The Rules of Engagement

Hey people,

How was your weekend. To say I had a good weekend would be downplaying things. I had a great weekend! I went for a wedding on Saturday and all I can is ‘awwww’. I haven’t seen a more beautiful bride in a long time and neither have I heard such a touching love story in ages. I pray that God blesses their marriage in every area. This is their wedding website. 

Regarding my last post, I have been reading through all the comments on Molade’s situation and it seems as though most people believe the relationship is dead and gone and she needs to come to terms with this. Here is my line of thought on the issue. I hope it helps not just Molade but anyone else going through similar situations.

Hello Molade,


From your email, I can safely assume that it is one of two things happening. Either Timothy has ‘seen you finish’ or he is fed up and wants out. I will now proceed to explain how exactly I mean.

1. He has ‘seen you finish’

In this category, there is a thread of hope you can cling to. It is not a great place to be but at least, all hope is not completely lost. You caused it so only can redeem yourself out of it. ‘How did I cause it?’, I hear you ask. Well, you caused it by being ‘over-there’. Whilst guys might not always need you to front to high heavens, a little mystery will not hurt. And don’t think because you have been in a relationship for that long, you don’t need to ‘pose’ small. Even married women need to sprinkle unto their relationships a little bit of fronting in the right dose every now and then. It keeps the relationship fun, alive. Why? Because men are once again being given the chance to do what they know how to do best, chase, and women are able also to be wooed all over again. It is exciting but only when done with wisdom and not too often that it becomes cliché, boring, predictable…

From the way you sound, it’s clear you were at his beck and call, always available, always there, which is the sweet thing to do but not always the smart one. You took out the mystery and he has seen you finish. Rudeness has set in and he is taking you for granted. But do not despair, there is hope.

The solution, I believe, is to pray, pray, pray. Pray for wisdom to be able to know exactly how to redeem yourself from the pit of disregard and ask God for the skill that even some women of the world so masterfully enact. Know when to give in, know when to withdraw etc. The fact that you love God/are born again etc does not mean you should not know how to do certain things. Also, pray for strength because even after the Holy Spirit has given you the wisdom to know what to do and how to go about it, you still need strength not to pick that phone up and call, you need strength not to be sending silly ‘hi/wassup/I’m just here thinking about you’ messages on BB that make you look like a pest. You need the strength to execute the plan. It won’t be easy. Oftentimes, you will be tempted to throw in the towel and play your normal ‘loving wifey’ role which has earned you disrespect and caused you to be taken for granted. You need to be strong. You also need to pray that God will renovate your image in Timothy’s mind, that instead of seeing a slow, dull woman, he sees you for who you really are ( I stole that prayer point from the guest minister at TPH yesterday)

I wish I could sit here and type a one-size-fits-all set of solutions but I would be fooling you. Only you know the over-sabi things which you used to do. They might have worked for the long distance phase of your relationship but in this new dispensation, it will be considered over-doing it. All your sleeping on Skype cannot possibly continue in Naij.  You can’t even be taking advantage of the free MTN to MTN midnight calls too often. You guys now see more so something else has to reduce in order for the thrill not to turn to stress quickly.

From the way you have presented him, Timothy sounds like a go-getter who gets bored easily, by for instance, quitting his NYSC place of primary assignment for the more exciting and therefore rewarding option of focusing on his own thing. That is clearly because the same ol’ thing would kill him. He needs a bit of excitement so he is not the type of dude you should be calling too often or whose calls you should be picking every time he rings. Neither should you be freeing up your calendar to accommodate dates with him all the time. Sometimes, you need to form ‘busy’ in order for the respect to stay there and so he does not think you are not driven and focused.

It feels like you always wrap your plans around him therefore making him get the impression that you are a lay-about (used loosely) who does not have a personal passion and who is not driven. You need to find what you enjoy and do it. Get closer to God so that He alone is the object of your affection, get lost in love with Him, read your Bible more, join a department in Church which I know will take up your time, read blogs, start a blog, join the gym, visit motherless babies’ homes, make good friends with whom you can pass the time, learn how to cook new dishes, join ‘So you think you can cook’ group on Facebook and learn how to make dishes from different parts of Nigeria. Get busy. Don’t make him your number 1.

