DO DISTANT MARRIAGES WORK?

Related image  I’m sure you ran into images that surfaced on social media recently of a guy who stumbled on his wife on one of those Kilimani Mums Facebook page sliding into a foreigner DMs after the foreigner wrote to inquire about the availability of a Kenyan female lover. Later on, this white chap leaked all the messages that had been sent to him by would-be female soulmates only for the poor black guy to come across his wife on that infamous list. Gentlemen, what would you do if you realised your wife has been claiming to be single on social media? (Sighs!) Anyway, it seemed like the husband worked out of the country only for his wife to hoodwink the foreigner that she was, in fact, single while she was actually, a mother. That alone mirrors a blurred picture of typical shivery realities of distant relationships and marriages.

Distant marriages create so much freedom which then invites high chances of infidelity if accountability goes missing. Of course, a cheater will always cheat even when next to you, but then again distant relationships make people who’ve never contemplated cheating, get prone to cheating. You see, vulnerability is not something you just shed off and tell yourself, I’m no longer vulnerable! Hell no. It’s something you’ve got to fight now and then and keep on upgrading your firewalls as the devil and his agents keep on being innovative and just never give up. It’s a question of how solid and authentic your principles are. For distant relationships, it’s even worse. Stakes are higher and so are your self-control systems supposed to be, to withstand the high proportionate of vulnerability.

As a matter of fact, many cheating scandals happen in distant relationships, just do your research. I’m sure you’ve come across Cheats and Side Dishes article on this blog which is inspired by a true story. Living with your spouse is like a tag hanging around your neck that keeps reminding you, hey I’m watching you. It might appear like it’s vexing but come to think of it, it keeps you off vulnerability and being distracted. And that’s a good thing.

Actually, in hindsight, you’ll come to appreciate how important it was to always go home from work to meet your family than living in a distant town where God knows what goes down when you are free, idle and having your family miles away. Let’s face it, we are bound to be distracted by charming people out there and coming across souls that live to steal, rob and kill relationships. Hence the longer the distance you are away from your soulmate, the higher the chances of increased cheating vulnerability. I mean, we are living in an era of being set up and blackmailed, if not compelled to undress by delinquents out there.

You know, human beings continually need reassurances and being reminded where it all started and why they are together anyway. Phone-call communication has its limits. Sometimes we devour for one on one connection and if it’s not available it will probably be created out of the woods be it by side chicks or side-guys if there is such a phrase.

Distance marriages rob one the beauty of being together. Love tends to grow more where ingredients such as sharing house chores or shopping together are made a reality. A couple also tends to benefit from developing one another since it’s impacted directly by your spouse on a daily basis. One also tends to be more cognizant of the other person hence creating a profound blending of the two personalities. We are wired differently and have quite diverse personalities, thereby when people live under one roof, in the long run, learn to cope and accommodate one another’s flaws as opposed to when your spouse lives in another town.

There may also be light moments on some scenarios that may appear simple on the eye like how to squeeze the toothpaste – some do it from the top while some start from the bottom. Some role up the tissue from the top while some down. Some prefer having their ugali served with a spoon (like me) while others don’t. Some will sleep with their legs on top of their partners while others sleep across the bed. It such simple dissimilarities and sometimes small fights that make a relationship interesting and one an accommodating person. Besides, such differences make a marriage tick, smell like a genuine marriage and grow a couple’s bond. But surely, why would one have ugali served with a spoon!

Children also benefit from the presence of two parents, in their childhood. I think this point can’t be over emphasized. The disadvantages of one spouse working in a distant town are more or less similar to those of absentee parents or single parenting, to children. If I can just paraphrase what I wrote in an article I did at the beginning of this year; Maternal Moments Part 3…..a child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of the child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with a father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving. Now, if one spouse works in a distant town, the children tend to be denied most of their social aspects that come with being brought up by two parents.

One other thing, when you fall sick and need somebody to watch over you or perhaps help in chores you’ll have none but yourself unless you are rich enough to have a domestic worker while you live alone. It’s daunting to have your loved one hundreds of kilometers away while you’re sick and helpless. Emergencies are inevitable and are way complicated in distant marriages. Let’s be pragmatic – For instance if you collapse in your house, who will come to your aid? Costs of running a distant marriage similarly, go over the roof.

There are those moments in marriage when you just have bad days in the office, or you find yourself feeling sad and low, and all you pine for, is to go home and meet your family to forget about the day’s hurdles. This scenario doesn’t work in distant marriages.

Certainly, it’s naive to assume only distant marriages have challenges. All marriages have their lows and highs, struggles and wars they fight. However, when you put pros and cons on a weighing scale, distant marriages have a lot more to lose than gain. But then again, some formations that lead to distant marriages are inevitable like on matters job placements and this leaves a couple with no option than to work around it by working on their trust and being accountable to one another as naturally as it would be if they were living together.

 

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Slayers

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I’m seated in a banking hall clasping on my ticket number, pensively waiting for my turn amid the slow system hardly ever making any meaningful progress.  We are just about to spot a lingerie lining, lay bare from the flaring petite piece of dress that’s the size of my handkerchief which apparently, is miserably trying to cover up a young lass, at one of the tellers just in front of the metal seats. Not to say our eyes have made peace with the exposed kilometers of her brown thighs. She is donning a pale orange dress, translucent and doing lots of injustice in covering her bum. She has a muddle of natural and artificial hair that are blending together, making us struggle to spot the teller serving her. Additionally, she is wearing a bold black lipstick that is fusing with her very light complexion, and on high heels that are doing way little to amplify her height.

I’m here warming my seat next to a gentleman seemingly twice my age. I’ll name him Kibicho* not his real name though. Once in a while, Kibicho will complain to me that queuing in the banking halls before they brought in the ticket systems, was more efficient than nowadays where the process is cumbersome. I tend to agree with him since we’ve been here for over 30 minutes being compelled to consume a marketing gimmick from the tv screen gazing at us. If not that, you’ll find us building castles on such a chilly early morning.

