Connect with us


Behind The Heart With Chiadi Ndu: The True Test of Intimacy



Intimate-CoupleMy life is decorated with a lot of precious young adults, both male and female.  Many times when I think about each of them, I offer a quiet prayer.  I ask God to settle them with life partners deserving of them; people who will appreciate the value and the quality that they bring to their lives.

This is why Doris* had hardly started describing her relationship with her Sweetheart Dotun* before she got my full attention. She was overly excited. “He is gorgeous Ma and all my friends agree. His heart is just as beautiful, very kind and such good fun too. He can crack a joke about everything. You can’t stay a second with him without laughing; I love being with him.”

I could recognize all the signs and I am not surprised when she says to me with a demure look, “I think I have fallen in love with him.”

I know Doris very well and I consider her very honest and open – almost naïve- though she left University many years ago. Her younger sister Debbie* has been married for 2 years and Doris makes it plain that she is very keen on meeting her own ‘knight in shining armour’ too. Because of this, I feel she places her relationships on the fast-track, usually accelerating them and trying too hard to force intimacy. As we continue our chat, I discover that she met Dotun just 6 weeks earlier. I felt it was too early for them to have ‘fallen’ so deeply in love.  This prompts me to ask her how Dotun feels about her. My question seemed to curb her enthusiasm a bit but in her usual truthful manner she answers:

“He  says he loves me too but I am not really sure any more. He doesn’t call me as often as he used to and even the BBMs have reduced. I don’t know what it is but I sense that he is sort of withdrawing. I can tell that he is finding it difficult to make a commitment. I don’t understand what is happening but I am convinced we are so right for each other …”

I pointed out to Doris that when people force intimacy like she is doing, they are likely to threaten their intended partner’s personal boundaries and  it is only natural for them to feel frightened and to respond by withdrawing  from the relationship or by even totally rejecting them. I explained to her that trying to force intimacy is always a mistake that will never produce the intimacy she wants but instead will push Dotun further and further away. True intimacy develops over time and it is the lifeblood of love. It provides a shelter in which one can be vulnerable, safe and truly themselves.

I gave her some very practical tips to help her stop forcing intimacy:

  • If you call repeatedly even when he doesn’t return your call; try not to call again until he calls you and then wait before returning his call
  • If you give him gifts and he fails to acknowledge or reciprocate; try not sending anymore
  • If you feel compelled to see and talk to him every day; try getting busy with other things and people.
  • If you talk about him to people he knows all the time; try appearing disinterested in him and what his friends say about him
  • If you always accuse him of ignoring you when he is not constantly available; try  having less time for him than he has for you
  • If you feel that whenever you are together, you are the last thing on his mind; try to spend only quality time with him and leaving  when he is not focused on you
  • If you keep making excuses for his bad behaviour towards you; try pointing out some of  these unacceptable behavioural patterns to him

I know Doris is worried that she may lose Dotun if she follows these tips. But I believe that if their relationship can’t withstand this, then perhaps it is not meant to be.  I am hoping to flip the coin and look at it from the guy’s perspective in the New Year. Until then, may your New Year truly be blessed.

*No real names or identifying details


Chiadi Ndu was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987. She has a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and a Diploma in Stress management. She works as a Pre- Divorce Concilliator, hosts a radio programme – Behind the Heart on Inspiration FM and also writes a relationship Counselling column – Bridges on Sunday in Sunday Thisday newspaper.

CHIADI NDU was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987 but has since obtained a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. A Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, she runs BTH Integrated Wellness and Therapy. Email: [email protected] BTH provides premium professional counselling services with experts who understand how the mind works; offering a confidential and safe environment where our clients can work on any stressful, traumatic or simply uncomfortable issues they may be facing- ANXIETY, GRIEF, FEAR, TRAUMA, LOSS, FINANCES OR HEALTH  CHALLENGES. Website:


  1. adenike

    December 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Quite inspiring and very honest. Well done.

  2. Gbemi

    December 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Hmmm… Rules again(phew). I would have suggested counselling Doris about developing a healthy heart and realising only God can satisfy her deepest longings/desires of her heart. I have been in her position before and rules don’t help; rules are a way of attacking the symptoms while ignoring the root of the problem.

    • Uche

      December 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Not necessarily. Rules are there for a reason, and that is to give you boundaries. Not all of us are strong enough or mature enough for what you are saying, that is where rules come in. I just laugh when people scoff at rules, rules. Rules can be good if the intentions behind them are noble. Rules help install self control and discipline, they can also protect you from being hurt. So, next time before you scoff at rules, look at what the “rules” are trying to say or teach you. You may end up saving yourself from a lot of heartache.

  3. Jesus Daughter

    December 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Like I always tell people, Relax!

  4. Jesus Daughter

    December 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    What will be, will be.

  5. Nkan be

    December 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    @Gbemi…u are right,rules don’t always work,but sometimes they do help. I would also have advised Doris to love herself more,cos some partners make a lot of sacrifices ,forgetting themselves. Don’t loose your self,and also pay attention to hints people around you give concerning the person you are dating ( not all, but some) cos they see better than you do

  6. pade

    December 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I strongly agree to these tips, but like you admitted might be difficult to follow.

  7. abby

    December 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    tru talk…i av gone tru sometin similar…and he treated me lyk shit,then i use to wet ma bed wit ma tears due to all d ill treatment…i then made up ma mind and stopped callin him,wasnt easy at 1st bt i gt masef busy so tot less of him….nd d nxt time he cald me was 2 months lata u knw tryin to patch tins up,askin 4 anoda chanc…i still love him and am considering him bt i wont take him bak jst lyk dat…he has to abide by my rules nao…if not am out tru d front door!!!!

  8. Behind the Heart fan

    January 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Well, rules surely do help but after sometime they just make the relationship all plastic. I wish pple could just be more real and direct. But Hey! this is d real world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa

Star Features