Sunday, 5 June 2011

Romantic Relationships: Lessons Learnt (pt. 1)

Since I started this blog, I have received interesting emails from readers. Thank you.

Most of these email have been relationship related, with questions like - How does one keep a marriage fresh?’............ ‘How does one continue to pursue one's dreams despite the distractions that come with marriage and family life?'.......................'How does one deal with belligerent in-laws?’............'How does one cope with childlessness?'............ etc etc

I have often replied these questions as best as I can – based on personal experience. However, I do feel that it would be a good idea to share what I have learnt about romantic relationships so far.

Before I do this, I would like to issue a disclaimer – The opinions expressed here are solely based on personal experience and do not in any way pretend to be the definitive, all-encompassing  truth about all relationships.

So, here are the seven things I have learnt about romantic relationships so far:

I have come across so many instances where someone has cheated with a person considered to be ‘beneath/ less than/ inferior to‘ his/her partner. The case of Arnold Shwarznegger illustrates this best:  Married to a woman who hails from one of America’s political dynasties, he chose to father a child with his domestic help and then keep this a secret from his wife – for over ten years. 

Sad to say, my personal experience is that this is a common occurrence in Nigeria - where I have seen so many male relatives/ family friends do same.

However, this kind of behaviour is not exclusive to men. I know of a successful business man who only found out that 3 of his 7 kids were not his, after 15 years of marriage. He only found out by chance - when they all  had to take medical tests because one of the children had a kidney complaint.

Basically, NEVER take your partner for granted. 'Body no be firewood'....If you feel that you are too good or smart for your partner, you might be shocked to find out that s/he thinks the same. Indeed, as a starving person will not wait for a well cooked meal, that is how a frustrated/ restless/ dissatisfied partner might choose to find comfort elsewhere. As my people say.....'Dirty water dey quench fire'

(*Flounder = to struggle)
 From personal experience - and that of my friends - love is not a constant. Sometimes one is overwhelmed by the love one feels for a partner. Other times  - especially when you argue - you wonder how you could ever love them. 

This is totally normal. My father once said - 'If two friends NEVER quarrel, one of them is cheating the other'. Same with marriage, disagreements must arise. 

Love may flounder, however respect should be a constant. A family friend of ours tolerated her lazy and selfish husband for over ten years. Even though she was earning more than him, she respected him, operated a joint bank account and consulted him every time she had to make a financial decision. She is one of the most frugal women I have ever known. However, one day, she found receipts for expensive dinners (for two), and hotel rooms. This gave her a clue that he was lavishing money on women outside. Her fears were finally confirmed the day she discovered that he had a secret bank account/ credit card. That was the day she lost respect for him and decided the marriage was over.

Yes, love might flourish and flounder....but the day respect flounders, is the day the camel's back will definitely be broken.

Two scenarios:

I - Obi met Lisa at a party. She was the girl every man wanted. Her silk jumpsuit clung to all her curves and no-one was left in any doubt that her body could rival Beyonce's anyday. Obi started dating Lisa and he loved the fact that she was always lively, up for a party and extremely confident. He also liked the fact that she had lots of friends and she was always busy - so she was different from his previous girlfriends who had always been clingy and needy. It didn't matter that she wasn't keen on domestic stuff - he wanted an equal partner.

II - Andy first noticed Boyo at his sister's wedding. She wasn't the most beautiful girl there but she was by far the nicest. Despite the fact that she was running around - trying to cater to guests and the bride, at the same time - she always had a lovely smile on her face.

Andy couldn't stop staring at her ...she seemed familiar but he couldnt place the face. After asking around, he discovered that this was 'Little Boyo' - his little sister's friend who used to come to their house with plaited hair, school uniform and socks. She sure had blossomed into a graceful woman. Long story short, he asked her out because she was the epitome of what he felt a good girl should be - respectful, demure, conservative, studious and quiet. A welcome change to all the gold-diggers he had dated in the past.

Well, both couples eventually got married. 

