By Bunmi Sofola
How many of you readers of this column have been obsessed with the love of a partner that is no longer interested in you? In spite of his indifference, you endlessly want to be in touch, drive past his house and stare, transfixed at the lit windows wondering if you could catch a glimpse of your replacement.
Or ring him up and quickly switch off the phone immediately you hear his voice? Any way to be in touch, no matter how crude or undignifying, would be better than being totally forgotten by the love of your life. What brought all this on? Just a few months ago, Laide, a close friend invited most of her friends over to her house to get rid of the leftover foods from her birthday party.
I mean, there was so much meat and fried rice…and she’d quite forgotten to tag most of the wrapped up meals in the freezer. Planning to travel the end of the month, she preferred to get rid of the stuffs in her freezer rather than come home to their imminent ruin – no thanks to DISCOS or whatever they are called these days! In the evening, the talk centred on the bane of all women – men! Tara, the youngest of the group, is a divorcee who is rather enjoying playing the dating game all over again.
One of Laide’s ‘distributors,’ she’d been invited so she could, specifically, place her order of the goods she would buy off Laide on her return from her trip. One of these sophisticated girls who spend a fortune on being well groomed, she told us (or was she bragging?) that she would give anything to send the current man in her life packing!
“He’s a married man,” she said sardonically, “and we had a fling. Well, I thought I was having a fling. Problem is, he’s more interested in me than I am in him. When he started talking about making me a second wife, I told him I didn’t want to be anyone’s wife but he’s now pestering me with texts, calls and gifts. He’s such a sweet man who has helped a lot with the financial side of my business, and I don’t want to hurt him. Now, I feel threatened by all this attention, and would rather move on…”
Being much older, a lot of us had different advice for her. Laide wasn’t sympathetic in the least. “The way you sounded,” she said sharply; “it seems you’re secretly enjoying this poor man’s misery: if you’re not lapping up being pursued by someone you find or found attractive, you would have long since barred him from your phone and sent him and his yeye gifts parking!
The fact remains that, if you’re serious in regarding him as a past, you can’t afford to be kind. Since he refused to get your subtle hints that it’s all over, why not write him a note saying that you wish him to stop contracting you in any way or you’ll lodge a complaint of harassment with the police…” “The police?” I cut in, “Isn’t that a bit drastic? And what would the police do? Haul the poor man into the cell for being in love?” Gloria, another friend, had a more humane approach.
Asking Tara to be more sympathetic, she dictated a befitting Dear John letter in the line of: “Thank you for the good times you gave me in the past. My feelings, which are of course beyond my control, have now changed, and I no longer want you in my life. Please let go with good grace, and do not try to contact me again. Pestering me will only make me feel uncomfortable, and I am sure you would not want that…” I creased up with laughter whilst she was still dictating her funny letter.
Speaking personally, I said the “cruel to be kind” approach was not as kind as it seemed. It might not even produce the desired result as you risk the man being driven mad with misery, a madness that could turn all too easily into rage and violence. “Why not invent a lover?” offered Clara, another guest. “While this could help make up his mind quicker, he needs to know there is nothing in a future relationship with him.
Be completely honest and tell him you shouldn’t have leapt in quite so quickly, and apologise. You might even let him know that you’d like both of you to cool things for a while but that you would not like to stop being friends in the long term, unless he’d prefer to call it a day himself. It’s kinder to give him this option because then he would feel that he had some power over you, and that he was the one who decided that he’d prefer a total separation. Then he could kid himself that, in the end, he had taken the decision to end it completely rather than you.
“If he still persists with this self-inflicted heart-breaks, ignore all further messages from him, hang up on phone calls without ceremony. Make sure his phone numbers are on ‘caller display’ on your mobiles and house phones. Just hope that if you simply ignore him he’ll go a way…” Phew! Why should it be such a hassle to just walk away from a relationship?
Men do it all the time without carrying the guilt – if they feel any – for the rest of their lives. Want to hear a male view on all this? “You have to take a bit of responsibility for this poor man’s dilemma,” Laide’s husband admonished.
“You did behave like a bit of a femme fatal yourself – getting too involved before you’d really got to know him, and spending his money freely. He could be forgiven for thinking at the beginning that this was going to be a full blown love-affair. Try to think how you would feel to be let down by a man with whom you’d had a major obsession and who’d led you on only to change his mind.
Would you rather be cut off completely, or would you rather be given the chance to retrieve something out of the situation, even if it was only a mere friendship? If I were you, I’d let him down, not cruelly, but with compassion – making sure that you never say or do anything that might get his hopes up again. Better still, why not go on one more date with him, really let it sink in that that would be your last date together, then give him a mind-blowing goodbye bunk?”
The mind bugles at some of these male views, I tell you! If you want to get rid of a lover with whom you’d fallen out of love – this is as good a time as any to do the decent thing and pull the plug on you dead relationship. Only a hermit can avoid being hurt as being hurt is part of life. Move on and do not feel guilty – you’ve done nothing wrong. And if you remember the last time you were dropped with little or no thought being given to how heart-broken you’d be, it wouldn’t be such a hard prospect to withdraw the oxygen supply from a comatose affair!
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