Guys tend to find driven, passionate ladies attractive. Regarding those girls who are selling Brazilian hair that he compared you with, let me tell you what I reckon: it is not about the business acumen, it is about their being busy doing something. Because they are usually engaged in profitable activities, they are not expected to have the time to go complaining, ‘why didn’t you call’, ‘why didn’t you pick up on the first 2 rings when I called’, why didn’t you come to see me’. They are busy women and that makes every moment shared special, fun, interesting plus with that, they have something new to bring to the discussion table. Like I said initially, Timothy is one individual. I wouldn’t want every girl reading this to assume it will work in her relationship too. Some guys love the whole attention thing and all this forming ‘I’m busy, let’s reschedule’ might do their heads in. You need to study your relationship and tailor fit your behaviour (as much as you can without altering or stifling your person and your individuality) to make it work. Now, allow me add, if after analyzing Timothy’s needs and expectations you find that meeting them would change you from who you are, then don’t bother. Simply re-categorise yourself into Group 2 below.

I am a firm believer of the fact that you should never change who you are in order to suit a person. Never! Unless the changes you are making are positive and contribute to your personal development and that way, people can testify that the guy is having a positive influence on you. It should not be the case that you become a shadow of who you are in order to make him happy. For instance, a guy can lovingly and with tact encourage you to drop a few pounds so that after 8 months of being with him, everyone compliments you for looking great and trim and you can add, ‘Oh Tim really encouraged me through it’. He could encourage you to be more organized, plan better, read your Bible more, join the choir since you have a lovely voice, call your parents more if you are the type who is a lazy communicator, learn how to drive manual, wake up early, etc.

2. He is tired of you and the relationship

This is the hopeless category. This means he is doing what guys usually do when they are tired: they frustrate your existence to the extent that it is you that will voluntarily pack your load and reach for the nearest exit. If this is the case, then I’m sorry to break it to you but there is no hope.

You could try to ‘persevere/endure/be a good, strong African woman’ all you want but truth is when a man is tired, he is tired and the more you try, the more irritated he becomes. So no use trying. Best to leave quickly before the embarrassment becomes public and unbearable.


Omolade, you alone can determine under which category you fall. In your heart of hearts, you will know whether it is over or not. Be true to yourself. However, in the highly unlikely situation that you genuinely don’t know if Timothy is seeing you finish or is tired and wants out, for the sake of safety, I’d advise that you assume he is merely seeing you finish and needs to be reminded of your worth and implement the steps highlighted above. You should see a quick change. If there is no change in the right direction after a month MAX, my sister, just consider it over and trust God enough that if it meant to be, He will orchestrate things in your favour. He is the God of infinite chances and the saying,  ‘an opportunity once lost cannot be regained’ does not apply to Him.

Banish fear. It hinders us from doing what we need to do. The Word of God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It also says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Fear brings torment so you need to be careful not to base your decisions on the fear of losing him, of being alone or of making a mistake. You need to trust that God will not let you go astray which is why you need to be close to Him.

I pray that God will give you and all others going through similar situations understanding and wisdom.

God bless you dear.

Loads of love,



I found a book which claims to have some basic fool-proof rules on relationships. It is called The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. It is a controversial self-help book by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider and was originally published in 1995. While, I do not endorse them all, I find them interesting and thought to share. My comments are in red.

 The Rules

Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance)
Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much
Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date
Don’t Call Him & Rarely Return His Calls
Always End Phone Calls and dates First
Don’t Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday.
Fill Up Your Time before the Date
How to Act on Dates 1,2, and 3
How to Act on Dates 4 through Commitment Time
ALWAYS end the date first
Stop Dating Him if He Doesn’t Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine’s Day (erm coughs)

Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week
No More than Casual Kissing on the First Date (I’d say don’t even do this at all)
Don’t Rush into Sex, Wait at Least Three Dates (wait until your wedding night, 1Corinthians 6:18)
Don’t Tell Him What to Do
Let Him Take the Lead
Don’t Expect a Man to Change or Try to Change Him
Don’t Open Up Too Fast
Be Honest but Mysterious
Accentuate the Positive & Other Rules for Personal Ads
Don’t Live with a Man (or Leave Your Things in His Apartment)
Don’t Date a Married Man (before nko?)
Slowly Involve Him in Your Family & Other Rules for Women with Children
Practice, Practice, Practice! (or, Getting Good at The Rules)
Even if You’re Engaged or Married, You Still Need The Rules
Do The Rules, Even when Your Friends & Parents Think It’s Nuts
Be Smart and Other Rules for Dating in High School
Take Care of Yourself and Other Rules for Dating in College
NEXT! & Other Rules for Dealing with Rejection
Don’t Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.
Don’t Break The Rules!
Do The Rules and You’ll Live Happily Ever After!
Love Only Those Who Love You (I think I get what they mean here)
Be Easy to Live With

I can’t wait to read your opinions on this! Meanwhile, here is Madea at her finest…

Have a lovely week people!



