My best friend and I started out together in the corporate world. We studied in the same college and have been friends for eight years. From the past few years, she has been climbing the corporate ladder. She gets amazing promotions and earns double than I earn every month. Unfortunately, I have secretly started envying her now. I work equally hard but I think my luck is not in my favour. I know I should be her well-wisher but this jealousy streak makes me feel bad. What is wrong with me?
I can only imagine how you feel deep down. While you love your best friend and the relationship you have with her, and, you can’t stop feeling jealous of her success.
The comparison could bring your confidence level down. It can create a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction. Let me tell you that it’s natural to envy your friend, especially when you work just as hard as her and have similar qualifications.
Feeling of being dissatisfied if used in the right way could prove to be a reason for your motivation. It could give you the zeal to be successful.
My suggestion to you would be to first accept you feel dissatisfied and be okay with your feelings. Observe what she is doing right and adopt the right behaviour. Find your personality strengths and match your career with it. Ask yourself and experts from your field about what could you do to be more successful.
Having said this, there will always be someone who would do better than you. So try to better than what you did yesterday.
Get help from a professional counsellor to help you with your emotions.
Cheating, sexism and general disrespect towards women while having some sort of entitlement to our attention and more importantly our bodies has been my experience with Nigerian men. I was born and raised in Enugu but got the opportunity to study in America. I finished medical school and decided to come back and do my NYSC.
I always loved the way religion shaped our country, but we are such hypocrites. I can barely have a two-minute conversation with a man without wanting to explode in fury from their sexist opinions. Even the women are no different believing that as long as they have a man it doesn’t matter if he is abusive, unfaithful or disrespectful. How can a proud, vocal feminist like myself find a person to be in settle down with? Do I have to settle for a man who will tell our daughter that her value is less than our son’s? I want a family, I really do, but how do I date Nigerian men without compromising my values?
So many people feel they have to compromise to find love, but it is not the case. For a long-lasting, healthy relationship, you cannot compromise the core of who you are. You are a proud feminist and you should never be ashamed of that. In fact, contrary to your past experiences, there are Nigerian men who are proud feminists themselves.
The general rule of thumb about finding love involves finding common interests. As a feminist, there are various ways to find out if you share any common viewpoints. The news is packed with various issues; they can be playfully asked about, and what may seem like a general discussion reveals a lot about their opinions. Religion and politics tend to be a no-go area on first dates, but mentally stimulating conversations are best for all dates. If you are looking for a long-term commitment, shallow conversation tells nothing and do not engage either of you, so you will be bored and easily irritable.
Yet, do you think you are being too harsh? Yes, there are people with misogynistic views, but what if they simply have traditional views which do not negate or contrast to feminism? The true measure is the strictness to which they hold on to those views. Does he care about perception? What does he believe has to be gender roles? Is he able to respect your preferences and needs as an individual? Does he treat men and women you’ve met, such as waiter and waitresses, differently? How does he react to things that ‘challenge’ his masculinity?
Finding that ‘perfect’ partner is hard, harder still when you are very aware of what you want. Whoever you end up with, it should never be by compromise; in the long run, you would both be unhappy and bringing children into it would be worse. Values and principles that matter to you should always be talked about. They cannot wait till it is serious before bringing out the ‘deal-breakers’. So how you would like to raise your children, your opinions on gender roles, and so on, are not something you should ever feel like you need to hide to be with someone, you just have to be patient to find the person whose core views, match closely to yours. I do hope it all works out for you.
All the best!
Good day, Dr Maymunah,
I have been married for two years to a wonderful husband who loves and adores me. Recently, we had my in-laws over for a family event and my father-in-law made an advance on me. Prior to dating my husband, I went on a blind date set up by my friends. We went on a few more but I did not really enjoy his company and told him that we should see other people. He did not react well but after parting and I put him out of my mind, hoping and believing that our paths would never cross.
However, when my husband and I got serious about a year after the blind date, I met his family. No one was more surprised than I was that my blind date would turn out to be his brother!
It led to a huge conflict in our relationship as his brother had lied to him about the nature and length of our relationship; this led to his mother’s immediate dislike of me. We worked through it, he trusted me and this led to a strain on his relationship with his brother. Now, his father is trying to sleep with me, claiming he will tell my husband that we did whether we do or not and, with my ‘history’, he will not believe me. I cannot lose my husband! He is the love of my life and my mother-in-law has never liked me and has tried to get rid of me many times now. Please help me!
– Christine, Lagos.
I can only imagine the awkward situation you are in; it is not uncommon for wives and their in-laws not to have a positive relationship. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for fathers to covet their sons’ wives. In most situations, a relationship will take a hit and possibly have irreversible damage. It is important to ensure it is not your marriage that suffers.
Everyone has a past and a list of previous partners. Since you and your husband have discussed yours with his brother and, more importantly, he trusted you, you need to trust in him again to believe you. At this point, your biggest support is your husband, not just random and unsolicited advice from people around you. You will need a lot of wisdom to tackle this wisely.
