By Amara (submitted by Favor)
Challenging and difficult! Though these may not be the words we want to hear, but the reality is that these are the words that best describe long distance relationships. Please note this, I did not say impossible, but challenging and difficult. I have noticed that in our culture as Africans, women suffer more when it comes to long distance relationships.
A long distance relationship is not different from any other relationship. It is as unique as every other relationship we get involved in. The only difference is that unlike other relationships, you will not have the privilege of seeing your partner as often as you desire. In that regard LDR does not help the intimacy aspect of your relationship. Another important thing, the issue of trust is an indispensable factor which must be taken into consideration before settling for a long distance relationship.
I decided to have this in the women’s column because in our Nigerian context, we are the ones at the receiving end when it comes to long distance relationship. In our country Nigeria, I see marriages in which a woman is made to stay for as long as ten years without setting her eyes on her man. The man who lives abroad comes home to get himself a wife because according to him, the Nigerian woman in the Diaspora have lost their distinctive Nigerian cultural perspectives and therefore are not good materials for marriage. You know every typical Nigerian wants a woman he can sit on and remote control and this has always been their major reason for coming back home to get a wife.
Most of these guys have had multiple marriages to different women in the West. When you see how our people live abroad (I don’t envy them), you will get to understand me better. Many are trapped; yes they live in the UK and USA, but you live a better life than they do. They get into marriages with much older women because they must have shelter over their heads and good food to eat. Many get married just to obtain a Green Card. They do all these and so much more to Nigerian for you.
I feel so sad when I see what some Nigerian ladies go through in the name of long distance relationships. I feel sad because our ladies are yet to begin to reason right. December is just by the corner and so many of these guys are warming up to come back and sweep you off your feet with chocolates, perfumes picked from Liverpool and Finsbury markets in London. Trust our guys coming from the USA, when they speak, they sound more American than the Americans themselves; and with all the bling-bling and fake designer wears, you see yourself falling for them. Some of these guys come home with lovely rides which they obtained under questionable conditions; either from a car hire or insurance. Ladies, shine your eyes. Not all that glitters is gold.
By the time they arrive in Naija, you get carried away and you break-up with your boyfriend with whom you have built a good foundation and are sure of, for a total stranger you know nothing about. Some of these JJC (Johnny Just Come) may even come from Morocco or Equatorial Guinea and will lie to you with confidence that they live in the USA, the UK, or Canada. Before you know what is happening, you have started singing the love songs to their ears. In the course of all these, you believe their lies and surrender your body to them which they exploit. Yes, you may have been introduced to him by his cousin or your friend, but should that make you a fool?
I used to think it was only the illiterates in our villages that fell for these guys, but now I see bankers and Lawyers who have fallen victims. I have had the privilege to meet with ladies who are doing so well in their chosen careers, but are constantly in tears because of this issue. I know a top banker here in Lagos who is a victim: for years now she and her lovely children have been abandoned here in Nigeria because she got involved with a man without asking questions to know his true identity. She laments about her ordeal and how she even travelled overseas to see him only for the man to ignore her and the kids. So many of them get back here and tell you they are married, but the marriage is to a white lady. You foolishly make yourself available as the black wife. You know what, as long as they live in that country and want to make it, they must be married to them .Why should you even try to get married to a man who is not single, divorced,or widowed? The so called big girls are the ones falling for these men because by the time they get into your bank and you are able to see the status of their account, you lose your senses.
There is this other banker who had a very decent man asking for her hand in marriage. The man who happened to be a very dedicated Christian made it clear to her that he wasn’t going to sleep with her before marriage. This became her problem, just like the ladies of today who believe they must sleep with a man before getting married to him. I expected this banker to even thank God for such a man who did not come to exploit her body. This lady insisted on sleeping with him but the man kept his integrity. Before we knew what was happening, she got pregnant for another guy; a JJC who had just returned to from the USA. This left the man who was so much in love with her devastated. Months later, she got married to her Yankee lover. A month after the marriage, he left Nigeria for his base.Girls, that was the last we heard of him; and it has been nine years. The other guy is happily married with two kids. The lady is now all over the place complaining. I feel for her sometimes, but that is what she brought upon herself. We should ask God for a discerning spirit.
Maybe, you enjoy the fact that your Yankee guy sends enough cash to you with different kinds of exotic rides; but you know that in the midst of all those things, there is still a vacuum and an inner yearning for love. I have experienced it and I know what I am talking about. Nothing! I mean no amount of comfort can take the place of love, true love. You are probably enjoying the whole thing because it gives you the opportunity to live anyhow or because you were never in love with him.
Some good women who are not even exposed are made to go back to the village and stay with the husband’s family. Some of them bring their relations to live with the woman in Lagos where she functions as his manager in business. The man is over there enjoying himself with other women and making babies all over the place while you are made to sit with his mother and siblings. Is that the kind of life you want to live? Is that God’s plan for marriage? Believe it or not, sex is a very necessary tool in the bonding of two souls. You can never be fulfilled in marriage without good sex.
I know so many people found themselves in this kind of relationship, not out of greed, but out of ignorance. You were pushed into it by forces beyond your control. If you are not yet married, please create time to talk about some issues with him and be sure you can handle it before taking that step. If you are someone like me who cherishes attention more than money, I advise you quit before regrets set in. If you cannot trust yourselves, there is no point getting into it because it will cause you more pain than ever.
Trust is a necessity if you chose to have your relationship from a distance. Without trust and honesty, the relationship is in for danger and unsuccessfulness. I know you are desperate for marriage, but please be careful and constantly remind yourself that God did not give a particular age for marriage. A man who is yours will come and he will love you despite your age, look, and past life. I have started seeing some of them in town, they are going to do everything possible to deceive you, but girl, you can choose not to be deceived.Dont be so much in a haste to have a total stranger put a ring on your finger and take you to the altar this Christmas. Give yourself time to understudy him. I always advise my friends not to allow any marriage until they see their papers and travel documents ready. Those who took to this advice are happily married and living with their men abroad.
I repeat it again; God’s plan for you is not for a man to come here, get married to you and then leave you for his mother and siblings. God’s plan is for you to be one in body, soul, and spirit with your own husband. His plan is not for you to be married to a beautiful mansion and lovely cars. His plan is not for you to keep other men by the corner to service you and pretend all is well. Get this into your ears young lady, God’s design for marriage is a true union of the body, soul, and spirit where you live under the same roof with your own husband and share your bodies with one another. Think about this and make the right choice.
Amara, the Author