I have never dated a Nigerian, or African for that matter, so perhaps that’s why I don’t “get” the following. Can someone explain to me why it’s taboo to date someone who may have known your friend or family member, no matter how vaguely or for how long?
For example, a friend of mine, let’s call her Biola, told me her friend can’t date a guy (Bayo) because a couple of years back Biola’s friend was showing clear interest in Bayo’s roommate (who also happened to be his cousin). Biola’s friend and Bayo’s cousin never dated though, but apparently it would be bad if a few years later she suddenly expressed interest in Bayo, and they entered into a relationship.
Yesterday, a Naija friend of mine told me a guy she has been getting to know over the past couple of months told her that he’s not sure he can keep pursuing their relationship because he found out that several years ago she kissed his cousin once (is it still called a one night stand if all that happened was a kiss?).
(Ok, those are the only examples that I can recall, but you see where I’m going, right?)
In both cases, I don’t think either potential relationship should have been snuffed out before it began. In the first case, they never dated so what if she’s now decided she likes the other guy better, especially since years have passed? YEARS! Why should a couple that might be potentially meant to be miss out on even pursuing their relationship because of these so-called rules?
And in the second scenario, I think this guy needs to grow up a bit: it was one kiss, and it happened years ago. If she had wanted to pursue that relationship, she could have. She didn’t, so he should be confident that she’s into him and is happy with him. Also, depending on where you live, chances are that someone you know, or someone you will eventually know, may have dated the person you’re with. You just have to deal with that possibility and unless you’re given reasons to fear that the previous relationship might not be completely over, don’t let it get to you.
Perhaps the reason I don’t understand this is because I have an oyinbo friend, a male, who dated three women (each for at least one year), and these women regularly see each other at group gatherings. I won’t say the three women all love each other but two of the previous girlfriends are polite to each other, to the current wifey, and to their ex. I know it took time for them to get to the point where they could all be in the same place without wanting to leave right away, but it wasn’t the end of the world. One of the exes is getting married and she’s decided that she doesn’t want him at her wedding sha, because her husband isn’t quite as comfortable with that idea and I completely respect that decision.
Basically I think it shows that relationships of that complexity can be handled in a way that is professional. I mean if wifey had let the fact that two women she knew vaguely had dated her man before her, she would not be engaged to the man who will be the father of her child that is due in a few months.
I have a habit of looking at relationships rather simplistically (“He’s cheating on you? Dump him!” He takes recreational drugs? Get rid of him!” “He’s gorgeous but so conceited? Run far, far away, and fast!”) so I’m sure there is something I’m missing here. Also, add to it the fact that Naija men are scarce in my area, and perhaps good Nigerian men are scarcer still. If a good man approaches me and things click, I will date him. I won’t let the fact that my friend (who was interestedin him a few years ago but no longer is) knew him first stop me from pursuing something special.
Keep in mind the following caveats:
- we’re not talking about not wanting your friend to hook up with a man or woman that you had a longterm relationship with, or had a sexual relationship with
- this also doesn’t refer to the case where your friend tells you “I like him/her” and you go and try to win him/her away from your friend before your friend has moved on (though that would be interesting talk for another time)
- this is not about the snatching or stealing away of anybody’s boyfriend or girlfriend
Would you date a guy or girl under the same circumstances described above?
Have you dated someone who was “taboo”? Was it worth your while or not?
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