Photo credit: Action Creation Studios
I may not be the girl I used to be in matters of the heart but the optimism I felt at the end of that blog post remains today. It has been a journey, one that I would like to share with you.
Single and happy
Last November when I shared what had changed between the 31-year-old me who thought marriage was imminent, and the version of me in November, I was several months into getting to know a young man who we can call Sayo because that’s his name. I deliberately didn’t mention him on my blog because I didn’t think much would come of it. It took me a long time to get over a previous relationship that I thought would end in marriage and I discovered that I had talked about my not-husband with friends to the point where six years later, most of these friends remembered the guy’s name and what had happened. I was determined not to repeat that mistake! To me, there was no point making a big deal out of another long-distance relationship because my track record with them wasn’t good, and now I knew why.
A friend told me something about a year and a half ago that stuck with me. She asked me what my Love Language was; I shared that my top two were Physical Touch and Quality Time. She asked me about my past relationships and the most significant ones had been long-distance relationships. My friend told me that my Love Languages weren’t compatible with long-distance relationships and it’s true: it doesn’t mean I can’t be in a long-distance relationship but the insecurities that plagued me in past relationships could be explained at least in part by the fact that the distance prevented the men from showing me love in a way that I preferred and valued.
This time last year, I hadn’t been “talking to” anyone seriously for a couple of months and I had been single for several years. I was grateful for the lessons I had learned about relationships and was excited to focus on building a business. I had thrown myself into trying to figure out what my business could be and how I could take it beyond a hobby. I had my nephew and a new niece-or-nephew (who was on the way) to snuggle and spoil and I felt great. I was fine. I wasn’t wistful nor was I looking for a relationship. Then I went to Nigeria.
I don’t want to go to Nigeria and I don’t want to meet anyone
When my mom told the family last year that she was planning to go to Nigeria in the summer of 2016, I was on Team “See ya, Mom—Have a Great Time!” I didn’t want to go with her because she was traveling when the weather here is lovely; I’d rather be in Nigeria when the weather is horrid over here. Anyway, I was afraid to let my mom travel alone and since no one else in the family could go with her I ended up going.
Within a week of our arrival in Nigeria last year, my matchmaking great-aunt had asked my mom if she could introduce me to a guy. My great-aunt had tried to match me several times in the past and the end result was, well, I was still single, so I think that’s why she brought up the topic with my mom when I wasn’t around. One night before going to bed, my mom relayed the information she had received from her aunt to me and asked if I wanted to meet this guy. I wasn’t interested at all and told her so.
It was the first time that I’d refused a matchmaking opportunity. I normally welcome matchmakers because I prefer a matchmaker who knows both parties to a dating website, but as I said, at the time of the trip I wasn’t looking for love. I was looking forward to returning from Nigeria and getting into my biz plans.
Once I told my mom that I wasn’t interested, I put it out of my mind, but during a visit to my great-aunt’s place, she summoned my mom and me into her room for a chat and she made a case for why I should meet this guy. I told her that I wasn’t interested and we discussed some of the past matches that hadn’t worked out.
But as you know, I ended up meeting Sayo because after our chat with my great-aunt, my mom brought it up again and what she said made sense: if I didn’t like him I’d never have to see him again.
Not love at first sight
My mom and I met Sayo and his mom (one of my great-aunt’s besties) about a week later in my great-aunt’s parlour. My first impression: he’s tall! And so (TOO) skinny! He looks super serious. My heart didn’t skip a beat when I saw him (but I wasn’t repulsed by him either). After the initial greetings, Sayo asked if I wanted to go outside to my great-aunt’s front yard to speak privately. I agreed. It wasn’t a mind-blowing conversation: we exchanged basic info. He asked me what I like or don’t like in people and I told him that I get annoyed by poor listeners. We also talked about fake people and pretense. Our conversation was probably strange for a first meeting but it reflected our lack of concern about the outcome of the meeting—neither of us was invested at that point.
We exchanged full names and phone numbers and he looked me up on Facebook. Though I gave him my phone number, my feelings toward him were neutral, like “Ok, moms (and great-aunt): we’ve met each other, now what?” We rejoined our moms and my great-aunt asked us if we liked each other—she’s quite direct! I think I said something like “I just met him!” His mom, looking out for her son, asked if I was okay (the word “okay” means “good”; something my sister and I still don’t get!) for him and he said I was—but seriously, if he was repulsed could he have said anything else?
Sayo and his mom left after a while and my mom and I returned to our home base, my grandmother’s house.
Sayo got in contact later that day and we spoke on the phone and on Facebook messenger. It wasn’t a particularly memorable conversation, especially since I couldn’t hear half of what he was saying due to the general commotion at my grandmother’s house and my old phone that I was managing. We went out to eat a couple of days later and that’s when I saw one or two things that I liked about him.
Read Part 2 here.