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Nkem Says: Is Anybody Really Single?



The first thing I say when I am on a date is: “I don’t like people easily”. And I do this to give the person a fair warning. That way, he is able to manage his expectations and not get disappointed when it starts to look like I am dragging my feet.

I guess I am what the world would now refer to as “Demisexual” – a person who does not experience sexual attraction, unless there is an emotional connection.  Until we have a sort of rapport, I legit do not feel any attraction. Even if your eyes shine as bright as gold, you are 6.3 feet tall and have the sexiest abs ever seen…it will have no effect, really.

And I was trying to explain all of this to a rather dramatic guy that I went on a date with, a few days ago when he cut in and asked a completely unrelated question: “Are you single?”


Something about the way he asked the question (or maybe it was the cold air bubbling in the car), got me blanked out for a second. I usually was the one who asked those questions: Are you single? Are you dating? Does anyone identify as your girlfriend or wife? Does anyone hold the key to your life?  This was new. So, I replied and said: “Why would I be out on a date with you, if I wasn’t single?”

Immediately the question came out, I regretted it. I sounded defensive and I wondered why. I was single and I was sure of it. As though privy to my thoughts, he laughed and said. “Ok. If you say so.”

“What do you mean “if you say so”? I am single. I am not the type to go on date with multiple people” I retorted, almost too quickly.

“Ah. Ok ma. Oshe!”. He responded with a deep laugh.

Clearly he was being cynical. Normally I would leave people to their cynicism, but something about it all, just really irritated and annoyed me. But to avoid any sort of argument, I let it go and smiled at him. I asked him: “Are you single?” He looked at me for what seemed longer than a second and asked in response: “Is anyone truly ever single?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. He went on to explain that every human at every point in time have people in their lives, people their hearts are tethered to. It could be  a relationship with a man that still isn’t your boyfriend despite months of talking and hanging out;  a friend’s girlfriend/boyfriend  who has become your “bestie” too and is always there; or  the one  who drives you home from work every day and you have to synchronize your schedule so that you are able to a lot of things together. And even though nothing is clear or defined with these people, you are not truly single. You only say you are single because the one you are tethered to at the time is not your best options.

As he was talking, I got a video call request on my phone. We both saw the call come in and the picture was clearly that of a dude. I cut the call. And he smiled and asked why I didn’t pick, and I said to him : “It would be rude”. He said: “No, it wouldn’t. I am driving, you can take the call. I will wait”. I really didn’t want to pick the call as the dude calling would probably pass as the “ghost” boyfriend my date was talking about, and I didn’t want to validate his weird assertions in any way. But then I also wanted to stand my ground, so I picked the call. It was weird AF having the conversation right in front of him.

Paying attention to what the person on the phone asked and my responses, one might assume we were  partners in some alternative universe.

“and you say” you are completely single? No?” he said immediately after I dropped the call, adding an irritating giggle. I responded with “he is a friend. I am single. Believe it or not”.

“Of course you are.” He said and for some reason we couldn’t agree on anything else until we go to my house and he dropped me off.

For some reason his cynicism had rubbed me the wrong way. While what he was saying was clearly hogwash as the general consensus is: you are single, until you’re married, I couldn’t help but glimpse a measure of truth in his point. I have heard people make such comments as “a man is never single, you always have to take him from someone, and I always turn up my nose at it” …but now I am wondering, is there a chance that he is right and not only men, but everyone you meet is already tethered to someone else somehow and you have to take them?

Let me know your thoughts.

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.


  1. Oluwabunmi

    June 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I have learnt that in this Lagos, nobody!! I repeat nobody is fully single. there is always somebody somewhere hanging.

    • Elle

      June 17, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      That means you know EVERYBODY in Lagos, shey?