  1. Hey Temi,

    Interesting rules…but honestly, all these rules don’t apply if you truly love someone. I mean, i do identify with some of these rules – like “Don’t Expect a Man to Change or Try to Change Him”…but i wonder why a woman needs to keep herself so much in check just so she doesn’t look like someone in love or come on as needy.

    I don’t quite agree with this one – “Let Him Take the Lead” Why can’t she take the lead once in a while – especially in the bedroom (grins).

    what happens after she has won the Man’s heart?? Does she keep applying the rules? LOL! All these books never tell you what to do after you’ve won the other person’s heart


  2. As an old head and a past Rules preacher,I’m just gon tell ya, that stuff don’t work. It can help you get a guy’s attention but it makes you seem extremely…can’t find the word for unattached. It does nothing for a situation where both parties are in love. Some are common sense but most of the advice is the downfall of our kind. Men can not be treated with a one size fits all kit. Believe it or not they are unique beings (just like you pointed out, some guys like attention, some like the chase etc)/
    I love your optimism in this situation Temi. However, Tim is done. I might be contradicting myself from my previous statement but this is classic case of a guy that wants out. She is not married to him so if it is a matter of “he has seen her finish” then she needs to find a corner by herself, get her life together for herself and open her eyes to other suitable mates. Tim might come around knocking or Tim might just not. Single women (i.e. unmarried women) should not make the mistake of putting themselves through emotional trauma to keep a man that is not your husband. She will experience the same thing if they get married. Relationship lulls happen all the time, a mature person would do their best to help bring some spark back into the relationship and not make the other party feel like their live sucks. It is time for her to reassess this relationship for what it truly is. She is 26, she is in Naija…so many wonderful men around her. I am wary to ask a woman to pray, pray and pray when God might be showing you signs in neon lights. This is a neon sign. This lady has been miserable since September, Ol’boy can’t sense her misery??? So many things in that lady say pack up and go.

  3. I’m not sure I agree with the He has seen you finish part. Its a clear case of the guy no longer being interested. That aside,if the woman has to keep to a set of “rules”, do guys have to get their own rules too? I don’t think its that easy really. Most times, you fall so hard you even forget there are “rules”. I also think that most writers make these rules based on their own experiences which is usually different from person to person. Maybe you can suggest some rules yourself…LOL
    PS I found this rule particularly interesting…Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week. Really?

  4. Hmm Temi, I still believe even if she is a case of he has seen her finish, he should not threat her that way. Are you saying when they are old and gray or better still when they get married and have to stay home to raise the kids, dude will be looking for sponteinity? Oh please! this chick should move on now that she has the opportunity. Loosing 3years is better than a life time of misery. A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage. Everyone keeps saying she should talk to him and iron it out. I beg to differ, if mr man didnt recognise her pain for almost a year then there is something wrong with him or the chick is a real good pretender that has been kissing is behind. Young lady, 26 years is not old, thats when you should discover, enjoy and celebrate the woman in you before you meet your man.
    Yes we can all pray but sometimes God has answered us but we just want God to fit into our own opinion.

    Another thing is I believe relationship should be half heart/half head but when you find yourself reconsidering or modifying the principles and values that governs your life and has made you who you are, then its time to switch the half-head/half-heart button off and switch on the full-head button. Its okay to change habits like if you smoke and your partner dont like it because he/she is asthmatic (*insert your example*), but if you do things out of the selfish request of the other person then there is a problem. Its not love my dear, its stupidity.

