Stage 1: Honeymoon

Ekay and Gita met at a music store in his home town, Peckham. He had been dating for a few months, but never felt 100% satisfied with those he had met. Some had too much attitude, some too little, some too modern, some too classic. But as soon as Ekay saw her, he knew she was the one. He knew how to play her strings just right. She nervously left him a note to let him know how she felt. Little did she know, she had the keys to his heart.

Things progressed quickly. They were soon inseparable, spending late nights up together. Ekay invested in her, bought her nice accessories, treated her right. There was so much about her Ekay was learning, but at the same time she didn’t give too much away. Ekay didn’t fret, he liked the mystery, the chase. He took her on dates to fancy restaurants but decided to switch it up with a cute night in for Valentine’s Day.

Stage 2: Conflict

Things were good between Ekay and Gita, until they weren’t. Eventually Ekay hit a brick wall, and realised there was a limit to how much Gita was willing to let him in. She explained that she cared about him a lot but just “needed time”. But Ekay was tired of singing the same songs over and over. He started to question why a deeper relationship wasn’t forming. After all, it had been a year, he thought he had been doing everything right. Things were going so well, where did it all go wrong?

He started comparing their relationship to those of his friends, none of which seemed to be experiencing these problems. One of his friends had even gotten engaged, and had started his relationship after Ekay and Gita, Ekay was happy for his friend but just couldn’t understand why the same wasn’t happening for him.  Ekay started to resent Gita, and it was soon evident that a break from each other may be in order, to think things through and hopefully come up with a solution.

Stage 3: Resolution

Ekay had spent a lot of time thinking about her, and what went wrong. He questioned whether he just wasn’t good enough, or if he’d ever be. It was a month till they saw each other again, Ekay was determined to make things right, but the relationship had become a bit forced, the love seemed to have dwindled and rather than enjoying their time together, the date nights had become nothing but empty routine. As a last resort, Ekay suggested counselling. Although hesitant, Gita agreed. They went together and the therapist offered them some advice.

Firstly the therapist suggested that Ekay reduced the amount of pressure he was putting on the both of them for things to be perfect, “things are not going to be amazing all the time” she said. The relationship had become a strain due to undue expectations of where they “should” have been at, after a certain length of time, the therapist reminded Ekay that every relationship is different, and that’s okay. “Just enjoy the process of learning about each other, even if it takes longer than expected. She’ll be more likely to open up naturally with time. And this may have nothing to do with you or your performance as a boyfriend.”

She also said that these times of conflict are natural too, and are to be expected in any relationship. “What is most important is how you respond, take these situations as opportunities to grow and learn how to better love each other.”  Despite how happy his friends seemed to be in their relationships, the therapist reminded Ekay that he doesn’t see every part of their relationships, just the parts that they show you. “Every strong relationship requires work at some stage or another. Focus on building what you have but be patient. You two clearly love each other. I have faith that the two of you will get there, you should too.”

By Stephanie Okereafor

Featuring Emmanuel Kwakye