IBK’s JOURNAL (Entry 10)

IBK’s JOURNAL (Entry 10)

October 1

Relationships are tough. It’s inherent. I know the situation in Naija doesn’t make it any easier, but many people mistake the inherent stress of a relationship as something unique to gay relationships.

Relationships are hard. Period! Whether or not you are gay or straight, or gay in Naija or Dubai or England, it’s hard to be in a relationship. It’s also risky putting your heart on the line, and many times it feels like it isn’t worth it, and perhaps it isn’t, but not to me. Certain things make relationships in certain areas unique in their problems, but it doesn’t mean that when you end up somewhere else, you won’t find problems that seem insurmountable.

When the word ‘relationship’ comes up, I’m sure most of us imagine a closed-off, monotonous way of living, a prison of some sort. That’s a relationship, but it’s the wrong sort. A relationship that is going to work shouldn’t feel like – or even be – a prison. It has to be somewhere where you want to be, somewhere you are happy to be.

Whether it’s open, closed, comprised of three or more people, I believe that as long as there is honest and sincere communication and a willingness to see the other(s) happy, then it should work.

This means that whoever you are with needs to know what you expect of them from the start, and you need to know what is expected of you. Along the way, as you change (because human beings change), you need to learn the skill of accommodating the other person(s) because you are not changing alone.

It’s a lot of sacrifice and compromise to be in a relationship. But here’s the trick: sacrifice and compromise shouldn’t feel too much like it. Y’all need to find a middle ground as often as possible, and if an impasse is reached, you need to find a way to work around it.

This of course is for people out there who want something lasting. Some people question how exactly this goal is, but I say: “Fuck it!” Love is out there and I sure as hell ain’t gonna sit my ass down and hope it comes. You reap what you sow.

I don’t undermine people who believe relationships aren’t for them. But I believe that if you think you have a shot at finding happiness with another person, then you should go for it with an open heart and mind.

If there’s one thing I’ve realised from my relationships, it’s that it is folly to put your (chance at) happiness in another human being. You need to learn to be happy and content on your own, because if you aren’t, it’s going to make you enter relationships for the wrong reasons, and you’ll either give and give or take and take till the whole thing crumbles.

You can’t handle a relationship until you are your own person to a reasonable extent. If you aren’t and a breakup happens, it’d be ten times worse for you.

Many times, I’ve been made fun of and teased about the number of relationships I’ve had, considering that I am relatively young and I’ve had more boyfriends than people older than me. I’m made to look like I’m a poor sap who can’t be on his own and constantly jumps from one person to the other.

I’ll admit I didn’t know what I was doing. And it wasn’t my fault. I’ve always believed in relationships and I’ve always wanted someone I could share my life with – a roommate, fuck buddy, best friend, etc all rolled into one. But I still didn’t know what it meant to be in a relationship. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it could be very hard. I didn’t know that there’d be moments of crippling doubt, anger, jealousy, turning the other cheek and all.

What I didn’t know, I later learnt from all those relationships. Now, I know what I want, what I don’t want; I learnt more about myself and about others and why my relationships failed. I used to be ashamed of the number and of myself because it looked like I couldn’t keep a guy or make them want to stay – but not anymore. If putting myself out there to be disappointed and injured and all is what it takes, then I think it’s worth it.

Relationships aren’t talked about often even here. I’m talking about real life stuff and not the things from fiction.

We cry and cry that gay men are marrying women; meanwhile there’s no real platform to teach gay men in Nigeria how to be with each other in a country like ours. Of course experience is the best teacher but learning from others also helps.

Maybe it’s because there are such few men together in long-standing relationships and fewer that want to be in one, but maybe, if it’s shown that it can be done, hope can be ignited and things might change.

We say, “Avoid marrying unsuspecting straight women”, but if we successfully do that, then what? I’m guessing a number of us don’t want to be alone when we are older, so maybe we need to take relationships serious and learn how to maneuver their tumultuous waters.

