DATING: HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?

It is a common tradition and popular culture amongst various climes across the world for people to date, court or be in a relationship first for a certain length of time before getting married – not so certain now, but surely, there is a period between when they meet and when they actually get married, for some it may be brief while for some, a bit longer; but during this period, the overall target is marriage.

Now there is a very thin line between being in a relationship with the prospect of getting married and practically wasting your time with someone. While most people consider a long relationship the ideal type, some however see it as walking on a tightrope, you can trip at any time.

A long relationship they say gives you the rare opportunity to really know what you are about delving into. A time to get fully acquainted with your supposed partner, get to know – their preferences, likes, dislikes, turn-on’s, turn-off’s, their friends and even family members; as these will certainly play a significant role in the determining the success of your marriage, if it eventually leads to that.

It is statistically proven that most persons in relationships usually tend to put up a not-so-true personality at the very first instance just to appear appealing to their partners, coming across as perfect, showing their good sides and traits whilst suppressing their bad sides as much as they can. But time they say reveals everything; this is what a lengthy relationship affords you – the opportunity to see your partner clearly under the bright light of time, their true colors, seeing them for who they really are, then you get to choose either to go ahead, if you think you can handle it or just call it quits if you think you can’t.

However some may argue that in contrast, short relationships brings precision and focus to the table. It gives no room for biting around the bush, playing around as long relationships affords. It gives ample time to explore other options if your current relationship isn’t showing any prospect; not to be tied down to one person for so long a time, then suddenly they wake up one day and decide to call it quits – they are no longer interested in the relationship anymore. This is the scare and situation most people dread thus, try to avoid.

Consequently, the question persists – how long is too long to date your fiancé or fiancée before getting married? How much time is necessary? Knowing you actually need to know who you intend getting married to at least 70 percent before marriage but at the same time, you don’t want to waste your time in a gamble that may not pay off. The scale is unevenly balanced, how long should a relationship last with marriage in mind, how long is outrageous.

Sampling opinions randomly from different persons on this issue, you will be surprised at what people really think

Femi – A married man with fifteen years of experience under his belt thinks six months is enough and proper to date or be in relationship before getting married. In his words “Six months is enough to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with her. Anything more than that is a total waste of time, I met my wife in March and by September we were married.”

Dami – A spinster believes eight months is ideal, and anything exceeding that, she certainly won’t be a part of it. “I mean, if you’re serious about getting married, you can’t take a whole year of my life trying to know me first; for crying out loud, you’ll have more than enough time to do so after we get married!”

Angie – A newly married lady thinks three months is enough time for anyone with the intent of marriage to know what they want. “I particularly don’t fancy long relationships, it’s a colossal waste of time, a gamble no lady should make.

Victor – A bachelor, in contrary opinion believes two years is okay for relationships, as one really needs to know what they are going into. “Personally I won’t marry a lady I just got to in less than a year, it’s too risky, I won’t do it.”

Dayo – A married man with a dazzling perspective. Day thinks twenty-four hours is okay in knowing your wife and proceeding with marriage rites. “I am not a fan of fanfare and ceremonies and I certainly think dating is just a ceremonial trend.”

It is clear, therefore, that they are significantly different time ranges for dating for different people. As they say – different strokes for different folks. There is no clear-cut time as to how long a relationship should last before marriage; bearing in mind that a balance needs to be struck between, knowing your partner better and avoiding wasting your time. Well, it is more personal and emotional than it is scientific.

But if you should ask me of my opinion, I would say, follow your instincts, they are never wrong!

IS GETTING MARRIED AN ACHIEVEMENT?

