“Are rules important in a relationship?” I asked my friend, Lola.
We were at a hangout she organized last week and while I was thinking of what to write for my last blog post, I threw the question at her.
My question was met with silence as she was busy with her phone, grinning and typing like she was trying to hack a top security website.
“Lola!” I yelled, jolting her to reality. “I asked a question.”
She was startled by my yelling and glared at me. “What?” she asked. “Why are you screaming?”
I reclined on my chair and smiled. “Now that I have your attention, answer the question.”
“What question?” she asked, perplexed.
“Are rules important in a relationship?”
She dropped her phone on the table and crossed her legs. “Of course!”
“Why?” I probed.
“Because we are humans and we need rules to keep us in check.”
“Interesting,” I noted. “Should that also extend to relationships?”
“Relationships need it more. Some people misbehave a lot in relationships, I tell you.”
“And rules will help them behave well?”
My curiosity was piqued. “Give me an instance of such. You can use your relationship with M as an example.”
She threw her head back. “Why? Is this going to be a blog post?”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay then. Just don’t use my real name.”
“I won’t, don’t worry,” I assured. “I will use a Yoruba name for you, just talk.”
She nodded and sat upright. My listening antennae also went up, ready to hang on to her every word.
“I will use my last relationship as an example.” She declared. “Is that fine by you?”
“It is. Please, go on.”
She rubbed her palms and her facial expression became serious. “So, you know where I met him, yeah?”
“At a party?”
“A club, precisely.” She corrected.
“What has that got to do with anything?”
“Relax, your blood too dey hot.” She countered. “It has a lot to do with everything and you need it for context.”
I nodded and said nothing, my eyes fixed on her.
“He was in the company of girls when I met him that night and I was with my girlfriend who dragged me to the club so I could know what the insides of a club looked like. I didn’t even pay any attention to him that night; it was my friend who was receptive to him after he sent drinks to our table. ”
“They exchanged numbers but I would later find out that it was me he wanted. After much persuasion, I agreed to date him.”
She reclined and stared ahead. “Looking back now, I think I was bored plus I knew it wouldn’t last.”
“How did you know?”
She scoffed and returned her gaze to me. “I could tell he was a promiscuous guy the first night we met. He was with three ladies who were performing the tricks of their trade on him.”
“Yeah…I caught him staring at me like thrice but I was too disgusted to even pay him any heed.”
“But you were in a club, what were you expecting?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. Anyways, we dated for four months, most of which I was trying to cope with his excesses.”
“He wanted a serious relationship yet he wouldn’t stop seeing other girls. Can you imagine?”
“I can’t.” I replied, matter-of-factly.
“So, I had to put my foot down and set some rules.”
Just then, her phone beeped. She raised her index finger in the air. ”Excuse me, please, I need to reply this message.”
“Go ahead.” I urged.
As she began typing on her phone, I began to ruminate on what she had told me so far.
I was a bit surprised that she was expecting him to stop seeing other girls when they started dating, seeing that that was the first thing she knew about him.
And if he was to change, I sincerely didn’t think it was going to be sudden. It would take work, lots of it, and the desire to change.
I snapped out of my thoughts to see that she was done typing.
“Oh, you’re done?”
“Yeah.” She replied. “You were lost in thought.”
“Never mind.” I dismissed. “Just continue.”
“Huh…So, where did I stop?”
“Errmm, you said he was still seeing other girls while you both were dating.”
“Yes!” she affirmed. “So, I had to make some rules.”
“He had to stop seeing other girls or else I would do the same as well.”
I glared at her. “See other girls?”
She tapped my knee playfully. “No, silly! Guys, very fine guys.”
I laughed. “Of course, I know. I just felt like lightening the conversation up a bit.”
“Well done, comedian.” She remarked.
“So, did he accept?”
I was stunned. “Just like that?”
“And you can guarantee that he adhered to the rule?”
“To an extent, yes.”
I went silent, my eyes did the talking. She knew what I implied but continued talking.
“Anyways, that was not all. There were other rules.”
“He had this bad habit of showing up at my place without informing me, and it was mostly at nights like he was expecting to catch me cheating on him.”
I chuckled. “And you didn’t reciprocate the gesture?”
“Do I look like I have time to be sneaking up on someone?”
I shrugged. “Well, I wouldn’t know until you tell me.”
“I didn’t and I told him I wasn’t comfortable with it.”
“He said my rules were getting too much and he didn’t bargain for a military relationship.”
I couldn’t hold my laughter this time. She joined me and after we had our fill, she went silent.
“Did you think the rules were effective?”
“To an extent, yes! That guy was a spoilt brat, sincerely.” She replied, exasperated. “He wanted to eat his cake and have it.”
“But you knew that before you went ahead to date him.” I reminded her.
She scoffed. “As I said, I was bored. Besides, he broke up the relationship and I moved on too.”
“So, how is it with your current boyfriend? Are there rules?”
She shook her head. “I won’t call them rules, per se. I asked him about his dislikes and he knows mine too. So, we don’t cross each other’s boundaries. M doesn’t stress me, unlike Uncle spoilt brat.”
I laughed again. “So, are you saying that rules only matter when you are dealing with a difficult partner?”
“I think so.” She answered, her voice solemn. “There are some people you meet and they just flow with your life. There is no need for rules because they respect your boundaries just like you do theirs.”
I took a sip of my drink and smiled before asking the final question. “So, I ask again, are rules important in a relationship?”
She paused before answering, a grin at the corner of her lips. I could tell she was weighing her words. “Nah. I don’t think so. Knowing their dislikes is enough.”
“Thank you,” I answered with a knowing smile. “I have all I need for my blog post.”
She winked. “You’re welcome. So, what name are you giving me?”
“Lara or Lola.”
She assumed a thoughtful poise. “I think Lola is better. My mum’s friend bears that name and she is a nice person.”
Her phone beeped again. She glared at the screen and her eyes lit up. “M is here!”
Over to you, my wonderful reader.
Are rules important in a relationship?
Do share your thoughts in the comments section.