Life As A Single & Over 30-Year-old​ Nigerian Woman

Being single is awesome and sometimes it’s not. There are days where you’re happy you didn’t settle and days where you envy what your married friends have. It’s hard not to imagine when you will be in their shoes and get to experience everything they have, first hand.

For the past three weeks, I had been interested in writing about living as a single over thirty-year-old Nigerian woman but I didn’t put any words down. This weekend at a family function, an Aunt made a comment about my “upcoming” wedding again and I was triggered. I went back home to deliberate about sharing my experiences but I still held them back. This week, I was having a conversation with one of my good friends about it and she convinced me to finally write this post.

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Thirty has long been the particular age in which women start panicking about getting married. In almost every culture, if you’re thirty and still single, you’ve got a problem. We’re lucky to be in a time when it’s not seen as a disease anymore but most people still have an opinion about it. I thought I was immune to this reaction because I have two older sisters that were still single at 30 but early this year, my Dad and I had a conversation that we never had before. See, I had just turned 30 a few months before this conversation about my singleness. He was worried my expectations were too high and wanted me to know that it’s okay to grow together with your spouse.

So what does it feel like living as a single 30-year-old Nigerian woman? I will tell you through the words of five beautiful Nigerian women (not necessarily living in Nigeria) I collaborated with for this post. I created a list of questions and sent it to them and they were kind enough to oblige me. Here is how they answered.

Ebele

1. Are you lonely?
Yes, it does get lonely when you are single and living alone with a work schedule as crazy as mine. I love my space a lot and totally enjoy my company, but I won’t deny the fact that the loneliness creeps in every now and then.
2. Do you think your expectations are too high?
I think my expectations are quite reasonable. I’m very opinionated but not irrational & I’m also a firm believer that there is a man for every woman, mine just hasn’t found me yet. For now, I am contented with the woman I have become & will become and I am not willing to compromise for less.
3. Do you have friends who are also over 30 & single?
My friends are mostly married with kids, but I still have a few that are above 30 and single, male & female. The married ones are constantly trying to matchmake or ask the awkward questions about “when are you getting married?”. My thirty and above friends are often my support system.
4. Do you feel like time is no longer on your side?
Honestly, being in my mid-thirties and fully aware that a woman’s biological clock is ticking fast, I sometimes think that age is no longer on my side in relation to starting a family. However, I still see ladies who have kids in their late thirties and forties and it gives me hope. Lately, the guys I meet are either married (looking for a side chick) or are younger men. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather be with someone matured in age & wisdom who knows exactly what he wants.
Growing up, I dreamt about getting married and starting a family in my mid-twenties, I guess fate had other things in store for me. I still sincerely hope and pray that I get to settle down with the man of my dreams before I clock the big forty.
5. How do you deal with the side comments from family members? 
It hit me quite hard when my younger brother got married and everyone had a thing or two to say about my single status. For a long time, I was quite touchy about all the side comments and innuendos especially because I was just recovering from a broken relationship that had potential. Alas, I choose to be happy regardless of what everyone had to say and shrugged off all comments and focused on doing me.
6. Do you have any advice for other women in your shoes?
Live your life to the fullest and don’t put yourself through unnecessary pressure to please your family and society. Being single may just be part of God’s plan, watch it unfold. Make the best of your life while still single, build your career, go to school, have some solid investments, travel, live well, etc. When you meet “the one”, be sure you are marrying for the right reasons and not just because you want to escape singlehood. Love yourself more, you cannot give what you don’t have.
Ebele works in investment banking. 

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Judith 

1. Are you lonely? No, only feel this way a few times.
2. Do you think your expectations are too high? Absolutely not.
3. Do you have friends who are also over 30 & single? Yup & they are amazing people.
4. Do you feel like time is no longer on your side? Naa, I feel like marriage is just a part of one’s life that will eventually happen. There is finance, career, health, etc to focus on.
5. How do you deal with the side comments from family members? I stay far away from it. I don’t attend extended family events except it’s mandatory, and then I go late. Sanity is key.
6. Do you have any advice for other women in your shoes? Live life, build your career. Marriage will come.
Judith is a Human Resource professional and IELTS tutor. You can find her on Instagram @realjewdith 