Comfort Eke

‘When a lady gets to at least 25 years, she should be married’. In Nigeria, getting married seems to be an issue of concern in many families. Some want the grand wedding, exquisite clothes for aso-ebi. ‘Our family no dey carry last oh’ in their own words. Some mothers go to the extent of looking for husbands for their unmarried daughters. Aunties will be calling, just to ask if there is a man already. Some aunties go to the extent of saying it’s a spiritual problem that makes people unmarried when their mates are married. Recently I had a conversation with a woman and she said, “getting married is an achievement”.
         But it got me wondering, if marriage was an achievement, why do some married people get divorced? Why do people get married and still feel unhappy? Why do some feel unexcited about getting married? Carrying out a survey on some married women, I found out something very enlightening.
    

Let’s meet Rebecca, she is a very hard-working woman, skillful and humble. She didn’t complete her education because her parents couldn’t sponsor her. She decided to learn a skill so she could make money. Everything was working fine till she met the man that wanted to marry her. He was well educated, had two masters overseas. She felt the man will support her through school since he knew the importance of education. She got married but she couldn’t fulfill her dream of attaining higher education even after 16 years of marriage. She felt more caged than fulfilled as a married woman.

However, let’s hear Sandra’s story. Sandra was an ambitious woman. She went to school and got a degree in Psychology. She enjoyed her profession and felt so fulfilled as a psychologist. She ended up with a man that believed women should be housewives. He didn’t allow her to continue with her work. They had so much arguments about it and her family supported him. She felt so devastated.

The heartbreaking part was the story of Christy, She was so desperate to get married. She eventually got married to a man of her dreams, rich and handsome. Immediately she started having children, he changed.  She was beaten for even the slightest mistake. Well, she endured domestic violence until she died.

But there were a few women that got married and remained happy in their marriage. Their husband stayed faithful to them. Their husbands were very supportive of their dreams. Their husbands understood them. Even if they had misunderstandings, they usually worked things out.

With all these, can we still say ‘Getting married is an achievement?’ or ‘Having a happy marriage is an achievement’. I know there is intense pressure to get married. I understand that our friends are getting married and we feel desperate to get married. Let’s stop focusing on getting married, but on having the right partner. Marriage is for a lifetime, hence, you have to choose wisely. Not due to circumstances or benefits. I will say it’s better to define your goals, make your dreams clear, develop yourself to be woman of character and get married to someone that will support your dreams and love you for who you are. Be careful as well, so you don’t fall prey to domestic violence.

Comfort Eke is a native of Abia state, Nigeria; from a family of three. She is based in Port Harcourt, Rivers state and a student at the Department of Anatomy in the University of Port Harcourt. She is a writer, an entrepreneur and volunteer.

RACHEL’S DIARY

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari

What if I never fall in love again? what if my emotions have been dredged away by one too many deceit, heartbreak and disappointment? Only if Femi had been honest and sincere, I wouldn’t have met the devil. Just how wicked and ruthless could men be! All men are dogs and that is a fact. The ones claiming not to be, just haven’t figured out what breed they are yet.

Now I’m thinking, why did I ever go to the mall that Saturday morning to get groceries? I should have waited. Why did I ever meet him? How did I fall for this monster?

After five years of dating, we did the introductory rites for marriage, and that was it, nothing more! Always giving excuses each time I ask him of it, coming up with sweet lies and sentiments, too sweet not to buy. He invites me over to his place often, so much so that I began living with him. How on earth did I get here? How did I become a fool to reason? Love they say is about giving, and so did I give, freely and expressly, I gave. To satisfy his insatiable pleasures at any moment, I was marked present. Paying no attention to every restriction in me, withholding nothing, I let him have his field day all the time.
Love is sacrificial they say, a huge and unredeemable one did I make, recklessly I guess. Without a second thought, I made him my top priority – family, friends, career, religion, they all came second.

Defying all appeals of proper thinking, I plunged into a gallow too steep to hurriedly get out of – the greatest mistake of my life! Accepting all his bullshit everytime he messed up, I followed the rule – love is patient. Always sorry, I forgave him for all the times he hurt me, the innumerable times he cheated. Maybe I was a fool, a big one. Ever wanting to be a perfect partner and hopefully, a perfect wife too; maybe some day.

