All posts by Anyanwu Magnus

How to break from a relationship

It might be to that point where things do not seem to have a headway in a relationship. Have you thought about breaking up?

Now you may think I’m some angel of bad news, but nothing is as bad as enduring a bad relationship. Let us get somethings straight, dating someone is not the same as being married to them, those are two different things. We are talking about people who have not bound themselves up in matrimony. At this point, you like the person so much to want to be in a relationship with them. As with most things in life, none last forever.

You might not be happy with your partner, you feel abused, exploited or you have a change of mind about the relationship, it is not going to be easy to break up that relationship. This doesn’t mean you will keep on in the relationship; it’s best that a breakup occurs. We would like to explore some ways people can end such relationships while avoiding a likely backlash.

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For some persons, a decision and outright pronouncement is made and the relationship is over. They go away and move on. For others, it is a more delicate matter. It takes months of preparation and planning. For such persons, it would be best to perceive breakup as a journey and for which I would like to suggest the following points.

1. Reflect

Think clearly about this decision and how you would like to do it. I mean, the words to say and how you say them. Do not be irrational or sentimental, it is a decision about the heart.

2. Choose a location and meet with them.

This is important, so both of you can meet. If you are worried about safety (because some partners can become emotional and harmful) do it in a public place. You can go with someone if it makes you feel safe.

3. Do it physically, in their presence.

This is important as it gives you some psychological strength to move on. Also, it confers on you some dignity and respect and it shows respect for the other person. This isn’t a declaration of a Cold war. Do not text or ask a friend to do it, do it in person.

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4. Speak plainly.

Do not use ambiguous statements or go around in circles. Tell the person what is on your mind so as to avoid passing the wrong message. Don’t say ‘… let us just be friends…’ or ‘… let us take a break…’ Call it what it is.

5. Be resolved.

Stick to what you have decided to do. It is understood that it is not an easy decision. But remember, not all things which matter in life are easy. There will be moments when you wish you haven’t done it, miss the person or feel too much pain that you want to undo what is done. If you want to move on, stand by your word.

 

6. Seek support.

Seek it from friends and close family members. Not all of life’s burdens should be borne alone; cry, listen to music, stay with friends and do fun things. This way, moving on is easier.

Do not continue to in that relationship if it becomes a burden. Such relationships have been implicated as a cause of depression and suicides. Look on the bright side and make a move. After the breakup, do not feel bad, depressed like you are the worst person on earth. Pick up and move on. Seek support from friends and family who understand and keep believing. You can find love again!

#4 Reverberations

In our society, the belief that the spiritual or invisible world control the physical world is held high. This belief is held by different persons, religious adherents and self –proclaimed atheists. It forms some of our decisions and contemporary culture. As a result, it is possible that many people do not see present happenings as a result of past decisions. Maybe they do, but as is consistent with human nature, they find something outside themselves to blame. The Devil is the major culprit. Other culprits are as follows in no particular order: one’s grandmother; the aged relatives in the villages; witches; enemies and evil people.

This was the same view Chioma held as well as her fellow gang members when interviewed on television. The church joined in the same voice denouncing the devil as the architect of the downfall of such valiant soldier of the Lord as Chioma. Prayers were held for her release and the services of a lawyer was employed. Eventually, she got out of the case, mysteriously, while other members of the gang were taken to court. The following Sunday, a big hallelujah was given to the Lord who had saved her from the lion’s den amidst much music and dancing.

I left the church, and so did others too. It was too much for us to bear. We wondered about the logic behind someone caught during a robbery and assassination incident and the devil. The devil must be a boring sadist!

At school, Tobi and I continued to top results at every examination. Fellow students saw us as a force to be reckoned with. Soon, some started asking us to write exams, do projects and assignments for them. I did them because I needed the money, I don’t know why Tobi did. I made a lot of money from this “business” as all of my clients were never disappointed.

I came into the department office one day and came upon the HOD scolding a guy whom I had helped write his project over some inaccuracies in some data input in his work. As soon as I got in, he saw me and threw a cold stare at me. I looked away, turned and left in a hurry. Later that day, he sent me a text threatening to harm me should he repeat the project.

Now, I didn’t put in wrong data, I got it from someone he had directed me to. Since I was the only one he saw at the time, he decide to lash out on me.

He had to repeat the project as the data inputted were very wrong and affected his results. Also, he couldn’t say a thing about the project topic during the Defence. Now I am in trouble.

While ruminating over what to do during the drive home one day, I ran into a guy with whom I served at the church. I found out from him that the pastor had been dragged to court by his wife over marital infidelity and she wanted the church and its businesses as part of her divorce settlement. Trouble started when the pastor was caught in bed with Chioma. Yes, our Chioma!

Now, who do we blame this incidence on? On what do we blame the inability of a graduating student who cannot write his own project and defend it? On what do we blame someone who takes on the job of writing other peoples’ exams, assignments, and projects?

#3 Something higher than us

Chioma stopped coming to church, just like that. Several visits to her place revealed that she no longer stayed there. I kept going to the church and joined the technical team. The zeal of the young worshippers in the church spurred me on and life became less unbearable.

Tobi gave up on his girlfriend even after his mother reached out to her. Tobi began to complain a lot. He kept talking about the selfishness and obstinacy of girls and concluded that they were evil, after all, they follow after their matriarch, Eve.

