Most of the unrest and agitations in diverse spheres of our lives stem from the fact that we sometimes feel kept out of what is going on around us and therefore read our own meanings into the experiences we are undergoing. If the experience is a negative one or something we fear might have a negative impact on us, we get uncomfortable, seek to understand it and find out why things are the way they are.
The more that understanding eludes us and the ‘why’ is not forth coming, the more aggressive or disturbed we become, starting and fueling a cycle of mistrust and suspicion in the end.
This is no different when it comes to our relationships. Every now and then, we feel the need to know what is going on with our partners; we wish we could prove that our relationships were in good standing. So if they start deleting text messages right after reading them, or excusing themselves to receive calls, giving inconsistent answers to questions and inquiries, giving evasive answers or even declaring certain areas of their lives as no-go areas, we naturally feel uneasy and suspicious. It is natural to feel that way; in fact you could even be the one who is making your partner feel that way.
By observation, I have personally concluded that there are certain things we do which spark suspicion, mistrust and possibly unsettle in our partners, and if these negative feelings already exist, things we can do to manage those feelings and deflate the tension. This article takes a look at Five of such breakers or makers.
Declassify your Friends. I advise that you do not keep any of your friends in a classified section of your life. If you have nothing to hide, then let all exclusive friends be acquainted with your partner, especially the ones that stir up uneasiness in your partner for whatever reason. Find appropriate time to let them meet. Keeping them classified only raises suspicion, declassifying them will, to a good extent, reduce the fear, anxiety and tension. If any friend refuses to meet your partner, watch out then; even though unknown to you, they may be harbouring some feelings for you or dislike for your partner. It is dangerous to your relationship.
Reduce the names! Sometimes it gets so annoying when everything has Kofi or Ama mentioned in it. It sometimes sounds like 70 per cent of all the names mentioned and 80 per cent of all your activities in the day revolve around them. ‘I did this with Ama’, ‘Ama said this’, ‘Ama said it was nice’, ‘Oh I got it for you ‘cus Ama said you might like it’. Seriously? Ama, a nice, cool lady who will suddenly become your woman’s enemy without her knowing it. The next thing is you being told not to talk to her again or being accused of having something to do with her. That is when you start thinking your woman is being unreasonably paranoid; no she is not, you are scaring her with your Ama-Mania. Why not call your woman when you need a woman’s opinion? Why not talk to her more often than Ama?
Why not start seeing yourself as a man in a relationship and begin drawing soft boundaries between you and Ama. After all, you did not decide to date Efua for the records and live your life with Ama. If Ama is stuck on your tongue, then let her stay in your heart and life or you better put Efua in your heart and on your tongue. She is the woman, your woman. It may not be easy at first, especially when you have had this Ama friendship thingy going on for the longest time, but when you make that conscious effort you can reduce the involvement of Ama in your life and thereby reduce her slot and consequently how much she features in your conversations the collage of your life.
Be open. Let your partner know of all new friends you have made which you suspect will be staying for a long time and make a lot of impact in your life. Let them know from day one. We all tend to be uncomfortable with new friends [of our partners] who are all of a sudden all over them, than old friends who are all over them. Let your partner know you met this guy or lady today; they are exciting, they are smart and all that. If they are in for the long haul, then it is worth letting them meet your partner. Honestly, we are not even sure of ourselves and what we can do the next moment, so it is totally naïve to hold brief for any person you just. Married people still chase, dating people still chase, so do not think this person or that person will not do it – they can pretend to be innocent until they start hitting on you when you are at your most vulnerable. Once they meet your partner, most people tend to respect your relationship and drop or manage their expectation of you in the friendship they are starting with you.
Sometimes your partner might end up being so close to this friend that it even solidifies your friendship with them, than it would have been if you kept them in the dark. At other times your partner may naturally reject that friendship. But at least it is better to know these people are not welcomed at the early stage than to build a good friendship to a point where you can’t just kill it, only to be told to kill it. We all have that nagging fear that our partners may reject SOME of our new friends, so we sometimes keep them off the radar. I think it is not always true. What is true is that, we all wonder how come an individual became your partner’s friend overnight and now they are like their hero and you have no clue how that happened.
Maybe you think that a gift of an iPhone 5S is nothing and your woman should not make a big fuss out of it; wait till she gets a round ticket to Dubai plus bundles of fresh crispy Benjamins for shopping, or a complete makeover of her apartment by a male colleague. That is when you realise maybe you could have refused the iPhone when she said you should. What is good for the goose is good for the gander; only you cannot put the gifts side by side. A gift is a gift whether it is a $140,000.00 house or a $2.00 call credit. So be careful when you start indulging in the little ones, you do not know what your partner can start receiving.
Answer you calls when you are with your partner. If you are with your partner answer you calls especially from people you really want to cut off. Instead of not picking the call, pick it and go like, ‘Hey whatsup? (wait for an answer. They may ask how you are doing, tell you how they are thinking about you or how you have ‘dawged’ them.) Your response could be, ‘well, I am fine nothing, or really? Thinking about me? Nice of you or Oh how can I ‘dawg’ you? Then nicely add, ‘anyway can we talk like later? I am with my boyfriend or girlfriend right now. Please let’s talk later'. Never promise to call them back or ask them to call you back. It tells your partner you are not holding on to the other conversation for a time-alone moment and you are not going to encourage the caller to call you back. Again, you never tell someone on the phone you are in the middle of something or give them any other excuse when you are with your partner. They are not ‘something’. How would you feel when you do not know who the caller is, and you are referred to as ‘middle of something’ or ‘in a meeting’ or ‘home doing nothing’?
Your partner feels validated that you mentioned their presence to someone. They may want to pry, and you can give them a highlight of that friendship. They may also choose to keep quiet and keep their thoughts to themselves.
Do not keep friends you cannot talk about with your partner because of your own relationship with them; It is dangerous. Do not keep friends you cannot talk to in the presence of your partner. When you allow calls to go unanswered you raise suspicion, when you pick a call and you go like, ‘oh lemme call you back’ without listening to the caller or saying anything else, you raise suspicion. When you pick a call and you lie about where you are or what you are doing, regardless of who you are with, you raise suspicion and doubt. You and your partner may find that lie at that moment appropriate until they also call you and you tell them something too good to be true….and then your lies start playing in their heads.
Save names of regular callers. We know some numbers off head and most of us pick calls from numbers that are not in our contacts. So it becomes suspicious when specific unregistered numbers call and we just don’t want to pick them up. If it is a client whose calls you do not want to pick at certain times, save their names and probably with their company or the specific relationship you have with them. eg Adjoa – Insurance Lady. In that case when she calls a million times, your partner won’t get worried why you are not picking it.
There are many things we tell our partners and they keep quiet and pretend they are ok but they are not. Sometimes they keep quiet so they do not rock the boat or make you feel they do not trust you; but in their minds they have serious questions. I bet you know that feeling when you are being told something but you know the story is not straight but you just let it go.
We can blow up or defuse tension in relationship by our actions. Sometimes we feel it is our right and that we should be free to do what we want without having to throw it all out to our partners…except these are the very things they do and we start doubting them and accusing them of being shady.