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***

Today, I want us to look at a scenario. It’s not exactly real but I put it together based on a story I heard from a friend. Let’s get into it and I’ll see you on the flip side.

***

Ayo and Ngozi grew up together. From the moment Ayo’s family moved to the apartment opposite Ngozi’s when she was four and he was six, they instantly became friends. Despite their age difference, they seemed to just connect perfectly. They had the same friends, went to the same school and shared similar interests. People often teased them about liking each other and possibly growing up to get married but they both thought that was ridiculous because they were just too close and really couldn’t picture themselves being more than friends. They even helped each other through different rounds of relationship heartbreaks while in secondary school and when it was time to start University, it wasn’t strange that they both ended up in the same school albeit different faculties.

It was only in Uni that Ayo noticed how much of a beautiful woman Ngozi had grown into. After another series of failed attempts at relationships, he eventually gave into his fears and approached Ngozi about trying out a relationship with her. She was skeptical at first but she later gave in and within a year they became one of the most popular couples not just on campus but in their town. Ayo was 20 and Ngozi was 18 when they started dating and their chemistry was simply spectacular. She could complete his sentences and he could do same, they had so much fun around each other and everyone including their parents began to accept the fact that they were bound for the altar.

Eight years down the line, Ayo is now a 28 year old entry level banker while Ngozi is working as a trainee at a consulting firm.  They had been together for 8 years and gone through all kinds of ups and downs  including the passing of Ngozi’s mom and Ayo’s dad. They were still happy together but it was obvious that life had taken its toll on their relationship and the sparks weren’t as obvious as they used to be. Even though they had talked about marriage, they had never made concrete plans. During Christmas of 2012, Ngozi met a guy named Daniel through another friend of hers. Daniel works with an insurance company and earns just as much as Ayo. He is 29 and also from the south western part of Nigeria. After a few exchanges between Ngozi and Daniel, she sensed a connection that got her scared. She tried to shake him off but it didn’t work, he just seemed to have a way with words and saying all the right things. Daniel came out to tell Ngozi he wanted to marry her and he even went as far as buying a ring.

Ngozi became confused and Ayo noticed. She opened up to him and even though he felt hurt, he didn’t take it out on her. Ayo knew he wasn’t ready to propose to Ngozi as he hadn’t quite gotten to the point he wanted to financially before popping the question. He couldn’t come out to say this to Ngozi but he made her understand she had a decision to make and he wouldn’t hold her decision against her.

Ngozi is scheduled to get married to Daniel in two months but she didn’t make her decision solely on the prospects of marriage. Her friends and family all condemned her actions but Ngozi knew deep down that even though she had known Ayo all her life, the connection she made with Daniel in just over a year was way stronger than what she had with Ayo.

***

Not long ago, a story “broke” on Twitter. A couple that had been dating for about 9 years ended up breaking up – the guy ended the relationship because he had fallen out of love with the chic and as you can imagine, the women went HAM attacking every man on sight. The comments went from – “Oh men are just bastards” to “How can you fall out of love after 9 years”. I found it interesting because I wanted to know if they’d feel the same way if things were turned the other way around. Does 9 years of being together really guarantee a lifetime of love or is it just some expectation we’ve all made up as human beings? Because you’re with one person for 9 years doesn’t mean there isn’t someone better and more compatible for you out there yes/no? I know some will argue and say, there’ll always be someone better for you to be with even after marriage but you’re expected to settle with whoever you end up with and suck it up. Yes, but you see the problem in my scenario above is that “they were not married“. Some may find it strange but I believe everyone is fair game until you exchange those vows before God or in a court of law. Some will say even after that you’re still fair game but I’m a very principled person and I take vows seriously.

Anyways, I’ve gone on too long. It’s time to read your thoughts on the scenario above. I’m not a big fan of long relationships that lead to marriage – very very few of them work but I want you to tell me, how long is too long for you to be in a relationship without a reasonable end goal in sight? From my scenario, if you are Ngozi’s friend, how would you react to her decision to leave Ayo for Daniel? Use the comment box to express you.

Responses

  1. Zee
    Lol. Ahhh..
    This thing can pain…

    I don't know what to say Tbh. ..

    9 years or four years… Nothing guarantees nothing.
    People get divorced after 17 years of marriage Sef. I know of a couple like that.
    Someone will just wake up and tell you that the 'spark'has died.

    Don't get too comfortable… Anything can happen. Don't entrust your life to another human.

    But if I was ngozi's friend, I'd tell her to leave if she's very sure Daniel can make her happy.. because eventually she might end up cheating on ayo , the pain at the end is still inevitable.

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  2. Tiki
    First of all, love is not everlasting. Love dies. Love grows. Love is practically a living thing. It needs nurturing, it needs encouragement, and all those other mushy things y'all who've been to hell and back in the name of love know.

    Before getting angry at your girlfriend/boyfriend who has fallen out of love with you, ask yourself if you have tried to keep their love. If you can't keep it, don't be surprised when you lose it. Wake up, smell the coffee, and move on.

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  3. Tiki
    Now married people who 'fall out of love' are just selfish IMO. When a person marries you, they stop having a life outside you. Even the 'me' time they get is in relation to you! So to now go and pull the rug out from under their feet in the name of 'falling out of love' is just cruel. You got married, stay married. If we all concentrated more on finding the person we have a spiritual connection with, as opposed to the girl with the best body/genes or the boy with the nicest apartment/car/job, we'd be less likely to encounter unpleasant surprises in our marital homes. You are married. Unless he/she abuses you, STAY MARRIED!
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    1. sircastiq
      You take a little girl. Growing up she's loved by everyone at home. She's the apple of her dad's eye, her mom's little angel. Paradise is less perfect. She wishes things could stay this way forever. Bad luck, she shouldn't have. Mum loses her job, Dad works harder. Suddenly he isn't around so much. Mom tries and fails so many times to find a job, she gets depressed and quits. She puts on weight and turns to the church. Dad has even less reason to hang around. He seems to be at work all the time. Little girl sees all this, she's young but she understands. She cries all the time. Why are Mom and Dad always fighting. Why won't they get along? Mom isn't around anymore either. She's always going to church. Tuesday prayers, Digging deep, choir meetings etc. Rumours start spreading around. Mom is having an affair with the pastor. She didn't mean to.It wan innocent at first. It's just that he's the only man who pays attention to her anymore. Her husband can't stand the sight of her. He won't even talk to her. She doesn't mean to keep nagging about the drinking. Those words just hurt less than what's really on the tip of her tongue. "You promised forever. Why don't you love me anymore?". Dad finds out about the pastor. He packs up and leaves the house. Little girls cries and cries. She just wants a family. Why won't they just STAY MARRIED?

      People will do whatever they want; and are well within their rights to. You shouldn't have to stay married to someone if you don't want to. Divorce is crappy and hard on the kids but it's still any married person's right.

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  4. poisefreak
    If I was Ngozi's friend I would just mind my business. From experience I have learned that its better to keep advice to oneself in matters such as these… Ngozi knows whats best for her, so i'll be a friend and give her support.

    That said, I dont see this happening to someone like me though. As a principle I cant date someone thats only 2yrs older than me ..and for that long??? I feel ladies get matured faster than men… If you are just two years his junior and you guys have that same gap in your individual endeavors he surely cant be ready when you are. And in this case sef, their friendship is almost filial, like brother and sister they'd have to part ways sooner or later so why build something that would end?

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    1. thetoolsman Post author
      What is this thing people keep saying about women "maturing" faster than men? in my scenario the guy was 28 and she was 26 when they split.. I have friends that got married at 24 if thats what you're referring to as "maturing"..
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      1. poisefreak
        Why would you get married at 24???? And "maturity" in this context covers a lot of things.. Emotional maturity, financial maturity and having a sense of responsibility…. I might be wrong but most men that age are only grappling with the idea that they've got to start taking on responsibilities outside their immediate ones… Only a few men that age have a heightened sense of responsibility.
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          1. poisefreak
            A lot… But that's my opinion.. It still boils down to personal development… Hustle first, marriage is not as simple as it appears and there are some things a 24yr old isnt just old enough to handle, although there are a few exceptions. Besides this is Nigeria and to folks like me the situation of things in this country would have you thinking of financial stability before marriage. Now in a situation where I am 25 and still managing a 50K per month job, why in the world would I want to get married???
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      1. bella
        but may not have the same level of emotional, spiritual and social responsibility as Ayo does. Age, like they say, is nothing but just numbers.
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  5. Tiki
    As for being in a relationship for 9 years – maka why? Don't you have a plan for your future? I wonder to myself how a 9year relationship grows. I mean , either y'all are both very slow at showing your feelings, or one person will start giving the other privileges they do not yet deserve. My personal opinion is that at the beginning of a relationship, I have to at least have a purpose for it. It might be a rebound thing, a lust thing, a -we-may-end-up-together thing, or a get-married-or-die-trying thing. Either way, set realistic goals for yourself and respect them.

    A young friend of mind told me yesterday that his girlfriend just had a baby for him, but he bemoans the fact that he is not yet financially ready. When I asked him when he would be, he said 'in two years or so'. Of course, I told him thunder would fire him if he made a girl who pushed his big-head baby out of her vagina to wait 2 years before she got a ring. You either wanna get married, or you don't. Pick one.