It’s on such a juncture I indulge Kibicho regarding the lady at the teller. I’m so bothered by the length of her dress. To my surprise, he’s like; “That’s not even short! These days they are dressing in very short stuff.” For your information, Kibicho pulled a demeanor of a very hardworking farmer. Look, he was in the banking hall on this hazy morning in muddy gumboots. And he seemed to have concluded few other tasks at home before embarking on a journey to the bank to deposit some cash. He appeared to be one of those who wake up at 4 am to milk, take it to the dairy, feed his livestock, have a session with a vet doctor and take a walk round the farm to find out if the last-night rain reigned havoc on his cow-peas for export, all done while you in bed. He seemed to grow greenhouse tomatoes as well. He could be here to pay school fees for his last born. He looked like those parents who are very organised when it comes to finances. Like, they pay all the running bills well on time and have one of those home-expenses box files kept in the bedroom for all the record keeping. Besides, these fellows are usually ahead of themselves financially.

Back to the girl that made Kibicho and I initiate a man-talk. She seemed to be one of those typical slay queens dotted all over. I’m yet to figure out how she was seated in that erotic dress but then again, nothing beats these ladies’ creativity when it comes to sitting postures.

But what exactly is slaying and who fits in this category and why so many ladies wish to be associated with the whole controversy of slaying?

Well for starters, not every lady who dresses exotically makes it to this clique of slayers. Slaying is the new sophistication a good number of young ladies are using to catch the attention of men. In other words, they dress to impress men. Forget the whole bullshit that men coined the word slay queen to project women as sex objects. That’s far from it. In fact, it is not men who advise women to dress derogatorily. In my local dialect there is a phrase called minji minji which basically means a young, fresh, vibrant, ambitious and beautiful woman. During the last election campaigns, many young women vying for electoral positions rode on that maniac and a number of them successfully sold it to the electorate. My point is, women are at the heart of using certain cards to their advantage and is it a bad idea? It depends with how you look at it.

So, what are the features of a slayer:

No Marriage Plans

Slayers have better things to do than focus on being trapped with the whole melodrama shenanigans that comes with marriage. Well, according to them. They are too cool to be domesticated, caged and to practice submission. They run the show, and can’t afford marriage diplomacy. To them settling down is an anticlimax to life and should only be emulated by boring personas who have nothing better to do than being second fiddle.

They date money

They date any man, married or not provided they own a bank and knows how to treat a woman. They are attracted by financial resources and reckon that the rest will fall into their rightful places in the span of time. They never give a damn whether the alleged men are old folks who struggle to hold together their chain of thoughts or lame duck young blokes or be it men of the cloth if not family men.

Dress Controversially

To cut the niche of a slayer you’ve got to dress bizarrely in the sense that you’ve got to leave tongues wagging, eyes drooling and necks aching. They present the true spirit of ‘my dress, my choice.’ It’s at this point that men are advised to look away and focus on their self-control flaws.

Light Complexion

It might appear unfair but the reality is that, ladies with a light complexion always have a head start in this industry. It is what it is, and the world bends over to that fact. The rest have to work unfairly harder to achieve half of what their counterparts with a lighter complexion tend to gain.

Instagram

They’d rather miss out on any other online platform but have a presence on IG. Here, they post they daily moves from high end washrooms to rest rooms that frequent the big kahunas, in their unconventional dressing styles and flirtatious poses. They also have to be photogenic and exude tremendous affection for the camera.

Physically Endowed

Slayers have to be outstanding in matters of physical beauty. They have to be noticeable and above board. The thing is, they have to be unapologetically stunning and ‘gifted.’ Commonly, they put up quite discernible and disruptive hair styles.

Expensive Accessories

A slayer must have an exorbitant phone to take quality pictures for IG and for hoodwinking potential ‘clients’ that they are the real deal. They’d rather sleep on a cold floor but have a pricey phone to intimidate wannabes.

Party Lover

They are to be found in every exclusive party that’s worth the talk where everything obnoxious takes supreme. They have no problem drinking from Monday to Monday provided somebody is paying the bills.

In the spirit of bro code, gentlemen be advised that the road might be tempting and full of delicacies but very slippery. Slayers have nothing to lose, suffice it to say, you don’t want to be set up like one Deputy Governor!

OFFICE ROMANCES

 

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Office romance is as old as love itself. Its been brewed and given breathe in the high walls of office set ups and graced by likely and unlikely characters masquerading in formal dressing codes since way back. You’ll be shocked or rather amazed depending on which side of the conversation you sit, by the statistics of office coupling. A sizeable number of the workforce have at least on one occasion or another, succumbed to close office relations courtesy of the attraction magnetic pull triggered by long working hours. All be it for quenching lust or seeking genuine love, many get trapped by the blurred web of office affairs.

The interesting bit is, many employees find it annoying, naive and selfish to engage in office relations in as much as they’ve been in them too at some point in their careers. And, did you know women receive more shade than men when they fall prey to office romances. In fact, when women are perceived to be having a thing going on with their senior colleagues or immediate bosses its interpreted to as, a game of coercion for promotion in exchange of sexual favours in as much as, perhaps the woman didn’t make the first move.

But what makes staff vulnerable to these kind of relationships? You know, the more time people spend together, the more they become familiar with one another. The more familiarity grows the more comfortable they become with each other. The more comfortable two people are with one another, the higher the chances of them sharing about personal stuff. The more they share the more subconsciously they view themselves as a couple. While this unfolds the higher the chances colleagues will notice the chemistry in their friendship and start teasing them about it. Do you know so many relationships are cemented by the outside world in this context being office colleagues who start perceiving an office friendship as not just a platonic one!

Interestingly, 90% of office relationships are merely short term in nature. Very few pass the litmus test of leading to something tangible and worth writing home about. Short term meaning they span for less than a year but seemingly one year shelf life out ways many relationships in the outside world. Anyway, where were we; some office relationships die before they start or prior to making the first baby steps. Some vanish in the air before they get noticed by anybody. This is because they are built on sand and in haste. They are moulded by environmental factors and are circumstantial in nature. Meaning, the bigger chunk of the conversations around you two are basically about workplace stuff. Be it about your damn boss, office gossip and so forth. Such a relationship is not sustainable. Few have common values and shared interests outside of the office hence why they are chocked by nature. They say nature has humour.