Present day - Obi is getting fed up with Lisa's love of parties and her lack of domestic skills. Matters were made worse when Obi's mother came over to London for a visit and a busy Lisa served her Jollof rice she bought from their local Nigerian restaurant. Another worry for Obi is that quite a few of Lisa's friends have remained unmarried and he questions their influence on his wife. Lisa's response - 'This is me...take it or leave it'

As for Andy, his job - as a Corporate solicitor - means he attends cocktail parties and entertains clients, to network. However, Boyo doesn't enjoy such functions and often opts out. She prefers to stay at home with the kids or attend church functions. Her response - 'My reserved nature is what you loved when you met me.....why do you expect me to change?'

Indeed, one CANNOT change an UNWILLING adult - persistent attempts will only end in tears. I'm sure you've heard of the saying 'You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink........ .......?!

To Be Continued - I will post part 2 on Wednesday (08/06/11). 
In the meantime, do let me know what you think about these first three observations. 
Have a peaceful week.



  1. People should understand this! You dated someone because you though they were lively....later on you complain that they are too 'out there'...when thats what attracted you in the first place....its annoying when you try to change someone

  2. oh wow this is a very good post..looking forward to the next 2 is 'ringing' in my head

  3. Wonderful post. Observation 3 is so on point. I usually smh at people who date people with traits they can't stand, but hope to somehow change the person with time. That is a risky gamble to take.

  4. Very good read. anxiously awaiting part 2

  5. Love it! can't wait to read the rest.

  6. very nice....keep doing more relationship advice's very informative.

  7. Good One Naijamum, I honestly think people don't change, expectations do. as young adults, we have a preconceived notions of a "natural progression" in life, we expect certain things at certain stages in our lives. as with Andys case, he expected Bayo to Progress/evolve with the relationship, but she didn't. I think if we stop and think of what we expect from people and what people expect from us, we might enjoy a smother run in our relationships with others.

  8. @Sisi Yemmie ™
    *Nodding my head re: '...later on you complain that they are too 'out there' Very common with 'our' boys.
    I hear you sister re: '..its annoying when you try to change someone'
    Thank you my dear.

    Glad you found it useful
    No 2 eh?? Very, very important
    Lust, love, affection etc are never constant. However, respect for your partner should be constant. See you Wednesday BGG (By God's Grace)

    Re: No 3 ...yes oh. I find quite a lot of African men/ boys are a tad confused as to what they want in the modern girl.
    They crave an independent woman but reject the confidence that comes with it. Ogi (pap) and corn can never seperate. They are one and the same
    Thanks sis

  9. @LadyNgo
    Thanks sistah
    I hope part 2 will live up to the hype :)))
    Have a blessed week

    @ Pretty Lashes
    Thanks PL...I cant say yourname without fluttering my eyelashes :)))
    Hope all is well

    @ Mrs Newlywed
    Thanks my sistah
    mmm re: 'cant wait to read the rest'
    I pray you wontbe disappointed :)))

    @Chizzy D
    mmmm re 'keep doing more relationship advice please' I go try
    The thing is I dont want to appear 'preachy'
    Again, I dont want you guys to be 'disappointed' if you hear me and my hubby had a fight in the middle of Ojuelegba tomorow :)))))
    Thanks for the feedback. Really appreciated

  10. @9ja Foodie:
    I hear you re: 'I honestly think people don't change, expectations do' Good one

    I also agree that we all have 'preconceived notions of a "natural progression" in life' The problem is when we try to dictate - or predict - other people's natural progression. Indeed, when we assume that an individual will 'toe the line' - we are setting ourselves up for a fall.

    My sister, couldnt put it better myself when you said 'I think if we stop and think of what we expect from people and what people expect from us, we might enjoy a smoother run in our relationships with others' GBAM

  11. Thank you for sharing. I totally agree when you said "love is not a constant". For me its not just about loving someone, its also about mutual respect as you said.
    I shall be back to read part two

  12. I agree with all your points. As for the 2 couples, I wonder why the husbands end up complaining since their spouses never pretended during courtship. We make choices and stick with the consequences

  13. I seem to agre more with 9ja foodie.Expectations ghange and to be realistic,how long can Lisa party for as she grows and mature?
    As long as we respect each other and are friends, we start to think

  14. hmm interesting... i have been craving things like this since i started my new *venture* for lack of a better word.. just advice and what experiences people have had etc, so this is very seasonal.