Maybe do what I try to do. Abolish fear (that’s what draws most people back). Then have a period where you let the person you hope to be with know of your intentions and test the waters. Go on dates, hang out, talk, let it drag on for as long as possible till you and the other person stop pretending to be on your best behaviour. And when you see the ugliness, decide whether you can deal with it and be with that person hoping for the best, but not being surprised if the worst should come.

Don’t forget to learn to be a better person for yourself and for the other person. It’s not pretending but genuinely wanting to make things work and doing what it takes. Try and make sure y’all are always on the same page. Learn to apologise. Learn to know when to make peace and when to stand your ground. Learn how the other person wants to be loved and teach the other person to love too. Most times, you’d find that people will love you the way they want to be loved.

And no, Love is not just an emotion. Love is action. Love is not just what you feel; it is also what you do. Love, when it comes from both parties, is always enough because love will make you want to do what will make the other person happy. Sure, being human that we are, we are prone to negative emotions, but as long as there is love, shortcomings will be taken care of.

Shout-out to bae (who may or may not be a him, but it hurts when we have sex) – my lil ray of sunshine. Kizzeeez!

Written by IBK

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  1. Keredim
    October 02, 06:05 Reply

    Brilliant as usual IBK…

    But how does one embark on a long-term gay relationship when one is not out and lives in a country where your existence as a gay person is under threat by law and under constant scrutiny by society?

    I am not saying it is not possible, I mean “love conquers all right?” But how do you prescribe going about it, when everyone is on your case to get married?

    (And I am the first to comment.. What is my prize?)??????

    • Viera
      October 02, 08:23 Reply

      how do people even get pressurized to get married?
      is there an age limit to marriage?
      I think this is one of the cultural practices in Africa that should be abolished
      I mean people are looking for how to make the world better some families and parents are planning how to hook u up with someone for the rest of your life because they want to see grandchildren they probably won’t spe

      • Viera
        October 02, 08:25 Reply

        spend a dime on or give moral support to
        So you believe in relationships?
        I’m coming to a****wo
        we haff talk o just stay indoors I’m coming

    • bruno
      October 02, 08:35 Reply

      by taking ownership of your life away from “everybody” and realising as an adult, it is well within your right to choose not to get married even if you are not gay. you really don’t have to push this narrative that in nigeria, people don’t have a choice because the truth is that we do. we always do. when it comes to getting married, the prison we have created is in our own minds.

      also you should get educate yourself a bit and look at gay history in places with gay rights now. you would see that people have managed to be long term homosexual relationships before they dreamed they would ever have legal rights to be in one.

      • Keredim
        October 02, 09:00 Reply

        Bruno, I agree with what you are saying about taking ownership of your life, but you can’t take full ownership if you are not independent and in Nigeria that means economically. I would advise striving for that to reduce outside pressure.

        I am not pushing any narative that marriage is a must in Nigeria, (i did say long – term gay relationships were not impossible), i was merely asking how he would suggest it can be attained.

        I am well aware of gay history. The common thread running through long-term relationships then (and now) is independence , by cutting away their parental apron strings.

        • bruno
          October 02, 09:11 Reply

          we are certainly on the same page then.

        • ambivalentone
          October 02, 09:31 Reply

          You are old enough to marry and start ur own family but u r old and definitely not independent? Ehen ??I dunno how it works for y’all there, until dey make d monthly 5k dey promised available, they think u can get married HERE, they feel you’re independent enough. If you are independent enough, u can just as well say ‘NO’ to a marriage u don’t want or it had better not be financial independence u r talking about.??

    • IBK
      October 02, 10:26 Reply

      It will be hard but I think it’s doable especially when you are your own person through and through.
      Unfortunately I do not have all the answers and I have not felt the pressure to marry (tho a few people at home are asking when I will bring a girl home). So all I have is theories.

