You meet a man who’s simply charming. You are excited about him and you both begin dating. You start spending time together and even start planning a future together. Everything is going great as you look perfect together except that your man exhibits bad habits now and again. You can’t also shake off the feeling that something isn’t quite right with your new love.
But because you love him, don’t want to lose him and want to spend the rest of your life with him, you overlook his bad habits. You tell yourself that he will change after marriage. You are very wrong. You endure emotional, psychological and physical abuse because you want to get married by all means. You see glaring red flags about your partner and you overlook them because you want to sell aso ebi and show your friends that you are finally off the singles market. You should know that someone’s bad behaviour doesn’t just change because of marriage vows. How many Nigerian men respect and honour their marriage vows in the first place?
Young lady, don’t be fooled. Marriage doesn’t change a man, a man changes because he wants to. What you should understand is that these seemingly insignificant tendencies can be early indicators of greater issues that will rear their ugly heads in future and affect your relationship. I heard a story recently. It is one of the scenarios that many ladies face which they overlook and pretend that all is well until they get married and start complaining to every Tom, Dick, Harry afterwards about how terrible their husbands are. 34-year-old
Beatrice has been dating 39-year-old Henry for over four years now. She said things are moving fine with them but he is insisting that before they get married, they must open and operate a joint account. Beatrice doesn’t have problems with that since she believes that as the head of the family when they get married, he should be in charge of their finances. But the only snag to this perfect setting is that Henry is reckless with money and babes. He can spend anything to sleep with any girl that catches his fancy. Beatrice revealed that from the calculations she has made, she will be the one making huge contributions as she is a deputy manager in a bank while he is a graphic designer and his income is not regular.
What kind of advice does this young lady need? This guy is clearly manipulating her and wants to use her money to live large with his many babes. But because she is desperate to get married, she is still asking for advice.
Many times, when young ladies overlook red flags in relationships, some of the issues they overlook come back later to bite them. Women should not be blinded by love, desire and sex when dating. Ladies, don’t claim you can change a bad and irresponsible man; you are not the Holy Spirit. Don’t ignore the following red flags in your relationship if you don’t want to cry in the future. Marriage doesn’t change bad behaviour, it amplifies it.
If your intuition tells you that something is wrong with your partner, don’t wave it aside. People know how to lie, but your intuition doesn’t. The first one to tell you something is wrong will be your inner voice.
Pay close attention to your gut feelings, analyze your partner’s intentions, words, and actions more closely. Refrain from making excuses for your man just because you have strong feelings for him.
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge when your partner isn’t making you happy. Take signs and actions seriously. It is not an accident if you come across something that proves he lied or isn’t who he claims he is.
Watch out for lack of communication. If your partner finds it difficult to talk about issues or express how he feels, don’t brush it off. If he distances himself emotionally when it is important to be open and honest, leaving you hanging, marriage won’t change him.
If your man is irresponsible, immature, and unpredictable, tackle the issues before tying the knot. Some men have trouble mastering basic life skills because they were not taught how to do these things like women were taught. They believe that the only thing they should know how to do is make money and women will be bowing at their feet.
Lack of trust is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore. When a man has difficulty being honest with himself, it may be hard for him to be honest with you. Some of his behaviour may not be calculated and malicious but simply a learned habit.
You should know that a man who refuses to hold himself unaccountable for his actions lacks integrity and respect for you as his partner. If he blames you for his irresponsibility, don’t marry him.
If there is something off about this person that seems obvious to family and friends, you may need to listen to what they are telling you. Often, in the throes of a new relationship, hearing criticism about your man may not be welcome, but others may see things more clearly from an outsider’s perspective. At the very least, hear them out.
Don’t ignore the controlling behaviour of your man because your biological is ticking. If he attempts to divide and conquer by driving a wedge between you and the people in your life, he is not the man you should marry.
He may be jealous of your relationships with these people or simply feel the need to control where you go and who you associate with, limiting your world to allow in only what is important to him. He may also make you choose him over your family and friends. This is a pointer to a future abusive marriage.
Feeling insecure in your relationship is a red flag. You may often feel that you don’t know where you stand in your relationship. Rather than moving forward, building on shared experiences that should be strengthening your connection, you feel uncomfortable, uncertain, or anxious about where it’s heading.
You may seek reassurances from your partner, but somehow these are only momentary and fleeting. As a result, you may be working double duty to keep the relationship on track while your partner contributes little or nothing because he feels it’s the duty of a woman to make a relationship work.
Unfortunately, this attitude won’t change when you marry him. He will see no need to work on our marriage. He will trample on you, hurt you with words and actions and expect you to take them all because as a woman, you should work to keep your marriage.
A dark or secretive past is another red flag ladies should take seriously. If your man engages in illegal activities, or has addictive behaviours that haven’t been resolved, you shouldn’t reward him with marriage.
You shouldn’t ignore or excuse anything that strikes you as strange or makes you feel uncomfortable. But if he has done the necessary corrective work and continues doing so for his own good and for the good of your relationship, that’s a different story.
Any form of abuse, from the seemingly mild to the overtly obvious which include verbal, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse is not just a red flag but a huge banner telling you to get out immediately and never look back.
If you discover your new partner is a chronic cheat from the start, spare yourself the heartbreak and move on with your life. Chances are that he was like that long before you and will continue to be this way and marriage won’t stop him.
Oftentimes, women hope they can change their men or mould their character and they marry these chronic cheats. You are setting yourself up for future heartaches.
They also think that these philandering men will somehow be different with them than they have been in their past relationships. You can’t change a man who doesn’t want to change.
Unfortunately, these women experience deep disappointment after some time when they realize that they can’t change these men. They start sending messages to different Facebook groups asking for advice.
Re: Life without your true love
Life without one’s true love is perpetual regret. I pity that young man in your story because he will be in agony for the rest of his life. I write from experience as my marriage is a product of campus friendship. I was a Post Graduate student while my wife was an undergrad. Her people did not want her to marry outside her state while my own people did not want me to marry outside my senatorial zone. We defied them and married, and today they are all proud of us. We are more than husband and wife as we are still the same friends we were on campus. Kate, God bless you for your rare insights. God bless the couples who did not allow religion to be an obstacle to marrying their spouses. -Tony, Umuahia
I am a regular reader of your column. You are a distinguished journalist to the core by always writing the truth. Your article about true love is very educative to us men. Please keep it up. -Ngwu Uchenna
Dear Kate, don’t listen to what all these angry men are say about you. They resort to insults because they fail to do what they supposed to do to make their relationships better. –Amarachi, Enugu
It seems that your write up last week was meant for me. I don’t know how to start my story because it is long. My question is ‘am I going find happiness again because my quest to do that is not going well and it seems things are getting worse?’ -Emeka Linus
Kate, a man hater like you can’t know how to love. It is heartless women like you that will slaughter their lovers because you cannot get married with the way you are going. You don’t know what love is, stop talking about love. You cannot give what you don’t have wicked woman. –Uchenna, Aba
Kate, I got lost emotionally reading your column last week. It was as if you were telling my life’s story. Life without your true love is hell on earth. I am not a happy man today because I couldn’t stand up for the woman I loved. It’s been seven years now and I still can’t get over her after having two children with my wife. You are good with words. I appreciate you for helping people have better relationships. -Godwin, Lagos