The last person you want to say “Thank you” to is probably your partner’s ex, but the reality is, you owe them a debt of gratitude, especially if you are happy in your relationship. Why, you ask? Thank her/him for not damaging your partner, to the extent there are scars, which are then carried over into your relationship.
It might not make sense, unless you have been in both a good and a bad relationship, that is when the effects of a bad ex are mostly known. Ihuoma was once in a relationship where she struggled, her man wasn’t just in a good place; he had issues, which took up most of the energy in their relationship.
Gbenga lacked ambition. He did not trust himself enough to do something well, he always doubted himself, and that was a very bad trait. When it came to his career, he changed job ever so often, because he was searching for some utopia. He was also very tight-lipped about his childhood.
He mostly ever talked about his mother and it was with that hint of a smile, as though he was talking about a lover whose memory he never wanted to forget. He also talked about her in the past tense. So, for a long time, Ihuoma assumed Gbenga’s mom was dead and that he was an only child, and that he didn’t like his family nor wanted to relate with them.
All of this was the exact opposite of Ihuoma’s life; she is from a loving family, her mother had met Gbenga and had instantly picked up on the pain inside of him, which he did quite a good job of covering, but when you have been in the business of psyching people and picking up “strays” for years, your antenna is fine-tuned to pick up signals, no matter the amount of layer surrounding it.
Gbenga and Ihuoma’s relationship was sometimes filled with tears as he unknowingly hurt her with his close-lipped nature or when he refused to stay one more month at his current place of employment. All her attempts to tell him employers pick up on such things wouldn’t always sit well with him. Or worse, he felt edged in by her questions regarding his family.
It took close to a year for Gbenga to open up about his family and childhood. And it wasn’t a palatable story; no wonder he did not want to share. He was from a polygamous home, and his mother had been sent out of his father’s house when he was a child. Ihuoma was right about the fact that he was an only child, but only of his mother. He had been raised by his father’s other wives but it was never the same as having his own mother there and the only reason he kept changing job was because he often bumped into his father’s children at his workplace. He had left the house as a teenager and vowed not to have anything to do with anyone from his family, so he was just keeping to his vows.
Ihuoma was humbled by his trust in her but that confession did not bode well for their relationship. As no sooner did he tell her the truth about himself, did he try to push her away.
Gbenga tied everything she did or did not do to the fact that Ihuoma now knew the truth about him. Her family home that used to be a place he frequented often to chat with her mom, soon became a no-go area, as he feared she had discussed him with her family. He just couldn’t be convinced otherwise, so he did what he knew best to do; run.
Sometimes, you just have to let go, and that was what Ihuoma did! Gbenga’s life was sucking life out of her own, she had started to hide from people, to reassure her man that she wasn’t discussing his life with her friends and family. And then try to get him to talk more about his life, get past the hurt and live a fulfilling life. It became too draining to be the sole power in a relationship.
They went their separate ways, and for months, Ihuoma kept herself abreast of what was going on in Gbenga’s life, and he heart broke all over again but she did not think she could help him again. One day, he just disappeared, more like he ceased to exist. She asked around but no one had seen him.
And that was how it was for a couple of years until she got a call out of the blues one morning. She hadn’t picked at first, as it was an unknown caller, but she did after the second time, the call came and it turned out to be Gbenga. Even though, she hadn’ heard the voice in years, she knew it.
Interestingly, he called to say thank you for all she had done in the past and how sorry he was for being so unhelpful and paranoid. He told her how he now fully realised what Ihuoma had been trying to do by making him talk back then.
Not long after, she and Gbenga met and talked extensively, even about the things he hadn’t talked about before. It was a changed man that sat with her, not that troubled young man. It was a double date the second time around; Ihuoma with her fiancé and Gbenga with his vivacious girlfriend. She was no one like he would have gone for in the past, but that is what getting past your hurt can do for you.
Gbenga and Ihuoma’s story just goes to show that any amazing relationship you’re in isn’t your partner’s first relationship. In fact, each relationship they’ve been in has made them a better partner, and the same applies to you. The more seasoned you are, the better.
So when you are so gloriously happy, so content and amazed by the epic perfection of your partner, you can really just thank their ex.
Your partner worked through their mistakes with this past love. They learned what to do and what not to do with this ex. And maybe, because this ex left them or they left, they know not to repeat the same mistakes this time around. They don’t want to risk losing you.
Interestingly, it could also be the other way round; a miserable relationship is also as a result of a past hurt.
Whatever be the case, stay in love!
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.