Tunji: Lola I want you back.
Lola: I don’t know what to say.
Tunji: Say we can try again.
Lola: You know I’m not ready to be in a relationship. Can we have this conversation some other time?
The above conversation is one I have had every other day/week/month for the past 8years.
But a few days ago, I sent my friend a message saying my ex wants me back and I think I’m going to say yes, she calls me on Skype a few minutes later and says do you love him? I stalled for 50seconds and said no but I know he loves me, now he hasn’t said those three magic words in a few years but I’m 80% sure he does, good odds if you ask me. You see I and Tunji dated when I was eighteen and I broke up with him after a year. I have to confess that I was a shitty girlfriend; I was young, selfish and immature. A few months into our relationship, I resumed school at the University of Ilorin while he was waiting for admission into the University of Ibadan. To be honest, that was the beginning of the end; my mind just wasn’t in it anymore and the likeness I felt for him quickly turned into irritation.
I met a boy in my class who started telling me all the lies we girls so love to hear so I broke up with Tunji citing irreconcilable differences. From the day I broke up with him, he made it clear that he wanted me back and he has been singing the same tune till date. Initially I thought it was just so he could have sex with me since I had withheld it from him till that point or maybe he wanted me back just so he could punish me. However, with time, I realised his feelings are genuine. He even enrolled in my school when he heard I was going for my masters and joined the batch after mine. However regardless of location (Lagos or London) whatever little thing I felt for him back then hasn’t resurfaced.
Between then and now I’ve grown to the ripe old age of twenty-six, four relationships under my belt and I’ve become what people refer to as a cynic but I generally prefer the term hardass. Unlike most people, I haven’t had any extremely bad relationship experience, never shed tears over a guy; yeah a few guys have hurt my feelings but no lasting bitterness or anger towards men. I have loved, lived and learned and I have come to re-evaluate my definition of love. Don’t get me wrong, I was never a hopeless romantic, my friends are the first ones to refer to me as heartless, the word cold has been thrown about occasionally and I always win the most likely to get married last award. So there you have it, a little background into the typical life of Lola.
I went back to uni a few days ago and bumped into Tunji and had the same conversation over again. I gave the same response but on the train ride back home, I thought to myself why not give it a try, there is a 70% chance (I’m big on analysis so I usually measure things in percentages) of us getting married if we start dating again. His parents and mine are close friends and we are both at the “marriageable age”. When I woke up the next morning, my friend sent me a link to a post, which I guess most of you have read by now. If you haven’t, here’s the link. The gist of the post is that there’s this girl, after dating horrible men, she’s finally given up on finding a soul mate and is settling for marriage with the man who loves her. Now this should be the validation I required to say yes to Tunji but surprisingly, I had the opposite reaction and the first thing I said was “what utter bullshit” and it occurred to me that I don’t want that life for myself (yippee, maybe I’m a closet romantic after all).
I’ll explain my rationale, if I could describe myself in two words, I would say I’m: easily bored. Don’t get me wrong; I love my company. The times I spend indoors watching movies and listening to music are the best but I’m easily bored with men; especially dull ones who I have no feelings for. Therefore, I would rather lock myself in my room for two weeks than go on an all expense paid trip to Barbados with a guy I don’t like because he would bore me to tears. I would have nothing to say to him, actually even if I had, I probably won’t say it because I know his reply would irritate it. And there you have it, marrying a guy you don’t love is akin to going to Barbados for the rest of my long ass life on earth. Perfect surroundings but it will feel like hell on earth. So call me old fashioned but I need something extra, the fact that he likes me isn’t enough. I need to reciprocate that like, I need butterflies, I need a connection, I need excitement. I need someone who makes my knees shake and someone who feels all these things for me too. Settling is therefore not an option.
So while it’s flattering/tempting to marry someone that loves you immensely or 90:10, I believe it’s that all consuming passion (which for all purpose we will call love) you feel for your partner that keeps you going. It’s what makes the sacrifice of your single status/freedom worthwhile, it’s what keeps you from poisoning your husband when he comes in at midnight and wakes you up to cook him dinner – it is what makes the marriage last. Most marriages of convenience evolve into a man and a woman living in the same house, sharing the same bed but leading separate lives. Strangers with nothing to say to each other, bound only by responsibility to their kids and societal expectations. So let me have a 50:50 love formula so when I’m lying next to him, staring at his bald head and pot belly, memories of when I thought he was the coolest thing since Facebook will keep me from strangling him. All a 90:10 formula gets you is a get out of jail free card to cheat on your husband. The connection I can’t find with you will be obtained from other men, and I know you’ll be at home waiting for me like a lovesick puppy and overtime his love will turn into anger and resentment as a result of unrequited love.
That said, I understand the urge to settle for the best available man, at 25+, there is unnecessary pressure from friends and family to get married but won’t you rather hold out for a few more years than spend the rest of your life with someone who you feel nothing but casual indifference for? Obviously there is a chance your feelings develop gradually and you end up falling in love with him because he is a “good” guy or he is great in the sack but what if that doesn’t happen??? You will have nothing but your regrets to keep you warm at night. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe love guarantees a happy marriage. I’ve been in love with people that I know will make shitty husbands due to some funny traits they possess but I do believe love is an essential component. Without it, your marriage is a gamble.
So my thought process has finally equipped me with the much-needed courage to remain patient and not compromise for the sake of a fancy wedding. Due to my selfish nature, I have held on to Tunji as a safety net just in case I decide to settle. Whenever he says let’s get back together, I just evade the question. So now our conversation will have a different ending. Instead of me coming up with different excuses about why it’s not the right time and making him jump through hoops, I’ll tell him to give up on memories of a fairytale relationship that ended eight years ago. :)
I couldn’t have written this better. It captures my thoughts on the subject (well, except the last paragraph <_<). What’s your take on this issue of settling and backup plans? Yes? No? Maybe? Use the comment box to speak your mind. Cheers.