“Floresta Mudondo met Brian Kangye in 2009 through an elder. He pursued her and after six months of dating, he convinced her to move in with him. Just like that, they started cohabiting.
Although Mulondo was not comfortable with the decision, she was convinced that official functions would be made at a later stage. “Before I moved in, I asked him to visit my parents, but he said he did not have enough money at that time. He promised we would make things official when he gets the money,” she says.
After 10 years of cohabiting and four children in the picture, Mulondo’s spouse seemingly has so many things on his priority list that investing money in an introduction and a wedding is the least he can think about.
“He gets irritated whenever I bring up this subject. He seems to focus on everything else except getting married the proper way. It has been 10 years of cohabiting but he is non-committal on marriage,” she says.
In a typical marriage set up, a man intending to marry would ordinarily visit the woman’s parents, express interest, ask for their blessing and pay bride price. This would be followed by an introduction or giveaway ceremony and climaxed by a wedding.
Are people becoming comfortable with cohabitting? Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a relationship psychologist, says commitment gives a relationship a sense of direction.
Although we are taught about learning from our own experiences, Lufafa says many women find it difficult to leave someone they like and have stayed with for some time even when it is clear they are not ready to commit.
Be bold enough
“It is important to ask your man what his goals are in the relationship and make yours clear. Let the man know at a very early stage in a relationship that you do not intend to stay with him until you are both married. Yes, he can change the subject and dodge the question so be skilful while asking,” she says
Samuel A Bakutana, a counsellor psychologist and the chief executive officer of Inspired Leaders International, says: “Other than counting down the years, in an assertive way but not aggressively, ask the tough questions like what’s your real plan for our union together? When are we making an official commitment to each other? May I please know where all this is heading?”
Bakutana adds that during the good times, a woman should bring up the topic for discussion and find out why the man is fearing commitment what could be standing in his way.
Lufafa says every woman should give themselves a timeline of how long they are willing to stay in a such a relationship. “Do not be too comfortable staying with a man who has never even introduced himself to your parents. Ask the questions no matter how tough they are. Every woman deserves to know their position in a relationship,” she says.
Knowing his level of commitment is important, according to Bakutana. He says asking your intention to move away or move on if no commitment is demonstrated should be explicitly made.
Lessen the time you spend with him
On many occasions, we think that spending much time with someone may make them reconsider their decision. But if all efforts are one-sided, it is time to reassess the relationship and move on, according to the psychologist.
Don’t be pushy
Allow them space to make up their mind. Lufafa says: “Get busy with your life and assess if you really need to stick around a non-committing man,”. She says when a man is ready to settle down, he says it and shows it. So, do not be obsessed with someone who is passing time with you. Avoid asking him frequently when he intends to settle down,” she says.
According to Lufafa, it is important to take time to medidate, reflect and make a thorough evaluation about the relationship by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of staying in the relationship or moving out of it.
If you are not yet living together, a mistake many have made, Bakutana says giving a man space to reflect and make up his mind and discussing the way forward is equally important.
“If you are convinced he has no plan for the future in regard to marriage, stop wasting your time and move on with your life. But if you are already living together, unfortunately, you may want to weigh your option,” Bakutana says.
Lufafa says acceptance is the highest level of coming to terms with a failing relationship. Just like Mudondo is coming to terms with the situation, the expert says seeking counselling services for a good assessment and guide on how you can move on without guilt is a great way to start.
Bakutana says prayer remains a strong shield in everything we do. “Pray about it because experience has shown that some of these issues have a spiritual angle to them.”