School life was hectic with lectures, projects, and assignments. We were committed to our academics and put in our best. Exams came and went and we came out with good grades, having the best GPAs in our different departments. Tobi started dating again. I was happy for him; it was a sign, to me, that he had moved on. I encouraged him, not knowing I was leading my friend into trouble.

Tobi started keeping late nights and changed his girlfriend. At first, I didn’t object. After all, he is a grown man with rights and he could do whatever he wants. As assiduous as ever, he took his studies seriously and went to church but he changed his partners like the cloths on his body. He doesn’t think women should be given any chance. They were not worth any genuine attention. I saw the light go from his eyes.

Our Pastor preached a lengthy sermon one Sunday about life after death. He spoke about the beauties of a place called Heaven where the saints dwell, of the wonderful conversations he would have with Jesus when he got there. He spoke also of a place called Hell. His description of it gave it off as a horrible place for those who did terrible things.

Why would there be a place for people who did terrible things if we could do what we wanted? Why would such a good God, who gave up His Son to die, send his creatures to such a terrible place? Or maybe it was just a fable to make unbelievers convert. Or maybe not.

At the least likely moment, Chioma resurfaced. She was paraded on television as a member of a gang of robbers who attacked and murdered an influential politician. This girl whose passion made me a Believer is now a known and paraded criminal.

I shed tears.

#2. The Way Things Are Meant To Be

In the months that proceeded, Tobi traveled to his home town to see his mother. I went to church for the first time in months due to the pestering of a neighbor, Chioma. She was a lively girl and full of passion for the faith she professed.

The service was awesome; the music presentations, sermon and prayer sessions. One particular thing the preacher spoke about was the assurance of salvation by the believer as long as he was born again. This was regardless of how he lived his life or the moral choices he makes. “Just believe” he said, “… the blood always speaks for us…” It sounded loudest above everything else the preacher said. As against the puritanical background I grew up in, here was a breath of fresh air, a sweet release. I am free to act as I want. All I had to do was believe. The blood spoke for me.

I was ecstatic with this newfound doctrine and went to church services often with Chioma. I thought back on my parents’ divorce. It was one of those occasions whereby married couples decide to separate when they get tired of seeing each other. The poverty we suffered still tugs at my heart. My father was in Europe with his new family, probably having the time of his life while my mother struggled to get by every day.

Despite the poverty, I felt the new-found knowledge gave me power over my life and what happens. It resolved the guilt of writing that exam for my friend.

Tobi came back soon afterward and with bad news. His longtime girlfriend was with his child. She has insisted on having an abortion after he had begged her to keep it. He promised he would take care of them. She insisted that her body was hers and she could do whatever she wanted. Tobi explained to me that he didn’t care if she wanted to marry him or not, but since the child was his first, he wants to keep it.

I am confused again! Both of them could do as they wanted since my new-found doctrine preached that we are free to choose, but it seems to be threatening the foundation of a relationship that has stood for 7 years. I think back to my parents: after 20 years of marriage and five children, they still divorced.

Is this the way things are meant to be?

How to be a man │2019 International Men’s Day

“…I stood from my chair and to greet him. She sat on the sofa, he sat on the other chair. I put on the brightest smile I had and tried to speak clearly and fluently. He looked at me, she smiled at me. I looked at him but he didn’t smile back, he had his eyebrows raised. He asked of my age, state of origin, if I was dating, if I lived alone and which of my parents I am close to.

The woman kept smiling at me and wanted answers. So I opened my mouth and gave out the answers making sure it was free from grammatical blunders in my up tone, gentle voice. He asked me to shout as roman soldiers shouted when given commands, whenever he called my name. He wanted to make me strong.

The woman kept smiling at me, her smile whiter than I had noticed before. He asked when I would get married and to what type of girl. I felt embarrassed. He apologized and said he only wanted to know more about me.

He told me that he suspected I should be close to my mom and that she spoilt me. He said that if he were my mother, he would get me out of the house to stay on my own. “He likes men who act like men and are strong because the world is a tough place…”

 

“… I have always longed to be in this choir. I have heard their anthem, it gives me goosebumps. I auditioned and got enlisted in the Tenor part of the choir. It was there I met this wonderful young man who seemed to release the musical potential in me. I drank from his wealth of knowledge on music and took the voice lessons he proposed.

He composes music especially classical pieces and likes me to participate in critique sessions. I took the soprano parts. I discovered that I could sing on that range quite comfortably and told him about it. He encouraged me, showing examples of professional male soprano singers.

We met a friend who was a good Tenor singer. His singing voice was enviable, he could sing comfortably on a high pitched voice and the ladies loved him for it. Trouble came when he heard me sing in my soprano voice. He said it was not good for a man to sing like a woman, that it emasculates them; that he preferred me to sing tenor and he could teach me how to sing better. I turned deaf ears.

In time he made me the object of his every bad joke in our part, so much so that soon afterward I decided to join the soprano part officially. I was in that part till I left the choir…”

 

Men can dream too, let them dream. Men are individuals, let them be unique. Men are persons, let them live their lives. This is not to ask men to become women or less-men. It is a call to allow men to live out their full potential as creatures and children of God, “Children” of God. Bind men with responsibilities, and bind them with the courage to live their dreams. Build men to be strong but teach them that strength lies in the heart, in making the right choices. Tell them that you love them, that you know that they bleed, that they have a right to cry.

 

Happy International Men’s Day!