I went back and forth trying to make up my mind whether to categorise this post under my 30…ish and single (still) series. Finally decided to but I hope it communicates its original idea though.
I recently had to make a tough decision (Although my cousin would beg to differ) whether or not to stay or walk out of a relationship. Like I am sure most people can identify with me, I went back and forth in my mind, even created a list on ‘things I like about …’ (I hope you understand my reason for withholding the name). It wasn’t so much so that there was anything wrong with this person in question; he is actually quite a good catch in some ladies’ opinion. He’s fine, has a good paying job with excellent potentials, patient, reasonable, attends church etc (I hope if he reads this, saying this makes up for writing about him*bats lashes*). However, I knew he was wrong for me (Maybe I should say, we were wrong for each other). I tried to hold on as long as I could, telling myself I am the one with the issues (My cousin would agree **hahahaha**), always over analysing everything, ‘there is no sure thing as a perfect person’ blah blah blah. Eventually I stopped second guessing myself, mustered the courage and moved on. Making this decision didn’t come easy because, oh well, like most people would agree, being alone isn’t the easiest thing in the world and I am not a needy person. I quite enjoy my own company and know how to be alone but that doesn’t always make it easy.
During and after this decision was made, I kept questioning myself, why was this decision so hard for me to make, especially when I knew it was the right decision for a while? I eventually came to the conclusion that the reason was beyond the fear of being alone but largely, also surrounded the fact that I am 30…ish and single (Still). I am at that stage of my life where everyone is looking at you and wondering why you aren’t talking about a date for the wedding? Why you aren’t introducing anyone to the family and friends? And even worse, why isn’t there a man in your life? So at this stage, any man (especially the one with a good profile like ‘recent ex’ *lol*) becomes better than no man, regardless of how ill-suited you are for each other. This, in my opinion, is what I call the ‘idea of marriage’ and we are completely sold out to it.
Again in my opinion, this ‘idea of marriage’ primarily accounts for a huge percentage of failed marriages. It makes one blind to the faults and ill-suited attributes of the other until the nuptials are exchanged and then you decide you can’t live with them after all. But the person didn’t change (at less, not fundamentally) you just chose not to regard those attributes initially. My mother would say, don’t think what didn’t change before the wedding, would change in marriage (Except by the special grace of God). In my immediate society (Nigeria), it’s even more difficult to be at a certain age and be single (still). No matter how successful you are in your professional life etc, you are still regarded as well ‘not so successful’ in your life. No matter how old you may be, you are still called a girl and younger ladies with wedding bands and children on their hips are given more respect than you (After all, you are nobody’ wife and don’t have the covering on a man *ridiculous*). Even when you come from an understanding family like mine, even when you are liberal-minded like me, there’s still that uncertainty and fear of ending up alone and if one is not lucky, this fear pushes you into a relationship and marriage you have no business being in. Sometimes, if you are lucky, it works out just fine. Other times, you end up being unhappy and in worse cases, you end up being miserable. Your children would never look at your marriage as a yardstick to measure up to. You become one of the huge percentage of married individuals who when asked if they would marry their partners again would cry out in their hearts, ‘NO!’. Don’t get me wrong, I am adult and a realist enough to know that marriage isn’t a walk in the park. I understand it is commitment, work, loyalty, compromise. I also believe it should be love, trust, respect and compatibility among other things.
Coming from a Nigerian environment, one could say there was a time when plenty of marriages were arranged and those couples stayed together through their lives. Well, true, but this is a different time. In that age, the dynamics of marriages was different. Women were more subdued and the roles in the home were well defined, specific, with little or no overlapping. These days, the rules have changed. Women have more rights (Thank God), are more vocal, more independent. It is more of a partnership and less autocratic *winks*. Not trying to undermine the authority of men in their homes, just calling it the way I see it. So it has become essential to try one’s best to get it right from the foundation, from the beginning. To make sure that whatever you say yes to, is what you can live it. To ensure as much as possible that you are with a man/woman you can marry over again. It has become essential for our parents and family to ask the right questions like ‘does he/she make you happy?’, ‘does he/she respect and support you even when they disagree with you?’, ‘does he/she put you first and love you?’ etc.
Marriage should be a lifetime commitment (Unless of course you are in Hollywood or all the other ‘woods’) and while the future is unknown, the chances are better if you review your cards properly. I, for one, know being single isn’t the easiest thing in the world and could be socially and emotionally frustrating, so I hope I abide by my own preaching, because I can think of a whole lot things that are worse. I am also adult enough to know there isn’t a 100% perfect person but there are wrong people (at less for an individual). Nevertheless, for those who have walked down that road already, be of good cheer, I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
After all said, what do I know, I have never been married; 30…ish and single (still)