I dated him for ten years! Not months, but ten good years. Look where following the godforsaken rule has gotten me! Belittled and toyed with by the devil. How come I never got fed up and called it quits? Guess I was too in love – he hadn’t finished with me yet. Ten promising years of my life, I gave to a reprobate and monster; who made sure it was an ordeal, living.

Love is blind they say, so was I, for ten good years; blinded by the mirage called love, cos now I know true love can not cause you so much pains and leave you in ruins like it did to me. I turned a blind eye to every mistake he made, to every red-flag, I overlooked and ignored. I guess am paying dearly for such stupidity now. I had always hoped things will get better, now I see clearly hope is a bitch who just keeps you in perpetual suffering, stretching out a rope for you to hold but not long enough for you to grip.

With all the nights I cried, feeling pains all over my body, he wanted me regularly, almost for sport. How about the times, too numerous to accurately remember, when I found condoms in his pockets while doing his laundry, his shirts littered with so many colours of kisses from different ladies, feels almost like a rainbow– the hurt it caused me, I wish I could forget!

Been raised from a religious home, they always say patience is a virtue, so patiently did I wait for him to come to his senses and quit doing what he did; little did I know you can’t change a man, it will take forever! It beats my imagination each time I try to reason, why he did what he did. Why he hurt me so much? I had numerous admirers too, but for my supposed husband, I only had eye for. I was loyal and humble, always eager to do his bidding, I loved him. All these I did not knowing I was only been played by a man who never loved me in return but for only getting under my skirt with ease. He hurt me so much I can’t even remember how many times I smiled being with him.

A great lesson life has taught me; and trust me, I paid attention in full and learnt every detail. I’m glad that painful phase of my life is over, now I am left to live out whatever is left of it – my miserable life. Well, I guess I will just have to forget where the past, lies; and walk the path of the future, the new road to promise. But I am scared, what if I never fall in love again?

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari, is a contributor on the blog, an amazing content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

WHY MEN CHEAT? – A BONE OF CONTENTION

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari

‘All men are cheats, all men are dogs.’

These are particularly the opinions of ladies who have been lied to, cheated on and played. And considering all these, one is tempted to buy into their sentiments. But more often than not, you can’t necessarily blame these men for their actions – they are already tagged ‘dogs’, so funnily enough, they tend to act accordingly.

But the question still remains, why do men cheat? It is a fact that even men married to the socially ideal women, body-wise and economically, still cheat. How about the clerics who hold onto religious doctrines but are still accused of infidelity.

What then really is wrong with men? Were they created that way or they just learnt to be that way. These and more, are the questions resonating in the shattered hearts of bittered females as their partners cheat on them; most times, for no obvious reasons.

Carrying out a survey and sampling the opinions of different males on the issue, it could be seen that there are a plethora of reasons why men do what they do – cheat.

Abayomi, a student; lent his voice to this as he said, “most times, men cheat for fun, for bragging rights amongst peers particularly, but not limited to the school set up”. To be prominent and considered social, you just have to lead a promiscuous life on campus. As ridiculous and funny as this may look, it is statistically true – as on the average, most boys in the university would have been in at least four relationships before graduating and only two in ten of those relationships end in actual marriages. He wasn’t wrong after all!

How about Kingsley, a married man with 15 years of ‘working experience’. In his words, “men are visual beings and men, often times, marry for peace of mind and happiness, but much sooner than later. Inasmuch as these qualities are quite good, they can’t alone sufficiently satisfy the man.”

Buttressing this point is Femi, who says a man ultimately makes a choice of wife primarily based on these homely qualities. But why not stick to these qualities and characters you desired before marriage? You now go for something else, something more catchy and more appealing to the eyes than it is to the heart. But most times, you can’t blame these men one hundred percent, can you? So Femi says.