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    1. nwadadi
      loool thunder firing your friend. i totally agree with you, every relationship should have a purpose else you did get the above 9yrs going no where.

      being with someone is really a matter of personal choice, convictions and madness. pain is inevitable in all relationship so the not wanting to hurt reasoning is just silly. plus they have not marry, not talked about it seriously, hence my theory, both where killing time with each other till they where ready to move on. nogzi did, so yay!!!! to her and support is what good friends should give.

      its all good expect in a committed and defined relationship or marriage. once committed pls stay committed, falling out of love oooo or falling in love with another person are just excuses.

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        1. Tiki
          I love how you said it's difficult, not impssible.

          Life in itself is difficult, but would you commit suicide if things weren't going according to plan?

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  6. Tiki
    Finally (lol), my new policy when asked if I'm single, is to say I'm not married. 'relationship' is not a status. It is limbo. Every single girl at every point in time is in multiple relationships at different stages, and the only thing which [should] put a definite stop to all that is marriage.

    Until then, join the queue.

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    1. ijebuPrincess
      thank you for this wonderful comment. God bless you a million times over.
      I should show my family this cos they think I'm 'being a silly little girl' for always insisting that " I'm not married until i'm married".
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    2. nwadadi
      pls how does one arrange these multiple relationships cos i must have missed that mgt class :(.

      cos am single till in a committed relationship

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    3. larz
      "Every single girl at every point in time is in multiple relationships at different stages, and the only thing which [should] put a definite stop to all that is marriage."

      I think I am an exception to this. Who has time to see Tolu on Monday, Tunji on Tuesday, Nnamdi on Wednesday, Cho on Thursday and soon?

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      1. Tiki
        They may not all be at the 'seeing you' stage. Tolu may be at the BBM chat stage, Tunji may be at the hangout on weekends stage, Nnamdi may be at the sleepover stage. Be that as it may, they are all prospective partners with a shot at getting and keeping you.

        Sometimes it's only about who got there first and who's gonna hang around longest.

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  7. etranger
    Please why oh why would any sane human be in a relationship for 9years?
    Of course the initial sparks had dissapeared and you know something else…
    Both boy & girl couldn't be arsed to make any effort.
    Why is this? Because no be marriage.

    Its only in marriage people go above and beyond to keep the passion alive.

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  8. Shadow
    Sincerely i applaud Ngozi's decision because it takes a strong person to stand for what she truly wants at the end of the day. For me it doesn't matter the number of years they had been involved in that relationship the most important thing is they were no longer feeling each other and so since that was the case one had to leave.
    Even Ayo would have left in the long run from the sound of the story, so its better she went for what she wanted. And that Ayo's excuse of “financial level'' or something like that he wanted to get to before popping the question doesn't hold water with me because they are both working and should start their lives together with what little they have if they are serious about it.
    So by and by no big deal, life goes on.
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      1. Tiki
        I did, and I call bullshit – excuse my french, but I'm passionate about this.

        Disclaimer – I know that some people have psychlogical issues which make them crave the approval/admiration of strangers, bend over backwards to avoid confrontation, or enter and encourage unhealthy competition with peers.

        It only takes 3 things to get married – a Justice of the Peace, a ring-like symbol of your love, and the person you are getting married to. Every other thing is just trappings. A couple who cannot withstand third party pressure with regard to the cost of their wedding is just warming up for marital issues.

        If the pressure is from the person you are marrying, ti o ba wa ni wahala.