Office relationships are annoying in the sense that, the consequences of the affair failing are dire. This is because colleagues get attracted by such pep talks doing round in the office corridors. And it’s never funny. They will dig in, gossips will crop up and allegations will be retold over and over again. If you are not careful, the information may even reach to your boss’s desk in very bad state and this may have a negative effect on your career. More harrowing, it might be against your company policy to engage in office relationships. Pleading that you were unaware will not save you but land you at the HR’s office only to be met with a gross misconduct warning letter if lucky not to be issued with a summary dismissal.

The most annoying thing with office relationships is that one tends to be chocked off by the partner. You see, you literally spend 40-45 hours in a week with him/her without even counting hours after you leave office. By the time you reach home there is nothing much to talk about since you’ve been bumping on each other on office corridors and worse still if you work in the same department, you might as well be summoned with the rest of your teammates by your immediate bosses for missing company targets or for poor performance. Moreover, you never can’t have your personal life and space since your spouse is always around you any day and time. And if he or she spots you being hugged ‘intimately’ by a colleague from the opposite gender, your guess is as good as mine how your evening will turn out to be like.

Office relations get over scrutinized by colleagues. Essentially, the pressure becomes too much and there tends to be a lot of public relations to be played especially when things aren’t working out well for both of you. Be it as it may, whether it’s a fling affair or a serious office relationship, a break up from this nature can be the worst of all nightmares you’ve ever grappled with. First of all, there is nothing like amicable breakups in office set ups. You recall my article on Amicable Breakups or Not. Well, it gets uglier by the day, nastier and leaves you dreadful. Office breakups leave you with a permanent punch on your face. They have the potential of making you lose your job or have a serious career take a beating and worst of all, get you paraded in court for allegations of sexual harassment. Before you hop in office affairs, appreciate that office romances and sexual harassment are intertwined and either of it can be used against you in a matter of time.

Plus, who is ready to work with his or her ex in the same office? On my previous post on Amicable Breaksups we delved deeply on the importance of cutting off exes from our lives. Now imagine, your ex being your colleague? Think of the emotional baggage that comes with breakups and ponder dropping at your ex’s desk to work on a particular task together that has a biting deadline. How awkward can that be! What’s more humiliating is helplessly watching your ex warm up to another relationship with another office colleague. Moreover, nature compels your office colleagues to take sides between you two depending on how loyal they are to each one of you. Eventually, such a workplace becomes a stress zone to work from. The thing is, we’ve got to be strategic and think straight with the right ‘head’ before jumping in to every relationship that presents itself right at our noses. We’ve got to think of the repercussions of the potential end even before we toy with the start.

Nevertheless, we all know of couples who’ve dated, gotten married and raised children still working in the same organizations. The thing is, its not a crime to harbor feelings for an office colleague as long as you do it with the right intent and having trusted your intuition. Life should be approached with an open mind and so should it also apply in an office set up. It’s highly important and healthy to make friends, network with colleagues and fuse into the array of office characters. However, boundaries must be set as the odds are clearly overwhelming.

 

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OF AMICABLE BREAK UPS OR NOT

Related image When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most may be clearer in their absence. — Kahlil Gibran. So, is there anything like amicable breakup? Like can you call your significant other and start an awkward conversation with words like’ “Hey babe, I’ve reached a point where I want us to part ways”. And she smiles about it and be like, “sawa tu!” Subsequently, can you then sustain a no strings attached relationship with your ex? Someone said – If you’re still friends with an ex, you’re either still in love or never were.

The longer the relationship, the greater the codependency and the worse a breakup would be. That’s why people who engage in hit and run never get hurt since no emotions are invested in the first place. On the other hand, the would-be ‘victim’ is also likely to heal in no time since the time span is too short to warrant much pain. But of course, there is always the element of being robbed some innocence or being taken for a ride. This mostly happens to women.

But how many people can welcome rejection with a broad smile? Breakups are more or less, versions of rejection especially to partners found flat-footed and bombarded with breakup news. And it can tremendously destabilise one’s life. This is because rejections provoke thoughts of us questioning our true selves and identities. You see, somebody who clearly loved you for quite some time – say several years (not these 6 – 9 months relationships. In fact they don’t suit to be called relationships but hookups.) waking up one day with such hard news or developing signs of breaking up with you can only be tormenting, to say the least. Actually, for some, they jump to friends they friendzoned earlier on just to hide from realities of rejection. Some switch to new-found infatuations where they succumb to unwarranted pregnancies all in denial of a rejection. Some drown to depression or alcoholism.

It sounds very civilized to break up amicably, but I tell you what, the more cordial a breakup is, the higher the chances of a relapse or intrusion into your future. And your future includes you moving on to a serious and long-term relationship or actually marriage. The impact can be dire. Stories have been told of exes showing up at people’s door uninvited for emergency sleepovers. In retrospect, if the break up was relatively hostile or draining the said ex wouldn’t ever show up regardless of the excuse. There is a fallacy that your ex can be a good friend but the reality of it all is that either or both parties will feel vulnerable and temptations are bound to happen.

It’s been proven that any habitual friendship with an ex has every likely element of flirting. And this is mainly aided by the mere fact that the breakup was cordial. I mean with an ex, you can bank on boundaries being blurred and feelings being messy. Haley Nahman a Digital Editor puts it this way; “true motives are often buried in our subconscious, only to be revealed in hindsight, and that’s why this remains a tricky territory.” In other words, you just may never know that it’s not actually advisable to awaken sleeping dogs.

The golden rule is to close that chapter and give the keys to your current significant other to dispose them off. Otherwise, an ex entertained is like having your cake and still intending to eat it. Eventually, you’ll have your fingers burnt off in the cross-hairs. By the way, why an ex’s chapter is tough to close for some is the emotional limbo that comes with a breakup. It’s agonising to reconcile the fate of you being single hence why a majority of the afflicted wouldn’t mind tolerating a friendship with an ex just to find a way of fixing the mess.

