Palesa Tshatsinde
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Remember Your Worth

When You Lose Yourself in a Relationship and You Face Inner and Outer Challenges

Waiting to Exhale

It's funny how I have always told my friends to leave their cheating boyfriends and I married my cheating husband and I knew he cheated on me way before I decide to get pregnant and him paying for lobola and "damages..." 

In case you don't know what lobola or damages are: In the African culture you need to pay lobola to the bride to be's parents as a sign to say, "Thank you for raising this woman to be the woman that she is and I want to marry her, here is my gratitude" and this gratitude can be in a form of money or livestock (cows). 

Before you pay the lobola, The brides family dictates the value of the gratitude in which the man should pay. And once the man has fully paid the lobola, consider yourself a married woman, under the South African customary marriage law or Tribal Marriage Law. But because he got me pregnant before the negotiations, he had to pay damages too (for getting me pregnant out of wedlock). But eventually, we got married. 

I won't say it's been easy to be honest, especially because I met my then boyfriend and now husband on Tinder. (don't be judgy) in 2014, Tinder was all about looking for love and now after five years, it's all about sex. Anyway, things were great at the time (so I thought) until I found out that he's been cheating on me for the past year, And the way I found out was through Instagram. She (being the other woman) posted a message on one of my pictures, stating she's been seeing my boyfriend at the same time when I was seeing him. BOOOYYYY, did she have receipts to prove it. To be honest, I was shocked and felt naive that how could I miss the signs that he's cheating. I mean my mom suspected him but in my eyes, I didn't want to believe that he would be capable enough to cheat on me. I didn't want to believe and I can now say I didn't want to see it because I just wanted to focus on the good. It's okay to want to see things positively but let's not be blind and ignorant to men behaving badly. 

I should have left him, but I didn't and I wish I did sometimes because I wonder if I would have gotten better?!? But then again I wouldn't have my son, so I take those thoughts back because If it wasn't for the experiences I had with my husband I wouldn't be as strong as I am now. 

It's funny how getting burnt just keeps making you stronger and smarter about the decisions you make. Sometimes I THINK I got dumber and dumber after forgiving him for cheating on me countless times, before and after the pregnancy and during our marriage. I don't know why I stayed and why I put up with him and after a while, the relationship became toxic and physically abusive. I guess at that point I had a mental and emotional breakdown, whereby I stopped living my life and focused on fixing the relationship and monitoring where and who he's with. It got crazy to a point that I wanted to kill my husband, I wanted him to feel the way he has made me feel throughout the years, killing my heart, my soul and my confidence to a point that I felt nothing, just pure silence. It took a lot for me to go to therapy and family interventions to try to fix the mold in my relationship (marriage). I decided that I had to change to live again, I had to bring myself to life and exhale for the first time after fighting a war between myself and my broken relationship with my husband. I needed to stop making myself crazy and live again. Focus on my dream of having my own clothing line and being the best mother I can be to our son. 

Women tend to lose themselves in relationships and we forget that there's life after a man because women are too scared to walk away because sometimes we wonder if we will ever find love again, then we hold onto toxic relationships hoping the person will change. In some cases the man changes and in other cases he doesn't. It's all about understanding the issues you are facing in your relationship and deciding whether they are worth the fight or not. Because some fights are longer than the others and it just depends on whether or not the person is worth it or not. 

I love my husband and when I look back, I understand why I went through what I did and trust you me, it has made me stronger, resilient, confident and I have found myself through this experience. 

Through every challenge you face in your life, you are finding a piece yourself through how you tackle those challenges. Don't give up on yourself hoping he will feel pity for you so he can pick you up when you're down... NOOOO, that will make him want to look somewhere else even more. 

I have come to terms that all men cheat...all of them sons of guns cheat! But to keep a piece of mind so I don't drive myself crazy, I set ground rules to not let him get to me and be guarded. And understand that when you focus on yourself inside and out, he will focus on you me it works! 

Men are like babies riding bicycles with training wheels, it's our job as women to steer them teach them and hold their hand on how to treat you like a woman and how to respect you. Where do you think the nickname "baby" came from?!?... Lol.

Self-love is more important. If you love yourself more, it will teach him to learn how to love you and appreciate you the way you want and deserve. BUT if he doesn't really care or notice you... LEAVE.

And remember everything happens for a reason it just depends what you take out of your challenges and how you make them benefit you and make you a better person at the end.

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