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Nkem Says: One Year is Enough For Him to Decide if He Wants You



Last year I met a guy. A friend, Ladi, who was visiting from the US had introduced us on a night out and he took my number to keep in touch with Ladi, while she was in the city. Now that I think about it, why didn’t he just stick with calling her WhatsApp number? She had roaming data.

Anyway, after she left, the dude kept in touch and we grew close.

The way I do things, I never assume a guy is into me or is seeking any other sort of relationship besides platonic friendship, until he verbalizes it with clear and concise words. But with this guy, it was a little confusing – one minute he would act like he was enamored with me and profess strong feelings, the next he would act like the regular bestie and talk about his search for love. We spoke almost every day and tagged each other on memes on the regular. He had come to Lagos several times and we had gone on dates or generally just spent time together too. Even more, he would sample my opinion on things, even personal things and ask me to advise him on steps to take. It was the classic “ambiguous dating” of our time. And I didn’t mind. I was willing to wait, because truth be told, I really liked him. I mean, I wasn’t necessarily enamoured but he was a nice guy, the kind you would want to spend the rest of your life with to avoid headaches in future…and that worked for me. And while the average cynic would say he was playing games or testing the waters, I chose to believe that he probably wanted a slow build. There was also the fact that he did not live in Lagos and most of the things we had to do, we did online.

Last week, however, I got a notification from Facebook to celebrate one year of friendship with him, and I got instant goose pimples. Like play, like play… we had known each other for one year already.

One full year.

While I understood that every relationship has its own unique timeline as it depends on how vulnerable you both are willing to be with one another, and there’s really no wrong or right time to decide when you are going to fall in love with someone or commit yourself to a relationship with them, I couldn’t shake off the voice of my pastor in my head, saying that a year is enough for any man in a relationship with a woman to decide if he wanted to marry her or not. Likewise, a year should be more than enough for any man, even if he lived in the moon, to know if he wants to just stay platonic friends or actually start a relationship with a girl, isn’t it?

Although we’ve embraced ambiguity a bit more these days, there is always that tipping point where you realize or decide that you are in a relationship with someone and the uncertainty is gone. Sometimes it’s months. Sometimes it’s weeks. Sometimes it’s even days. But it should never be, in any circumstance, more than a year.

I shared this concern with one of my close friends and I told him I was going to put the guy’s name in my “permanently platonic friends” box and get on with life, and my friend surprising said I was being rash with my decision. He reminded me that I had said to him that I felt a connection with the guy, the guy had respect for me and we seemed to want the same thing in life. My friend now further advised that I should instead have a chat with the dude about it. Hian. I admit that was solid advice, but here the thing, I already told myself I will never ask any man the question: “What are we?” in this life and the next.  Never again.

If after one year of talking and “dating”, a man doesn’t define the relationship, then you have the autonomy to decide how you want to go forward. Waiting around will breed resentment and before long you will start acting like a witch around him, and your relationship…or rather the lack of it will implode. No?

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. Hmmm

    July 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Isn’t it sad that in most cases, it’s the guy that has to decide if he wants the relationship to move on to the next level? The woman would make many sacrifices to keep the relationship going but it’s the man who DECIDES?

    • ayodele

      July 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Love your comment

    • GiTA

      July 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Not really, the guy if he wants the relationship to proceed will ask the question and the woman responds. It is only fair that if the woman wants the relationship she should ask the question and wait for the guy to respond. The sad part is that some women will not ask the question even if their lives depends on it.

    • Olu

      July 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      ..whose fault is that?

      It is a choice. No one made it a rule.

    • Cocoa

      July 9, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      Im glad you brought this up because this is actually not how its meant to be….most women, ive come to realise, have low self esteem. This is not a diss …this is just unfortunately the truth.

      The woman is supposed to be woed by the man and then SHE DECIDES if hes worthy of even more of her time and attention. He asks to court her….SHE DECIDES to accept or not.

      The moment you see the red flags you are meant to make a DECISION but instead we get into the passenger seat with a driver that has a blindfold on. Why???

      A MAN would not profess feelings to you when he knows he has no intention of doing anything with it. A BOY does that. A BOY has no self control. Wait for a MAN.

      You should NEVER be okay with being in an ambiguous situation..under no circumstances….let alone for a whole year. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FRIEND ZONED AT THEY 3 MONTH MARK. You should have stopped enagaging in DAILY conversations …talking about feelings that are leading nowhere.

      Dont awaken emotions prematurely. A guy who is not pursuing you, should not have the pleasure of your vibrant personlaity, your wit and intellect on a DAILY BASIS.

      Save that energy for your husband,

      Woman you are beautifully made!!!!! Dont be out here waiting on someone to finally decide on matters that directly affect your life.

      Walk NOW!! Or wait for the wedding invite. YOU DECIDE.

    • This

      July 9, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Cocoa everything is not black and white.

    • Cocoa

      July 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Of course,there is the ambiguous GREY….where heartbreak is waiting.

