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?