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          1. Jo!
            Nahhhhhhh, It's not about being Nigerian, I am Yoruba and Tiki just spoke my mind! I will just probably show up at Ikoyi registry one day, get married, then call my mom to tell her, Of course she will be upset but I'm still her daughter, am I not? and she has already done other weddings so she should just leave me abeg.
            This is after Introduction, obviously.
            Nope, it is not about being Nigerian, some people just like Owambe and don't mind the cost *side eye at Tula*
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          2. Tiki
            Tula, we have the same mentality here. The issue is, how far are you willing to let what other people want from or expect of you dictate your actions?
            0
          1. thetoolsman Post author
            You know what, some months/years down the line after you get married, you will come back to this post and tell us how it went down.
            0
        1. bella
          i am of this school of thought too. Tho my mom would kill me if i didnt throw a big party. i would rather have a great marriage than have a great wedding. i cant go throwing an owambe for a bunch of strangers- my parents friends, inlaws friends(old people), party crashers, a bunch of jealous friends who are there only to compare and calculate the cost of your party, the cost of your gown, the type of drinks served, etc- who at the end of the day would go back to their houses and look for the next victim
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      2. Shadow
        no i've not read that post but its possible to do what you want to when you want to irrespective of finance. my parents served meatpie and soft drinks at their wedding and they are almost 30 yrs in the marriage while many of their friends that had Sunny Ade at their weddings broke it up a long time ago so for me its more about the success of the marriage than how much was spent contracting it. So Ayo no get excuse on that note.
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  9. Angela
    Break up after 9 years? Ahhh! Mai Gaddd!
    I have a black woman blood in me.
    Its going to be a deadly day.
    Borrrofus are going to die on the line.
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  10. ijebuPrincess
    But really if we look at when they started dating, the number of years is not an issue. They were both just starting uni, I don''t think anyone expects two undergraduates to get married just cos they've been dating for 2 years plus.
    And then we still won't expect them to get married fresh out of school, and new into the labour market.
    If it was after school that the 9 years started counting ehen, that's when I would have a problem. In any case, better a broken relationship than a broken marriage.
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    1. larz
      I agree but I suspect they didn't fall out of love/ grow apart after 9yrs. It was probably earlier than that. You are not who u were in University
      0
  11. RILEY
    Sup y'all?
    Riley sez time dnt mean shit 2 a real ass nigga. Jus cuz we been kickin it 4 2 presidential terms dnt mean a nigga cnt switch d game up on a bitch or a bitch cnt switch all up on a nigga ass. Yo. shit be gettin reevaluated err minute of d game, u feel me? if a bitch/nigga aint meet a dey standards n targts n KPO's n shit, real ass niggas n bitches reserve d rights 2 change d game up. dis aint no game.

    In summary:
    1. Time aint shit
    2. Relationshit steady gettin reevaluated B.
    3. U aint meet yo KPOs, yo ass gotta go.

    RILEY OUT.

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  12. larz
    I understand that everyone is fair game until marriage. I get that. I also believe in courting i.e. dating with the hopes or intention of finding out if you can marry someone / not. This probably explains why I didn’t get into my first serious relationship until I was 24.
    That aside, I don’t think it takes 9 years to realise something is not working for you/ that you don’t plan on spending the rest of your life with them. Once doubt starts to creep in or you start noticing some failings, it is worth mentioning so both of you can work on improving things. Often times, people keep it to themselves forgetting that it takes to try to turn things around and their partner can’t fix what they are unaware is broken. If it can’t be savaged end it sooner rather than later, before a Daniel comes into the equation or at least before you start dating him.
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  13. MrOnafuye
    In my world,Love isn't an emotion or a feeling in your chest.to me its a command.An action word.its what you do.so I try to extend it to everyone.
    Understanding is one of the ways to display love and that is exactly what Ayo did.He understands.
    "even though he felt hurt ……. promised not to ever hold it against her"
    People that is LOVE.Ngozi is losing(abi has lost sef) a good man.and we don't know enough to say if Daniel is a better one.lets hope he is.
    Of cos not all men are like Ayo so we can't place all '9 year' relationships in this context.9 years is a really long time to be honest and we all should try to avoid such.
    But if you have a man who has shared so much with you, supports you even when the decision clearly tears his heart out,Ladies please,abeg biko stay.Heaven has us in short supply
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    1. Tiki
      Would you really want her to stay, when you know that when you kiss her, she wishes you were someone else? When she's less than enthusiastic to have your baby? When she doesn't miss you when you are gone?

      Be careful what you wish for.

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  14. Fefee
    if I'm being very honest, I'll do nothing. I'm somewhat afraid of marriage because nothing on earth has held my interest for five years to say nothing of 9. I think that if I still love the person, I'll feel sad awhile but move on because we all know too well how quickly love does an aboutface. you'll just end up resenting the person for not loving you as much as you do them. And if I don't love the person and he breaks up with me, I'll be out the door faster than he can change his mind.
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    1. Tosin
      exactly! after nine years, the main thing keeping a couple bound is laziness or inertia or fear, ok, maybe they really really like each other, that's a possibility. for me, if it's just my lazy ass wanting to stay in a comfy relationship, it'll be a blessing to be set free…then i can do a fresh round of it all. yummy. life is short, live it like Liz Taylor.
      to illustrate further, like i've been at my job for two years, i love my job because it's comfortable and i rock at it, but y'know, if i left it or if it left me, it could be because more awesome things await. i can't believe I've been at my job for two years – shit, i'm getting old/boring 🙂
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  15. babe
    Love is not really a feeling.
    Its more of an action.
    you have to choose to love, to keep doing loving things, its like a fire, to keep it burning you have to fan it, add coal,

    In this case, reevaluate, can you revive the flames? Or is it better to let go?

