(Especially in your early 20s…)

Disclaimer: This is a THEORY I have, which I just recently formulated, so take what you want from it… or not.

So I imagine you guys already know that I’m a love/relationship junkie, and one of my favorite things to do is wonder and “research” about related issues and topics by reading books and articles and related watching videos. But perhaps the most interesting mode of research for me is talking to people (mostly friends and family), sharing ideas and experiences and asking their opinions on things.

A series of pretty interesting events that have taken place over the past few months to me and some of my friends really got me thinking about the intricacies of dating in your 20s, and given the similarities and patterns of our experiences, I came up with the theory that dating in your 20s is very likely a waste of your time, and this particularly holds true for girls as opposed to guys.

Firstly, I refer to it as a “waste of time” because in my opinion, relationships exist ultimately for the purpose of finding a life partner, i.e. they should ideally end in marriage; therefore, any relationship that does not end in marriage is a “waste of time” (note the air quotes). Obviously, it is not a total waste of your time or resources because there are a few things that these failed relationships can teach you about the other person, love, life, and more importantly about yourself. But since the ultimate end goal was not achieved then, you wasted your time.

Secondly, I think this applies more to girls than it does to guys because given our societal upbringing and conditioning, especially in this part of the world, girls are more likely than guys to want, hope, pray and put in the necessary effort to ensure that whatever relationship they get into would lead to a marriage (for the most part). In other words, marriage is usually somewhere at the back of our minds when we’re dating someone. Guys on the other hand, are very likely just looking to while away time, play around, enjoy the company and care (and sex) of whichever girl they are dating at that point, and then move on. And I don’t even think it’s conscious or intentional—I think it’s simply because a lot of guys in their twenties are not:

  • emotionally mature enough to handle relationships
  • looking for serious, long-term commitment
  • anywhere close to thinking about marriage

So what ends up happening in a lot of cases is:

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl like each other. They start dating and might fall in love; everything’s going great until they start having some problems, big and small. Frustration sets in, communication and trust issues develop, and cheating may occur. “Breaks” are taken, one person asks for some “time” or “space” away from the other, they get back together, ride through the storm and… they eventually break up.

During this period, excuses are made for the other person, nasty things might be said about each other, trust is broken, countless tears are shed, there are feelings of betrayal, and eventually a heart or two get broken.

Now, if you’re lucky, all of this takes place in a matter of months, but if you’re not, this goes on for two, three, four years or even more! And you basically waste your entire youth on someone you won’t end up marrying. So, what has essentially happened is that you’ve helped prepare and groom this person into the perfect spouse for someone else out there to come and marry them “ready-made”, which sucks.

So what am I saying exactly? That no one should date in their twenties? Nope. All I’m saying is that if you happen to find yourself in a relationship at that stage of your life, then be prepared for the possibility of it not ending in marriage, especially if you’re looking for serious long term commitment and the person you’re dating is nowhere close to being on the same page with you. You’ll know the signs when you see them. If not, please have conversations about these things and then decide whether or not to proceed with the relationship. Obviously, there’s no hard and fast rules to these things, so there’s no guarantee that things will work out in your favor even if you do all the “right” things, so just remember that. Also, there are those cases of college or even high school sweethearts that date all through their late teens/early twenties and eventually get married. That could be your story, you never know.

Good luck out there as you traverse the realms of love, emotions and heart.

Previously published on BellaNaija


    Wish I saw dis post wen I was in my twenties…nonetheless wen I was that age, wat was on my mind was far from marriage, wat I wanted was the butterflies in my stomach, fun times in the beach wen he chase me I chase him den we fall on the ground and laugh and kiss, then take pictures and think dis is love, and dis is how we would be forever and in my forever I was not seeing myself older…then kiss at sunset with the wind blowing softly thru my hair like it was written in mills and boons. No expectations. Then I passed the twenty age…relationship is hardwork oo…mills and boons deceived me…u don’t need all that stress in ur 20’s. Enjoy ur childhood abeg
  2. Buchi
    Hi. I read the title and I knew I’d not agree with a lot of what you’d say, and being uncomfortable with preconceived notions, especially when they’re mine, I was curious as to why. I’ve found the why though, I feel your premise is flawed. Here:

    “Firstly, I refer to it as a “waste of time” because in my opinion, relationships exist ultimately for the purpose of finding a life partner, i.e. they should ideally end in marriage; therefore, any relationship that does not end in marriage is a “waste of time” (note the air quotes).”

    I believe if you are a bit more internally expansive in your belief in purpose of relationships, you’d perhaps accept that relationships too could be about the now, the current experiences and feelings, rather than a journey that should/must end in marriage.
    Then perhaps, you’d realize that relationships aren’t a “waste of time” (air quotes here don’t do nearly enough to reduce the bias) at any point in time – Tens, twenties, thirties, forties, etc.

    1. Larz
      I was going to write an essay in response but then I saw your comment.

      Just to add more to what said. Relationship is not a “waste of time”. If anyone comes out of a relationship everytime and think they have wasted their (life sorry time), then they need some serious help.
      At worst, a relationship should tell you don’t want and at best, you should learn something significant from them. One bf taught me how to develop my career and kick ass in a big bad white dominated financial industry, how to be an amazing host, about different love languages (I used to go cook, clean and he would get vexed because he wanted my company, he can get cleaner for chores). And there was the one that wanted to play me mugun. And I wouldn’t call him a waste of time.

      The danger of calling a relationship a waste of time is that your brain will switch to delete mode instantly instead of it trying to learn what it will from it and if you are not careful, you will continue to go from one waste of time to another because you haven’t learn from the previous relationships.

      Oh dear, I wrote an essay after all on s response. Sorry Buchi😂

  3. Oluwiz
    Do you really think most folks actually go into relationships with marriage in mind? This is 2017, not 1917. Not even ladies. So how is it a waste of time if it was not a goal in the first place?
  4. Larz
    Oh and, not all ladies in their 20s are looking to get married and even if they do, I think all the twenty something boys are guilty of is admitting to themselves that they are not ready for marriage when most girls that think they are ready aren’t.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *