As news broke last week that singer Michelle Williams has ended her engagement to her pastor fiance Chad Johnson, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that almost two and a half years ago, I was in Michelle’s shoes. In 2016, I was preparing to spend the rest of my life with the man that I loved. However, as the year went by, I became incredibly unhappy in my relationship and decided not to marry my fiance.
Calling off my wedding was a difficult decision but the state of my relationship had deteriorated to a point of no return. I just couldn’t imagine ‘forever’ with my fiance. I began to feel like I kept the relationship going because I was scared of being alone. Although I loved him dearly, I didn’t feel like my feelings were reciprocated. I felt burned out and taken for granted. The days were our relationship was great began to feel like a distant memory. One day after a long, hot shower, I took a look in the mirror and I barely recognised myself. I knew that being true to myself was the only way forward. This wasn’t my happy ending and as far as I was concerned, if happiness equated to being miserable 95% of the time, then I definitely didn’t want it!
As far as my ex fiance is concerned, I wish him success, health and happiness. This is something that will never change. Hate is too strong a burden to bear. We were just two people who were not compatible so we were both unable to handle many issues in our relationship. Looking back there are things I would have done differently but when push comes to shove, every woman has their criteria. We all know exactly what it is we want from a partner (if you don’t, I suggest you start making a list girl!) and over time, it had become clear to see that my criteria was not being met.
As I glimpsed at reactions online, I couldn’t help but comment on one of the articles about Chad and Michelle. My post did receive a fair amount of impressions so I was inspired to tell my story with the hope of helping women who may be having second thoughts about staying in their relationship. Compromise is a word that’s thrown around a lot when it comes to relationships but like Eartha Kitt, I don’t agree with the concept. In order for a relationship to be successful, adapting is key and you and your partner need to understand each other on every level.
An engagement is simply an ‘intention to commit’. During this period, it is essential to still look out for any issues or red flags in your relationship. I’m not a relationship expert but these are some of the things that I think men and women need to look out for:
Harsh exchanges – Communication in a relationship should be healthy, even when you and your significant other are having a disagreement. Disagreements should always be handled with care because the thing with words is that, once they are said they can’t be taken back. Arguments are inevitable, they will happen so finding a medium is always the right thing to do. Also, one love lesson I have learnt is that it’s important to choose your battles wisely.
Counselling to fix issues – This is something I wish I had known a very long time ago. Counselling serves a purpose and sometimes, two people need to talk in the company of someone who has a neutral viewpoint (which may comprise of more knowledge/experience). However, counselling to fix an ongoing issue in your relationship is dangerous, especially if your differences are already driving a wedge between you. Pre martial counselling and compatibility go hand in hand. It will provide you with the guidance and counsel to gain a better understanding of what is required in married life. Do not confuse counselling to ease tensions or solve clear non negotiable’s with pre martial counselling. The two are very different.
Differences in views and values – A deal-breaking part of any engagement. Being with someone who shares similar views and values to you is essential. I’m not saying you should be with your clone but be with someone who understands you. Issues such as religion/spirituality, family life and finances can really threaten a union. Honestly, the best thing you can do is evaluate these situations. Is it possible for you to come to some sort of conclusion with your partner or do the same issues keep coming up time after time?
Decline in health – In an unhealthy relationship, your health can take a huge hit. You can find yourself experiencing ailments such as stress, weight gain/loss, hair loss, anxiety, depression, OCD and many more. When your inner peace is disturbed at the hands of another, you are playing Russian roulette with your sanity. It’s not a matter of if, but when you will break. If your relationship is having a negative impact on your health, get out as soon as you can.
Taking breaks in the relationship – Singer Blu Cantrell put it perfectly in her hit ‘Breathe’: ‘All we do is make up and break up (if you know, you know). Cyclical love robs your relationship of its potential. Calling it quits and then reconciling is heavily romanticised in our society. The truth is that reconciliation in a relationship shouldn’t be taking place unless both parties have understood and worked through their issues.
I’m no relationship expert and have never claimed to be. All I can do is share my experience and hope that other women can learn from the mistakes that I have made. Relationships, although fulfilling, are hard work so it’s always important to check in with yourself to make sure it’s all worth it. Breaking off an engagement always brings that added pressure so be sure to confide in someone you trust before you make a decision. If you do decide to break off an engagement or you have done so, the best thing you can do for yourself is not deprive yourself of all those post breakup feelings. You will question whether you’re good enough, you will doubt yourself as a partner. It’s just the way it is. Time is the best healer and experience is the best teacher. Never forget this.
As always, I love to hear from you all so do feel free to comment below and also let me know if you’d like to read more posts like this on Its Kelle’s Space.