Single Lady In Nairobi: When He Sends You Mixed Signals – The “What Are We” Question

A couple hanging out. Image from

I thank God for those guys who just give it to you straight and tell you the truth as it is. Not those who use such an opportunity to bring you down but use their ‘manly insight’ especially in relationships. Praise Jesus for such men in our lives. I am particularly thankful for one of my very close friends Jason, who did not just see me as a love sick puppy but as a woman in need of some much needed insight.

We were having coffee one Saturday afternoon. Those nice sunny days that just have to be accompanied by an iced latte. With Jason, it was all fun and games until he removed his glasses and signature hat. He also had this look. It wasn’t of judgement or disappointment, but he just had a look. Let me start this from the beginning.

I was never a romantic. I would see a handsome guy and think ‘he looks nice, we would really hit it off,’ but never would I picture the flowers, chocolates or gifts he would give me. Mine was a picture of Sunday afternoon chilling on the sofa watching a movie in our pajamas, or Friday movie night where we would decide on making dinner knowing very well none of us knew how to cook; and after several attempts, we would just have junk food delivered. That was my kind of romance.

 A couple hanging out. Image from
A couple hanging out. Image from

I saw that romance when I met Chris.

Chris was a quiet and shy guy. I honestly wondered why when he was such a fine piece of African soul. He would read a lot, he actually had a bigger book collection than mine – and I was really into books – he was also a writer, a poet and a lover of life. He fascinated me by how he spoke so passionately about African literature and how Africa would always be imprinted on his heart no matter what part of the world he wished to one day travel to. Then he left. He had to go to Rome to pursue his Master’s degree in Architecture and Fine Art.

My heart shattered into pieces and I wasn’t the same person in over a month. He had to settle down in school, his new hometown and it got a bit too hectic for him so communication levels had gone down for a while. When he had finally settled down and communication was brought back to life, he brought along a fire with him. It was like he was re-born; but I didn’t complain. We talked more, Skyped for hours… it was magic.

Now Chris hadn’t asked me to be his girlfriend yet. It was just casual flirting so to say. And this is where the problem came in. Ladies, have you ever had this guy you chat up for almost 90% of your day? He knows your exact schedule and you know his, you know exactly how he likes his burgers and you can even give a clear outline of his house and the acre of plot he’s going to buy in Rongai? That was me and Chris. We knew each and every single detail of each other’s lives, had amazing chemistry and everyone said we look amazing together but he never asked me out. However, in my head, we were on our way to marriage.

Three months into Chris’ stay in Rome, he wanted to buy me a ticket to and visit him there for two weeks! I was over the moon! First of all I had never been to Rome and he was getting me a first class ticket and I had obviously missed the ‘man of my life’. I was itching to see him, hug him and tell him how I loved him and wanted to have his babies. Yes, have his babies. So when I told my friend Jason about it, he was furious. I couldn’t understand why but he planned for us to have coffee before we went: which brings me to why I thank God for men like Jason.

Seated next to him, with his bowler hat on the table, he starts interrogating me:

“Exactly how long have you known this guy?” he asks.

“Since I think third year in university, why?”

“Because you’re acting like his wife and he hasn’t even put a ring on your finger, let alone asked you to officially be his girlfriend,”

“Aii Jason, but we know everything about each other, he isn’t seeing anyone and he knows how I feel about him,” I said as I was slowly getting agitated. Why was he asking me all these questions?

Folding his hands across his muscular chest he asks, “Are you sure about that? Have you told him how you felt? And do you know how he feels about you? You do know you’ve already virtually moved into this guy’s life when he clearly doesn’t want you around? If you’ve known him that long and you say you have such amazing chemistry than why hasn’t he asked you out? Trust me when I tell you that if a guy likes you and is serious about you, he will make a move. It might not be marriage but it will be a significant move in that direction”

I was dumbfounded. What he said started to make some sense, but I loved Chris and I retaliated, “But he’s getting me a first class ticket to go see him in Rome for two weeks. Isn’t that a clear indication of love?”

With a slow smile drawing across his face he answered, “Or he just might be calling you all the way for a two week booty call.”

Putting a comforting arm across my shoulder he said, “I’m not saying that Chris is playing you or will never make a move. All I’m saying is you have to be careful. You’ve spent so much into this situation you have going on with Chris. Isn’t it fair you know where you stand in his life before you start picking names for your three imaginary kids?”

That statement was sure to leave the biggest wound on my heart. Why was Jason saying this? Why couldn’t he see how much Chris loved me? We weren’t official yet but I’m sure he loved me, right?

I couldn’t understand why hadn’t Chris made a move all these years? Was I just a side chic to him? Or maybe he was gay. My world was spinning so fast I couldn’t even breathe properly.

But what Jason told me got me thinking, if a man likes you he’ll tell you. The same goes for the ladies, if you like him, tell him. If you don’t see a future there, it’s best to move on rather than to create a façade where you’re the mother to his kids and when the time comes for you to end, you’re so damaged because of the emotional investment you had put into that ‘relationship’.

In the end, I ended up freeing myself from the ‘situationship’ between me and Chris; obviously distraught by the amount of love and time I had given to him, but after almost 6 years of knowing Chris with no move being made, I cut communication with him and decided to move on. I felt like I had been strung along for too long. And if I meant something to him, he would have said something. So I decided to let him be and move on.

It might not be the case for others but don’t spend five years of your life emotionally tied to someone who doesn’t even see a future with you. I know I didn’t.

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The singlehood series is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different people. It looks at the current world of dating in Kenya and experiences that people have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of