I hope it is not too late to say a very happy new year to you and your loved ones! The year 2022 came with moments of cheer, fear and also tears but now that it has ended, I know you are armed with new years resolutions. It is basically the time of the year to say out with the old and in with the new.

You have a long list of bad habits you want to quit, good deeds you want to do and the proverbial 30kgs that you need to lose that never leaves the list. This new year one of the most important baggage you need to sort through is your love life. You should take care of business in that area and walk into the new year a new creation with no pending heartache, a desire to heal and a desire to grow.

We can not deny that most of us have that one toxic relationship that we held on to for longer than we should have. The commitment-phobic, who ignored you and treated you poorly but still had a lot of power over you. Sometimes we hold on to these relationships not because we love the person but simply because we are afraid. Afraid to take the leap of faith and walk away, afraid of exhibiting weakness because women and especially black women are supposed to be “strong”, afraid of starting over because your mates will laugh at you for being single. Fear has a way of crippling us and stopping us from excelling.

Having talked to a few friends who have experienced being in toxic, unfulfilling relationships, I wanted to know why they stretched out these relationships. They had varying reasons. Some were afraid of raising families without their baby’s father, and some believe it is better to be with that person who treats you ill than wake up alone but for some, it was a phase they were yet to outgrow.

Well, generally dating a “demon” might be great for a few dates since they are rather exciting, but they are not good for your heart in the long run. When I spoke to a few friends in committed long-term relationships, they admitted that they look at other attributes besides physical attractiveness in a potential long-term partner. Most of them admitted that they were attracted to kindness, self-control, financial stability and intelligence.

Finding what we truly desire in a partner the first time around would be great however, the less desirable partners we have had in the past can help us know what our values are and which lines we can’t cross in future.

How to make better decisions for yourself moving forward

When it comes to matters of the heart, there are no formulae that can work for everyone to end up with the elusive “ right person”. However, there are measures that can help one reduce the odds of being with the wrong person who will waste your time if want a long-term relationship.

Since we are in agreement that this new year, we are leaping forward and leaving those toxic relationships behind, we can use these tips.

  • Communicate: With the rise of undefined relationships, you need to ask your partner if they are on the same page as you. Make it clear from the get-go that you desire a long-term relationship. Discuss your non-negotiables and constantly check in with your partners from time to time in case they have a change of heart.


  • Love yourself: Most of us are stuck in toxic relationships because we do not love ourselves and believe we don’t deserve the best. Before you love and lose yourself completely to someone who won’t see your worth, learn to love yourself first. That way you will be able to build your self-esteem and know what would suit you best.


  • Have fun: Relationships are supposed to be fun. There is no reason to force yourself with something that you do not feel sure about. Explore your own tastes and preferences. Do not allow someone to tell you that travelling is a waste of money simply because they want to bore you with cheap “fence meetings”, travel if that’s what you want.


  • Have your own values: In case you are interested in a long-term partnership, ensure your partner is a worthy investment. Time is just as valuable as money thus do not waste your time knowing someone whose values do not align with yours. Save yourself the heartache. Do not allow someone to breadcrumb you in the name of auditioning for “wife material”. They too need to prove themselves.

Parting shot

The right relationship for you will not be smooth sailing but you can do it with a little less storm. You can avoid spending too much time, money and energy on people who are not on the same wavelength as you by knowing your worth, having standards and sticking to them. We may fail to get the art of relationship right on the first try but we need to learn from our past mistakes. Remember, If a relationship starts to feel boring, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the wrong choice for us, it just means you need to refresh your connection.

In this new year, I urge you to take a step and evaluate where you are with your partner. Are you going somewhere? Are you on the right track together? Are you happy? Are you making excuses to avoid walking away? Let this be the year you put yourself first. Do not sacrifice your entire life, fifty years of partnership is longer than the two years you have spent together! You deserve better.