Juliet and John’s 10 years of dating were full of ups and downs until she could not hold it anymore. Together, they had a beautiful girl, who is now seven years old.
Juliet was not the protective partner who would ask John where he was, whom he was with and what time he was returning home. So John thought he had hit a jackpot and took this to his advantage. Soon he had numerous affairs under the pretext of having many friends.
Juliet says at one time, she had to hide him from the police for allegedly defiling and impregnating a secondary school student. Admitting his mistake, she forgave him. Besides cheating, John was not developmental, to the extent that whenever they started a project, he would go behind her back and sell everything. She never got a penny from the sales.
His attitude towards her changed, according to the amount he had in his wallet. Whenever he was broke, he was always loving and caring, but when he had money, he became rude and arrogant. Being her first boyfriend, she remained patient and hopeful that things would get better.
The final blow was, however, in 2010 when she found him in bed with another woman.
“It was so painful and worst of all, he started giving lame excuses,” Juliet says, recalling how she pondered on staying at his place for a week as she figured out a way forward. By the end of the week, she decided it was time to call it quits and move on with her life.
“I walked away and never turned back, but surprisingly he never followed me, which kept me wondering which kind of person he was.” But along the way, Juliet realised she could not separate her child from her father, so after four months, she decided to check on him, only to find a new girl, not the one she had caught him in bed with.
“I counselled myself, accepted it painfully and prayed to God to help me forget John, and indeed I detached all my emotions henceforth.” The two became friends, but John’s girlfriend became insecure with the way we were free with each other, and she began to doubt if we were indeed just friends. She later walked out of the relationship.
In a space of two years, John had numerous girlfriends until Juliet sat him down and advised him to pick one woman and settle down.
Heeding to the advice, John settled down and got a baby boy with his new girlfriend. Important to her is that whenever he got a new girlfriend, he introduced them to Juliet as the mother of her daughter and said she is always welcome in the home. Even when his girlfriend gave birth, Juliet says she was the first person John called.
Although living separate lives, they often call each other, talk for hours about, especially issues relating to the welfare of their child. Top on their list is normally school fees, where the child should go for holidays or if he is hard up and wants her to top up for him.
“We don’t go out together because we respect each other’s new relationships.”
Although John confessed to having harboured plans to win her back, especially at the time he had no one to help him take care of their daughter, Juliet says she has never. “I even slept at his home when he had travelled to the village and when he returned at 3am, everyone slept in separate bedrooms,” she says.
Their daughter stays with John, so whenever she goes to visit her daughter, John’s girlfriend welcomes her. To respect the girlfriend, Juliet says she minimises the number of times she visits John’s home and decided to trust her with her child. Juliet, however, says she took time to explain to her that she has no business with her man and the children love each other very much. She, however, can’t help noticing a bit of panic in John’s woman.
She says her biggest challenge is convincing people that the old relationship is no more.
“His relatives know me and my relatives know John, but none of them believes us when we tell them there is nothing intimate between us anymore.”
Juliet advises people going through a break up to let go because carrying on anger can affect your next relationship, yet not all men are the same. She also discourages people from giving into the temptation of getting back with their Ex because that person who hurt you is still the same, so don’t go back expecting a different person.
Ruth Matoya, a relationship counsellor at Healing Talk, Nakawa, discourages people from remaining friends once they break up. She says once you break up, you should break up for good because being friends can rebound into so many things. She adds this can prevent you from moving on, and hinders your emotional healing.
In case of children, she advises that you keep your relationship formal. “Relate like parents to the children but keep a distance from one another,” she says. John Aiken, a Sydney-based clinical psychologist and relationship expert, says it takes a lot of maturity and hard work to maintain a friendship with an Ex.
“If there are children involved, it is crucial to remain at least civil. But if you don’t have children or financial reasons tying you together and you want to stay friends, you need to think about how the friendship will work: what the boundaries will be, adjusting the expectations you once had and asking yourself, what are your true motivations for wanting to keep your ex in your life?”