the Hall of Shame)
8) Being silent does not mean you are weak, it is a true reflection of your strength
9) Learn what it means to choose your friends wisely
Lastly, I shared what I lost and briefly I will share what I found. I found out that I was friends with an enemy for 5 years and did not know it. I found out that you can forgive and not hate. I learned that the best part of being me is having a loving heart. I found out that when I hurt, it hurts those closest to me. They hurt because I am not myself and I become a shell of who I truly am. Today I am wiser and stronger than I was 8 weeks ago. In time I trust that I will fully recover from this lost but today is a good day. My bruise hurt but it is what it is, a bruise, it is meant to hurt in order to connect with the pain. The pain is my friendly reminder to be more careful of who I let into my heart and life. Honestly speaking, I could never really hate someone that I loved in the way I loved that person. In other words, I love this person even to this day but I DISLIKE who they have become. For that reason, I release my anger so that I can heal.