Photo credit: Action Creation Studios
Our first date went well so I was looking forward to seeing Sayo again. We were talking a lot (in person at my grandmother’s house, on the phone, and through Facebook messenger). I’m a grouch in the mornings but I was getting used to waking up to a cheery good morning message from Sayo—his messages made me believe that he was happy to be alive. Even today, I feel cheated if for some reason I don’t see that good morning message when I wake up.
It wasn’t all romance though; we had misunderstandings along the way.
I compared him to my List
In the past, I’ve made lists of what I want in a man. A list can help you focus on what’s important but it can also work against you if you’re not willing to compromise on things that are nice-to-have in a partner versus essential-to-have. Sayo asked if I could live with who he was (in comparison to my list) and I said I could but I would bring up the differences again and again—I know that was (is?) frustrating for him because we had (have…) to revisit things that he thought had already been settled. While I flip-flopped, Sayo’s approach was “this is who I am—take me or leave me” which for some reason made me want to get to know him better.
I ignored his terms of endearment
Guys who use terms of endearment early on turn me off; almost eight years ago I said
For me, terms of endearment (from one sex to another) should only be used with those you know well enough to call dear or sweetie, not with someone that you’re just getting to know. If someone calls me dear, I take it to mean that I’m special to them, not like every other female they come across. But how can I be special to a guy who didn’t know me 25 minutes ago???
I’m a huge fan of nicknames, but when terms of endearment are tossed around too casually, I don’t feel quite comfortable with it… I’m still on the fence on the matter (it’s not like I have a guy calling me dear and sweetie who wants to date me anyhow).
Sayo used plenty of terms of endearment in those first two weeks: angel, babe, dear, first lady, iyawo (which is Yoruba for wife), sweetie, and he had a nickname for me. The old me would have been turned off and would have stopped talking to him but I liked his personality. I was also more sensitive to cultural differences now than I was in the past so I took his early use of terms of endearment as “something Nigerian guys do” and my brain automatically deleted the sweet nothings from our conversations.
Contrary to what the name of this blog might suggest, I struggle with my Christian walk. “Good Naija Girl” is a tongue-in-cheek name: I’m constantly thinking about how I can be more loving, less judgmental, less gossipy, less mean. I want to have a positive impact on people and reflect Jesus. I want to read my bible more often and pray more instead of worrying. At the top of my “dream guy” list from 2014 are the words “loves God” and I saw in Sayo a man who had a discipline of starting and ending the day with prayer; this combined with his actions and words left me with no doubt on where he stood with God.
I liked his confidence and sincerity
I was intrigued with Sayo’s air of certainty about the relationship—which I attribute to his faith in God—because I was a skeptic and I wasn’t that encouraging. When Sayo said that he hoped that my dad wouldn’t ask him any tough questions if they were to meet in the future, my reply was “Trust me: my questions will scare you more than my dad’s should you be chanced to meet him”. He went to a family member’s wedding and when I congratulated the family he said that our own wedding was coming, which I laughed at—I told him that he was trying to run before he could crawl.
Me, talking about my dad: He’s such a great father; I’d love to marry a man like him
Him: oh good; like that
Him: and pray the Lord almighty grant ur prayers in Jesus name,amen!
Me: Amen! I pray the same for you
Him: thanks dear. but my prayer is answered already
Him: u are the answer
Me: It’s too soon for you to know
Me: These are the types of things that still need a lot of discussion…but more than that prayer
His confidence was always rooted in what God would do to make things work out between us, not what he would do to win me. In the past, my head had been turned by empty promises so I appreciated Sayo’s approach; it’s the reason that I found him to be sincere. I knew that even if things flopped (as I was expecting), it wouldn’t be because he had lied to me.
How to lose a girl in 10 days
Sayo and I were both looking forward to my first visit to his parents’ place and we’d talked about the logistics of getting to his house for a couple of days. I warned him that I had a list of more questions for him—my mom and I were heading back to Canada soon and I needed to decide if I was going to commit to a long-distance relationship.
When we arrived at his parents’ place, my mom and I received a warm welcome from Sayo’s mom and other family members. A huuuuuge spread was prepared for us; really, they outdid themselves. Shortly after our meal Sayo and I (along with my list of questions) went to a room to speak privately. He was answering my questions but there was one question that he gave an unexpected answer to, an answer that pointed to a deal-breaker of mine, so we agreed that we shouldn’t go further with the relationship.
I’m usually cutthroat when things end—basically, if I met you for the purposes of a relationship and things don’t work out, I don’t see the point of continuing to talk, especially if we didn’t know each other before deciding to take things to the next level. This time, however, I wanted to remain friends. The feeling was mutual so we continued to talk and unexpectedly, through our conversations, we resolved things. That was definitely God’s doing because we weren’t trying to make things work in a relationship sense at that point but we discovered that we could have a relationship without me compromising on my deal-breaker.
To kiss or not to kiss
Years ago, right in the middle of my relationship with the not-husband from 2010, a blog-reader-turned-friend told me that she and her husband shared their first kiss on their wedding day. I thought that was cool and had decided that I would put off kissing for as long as possible—you can gauge attraction and “chemistry” without kissing, and there’s more to a successful relationship than sexual chemistry. I know how susceptible I am to physical touch and from past experience, I wanted to avoid clouding my judgment. Patoranking’s song No Kissing Baby had been released just before Sayo and I met so I told him that the song was our anthem.
Well, just before my mom and I left our home state, Sayo and I needed to find a new, more accurate anthem (ahem), and not-coincidentally (I think), Sayo decided to accompany my mom and I to Lagos where we would stay for a few days before heading home. I don’t enjoy the trip from Lagos to our home state (and vice versa): it’s usually a white-knuckled drive for me as I watch the driver take risks and I see my life flash before my eyes multiple times. This drive was different though because Sayo and I spent most of it talking and not respecting our anthem. When we arrived in Lagos I told my mom that it had been a smooth trip. She looked at me and commented that I probably hadn’t been paying much attention to the road!
Part 4 continues here.