On the flipside do you know there could be advantages of breaking up with your ex amicably? To start with, a good term breakup doesn’t mean no one got hurt! It only alludes that there is dignity in letting the other party leave without melodrama. It’s about respecting the mutual reality that things aren’t working for both of you. Of course its emotionally draining, but I tell you what, the lesser the drama, the better the coping mechanism and bouncing back to your old self. Drama attracts people, and people can make you get hurt more. It also robs you respect from would be friends and colleagues or neighbours. However, the main disadvantage with such a breakup is that feelings don’t just disappear even with the time factor. There is a lot of vulnerability at play for the mere reason of a dignified separation.

Toying with an idea that you can be friends with your ex after the breakup, is a catch 22 for many. They find themselves inhibiting their feelings and acting up to a just-friends kind of hook up. There’s the inevitable magnetic pull to each other, which includes still wondering how their family is doing, and still being concerned about their overall well-being. You see, what keeps two former lovebirds apart are the cruel words pronounced during a breakup, revelations that came in too late for instance cheating, and the catastrophic nature of the breakup. You know, there is nothing that tears up and wrenches an individual like cold words coming from somebody you were once adored and occupied your personal space. Moreover, realising your better half was cheating on you behind your back, triggers overwhelming emotions leading to brutal breakups and such chapters getting closed almost immediately.

But the moment you entertain an ex cum friend scenario, the heartbreak progresses from worse to worst.  Appreciate that in such a situation, feelings will just be restrained and the idea of seeing them with somebody else not only makes you envious but tends to hurt you even more. Pundits have it, it’s extremely difficult to watch the same person you once terribly loved with the same lenses of a platonic friend post the breakup. Feelings rebel and become stubborn. Its only easier said than done that an ex can just be a friend. It’s unnatural to reverse your view of somebody who meant everything to you, to just a harmless friend. One or both of you must be lying to each other.

According to relationship experts, be it with relationships, a job or a stage in life, getting closure for any significant moment in one’s life is important for one to heal and move on. A closure means finality; letting go of what once was. And this is regardless of whether a breakup was amicable or not.

‘OVER PUBLICIZED’ RELATIONSHIPS

 

The couple share an intimate moment during aEvery human being devours affirmation and validation. It’s human nature to require some appreciation here and some there. No man is self sufficient and it’s important to feel valued and cherished by the world. Even relationships beg for acceptance. When your friends and family affirm your relationship, it kicks in the feel-good hormones. It works for your esteem. Plus, nobody is immune from street love and blowing of accolades.

Positive affirmations make us feel valued, raises our confidence levels and works amazingly in making us believe in ourselves. Besides, the power of positive affirmation uplifts our moods, make us feel happy and reminds us never to take ourselves for granted. Beyond that, we have to appreciate, to successfully affirm oneself requires a daily ritual of self motivation. Without it, we lose our state of balance and focus which makes everything that matter come down crumbling. Without affirmation we lose the plot.

This brings me to my question; Can we get quality affirmation from social media? After my research, I concluded that, opinion is divided and it depends on who you ask. What is apparent though is that, the online space is not only superficial and addictive but also increasingly unsafe to engage on private matters. Cyber bullying is on the rise and so is data theft. More worrying is a reality that confirms, a primary user has very little control if any, of photos he or she uploads to these platforms. Anyone can download them, and have the reserve to do whatever they so wish including ferrying them to a witch doctor. My point is, don’t over share, period.

Now, relationships…

Every relationship has its private and public life. Depending on how a couple is wired, they may decide to keep off social media and all avenues that encourage public display of affection commonly coined as PDAs. Some may balance it out – letting a teaser of their relationship to the public eye for instance during anniversaries, birthdays and whatever milestones the relationship tends to surmount. And there are couples who go all out, full-blown, sharing their every nitty-gritty, petty or otherwise, aspect of their relationships. To some extent, you feel part of that relationship. Your subliminal mind convinces you, that you’re a partaker and a shareholder of the relationship too. The moment sharing of events and pictures of a relationship simply become too much and go overboard, that is called relationship brag. It’s addictive, makes the couple vulnerable unnecessarily and tends to involve everybody else in their social media space be it complete strangers, virtual friends, secret admirers, acquaintances, frenemies, haters, snitches and anybody else in that composition. They are carried along and consistently fed by the couple’s news-feed.

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Relationship brag is a situation where a couple deliberately and actively make a decision to make aspects of their private relationship, public. It’s a psychological disorder. It’s a condition that can be interpreted to mean – “Hey, I matter. I exist.” In my opinion, it has nothing to do with ego but a question of demanding to be validated and cherished by all means possible. The more insecure we’re feeling, the more likely we are to post about how great we are.

What exactly is over-sharing?

Well, oversharing is when the rest of us have an idea of how your wardrobe looks like even when we have never met you in person. It is when your virtual friends can successfully break into your house, eyes closed and putting on masks and still manage to run through all your rooms pointing out your most valuable items even when you’ve never invited them before. Over sharing is when we know all your hairstyles and what pair of shoe is in your shoe rack from January to December yet we only happen to meet in the virtual world.

Facebook depression is the culture of spending too much time on social networks at the expense of doing something constructive. And people who over share depict an unusual sensitivity to social rejection. That is, if they don’t share they feel left out. We have commercialized happiness and equated it to mean, the more you expose intimate messages and pictures about your loved ones, necessarily espouses how much you love them. Hahaha, not necessarily so. It could be a case of coercion or demarcating one’s territory or distracting your spouse.

You see, over sharing is a breeding ground for straight forward facts like – Couples who over share do so to convince us to help them convince themselves that they were meant for each other. Without us, they are long gone, for worse. Voodoo validation from social networks especially for relationship purpose is nothing but smoky, unmerited and holds no credible substance. And by the way, there is a direct and strong correlation between narcissistic people and them that over share on social media. Boy! have you met narcissistic people? You’ll pee on yourself. They are hell and can make you explode. They have the energy to make you lose your esteem if it’s not intact.