    As for the whole this was how i was when you marry me.. business. I believe when we marry inevitably we change.. due to compromise we have to make to be able to live together. I mean the party animal at some point should realise she has a home to keep and the introvert too should realise socialising with her husband's business partners has a role to play in helping him climb the career ladder... etc. I am no expert but like you said you can't change any body that doesnt want to be changed. As for 1 and 2 you are soo right!!

  15. Thanks for sharing NIL.
    Feeling you on no 1. The human capacity to do keep secrets is scary and infinite.
    Respect - Love cant even exist without respect.
    #3 is a pet peeve of mine. She smokes - she will stop after marriage. He drinks - he said for my love he will stop. He has slapped you during courtship - his hand slipped only this one time. He chases after everything in skirts - he will change when he settles down. Nooo!! he will change only if/when S/HE WANTS TO, not because of you or because you gave him an ultimatum.

  16. This is great advice!!

  17. Wow *Applauds*
    Keep 'em coming N.I.L
    Well put, couldn't be any better!

    It's amazing how the things you like about a person can be the same thing that will make you hate them. A friend once dated this guy that was always spending. Initially we were all friends and whenever we were out, he would buy the drinks...
    My friend really liked this because according to her, "He's a very generous guy." Not long after they started dating, she was beginning to complain that he's just too extravagant and it's almost like he doesn't have a future plan for his life. LOL generous changed to extravagant within weeks.
    I still don't understand how that happens tho, that the same thing you like about someone might be the things that will make you hate them.

  18. Valid points. Mutual respect is very important in relationships, marriage and even between friends. As for #3, you are so right. 'You can't change an unwilling adult' People change after marriage, but this is either because they choose to, or were camouflaging their true nature during courtship. A man who slaps a woman during courtship will deck the bejeepers out of her after marriage. I have seen this time and again. A work-shy 'always being sacked' guy will not suddenly develop a go-getter' attitude even after kids arrive. Looking forward to part 2, have a great week.

  19. As we try not to underestimate our partner,we shldnt overestimate them either. Give them a chance to be human, understand that they'll make mistakes too and u shld be there as the helpmate.
    A relationship wld work only when both individuals genuinely seek the fulfilment of each other.

    Respect is vital and must be mutual. I believe a man can lead only when the woman respects him. She needs to see that u can control the carriage before she hands you the reins of her life.

    As regards the last scenerio, i believe people do not truely know themselves before they go in search of a partner hence they are captivated by irrelevant traits. E.g, a man finds a lady attractive because she carries on well in the boardroom conversation, he thinks she's perfect wife material forgetting that doesnt translate to good caregiver

  20. Hmm marriage this is an interesting issue..
    For me I think that when people marry both of them should be able to learn to love whatever the other person loves. E.g my husband watches channels like National geo channel, discovery, CNN, Animal channel etc... I find that so boring and so stiff. Me I am more of a disney channel person, cartoon network, universal channel, movies channel etc..He finds that very childish...loll.. but we have an agreement. We go to the movies at least twice a month and we learn to watch what each other likes. That way we have fun together.
    The party girl should realize she has a family and cut down on her party doesn't mean she should stop partying cos thats her. Her husband should also try to understand her and enjoy it. After all that's what he fell in love with. The conservative lady should go out with her husband for cocktails he really needs her support. For me being conservative ins't an excuse. And her husband should also understand that she will not be available every time and live with it. Does she want a secretary to take her place?
    Nice work and i am so looking forward to the next part.

  21. First of all, loving your new blog design. Makes me think of being on Lekki beach. :)
    Secondly, this is a great post. Great advice. Made me think. I think there should be compromise in marriage. Both parties have to come to a compromise in order for it to work. There's no such thing as perfection, only what's perfect for you. Whatever the case WORK is involved.
    Looking forward to part 2.x

  22. Nice one..thanks for sharing!!!eagerly expecting the sequel.

    N.M, My husband is very loving and caring BUT He is a very disorganised and an untidy person and this is becoming too much for me to handle!!!

    I do his laundry up to underwears and I have to go round the house picking his dirty clothes every where.

    Yours, adaku.

  23. @Tamuno Mobolaji Kamson- learning what the your partner works wonders. I really wish my partner will do that and so many other things for me. Love, marriage and its many many wahala...I look up to God.

