When I wrote my book, The Kings That Didn’t Need This Queen, I was expressing the reason why those men I dated never needed to be with me. I was such a broken person, not that I am whole today, but I also lacked self-awareness. I was in search of something they could have never given me, the love my father gave me. I was starved of it since he had passed on and I hoped to find it it in these individuals. With every relationship I got into, I lost pieces of myself because I replaced them with a non-existent fantasy. I expected the man in my life to give his life to me because that is what I did. This meant that anything else outside of us shouldn’t have mattered.
Chiname – a Shona word that refers to a person who has separation anxiety/ a very clingy individual.
In a sense, I was a Chiname. If I wasn’t with the person I expected them to be in constant communication with me be it via text or phone calls. I didn’t want to give them room to forget I existed. I wanted them to eat, live and breathe my presence. I remember one night I went out with my brothers but I was on my phone a lot, I kept messaging my then-boyfriend. Bear in mind he had made me aware he would be hanging out with his boys, but it stopped mattering when he stopped responding to my messages. The more alcohol I drank the more irritable I became.
The whole ride home I had been ranting about being ignored by my man and my siblings knew I was going to give him a mouthful. The moment we got home, I dialled his number and he didn’t pick up. Within 20 minutes I had dialed his number more than 10 times. My body could not contain what I was feeling so I smashed my phone against the wall. I got into bed and called it a night. No, we can’t blame it on the alcohol because when I woke up the following day I was very aware of what had transpired. I had lost my temper because I didn’t get my boyfriend’s attention. What was my identity outside of this relationship? Who was I without him?
I was a young woman who believed that true love equated to being glued to your partner. I had even started supporting his soccer team and yet I knew nothing about soccer. Sounds cute, except I did it for the wrong reasons. So here are my takeaways from my terrible life decisions in that season.
You are still individuals that have lives outside of each other
Many of us make the mistake of wanting to blend every part of our lives with the person we are with and that is exhausting. You both should be able to live your lives together and live them apart too. This person has personal routines, work, friends and family that they also need to make time for, allow them to. These other parts of our lives add colour and we need them. My inability to allow these men to live their lives made them feel suffocated and maybe that’s why half of them ghosted me.
Set your boundaries
Whilst owning your rituals is great, be sure to set the boundaries too. Figure out the things that you enjoy doing too, the world has so much to offer you. If you have a self-care routine or day then do not give it up, make it known to your partner how important it is for you to have that day. For some women, their maintenance day( read hair, nails, wax day) is therapeutic, so go get that dose in. If it is silence and a glass of wine you need, then do just that.
It is important to find your rhythm as an individual and be able to exist without anyone around you. Those moments are great for reflecting and learning more about yourself. It is easier to teach people how to love you if you know yourself.
Another big boundary we take for granted is how much someone can get into your space. Some people are happy giving you closet space in week 2 of dating and for some, it gives them creeps. You know where you stand with this and it is important to voice it out when need be. If boundaries are not set and you sweep your feelings under the rug, you will wake up one day filled with resentment for your partner. And we all know how that ends.
Let quality time be just that
Do not bring a third party to your quality time dates. Create an environment that allows both of you to be present. That is the time to get to know each other, crack jokes, share your hopes and dreams and share intimate moments. I remember once dating a man who always saw me whilst hanging with his boys and I was so frustrated. Yes, I stuck around longer than I should have because I convinced myself I should be grateful for the time they gave me. Happy to say, never again!
The bottom line is you need to find the balance between being present for yourself and your partner. If in any situation you find yourself feeling as if your partner is overbearing then it might be a sign to have a chat or to run. Your life deserves to be filled with many fountains of happiness and they can never be poured out from one cup so do not neglect them. CIAO!