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Fool Me Once: Kenyan men, women share relationship deal breakers

Dating in 2023 is nothing short of an extreme sport.

Living in the age of advancing technology makes love and relationships a complicated measure of life for both millennials and Gen Zs. 

However, despite the popularized dating maxim “Kanairo Dating”, which when any Kenyan hears already knows means premium tears and heartbreak, there are a few souls that believe in true love that’s built on genuine respect and trust. 

Having been in relationships that didn’t bring satisfaction, many youthful men and women have had to come up with rules of what they’re willing to tolerate, and what they’re not.

In this dating era, nonetheless, rules have changed and it’s quite obvious that every lady and fellow in the streets is now prioritizing their mental health and general well-being by erecting healthy boundaries and non-negotiables in their associations and interactions with other people. 

In so doing, many Kenyan singles are looking forward to having healthy dating experiences in 2023 without having to compromise the values that matter the most to them in the pursuit of love. Individually, everyone has a set of deal breakers which they consider grounding principles for a healthy dating experience that will ultimately lead to a committed relationship or marriage in the long run. 

Deal-breakers are qualities a person either has or comes with that you can’t tolerate in your life or conversely, they are qualities a suitor must have to date you, such as the same religion or culture.

Both women and men have deal-breakers, however, I have come to realize that men honor their deal-breakers more than women. Beg to differ? I think not. I believe so because as women we tend to trust in the belief that if we give it a bit more time and work, he might change, and things might get better, which is by far one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.

Deal breakers should be sound and sturdy in order to command respect and attract what you deserve. With that in mind, a few Kenyan men and women have shared some of their top relationship deal-breakers. 

One thing I know my partner would do that would make me not stay in that relationship is cheating. Once he cheats I’m out, because why would he cheat in the first place? What would the other person be giving you that I don’t already? By cheating you’re already showing me that you don’t love me. Cheating is a choice and you can’t say it’s a mistake. ~ Joy Salano, 21, Social Media Manager.

The first for me is disrespect because I feeling when disrespect gets to a certain point especially when it’s from a lady to a man, there’s no point of return. The other one that counts as a deal breaker for me is the physical outlook. Extreme piercings. They scream more or less whore to me. ~ Mike Maina, 35, Front-End Engineer.

I can’t stand someone who lies. Lying to me basically tells me you do not respect me at all, and that’s a no for me. I also can’t tolerate cheating. Again, it’s disrespectful. You can’t claim to love me yet you’re ogling another woman. ~ Ann Wairimu, 30, Software Developer.

Rude or non-polite women. You can tell by observing their demeanor, how they talk, and what they post on social media. Sense of entitlement. Oh! I hate this and plagues a lot of young women today. Clubbing, smoking (all types of smoking), and too much-unbridled drinking. I spot either of these, I laugh and know in my heart I would never ever ever be near that person for longer than it’s necessary. ~ Timothy Oduor, 28, Pilot/ Forex trade expert.

Cheating. I can’t tolerate cheating. If we’re in a relationship we’re supposed to meet halfway, so I am going to compromise my desires so that I can fulfill yours alone, and I expect you to do the same. I’ve been raised where I have not seen people cheating, so why would I tolerate you cheating? The other is a lack of ambition. If you don’t know where we’re going then what are we doing? I am an alpha female, and it gets boring when someone is not driven. ~ Mercy Simiyu, 27, Politics and Lifestyle Journalist. 

Excessive show of strength and lack of vision. I really dislike it when a partner uses force whether in conversation or decisions or in as simple things as talking to other people. It’s really so nice to just be around a calm and noble man. Then a partner who has a vision, where are you headed? What are your plans? It’s not just being an authoritarian but being a good leader. Eunice Ndiga, 25, Civil Engineer. 

Clubbing and hanging out with different people every other weekend. Posting herself on social media, doing TikToks, and constantly showing herself off, it’s a sure No! Always thinking about Netflix shows and following the lives of celebrities and influencers then I’m definitely not interested. Always complaining and nagging about her feelings instead of clearly communicating her emotions like an adult. Having a boy best friend, no discussion. ~ Steve Kamau, 30, Data Scientist. 

For me it’s Christian faith. I don’t think it would be easy explaining to someone who has different beliefs and ideologies why I do some things eg waiting for marriage. It will just create a rift and probably someone somewhere will break some boundaries. The second one is any sort of abuse. Physical, emotional, no way, I’m out of the door at the first sign. I don’t have the strength or capacity for that. Diana Muiruri, 32, Medical Doctor.

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