    • Phoenix

      July 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      I love u cocoa…spot on….thats how one ex said we should still be friends and I told him I don’t stay friends with an ex…he said it cuz he knows I build him up can’t be close with me and not experience growth…if we ain’t dating no more then sorry boo…u loose it all….u can’t eat your cake and have it.

    • Cocoa

      July 10, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Dont mind him my sister…i thank God you found strength to walk out graciously. You are the goodness somebody else is looking for and when he finds you…he wont tarry, he wont be confused.

    • Tell Them

      July 10, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Grown Folks advice
      Tell them my sister
      All these young immature ones don’t know nothing. All they want to do is open their legs hoping that will give them ring.

      Matter of fact DATING IS NOT BIBLICAL
      You court for a short period and then you marry, finish, if he knows exactly what he wants he doesn’t date you for years

      . If you are dating for long period you are simply fcking each other and that union is already cursed whether you marry or not (case in point Toke).

      It’s funny how many people act like they are smarter than God, or that he was gargling in water when he gave His instructions

      AND nothing cracks me up more than women who using their length of dating as bragging rights *Oh we dated for 6 yrs, 7yrs, 10, yrs.

      My dear you are a fool.. Even if you eventually get a ring you are still a fool cos that union is cursed, I’m site you are having many marital problems as we speak. THAT IS THE RESULTS OF THE SEEED YOU SOWED, Stop acting like a learner.

      If you are above 30 and date more than a year you are the biggest fool.

      Oh please spare me the money nonsense. At least do simple registry for now. And leave that your big wedding for when you have the money but don’t consciously be sinning and using I don’t have money or he’s not financially ready for an excuse. Continue digging your own grave

    • Nwunye Tobi

      July 9, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      Yes, in most cases, the man decides if the relationship will move to the ‘next level’. Actually both the man and woman decides, but mostly the man does the asking. But if they decide they don’t want you, you can decide not to want them too, by cutting communication and moving on with your life.

  2. Puzzles

    July 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Nkem, i was in the similar situation with you about 2 years ago, waiting for him to make the first move until a matured male friend gave me an advice i feel you already know; a man who truly loves you and wants to spend his life with you will never make you second-guess yourself. He would make it clear where you stand in his life. He will not definitely not need up to a year to make up his mind.

    It turned out to be very wise advice.

    So for me, no matter how often a guy calls or chats with me, if he hasn’t made his intention clear, he is JUST a platonic friend. And if i find myself catching feelings, i WILL minimize our interactions. This has saved me from unnecessary heartache

    • Sussy

      July 11, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Can I take your comment a step further by adding that even when he has made his intentions known with words if his actions do not back it up we are still Platonic friends because some guys mouth is dripping with honey

  3. ob

    July 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    if you really like him, shoot ur shot. what if he is also feeling you but he is scared of a no. nkem I think you like this guy and I am happy you feel this way, please do it.

  4. Christian Feminist

    July 9, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Why does the guy have to be the one who decides? Why does he have to be the one to profess his feelings first? Honestly, I’m so tired of the same old male-led narrative. Its 2018 people! Men AND Women should take hold of their destinies and stop waiting around for the other person. If the feeling aren’t mutual, you move on and save time!

    • nwunye tobi

      July 10, 2018 at 11:20 am

      @feminist, Even if a woman is the first to profess feelings, its mostly the man who decides whether the relationship will move to the ‘next level’. Let’s assume you’re bold enough to ask him out and even to propose to him join, you cannot carry wine and kola to his family naa. And before you ask a man out, its better its someone on the same social and global wavelength as you, who sees it as ok. I can ask a white guy out, it’s a turn on for them sef. Will be careful to do that with a Naija guy (esp one living in Nigeria). Different culture, different norms.

  5. Kwame Canada

    July 9, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Nkem, I’m sorry to say that, this guy want your friendship and nothing else. If he is really into you, he would have been bold to you. It’s sad that, the guy have to decide for you! Why can’t you say something that befit openness to you both? I don’t see anything wrong if you come out with a positive words of wisdom with question to him. If not don’t encourage that emotional friendship.

  6. Hmm

    July 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Why not make the move – If he loves you enough, he would do the right thing, if not, save your energy.

    Sitting in a garage does not make you a car

    • Engoz

      July 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      She should have addressed this at the beginning of the queer relationship. After one year, the man is simply not interested.

  7. jah rule

    July 9, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    yes one year or less is fair enough my case the gf word came after 3 months , proposal after 6 months …no time …..but i guess it depends on how old you both are , what the goal of the relationship is etc , etc and I’ve also experienced the opposite of this …. so my personal conclusion is when a man sees what he wants he doesn’t waste a lot of time

  8. SS

    July 9, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    my hubby decided in 3 month …5 years going strong till eternity,not been easy though.

  9. Na me talk am

    July 9, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    My darling Nkem. All this plenty grammar on top of this man matter. Girl. he’s just not that into you.

  10. I see you!

    July 9, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    This aunty, were you not the one that was on a date just last month and talking about how you were single and not talking to any other girl. Now, you have opened your own nyash. So, you lied to that poor guy? because clearly this one was in the background. That being said, you clearly do not even want this guy. Your story get K-leg. I have this nagging feeling that the guy has been trying and you have just not shown green light. We need to hear his side of the story…because we cannot trust you .

