The Damper on Things

Now this one is a tough one. Girl meets boy, everything seems all nice: he makes her laugh, he calls, sends those ‘pointless’ text messages – then voilá! All over sudden, Adam won’t call or send a text message. It is now 12 days and I am counting – she is not :). Precarious situation – she will not call him because she called him last, they had a nice chat and that was it. I am tempted to tell her to call him, but she is the kind that believes in trying for the first and second times, and not the third – you cannot transfuse a dead horse! 🙂

If only it would ring.....

First damper on things: ‘he won’t communicate’, and then Eve is tempted to speculate. The authors of “He’s Just Not That Into You” will say ‘just move on’! Find another. But humanly speaking I was tempted, so I asked why or rather I wanted her to speculate. She did not know what the issue was/is; the last time they were together, everything seemed O.K. and they parted on a good note. Surely someone deserves to know why the “good morning”, “good night” “how is your day”? text messages became extinct? This being one of my favorite girlfriends, I feel like storming into that Adam’s skull, pasting sense in his head and then walking to lay in wait – from a distance – see if he will produce a better response.

Then from the blue, I am reminded of Toni Braxton’s song ‘Pulse’; she will not give up on love – well these two had not loved, but they seemed to be ‘headed in the right direction’. She was willing to take it step by step. You know when they say ‘do not meet a guy and psychologically start having kids with him’? Yeah, she stands by that school of thought although I had started ‘measuring the drapes’ for her. How can I not measure drapes (make plans for a big do) when I know she is into the guy, and the guy seemed to be giving correct vibe. Look, this guy took her to a very romantic resort, for a weekend, now this could have been serious effort to get into the ‘cookie jar’ but I have to give the Adam some points for effort. So I think you can understand why I was keen to know what the hell was going on now. You know they say that initial stages are like electricity, then the relationship ‘settles’ and then begins the downward stretch (and for some it can be a long stretch). Now this one started off with fireworks and just combined all the stages together into one mega anti-climax.

Then there is my Adam buddy – he actually loved a certain Eve. Eve got a job in Dubai and all she could tell him was ‘let me go and we will see what happens’. This was in answer to Adams question ‘so, where do we stand because I would like for us to continue dating?’ What a hands off answer! A lot is wrong with that answer and it is not the fine print. Adam pours his heart out and all he gets is ‘let’s see what happens’? Second damper on things: ‘when she will not say what she feels.’ See what happens’ is so broad it spans all the way to the North Pole and back! This Adam tells me that people make things happens – they just don’t happen. What do you expect to happen? Hark, the voice of an archangel telling you to go back to this Adam? 🙂

So this Adam has deciphered the codes – he has been let go softly. I think I agree because if Eve wants an Adam, I am almost sure that such utterances like “let’s see what happens” will not come up. And if they do, just know that the wheels were pointing in the wrong direction even before Dubai happened. I am just saying.

Back to the drawing board, he must get some energy (it seems to me that just thinking about it needs energy), identify another worthy Eve ( good luck!) and make his intentions known to her, and hope she will not bolt to Mexico and unleash those’ let me cross the border and then we will see what happens’. Sometimes we have to spin the wheels in the direction we want them to point, if you know what I mean.

These were bad times for my two good friends from Mars and Venus. I am seated here asking myself if hope still has a pulse or imejitia kitanzi (hope has strangled itself).

Have your say!

By Fridah


Public Display of Disaffection

Public display of affection is usually a turn off for most people and a turn-on for a few (including some who pretend to be turned off). On the other hand, public display of ‘disaffection’ is usually crowd drawing and you’d be surprised how much time people can spend idling around to watch and offer their deep insights into literally unfolding drama before them.

A friend and I were walking down the street one evening when we suddenly saw a curious crowd gathering around a couple pushing against the window of a shop. We, the curious cats, homed in on the crowd to try and get a better view. Picture this, Eve in a suit and high heels, gripping Adam with her hands around his waist. Adam, on the other hand, is holding a phone and looking at her dismissively and warning her to let go of him. Eve is shrilling back “give me my phone I need to go home!” She then informs a rather indifferent Adam that she had sprained her ankle (it seems we had missed a whole lot of the 1st episode) and demanded for her phone. Adam walks off; Eve transforms into Marion Jones, catches up with Adam, grabs at his jacket and continues to demand her phone. Adam does not relent, warns her that she hadn’t seen any drama yet, keeps walking but she runs after him again, and they both disappeared from the view of curious onlookers.

