How To Find Love Online

Love and relationships are two things which go hand in hand and which most people certainly aspire to. The truth is that there are many people in the world who enjoy being by themselves, or prefer casual relationships. However, a great many of us want and desire that warm and fuzzy feeling and connection, as well as the companionship which ultimately comes with a relationship that works. It used to be the case that many relationships were expected to have developed through family and/or friends’ networks and introductions, at work, at random social interactions, perhaps in church and community spaces. But as the world changes and evolves, these traditional routes are becoming less and less common especially with the increasingly popular and ever expanding existence of social media and technology.

In more traditional and dare I say overly-religious societies where people view social media with suspicion, finding love online is still a taboo. It is happening everyday, but people choose to keep this quiet. I think meeting one’s significant other online may be frowned upon depending on how and what platform on which the connection happens. For example, I have found that people are more inclined to disclose finding love on social media platforms such as instagram, facebook and twitter, more than they are willing to admit being on online dating sites. And yet, these online dating websites are increasingly popular and reporting consistent annual profits from doing business successfully, around the world.

The Knot surveyed 14,000 engaged couples, and 19% of those surveyed had met their to-be-spouses online surpassing the older methods for meeting and dating including through friends (17%), from University (15%) and through work (12%). In early 2017, the online dating industry reported an incredible $3 billion, from websites and online apps. Some of the success reported is as a result of the increasingly isolated lives which we lead, the increasing economic pressures which makes people move far from family to work, which makes people work late and have less time for socialising and also in some cases, the shrinking disposable income that allows for a lot of socialising. The use of technology also makes it easy to find love online because we are already on our phones and laptops one third of our wakeful hours.

So how can one find love online? Is it worth it? What platforms can one consider and what are the pros and cons of using the internet to find love?

  • It is important to understand oneself and exactly what you are searching for in a partner. Are you looking for a fling, are you looking for a lasting partnership, are you looking to date someone and hopefully get married.
  • If you are already using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I am advocate of “shooting your shot” when the opportunities present themselves. There are many success stories of people “sliding into DMs” of people whom they found interesting and the rest they say is history.
  • Choose an online dating site that charges a minimal fee (or a maximum one if you can afford it). The idea is that a paying subscription based website weeds out the bad eggs and the people who are on these websites just for a laugh.
  • Do a bit of research, check for authenticity of the online dating sites, including how much traffic it receives from your location (some dating sites are more popular in some countries more than others. You want to make sure that you choose a website that is actually popular in your country/region).
  • Consider choosing an online dating website that either allows you to search for and select potential dates that you fancy, from your region/in close proximity, or an online dating site that uses some kind of psychometric patterns to match you.
  • Give yourself a timeline for meeting someone and stay open.
  • Set ground rules for yourself which will guide you as you navigate these “territories”
  • For the first three dates, it may be wise to plan dates that take place public spaces to keep yourself safe and in view of other people. Do not go in a stranger’s car.
  • Slow down on the alcohol at those first few dates, so that your inhibition is not lowered and you can react should you smell trouble.
  • After multiple dates, if you feel safe enough with your date to want to take it further, consider using protection.
  • If you can afford it, spread your bets and set up accounts on at least two online dating websites with different “love models” and metrics.

There are certain pros and cons which I consider worth looking into before one embarks upon this “venture” called online dating. The main pro I think is that once people decide to give online dating a try, chances are that they are indeed ready for something worthwhile and will give it an honest trial in a bid to successfully meet a significant other. That’s a good thing. One big con is that unfortunately, there are many “loafers” on online dating sites who are there to take advantage of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves there and are very much on it for the wrong reasons. No surprise that there has been a rise on the spread of STDs through online encounters. But this is why everyone who is genuinely on it for the right reason must have some ground rules and set boundaries to guide your interaction.

Finally, The Knot reports that people who meet online are more likely to commit to each other quickly through engagements, civil ceremonies or weddings, more so that couples who meet each other through the traditional means. Thus if you are prepared to take that plunge and meet your significant other for a happily ever after, this is your shot. Godspeed as you travel on your journey.

How To Get Along With The Mother-In-Law

woman carrying baby at beach during sunset
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Happy New Year guys! I know it’s July, but when one wakes up is his or her morning. Think about it, whether one rises at 6am or at 12noon, one still has to go through some, if not all of the usual first up routine. And as the wonderful writer Chinua Achebe says “it is morning yet on creation day”. That was all a long winded way of saying that I regret being away from here for most of the year. Life is happening to me guys, life is happening. In the most wonderful of ways, but still all very new and sometimes stressful. Raising a family is one of the most delightful, yet all consuming sacrifices/gifts any human could ever ask for. I am thankful, but I am also overwhelmed and at times, left with absolutely no energy or reserve for anything more. Anyway, I am here now, to try again to continue  my rambles here in this freedom square. I have written this blog for almost 6 years, and I am thankful for all of you, and for the traffic that flows through here.

While raising a family, I reckon it is all the more difficult when one does not have the support of the proverbial “village”, the support of a trusted community of extended family and the familiarity of known spaces and structures to help to raise your family. That brings me to the topic at hand; getting along with your partner’s/spouse’s family/mother in law. For this post, I am more interested in relationships with the mother in law for the ladies in relationships.

You see, when a woman raises a son, the emotional connection and society’s nurturing of boys can be quite different to girls. Don’t we love to spoil our sons and raise them to be entitled? Boys are raised with privilege; especially when it comes to life skills of the nurturing or domestic kind. Mothers spoil their boys, it is a fact universally acknowledged, which is probably why that feeds into the other universally acknowledged fact that “a man who is in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Why? One might ask. Because some men (traditionally, of course all that is changing nowadays) need to be looked after. Apart from birthing the heirs, who else is going to do the cooking and cleaning and all that great stuff? But I digress.

