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Decorum in matters of the heart

By BY SHIRLEY GENGA | November 18th 2013


KENYA: Yes, good manners are still a necessity, especially in matters concerning love.

Yet the way some people behave, you would think they were raised by wolves or that maybe they are the first people to fall in or out of love.

The other day, I heard an appalling tale of what a friend endured in the hands of the man she supposedly loves.  After a love spat, he not only left her belongings with the watchman, but also took time out of his busy schedule to write a nasty post on her Facebook wall.

And as if that was not enough, he also wrote a humiliating e-mail to her boss (by the way, these are actions of a grown man not a six-year-old boy!).

Firstly, you should not even have to use words like ‘endure’ when discussing you partner or spouse. ‘Endure’ is a word you use to describe an experience, in the hands of a serial killer or terrorist, not a man or woman you supposedly love.


Surely if one can extend some courtesy to strangers you pass by on the streets, then it should not be rocket science to do more to someone you claim to be in a relationship with. And even if you have broken up, it is not an excuse to go nuts.

It is not okay to steal and hide or to burn someone’s academic papers, or to throw other people’s belongings out of the house because you have had a relationship “disagreement”. Or to empty the joint account you had with your loved one.

Relationship etiquette is a must, it should revolve around everything from decision making, to phone decorum, to conflict resolution.

If a relationship has come to an end, borrow a leaf from Hollywood, celebrities.

They may be many things but they seem to have mastered the art of breaking up or divorcing, and remaining not just friends but best friends. And, of course, everyone is alerted by a statement how they have remained good friends. Writing bad comments on every post your ex makes on Facebook, is juvenile.  And if you are in a relationship, decorum is still a must. Cell phone decorum in a relationship for example requires that phones should not be hidden or phone locks used.

The way some people behave with their phones yet they are in a relationship, would make you think they hold the secret of the end of the world in their phones.


Being in a relationship means many things; share oneself with another and to be considerate of your partner. And if you are not up for it and want to hold on to your “precious” privacy, then maybe you should not be in a relationship in the first place.

Also when it comes to decision-making, relationship decorum requires that all parties that will be affected by the decision should have veto power.

Additionally, being in a relationship requires you put in place conflict resolution mechanism. It is not okay to react like a soap opera villain; please remember your Sunday School and pre-unit classes on common courtesy?

The whole estate does not need to know you disagreed with your partner over money or that the ugali was not cooked up to your standards!

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