By Euphemia Nwele
Relationship is a broad term that does not only mean when two people of opposite sex are in love; when you say you are in a relationship, most persons assume you mean you are in a sexual relationship.
That is not always the case and I will be dissecting the broadness of the term – relationship into stages.
Friendship: It is an association, a connection between two people of same sex and opposite sex, it exists within and outside the family. It is a relationship with no strings attached, existing for mutual benefits. You are friends with someone you can confide in, someone you can talk to and share things with. Friendship gives you the opportunity to see people the way they truly are and as such it is the first stage of any relationship.
Friendship gives you access into people’s lives. Whenever you decide to look for a life partner, choosing from your circle of friends is advisable, or being friends with the person first. This stage would help you understand the person you are interested in better.
Friendship has nothing to do with romantic emotions.
Dating: This means you are hanging out with someone you are interested in, it means going out randomly on dates with people, there is no commitment or sexually emotions in dating. Dating does not mean having sexual knowledge of someone, it also does not make that person your boyfriend or girlfriend, it is when people go to places and spend time together to get to know each other better.
Going on a date could be done as a group, or as a couple, as a mom-daughter date or as a father-son date. Dates enable you have a better understanding of the person you are taking out.
Wooing: This is what most people in Nigeria refer to as ‘chyking’ a lady. It is the process of seeking the love and attention of someone, gaining their affection especially with the intent of marriage. At this stage of a relationship the man woos the lady with an intent of gaining her love and affection, he lets her know how much he loves her, she on the other hand does not know why he is seeking her love until he tells her.
Courting: Here, both parties are aware the reason for their coming together, they both know that the intent of the relationship is marriage so they go out on dates in other to know themselves better. In courtship you take dating seriously.
Courtship has a short time frame between one year and three years at most. Courtship comes under the protection, guidance and blessing of parents or mentors as couples here work on developing a deep friendship that could lead to marriage.
Engagement: This is the formal agreement by two people to get married, this should come after courting your partner, before you both would be joined in holy matrimony to become one.
Boyfriend/Girlfriend: This differs from all the above stages in a relationship, it is a person’s male or female companion with whom they have a romantic or sexual relationship with outside marriage (someone they are not married to).
Lover: A lover is someone you make out with, someone you have sexual intercourse with, the rapport of lovers is usually one of passion and lust and the relationship eventually fizzles out.
This is why the term relationship must be used carefully, it has a broad nature, so next time you want to say “we are in a relationship”, be specific (winks).
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