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Sade

1. Are you lonely?
Besides the infrequently playfully voiced “God when” when someone talks about a mushy relationship I don’t think relationships take up much space in my head so loneliness in that aspect has never been something that has bothered me. 
2. Do you think your expectations are too high?
Are there exceptionally grand expectations in my head on what this person should look like, act like? Not in the sense that I just expect the person to be a decent, kind person and have your own money (please I’m not trying to do struggle love), the occasional daydreams about a fabulously wealthy and handsome man comes to mind but we can blame Romance books for that. 
3. Do you have friends who are also over 30 & single?
Yes, I do. To be honest, I try not to let relationship talk be the focal point of talks with my single friends, I feel there’s just way more you can talk about than that, so yes we do bemoan the fact that we’re single but we move on to other things after that. 
4. Do you feel like time is no longer on your side?
With or without the well-meaning questions though I don’t get heart-pounding moments of feeling that time is running away from me when it comes to relationships, if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. To be fair, I do need to work on putting myself way more out there. But no, there’s no feeling that I have to hurry up and shape up my love life pronto. 
5. How do you deal with the side comments from family members?
Snide remarks from family aren’t something I have to worry about though mainly because there aren’t a whole lot of extended family members. Few ask but never in a rude manner so it’s not something that has ever bothered me.
6. Do you have any advice for other women in your shoes
?
Don’t sweat it & it’s just like being single at any other earlier age.
Sade spends her free time reading and reviewing books. You can connect with her on twitter @QueenMelisende 

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Aize 

1. Are you lonely? Yes it gets lonely
2. Do you think your expectations are too high?
People say my expectations are too high but I feel that love/relationship has been watered down.
3. Do you have friends who are also over 30 & single? Yes, I do
4. Do you feel like time is no longer on your side? No, I don’t 
5. How do you deal with the side comments from family members? I now ignore them because quite frankly very few of them are happy in their ‘situation’. If I have to do it, I want to do it right.
6. Do you have any advice for other women in your shoes? Keep your head high, never settle for less.
Aize hails from Edo State. She is a Business Development Officer and series junkie. You can connect with her on Instagram @aize.o

Jummy

1. Are you lonely?
Generally speaking, no. However, there are times where I long for the companionship that comes from being in a relationship. It’s nice to be able to share your life with someone and discuss your day, goals, ideas, and so on. Feeling lonely is inevitable and honestly, I’ve felt lonely while in a relationship, so I don’t necessarily feel that relationships are the solution to loneliness. That being said, I am currently not lonely because I have friends and family whom I lean on during this time of singleness.
2. Do you think your expectations are too high?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! This question always makes me chuckle because people that think our expectations are too high never take the time to actually ask what our expectations are. So I’ll tell you some of my basic, simple expectations. Be normal, a God-fearing man, love your family, respect people, be intelligent, ambitious, and be able to lead the relationship. Other items on the list essentially tie back to the aforementioned basic characteristics. I don’t think those expectations are high at all. I didn’t even mention anything about his bank account (yet). lol.
3. Do you have friends who are also over 30 & single?
I have a few. My friends and I share similar views on marriage and singleness.
4. Do you feel like time is no longer on your side?
No, I’m still young. I know that by society’s standards my answer should be yes but I believe I still have time. There is a valid worry about one’s biological clock. I have had conversations about reproductive medicine with friends who have taken unconventional routes. It’s 2019, I’m open to egg freezing, IVF, etc. Planning ahead is smart and thankfully we have modern medicine to help with the fight against time.
5. How do you deal with the side comments from family members?
Ha! I avoid them at all costs. Thankfully, I live far away from family members who would have slick comments, so I don’t experience this anywhere as much as the average Nigerian woman living in Nigeria. My parents actually hardly make side comments so that’s great. But for other family members, I have a personal rule where I don’t discuss my relationships (presence or lack thereof) with random aunties I’m not close to. It’s pointless and I am old enough to know that not everyone wishes you well. My response is always “okay, aunty” or “at God’s perfect time, aunty” or something to that effect.
6. Do you have any advice for other women in your shoes?
Enjoy the phase you’re in. The grass is not always greener on the other side and there’s a reason why you’re single now so why not enjoy it. For example, I love travelling and I have no idea if my future spouse would love traveling so this is the time for me to explore and enjoy travelling and other things that make me happy. I am well aware that fun does not have to end because you’re married. However, one of the things I enjoy about being single is not having the accountability portion that relationships bring. The moment you realize it is actually not a curse to be single, the more you’ll be able to enjoy singleness.
Jummy is a pharmacist and currently lives in Virginia. You can connect with her on Instagram @jumzzjumzz

I know this is an unusually long post so if you read all the answers, kudos to you. All the answers have something in common; yes, it gets lonely but we aren’t settling. There are days I long for someone that is mine and no one else’s but that doesn’t mean I will stay with a man that doesn’t respect my values.

Thanks, ladies for trusting me with your truth.

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Are you single and over 30? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Mariam Shittu