Mothers prior to the appearance of  the wife, looked after their sons. They want him to be loved and nurtured and they want him to be obeyed and listened to and treated like a king. In addition to all these, mothers were the sole proprietors of their son’s love and adoration and affection before the advent of the wife. I think this is why there always seems to be a competition when a woman becomes a serious contender. There are 4 kinds of mothers-in-law:

The Nobody Is Good Enough For My Son kind

This is the kind of mother in law who you can never ever impress. She tells you exactly how her son likes his shirts ironed, and how hot he likes his jollof rice, never mind that his taste may have changed over the years. With this mother in law, everything is a competition. She is concerned that you are replacing her and there is nothing anyone can do or say to change her mindset. She will throw curveballs your way everytime she has a chance, and does not hide the fact that she does not think you are enough. I bet you fight with your husband every time this mother in law visits.

How to get along with this kind? Just make your peace with the fact that she raised a good man (hopefully he is one), she’s probably lived half of her life so you cannot really change her. So what do you do? As hard as it sounds, you have to tolerate her. Ask for her ideas for family gatherings, or just life in general, and make sure to give her some positive feedback when you have put that extra curry she insisted that Jim likes in his jollof rice. When she comes to visit, prepare yourself mentally and stay busy to take your mind off her sniffs.

The Meddler

This mother in law is literally the worst. She’s the kind who will ring your husband in the middle of the night, and insist that your first child, whom you carried for nine months, never mind the hyperemesis gravidarum you suffered in the first trimester, and the subsequent pre-eclampsia and fourth degree tear you had post delivery, be named after her father. She’s the kind who wanted to see your wedding dress and immediately decided it was too revealing, long sleeves and all. Do you remember taking a drive around the auto stores looking at that lovely SUV or perhaps the Eco friendly cars, then suddenly your husband changes his mind to an ugly 7 seater MVP in order to fit your unborn family of 4 children? That was all Mama meddler. Now you have an ugly 7 seater that you hate to drive, even though you have only one child named Afamefuna (thanks to Mama Meddler), sitting in the back. You fight with your husband everytime this kind of mother in law visits.

How do you manage Mama Meddler? Your action plan will depend on a) Is hubby a mummy’s boy? OR b) Is he a reasonably independent son. If he’s a mummy’s boy, girl, you better make friends with Mama Meddler and ring her as often as you can. Co-opt her into your planning, I know it is hard, but do you want your second child to be named after her great-aunt? Do you want your marriage to end in divorce? It can all be managed in the meantime until family life becomes so busy that hubby is fully integrated into this new lifestyle and stops running to her with every decision and difficulty. In the interim, suggest things that you want to happen for your family to her and bring her to your side. She will most probably claim it as hers, and voila, suddenly her meddling is working for you. The best solution to this is really not to marry a mummy’s boy, but I guess there’s someone for everyone.

If he’s the second kind i.e reasonably independent and logical, then perhaps agree on a family decision making process and keep tabs on when things have changed. Do not suggest that the idea came from his mother, but highlight the timelines for the change and ask about the evolution of the plans, and where the changes emanated from. If he’s logical, he may begin to see a pattern and the relationship with his mum will evolve to “keeping you informed”, and not “asking for your opinion”.

The Genuinely All Embracing Mother-In-Law

If you have this kind, then you have lucked out. She’s genuinely a lovely woman who embraces you with open arms and is thankful that her son has met someone who completes him. This mother-in-law makes it easy to have a new family and just lets you get on with your lives. She dotes on her son, but has no attachment issues and wishes you all well. Mind you, some of these all embracing mothers-in-law may be a little bit suffocating. Some chat non-stop, offer endless words of advise and gifts, visit quite often and maybe even call you more than they call their sons. Listen, take it. You may feel that you do not need another “mummy” because your mother is probably already driving you nuts. However, think about the good sides; it is definitely better than having a meddler or someone who doesn’t think that you are good enough. Who knows, there maybe days when you wish for a shoulder to lean on and she may be there to support you.

You will get along with this mother in law by tapping into her wealth of knowledge regarding your significant other’s upbringing. She will be delighted to tell you stories of him as a young child, she will probably be delighted to host you to visit on holidays without criticising and inspecting your every move. Chances are she will make a spectacular grandmother to the grandchildren. Make the best of her and let her be a wonderful binding ingredient for you and your family.

The Mother-In-Law Who Does Not Care

The final kind of mother-in-law is the one who probably lives in the same city as you but does not visit, and has no interest in your family. Many women prefer this kind, but there’s probably a vaccum in your husband’s life if he does not have a present mother. There may be buried issues there regarding his upbringing, so in as much as this can be a relief from the first two kinds, you may wish to uncover the reason behind this deficiency just to make sure it does not affect the relationship you have with your partner/spouse and the children going forward. Make a point to send birthday wishes, and mother’s day wishes and Christmas visits if you can.

Finally, I think that sometimes we  go into relationships with the fear of the famous “monster-in-law”. Some friends have told me that they went into their marriages ready for the “battle” of places with the mother-in-law. In some cultures, newlyweds live with the parents in law, and this can make things a little more intense. It is probably not a terrible idea to be self-aware and to put your best foot forward while engaging with the entire family (not just the mother) of your partner/spouse. Going into any situation with our backs up tend to manifest themselves in our body language without our realisation.

What would I do? 

I’ll do my very best to get along with her, this is someone who’s played a key role in raising my loved one, I’ll try to be myself with them, or shall we say an improved version of myself. I’ll reach out and stay connected, I will most probably follow my husband’s lead.

Chances are -you’ll be ok.