Love and Learn – Introduction

I’m starting a new series called Love and Learn, to share lessons I’ve learned as a single woman searching for love. I’ve talked about seeking a good Nigerian man from the start and four years later I’m still searching! I’ve tried online dating (both a site geared toward Nigerians and a general site), and I’ve been set up by my mom’s aunt, my great-aunt, who seems to have a never-ending stream of bachelors to throw at me. So far I haven’t been successful (if you define success as getting to the altar like I do), but I’ve learned a few things and Love and Learn is how I’ll share them! If you’re a single person going through these same things or if you’re on the married side of the fence, but can remember what it was like “back in the day”, then I hope you’ll chime in.

How I came to learn these lessons

I used to share stories about the men I never dated because well, that was my life: I didn’t really have a dating history. But then in October 2009 my great-aunt introduced me to a guy who was based in Nigeria and he and I began talking. We experienced a lot of ups and downs in the first eight months due to to culture clashes and my insecurity about my weight, which caused me to question the feelings he claimed he was developing for me and accuse him of being interested in me because he saw me as a means of travelling out of Nigeria! That was a horrible accusation, but it’s an issue that worries me: I’ve answered a reader question about it before and I ranted about marrying for papers last year. God taught me a lot about humility and learning to apologize in the early months of our friendship by sending a guy who was understanding and patient with me.

Around the eight month mark (June 2010) the guy and I stopped talking because my insecurities ruined things. Four months later I visited Nigeria and didn’t tell him exactly when I would be in town since things were over, but he found out, we ended up meeting as friends and the rest was history. It turns out my insecurities were unfounded and we had a lovely time getting to know each other for the remainder of my time in Nigeria. It felt like a fairytale: I went to Nigeria in 2010 to support my sister as she was going to meet a guy she had been talking to for two years and somehow I ended up finding a lovely guy who made me feel so cherished and special. When I returned to Canada, I was floating on air. I also found myself in a long distance relationship.

I shared tips on making long distance relationships work, tips that I was using myself. Things were not easy but we talked regularly on the phone and had a plan to be reunited again, and we were both doing our part to make the plan work. But then he was hit with some personal trouble and I learned how he deals with stress and discovered that it really wasn’t compatible with how I deal with people dealing with stress. I received lots of great advice and with this help I was able to try different things to be there for him, but the distance prevented me from being what he needed. Things got rocky. Our plans to be reunited fell apart due to circumstances beyond our control and things got rockier. We were now faced with finding a Plan B, something we should have thought of earlier. I thought working on a new plan would bring us closer; instead we grew further apart. And now, nearly two years after we last saw each other face to face, the relationship has fizzled. Everything about how the relationship ended has been disappointing but with God’s help I’m getting over it.

The biggest lesson I learned is that it’s important for men and women to play their God-given roles in a relationship because I think that’s how they feel most fulfilled as individuals. If for some reason you’re not able to, it might be wise to put off entering a relationship until that problem is taken care of. I’ll explain exactly what I mean by this in the next Love and Learn post.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned so far about love?

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