It is a fact that about 70 percent of women with amazing body physique tend to lose that body shape one year into marriage, they tend not to pay attention to their looks anymore as much as they did when single. They feel their husbands are obligated to stay faithful to them even though they look like trolls and garbage trucks. But what do I know anyways, this is just the opinion of Femi, a married man with two kids – he surely had something to say, didn’t he?

Relatedly, Franklin believes lack of attention and availability are the most cogent reasons men cheat. Verbatim, in his words – “I will gladly cheat on any woman who is not readily available most times and never pays me much attention, no caps, no apologies”.

Practically you can agree with him cos, in a society filled with feminism, every woman is trying to prove a point, a point of independence; kcausing them to some times, work doubly hard so much so that, they give much time to what is not so important and less time to what really matters. They are so engrossed with work, never having enough bonding time with their partners – starving the poor men of attention.

But here’s the thing, there’s no vacuum in nature, and when things like this happen, without a shadow of doubt, these men will get that attention some where else which is surely not you, then he’s tagged a cheat.

Maybe Franklin is just been a man, trying to justify the male folks.

Considering cheating involves the two gender, hearing from both sides is ideal

Valerie, thinks most men are egocentric and crave for respect all the time, little things like – going home from that friends party when he told you to, to weightier things like letting him speak in public without interrupting him are of serious concerns to the man. Talking back at your man wouldn’t be so ideal if you intend keeping him glued and faithful to you. Nagging comes with disrespect as she says; so nagging for most of time, breaks the bond between you two slowly without you even noticing. Then that lady at work treats him with so much regard, fanning his ego daily, tell me who he’s going to spend more time with? Surely the lady at the office. This was Valerie’s analogy.

How about hitting the nail on the head, stating the fact as simple and clearly as it is, Sharon is of the opinion most men cheat simply because they don’t love you. Fifty percent of the all lovey-dovey partners tend to lose their connection six months – twelve months into marriage and merely become strangers just legally joined together.

Then what stops them from finding happiness else where, when they can’t find it with their partner – so more often than not, most men only do what is best for them.

Although the religious folks may disagree with this saying there’s no justification for infidelity and men who cheat are sinners and simply do not fear God. But what moral grounds do they have to say this, when even the pulpit is guilty too.

Well there are many sides to a dice, aren’t there?

People do different things for different reasons, though it may be tagged societally wrong because it brings hurt and pain to people. But then, people have their reasons for doing what they do, understanding this can go a long way in remedying cases of infidelity

It is true where there are no consequences for actions, abuse becomes even greater. Spelling out the consequences of cheating to men and following it to the latter, who knows, might just help checkmate their devilish desires

But then again, giving it a second thought, all men are dogs they say, but all dogs go to heaven; Walt Disney says too– the irony of life!

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari, is a contributor on the blog, an amazing content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP?

So today on the blog. A counsel about love and relationships; not from me though. I had sent one just minutes earlier to someone. This is from one of the contributors and its awesome. I am not giving expo of any sort. Brace up as Comfort Eke takes you on this awesome ride!

Have you ever wondered why you were not created to just be alone? Why do you have feelings? They say feelings makes us human, but I don’t want to feel anything. Feelings makes things complex. How can someone just feel loved some days ago and then later you feel so angry? You feel so good at first but then you get so frustrated. Feelings only make life more complicated. I think we should just live life to fulfill purpose without needing anybody.


       Michelle felt so frustrated after a breakup with Bob. It started so good and he looked like what she wanted in a man. Michelle, a student of medicine in the University of Ibadan; with dreams to become a successful neurosurgeon. She was so ambitious but she also wanted a man that will support and stand by her side while she fulfils her dream. Just as it states “Nothing good comes easily”.


       She dated about four guys. Just before she broke up with the third guy; she started getting close to Bob who was an old friend from secondary school. Bob was always there to advise her when she needed it. He was there to console her when she was weak and depressed. He gave her the support she needed, supported her dreams, her career, everything of her. He gave her the attention she wanted from a man; so she broke up with the third guy, to finally settle with Bob. She visited Bob and spent time with him when she had little breaks at school. Bob called her daily and she got so used to the affection and care. They made lots of memories together and she loved him truly.
       

Eventually, Bob’s father fell sick. He went to his family house to help out and took over his family business. Michelle was so worried about Bob, so she called him daily to encourage him and prayed for his father to get well. Bob got so busy that he couldn’t call her that much and it became a habit. Michelle tried to talk to him about finding a balance between the work and the relationship. He always had excuse to give for the lack of attention. Michelle got so angry over the reduced attention, that she expressed her anger to Bob after several weeks of tolerance and understanding. She had an argument with Bob over it and it got worse, Bob didn’t call at all for two weeks. He even blocked her number, so she wouldn’t reach him. She was sad, worried and felt alone.


           However, she had to learn to move on. She felt bad, frustrated and cried for nights; she really wanted this one to work. Her friends asked about Bob but she covered up severally. She didn’t know how to tell her friends that she couldn’t contact her boyfriend of two months. Bob finally called after two weeks and said he couldn’t continue the relationship. He said he couldn’t combine the relationship and family and that was how the relationship ended. She felt so discouraged about relationship. Nights became wet for her as she constantly cried till she couldn’t cry anymore. Her friends had fed up on her and her failed relationships.

Michelle took a long walk to an empty park and thought about her life, she thought about what she had gone through in relationships; she then decided that she needed a break. The end of the year was approaching, so she couldn’t remain sad; she made new plans for her life. She decided to love her self more. She discovered she was so bothered about being in a relationship that she fell so fast and forgot about her needs.


          Alot of us are like Michelle. We are so bothered about having a boyfriend. Our friends talk about their relationship so much that we want to have one. Everyone needs love and we want to be loved as well. People get depressed about it. Most people are still in abusive relationships because they don’t want to be alone. The best thing is to figure yourself out, know what you really want and wait for it. Meet new people, socialize and have fun. It’s better to alone and be happy than to be in relationship that hurts you. Love yourself and the person that is meant for you will love you just the way you are.

COMFORT EKE

TRUE LOVE DOES NOT EXIST

Just in case you’re wondering; I’ma fill you in on it a bit. I was at an art exhibition and at the end I overheard a lady by the name NACHI say TRUE LOVE DOES NOT EXIST. I was intrigued, and I sought to know the reason why would a beautiful, vivacious, young lady make such statement. So, I decided to grant her this interview on the blog; and here we are!

I: Good evening, Ms Nachi. My name is Paul Kay…and you’re welcome to PAUL KAY’S BLOG. You’re a miss right?

MS NACHI: Yeah

I: Could you give us a short bio?

MS NACHI: Thank you. Well…Nachi is from the eastern part of Nigeria, in college, a Libra, an engineering student, a lover of art and so many diverse things

I: Thank you much much…Nachi, a Libra; you seem to love zodiac signs and symbols?

NACHI: Uhmmm…..I wouldn’t say I love them, but it’s there for a reason and it’s 65% accurate; so you get?

I: (Chuckles) which means you have a little belief in it.

NACHI: (Smiles)

I: So Miss Nachi, …. What’s your take on love?

NACHI: My take on love? Love in General? Or are you emphasizing on a particular kind of love?

I: What’s your definition of ‘Love’?

NACHI: Hmmmm……….Supposed deep affection for someone or something

I: Now when you say love doesn’t exist… What comes to your mind

NACHI: What comes to my mind (thinking) A lot!

I: Do I perceive you being technical? Did you recently catch love?

NACHI: Nope. I’m trying to not sound like a pessimist or like I’m against it. But then again, true love doesn’t exist. Take away the love we get from parents and family; relationship wise, it’s just an infatuation. More like a belief or something of that sort.

