Helping You Build A Relationship You Can All Be Proud Of

Monday, 18 April 2016

RULES OF DISENGAGEMENT

Last Wednesday, while on some rounds in town, I rushed into one of the high-end shops in the Airport City enclave to get myself some ground coffee. I got two brands for about GHC80.00 ($20.00). One was a breakfast blend medium roast ground gourmet Arabica coffee; It was made in the US. The other was an Espresso ground Arabica coffee. It was packaged in Belgium. The opportunity cost of choosing the Belgian packaged Espresso was the Italian brand I had to let go. I was familiar with that so I decided to try something else.
I got to the office past 12 noon and straight away decided to try the American brand. Since I was not sure of what to expect regarding it, I wanted to try it first. For the Espresso, I was sure it was going to be a killer so I was saving it for the morning of the next day. The American brand, however, got me smiling with its exquisite taste and thick lingering aroma that would have made the Manager of the Starbucks place around Loughmiller’s Pub and Eatery in Indianapolis turn red with embarrassment. Such a rejuvenating aroma.
So it was with much excitement that I entered the office the next morning, got my coffee maker ready and got to work personally brewing my Espresso. One thing that caught my attention was that the package was cheaper than I may have noticed while picking it up. I guess I was in a rush. The spurt of aroma that met me when I opened it did not give me the brrrr feeling. I knew something was wrong with this particular brand. Soon the wheels of the brewery were turning and a sweet looking, dark coffee was dripping. I swallowed….and swallowed, holding my cup, waiting to have the first sip. The first sip I finally had, and all my instinct told me to revert to 1999; my pre-born again era and swear and cuss with all the expletives and profanity I could muster. But then, I was in the office and I have a lot of self-control, So all I did (I won’t lie) was to say, ‘damn; this bloody thing tastes like crap!’ (And you would appreciate the energy it took for me to be this civil before God and man. Worse things were running through my head). I sipped again… and again. My mood was fast deteriorating; it was like a pack of fish stuck in a fridge with ran-out ECG Credit for 4 days. That was how stinking my mood was becoming.
But on such a beautiful day, I was not willing to let some cheap coffee spoil my mood. So what do you think I did? I carried the whole thing and went to the kitchen and emptied it. I came back and fixed me the Breakfast Blend Ground Gourmet Arabica Coffee. I felt an aesthetic rejuvenation surge through my being like Elijah by the valley of the dry bones. I felt alive. With that life came a lesson I want to share.
The Espresso was supposed to be the Jewel in the crown of my collection of coffee in the office. This particular brand, however, turned out to be the nastiest. So what did I do when I found out? I disposed of it. I love my peace and happiness too much to let anything I will not die without, take them away from me. This cost me something, and looking at the price, I could have made allowance for it. Yet the question is, expensive compared to what?
Come with me to the Relationship Boulevard. Let’s see if we can talk about love for a second.

What Do I Do If He Is Not What I Thought He Was?
Have you ever had that moment in life when of all the people who come your way, there is a particular one you put so much premium on? There is always this particular individual who becomes like the ideal experience you have so much desired and wanted, that they become your obsession; your high and the touch that stimulates your entire being. So you gladly accept to date them; either by proposing or accepting their proposal. Then soon after the relationship starts, Yawa don gas – If I can borrow that expression from my Naija friend, Doyin.
What do you do? This is a woman you have directly or indirectly insulted your other lady friends with, you have thrown everything away just to be with her. To you, this is it; the journey ends here. To you, nothing matters again, whether it is what you perceive she is bringing to the table or whatever mess she is coming to clean up. But you find her fitting seamlessly in your superlative expectations. This is a man you have thrown everything out of the window to be with, burnt your certificates and caught bullets for, crossed the Niagara falls to put a smile on his face and shoved your grandma off the Eiffel tower just to be with.
Then you realise he is just Espresso by name; Just the name…he is nothing like the real deal. The name has no bearing on the content; the Real Espresso. He is nothing compared to the real deal you were excited about considering the sacrifices you have made, willing to make and are currently waist deep in making. You realise he tastes like (for lack of a better word) crap! He's just one fat fake product beautifully camouflaged in an enchanting fa├žade. You find yourself shocked to the core; you feel this humongous disequilibrium fingering your heart and threatening, with each touch, to rent it up in shreds.
But what do you do? Really, what do you do? That, for me, is the crux of the matter. To someone else that is a good coffee right there. To another person, that is a good amount of money you cannot throw away, so they would manage. To another person, there is nothing wrong with it…because probably, they do not even know what a good cup of coffee tastes like. But what do you do? You know what you want. You know the standards you have set for yourself and the place you want to get to in life. You know who and what you want to take along and who and what you effectively want to keep outside of the barbed wires. You know where you have come from; your background and its attending socialisation and the existential realities that confront your current and expected future experiences.  You know you and what makes you tick, what makes you cranky and, like me, what makes you deteriorate emotionally.
What do you do? Many people play the ostrich with it, burying their heads and pretending nothing is wrong. They play it safe so they do not rock the boat, all the while grimacing with each sip. What do you do when a guy does not match up? What do you do when the lady is way down there on your scale of expectations? Oh no one is perfect. Fine, so why cry or complain when they give you a bit of who they truly are? Why run to church to pray? Why cry at midnight? why complain of the pain when at this point of dating you should be happy? You said no one is perfect; baby girl, just shut up and deal with the imperfection then. Why rave and rant about it?  