    • Sussy

      July 11, 2018 at 4:43 am

      So you mean she should sit and cross her legs in my house when the guy hasn’t officially asked her out? Story for the gods

    • Sussy

      July 11, 2018 at 4:43 am

      *her house I meant

  11. I see you!

    July 9, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    *any other guy.

  12. Nwunye Tobi

    July 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Nkem we’ve all been in that situation, not a good one to be in. It’s better to be alone than suffer the misery of a friend or partner who is not that into you. You’re lucky you realized it now and can get away before he will surprise you with his wedding card and pretend not to know you liked him all these while. No be Naija guys again? He’s holding unto you while considering other candidates his mother, pastor and friends are presenting to him. Cocoa is totally right, he probably enjoys your wit and intellect. He may also be enjoying spirituality from another gal, enjoying sex from yet another one, enjoying the beauty of another, and so on. Finally he will decide which of you will fit his needs of a wife. But thank God you won’t be there when that time comes.

    Better to be single abeg, or be in crush, like I am with Tobi. He doesn’t know me, so no disappointments, haha. Better that jare, than someone who has seen you, dated you, talked with you, skyped with you, gisted with… for a full year, without knowing what he wants. Have the decency and keep your distance.

  13. Californiabawlar

    July 9, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    To be honest, it’s lack of better options that will make a woman wait a whole darn year for a boy. Abi what am I selling that you’re using one year to be pricing?

    My take:
    Option 1: if you’re strong enough at the moment. Cut the ninja off. Don’t even put him on no platonic friends list for now ? And yes, he’ll survive without y’alls lil friendship. Don’t care if you’ll come across as salty… sht happens, protecting your sanity and self esteem should be your priority.

    Option 2: Unpopular opinion, cos I know every woman on the interwebs is supposed to be this beacon of strength that has found herself and is comfortable with being single and all that jazz. My dear, if you’re not there yet, slowly start cutting him off while also frantically (yes, I said it ?) and vigorously finding yourself another “bae” to take up your time. Even if it’ll be short lived, at least it’ll get you out of this rot you’re stuck in with this dude.

    Here’s my replacement “bae” catalog:
    1. Hit up a dude that’s been asking for that date since forever.
    2. Online dating.
    3. Ask friends to set you up.

    He might buckle up and come correct but don’t count or hope for it! That is another rabbithole of mind games you’re too grown to be playing ?

  14. Bebi

    July 10, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I’ve been here…2ce! Twice!!!
    1st guy, I didn’t shoot my shot, keep on with the flow, and eventually boxed him in the friendzone.
    2nd guy, I chose to shoot my shot and we barely talk again…his response was “I really like you but I need to ‘sort’ my self”, didn’t bother asking what sorting himself meant, (Someone that flew done from UK to the US to see me o)…no time jare, “dusted my shoes, packed my heart” and moved on with life.

    • Cocoa

      July 10, 2018 at 11:06 am

      I like that you tried something different the 2nd time …i LOVE that you BELIEVED HIM when he told you he had issues.

      Didnt waste time asking for details….details will suck one in further.

      Many years ago one guy told me he didnt deserve me,,that i was too good for him…but got offended when i said i agreed with him hahahahah.

      Happy to read your comment girl….you deserve a STABLE MAN.

  15. Cocoa

    July 10, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I like that you tried something different the 2nd time …i LOVE that you BELIEVED HIM when he told you he had issues.

    Didnt waste time asking for details….details will suck one in further.

    Many years ago one guy told me he didnt deserve me,,that i was too good for him…but got offended when i said i agreed with him hahahahah.

    Happy to read your comment girl….you deserve a STABLE MAN.

  16. Vicky

    July 10, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    You like the guy, i don’t see anything wrong in wanting to confirm your stand.
    I used to like somebody, it felt like we were in a relationship because we would speak for long minutes on the phone, he would buy me giftss, we would go out whenever he was in town etc. It wasn’t until one day i said i love you and he didn’t say it back that i learnt that he was in a serious relationship and he only saw a friend in me.
    Asking shouldn’t be the problem, just pray you meet a guy that will be honest with you.
    i think i’ve typed plenty; lol.
    In conclusion, ask the brother, that way you can truly move on.

  17. Anon

    July 10, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Shooting your shot can just be clarifying things. In my uni days there was this kool guy, very comfortable too. He made me feel special gan ni. After listening to a message on defining relationships with the opposite sex, omo I had to ask nicely: ” do you treat all your female friends like this?”
    Bros was stammering. And I drew the line immediately. Now we are both happily married and have remained good friend with no hard feelings of being led on.
    Its better to clarify asap than assume and be shattered later.

  18. xo

    July 11, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    LOL…talking to this one guy everyday for close to a year, no direction..thought he was taking his time..but wasnt that enough time to know if you want someone? woke up one day and cut him off.
    met another guy who within 3 weeks said he would love to marry me. i am the one asking him to slow down.

    these men know

  19. Goranko

    August 30, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I think he wants your friendship. If he loves you and wants to marry you, he would tell you.

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