    Il ask if the way she is feeling now is different from how she felt when she first met Ayo&I'll ask what she intends to do if she 'falls out of love' after 9years with Daniel.

    And finally, il tell her to do whatever makes her happy.

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  16. Trace
    Yeah, I dated a guy for 9years n contrary to what u guys think, we didn't break up, got married last year, met him when I was 19. it wasnt all wasnt rosy but we made it through.
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  17. @Midenoni
    Hahahaha…..so cracked. up. Those of u shouting at 9years do the maths. Well a relationship that started in 100L. There're studying a 5year course. Plus 2years ASSU strike, 1 year NYSC. that's 8years already. At least they'll work for 1year if they are lucky to get a job immediately after NYSC. So how on earth won't it be 9years oo…biko take a chill pill. If after graduation u date someone for morw than 3year then….you're on a veeeeryy long thing.
    But weda it's 2 weeks or 2 decades of relationship, the biggest mistake is that people get too comfortable and stop doing all the things that they did to get him/her. Why won't "the Love die"? Won't u sef dir if u don't eat for 1year?
    But in a serious note, regardless of the level of ur relationship, marriage or bbm, make a conscious effort the keep the love alive. QED
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    1. Enkae
      Lool strike. I experienced all those 5year course and all. I am all for short relationships though. 9 years means you're practically married without a ring or certificate. In fact you're branded by everyone as "the babe" . Keep it short and simple or keep moving.
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    2. king push
      "But weda it's 2 weeks or 2 decades of relationship, the biggest mistake is that people get too comfortable and stop doing all the things that they did to get him/her. Why won't "the Love die"? Won't u sef die if u don't eat for 1year?
      But in a serious note, regardless of the level of ur relationship, marriage or bbm, make a conscious effort the keep the love alive. QED"………..Sharp!!!!!! People get too comfy and even after marriage sef people get MORE comfy. Girls start tying wrapper around the chest and shi and guys start scratching their balls mehn….. Long story never stop trying to keep your spouse's attention.
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  18. tonia
    The way I see it, it means that for those who are saying it's no big of a deal since they aren't married yet, they will surely leave their spouse if after say 9 years of marriage, you feel you need something new. 9 years together is as good as being married. Whatever weary feeling you have towards your partner after such a long time is what is called the 'see finish syndrome' and it can totally be fixed. Well, except you are certain that there is no redemption for the union. Marriage is nothing but a status. Being together and finding a reason to stay together take more than signing dotted lines. Or maybe less.
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  19. Ralee
    Ok I just have to say this…on a normal day am just a silent avid reader never commenting…but for this,if we had marriage in our plans and you leave after nine years,guy if you reason is not very serious its rat posion for you.I can’t give you 9 solid years of my life and you spit it in my face….why dint she meet daniel in their third year or fourth,why 9th?in my opinion falling out of love of no more attraction is a very lame excuse and hold no water.
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  20. Stephanie
    Hi all. Usually a silent reader but this hits close to home so here's my bit…
    I dated a guy for 8years. We are age mates. We met in university 200L. 6 yr course + 1 yr internship + 1 yr NYSC b4 we got married.
    In all reality it cldnt hv happened any sooner. Fresh out of sch, no job? We had to wait though I was less than pleased cos I was eager to start my family.
    No one sets out to have a 9 year relationship, it just happens. If u meet someone u click with on that level so early in life do u walk away just because u have clocked in 2/3 years? I found that u have little choice but to wait till u are financially ready to get married.
    Financially ready doesn't mean enough money for owambe party… It means enough money to put a roof over your heads, food on your table, to cover medical expenses and to take care of babies as they come and to enjoy the finer things of life.
    Heck I didn't want to get married in secret or without my family and friends around me! I wanted a pretty dress and and a nice reception. We all know I can't get that in exchange for batting eyelashes. So wait I had to. Lol.
    Trust me it wasn't a walk in the park. Each of us is far from perfect. But we compliment each other. The butterflies in the stomach phase passed soon enough but what was left was true enough to lead us through school, out into the "real" world, survive a break up and get back together again.
    It still isn't a walk in the park. Life isn't that simple. We have our tough times but the great times far outnumber them. Sometimes what gets us past the phase of wanting to throw in the towel is the history we have built over the years. Nothing he does surprises me really cos I know him that well and vice Versa. We chose each other, flaws and all.
    The butterflies may be gone but what's replaced them is something deeper than we could have ever imagined.
    If I had to choose over again I'll still wait 8 years to be with him forever.
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