  2. beejay
    October 02, 07:59 Reply

    I’m thinking…
    Does love really exist? I mean Hollywood movies and old English classics and Harlequin romance epics sold us some pretty big dreams and I for one bought it all, with every single penny. Growing up proves otherwise, that “perfect guy” who’ll love you, ugliness and all is but an illusion. setting high standards makes you “picky – high maintenance”. so maybe love does exist, just not for everyone, correct? What do I think? Quite simply, that true love is desirable but sadly, unattainable.

    • Mandy
      October 02, 08:03 Reply

      Love exists. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m practical enough to look around me and see people who have loved and are loving and makes me know it exists. Most people however are simply too lazy to make love happen, hence feeding the narrative that it doesn’t exist.
      It does exist. and it’s attainable even for us gays in Nigeria. We’ve just got too much baggage and not enough faith to make it happen for us.

    • bruno
      October 02, 08:48 Reply

      love, the way hollywood and fiction paints it does not exist. the reason is that there is no perfect guy out there. you are not perfect. why expect someone else to be… also they isn’t a special person out there just for you. this is actually good news because if there was, what are you chances that you would even run into him and what if your soulmate is already dead ?…

      the truth is we have the ability to fall in love the way it’s described in novels. most of us have felt that way before… the untold half of the story is the difficulty of navigating a relationship with someone after we have established that we like each other. it can be done with patience, openness and probably some luck… but it takes learning, some adapting and a bit of selflessness. cheers.

  3. Mandy
    October 02, 08:01 Reply

    There really should be a column for this on KD. Where KDians in good steady relationships will update the rest of us with pearls of wisdom on how they’re making it work. Details from their lives with their baes that helps the rest of us believe in the longevity of gay relationships in Nigeria.

    IBK, this was an astoundingly brilliant entry. I love it and I love the wisdom you seem to have at your age, when everyone else (read chuck, lol) expects you to be just a flighty student looking for the next moneybags. 😀

    • Viera
      October 02, 08:14 Reply

      we need a relationship column
      not all d time f**k

    • Delle
      October 02, 10:33 Reply

      I’d have to be the secretary of the column. Taking down minutes and all seeing as I’m the most schooled on relationship brouhahas…

  4. Francis
    October 02, 09:00 Reply

    Go on dates, hang out, talk, let it drag on for as long as possible till you and the other person stop pretending to be on your best behaviour

    Advice for ndi youths that have time to “waste”.

    • IBK
      October 02, 11:01 Reply

      As opposed to jumping right in to something with little or no planning?

      Even if you are 40 I think it should still be done.

      Besides it wouldn’t be “wasting” time. It’s like saying drawing up a plan to help in a situation is wasting time. Or maybe it’s just the way I see it.. Some people learn by doing.

      • Francis
        October 02, 11:19 Reply

        I’m not open to wasting time and money trying to make up my mind…. especially money. I’d rather we just be friends first then I can decide on upgrading the relationship one “fateful” day when I’ve made up my mind that you is worth the plunge.

        • Keredim
          October 02, 14:17 Reply

          I beg your own case is difficult one.

          Only you have the cure for your Paranoia nervousa

          • Francis
            October 02, 15:00 Reply

            Can somebody find market for this nigga asap?! I don’t like him being on my case 24/7 ???

            • Keredim
              October 02, 17:22 Reply

              Oh, you are crying for help? Na you first find trouble, now you have bitten off more than you can deep throat….Like your mallam visitor last night. ???

              • Francis
                October 02, 17:27 Reply

                What’s that? Sucking dick? Eeeeew! Who does that? Germs galore.

  5. ambivalentone
    October 02, 10:19 Reply

    Perhaps it is true gay men need reorientation
    1) Marrying a woman will NOT stave off the loneliness. You can be lonely in a crowded room, not so?
    2) We do need to abolish fear but for us, that fear is of the future of being in a gay relationship holds. We desperately need to STOP thinking that the eventuality of our existence will be in a woman’s arms. That itself makes even long-term relationships flop and for short-term ones, nobody puts their best foot forward. Frankly, u can’t keep seeing our married counterparts and not subscribe to that thot.
    3) Talk is good and the 1st qxn to be asked is ‘Where do u see our relationship in d nxt X number of years?’. You can’t lug baggage if he ain’t gonna be worth it.
    Finally, I av always been an advocate of ‘friends first, probably others next’. It helps u know how to zone ppl in ur life.

