One of the most memorable was the time one of my half-brothers – whose fiancé was already pregnant and the wedding date was set- brought another girl home and introduced her to my mum. Of course, being a very chill and coded family, no one said anything, until she left. I even recall one of my cousins telling the girl that my brother had never brought any girl home to see my parents before and as such, she was special.
As soon as the girl left, the same cousin pinched my brother and laughed, hailing him “Nwoke Ukwu” in reverence.
Of course, my brother still got married to the pregnant fiancé a month after and Alas! The other girl, his serious girlfriend, stopped coming around the house.
At the time the incident between my half-brother and the lady happened, I was about twelve. I had forgotten about the incident until last night when a conversation with a friend, Ijeoma, (not her real name) brought back the memory.
She had called in excitement to let me know that her boyfriend of 16 months, who she had earlier complained had been maltreating her, had “changed and is now serious”.
This change and seriousness was evident in the fact that he was “taking their relationship to the next level” by asking her to follow him to a family function where he would introduce her to his parents. Her excitement and joy was clearly very deep.
As a very close friend who was very much aware of her history with the man, I had to ask: “how is meeting his parents taking the relationship to the next level?”
To be honest, it all seemed just too ridiculous to me. The idea of meeting his parents had miraculously erased all the fights, extortions, maltreatments and cheating. Without much ado, however, she explained how the meeting with the parents was a milestone in any relationship, as it was not only an indicator of how committed a man was to a woman, but also was the first step on the journey from “girlfriend” to “wife”.
She had no proof to back her assertions and from further interactions, it was clear to me that my friend was merely projecting her own ideas about why she would introduce anyone to her parents. She wasn’t considering the peculiarity of her boyfriend and of the situation.
In her mind, introducing him to her parents would be a big deal – as such, it must be a big deal to him as well.
Unfortunately, the truth remains that being introduced to your date or boyfriend’s parents is not always a guarantee that your future with him is settled.
There are certain truths you discover early on when you grow up in a house full of men: Men are primarily driven by pride and satiation – they like to feel needed. Ultimatums do not work with them; deep down in their souls, they don’t care how they look or smell. Whilst they are not as complicated as their female counterparts, they have a higher tendency to be manipulative and deceitful.
As it was evident in my half-brother’s case, introducing the “serious girlfriend” to the parents was a maneuver to overwhelm the girl and shut down every suspicious thought the girl may have had – all towards getting her to do his bidding and fulfill his desires.
A number of Nigerian men still do this today. If anything, they have become even craftier in their endeavours. Most annoying are parents and siblings who support their sons and brothers in this game. Why on earth would a parent play a role in deceiving a young girl just so that his or her son would have few minutes of pleasure?
Do they put into consideration the wellbeing of the girl who could be their daughter? Some of these parents go as far as calling the girl “our wife”, offering them “and co.” fabrics, when in reality they know their son has no intention of marriage, whatsoever, towards the girl.
They send the girl on errands and even chastise her for not calling them or visiting the regularly.
What values are you as a parent instilling in your child in doing all of that really? It does not matter how old he is, or if the girl should know better, you cannot as a parent be a friend to your child in that way.
Your son should not feel comfortable enough to rope you in as a wingman when he randomly wants to score chics. No! It does not have a good look at all.
Thanks to norms and traditions, a number of women in Nigeria are still easily swayed by the promise of marriage. This is why some men involve these women in the family aspect of their lives. They realize it’s a major way to get them to believe that there is more to the relationship than there actually is. The single act ensures the women stay off their backs, allowing them to get away with a whole lot of crap on the side.
These are the kind of women who are actually introduced to the parents just so they can be taken for a ride. They find themselves running errands for the man’s parents and even extended family, playing wifey, or putting up with all sorts from them while the boyfriend even blatantly mistreats them.
Even more worrisome are men who actually do not think twice about introducing a girlfriend, when they find one, to their parents as a way to keep the family from complaining about their bachelor status or even homosexual proclivities.
If a boyfriend is quick to introduce you to his parents, especially when you have not been together for long …and you are certain that he barely knows you, it is very suspect. Shine ya eyes! I’d be very suspicious of him and extra cautious.
Take your time to know the man before meeting his parents, that way you are not swayed by the very act and he does not use you as bait at all.
Bottom line: meeting a Nigerian man’s parent is no indicator of commitment or longevity in a relationship. It means nothing if he does not see you as priority, have both feet in the relationship, or actually have any plans of marrying you.
About Nkem Ndem
Nkem Ndem V. is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and book reviews. With a degree in Mass Communications, Nkem has been working as a freelance writer since 2011 and has collaborated with several organizations including Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, and Bella Naija. Also, she works part-time as an English language tutor to prep candidates for EDEXCEL IGCSE, TOEFL or IELTS. Check out her Instagram page @kem_dem. Also, she tweets with the handle @ndemn and can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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