As someone who has been single for a while, I must confess that the stress of being a single person (read woman) in Nigeria can affect one’s quality of life. You are sometimes thrown into a state of unnecessary and unwarranted stress, all because you are not married.
This stress of laive has certain environments that boosts, fuels, enables, enhances (insert any other big word here) its potency. I’ll only talk about two out of the many environments( you can add more in the comment section). These two environments include:
- The church. This is a fertile ground for stressing single people, it worsens and intensifies if you’re a Christian who is active in a particular department. You get pitied and it can go as far as passive aggressive comments when you don’t “show” any sign of wanting to do anything about your “situation”. For a long time, prayer points for single people always made me feel one kain as I noticed this trend where most of the prayer points never address men believing God for a wife, it’s always those believing God for a husband. Sigh let me stop here abeg.
- Events (especially weddings). If you have ever been to a Nigerian wedding as a single person, you’ll know what I’m talking about; it’s a stockpile of stress!! You cannot attend a wedding as a single person without one or two (read a gazillion) people telling you “your own will soon come” or asking when they’re coming for yours. These questions or phrases get more annoying when the event is one overflowing with family, the more extended, the better for the stress to breed and yield more fruit.
I have to note here that the stress is not primarily because one is single, as my people in a relationship can testify that they are also not exempt from this stress. I’ve concluded that it’s not being married that triggers it for these “well meaning” stress-inducing people within the above environments.
Alright then, we’ve established that being a Nigerian single person can be stressful and we also know what environment enables this stress, so how does one deal with this? I’m glad you asked!! I’ll be sharing personal tips on handling singlehood stress as a Nigerian because EXPERT!! Actually not really, I’ve just gotten good at not letting anyone strezz mai laive( read stress my life)
- Learn to love yourself. This is a phrase that even I think has been over flogged but it is VERY true. Loving yourself ensures that the external hassle or stress that comes with being single is handled or rather countered with self-love. Loving yourself is a definite, gradual and continuous process. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and tell your reflection all the great things about you. Loving yourself also means that you understand that being married is not a do or die affair, you take your time in making this life-altering decision, loving yourself means you know what you want in a partner and will not settle for anything less irrespective of the stress you might be going through.
- Sharpen your clapback skills. I know this might sound petty but sometimes one has to shut down certain people and remarks IMMEDIATELY! This is to ensure that your space is safe and you’re not constantly harangued by people with “good intentions”. Auntie Ashake asking you 3 times when you will get married can trigger this clapbacktitude. You’re like “Auntie, I’m not deaf, I heard you the first time but was battling with the Lord to stay calm and you repeating it with an annoying grin or fakest of all laughs doesn’t make it any different”. You can also go off on auntie Nkem when she comes at you with her obsessive and borderline creepy desire to “eat your rice”, you can calmly tell her the reasons you think she should focus on her son who can’t differentiate between “am” and “I’m” or why her husband cannot leave “smoh gehs” alone. DISCLAIMER: practice this tip at your own a risk oh, this might induce a 31 day dry fast and marathon prayers, with you almost drowning in copious amounts of anointing oil. Also, have you noticed that it’s always the aunties getting their wrappers in a bunch at your singleness.
- Date yourself. Someone shared a link with me about a girl spending 4k (4000 Naira) on herself and I was confused at the assumption that she had started a trend or was on some alien vibe. I was here like, mans been going ALONE to Vue (cinema) at Swiss Cottage, feeling all lush and special while chomping on some popcorn and slushie, so definitely not new!!!. Note: “man’s” used here refers to me, I’m just trying to feel cool innit. So yeah, I was saying date yourself;, see a movie, go on a day trip, check out museums and art exhibitions, spend a day pampering yourself. Do the things people think should be “coupley”, defy societal nonsensical standards and live your best life. You should be the most important thing to yourself, so take time out to remind yourself of this and frequently indulge some me-time. By the time you are done with all of these, there’ll be no time to stress about your church member’s inability to “season their words with salt”.
- Understand that you are good enough BY YOURSELF. Being married does not magically give you superpowers, add inches to your height, increase your account balance or give you permanent access to Happinessville. If you do not realize that you are good enough for yourself and anyone while single, trust me, marriage will not change that. Learn to appreciate the awesomeness that is you, being single is a time to get to really know yourself, discover new things, work on yourself, be the person you’d want to date i.e become a better person. Understanding the reason for being single gives one a sense of calm in the eye of the singlehood stress.
Being single is not a curse, disease, plague or whatever our society is labeling or portraying it as nowadays. My ultimate tip would be to enjoy being single, if you wish to get married, yay! If you don’t, yay too! I’ve come to realize that we have to be deliberate about these things, so don’t let anyone kill your vibe!
That’s it beautiful people, you know the drill, let’s discuss your thoughts and experiences in the comment section, I am very keen to learn more tips on handling the stress that comes with Nigerian singlehood