Boy meets girl.
Boy likes girl.
Girl likes boy.
Boy and girl start dating.
Boy breaks up with girl.
Boy is evil demon sent from the pit of hell to waste girl’s life.
I’m so sick and tired of seeing this scenario play out too many times in our society. It is absolutely ridiculous and I am here today to tell you why I think so and also to get your take on it.
On this same site I have written several posts on how and why I think our idea of marriage in this generation is completely flawed – my views on this haven’t changed. For many, marriage is a necessary evil, a thing you have to do to become a complete human being, a responsibility you owe your parents, a check box. The end. I’m not going to go into details on why this type of thinking is wrong in so many ways but this obviously is one of the reasons why a lot of women develop this unrealistic entitlement complex that directly equates dating past 2 years (or less for some) to an automatic proposal/marriage guarantee.
Now lets break this down. For you to date someone for 5-7 years and then terminate the relationship right around the time when everyone expects you to be preparing for marriage, I will assume y’all started dating somewhere around the age of 24/25 for the guy (since the golden age of marriage in Nigeria is 30). Since with most couples, the guys are usually older, let us assume, the chic is 2 years younger – 23. I like to think of myself as an exception so using most of my friends as example, at 25, the average young Nigerian man is probably done with NYSC and either on his first job or in that ‘self discovery’ phase that comes right after NYSC. You know, that one where the fact that you probably wasted 4 years in school studying Applied Physics because that was all you could get with your JAMB score finally hits you. And then after looking around to discover no one is hiring physicists, you try your hand on a few hustles here and there but by and large, you are broke and 98% dependent on mummy and daddy yet your raging hormones and need to constantly turn up and remain socially relevant are never far from your mind. Terrible times I tell you.
In comes 23-year-old Suzzy. She’s good-looking. Scratch that, she’s HOT. But those kind of hot girls you can tell come from “good homes” so she’s well brought up, respectful, down to earth and most importantly, fun. She’s so down to earth that she sees past your financial situation. She’s also done with school and has free time so y’all hang out at yours and do what most 24 year olds in that space do, have loads of sex, talk about everything going on in your social circle etc. It only makes sense after doing this for a while to get in a relationship with Suzzy. Y’all get official and thankfully after a year, opportunities open up and you both get your first jobs. Let’s say the guy starts to work in a bank as a marketer. For the first time in his life, he discovers the corporate world. He meets other colleagues from other banks and more importantly, he starts earning his own money. Let’s be somewhat conservative and say he starts earning 200k a month.
Dude just went from 0 to 200k. If you’re a guy and you remember this feeling, please say AMEN. I can’t explain how money empowers men so I wont even try. You and Suzzy have less time for sex because of work so you have to find other activities to take up your time spent together. So you start hanging out – eating out together (you can afford KFC and other restaurants within that range now). This opens up a totally different side of Suzzy to you. Perhaps she may be the chic who doesn’t mind paying some of the bills every now and then or maybe all of a sudden she becomes more conscious of her upbringing (her dad is loaded) and doesn’t want KFC even though that’s all you can afford. Or could be the other way around. Suzzy could be uncomfortable going out or around your friends and just wants to stay home all the time. So you learn more about Suzzy, you guys fight a lot more but some way some how, you get past it. That’s what relationships are about right?
You blink and it’s been 4 years. You are now 29 and Suzzy is 27 and the pressure is serious from family, friends and even enemies for you to settle but you just got promoted to an assistant banking officer after changing jobs. You now earn 300k a month and Suzzy is yet to get another job after she left her last one 2 years ago because it was “too stressful”. You have pictured your future family a certain way and though you’ve discussed starting a family with Suzzy in the past, it just occurred to you how you probably won’t be able to live your dream life together if she continues this way. Five years into the relationship with everyone expecting a proposal, you decide to end it and start afresh with someone new. Someone you probably end up getting married to in a couple of years and just like that, you become the devil.
Now let’s tie all of this together.
If leaving a marriage was as easy as “babe, I don’t think I can do this anymore”, I can bet my fingers that many married couples today would have opted out of their marriages 5-7 years in. Why? Two of the key elements of successful marriages are “trust” and “understanding”. The thing about these two elements is that you only build them over time with one experience after the other. The unfortunate bit is this – even after several years of building, you can get to a point and discover it’s going to be way too much work to continue building.
Seven years is a very long time. You can be rich, poor and then rich again within this space and with every experience comes a different side of you – that’s just how we are as human beings. In marriage, you literally have no choice (except divorce) but to keep working and keep building even after discovering just how hard it will be to cope with your partner. However, if you’ve been together for 7 years in a relationship and you’ve come to that point of discovery and opting out is still easy enough (forget all the drama with your families knowing each other and all your friends – a breakup can NEVER be harder than a divorce), why won’t you make the decision.
Some will call it selfish. Others will call you a demon. And the truth is this: marriage holds no guarantees because you don’t know if the person you end up getting married to won’t be harder to cope with after you figure them out 7 years into the marriage. But for some people, this is a gamble they’d rather take especially when the underlying issues they have with their partner come very close to strong deal breakers for them.
A broken relationship is forever better than a broken marriage. Sometimes, the reasons why a guy decides to breakup with a chic after dating for several years or more won’t be obvious like when she cheats or when there are family issues. It may just be the subliminal reasons. The ones that some will be emotional about and allow to slide but then have to deal with in their marriages.
Am I saying the solution is for you not to date for so long just so your partner doesn’t get to completely understand you before marriage? Well, that’s a way of looking at it. The truth is this – no one goes into a marriage with 100% knowledge. Even if you do, we are so dynamic as human beings and different scenarios bring out different sides of us so your 100% knowledge may become useless after a few years. And so my point here is not how long you date for. What’s going to work will work regardless. All I’m driving at today is for us to stop attacking guys when such long term relationships end and open our minds enough to maybe see the big picture.
Do you agree with me on this? Do you have a personal story to share? Please use the comment box to express you.