By NBF News
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God bless you. I lost my wife four years ago. I'm 30. I've never shown interest in women till now; only one woman succeeded in unlocking my heart. I don't believe in chasing skirts. I proposed twice but she only offered me friendship; no emotion attached. She's 25. I tried to forget about her, but to my surprise, when I hide she would be the first to ask after me by calling. The fact that I live abroad has not influenced her. While trying to forget her, I dreamt that I had my arms round her neck as I went to pick her up from where I asked her to wait for me in that dream. I so love her. Please advice me on what to do.

• IK
Dear IK,
Are you asking me to interpret your dream or to help you discover your devotion to this person? I am not able to interpret dreams but I can say that having your arms around her neck may be a sign of anger towards her. When you have your hand around someone's neck; you may be trying to choke or suffocate her. Is this the case? Does she disgust you so much that you want her dead?

On the other hand, she continues to follow you around and always shows care and love towards you. Are you not interested in these gestures? It may be that you are still nursing the loss of your wife and unable to reciprocate any love and emotion at this time. You say that you love her; if this is so why are you trying to hide from her? Make up your mind about what you want. You need to honestly answer these questions:

Are you ready to move on after the death of your wife?

Have you mourned her enough?
Are you comparing this new girl to your wife?
Can this girl take your wife's place and should she?

What will make you happy in a woman?
Does this girl represent any of that?
Once you have done this self-evaluation you would be closer to healing and ready to engage in a new relationship.

Dear Nji,
I am a young man of 30 and have been intimately involved with women since my early 20s, most of whom have been older than me. I am a bit precocious, which might be the reason why I have always been attracted to women older than me (some up to 10 years older) right from an early age.

I first fell in love with a girl - Chii when I was twenty (we were both in the university, though I was two years ahead of her) and I so much loved this girl as she permeated every atom in me. Along the line I observed she was not reciprocating the love - by the way she appeared to be more experienced in relationship issues than me then.

To cut a long story short, she finally left me and it really hurt me. But this marked a turning point in my life - my friends blamed my naiveté on what happened. Trust boys, they told me I lost her because I did not move fast to make love to her, and she went for the guy that satisfied her sexually. After Chii, I stopped loving women. I met a couple of women afterwards but I never loved any of them - they were more of sex toys to me. I used all my masculine prowess and machismo to make them fall in love with me, but I never put any of them in my heart and always told them in polite ways that what we had was not solid. I would say I am an intelligent and handsome guy and have good sexual skills, which I believe have made women to continue to fall for me.

Three years after, I met a girl (Nnenna) I truly got attracted to - tall, intelligent and beautiful. Though we spent few hours chatting, I knew she was an embodiment of most of the things I wanted in a woman. We appeared to have a lot of things in common. Before I left her, I jokingly told her how I felt, however she subtly declined, with the excuse that she was older than me (five years). I personally have no issues with age, as I have had flings with older women, but she appeared resolute.

We kept in touch however, though on platonic level, until I reconnected with an old friend of mine (Jenny).

Jenny and I had a good relationship, built on friendship. We were so free with each other and I have never felt at home with a woman all my life as I did with her. She was the first girl I took to my parents and they liked her. But things, unfortunately did not work out between us. Jenny married another man as I was not ready when she was. I did not hold it against her because she gave me the opportunity to commit. After Jenny, I was distraught and set out to find a soulmate (I still had some flings, one or two I briefly considered for marriage).

Early last year, I miraculously met this girl (Chidimma)- completely different from the set of girls I was used to. She is the born-again type, homely, humble, and from a good family, with a good job. I must confess, I did not instantly fall in love with her. But the more I discovered her, the more attracted I became. I slowly discovered she had a lot of things in common with my ex, Jenny, which made me like her the more. I am always at peace in her company. She confided in me that she is still a virgin and had vowed not to have sex before marriage. I gave her my word that I won't make her break the vow and have kept to it. But my greatest worry with her is she is very reserved.

We are still learning each other gradually, and distance hasn't helped matters (I live in the United States while she is in Nigeria, and the few times I was in Nigeria, her work only permitted us to stay together for a few days). I struggle to learn more about her, but she seems not to be forthright in telling me things about her. I have also tried to let her know about my past involvement with women, but she told me she did not wish to know about anything in the past. Because we are not yet intimate, we hardly discuss sexual matters, as she always cut me off.