One unhealthy way of boosting one’s self esteem is by invoking envy from other people. By oversharing or making private aspects of your relationship subject of discussion by all and sundry, you tend to lie to yourself, that you’re a big deal. You cannot compel people to make you a sell-out! As a matter of fact, that’s being desperate. When you are genuinely happy and in an authentic relationship, you have nothing to prove to anybody. You have no followers to feed, nor tabs to keep. And as they say, sometimes less is more!

A good number of local celebs who’ve engaged in over publicized relationships have been forced to delete their social media footprints that were once awash with overshared private lives after their relationships went downhill. Without mentioning names, there are obvious suspects a case in point being one relationship of two media lovebirds who coughed millions to hold a posh wedding that lit social media streets only for the relationship to go down crumbling after a few months. You also must be living in a cave if you don’t know of this fine blogger who got proposed on top of Mt.Kenya where a meal was prepared by the said man and his pilot in the ice cold ambiance that consequently crushed the online networks for a couple of weeks only for the couple to separate recently.

We watched the rise and fall of Diamond and Zari right in front of our noses. In fact, if the social networks could attest, they could create an entire thrilling series courtesy of the millions of photos uploaded by the once East & Central Africa’s most powerful showbiz couple. And as their relationship disintegrated, their baby daughter Princess Tiffah still commands a whooping over 1.5 million followers.

When Shaffie Weru travelled to the US last year for a vacation, his top notch house was broken into. From then, he ceased from posting pics of his digs. In late 2016, Kim Kardashian got robbed her 11 million US dollar ring in her Paris hotel room after posting it on social media. What’s my point? There is a connection between over-sharing and breakage of houses. Stop it my friend!

The more people you draw in your relationship, the more agitation and right of consultancy they will demand at your time of break up. This is because you made your private life their business and chose to feed them with daily fodder hence the interest to watch you sink just as they stomached you rise, toppling and overshadowing their lives. The right of consultancy will include and not be limited to making you a laughing stock, skinning you alive, trading unsubstantiated rumours, tearing your dignity apart and much more theatrics to humble you. Basically, there is no grace in over sharing especially when it’s time to pack your stuff in a relationship as the internet never forgets even when you delete your over saturated life in the social media.

 

FRIENDSHIPS

Friendships

A best friend is someone you’re not only going to love all your life, they are also your biggest critic and strongest supporter. They are your late-night mentors, daylight umbrellas, and midday co-conspirators. You feel secure with them, but more importantly being vulnerable never felt as comfortable as it does when you’re with them. Best friends calm your deepest fears and tickle all your funny bones. – Sanah Rizvi

The social fabric of any society depends on the quality of the friendship culture. Urbanisation has stretched our socialization and so has it deepened the norm in individualism. Rarely do we find people engaging in estates especially in middle class and high-end residences and if they do it’s exchanging brief pleasantries and that’s it. It’s important to appreciate that human beings were designed to be social creatures. It’s highly beneficial to their wholesome health and stability. In fact, solid friendships aid in the making of better lifestyle choices, maintaining strong mental health, triggering self-assurance, self-worth, and happiness, majorly helping in reducing stress impacts, health problems and contributing immensely in one’s personal growth.

According to Dr.Bitange Ndemo an Associate Professor at University of Nairobi and former ICT Permanent Secretary, – “The Kenyan culture is such that people attach value to friendship, but their friends value them for their money or influence.” He goes on to add that, there is a strong convergence on the nature of relationships with people when one’s fortunes tend to deteriorate. This is documented in one of his popular articles titled – The day I left office my phone literally stopped ringing.

That said, do you know we have a million and one types of friendships and not all of them are beneficial. It’s important to decipher the rules of engagements and whether your interests are protected. As a matter of principle, you should never allow friends to choose you, rather it should be you who choose them. This is because friends occupy the very core space of our lives hence the need to ensure that privilege stands not to be abused.

The very common attributes of true friends include people who point out your mistakes truthfully. However, not many so-called friends grow the guts to confront you with brutal honesty. Many practice a lot of ‘Public Relations’ with you and later confide to skin you alive with their other ‘friends’. True friends tell when you are being unreasonable and yet stand with you even when they never agree with you. They help you succeed and unequivocally celebrate your success and draw immense of lessons from your failures too.

Here are some types of friendships;

Childhood friends

These are buddies that literally coined your formative world. You happened to be village mates or nursery school pals and have watched your life stem up at a cross range. They have been there at your every stage of life, from the darkest corner of circumstances to your glowing season of achievements. They sort of could write a better story of you than any other friend since they have crossed roads with a substantial period of your past and present.

Circumstantial Friends

These are friends you can’t avoid having and don’t amount to much. They are friends of your current circumstances. The moment you change towns or graduate to another stage of life your friendship sinks. They fall away never to be heard again. They could be anything from deskmates, schoolmates, estate mates, church mates and office colleagues.

Friends for validation

It’s weird but it happens. You know of people who literally force friendships just to be associated with you. It could be because of your career, influence, wealth or personality. You could be the most sort after government officer or seem to have it all working out for you – moneywise, success, careerwise and zeal of cutting deals. These friends place themselves in your life purely for selfish gains.

Friends for convenience 

These are friends you always call to bail you out. More often than not, you text them to borrow cash than to find out how they are faring. Since you have these class thing to maintain and protect, you can never solicit cash from buddies in your lane since they will judge and tarnish your name hence the need to have ‘Friends for Convenience’ purpose whom you lose nothing by engaging them for quick fixes.

Best Friends – Forever

Mostly from the opposite gender – they are there to detoxify your emotional baggage and harbor all your secrets and naughty laughters about your latest catch or issues in your relationships. These are friends you keep it ‘real’ to. You share an interesting history which rather creates a soft landing for all your vulnerabilities.

Toxic Friends

They are worse than enemies. They happen to know so much about you and have a way of rubbishing off all your small efforts and achievements by simply ‘blue-ticking’ them. They make you look bad at least most of the times and seem to cherish when your life is at a grand halt. They have this demeanor of proving to you they are doing better, from things they claim to own, to making you understand they rub shoulders with whos who in town. In other words, they breathe a larger than life lifestyle that only exists in their mind.