    My questions to Omotade is do you know your worth? have you lost it? or are you at the verge of loosing your self worth? do you find that you are fast becoming a shadow of yourself? abi are you are already a shadow of yourself?, If you answer yes to any of my questions. The I am saying, what self worth are you holding onto? is it the one that is almost shattered or you are trying to hold on to while you wait for him to change? or did you allow him play a role in developing your self-worth during the cause of your long distance relationship? or have you thrown it outta the window in hopes of reviving the relationship because he looks like a good influence in your life? or are you willing to throw it out the window for the sake of love? pardon my questions. Another question is, who cares what people are going to say if you walk out of the 3years relationship? do they know what you are going through and what the future holds? are they going to marry you and him while he looks for sponteinity abi whatever he might be searching for that you dont have? will they be there 24/7 to hold your hands? people will say what they think is right for your situation but when they are in such situation, you have to wonder what will they do. Sometimes we humans bring things upon ourselves and blame God after all the signs he has shown us. You know, I said to myself, if he changes in future, let the next woman enjoy him (ladies/gents that’s reality), but me, I wont spend my life waiting/hoping/praying that he changes so I can enjoy him. That prayer is reserved for my future husband in marriage if he is doing something I might not like and isn’t willing to change. Till then…………Like my pastor will say, tell the Holyspirit to visit the person 😉

    As for the family, sorry to say this but if the family seem unsteady swaying about according to your guy’s emotions, I dont know if you want to be a daughter-in- law there. Families are suppose to support each other especially if they know how far you both have gone, they are suppose to play some part in questioning both of you about whats going on not pushing you aside. Please, where is your own family and what are they saying about all this? No woman should marry a man no matter how sweet and wonderful he is, if his mother hates you or is already giving you attitude during courtship..*just my 2 kobo*

    My advice is be wise, plant your seed while the sun is shinning. Dont deceive yourself if you already know the truth. You dont know a person, you only know what they choose to reveal to you. Be smart and yes I am talking from experience. Women that marry late and are happy their homes dont have 2 heads they where just smart enough to stick to their worth and wait fr a deserving partner….

    Just so you know, your guy sound like a good catch, i mean money here money there but lady, happiness should come first before sizing up any man whether he can take care of you or not…

    Having said all this, young lady I dont know what your faith is, but if you are a christiain then you will need the Holy spirit to guide you to either give you the wisdom to continue if you are convinced this is the man for you, or you will need the Holy spirit to guide you as you move on..

    Sorry of the long post.

  5. Re: omolade I will say use wisdom.. wisdom is obtained from God.. Whatever the circumstances everything will work out for your own good.

    The rules (interesting stuff), I especially do not care about rule anymore it will differ for different people.. As the spirit leads.. Mine for now is about unbreakable principles…

    -Never be too forward, relax and enjoy the pace (each pace)..
    -Jam your hype, don’t be too excited at every talking opportunity (dont express it, trust me he will know u r excited..something always gives it away.
    -Give him time to gather himself and do not put words in his mouth.
    – Ultimately. if your feelings for him are getting deeper, take a step back, be honest with urself, ask urself deep questions.
    Finally, do as the spirit leads, commit each stage in his hands but not forgetting to use wisdom.. Never compromise i.e. if ur policy is not talking on the anytime of communication tool past 11:30pm stick to it no matter what…. (Ur standards are whats keeps u sane and gives u that respect, if u lose ur standards for a guy, trust me, u will always lose ur standard… I will also say.. I will do as the spirit leads…

    I have learnt how to keep my emotions in a nice purple box lol, and dish it out every now and then… (hmmm unpredictable…)

    Lastly, never play wifey role, NEVER, NEVER, EVER…,,, Even when u have the confirmation, conviction, signs, etc.. Please just be a friend, u know why??

    Proverbs 18 vs 22 “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing…and receives favour from the Lord.
    The bible didn’t say he who finds a potential, a maybe, a wifey role… In essence, the dude will know that he has found his wife and having understood that, he will proceed to make his commitments known by letting u know where he stands and what he wants from you.And he will know within himself not only has he found a wife in u and a good thing but him marrying u means he should be getting ready to receive the unlimited favour God has promised (providing that he is does his part beautifully, i.e. loving his wife just like Christ loves the Church.. ) I am convinced that a man that knows God , as in has a cool and strong relationship with God will certainly without any doubt know how to love a woman.. it will come naturally to him..(I know this for a fact, I know that Holy Spirit just drops some nice creativity ideas that is out of this world on ways to express ur love..)