Her family seems to like me though and her elder sisters tend to warm up to me than she does.

Although she tells me she loves me, at times I wonder if she truly does (I have experienced the action of women 'in love' with me). Could this attitude of hers be attributed to her sexual and relationship inexperience or is she actually not in love with me? I am not the talkative type, but I tend to struggle to keep up conversation on the phone or when we are together. I have expressed these fears but she told me she will change with time, as she had not been used to this. Now I wonder if she will really make me happy and comfortable when we are married - I want my woman to be romantic.

My greatest problem now is a twist that I inadvertently introduced into my life. I reconnected with Nnenna, after a long period of non-communication. But now she is professing love for me and how she had been attracted to me from the first day we chatted, but had to restrain herself, as she did not wish to appear cheap.

She said she had expected me to make stronger moves then, which I did not make (this may be a lie, as she may have lost out in other affairs she had been into or because now I am doing well and the future looks very bright). Although I told her I was already with another woman (Chidimma), I gave her a bit of hope as I expressed my reservations about my relationship with Chidimma. It's been a year now I have been talking to her (we reside in separate countries as well, and I have not even set my eyes on her, except on webcam for the past three or four years). However, I feel more at home with her than with Chidimma.

Our conversations run into hours on the phone (a feat I have not been able to achieve with Chidimma, as ours seem to run dry after a couple of minutes). Within me I want Nnenna, as I think I would be happier with her. I am so free with her and can tell her things good and bad. We agreed to have an open relationship based on honesty and no matter how hard a thing is, we don't have to hide it from each other. But Chidimma on the other hand told me she prefers not to know as it would hurt her if she knows.

But because I have committed myself with Chidimma and would not want to hurt her, I have been going through serious emotional pain. I don't want to take the plunge into marriage and jump out again. Nnenna has opted to step aside so I can solidify my relationship with Chidimma, but I don't want to let go.

Now, Chidimma seems to have become a bit romantic and is strongly pushing for marriage, but I have continued to come up with excuses, as I still want to be sure I am not making a fundamental mistake not going for Nnenna, where I think my heart belongs.

Please help me, who among these women is my woman. I tend to see some element of pretence on both sides, and I have about three months before I take the final plunge.

Best regards,
Dear Emeka,
You may know that some men categorize women in 2 groups: the marriageable kind and the non-marriageable kind. I see Chidimma as the wife and Nnenna as the girlfriend. Nnenna satisfies your ego and Chidimma challenges it ever so subtly. Thoughts of Chidimma are in your mind but thoughts of Nnenna are in your pants. You have to decide what you want in a woman. Do you want the woman that will make you happy, be respectful, patient, loving and caring or do want the one that will be 'worldly'? Decide what you want in a woman and then take it from there. If you like excitement, surprises and games, Nnenna is the one for you. If you want a serious-minded person, somewhat of an introvert and someone who loves routine and order then Chidimma is the one. You decide and choose.

Dear Njideka
You even have the same surname with my elder sister, and I must say that you have been doing a good job but I disagree with the last paragraph to the answer where your doubting if he is being called to become a catholic priest. You have no right to declare him being confused and not knowing which direction to go. When God calls catholic priests, the voice might be very silent and he can call anyone at any age. Even at 60, he could still come calling. And I also think some of your replies are sentimental towards females. Please change this.

Thanks for your contribution to my response regarding the catholic priest. You are right in that God can use anyone at whatever age to serve him. The bible gives several testaments about people that God called and used even at a young age and some at a very old age. The story of Sarah comes to mind becoming pregnant at an old age.

I do not make any pretenses about having monopoly over wisdom when it comes to relationships so I concede that I might have made a mistake in that issue. So, I stand corrected!

In terms of 'some of my replies being sentimental towards females', I try to be as objective as possible in my responses. However if you think that they are biased towards females then I will take a closer look. My intentions through this medium are to objectively provide my opinions to problems and issues that occur in relationships. I do not absolutely ask readers to adopt my opinion; I merely provide advice on possible methods of dealing with the projected issue. Nevertheless, I will check my future responses for bias and sentimentality to favor one group of people. I recognize the gender disparities that are innate in our African culture but my responses are not an act of activism or do they expressly promote feministic tendencies. Thanks again for your observation,