Spendthrift Friends

These are friends that are there to milk out all your hard earned money. They are never there when you camp at peoples’ offices to pitch proposals but somehow pop out when you have it nice and dry. The only ideas they seem to worry about is making it to Rhino Charge somewhere in the dusty deserts of Samburu, or traveling to a beach party in Nyali if not savoring to the latest joint in town or moon-walking god knows where. They are such a bad influence if tolerated for long. They are broke on ideas that would help you guys make money but when it comes to spending, they light up.

Diehard Friends

You are conjoined by a definitive story of life. You’ve waded over tough times together and been there at each other’s life milestones be it camping with you in the maternity corridors when your wife labored, at respective dowry ceremonies, weddings, graduations, or at your career highlights. These are folks you can trust with anything. They are ever available when life hiccups come calling. They are simply a call away from anything life may present. These are chaps who cover up for you. They are your right-hand men/women. They could also be former schoolmates whom you’ve not met for half a million years but keep tabs with all your progressive life landmarks.

Virtual Friends

These are friends that were born by social media. They exist virtually and are powered by data bundles. You met along the streets of social platforms and seem to share some common interests. You may never meet but hasn’t the world been made such a global village courtesy of technology!

BFFs

Cross-sex friendships are based on attraction and quest for chemistry. A number of them survive devoid of lust but only for a limited period of time before one party develops a crush on the other. World over, the best selling romantic novels and movie series are based on long-time best friends falling in love. Platonic friendships are based on exuding a mutual connection without worrying of judgments, however, they travel along a very slippery path that could beat the whole purpose of the relationship. So, are platonic friendships sustainable in the long run? Do you have a friend of the opposite sex who portends a harmless and too-caring demeanor?

Would you allow your girlfriend or wife and vice versa to have an all-time best friend from the other gender? And the role of a best friend would include advising and acting as a trustee and confidant to your significant other. He or she would be narrated all your weaknesses and advise your partner accordingly on how he or she would react, including having the rights to lend a shoulder to lean on when your relationship hits a snag. In other words, you’d be reported to him or her whenever you disappoint. He or she will also tend to grasp so much of your spouse’s secrets than you’ll ever know. If that’s the case, how far should best friends go and where should you draw the line?

Something is for a fact though – Relationships that rely on third parties to iron out their issues run into a lot of troubles and vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, couples that engage in infidelity have best friends being their first line of target. Bffs offer the very first grounds for luring couples into cheating if not putting the relationship into jeopardy. And it starts with emotional cheating before progressing to the physical one. Speaking of which, who provides the best fodder and fertile land to cheat on, than a bff who is more than ready and available to suck up all your emotional baggage? That’s where the chicken come home to roost, warming up to his/her emotional attachment which includes subtle flirting.

When you get into a long-term relationship that is likely to lead to marriage, the first agenda should be to identify all his/her bffs and run through their specific roles. Get to know the unique purpose they play and this vacuum they tend to fill. Of course, this should be done at the courtship stage in a very diplomatic way that requires a lot of delicate balancing.  The thing is, you must reign on bffs from the opposite sex no matter how good they are or assumed to be before they reign on you. It’s a question of who brinks fast and whose interests are being served. If it’s to secure your territory in the long run, it will so much depend on how you relate to your partner’s bff on the onset. If they imagine they are unchallenged or it’s business as usual, then they will gradually amass enough guts to even casually tease around your man/woman in your vicinity. You and I know too well where this can lead to. If you make your bed, so must you lie on it.

So, how do bffs come about? How do we find ourselves in these circumstances?

In my opinion, there are four avenues that provide the necessary ingredients and breeding ground for bffs to germinate, prosper and eventually shadow your introspection.

Way-back EXs

An Ex is a dangerous card if shuffled around. They are hazardous and infect like plagues hence why by all means possible, they should be completely shut off from one’s life. If that’s not the case, they have a way of making very calculated risks and scoring long balls from half the pitch. If given a chance, they have a way of warming up to bffs where they will camp for a while as they gather sufficient intelligence and devising ways to disarm and arm-twist you and finally recharge when you least expect.

Friendzone

Friendzone is a situationship where potential boyfriends/girlfriends are sort of locked in for god-knows how long. These are friends who, unfortunately, are not very appealing to being somebody’s partner even when they show the interest and flair of it hence given a soft landing so to speak, in the friend zone arena. There’s usually one or two traits about them that rather doesn’t convince or encourage you to jump into dating them. It could be that they neither have that charm and the wow-factor nor a substantial level of fire that is required for the relationship to bear legs. But they are good keeps for friends though. They end up being very entertaining friends, loyal and dependable since they are always ready to please you.

Familiarity

Familiarity is slightly different from being friendzoned in the following aspect – The person in this context could possess all the qualities of a person you could date but your connection tends to go overboard to an extent both of you develop a sibling-like kind of attachment. If it’s the dude, he sort of fails to give the aroma that comes with dating and you end up becoming too close at the wrong stage of the friendship. Or the person becomes too nice, too genuine and too available. Sometimes that alone holds back someone’s feelings. You see, to be attracted to someone, there should be that element of working hard to clinch it. When the person is too available, too willing to bend over to your terms and too submissive, it kills the magical oomph that is cognisant to keeping the two hearts dazzling and synchronized. Eventually, one can be friendzoned.  You could think of a deskmate or classmate or a girl/boy next door relationship.

Family friends

Any typical family has a tradition of cultivating and maintaining a special relationship with another family sharing the same values.  It happens that under these occasional encounters, children belonging to these two families are compelled to be friends, right from childhood all the way to adulthood and observe the requisite level of diplomacy to their counterparts. Normally, these friendships may lead to lifetime friends if not marriage. These kind of relationships are clouded by a lot of commonalities and history hence forming an ideal basis for bff friendships to blossom.

