Please help me to understand this love-hate relationship of mine

Sunday March 27 2016

Two immature people will just end up frustrating each other when they fail to get their way. Maturity comes with age, and requires a proper blend of knowledge garnered from experience as well as knowledge about certain things, including relationships. PHOTO | FILE

Two immature people will just end up frustrating each other when they fail to get their way. Maturity comes with age, and requires a proper blend of knowledge garnered from experience as well as knowledge about certain things, including relationships. PHOTO | FILE 

By PHILIP KITOTO
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Hello Pastor Kitoto,

I am thankful for the good advice you’ve been giving. You have been helpful to many, including me. I am 22, and have been in a relationship for six years with my boyfriend, who is 25.

We have lived together for two years now, but lately, we have been arguing a lot, so much so that I decided to move out this year. I thought moving out would make things better and make the relationship happier, but everything is just the same. Sometimes I love him, others I don’t. I have tried to break up with him but I am unable to. I either end up spending the night at his place, or he at mine.

I am very confused - I don’t know what I want. When he’s away I miss him, but when we are together, I feel lots of hatred towards him.

Help me because I cannot stand losing my man. He’s very caring and loving, but my feelings towards him are conflicting.

 

Dear confused,

Forgive my intrusion, but I have to point out that you started dating too early. You are 22, yet have dated for six years, meaning that you got into this relationship when you were just 16. Getting into relationships at a very young age has it pros and cons. Most relationships that would have grown to become amazing end up like yours, or even worse for lack of certain basic provisions:

First, fulfilled and enduring relationships require a mature approach. Developing a mature approach to a relationship starts with the meeting of two mature individuals. Two immature people will just end up frustrating each other when they fail to get their way. Maturity comes with age, and requires a proper blend of knowledge garnered from experience as well as knowledge about certain things, including relationships. These individuals also need to be independent, and be capable of communicating and reasoning in a mature and informed manner.

What we know and how we relate with each other must come from many moments of building common ground, moments that aid the maturing of the relationship. Sexual intimacy by itself does not grow the maturity required in a relationship. Sex is the result, the culmination of a well-oiled relationship. Since a maturing relationship requires work, patience and understanding, partners in a relationship must consciously build a mature environment that will make it possible for the relationship to thrive.

Above all, both partners need enduring commitment, honest communication, mature ways of expressing love and an opportunity to share lessons learned from past mistakes without fear. Where we take each other for granted and fail to provide opportunity for the growth and maturing of each other, a relationship loses its uniqueness and passion, and with time gets weak and incapable of providing the expected fulfilment.

A successful relationship requires mature and healthy love. In an article I read sometime back, mature and healthy love makes a commitment to wait. Such love shows respect, listens, trusts, cares, accepts and lets go when necessary.

Immature love however makes demands, is always needy, always takes and never gives back, attempts to change the other, has and forces on the other person their personal agendas, rejects when sincerely corrected out of love, keeps a record of wrongs, is impatient and does not tolerate the mistakes of others. It is important to evaluate what kind of love you and your partner project.

Second, fulfilling and enduring relationships require a commitment to mutual goals of relating. Setting of mutual goals provides a relationship with an opportunity to engage from short and long-term perspectives. The fact is that two people cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. Agreement brings to the table vast opportunities that involve a need to build common ground for increased productivity in the relationship.

A couple must be in agreement regarding their finances, time spent together, activities they engage in, as well as accountability. Many young couples see no need to set this agenda early in the relationship, yet where we embrace mutual goals, we speak stability and longevity to a relationship. An environment needs to be set where such goals are shared without intimidation or manipulation. A relationship where partners agree on the goals and commit to walk towards their realisation, have trust, faithfulness and commitment, a deeper love and affection follows.

STRONG CONNECTION

How do we create, achieve these goals and keep our connection strong?

1) Seek alignment: It is not just enough to speak out your expectation. Spell out goals, write down and harmonise your expectations. Alignment is critical and important to the creation of harmony and common understanding of each other’s desires, besides incorporating them into the relationship. Although difficult, once alignment of the goals and expectations is secured, there is no limit to what a couple can accomplish.

2) Be inclusive: When you are both in agreement on where you want the relationship to be and what you want to do in the next several months, both of you are informed concerning the investments you need to make to bring fruitfulness to your relationship in the short and long term.

You have to remember that what is important to you has to be planned for, and necessary investments made to reap the benefits. A relationship will under-perform where those involved are walking in the dark concerning their future goals and achievements.

A question? Do you know what you want to achieve from your relationship? Why are you hanging onto it?

That said, it is always important to ensure that the goals you strive to achieve are realistic, achievable, and make you feel good about yourself and supports your value system. Don’t live in doubt. Exclusion, whether intentional or not can kill morale. It is sad for a couple to seek the achievement of goals that go against their values. Sharing how your goals benefit you and your partner can serve as a powerful bonding experience.

3) Learn to celebrate: Your frequent break ups and the pain you carry in your heart is in itself something to worry about. It appears that your celebratory moments are tied around some sexual bonding between the two of you. I believe sexual bonding is one of the most intimate of unions between human beings. It is wrong for single people to sleep together out of a desire to simply please their selfish desires.

There are other ways of having fun, which you can engage in as you rebuild your relationship, since you seem to still value it in spite of the conflicting feelings you have. Spicing up a relationship with moments of celebration of the milestones, dreams, and goals that you had agreed on and met are a great reward that motivates the relationship further. Instead of it ending up just being physical, try other activities which will help you bond more, and hopefully help you discover other ways in which you’re compatible.

While doing this, ask yourself, are we a step towards the realisation of our goals? Another important question is whether the set goals give room for the achievement of personal growth goals.

Third, fulfilling and mutually satisfying relationships call for ownership and responsible behaviour. Everything you do together has double impact if there is ownership in the realisation of the goals, but also in the mistakes we make in our desire to accomplish the goals. Ownership of the future of the relationship is one of the most powerful and connecting things that happens to a relationship.

You are in a place where blame seems to be recurring. Somehow, you hate him but love him at the same time. I really think it is time to be tough and honest to yourself on whether this is the man for not. When we get to a place where we constantly blame or are blamed, this is akin to emotional abuse.

The two of you need to be clear about the issues I have mentioned above and ask yourself whether this relationship is suitable for you. Personally, I see it as unhealthy and capable of wounding you more. Since blaming has the capacity to run intimacy down, it becomes difficult to be happy in an intimate relationship where an arm is outstretched to give love while pointing an accusing finger at your partner.