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.

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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.

 

 

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