    • tolu

      June 17, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Olu dear yes there are people who are completely single,i am someone who does things intentionally, i dont keep talking to guyz i know i will never marry and i can only marry one man, the moment i meet a guy i really like and he has some qualities thats worth a trial then we could start chatting, CHATTING OHH not even going out and after a short will of chatting i can tell if he is what i want as a husband and if not i politely call him and tell him i am not interested in the chats anymore and after that moments if he calls or sends a messages its blocked or switched off because i think only foolish people hang around someone for long still GUESSING OR MANAGING someone but i dont have the luxury of time cause am very busy AND theres so much to be done thats worth your time like helping people out there. So i am single only call family and friends once in a WHILE go out to watch movies with friends. So i am single LOVING IT and not in a hurry cause we will meet in due time

    • Straightforward

      June 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      You said it!

    • Ope

      June 23, 2018 at 3:46 am

      well said

    • Dee

      June 18, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      I’m in Lagos, and I’m completely single not dating and not mingling either and definitely not hanging or whatever. I’m Just chilling in my fathers house and minding my business , literally. Getting to know guys is stressful and marriage is at the very bottom of my mind.

  2. N.S

    June 17, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    The guy just be used a bad routine on you to unbalance you but I won’t say where he got it from so that men’s code won’t be broken because before we know now, report here and there and the link is shut down. Washere Omo mi

  3. Mz_Danielz

    June 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    That guy either wants you as a side chick or friends with benefits. He’s setting the tone for not demanding fidelity.

    To the topic, my answer is ‘I’m single until I’m married’

    • memebaby

      June 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm

      single until married it is.

  4. Shoo

    June 17, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    In a relationship but single until marriage. No claiming outchea

  5. CurvesAndEdges

    June 17, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Guy was trying to use your head…. his reality doesn’t have to be yours. And you, my friend, sound immature. No offence intended.

  6. Me

    June 17, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Me I’m very single oh… I don’t believe in this shenanigan, you’re either in or out and there’s only space for 1 at a time.

  7. mamamia

    June 17, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Lol. We are all single until married no in betweens, however, understand boundaries and have some self respect if a man/woman has a girlfriend/boyfriend or fiancé. Respect ya self until that is a closed chapter.

    • yinka

      June 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Madam,you are talking from both sides of your mouth.

  8. mamamia

    June 17, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Lol. We are all single until married no in betweens, however, understand boundaries and have some self respect if a man/woman has a girlfriend/boyfriend or fiancé. Respect ya self …

  9. Kay Baba

    June 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Dude was just tryna take the piss. But TBF there are some blurry lines in this whole love affair thing – just be careful you dont cross it “cos love dont care at all” *in Simi’s voice*

