Today, I have yet another interesting discussion for us. After reading the comments from this post on people breaking up after dating for nine years, I realized we have a very fundamental problem in this society. I read Reni’s post on whether or not taking relationship breaks is a good idea and while looking through the comments, I read something from Larz, a regular here. Like I promised, I’ll start off this dialogue with her comment and then build on from there. Here’s what she said:
First of all, I think we need to stop seeing breakup as bad. Dating is a means to an end. Let’s be simplistic here and assume that the aim is to marry and stay married then wouldn’t you say dating is to find out the person we are meant to be with and weed out those we weren’t meant to be with. Doesn’t that mean the end of every relationship is a success because you managed to dodge the bullet? We need to see past our hurt and embrace it. Aluta continua as they say (continue your hustle).
Whenever I read comments like this on TNC, I just feel like walking up to that person and giving them a big hug. (So there’s your IOU Larz). It’s no secret that we have serious issues when it comes to relationships in this society but I guess we already know that. What you may not know is just how fundamentally flawed our understanding of the basics when it comes to relationships is. I’ll just give one example – ask an average Nigerian, possibly in a year long relationship what he/she is doing with their partner and their default answer will probably be “Oh, we’re going out”. Going out? Where to? When? Why? How? Before you jump at me and say cammman, that’s just the Nigerian way of saying they’re in a relationship, ask yourself this, is there a difference or shouldn’t there be a difference between these phrases:
- We are going out/ We are in a relationship
- We are dating
The answer for me is YES. Dating is the prelude to a relationship, because you go on five dates with some guy doesn’t mean it’ll end up in a relationship. Now if the popular term for being in a relationship in Nigeria is “going out” which ideally should mean ‘going out on dates’, doesn’t that somehow infer that Nigerians don’t see relationships as ‘permanenent’ or shouldn’t get so workedup when they end? The comments from my post last week totally contradict this because so many people came out to say if someone broke up with them after being together for nine years, they’d probably kill the person. Yes, it’s an exaggeration but like a common Yoruba proverb says “The truth is revealed while we play” excuse my poor translation.
Now going back to Larz’ comment. I think we all really need some sort of reorientation when it comes to things of the heart. We need to get off our emotional high horses and start thinking logically. I wrote recently about how instead of regretting and seeing your past relationships as mishaps, you should look deeply and find out the lesson(s) you were really meant to learn from it. If you do that, you might just realize that like Larz said, you just dodged a bullet. Of course it is going to hurt like crazy. I mean, even if you get locked up with a monster for nine years, as long as it doesn’t threaten your life, after a while, you start developing some feelings for it and if after nine years you get to leave, you’ll feel emotional about it; that’s what makes us human.
Trust me, I’ve done A LOT of research on relationships; I’ve met a lot of couples, interviewed them and drawn my conclusions. You have a few people out there who maybe only experienced one or two relationships before getting married. Truth is, one very few of them DO NOT regret this. And NO I am not talking about all their regret from all the sex they could have had with all those other people, it’s just simple logic. Here’s a simple analogy. Close your eyes and dip your hand to pick from a sack full of oranges. Chances are, you probably won’t pick the best at your first attempt. It may be a little bit sour, dirty or completely rotten. You have another go at it and you could be second or third time lucky. Of course just like everything in this world, you have the exceptions. Those are the lucky ones who’ll pick the perfect orange at their first attempt and you also have those who will only come close to lucky after seven attempts.
And just incase you were wondering your eyes are closed because we all go into dating or relationships blind. You’ll never really know who a person is or if you are compatible with them till you experience them for a while. Also, it is important to note that with this analogy, some will develop a strategy as they continue to pick. After the first attempt, you could then decide to use your fingers to feel each orange for sores before picking. But you’ll only get to this point if instead of sulking over your first pick that turned out rotten, you take time to go over the experience till you remember that you actually felt a sore on it before picking but you ignored it and still picked it anyways. And finally, after picking seven terrible oranges, most will start feeling bad and just want to stick to whatever comes out next (aka settling). People will laugh, point fingers and make fun of you but remember if you go at it once more and your eighth pick turns out to be the sweetest orange ever, those same people who mocked you will come begging.
I feel like Jesus telling y’all parables today. I know it’s hard likening relationships, emotions, heartbreaks to picking oranges out of a sack but I sincerely hope you understand what I’m getting at. Just to throw this conversation open, I have a few questions for us – Do you think there’s a difference between dating and being in a relationship? If yes, tell us. Do you see anything wrong with DATING seven guys/chics before ending up with one relationship? If yes, tell us why and if not, what if you end up going through three relationships before marriage, meaning by then, you’d have dated twenty-one guys/chics – is there anything wrong with that? Use the comment box to express you.