Couples should be very careful about how they navigate the whole idea of engaging third parties in their marriages/relationships to administer solutions to their marital flaws. The more one engages third parties the more they become vulnerable to infidelity. You see, cheating is cancerous and breeds very aggressively the moment third parties, especially from the opposite gender, get privy to privileged information about the struggles of a so-called best friend in a committed relationship.

More often than not, bff friendships that work around underneath marriage and stable relationship establishments, have a way of draining the enthusiasm and energy from the primary relationship hence deflating these solid relationships to empty shells that risk capsizing.

 

 

TET A TET WITH DAD

Dad & Son When a friend narrated to me how once in a while he teams up with his dad to cultivate some men talk in a bar, it took me back. It baffled and fascinated me at the same time. If my dad was alive today, would he call me at one of those lazy Saturday afternoons and be like –  “Hey, are you free, can we meet in town?” And I’d respond from the other end; “Oh sure, why not?” Why I’d be baffled is because my dad wouldn’t dare drink, smoke or act drank right in front of his children. If he was alive today and his sons having grown beards and clocking three decades, he’d perhaps be tempted to surprise us with one of those pep talks.

I’d meet him in a bar that has dignity and manners where old folks mostly retirees drink diligently listening to permeating country road music that would soothe even their bone marrow. Certainly, it would not be the same us listening to Man Not Hot lyrics as all they do is prick the ears – Pap, pap, ka-ka-ka! Skindiki screw pap-pap And a pu-pi-drrr-boom! Skya Du-du-ku-ku-pun-pun Poom-poom.  And it would be a man’s exclusive club kind of thing, not a dodgy, stuffy bar with half-naked lasses dancing exotically. By the way, such a rendezvous encounter would be next to rare to ever happen since normally the two of us would only have such talks when I visit home or during family meetings.  Anyway, back to the bar stuff. Here, the waiters would be decently dressed buttoning up their shirts to the last button and crowing it with a bow-tie and their skirts length being at the knee. This would be in sharp contrast to the usual ones we are used to, who parade their cleavages and upper thighs for whoever is interested in devouring them and wear high heals taller than their reputes. They’d also have different varieties of brandy and torts hedged along their handkerchief-long skirts to seductively convince you to sample them.

We’d sit in one of those isolated corners and delve in man to man talk as we pour down our throats some cold stuff after savouring on a fish fillet fingers meal served with tartar sauce and frozen wedged Nyandarua potatoes for late lunch. The only thing that would eavesdrop our conversation would be the cold breeze permeating through the elegant one – way glass window, doing a lot of justice to the soaring temperatures of the so-called month of love and romance.

We would dig into self-employment and how it has been like close to a year after I made the decision to quit my employment where I’d worked for 5 solid years with an assured salary and job security.  I’d make dad understand how tough the decision was but a turnaround to how I viewed life going forward. The fact that my conscious, soul, spirituality, family and body language were all for it, I was more than ready to explore the world I hadn’t, having been confined for five years doing the same thing day in day out in the same environment so to speak. He’d nod as his hands tore apart the finger-licking meal. I’ll be like; “Dad, self-employment is very very tough, challenging, risky, unpredictable but very fulfilling. This is because I found it very unfair working all my prime years for someone under his terms. I have always desired to do what I love most. Trading my skills at the highest reasonable price and having time to nurture my writing career and enough for my family. Enough to visit you and mum upcountry and initiate projects that I will have the free-will to monitor without requesting permission from my damn boss. Being flexible and relying on my hard work instead of the mercy of someone, was what was burning inside me before I quit my job.”

Dad would interject and be like; “Andrew, that was exceedingly profound of you. Since success is all about transformation. In other words, it’s an enemy of stagnation and comfort zone. It’s the continuous disruption of your comforts. You know when you are employed an 8-5 job, somebody tends to program your destiny. However, self-employment is not for the faint-hearted, it must be done at the right time when one is well prepared.”

We’d talk about the boy child and how he has been the laughing stock; receiving all the ridicule and sideshows the world has got. I’d indulge dad of how and when we lost it as poor sons of the soil. Dad would gulp his wine glass and take his time fetching for a perfect answer. “You know Andrew, we no longer have credible role models for the boys out there and gentlemen to identify with. Many dads, no longer care about legacies they are passing on to their sons. There is no mentorship at all. Look at the many forums available for women to empower themselves. We forgot about traditions and our culture. How many of your peers for instance have joined the association of Kiama kia Ma where young Gikuyu men are nurtured and comprehensively introduced to the cultures of a typical Gikuyu man and endowed with a responsibility to not only be a custodian of our heritage but to protect and abide by it and help it flourish to the rest who are not in the know. Again, conventional men have become too emotional and fluid. They are too insecure, sensitive and seeking lots of validation from social media and a world that, in fact, is exerting its energy in demasculinising them.

We’d explore on how marriage institution is being fought left, right and centre and how weak-man-syndrome has grossly contributed in tainting it. “You know your generation has an immense problem with commitment. You have no patience over anything. And again, you want it all. You can’t have your cake and eat it. You must learn to live with your wife no matter what…not unless a life is threatened. Your generation must have the balls to confront life even when the situation doesn’t favour you. You must demonstrate the character of not giving up easily,…holding on and believing it will eventually work out.  It’s important for the married to learn how to fuse their characters with those of their spouses and compromising on areas that would otherwise trigger issues.” He would quip.

“Dad, have we over glorified success and got it all wrong?” I’d ask him. “Seemingly so! Young people aren’t shy from quick stuff, instant gratification, eeeh and quick success that has no foundation nor grace.”

We’d talk about his passion for livestock keeping and how he’s carrying on with it. “Zero grazing is awesome. I’m enjoying it but it’s a bit dry now though I’ve stocked enough hay for the next 8 months and lots of nappier grass in the shamba. Interestingly, the bull rearing business is really picking up. I’m buying young ones soon after the weaning stage and reselling them at a substantial profit 2 – 3 years down the line. I have clients from as far as Isiolo and Makueni.”

Occasionally our thoughts would be lost in the moment a while longer. We’d gaze at the silhouettes of birds flying home across the sky as dusky darkness would intensify giving way to thousands of stars littered all over the place. At such a moment, it would beckon to both of us that it’s time to leave.

