I’m Eromonsele Emmanuel and thanks to Shelly, I’ll be sharing some Nigerian dating hacks, must-dos, facts, scenarios or whatever you’d like to call ’em right about now.
First, a little background; I have lived in Nigeria for most of life. I was born twentysomething years ago in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from where the Presidency works and I’ve had many opportunities to experience other states in the nation from a very young age.
My home country is situated in West Africa and Nigeria is fondly called, “The Giant of Africa.” It’s divided into six geopolitical zones and our neighbours include Cameroon, Benin Republic, Niger and Ghana to mention a few.
I currently reside in Lagos, also known locally as Eko or Lasgidi and some fun facts about Lagos are shown subsequently.
- It is the smallest and most populous state in Nigeria.
- It is the nation’s economic capital.
- It’s home to Nigeria’s busiest airport – The Murtala Mohammed Airport.
For context, the following answers will be based on my personal experiences, and interpersonal relationships with family, friends and loved ones.
Finally, my intention is not to generalise the dating pool of Nigeria but rather, to share my self standing perspective on this matter.
Ahem, let’s begin.
1. What’s the acceptable age to start dating?
Ah, this takes me back to my secondary school (high school) days.
Those of us who had been dating one person or the other were mostly scrutinised by teachers and parents. Again, there was so much done to keep opposite sex away from extensive relationships. It didn’t always work. Nowadays, I guess it’s becoming more acceptable in Nigeria to invite your girlfriend for dinner when you’re just thirteen years old or at least, mention her in family conversations.
In those days, it was all about reading, getting out of school, earning an income and becoming married. Funny thing is parents magically skip the dating stage and they used to say, “I sent you to school to read not to have girlfriends!” LoL. I don’t see why they were/are so protective but I guess it’s to avoid heartbreaks because some of such “pre-adult” relationships don’t amount to much anyway. Presently, I’ll say eighteen-ish to twenty-ish is the most acceptable age to start dating in Nigeria.
As I’ve mentioned, many individuals do so when they’re younger but friends and family members will take your love interests more seriously when you’re in your twenties.
2. What is dating in Nigeria like?
Most dating escapades kick off in the real world, not behind phone screens or third parties. Nigerians like dating face-to-face and although they’re quite a number of people connecting via social media channels and dating apps like Tinder everyday, physical interaction is the cradle of Nigeria’s dating scene.
Men are very much confident and will walk up to ladies they find attractive to ask for digits particularly if they’re outdoors, in transit, at events or partying hard. Men enjoy flaunting their woman and being in a relationship is usually a thing of pride.
Also, romantic gestures are always welcome but not every Nigerian lady will accept flowers. Take her to a fancy restaurant, go see the movies, plan weekend getaways, pay for her hairdo, buy the latest devices or credit her bank account instead.
Some Nigerian couples enjoy cohabitation which involves living together before marriage. Families and religious leaders frown upon this so it’s kept secret from them. And before I forget to mention, there’s this funny term in Nigeria used to describe ten-over-tens in the dating pool. For men it’s husband material and for women, wife material. You may have heard these at least once if you occasionally listen to our indigenous music. There’s also relationship goals but that’s a story for another day.
Lastly, younger couples may date for fun but the older ones are often in it for marriage.
3. How soon is too soon to meet the parents?
First, there’s the kind of dating in which both parents are fully aware and second, there are those shrouded in mystery (ooh). I prefer the former because it doesn’t seem so weird when you finally get to meet her parents.
Those serious talks with the ever going questions always make me giggle. “So how did you meet my daughter? What do you do for a living? What are your intentions for my daughter?” 😂😆😂
The institution of marriage is taken very seriously in Nigeria and since it’s super important to present yourself before parents in African settings, I’ll say doing so when you’re not ready is automatically being too soon.
And by ready, I mean the following.
- Have a Good Source of Income. Many families prefer someone who has attained some level of financial freedom.
- Be Certain of Religious Matters. Not all families will accept a prospective spouse who serves a different God, Nigerians are a very religious bunch.
- Brush Up Your Morals. Respect is key. Do you shake, kneel, bow or prostrate before her parents? Find out because this differs with culture.
- Ask Your Partner About Her Parents. Ask her what they like or dislike.
- Be Ready to Pay or Haggle for Her Bride Price. If you eventually visit, you should have funds kept aside for such, it can also be really expensive.
- Have Extensive Plans for Family. Nigerian ladies want a home with kids.
- Keep Your Word. Don’t disappoint her family.
Relationships don’t always work out but when you decide to meet her Nigerian parents be darn serious because, it’s no longer games from here onwards.
4. What’s it like dating between races and social classes?
Um, I haven’t seen so many interracial couples in Nigeria especially in places I’ve been but, I’ve had a couple Asian and Caucasian friends date Nigerians around them and it’s pretty much normal. I’ll say it’s probably more about interethnic than interracial dating in Nigeria. My home country is a pool of diverse cultures and I bet they’re over a hundred different ethnicities. The three major ethnic groups are Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa and I’m from one of the minors, Edo. In Lagos, people from different tribes are often very open to romantic courtship. Igbo dating Ibibio, Yoruba dating Fulani and so on.
Interethnic dating is hardly ever a problem in Southwest Nigeria from my experience.
And as for social classes, Nigerians often date someone in the same class with them whether low, middle or upper class or maybe someone richer, and this goes either ways for both sexes. Love can happen anywhere, in public transport, restaurants, offices, schools, social media, religious settings, parties, places of interest and people’s weddings (no, seriously). Make sure you have money, a good heart and charisma. That’s basically all you need to begin your successful dating journey in Nigeria.
5. When you go out, who gets the bill?
Easy! The guy does.
It’s always the man’s responsibility to get the bill in Nigeria’s dating scene and if you come around a lady who intends to share the charge, count yourself as lucky. Sometimes, it gets awkward if your companion orders beyond your budget or invites her friends over and then, you have to pay for all of them! Even if the bill is going to be shared, it’s good when a man makes the initial move to pay I guess. It shows a sorta satisfactory financial status and from what I’ve seen, many Nigerian ladies love that.
Dating is a fantastic phase in relationships, it’s getting to know each other, falling in love and in Nigeria, it’s no different, just special.
Again, I’m extremely thankful to Shelly for the opportunity to write this guest post. Well, this ain’t usually my niche so I had to be nudged and she did a real great job.
This was fun!
Also, I own a travel blog where I curate weekly content around Nigerian travel destinations, art and historic attractions, travelogues, public transit talks and sometimes, blogging advise. You can visit my blog right here.
Have you ever dated a Nigerian? Kindly share with us in the comments.
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