  10. storytime

    June 18, 2018 at 10:08 am

    i was literally thinking something along these lines today. so get this, i met a guy approximately 2 months ago, we have been seeing each other- we haven’t had the should we enter a committed relationship talk yet, but i made it known from the start that i was looking for something long term and not casual, and i was willing to give us time to explore and get to know each other better. so far so good
    now, in the past two weeks, this man has brought up his ex’s name twice. first time he said they were talking and that they are still friendly because it was an amicable breakup so they still talk occasionally. that did not bother me much as she lives in some African country i cant remember which and I am also not the typically get jealous type of person so i did not think much of it the first time. Now i believe two things, a person only talks to their ex when there is either still feelings involved or they were never in love in the first place and so it makes it easier to be friendly and that friendship then can be genuine. Also i dont like to stress myself over men matter so i have chosen to just watch and see. since then i have then watched out for if he mentions her again or in what context and how he talks about her. he hadn’t until we
    fast forward to last week, he called me later than normal as i was working late also, but then he said oh his ex called him and they were talking for a while… now at this point i start to think should i just cut my losses? we have been seeing each other for the best part of 8 weeks now and this ex’s name has come up three times already. I don’t do ex files or drama or any such nonsense like that so for me it is a huge red flag. I was thinking about it, and it occurred to me on my way to work this morning that i could honestly call him and say look- explain this to me, are there feelings involved, pls go and talk to her and sort that corner out and don’t come back to me until you do one way or the other. if your decision to is then stay with her fine… things haven’t progressed between us so much to be honest that it will pain me too much although i am growing fond of him. on the other hand, i thought if they are genuinely friendly, then it is one of past history tethering them, so i dont want to borrow sorrow by suggesting what isn’t there for him. so, do i wait to access if its a situation that will correct itself the more time we spend together? cos with my ex and i, his new girl had to deal with the phase where he wasn’t completely over me either, but in my case, i believe in severing ties with exes. we don’t remain “friendly” in the i call you all the time or we even chat on whatsapp way. if we see on the street we will have a nice conversation and after say goodbye and go our way again.. point is, there might be a truth to this no one is truly single nonsense but i think its only the truth for people that aren’t truly emotionally mature enough to cut off ties that have bound them but need not anymore, the ones that dont understand that some people come into your life for a reason, and when they leave, its ok. it took me 2 years to get over my ex and in that 2 year period, i made a deliberate decision not to date anyone- i was emotionally exhausted and more importantly, i didn’t want to carry that baggage into my new relationship. i didn’t want to meet a truly great guy and then be looking back at what i ‘thought i lost’. so it is possible to mature enough emotionally to clear and sever ties to your hearts that shouldn’t be there so you can be available and present to be with whoever is in your life at the moment. Prior to this man, i can say i was truly single in the sense that no one past had a hold on any part of my heart or being. Some people you can’t forget yes, but i had made my peace with all of that.
    sorry for this long epistle sha, i lowkey wanted to rant about this ex files nonsense is all and i am open to advise. just positivity please. if you cannot type your advice in a nice and kind way, please don’t drop it o. thank you. . lmaoo. erm bn, you don’t have permission to repost this under your relationship aunty bella column o cos i know you do that sometimes too. lool.

    • SoniaPaloma

      June 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Twice in two month. I will say no cause for alarm yet, but if it bothers you like you say. I will rather you have a conversation about why they broke up, how he feels about her still and from there you can detect if he is still not over the ex. Once you can tell he is not, tell him you will rather he sort out the emotional baggage from his past relationship before you start anything with him. Good luck xx

    • Cocoa

      June 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      If I was you i would have an open and mature conversation and address my concerns. I personally will not tolerate this close friendship with an ex. But thats me. I have to be worth cutting ties with your ex, i dont want confusion. Its either you are ready for a NEW chapter or you are not. The nerve of him letting you know everytike they have a nice long conversation is INSENSITIVE and IMMATURE on his part. How does he expect you to feel. ?

      Jealousy is a real emotion …and while we pray against it…we do not tempt ourselves with such provocation.

      He doesnt know what he wants…and i would hate for you to be entangled in this web under the guise of not bieng the jealous type.

      If a man is serious about me..then he would not put me in a position where another woman could be mistaken for competition.

      The human emotion is a fragile thing. Protect your peace of mind.

      Put your concerns on the table and if his response is not favourable…Be a LADY…take a graceful bow and be OUT.

    • Fire

      June 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Wow! Long rant. I can totally relate with you. I have been there. I don’t do ex-files too. So, I expect my man to act that way. But, we are different people with different behaviours and thought patterns. Some people remain friends with their exes even when the other party is married. That! I will never understand or accept.

      Your relationship is very young and the feelings don’t run deep yet. So, you might think it’s not a big deal. But, it is, especially, if you don’t believe in ‘keeping up with the exes.’ Talk to him about it. Let him know how you feel and if symptoms persists, catwalk away, Do this, before fondness becomes love! Three people cannot be in a relationship. Mbanu!

