EFUA EXPLORES: This African Love: Decade Dating – The Thirties

According to our parents and some of our families, our thirties are a time when we are supposed to be building and cumulating our life experiences. We were to find and meet a good man or woman in our twenties and then marry them.

For some of us, however, this was not the case. Life did not grant me an audience with the man of my dreams – or if it did, perhaps I wasn’t able to see it. Either way, here I am, flirting in my thirties. Still.

“Why can’t I meet that special one? I’m a good person. I have friends that love me. Why can’t I find someone that loves me, wants to be my friend, but also wants to build a life with me?” ponders Adetoun Douglas, a beautiful, smart, kind woman in her thirties. “I’m a good girl. I just want to meet a good guy, settle down, build and make memories with someone. What is the formula that works?”

We are told that there is a formula, but it’s a secret to many of us. We are told that this secret formula ends in marriage. As a thirtysomething woman dating, you’re often told to “shine your eye”; to pray, to find someone that’s “okay” – and manage them, all in the name of marriage. Yet marriage is not synonymous with happiness: were that so, the troubles would stop once people got together. But we all have different lives and experiences, as well as complicated baggage – which grows as we get older. People seem to take their baggage from one relationship to another. Like a dying plant they’re there, but you just can’t sustain them.

On the issue of managing, so many of us – both men and women – are made to feel that we need to settle for what’s available. For some, a half-partner is better than none. “When a relationship isn’t working out, a lot of people don’t let go on time – we cling to dead relationships well past their expiration date, until there’s basically nothing left,” Adetoun continues.

So many people are stuck in these facsimile relationships, and it is stopping people from moving on and meeting people with a clear mind and heart.

However, it doesn’t have to work that way. You can dream audaciously, and keep your standards out for someone that will complement who you are. But also to know that if a situation doesn’t work out, you will be just fine. You also get to understand that, although a person might be good, they may not necessarily be good for you. Most people come together with a collection of experiences that: “A lot of my people got married in their twenties; I did not,” remarked Tracy Gacheru, another wonderful single woman.

“What I have seen, what I have observed, is that I wouldn’t be the same person I am now, without the experiences I’ve had. Life has taken an unpredictable path, sure; but it’s been a beautiful one, all the same. I treasure that journey.”

Speaking to both of these women, I reaffirmed something. The thirties are a beautiful time for learning, growth, and maturity. If you feel empowered, you can do anything – for many women, this is when many women come into their own. Yes, it is true that we all develop bad behaviours and baggage. As we all have our toxic habits, it is incumbent on us all to find how to work through them and be better human beings. So if we can find someone whose baggage is compatible with ours, we can work to better ourselves, both individually and as a unit.

I also reaffirmed that we need to trust in the abundance of the universe. For many people looking for love, perhaps these thirties will bring them someone who vibrates on their same wavelength; but there is a chance it might not as well.

Either way, the one person we must always give love to, is ourselves.

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About Author / Efua Oyofo

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