    Do u sound like a sap desperate to be owned or own??? Definitely. And weirdest thing is for all the talk and lists u draw out of a ‘perfect’ guy, YOU still go ahead to destroy whatever beautiful thing u claim to have had. Perhaps u may av come out to ur family but still believe it will never end in anything else but u forced to marry a woman and feel better with giving excuses *shrugs*??

    • IBK
      October 02, 10:53 Reply

      If you are talking about me in your second paragraph You’re reaching a bit too much, don’t you think?

      I’ve heard the narrative that perhaps I am to blame, I sabotaged my relationships. With all the stories I have told here and you still believe that then I can’t help you.

      I used to take more than my fair share of the blame but not anymore. And no I don’t believe I will be forced to end up marrying a woman. That’s buying into the narrative that I can control what goes on in my life.

      Heck just last post i was talking about how even marrying a lesbian isn’t feasible.. Ugh!

      *throws hands up in the air in frustration and stalks away*

      • ambivalentone
        October 02, 12:31 Reply

        Hmmm? you did indeed. Thank God for another instant of mind clarity??
        Perhaps, after all dem stories, you are indeed not to be blamed???

  6. Ivory Child
    October 02, 10:25 Reply

    #And no, Love is not just an emotion. Love is action. Love is not just what you feel; it is also what you do# Like the saying goes “don’t just talk the talk……..walk the walk” I tweaked it a little ?

  7. Delle
    October 02, 10:25 Reply

    “We say, “Avoid marrying unsuspecting straight women”, but if we successfully do that, then what? I’m guessing a number of us don’t want to be alone when we are older…”

    And being with ‘straight unsuspecting women’ doesn’t help the loneliness situation either. Better single than having to live a pre-conditioned life forever.

    To the post- Nice premises raised.

  8. Chuck
    October 02, 14:12 Reply

    I remember when you attacked me for advising gay men in general to slow down and get to know people before dating them.

    Seems you’ve recognized the utility of that approach.

    • IBK
      October 02, 15:15 Reply

      I need receipts ?

  9. Jide
    October 02, 18:20 Reply

    Feels like the relationship aspect of my life is doomed, and I might as well forget about it forever.

    This year, that I resolved to try and enter a relationship, I’ve fallen in love with two different guys;

    The first was a straight guy and the second a bisexual, who actually suggested that we date, but because I didn’t think he cherished me as much as I did him; I had to cut him off from my social networks so I wouldn’t begin to obsess unhealthily. (God knows I’d already started)

    I’m not outgoing so I don’t meet a lot of gay people and I can’t even be in a relationship with the ones I already know.


    • Pink Panther
      October 02, 19:09 Reply

      So in love with two taboos, huh? Wanna tell us how that’s like? 😀

    • keredim
      October 02, 22:34 Reply

      “This year, that I resolved to try and enter a relationship….”

      That is where it is doomed before it even starts. You can’t force yourself or anyone else into a relationship.

      Just be open to one and it will happen in good time

  10. dickson clement
    October 02, 20:26 Reply

    I have been in a long relationship with someone….
    Very long relationship actually
    And that person happens to be myself.

  11. Lopez
    October 03, 08:13 Reply

    The saying “staying in love is harder than falling in love” yeah I agree but it will work when both parties really want it to. I’ve been in a rship for 4yrs, yeah 4yrs nd still counting with my bf. Its not a perfect relationship, we don’t love each other every morning, we disagree, we fight, sometimes we go off for like a month… but we r still together. Oh nd I should mention we’re not living together

  12. kelvin
    October 04, 16:04 Reply

    i rilli need to have a long conversation with the person who wrote this article…pls

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