Intimate relationships, in many cases, come to an end in bitter circumstances.
You’d find the estranged partners blocking each other on phone and social media, badmouthing each other, or even plotting ill against one another.
The feeling of being wasted, used or betrayed leaves one harbouring a lot of hostility toward the person he or she deems to be the perpetrator of the injustice.
However, before the relationship gets to the point where it is irredeemable, there are usually tell-tale signs that the affair might soon be coming to a grinding halt.
The hopeful nature of human beings, especially on matters love, however, tends to block one from noticing the symptoms.
Kimani Githongo, a psychologist and counsellor based in Nairobi, says communication breakdown is the first indicator of a relationship on the rocks.
“The moment you notice that your communication pattern has changed, you can first try to salvage the relationship by making intervention measures,” she said.
According to the psychologist, other tell-tale signs of a troubled relationship include financial misunderstanding, physical, emotional and even sexual violence, and infidelity.
Githongo told The Standard there are many different aspects of a relationship that, if they fail almost simultaneously, then the affair might be deemed to be failure-bound.
“In my opinion, for a partner to conclude that the relationship has broken down beyond repair, then he or she must have accumulated several separate factors that have made him or her arrive at the decision to end the affair,” he said.
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Githongo said “manipulative” partners, when confronted, “often use apologies to cover up for their wrongdoings”.
“A good partner is one who does not repeat a mistake that he or she received forgiveness for,” said Githongo.
The counsellor said a relationship appears to be headed nowhere when the offending partner keeps on repeating the same wrongs that his or her partner has previously highlighted.
“When you see that the other person is not willing to change, is not remorseful or doesn’t want to improve on his or her shortcomings, then it is advisable that you end the affair before it weighs you down,” he said.
Nicoletta Mungai, also a psychologist and counsellor in Nairobi, advised that one shouldn’t consider the time investment in the relationship when they notice something extremely off about their partner.
“Relationships can be terminated at any point. When one feels emotionally drained and disinterested in the affair, he or she has every right to end the relationship at any point in time,” said Mungai.
The counsellor said she has witnessed partners entering into new relationships with a lot of expectations, only to leave after experiencing a series of disappointments.
“Most lovers start joint projects when the relationship is at its honeymoon stages. However, when things start going south, you’d see one of the partners withdrawing or keeping to himself or herself,” she said.
Mungai said relationships that have children involved tend to be “more difficult” to end because of anxiety over the children’s future.
“Other reasons some people find it difficult to walk out of messy relationships include societal culture and perception about separations and divorce, religious beliefs and one’s status in the society,” said Mungai.
“Women tend to worry more about what the society would say about their failed relationships, or when they return to their parents’ home with fatherless children,” she said.
Mungai said financially independent women are more likely to end abusive or draining relationships compared to women with limited education.
“Women who have a stable income usually don’t think twice about ending a turbulent relationship. The women who are unemployed tend to stick to abusive partners due to fear of an uncertain financial future, especially for their children,” she said.