WHY MARRIAGE IS STRUGGLING

Ladies and gentlemen, sad to let you know we are in deep sh*t. As we speak, marriage institution in Kenya is under assassination and serious siege. In other words, it’s half frozen, its nostrils dangling in deep waters, legs upside down, wobbling for help. It has been forcibly captured and capsized by the evil, bloody spirits full of venom and where Samanthas, Slay queens, Side dishes, Strippers, Socialites, Seducers, Sponsorees, Serial Killers, Slanderers and did they say Sh*tholes…call the shots and rule with impunity in this game of musical chairs.  It’s not even a question of broken vows or dishonoured promises but who is behind strangling marriage and oiling the evil spirits that are getting into people’s heads only to unleash terror, horror, violence, bloodshed and premature deaths to the very core of society – Family. Here, we are gazed by a shocking reality pondering on what may have warranted such horrible, painful, cold, bloody and untimely deaths of precious loved ones.

Deaths that have left behind traces of gaping voids that depict a nation badly wounded and bleeding from within. Desperation, ill mental health, lack of stress management mechanisms and moral rot can only be assumed as the obvious causes of such dire calamities that have befallen today’s society. What is left behind is a community picking up the pieces and trying to make sense of these wild patterns that have rendered many orphans, single parents, divorcees, or empty shells of debris after an entire family lineage has been wiped off.

Marriage has been ransacked and tore apart by hungry carnivores in the name of Alcoholism, Cheating and Infidelity, Finances, Low libido, Mistrust and a society struggling with debauchery addiction. Speaking of finances – They say money and marriage is an age-old problem. Many married couples face tests that threaten to crumble down their marriages whenever they fail to come clean on their financial status and worth. In fact, a myriad of conflicts in marriage has been attributed to couples mistrusting one another on money issues and undisclosing how much they own. Some go to an extent of operating secret bank accounts or registering their assets with the names of their children and not their spouses. Couples that tend to show an unusual appetite for materialism desires at the expense of cultivating authentic happiness are much vulnerable to money-related conflicts regardless of how rich or poor they are.

Further, many married women are living lonely and unhappy lives due to men forsaking to honour their cardinal responsibility of providing for their families. On the other hand, legions of women too, are triggering lots of pressure to their husbands to live up to the expectations of the social class they perceive to be in. Consequently, if such men don’t honour such expectations, they are denied respect and dignity in their homes and gradually become way unpopular even to their children. Much propaganda is fed to the kids thereby poisoning their souls to abhor cold feelings towards their dads.

Marriages that have no common goals or priorities tend to weaken their financial growth and capacity. While everybody should be allowed to pursue their individual goals in life, in marriage, major decisions that affect a huge chunk of the family budget should be smoothly harmonised to avoid future conflicts. It’s a fact that, spendthrift is the number one financial cause for divorce be it in gambling, alcohol or impulse buying. While it may be smooth sailing for ordinary relationships, clearly, marriage has never been a bed of roses and as it demands disclosure and transparency for fewer conflicts to occur. Those who defy this rule find the going quite unbearable and tough.

Infidelity in marriages has contributed to many bloody separations if not leading to death. No one time hasn’t the media reported of cases of love-triangles oscillating around married people and side women. Many marriages have come to a grand halt due to cheating or realising their marriages have been rocked by secret concubines. Majority of men are very much vulnerable to keeping side women for selfish desires. Concubines use soft power strategy which usually involves massaging man’s ego and tending to depict submissive demeanour to win over them. What many men don’t realise or only do it in hindsight when it’s too late, is that concubines’ end game is to eliminate man’s wife from her territory and ending up inheriting what the wife or children would have stood to gain. Broadly, we have two types of cheaters. People who cheat because it’s in their DNA and character to cheat. These are fellows who can’t control themselves whenever an alluring skirt wearer is in their vicinity. They are controlled by lust and tend to cover up their insecurities by breeding as many cheats in their lives. Indeed, it’s a question of seeking validation and feeding their life inadequacies. The other lot of marriage cheats happen due to prolonged dissatisfaction or unresolved issues in marriage. While this is not an excuse, it’s important for couples to address issues timely instead of shelving them under the carpet where they build up only to choke them later on.

Does it bother you how many young ladies in their twenties and early thirties that find it attractive to date married men? While this is done perhaps to boost their narcissistic ego and feed their hypersexuality, many more practice it out of peer pressure for financial breakthroughs. And with all due respect to single mums, there are a number of them who chest thump on social media how they are able to provide for their kids if not playing the role of father and mum which by the way is a credit to them, BUT end up being laid by married men not once, not twice, not thrice but regularly. Woman, that’s double standards!

Clearly, we are a generation that due to its insatiable desire to live-large, exude instant gratification or clueless on coping with life’s demands and dynamism are unable to manage our stress levels. Unfortunately, we’ve left poorly lit and ill-funded mental facilities and very few number of counsellors and unaffordable psychiatrists to address the issue of depression. Surely, Mathare Mental Hospital is a drop in the ocean if we will ever successfully address stress-related deaths in the society. Mental health needs to be well funded and devolved. As a matter of fact, we need well equipped mental hospitals in every County in Kenya.

Be it as it may, we need to indulge further as a nation on the need to preserve family heritage by reclaiming it from the jaws of domestic violence and unfounded deaths. Worse still, the fact that innocent children are being killed in the melee of unresolved issues is an invitation for God’s wrath on us. Moreover, bloodshed is a direct curse. No one has the mandate to terminate another person’s life regardless of the situation.

More fundamentally, couples should take their time in dating to learn more about each other. And while it’s naive to imagine you can exhaust getting to know somebody, usually, there are red signs and no go zones traits you can observe while still dating someone. Besides, getting to know one’s family, their values and reputation is equally as important. By the way, successful marriages are not about marrying the most curvaceous woman or the tallest and richest man, it’s about investing in discipline, authentic friendship, teamwork and sacrificing for one another for the greater good of family accomplishment.

 

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