  24. xoxoxo
    5 June 2011 19:01
    @ Scarlet
    Thanks for visiting.
    As you said 'mutual respect' is key. I think life would be simpler if we all did that.
    Hope to see you back soon

    *Nodding my head* re: 'We make choices and stick with the consequences'
    The problem arises when we make uninformed choices - clouded by lust or misplaced priorities.
    Thanks for dropping by
    Hope all is well

    I agree that expectations change but it is unfair when a partner begins to insist on things that never mattered - What do you think?
    As for Lisa - true, she might calm down with age. The issue now is whether her hubby can wait for that.
    Thanks so much for your input

  25. @angelsbeauty
    *New Venture*??? Pray tell :)))
    I'm glad this is seasonal.
    Re: 'Change' Like you said, people only change if THEY WANT TO.
    PS - Do feel free to drop me an email and I will be happy to give you an honest answer - based on my own personal experience.
    Have a blessed week

    *Nodding my head* re- 'The human capacity to do keep secrets is scary and infinite'
    Re- 'Love cant even exist without respect'
    I have to disagree slightly and say that only applies to real love.
    As you know, some people fall in love because the other person possesses something they desire (good looks, money, fame etc) In such cases, I very much doubt they actually respect the person.
    LOL @'He drinks - he said for my love he will stop. He has slapped you during courtship - his hand slipped only this one time'
    Too true
    Many thanks Ginger, as always - insightful

    Glad you found this useful
    Hope all is well

  26. @MsJB
    Thanks so much for the applause :))))
    LOL re'....generous changed to extravagant within weeks'
    I guess when she became scared when she started considering a future with this guy LOL
    Yes oh re: 'the same thing you like about someone might be the things that will make you hate them'
    I guess the issue is the importance one places on the relationship. If its a fling, no problem...but if it's a life time commitment. Then we have a BIG problem :))
    Thanks for dropping by
    Hope all is well

    @ Joxy
    Yes, agree that 'People change after marriage, but this is either because they choose to, or were camouflaging their true nature during courtship'
    LOL @....'bejeepers out of her after marriage. I have seen this time and again' Again, your comment about a work-shy guy is spot on.
    Thanks so much for really great insight
    Have a blessed week

    Totally agree that we ' Give them a chance to be human, understand that they'll make mistakes too and u shld be there as the helpmate'

    Again, I concur with 'She needs to see that u can control the carriage before she hands you the reins of her life' Couldnt have put it better myself

    With the last scenario, I do agree that the people involved did not know themselves well enough. However, I do think the problem is that the complaining partners did not even know exactly what they wanted in a partner.
    They thought they did - but they didn't think it through.
    Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope all is well

  27. @Tamuno
    Re: 'I think that when people marry both of them should be able to learn to love whatever the other person loves'
    That is hard sometimes.
    I do not like football - and my hubby does. We agree to disagree - so when he's watching his game, I get my book out or I blog. Live and let live abi.
    I do like your arrangement with your husband but I cant sit for 90 minutes and watch grown men chase a ball round a field LOL
    Good question re: 'Does she want a secretary to take her place?'
    *cough* *cough*...That might be happening already oh - but I didnt say anything .....*lips sealed*
    Thanks for dropping by. Much appreciated

    Thanks so much for the compliment. Much appreciated. Yup...I loooove beaches too.

    Totally agree re: 'I think there should be compromise in marriage' AND ' There's no such thing as perfection, only what's perfect for you' No truer word uttered. mmmm

    Hope to see you back. Have a blessed week

    Thanks for dropping by

    Re: 'My husband is very loving and caring BUT He is a very disorganised and an untidy person and this is becoming too much for me to handle!'

    What can I say? Well, first off, I have to say that I'm sure you also do things that drive him mad so remember that when you get upset :)))

    Now, I have to admit that this your hubby's habit can be annoying. However, I have to tell you that you are the reason he does it. Why? Because he knows that despite all your will still tidy up after him.

    So, you have 2 CHOICES:
    (1) CONTINUE tidying up after him and accept that this is a small price to pay for having a wonderful (in other respects) hubby. This means accepting his untidiness as his ONE HUMAN FLAW. However, this solution means you are willing to compromise and accept this arrangement for the foreseeable future.


