MAINA: Sometimes you need to walk away from love

Thursday September 26 2019

Nothing hurts like breaking up with someone who you are still in love with. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


Nothing hurts like breaking up with someone who you are still in love with. The pain courses through your body like a tornado exploding through a gush of hot tears and leaves you shaking like a frail branch caught up in a desert whirlwind.

The worst part is when your mind desperately looks for reasons to hate him, and like a drowning man, you clutch at flimsy straws hoping to rise about your anguish.

"His nose looked funny. Also, he hates avocados so we were not going to be great housemates. Aaaah....the toothpaste, he presses it from the middle. And he always leaves the toilet seat up!"

For a spilt second, it will be almost relieving to stew on such petty issues. You might even begin feeling great about your decision to call it quits.

But in the next twist of the emotional roller coaster associated with such breakups, you will have a flashback of happier days.

How he has the kindest heart, treats you like a queen, has you giggling during boring staff meetings with his endless supply of grade A memes, how his hugs feel like this point, you will realise that you truly love him and this realisation will catapult you to the next bout of heart-wrenching tears.


If you have been down this road, you know that the anguish drags on for a few dreadful days characterised with plenty of what I like to call mirror pep talk. You will spend a whole 10 minutes literally talking to the person in the mirror.

"Next time, take it slow. Don't go opening your heart to love because you will get hurt. Don't love too much. Set boundaries. Manage your expectations. Speak straight and be clear of what you want in the relationship. Better still, it's time to focus on yourself. Exercise, read more and travel. Start journaling. Stay busy. Avoid beard gang, skinny dudes, guys with a sense of humour.... you know your pitfalls."


After a week or so, you will bounce back ready to be a better you. As part of your efforts to rise up, you will join a book club. Or perhaps get tickets for those wonderful plays by Heartstrings.

Two weeks later, you will attend the first book club meet up at Kenya National Theatre or perhaps that Heartstrings play at Nairobi Cinema.

That is where you will meet your next heartbreak in waiting. Works like clockwork. Sigh.

When I was a teenager, I believed love made the world go round. My Westlife-drenched mind knew that when two people loved each other, that was all that mattered.

A few years of dating as an adult has slapped sense into me. I am aware now that sometimes you will walk away from someone you love madly because of trust issues, past baggage, heath conditions, family interference, power dynamics, societal obligations, political affiliation, clashing mantras heck even weather conditions!

The frustration will gnaw at your heart but you will steadily walk away from perhaps your only chance of love's the easier thing to do? That way less people get hurt? Better sooner than later? You have a job to protect?

The thing about love is that you can't do much to control the other person. That is why people break up with those they love. If your partner has trust issues, you cannot love them into trusting you.

If they have esteem issues, you can't love them into believing that you accept them for who they are.

Everyone has a part to play but you can't love someone into playing their part. You can only hold off for long enough hoping that, like you, one day they will see how blessed you are to share an amazing thing and that they will find what you have worth saving.

But when you realise that day will never come, then you walk away from this person. You walk away still madly in love with them.

You hibernate in your anguish and pain. It feels like you will never be happy or in love again. But don't worry because as DeBarge sang, the heart is not so smart.

You will fall heads over heels in love again. And this time, fate might smile on you and the love lasts. Maybe.