Know-it-all spectators weighed in and concluded that that phone contained some very incriminating evidence and that is why Adam has confiscated the phone. Judging from the look on her face, the curious onlookers decided that she was acting in a very guilty manner. She was condemned, and it was all about the phone and the way she seemed like she could give/do anything at that point to have it back. But how do you battle with adrenaline-charged biceps and an Adam determined to show that he cannot be scorned?
One would wonder what drives couples to a point of thrashing out the woes of their relationships in public. For those who may have been subjected to this kind of display, maybe the conclusion is that there is no logical explanation to it other than one thing led to another, tempers reached boiling point and before long, it quickly translated into a full-fledged low-budget short movie with no director or producer.

Maybe you’ve been out with couples who take jibes at each other and you’re left wondering why they opt to air their not so spotless laundry in public. It is the friends and those around that end up feeling the discomfort whilst the spouses are busy keeping their mental scoreboards on whose jibes were sharpest and who won that round, completely oblivious of how ridiculous they look. But it is probably worth mentioning that public fighting is a cheat. Women often get the upper hand in the argument because the man cannot stand up for himself without looking abusive.

Social networking sites have become the new hanging lines for relationships’ dirty laundry. For some people, it is perfectly alright to update their status on every activity that is happening in their relationship. All can appear to be smooth sailing when the leap is made from being single to being in a relationship but then when this transforms to ‘it’s complicated’ or reverts to being single, things can turn ugly much too publicly. Needless to say, another low budget movie could just start on someone’s wall. For some onlookers, it might seem funny but more often than not, the question that runs through many people’s heads is “why (or how) does it have to get to this?”

If a relationship has backslid, no need to tweet and update; lick the wounds, mourn and then get back into ‘circulation’. If an argument is getting ugly in a public, it is a good idea to sort out your dirty laundry out of the public glare.

Even the clergy are in on it

So Eves and Adams be warned, public display of disaffection is a no-no, and you do not score anything for it. If anything, it can be very humiliating to both parties; unless you are both king and queen of drama and get a kick from some of these moments which can be overtly embarrassing.
By Joyce

Zero Grazing……or Not?

It was a ‘movie night’ at a girlfriend’s house and instead of watching the movie, we found ourselves drawn into a discussion on cheating. Yeah, it is possible to discuss this too! One of us averred that we are in the era where cheating is the rule rather than the exception. She said that in some men’s books, cheating is like a reflex action – when they get the urge fulfilled, they might not even remember it. My other girlfriend told us that the issue is not whether he will cheat; rather, it is a question of when and what she would do once she found out that he had been grazing on other pastures. Antennas went up at this point.

Zero-grazing - well mannered cows!

Before Adams accuse me of male bashing and disregard the piece all together, relax and read on. It is an open secret nowadays that what was once perceived to be the preserve of Adam; some Eves are doing with greater perfection. Fingers are no longer pointing at Adams only; Eves have been caught hipsters down and not with very convincing justification (is there any ever?). A story is told of an Eve who carried on an affair with her boyfriend’s best friend and her Adam did not get wind of the matter until a year later! You have to commend this particular Adam because this Eve left with her jaw intact (don’t they say that this is not something that Adams take lying down? – no one’s vouching for violence here)

A university in Sweden carried out a research and when it was published, Adams were perusing that site with glee! (I picked this up from a magazine so don’t ask me for the reference :)). The research concluded that a high level of a certain hormone makes men more prone to cheating. (And no, this research was not shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize for Science). Eves are also ‘libidinous’ beings and I am sure, there is a research  attempting to explain hormone, due to its higher presence in the body, will lead some Eves to changing gear shafts. (Come on now, get curious and Google high estradiol+ side effects:)).

A while ago, one President Zuma of South Africa was accused of being promiscuous; but he defended himself by saying that he was keeping the Zulu culture alive. Many of us must have heard this story since it caused a stir in the continent and beyond. It is not easy to draw the line when a head of state thumps the ground dressed in Zulu regalia and declares he is paying dowry for his 5th wife- 5th! – then news start doing the rounds that he has sired a kid with his ally’s young daughter. Is it just me or something isn’t right? He sounds like commander in chief ‘of and for everything’!

This is probably what Sigmund Freud (the father of psychology) had in mind when he talked about responding to the ‘Id’: ‘Id’ is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the Id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation.

