Can we all agree that we were very naive when we first started ~properly~ dating? and I don’t mean dating during high school, I mean, dating in your early twenties. You thought you knew it all when you really didn’t. You were convinced you had it all figured out, when really you didn’t know a thing. I’m 25-years-old, and if there’s one thing life has taught me, its that wisdom really does come with age. I remember turning 20 and thinking I had found my forever person. As you can already guess, that ended badly. I ignored all the red flags and trusted this man over and over, just for everything to come crashing down with me feeling like a clown for ignoring all the clear signs that were in my face, telling me he was a bad person.
I asked a few women about the regrets they have about the early stages of their dating life, and although a lot of the responses are heartbreaking, what can I say? we live and we learn.
1. Precious, 26
Looking back now, I hate that I let myself have sex with men who didn’t even deserve to touch me or breathe the same air as me just because I convinced myself that I deserved less. However at the same time, its not a regret because I know now what I should have known then and without certain eye-opening experiences, I would not be the person I am today.
2. Sarah, 26
I spent two years of my life hoping and praying to be treated right by someone I was stupidly in love with, when I could have just realized my own worth and walked away. I was too scared of being alone because at the time, I had never been single and was terrified of it. I was scared that no one else would want me, so I wasted time trying to be perfect for someone who didn’t care about me. It always pains me when I think about the fact that I put myself through verbal abuse and constant manipulation, and still excused these toxic behaviours for love. I’m doing well now but omo, it was a battle ending the relationship. I don’t know why, but it’s never easy pulling yourself out of a toxic situation.
3. Halima, 29
I used to be shamelessly attracted to people who gave off “mysterious” vibes/aura. In my early twenties, I usually went for people who I knew deep down were bad for me. I just adored the excitement that came with being around people who were more experienced than I was. I guess being sheltered all my life played a part in my rebelling. Looking back now, I clearly didn’t love myself because I can’t even begin to name the things I put myself through in the name of “love.” I would have unprotected sex carelessly, have abortions carelessly, and would constantly put myself in danger for the other person. I regret not taking the time to truly know myself. The time I was wasting trying to hang with the big boys and girls, I could have spent loving myself and getting acquainted with people whose values truly aligned with mine.
4. Sonia, 25
When I was in uni, everyone was always having casual sex with everyone and it seemed “cool” when it really wasn’t, but I didn’t realize it then, unfortunately. I regret having casual sex up and down just because I wanted to seem like a 21st century babe who could handle sex without feelings. I was such a joke because I’m the same person who will fall in love with you after one date, and there I was, having casual sex because all my friends were doing it. I’m actually celibate at the moment because I have come to realise that sex is actually really deep and so, I don’t want to engage in it anymore, with just anyone.
5. Iyanu, 25
I was so irritatingly gullible when in my early twenties, particularly when I was 22-years-old. I have never been in a relationship were I wasn’t cheated on, and the most pathetic part is, I always forgave my cheating boyfriends. The worst was when my boyfriend at the time cheated on me with a stripper, saved her name as “Candy Stripper”, lied to me that it was his cousin, and me too I believed.
6. Steph, 26
I’m 26-years-old and I have never really been in a serious relationship. I regret not putting myself out there more, and not dating enough. I’m a really shy person so its hard trying to navigate the dating world, especially in this Abuja. Although, I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll be more outgoing this year, so hopefully that goes well. Wish me luck.
7. Fisayo, 27
I regret settling for people. I did this to myself over and over, and it is something I so deeply regret. I have always settled in relationships out of fear that better will never come. I have been in long term relationships with people I didn’t love, just because I was scared. Even now, I’m sort of engaged to someone I’m not even sure I love like that.
8. Irene, 24
It has been a long time coming but, I have learnt to love myself more, and will never again jeopardize my happiness for just anybody. Ever since high school, I have always jumped from one relationship to the other. All I knew then were relationships. All that mattered to me were relationships. I never spent time alone with myself or even cared about what I wanted or needed deep down. I just always put myself and everything into relationships. The worst part is, I was always taken advantage of by the people I dated.
*Names have been changed
*This article has been edited and condensed for clarity