    • funmi

      June 18, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      Story my dearest your story is exactly like mine ohhhh hmmm after talking with the guy for two weeks on watsapp one fateful day he started pouring out words about his ex and i seriously asked him OGA OHH ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE NOT STILL EMOTIONALY WITH YOUR EX ? He replied NO before the day i was to meet him face to face i suddenly became soo depressed for no reason , i prayed to God to show me whatever he is hiding and my dear when i got to his place where he bakes as i entered the kitchen restaurant something within me said open the cupboard and i did and found inside his diary the picture of the ex but then i tot to myself a normal guy would not carry a girls picture around, on our next meeting i checked his phone right in his presence but he tot i was watching something videos when i saw that same girls picture my heart started racing read the messages he literally was begging the girl to come spend time with him and then i ended all calls and chats with him. Am a christian and so i dont really support relationships because of most of them involve SEXUAL INTERCOURSE so as a result i give a guy a short time within which i pray about him and avoid visiting in private places because it will hurt the most if you let him touch you and found out he wasnt the one afterall, so as a woman get your own stuffs going for you so you dont do dating with the intention to get money from the guy and STORY DEAR as GOD to expose everything about him and receive the strength to carry on ohh because from what you said he ain’t serious even if he says he is done like mine he is not and as you bond more and more with him severing this relationship because more difficult , thats why a woman shuold keep her LEGS CLOSED even when she is dating so he will not mess you up and say sorry. So STORY JUST PRAY TO GOD he will show you.

    • Hmmm

      June 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

      My advice: Walk away. Refuse to become emotionally involved.

      Been there, done that, never going to do that again.

      When i had the long mature conversation most are advising you to have, the guy convinced me he and his ex were over. Fast forward less than 2 months later, he had gone back to her without my knowledge and had stopped calling or texting me. According to him, he didn’t have the heart to tell me because i am a “genuinely nice and sincere” person (his words, not mine). They are married now.

      My opinion is that a man or woman who truly wants to move on will have NOTHING to do with his ex and would not give the current bae any cause for concern. Be grateful he even mentioned the ex to you. He’s indirectly telling you where you truly stand. Men are not exactly vocal when it comes to matters of the heart.

    • Jay

      July 30, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      I think it’s best you have a conversation about this ex. there’s nothing wrong with mentioning an ex cause it gives you room to ask questions, that way you know where you stand. I used to be like you but now I ask questions and ask again for clarification so that tomorrow you won’t tell me but I didn’t ask.

  11. Kwame Canada

    June 18, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    I’m sorry to say that, this guy has not yet done with this woman, please, be careful, do not sleep with him! Ask some good questions, example, why would he talk to his ex from time to time? Let him give you a sound reasons. Again, ask him if he really feel comfortable with you when ever both of you are together, or when you are on the phone? Ask him if he really care about you, and why? Please don’t be afraid that you might cause some problems, NO! this is your life, if he is real he would come clean, if not please run, there are many fine men out there, pray, talk to the living God Jehovah, and everything will be fine.

  12. Fizzy

    June 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    You people have a way of either derailing or stealing Nkem’s shine. NOT NICE AT ALL.

    • kemi

      June 19, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      You must either be a teenager or still maturing. Do you know how many people have received good advice from columns like this, who is talking about shine when someone leaves here with good information and counsel? Are you okay darliing? Please life is not about shining but saving and helping people out there its just like oprah winfreys show where poeple from the audience give their opinions and some share their experiences, have you ever tot about that. Infact you know nothing why am i even talking. At the end if theres to be given an award its nkem who takes it. Hhmmm what will somebody not hear

  13. *spread mat*
    my flight has been gather together for this story story..once upon a time, time time!!

    so years ago was commenting on a story about a banker hacked to pieces by her unemployed hubby..this guy kept calling me man hater, feminist and ugly, no wonder am single etc… I said I myself didnt know what is feminism that my focus was on the girl and the crime meted to her..only for him to send friend request. I added a lot of ppl inc him. He wanted us to meet up, I did some forensic and met up with a number of pp inc himl. When I met with him,. he said he was expecting a lion from my notes. we laughed. He came with flowers and choc..he was my spec in many ways..was funny (even the flowers and choc, he said he was scared if i was on a diet or diabetic so he got flowers then it occured to him i could be allergic but it was too late..he had nice table manners, was clean, protective, and focused on me through out our discussion..well spoken and we had a lot in common as per social circle..just like my on and off partner,, he knew the works of vram Noam Chomsky, Camus and Breton..definitely my spec. He asked me out. I was out of an off/on rlship :ended cus of long distance.

