[OPINION] The problem with long courtships - Funke Egbemode
Let me start with a confession. I am a closet romantic. I love red roses and blue violets. I love petal-strewn, candle-lit scenes. I love to be wined and dined in exotic places. Everyone close to me knows that my vacations are incomplete without a beach and or a beachfront hotel room. The full works. Life is to be lived and what’s a well lived life as a woman if she has not been wowed by scented candles and exotic dinner on a beach? Every man, every woman must look back, at least once, and smile at the days leading to marriage and bless the day they found their partners. But I am a realist and I do not believe in long courtships heading nowhere. No, No matter how purple a relationship is, I do not believe in time-wasters.
Dating without a wedding date within sight is totally dumb unless what either of the parties involved have in mind is a fling. If it’s fling, by all means, have fun. Do your crazy things, feed your fantasies. But if you have both agreed that this is for keeps and you are each other’s final bus stops, then do what needs to be done, put a ring on it. Smart girls should date smart. Just like working smart yields better rewards than working hard, dating smart is better than dating hard. Long courtships are just long hard things that should be given a wide berth.
Sure, it is important to look before you leap and every girl should do her due diligence before she says ‘I do’ or even ‘I don’t’. I just don’t see the diligence in looking for years without leaping. It is neither due nor diligent if you allow a man to test-drive you until your tires are worn. That would be based on what logic? Yes, short and sharp courtship can leave you jumping into a ditch but who said you can know everything about a woman or a man just because you have been dating for five years? What smart girl allows herself to be ‘dated’ for five years, anyway?
Whatever you think is the downside of a short courtship, a long courtship is still bad. And before you come up with the archaic argument of how a woman needs to study a man, show me a wife who can swear that she absolutely knew her man before she said ‘ I do’. Men are closed books and you can’t judge them by their macho covers. It takes time to know a man. Okay, and a woman too. So? Short courtships are not good for anybody. Neither is long courtship. The sane thing is to stay in the middle of the long and the short courtship.
Find a middle road. It’s either a relationship is serious or it is not. You are either heading for the altar or the rocks. If you are dating a man and in all of the 52 weeks that make a year, you don’t smell seriousness, you’ve been had. Cut your losses and take a walk. The earlier the better. Hanging on to nothing is foolishness and you know what is most saddening; most women in relationships that are going nowhere are actually aware of the fact. They are just too afraid to cut loose; you know all that nonsense about ‘where do I start from’ bla bla bla. If you don’t end a bad affair while time is still on your side, you are liable to end up a lonely irritable old maid, by which time it would be too late to start anywhere.
Let me also stress here that long courtships are even worse for men. A trusting guy could end up with a playgirl who just loves the idea of love while ‘cutting shows’ at the expense of the well-brought-up son of good parents. There are bad girls all over the place, let’s admit it. Some are even so frivolous or mean or both that you wonder if they were born like that. You know I’ve always said all girls are born good, that it is the men ruin their pinks with their dark hearts. But my eyes have seen things in this city. These pretty little things wearing false this and that and calling every guy ‘baby’ are trouble propelled by turbo engines. They are cute and smooth. I have also concluded that they know how to keep their men strapped to their bedposts which is why some men who graduated with First Class at age 21 become ‘mumu’ in their scented hands. The bobo is all brains when you meet him in his expansive office during the day but you wait for his girlfriend to sashay through the door and his brains simply shuts down. He follows her all over the place like a puppy, wagging his fluffy tail.
We must re-orientate our boys that being book-smart without being street-wise is bad for their hearts. A girl who keeps fencing her boyfriend of two years from meeting her family is a suspect. If all she wants is to eat at all the fancy restaurants in the city, be spoilt silly on her birthday and pampered to an inch of her life at Valentine without making any moves towards Nikkah or the altar, take a step back, son, and reassess the situation. If all the plan she wants to make with you is about her getting the latest designer fragrance or a weekend to de-stress in Zanzibar, dude, you just might be the latest ’maga’ in town.
A beautiful woman aware of what she can reel in with her shapely ‘fronters’ and eye-popping backside is dangerous for a serious-minded guy, loaded and looking to settle down. Girls like the perfect gentleman who treats them like ladies but a greedy one who has a side-Aristo is prone to take advantage of a good man, turning a short trip into a wander in the wilderness.
Of course, long courtship is bad business for any right thinking woman, and it won’t be because of lack of patience on a girl’s part. It’s simply and totally about common sense. Letting a man dangle you on his key string is dumb, dangerous and a bloody waste of time, and time is what a woman doesn’t always have,
A long courtship going nowhere strips a woman of her dignity and self-esteem. Because she is hoping that tomorrow will persuade him to make an honest woman of her, she ignores other eligible males. Because she thinks he’d propose at the next valentine dinner, she discourages the real Mr Right. She reads stupid meanings into everything he says or does even when the bloke is just having fun. For instance, she mistakes his presence at her mother’s 60th birthday for commitment of an ‘acting son-in-law’. Nonsense, it’s just another party for him. So what if he attended with his friends? Did he not attend parties the previous weekend?
If you play wifey at weekends while he plays the field all week, he’s not the man you think he is. If after three years of dating, he is still pussy-footing about ordinary introduction ceremony, cut him loose before his bad ways ruin your self-esteem. That he won’t propose does not mean you are not a wife material. He’s just not the groom meant for you. You can’t remain his plaything forever while he enjoys the best of both worlds. A man who leads a young woman on, knowing he would not marry her was badly brought up by his mother and his father taught him nothing. A woman who strings a good man along is sowing evil seeds for her daughters to reap later. If this long date is leading to a dark alley, the time to turn back is now.
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