If Freud was right, the ‘Id’ then is a powerful force. There is something about instant gratification that is difficult to explain but so powerful, it has brought down the high and mighty and unveiled the men of cloth as well.

Back to our topic of the day. One school of thought says that it takes more than love to ‘zero graze’ – it takes respect. When two mates meet and decide to date and even get married, they are well aware that there are other attractive men and women out there, but they settle for each other and make innumerable promises. I guess this is why most affairs are clandestine. It would seem that there is a fiber somewhere which acknowledges that wandering to other pastures is not part of keeping the promise. This however does not prevent Adam and Eve from trying to explain how they landed on the wrong pasture. The most common of them being that ‘it is the way things are nowadays’ (I tripped and fell is now rather outdated).

So this movie night turned out to be quite an informative session. I do not know if it would be correct to observe that the society at large has watched the fracturing of families and relationships, because of a general acceptance that ‘this is the way it is these days’? I think many would like to get some threads of hope out there that failure to ‘zero graze’ does not have to be the norm but rather the exception?

By Fridah


Relationship Patterns

Have you ever woken up or sat and wondered whether someone has put your life on rewind and that the only thing different are the changing characters? Have you ever felt like the friendships or relationships you’re have a thick thread of similarity running through them, especially the ones that don’t seem to work out?

Well, you are not alone if your answer is yes. (If your answer is no, please go on your knees and give thanks to whomever you give thanks to spiritually!). An Eve decided to try and break what she felt was the ‘recycling curse’. I mean, she had dated three Adams consecutively and they all ended up withdrawing, being unavailable and eventually breaking off the relationship (actually, she broke off the third relationship but the Adam did not stand up in court to yell ‘objection!’). As she was perusing through a women’s magazine, she decided to take a ‘relationship pattern’ test and see what was the ‘trap’ that she kept falling into that resulted in the same unfulfilling and short lived relationships.

After answering a number of questions about her childhood, her parents’ relationships and her adult relationships, she came up with this summary:

As far as her adult relationships were concerned:
*Adam 1 was unavailable, uninterested and argumentative.
*Adam 2 was unavailable and uninterested, and avoided confrontation.
*Adam 3 was withdrawn, uninterested, and avoided confrontation.

As far as her parents’ relationship was concerned:
*Her father was unavailable, uninterested and avoided confrontation.
*Her mother argumentative and blaming.
*Her father was not around for her, not wanting her, and left the family eventually.
*Her mother told me all men lose interest and leave.

So she cross-related her answers and came up with the following diagnosis of her relationship patterns:
* Her father was unavailable to her and her mother; therefore she finds men who are not available.
* Her father was uninterested in her and her mother; she finds men who lose interest in her.
* Her father avoided confrontation; two of the three relationships were with men who avoid confrontation.
* Her father left; she attracts men who eventually leave. And her mother told her they would.
* A man who is argumentative is the opposite of her father, but just like her mother. One of the men she dated was argumentative.
* She was programmed to have a relationship pattern where her partner will become unavailable, losing interest in her and eventually leaving.
* She is exactly repeating the pattern in her parents’ relationship.
* Sometimes she has done the opposite of her parents’ relationship, but got exactly the same result.

At the end of the self-test was a long list of things that Eves and Adams can do to break their bad relationship patterns. Eve had found the outcome of the test somewhat true but also scary; more importantly though she was left wondering whether this is something she could do anything about. Could she say to herself that she was going to avoid all these unavailable and uninterested men who would withdraw and eventually leave her? Do they come with a specific mark on their foreheads? How would she recognize them? Is it her behaviour towards men that would need to change?

In this day and age, psychology has become commonly accepted as a way of understanding what goes on in our lives, least of all our familial and other relationships. But does a theory like ‘relationship patterns linked to your childhood experience’ really hold water and are there any answers (remedies) out there?

It’s been said time and time again that in life and even in relationships, you can change only YOU, how YOU behave, how YOU react, and only YOU can accept or reject. But the notion of a relationship pattern being seemingly intrinsically linked to your past experiences seems scary.

Adams and Eves, do you think it is possible to recognise what is the ‘source’ of your relationship and friendship patterns that makes them not work and break the cycle? Or is this just ‘psycho-babble’ that should be left to the experts in the field (and we don’t mean Mathare mental hospital here :))?