It came out of nowhere during one of their quarrels, Kemi said, “after all I have done in this house, you cannot even do this for me?” That statement escalated the argument to new heights as her husband flared up and asked her to start recounting all the things she had done for him and he would in turn list all the things, he had done for her.
Their marriage did not start out like this. They were a loving couple who fell on hard times, when the husband, who was the bread winner lost his job. His wife had to step up to the plate and take over household bills she had never paid before. That was a shock to her system, although she managed to stay cheerful about the new arrangement.
But somewhere in her hearts, she felt, “I shouldn’t be doing this, this is not my job.” The arguments became frequent as the months progressed and her husband did not get another job. Every time, he went for an interview, hope would flare in her heart but it was soon quenched, when she had to listen to how the interview did not go as planned or when the call backs resulted in a negative answer.
The bills did not stop though, they kept piling up as she kept paying. It was when she suggested that her husband look after their one year old baby while she was at work, instead of taking her to the crèche where they paid on a monthly basis that led to the latest quarrel.
While her husband was angry that Kemi would mention such an arrangement to him, Kemi felt that it was a way to cut costs and something he should be able to do, as he spent most of his time at home anyway. Her husband felt thoroughly insulted and when she let slip about what she had been doing for him, he just went wacko and insisted that she mentioned all the things she had been doing and what he had been doing, to see who had contributed more.
Admittedly, that was a low blow from Kemi and totally unwarranted in a marriage. The situation had degenerated to tit for tat; if he contributes to the house, he is revered and no ‘insulting’ requests would be made of him but if not then, he had better be ready to accommodate all sorts of requests. The condition in their marriage had become based on what each partner contributed.
Another scenario of a conditional relationship was the situation that Doris found herself with her ex boyfriend. I think it would be better if you read this story in her words: “For four years of my life, I was in a relationship with a guy, who never thought I could do anything of my own initiative; it was a case of ‘I want you to live your life according to my beliefs and ideas.’ So for four years, I lived like he wanted me to; ditched my jewelleries, and makeup for the sake of his religious beliefs, the only form of date we ever had was going to a fast food and the beach once in a while. The rest of the time, we stayed at his place, where I cooked. There were even certain clothes I wore, that resulted in him giving me the cold shoulder, so gradually, I changed my wardrobe to suit his taste and then, I would get lots of cuddles from him and actually see him smile.
My friends would look at me askance, when they mention a girls’ day out and I would just tell them to let me think about it, that was code for, ‘let me tell my boyfriend’. As you can imagine, after a while, they stopped asking me anywhere, so I became friendless. He had become my social life.
As if that was not enough, I also started a business, which he advised that I go into, that was after he had discarded my own idea of the business that I wanted to do. After a few months, the business crashed on me and I lost all my initial investments, all I got from him was, ‘you should have done it exactly as I said, you are not good at taking my advice.” That broke the camel’s back. I went home that day and decided that I had enough of the advice I had been getting from him for the past four years in all areas of my life.
I realised that my life was no longer my own, he was living his life through me and that set me free. Although, I knew that I was not getting any younger, but I also knew that I did not want to spend the rest of my days like this. So, I broke off the relationship and you know what, he did not even realise for almost two weeks. Then he showed up at my place to ask why I was not picking his call. I must tell you, I took great pleasure in telling him that I was done with him living my life for me, and I was ready to take back the control reins of my life and that was by leaving him.
He was shocked and left with the parting words, “I was trying to make your life better, you will realise this soon”. But since, I broke off that relationship, my life couldn’t be better. Now, I live my life on my own dictates, at least, until I meet the guy for me.”
Hmm! Doris story was shocking but that was a sure sign of a conditional relationship. When she behaved as he wanted, then all was well in their Garden of Eden but immediately she doesn’t align herself with his wishes then there was trouble.
In conditional relationship, there is always a reason to do something; someone had to toe the line, before some things would be given to them. In this case, there was no longer love in the relationship, as love is unconditional. And if you look closely, you will realise that the partner in a relationship who gives conditions is usually the one who has deep needs which they try to satisfy through strait jacketing their partner to their ideals.
It is a cause for concern if you are in a relationship, where you don’t feel loved, except when you do it as your partner wants. It stifles the life from you and after a while, you will be barely able to recognise yourself in the mirror.
Doris could walk out on her four year relationship but what happens with a marriage based on the condition of the man’s contributions getting him respect and if he is unable to provide for whatever reason, then he had to settle for whatever he was given. That is the place of working on the marriage and realising that a relationship is not a competition.
Although, Kemi and her husband reconciled after that quarrel, it was a low point in their marriage as, her husband questioned Kemi’s claim of loving him, if she could descend so low as to ask him to do domestic chores, just because he was out of job. Something he had never done in the house before.
Remember, love is not conditional…but free.