    (2) STOP picking up after him and tell him you are sick of doing so. This means you are ready for the consequences - a messy house OR an angry hubby who tidies up after himself. Remember that as you have opted to change the dynamics of this relationship, other things might change also.

    Hope this helps

    @Anonymous (19:39)
    Thanks for dropping by
    Re: 'I really wish my partner will do that and so many other things for me' Remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

    Yes, Love, mnarriage etc have wahala....but nobody else can manage it for us. It is up to you to either make the best of it OR cut your losses.
    Not easy decisions at all.
    Please take care of yourself.

  28. Loving the post..
    the respect one is a biggie..;)
    As for changing an unwilling adult, that one is like going on a journey to look for the end of the earth.....looking forward to part 2..thanks for sharing :)

  29. @unveiling:
    LOL @ ' going on a journey to look for the end of the earth.'
    True talk
    Thanks for dropping by. Hope all is well

  30. this is so on point. One thing i can attest to is that while dating a lot of time is spent on silly conversations and relationships are based on assumptions.
    The man assumes the woman will grow to become what he wants her to be and vice versa, it's funny how we are shocked when people remain the way they are.
    That said though, i always suggest that couples engaged to be married should invest some time at pre-marital counselling classes which raise questions which they need to discuss and agree on.
    Love is taken for granted and Mill and Boon and hollywood have pushed the notion that people fall in love and live happily ever after - which isn't always true, there are times when you don't love your partner, but you remain committed to them and your relationship. there are also times when you grow to love your partner.
    Looking forward to part 2 especially the one on keeping a marriage fresh ;) i talked about how affairs don't always mean adultery here

  31. *a pat on the back my dear sister for a job weldone!* :D.. don't have anything to add.. waiting for part 2...*grinning*

  32. Nice post! you get mail from readers? dang! *jealous hiss* :P
    I dnt know much about marriage/relationships but the things u've said sound pretty legit to me.

  33. True - respect should not flounder. And anybody thinking of changing an unwilling adult...

    Very good post. And very true...

  34. Very good points oh! The last one is so true- in fact all are. If you respect someone you won't underestimate them. Also, better love him/her the way they are- it will save lots of frustration


  35. Please help! I really like you from your write ups and I need your kind advice please.

    I and my husband have been married for over two years. My major problem with him is that he is a chauvinist. He hates it when I talk back to him and always wants to have the final word in every say. Whenever we have any disagreement and I give him a piece of my mind (sometimes very rudely out of frustration) he would grudge and keep to himself for days and sleep in the sitting room and stay away from me. The last time this happened, I resolved never to make a first move at reconciliation, as I, and I mean I am the one always making peace by asking that we pray together or that we sit and talk, if not it will go on.

    Okay, for the past two weeks we've not been on speaking terms because I gave him a sarcastic response to a sarcastic remark he first made. He became quiet and that night went to sleep in the living room and it's been like that for two weeks. I on the other hand have just been put off by the whole thing and have been minding my own business and doing my own thing and eating alone.

    I have involved family in the past and our pastor but to no avail to any future situation as it happens again and again. Anyway, I am planning on booking a hotel for two nights this weekend and not telling him. I just want to get him worried, panicky and make a statement and hopes that he reflects, I am just double-minded on this as I don't want to make the situation worse. What do you think please? So sorry for eating up so much of your space. Just really upset and tired of talking to the same people and have no one to talk to :(

  36. You couldn't have said it any better. All observations are definitely on point with practical examples one could easily relate to. Can`t wait for part 2.

  37. @msluffa
    LOL @ 'it's funny how we are shocked when people remain the way they are' True talk
    I also agree that pre-marital counselling is useful. However, a lot of people overlook the fact that they are choosing someone who si totally unsuitable for them.
    Availability often takes the place of suitability.
    LOved your piece on saucy mare LOL

    Thanks sis
    I look forward to your comments after part 2
    Please give me a detailed response as I feel that you have some experience that will benefit younger ones.
    Stay well

    LOL @*jealous hiss*
    Experience counts for something
    Okay, trade me your youth for experience and you'll get emails LOl
    Hope all is well
    I'm sure you're enjoying your break

    Thanks OS
    Hope all is well
    Re: 'And anybody thinking of changing an unwilling adult...;
    Sounds like you know what you are talking about ?
    *big smile*

  38. @Adiya
    Totally agree with your statement 'Also, better love him/her the way they are- it will save lots of frustration'
    Couldnt put it better myself

    First off, thanks so much for your nice words. I said before, dont take my words as gospel.
    So, regarding your marriage. Two years is still early days. I have been married 12 years and I am still learning.
    You call your hubby a chauvinist. Can I be blunt and ask whether he was like this before you got married? What is his family background like - is his dad like that?
    These are valid questions because our upbringing shapes who we are. Again, it is unlikely he turned into a chauvinist overninght. Like I always say - the signs are always there.