Learn to trust this journey and don’t delay discussing this with your husband. The right time, place and mood must be considered in all this. You have not done anything wrong but, unfortunately, it is harder to come between parent and son, which is why in this situation you will need proof. If possible, ensure you are never alone with your father-in-law; a trusted friend or family member can serve as your support as well as an ‘alibi’.
As for your mother-in-law, it will be a hard road, but you can still win her over. Ask questions about her day and her life; even if she keeps you at arm’s length, keep trying. He is your husband and his family is now yours too. When you have the opportunity, confront your father-in-law about his disrespect to his wife and son. Make sure you are not alone; your husband or trusted friend or family member should be there with you so that he cannot twist the situation.
It is going to be a long road repairing the family, but it is important to try. I hope this all works out for you. All the best.
Good day, Dr Maymunah.
I will like to remain anonymous if you don’t mind. My friend is having an issue that needs answers I cannot give, so I think it is better she hears it from you. She is 25-years-old, works for an automobile company and is the first daughter from a family of four. While growing up, she made some wrong choices that resulted in her getting pregnant. She comes from a family that does not believe in abortion, so she gave birth to a son whom she cherishes very much.
The problem now is that she is finding it difficult to keep a relationship. Whenever she is in a relationship and it looks like it is about to go to the next level and the men find out that she has a child, they develop cold feet and leave. Now, she is in another relationship with a guy she loves so much that she is willing to deny her son just to make it work. Please Doc, what can she do to avoid this lifetime mistake?
– Anonymous writer, Nigeria.
Thanks for the mail and I can see from your letter that you mean well for your friend. Now, your friend needs to know how to put things in place before it becomes messy. No matter what, she should neither deny her child under any condition nor keep him as a secret in her relationship with anyone. As it is now, she is in a relationship without introducing her son to him. This might compromise how she relates to this man she is in love with. Yes, other men grew cold feet and left; that might possibly be that they were caught unaware, which might not be if they were told from the beginning.
Now, these are some actions I suggest she takes:
Don’t be afraid to open up.
Your past relationship should not be a yardstick for future involvement or any other relationship you are engaging in. Don’t let the actions of others cloud your judgement about the one you are in love with. Trust him and trust what you feel for him and not let fear control your actions. Do the right thing now by telling him about your son before it gets any worse than it is.
Let it come from you
Go to the one you love and tell him about your son before he gets to hear it from someone else that wants to spite you or from your family members. Sadly, it may come from your son himself which will not only hurt your man but also your son whom might think that you are ashamed of him.
Test how much he loves you
Tell him about your son to know how much he loves you. If he does, he will accept him but might want to know about your relationship with your son’s father which is only fair that he knows. If he chooses to leave, it only shows his feelings for you and his strength to handle such situation.
Handle your next relationship with care
If this present man leaves after you have opened up to him, it will hurt. But all you have to do is give yourself some time to heal but don’t stay in that healing stage for too long. Try to find love again and, when you do, put all your cards on the table before you get too attached and too deep into the relationship. When you do that, there won’t be any trust issue that might scare him off and, even if he leaves, you might feel less hurt.
I’m in 400 level and my boyfriend is doing his Masters. He has a friend who he has known since 100 level and through his service year, who is also on the same Master’s course. I do not think Tunde is a good friend because he encourages Femi, my boyfriend, to be irresponsible. He also has misogynistic ideas about women and relationships, like he believes he can cheat on his wife and she should be okay with it. Femi is acting differently; he ignores me and he threw away a wonderful opportunity because Tunde said, “Why would he leave him here and go somewhere without him?” It’s ridiculous! I’m third-wheeling my own relationship! What can I do to break the hold this toxic friend has on my boyfriend?
– Feyi, Lagos
Once you see the signs of a bad or negative relationship, it can be hard to break them; whether the coupling is a friendship or a romantic relationship. It is understandable that you want the best for Femi, both for himself and your relationship, but, unfortunately, negative friendships are something an outsider to that friendship cannot break. Femi is an adult and makes his own choices, whether or not they are for his own good. Talking to Femi may not work; this is something he has to figure out and learn for himself. The frightening part is hoping it is not too late when he learns to reduce Tunde’s influence or completely cut Tunde off his life.
On the other hand, is it possible that your opinion of Tunde is clouding your judgment? As human beings, as we grow we change, and not always positively. Tunde may have some influence, but ultimately, the actions and decisions are Femi’s. It is important to consider this as you cannot expect to clear up or ‘blind spot’ Femi’s for Tunde if you have one yourself. Have you thought of why Femi would still be friends with someone you consider a negative influence, or why he turned down the wonderful opportunity?
Once you are sure of yourself and trust that this is indeed a negative friendship and that you want to confront Femi, then you need to be able to ‘prove it’. He will definitely defend himself and his friend, so you need to be clear that you are not trying to come between them and you only want what is best for him.