The No One Is Perfect Myth
No one is perfect is a good philosophy just that it does not fit into the dating period. When you end up in marriage and traits you did not know existed or noticed during the dating period come up, then you can say well for better, for worse means I am stuck in this so I will handle their imperfection. That is when No One Is perfect has a meaning. Amazingly, people who sing ‘no one is perfect’ for 4 years in terrible abusive relationships are the ones who run to the divorce bureau, 18 months into their marriage. Such irony.
Oh when we get to the bridge we'll cross it, let us give each other time. I know you are a born again Christian and you want to follow Christ and all. Good luck on this expedition. Have you also considered the possibility that, it could be Christ who revealed these traits to you at this stage so you do not walk a long distance to a bridgeless river you cannot cross under any circumstance? Has it crossed your mind, that God in his infinite mercies, knowing what you can handle and cannot handle, has decided to let these traits come up so you do not get to the next level of the relationship? Do you know how many people will pay anything to have a glimpse into the future? Do you know how shocked people get when they date Angels only to wake up with demons the day after the wedding? You are blessed to see the wolf for what it is and you are here calling it a kitten? Two months into the birthing of the relationship and the guy is barking! The lady is roaring! That, I can tell you, does not sound like Meow to me sister… it is does not. Bro, don’t make excuses.

Is this the kind of relationship you want? Is this the kind of Marriage you desire? Yes, not all relationships lead to marriage. True, but is this how you want to treat your heart? Pile up all these emotional dirt on it? Do you think you can wash the scars off with Parazone when this one fails? You think you can sand paper it off? These things leave deep scars that you carry into your next relationship with terrible ramifications. Do not hurt yourself and make another man or woman pay for it; do not let another man and woman endure such hideous scars. Love me Love my dog; Bae, how about not intentionally rearing these dogs? See? Simple la!

Is It Ok To Keep Changing Till I Get What I Want?
PG, But you cannot keep changing people all over the place. It does not speak well of you. People will negatively judge you. Whoa Whoa Whoa! I am sipping my coffee and asking, ‘who are the people?’ I can’t see them. The people who will judge you regardless of what you do? Forgeti Obiaa! Forget people and protect your heart. It is your taste and your comfort, and if it is not made to specs, throw it away. Break a 1,000 relationships so you can have good marriage, than to keep one abusive relationship and end up divorced.
The reason why many people hurt themselves is because they hold on for far too long when they should be disengaging. At the beginning of every relationship is the time the man or woman in your life is to give you their best performance. It is the time they need to convince you that choosing them over the lot is the best decision to make. If it starts on a wrong footing, know it is most likely going to be like that throughout. Have you heard of a clinical trial that went terribly bad in a lab and, without correction, went on to become the magic cure commercially? Your relationship is the lab version of your marriage, and if the experiment is killing the rats and those who offer themselves for trial, it is not good to make it public. The point I am making is that, if it is killing you at the relationship level, do not take it to the next level - marriage.
I  agree some people start on the wrong footing and  they change; that is true, except there are no guarantees. And in a time where people have become calculatedly selfish than ever, most people do not care what you think and feel; they will do what they want and gag you with the hideous phrase - DON'T JUDGE (Gosh I hate that phrase). In the end, after complaining and hurting for months and probably years, you do what you should have done a month into the relationship - leave. Total waste of time and precious resources… and those of you who are into sex, unnecessary Mileage!  
Let me say this; no one is perfect in its truest sense is a fair thought. You cannot get a perfect human for yourself, and you cannot leave every relationship based on petty mistakes. When I tell you not to follow that cliche, what I mean is to know what you can handle and what you cannot. If you accept anything because you think no one is perfect, you will hurt yourself. If you measure yourself well, you will know what is acceptable and what is not and it is within this framework that you can operate.

When Sex Is In The Equation
Why bother about what people will say if you are not sleeping with these people you are sizing up? Yes, sex makes it difficult. It distorts the equation and makes it kinda hard to just pick your stuff and walk out. In fact, sex is one nasty variable that can influence the decision you make at these early stages in any relationship. Get someone to give you a good one and they can make you burn your educational certificate on your way to Colorado and back! If you want to make a near perfect choice in a partner, send sex to the back of the hall and enjoy the movie quietly. But put her next to you and the next thing you would know is 'The End' and the cast rolling up….And for what? Precious GHC30.00 and 1.45minute of your resources? Naah. Make that moment count. You need to concentrate and have an objective mind to make a good choice.

The Opportunity Cost Of A Bad Relationship

Have I told you about the opportunity cost of being in a bad relationship? Well… it is a good relationship you cannot have. So every day you spend with the wrong person hoping things will work out, it is the good people who are being taken; the cool guy in your office you always go to cry on. That young man you know loves you to bits, but you are locked up elsewhere. That neighbour, that church member, that guy you met in Europe when you went on that business trip. Every time a bad relationship is allowed to thrive, a potentially good relationship is aborted.
The mark on the shoes says size 8, you do size 10; walk on. The perfume is strong, you have problem with strong scents; walk on. That lady…that guy…they are everything you know you do not need, forget the brand and the package and walk on. Do not walk in pain because you want to wear that shoe at all cost. Do not go around with this perpetual cold, sneezing all over the place because, against all reason and caution, you want to wear that perfume. Do not, for some weird silly mindset, try to keep a nasty piece of coffee…. because of what? Money? Or the name Espresso? Alas! It is not even Espresso!!!!
Many people are clinging on to men and women they need to let go because of their package; their looks, names, family background, connections, social standing, job and all you can think about. They hold on to them even when the content tastes like a piece of crap! Let go and brew yourself a better one and let’s have this conversation next month….

PG Sebastian
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