    Yes ohh, until the wedding ring is on my finger (u wont catch me cooking for any dude, cleaning his house, buying him certain gifts, ironing his shirts, doing his doctor appointments… etc..) Call me hardcore but that is my policy (I don’t expect him to drive me around, to drop me everyday, do what a husband should do)..

    Certain things might not work according to the way I think, but I know for a fact I am not playing wifey role…. laye laye .. those days are soooooooooooooooo over.. abeg.

    Abeg temi no vex ohh… the essay is long mehn. it been a while missed ur blog…. Hope u cool and naij is treating u awesome..

  6. @Omolade, theres this book… Lady in waiting (Debby Jones and Jackie Kendal).
    It states some Godly principles, not RULES, that guide single women.
    As women, we underestimate ourselves. We are worth alot.
    Self esteem comes from within….
    People will do all they can to make you feel less than you are if u allow it (dont confuse this for pride).
    A virtous woman knows her value…. if the guy doesnt consider you valuable enough, what are u waiting for?
    Its fear that drives us singles to desperation and you end up living a life of torture.
    I’ll rather wait for the right guy to find me and treat me well, than to continue on this road and live in the past and hold on to memories.
    You are young, enjoy and live ur life my dear.
    It is well.

  7. Molade,
    Let me tell you a story I witnessed with my two korokoro eyes. I have two friends whom I can say have very similar personalities to Molade and Timothy. The girl was ‘slow and steady’ and the guy was sharp. From the jump you could tell that she was very into him and she’s the kind of person that once she likes a guy, dropped all pretenses and ‘made herself available’ to the guy.

    But my dude wasn’t having it, like Temi said he had seen her finish. And this guy started insulting her to get her to pack and load and go. (Till this day, I have never forgiven him for the way he treated her and I made it known) He eventually succeeded and she broke it off with him after one night they were driving home from somewhere and he was telling her off for something inconsequential. I swear, it’s like a spirit entered him because this guy is to date one of the nicest people I know.

    Anyway, fast-forward to two years ago. The guy got married, we the committee of friends went to go and see the wedding na. And the wife no reach half pass my friend (I’m not biased). By the by, my friend started working on developing herself, got herself an MBA from a top 3 school, was moving up in the ranks of her company and looking finer and finest. That was how she met and got married to her husband who I can emphatically say pass the other guy times ten. As in solid, standard correct guy. Everyone was just giving her thumbs up!

    So the morale of the story is sometimes you need fools like Timothy to break you into your true potential. You are young, you have finished school, face your goals. Wash your face, put on your makeup and rock your brazillian weave and vow to be the best you can be. If you are a christian, I encourage you to pray that God heals your broken heart. You want to be like the 5 maidens who got their oil and lamps ready for the master because trust you will smile again.

  8. Me I think we’re focusing on the wrong things o. excuse me but i’m going to be very frank here. I think the important things to note are the character traits that this bobo is now displaying. he’s a total asshole and no daughter of a king should stand for his nonsense. he has no right to act the way he did, at all! temi, i think your he has seen her finish principle does not hold o! at all! and what you’re recommending is playing games. real men and women don’t play games. you should be with the kind of man you can be yourself with. yes, he should be able to push you and correct you and make you a better person but this guy’s attitude is insulting and derogatory and uncaring and nobody deserves this treatment! i mean, if he’s already seeing her finish after 3year, what will he do when she has popped 2 kids, everything is starting to sag and all she can think about is the rising cost of garri? abeg, molade, run o! you need to break up with this guy and focus on loving God and letting him teach you self worth

  9. arrgghh!!! i’m so upset! i’m sorry i sound so unredeemed right now and i’ll probably want to delete these comments when i calm down but i get so upset at how many women deal with this utter bs! leave the rules for the world. when you love a man after God’s own heart, you don’t have to follow those rules. yes, you should be smart and don’t present yourself as a doormat and don’t do everything your heart desires, it’s called discretion but all these yarns about who should hang up first and who should call first.. such BS! i find it so dizzying! if you’re dating to find a husband, and i hope you are, you should be looking for the kind of man that is loving, and caring, the kind that builds you up and encourages you and challenges you to be better. the kind that will be honest and tell you to your face if he’s no longer feeling you instead of being so mean. i think honesty is so incredibly important in a relationship but it has to be gracious, speaking the truth in love..
    and i’m one to talk, right? with my crazy rant… lol

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