I: Wow! I’m not divulging my opinion, this is about you. But, what do you think of people in love?

NACHI: It does not last, first thing that comes to mind. Because the more something makes us happy, the more we love it. When it no longer dances to our tune, we then look the other way.

I: Wow! This is deep, this is real deep. But then, like our audience would like to know, have you been in love before, Ms Nachi?

NACHI: Hmm. I don’t know. (thinking) Yeah, I think I was caught in the dilemma.

I: Wow! You call love a dilemma?

NACHI: Yes. I got to choose. You know love is just a feeling. It takes more than love to accept a relationship. We’ve got endurance, understanding, patience, willingness to play along. So, love isn’t just it.

I: Wow! This is an education course you’re taking me on. “Willingness to play along” you sound like love is a game?

NACHI: But isn’t it? Where one side gets to feel the pain, the torture and becomes more sacrificial; and the other does what? Based on understanding, feelings of compassion or empathy for one another, which would exist,it wouldn’t be considered love

I: Wow! Is it possible that people who are married are not in love…cos you said at the art exhibition that love is unreal and that movies and stories made us want love and desired to be loved?

NACHI: Exactly! What keeps most marriage up until now is just willingness to strive and understanding.

I: (smiling) Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! So, when a guy sees a lady and approaches her, it isn’t love?

NACHI: Love at first sight? Naah! Just admiration, maybe lust or attraction.

I: (thinking) Which means relationships don’t break up as a result of lack or loss of love…but lack of understanding! Is it possible for someone to get married or marry someone you don’t love?

NACHI: Yes, I don’t need to tell you that. So many marriages don’t have love in them. Attraction, compassion, shapes, sizes, looks, money, understanding.

I: Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! (smiling) I’m totally awed. You seemed so convinced about this. How did you become this convinced?

NACHI: Because I’m a Nigerian, I grew up in a typical Nigerian home. I see things
I’ve seen people claim to be in love also and seen results and outcome. Even the bible told us that “NO GREATER LOVE HAS ANY MAN THAN THIS”

I: Wow… I’m being schooled

NACHI: If the first man an woman could even deny themselves when corruption and other ladies weren’t there. What will you say about a world flocked with different kinds of humans?

I: Which means when you hear people say, the moment I saw him, I knew he’d be my wife. You are never moved?

NACHI: Why would I be moved? I can see a guy and say, “I’ve seen the one”. Maybe he has the physique I always wanted my man to have, or the scents, or the looks, approach or personality. It does not necessarily mean I love him, I would learn to play along.

I:Wow! So, Ms Nachi; before you leave, on my next blog interview… Its about LOVE IN THREE WEEKS ….An interview session of youth corps during their orientation camp in Nigeria. Any word for them before leaving?

NACHI: Good luck! That’s all.

I: Thank you so much, Ms Nachi. Twas an awesome time with you here!

And of course my readers; thank you so much for being part of this huge interview. Do well to drop your comments, you just might be replied. Maybe not even by me, but Miss Nachi herself!

PS: This interview was done in the evening hours of yesterday, so permit the errors in time you might find.

KISS

THE POET: MEKA WRIGHTS

So, today a poem from a poet that has been here before.

Meka Wrights is an Abuja based writer and poet with magic fingers that demystifies love at all levels, he is an avid reader and a believer of God.

KISS

A mere touch with the lips, or press the lips against, they call it…

But what we shared last night was beyond pressing lips against a part of the body, it was a union of souls..

Like wax, I melted into your bosom as I presented myself bare, despoiled and vulnerable to the magic you performed…

Your lustrous luscious lips was the congregation, the juice we exchanged, the sermon. and the sensation afterwards—spoken words; words that muttered

“I love you”

Words that whispered

“I’m yours sincerely”

Words that uttered

“I’ll never leave you”

That kiss wasn’t a kiss, it was a tango between souls on fire..

© Meka Wrights