    After a while we started dating.In our dating life I saw his issues. I too was not perfect with my no sentiments way of analysing issues..I decided to be the bigger person looking for ways to improve what we had. I said we should communicate more, I kept doing the things he liked and telling him what I liked, I gave him advice on how so and so could have been handled. Tried to show him several options than him being so blunt therefore hurting and alienating so many ppl. He fell in love deeper with me, even remembered anniversary..that I forgot, lets not speak of material things cus he was loaded. I wasnt as in luv as he didnt make as much effort to know me as I did him.

    Then something happened that show he hadnt changed, he was chauvinistic and took full advantage of everything a patriarchal society afforded him without a care., I told myself its looking like this person doesnt want to consider change even a bit and probably wouldnt He looked incapable of empathy.It had to be this or spectrum..One day. I sent him a dm mentioning the good times and saying i wished him the best.

    I spoke to a friend, long story short she gave me a snooping software to use on unclechauvnistic..I saw his comments on a largely male populated website nairalnd the topic was centered around yet another woman who was murdered..he was saying (not exact words) even his babe was once a hotheaded feminist but now she knows her place, that in every quarrel she was always begging him regardless of who was at fault as a female should..he said he even deliberately did mean things to test her but she still comes begging. someone commented that his babe was too good to be true, he went and said some sensitive help his that pointed that this babe was me.
    Now i have some thick skin but that putting my info out there was too much for me.Now My on and off was trying to be back ‘on’.. He wanted us to talk things out..He sent me an all expense ticket for us to talk about this long distance

    I accepted my on/off bf all expense trip, and laughed that na wa o, na me be this long suffering sufferhead this man is talking/embellishing about abi? He will now tell some other woman how he conquered a feminist or whateverthe eff.. when he doesnt hear from me its that women are wicked, evil, user or whatever story will fit his next babe.
    I guess the good thing about both guys is that they treasure me enough to accept my no sex condition..Too tired to type more biko.

    As for nkem’s article, nkem your guy date is confusing me, so I think that comment that said is a boy code thing..may just be right. Feed him to the I mean forget all about him and move on. You are not a circus owner to start playing games at all.

  14. Jay

    July 30, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I’ve never been single from the day I started dating, there was always someone around me, even when I met my fiance, I was dating. I was in a relationship looking for another relationship only because the guy refused to be a serious boyfriend that’s always forming busy and at the same time, wouldn’t let me go. while dating my ex I had so much time to play with in the sense that I know our pattern and how we see which is is about once every two weeks and we live barely 5mins apart. when I met my fiance, I told him I was dating but we would be out and my so called boyfriend wouldn’t even have called. one day I hung out with my now fiance and saw my boyfriend with another lady at the same place. we just greeted each other and passed meanwhile I called him earlier in the day to know if we’ll meet you but of course he said he would be busy apparently not too busy for other people. the next day, I didn’t even bother calling cause I didn’t think I did anything wrong. he called and was explaining who the girl was, if he’s telling the truth or lying I wasn’t bothered. I told him we should end things because obviously we don’t have time for each other. he begged we continue but then he was still slacking. my fiance knew he was the one I saw that night and while he was respecting my relationship, he just saw an opening and from January till date, he makes sure there’s no gap in our relationship even when he’s out of town on business, we talk every chance he gets. When he’s around, we see every single time. So yes no one ever truly single but then when the perfect comes, the imperfect will go away.

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