I have always been the type of person to binge watch Romantic Comedies or those YouTube videos of my favourite TV couples. I love Love. But in the case of my own love life, I was very naïve.
Growing up a Christian Nigerian girl meant I never really had open conversations about relationships. All I knew, I learnt from TV, movies and watching the people around me. I was told, don’t date, but eventually get married… I never learnt what the steps in between were.
I was giddy and young and very very “ew boys! Gross!”.
Now, I don’t think this necessarily was a bad thing at the time – I had a lot of space and time to focus on myself and growing as an individual. I grew my passions, my gifts, my relationship with God. But drawing back to the point about being naïve, I had no knowledge of the opposite gender and that meant I also had no idea what to do about them.
At some point, I fell (hard) for someone. It was great, I would literally make up excuses to see and talk to this guy all the time.
My parents instilled in me the value of sharing the love and care of God with the people around me but I took it to extremes with this guy. Any problem he had, I was going to be his saviour and fix it for him. Even at my own expense. Even if I didn’t have the time, energy, money, I was going to do it.
If we were in a loving relationship, this wouldn’t have been much of a problem but we’re talking about unrequited love here. He did care for me, but as a sister or a friend. I was convinced that I could move heaven and earth to get him to feel the same way back. Spoiler: I couldn’t.
This ‘thing’ with Guy #1 was on and off for two years.
Meanwhile, #Guy 2 was preparing to innocently enter my life and lead me to act even crazier than Guy #1 already was. I cannot stress enough how before either of these men, I was a super sensible, logical woman who was so focused and would never get distracted.
Timelines will get confusing here because a lot of the situations with both guys overlapped.
Towards the end of that year, Guy #2 knocked on the door to my heart; almost literally. Some friends and I were meeting up to go to an event and a friend had invited Guy #2, assuming I knew him because we ran in similar friendship circles. I didn’t know him, but I knew of him.
I open the front door to see this handsome, tall man, and I was so confused.
My thoughts at that moment were probably something along the lines of “This postman is hot”, “We didn’t order food, did we?” and my personal favourite “God, is this how you answer prayers?! If so, yes Lord!”
After seconds (or minutes, who knows!) of awkward silence, my friend introduced us and I remembered that I kinda sorta knew him – a friend of a friend.
Touching on my naivety and inexperience in the area of men, I did not even allow myself to think that this handsome, tall (I want to stress tall because as a tall woman myself, most guys are shorter than me. This guy was taller than me and I was in heeled-boots. A win for tall women everywhere!) would be interested in me.
He had a great sense of humour – I mean, he found me funny. We got on very well and met up a few more times with a group of friends.
I knew I liked him straight away – have I mentioned that he was handsome and tall? But it wasn’t until my friends told me that he was probably interested in me too, that I even looked at him as someone to be with.
Guy #2 was completely different from Guy #1 in the sense that he was always clear and honest with me. Guy #2 let me know very soon after meeting that he wanted to get to know me better. He was very intentional. He looked to the Bible as the example of how to have a relationship with me. It was all very dreamy, two months of eating-out dates, staying home dates, study dates and even bible study/church dates.
I felt like I was living in a Christian RomCom and I believed it had to be God’s will because, hello! He arrived at my door!
We were very intentional with each other about wanting to be together, we literally had conversations about marriage, kids, the whole thing. It was great, except it was all happening way too fast.
When I noticed I was moving forward with Guy #2, I told him about my feelings for Guy #1 and how I was tired of him being ambiguous about whether he had any interest in me. With Guy #1, every time I thought, nah Paula he doesn’t like you like that, move on, he’d say or do something that would confuse me further.
Guy #2 was very gracious about it and told me he understood. But that he believed we were supposed to be together and therefore I’d move on from those feelings and everything would be fine. Here is one of the mistakes I made: allowing a man to tell me how I feel and how I would feel.
No, I should have given myself the time and space to heal and recover from my feelings for Guy #1 before trying to enter something new.
As I continued to be wined and dined by the handsome and tall Guy #2, I started to forget my feelings for Guy #1 – oh, but they were still there.
All it took was one conversation with Guy #1 where he poured out some emotional things he was going through, for my heart to betray my brain and all those dumb feelings to come rushing back.
I was torn. Here’s one guy that I have an amazing friendship with but probably doesn’t like me the same way I like him. And here’s another guy, who really likes me and I like him but everything is moving too fast.
Every girlfriend of mine I told said I was an idiot for not dropping Guy #1 and just living happily ever after with Guy #2. Maybe I was an idiot but I think deep down I knew he wasn’t God’s will for me either.
My inexperience in navigating the world and minds of men was finally going to be my downfall.
Guy #2 had had enough of competing in the relationship with someone else and decided to call it quits. I was heartbroken, even though I understood he was completely justified. Guy #1 told me he started dating someone and I was heartbroken again.
I had managed to lose two amazing guys from my life.
For a while, Guy #1 tried to remove the distance I had put between us – he said he didn’t know what had happened and really liked Guy #2 and I together. After telling him that our unrequited love was the reason for the split, he finally understood why I wasn’t too keen on keeping a friendship with him.
I want to rant about how horrible men are and how I didn’t deserve what happened to me but I can’t. If there is one thing I know, it is I am responsible for my own actions and my own words.
I had strong feelings for both of them, I really did care for them, but I played my part (a large part if I’m honest) in ruining both relationships.
I do wish Guy #1 was more honest and clear with the way he felt about me. I wouldn’t say he led me on but he definitely fed me breadcrumbs, even if it was innocently, that kept me thinking I had a chance. And yes, I wish Guy #2 was ready to take things slower and give me the time I needed.
This happened years ago and I’m so glad I have fully healed from how hurt and confused I was then. Just to clarify, this post isn’t to throw shade at the guys involved, if anything it’s to thank them. They played a necessary part in my life, I’m grateful for them and I wish them the best.
I don’t have much of a friendship with either of them now but I am totally okay with that. They were both amazing guys that God used to teach me some important lessons in that season of my life. I appreciate the friendship and time I had with both of them and I hope I served a purpose in their lives too.
It’s interesting how we expect God to work one way for us and He’ll come through in a completely different way that confuses our whole life plan. I am learning to fully trust Him as my guidance.
So I asked myself, what do I hope for by posting this? Well, I hope to help someone and keep them from making the same dumb mistakes I made. If I could, I would grab my younger self by the collar, shake her and say be wise.
The Bible says ‘a double-minded man/woman is unstable in all his/her ways’ (James 1:8 KJV) and that was the best way to describe my emotional state then. Unstable.
The bottom line is, if you are not emotionally stable, it is probably best you don’t enter a relationship until you’ve worked on yourself. That may seem harsh, but it just isn’t fair to the other person.