In regards to how it affects your relationship, whether they are Tunde’s ideal rubbing off on Femi, you have the right to be respected by him. You know who you are and what you deserve, so demand it. This does not mean make an ultimatum; relationships that come to that point are not in great shape and may not last. Everyone has a ‘redline’ that they believe if their partner has crossed, the relationship is over. Talk to Femi about your ‘redlines’, and know his.
A relationship is a two-way street; you both should respect one another. Additionally, without trying to come between the friends or insulting Tunde, you can tell Femi your feelings about Tunde’s views on women and relationships, and how you do not want them to come into yours. This comes down to communication; to Femi and even to Tunde, and then to you. This clears up misconceptions and any resentment or negative feelings being bottled up. I hope this all works out for you.
All the best.
Good morning Dr Maymunah.
I am a 26-year-old dance instructor and I’m in a relationship with a 30-year-old music producer. I know for a fact that he loves me because he treats me like a queen. He respects me as a woman and respects my opinion on issues we discuss on, he gives me whatever I ask for if he can afford it and if he can’t he looks for ways to make it up to me. I know other women will kill to be in my shoes but I just can’t shake off the feeling that I am not happy in this relationship and I just want out. How can I call off the relationship without hurting his feelings so bad to avoid him acting irrationally towards himself or me?
– Ebiere, Delta state
Good day to you too, Ebiere.
Thank you for writing, sharing your challenge and, most importantly, being honest about it. Not everyone will admit to this. Here is my advice on how you can manage this situation. Do know that whatever the outcome, find peace within you.
It is important that he knows how you feel. If you don’t feel the same way as he does and still you worry about him, you should let him know. Being sentimentally attached to someone will not help you or your relationship with him; it will only destroy both of you in the long run. Tell him and maybe he can help change how you feel which makes things easier. This is happening nowadays, it is called “rekindling the love.” Don’t be in a haste to end it all because the relationship isn’t working right now. Like you said, “other women will kill to be in your shoes”. Do remember that what you don’t have you can’t give. A good conversation with him will surely help.
If you keep telling yourself that you can work things out and you just have to cope with it or you are afraid of what he might do to you or himself, you will stay and look for a better opportunity to do it and after much effort and conversations, you will still feel the same. I tell you there will not be a better opportunity and the longer you wait the harder it becomes to break off the relationship. Trust me, there is no easier way. The earlier you break it off the better for both of you. Delay can be dangerous especially if you think he may harm you or himself.
When you are telling him how you feel, try as much as you can to make him realise that what you feel and the break up is not his fault. Don’t just say “it is not you, it’s me”, tell him how you really feel. For example, you appreciate what he is doing for you but you just don’t feel the spark or chemistry between both of you any more or if there is someone else, just come out with it and be honest about it. Try as much as possible not to hurt him as bad as the situation may be because whether you like it or not break up is a painful process for anyone that is and has been in a relationship. So, try and be gentle with him and be mindful of the way he may react.
All the best, Ebiere.
Good day, Dr Maymunah.
I’m a 23-year-old university undergraduate student at one of the Nigerian universities and currently dating a 28-year-old banker. Whenever we go out, he keeps pressurising me to pay bills and if I remind him that I am a student and can’t pay, he reminds me that I have to start someday and it is beginning to irritate me. I keep telling him that he is the man and is supposed to be the one to pay the bills, but he always objects to it. So I want to know who is meant to pay the bills whenever we go out?
– Chinelo, Abia state
Good day, Chinelo and thank you for the email.
Since I don’t have information as to when this relationship started and the foundation to how it started, I will only advice based on your write-up. I wouldn’t ask you to walk away because it’s an option or advice you to stay and deal with it. But with your present challenge, I will suggest the following:
No one size fits all.
I know you are a student and I am not saying you should be paying the full bill on every outing you two embark on. What I’m saying is that you should erase the perception that he is to pay the full bills on his own in every outing, at least you should assist a little or else you might have issues like you’re already facing in your relationship.
Assist not to show dependency on the relationship.
Try to assist a little, if not for anything but to show that you are not relying on the relationship as if your life depends on it. Show him that you can be an independent woman if you want to and that way he will appreciate you more.
Cut your cloth according to your size.
When you assist, don’t overdo it to show complete independence. Some men don’t like that and it might not be good for you and you might even ask for what you did not bargain for. Even if it means paying for the water you had, that alone will go a long way, since that is what you can afford for now and I’m sure he will appreciate you for that.
If he insists on being fair, then paying bills should be by ratio considering the fact that you are a student and you don’t earn. On this note, talk to him and make him realize that he is too money conscious and that he has to be considerate of your situation.
He insists on paying the bills
Even if he insists on paying the bills all the time to show affection to you, once in a while get him something like a takeaway pack; that will also show that you are contributing to the relationship to show affection on your part also.
One way or the other, also contribute to the paying of the bills
Have you ever thought about it that he may be putting you through a litmus test? This means trying to see how you will react to this pressure of paying bills. My best advice is to sit him down, have an effective communication with him, find out where the relationship is leading to, and encourage him to speak his mind. This will surely help you define or redefine the way forward.
Don’t be in a relationship where you aren’t happy, this is not healthy for both of you.
All the best.