    With regards to talking back - two wrongs dont make a right. If two people are arguing, one person has to take the higher ground and be calm...or else there will be no resolution.

    You have stated that you are usually the one that initiates a reconciliation. You ovbiously now resent this. Why now?

    To be honest, I feel there are underlying issues here. Eg. finances? job strain? children? family influence? ..because two years is TOO SOON. You mentioned that you have been involving friends and family members...Be careful and choose your confidants wisely

    Checking into a hotel will not change anything. It might even worsen the whole thing as you could be accused of going there to meet another man.

    A lot to think about, I also worry that you are having silent periods that last up to two weeks. seriously, that is not healthy. Do drop me an email lets talk more. I am happy to talk more

    Take it easy.

    Thanks for the nice words.
    Hope all is well
    Thanks for dropping by

  39. Thank you for your feedback. I did see some of the attributes before marriage, however, it wasn't projected in this manner :( Being Yoruba, the whole respect thing is sometimes out of place and so I think his dad is like that to an extent.

    Please what is your email add so I can reach you and confide in more detail. Thank you.

  40. @April
    Thank you for coming back
    My email is
    Talk to you soon

  41. So cannot change another person - u can influence, but certainly not change them. Good talk.

  42. I'm so late to this party!!!
    I'm glad I came though, cos there's a lot to learn from the posts and comments.
    When we realize that challenges in marriage are inevitable, I think we are better able to cope. We will have issues. How we deal with them determines if they leave us stronger or broken.
    Thanks for sharing. Off to read part 2

  43. @ Anoda Phase
    I like that...and I plan to use it somewhere soon :))
    Thanks for dropping by

    LOL @'I'm so late to this party!!!'
    As late, you have to do the tidying up. LOL
    Yes oh, the comments were really helpful. A lot of tips from shared experiences. Food for thought for us all.
    Totally agree re 'How we deal with them determines if they leave us stronger or broken'
    GBAM! Thanks for dropping by.

  44. Me am learning oh...... thank u MA...

    Well my own piece, I agree with everything u have written and some contribution.

    So me thinks that CHANGE can happen but only through the power of God convicting the person or a situation allowed to minister to the person.
    I do not think I want to be the person to live in a world of fantasy that I can change a GUY NEVER... Maybe influence YES, CHANGE am asking too much..

    Having said that, pls take ur eyes, ur specs, ur godly wisdom and holy spirit to the market when the dude is around and do only or accept only what you are able to cope with in 10 years time.
    E.g. ur prospective fiance, smokes, u tolerate it now, and secretly hoping he will outgrow it?? How u sure u can in 10 ten years or less than that tolerate it??..

    There is so much to marriage and many things to learn etc. One of my key understanding of marriage has only been through God (didn't experience mum's and dad's marriage, it was not the best, hence no direct inspiration). Having said that Mum does try, but I can proudly say that marriage is an institution God ordained. From where I stand now, I will NOT NOT NOT NOT advice anyone including myself to marry someone that has no clue about marriage.. NAH... Do not want to spend all my life coaching a partner on how to be a husband.. That desire is what the dude should have nurtured before looking for a wife..

    Whilst am working on myself, he berra be working on himself.

    I pray God will help every marriage that has been built on the principles of God to withstand all the storms of life. I pray we will be honest with ourselves that most of the issues are things that we can easily avoid through the grace of God....

    I believe marriage can be easy but it will be greatly challenged.. But that is the whole point is in it.. Besides, TWO HEADS SHOULD BE BETTER THAN ONE..


I always look forward to reading comments from visitors - so please leave yours. Many thanks for dropping by....xoxoxox