Not Today, Cupid! A Millennial Guide to (Not) Falling in Love

Ifeanacho MaryAnn
10 min readAug 21, 2020
Not today, cupid!

I think we can all agree that love sucks. Sure, it is sweet and makes every cell in your body want to sing along to the “Sound of Music”. But then things get complicated.

There are many levels to the suck-eries of love.

For starters, it wastes your time. You spend so much time and brain energy thinking about this person and that cute thing their nose does when they smile and wondering why their average reply per nanosecond is decelerating. All that time and energy can be distilled and channeled into my productive activities like writing a book, starting a business, or I dunno, maybe building a MacGyver.

Secondly, it’s costly. Be it worrying about what to buy on their birthday or wondering if the relationship will last, I think we can unanimously agree that love is costly, emotionally, and financially. That is one of the many perks of being single. One, I get to be broke for one and not for two. Two, I don’t need to become a mystic reading the tea leaves of late replies while (s)he updates statuses and wondering what this phenomenon means to the relationship.

Endings: When (even) Cupid’s arrows can’t help

Thirdly, endings are the worst…I don’t need to go into details, do I? Show of hands if you have watched Bridget Jones’ diary, played “All by Myself” by Celine Dion till your neighbors know the lyrics by heart, or put the SAT trinity (Sam Smith, Adele, and Taylor Swift) on repeat. Y’all on your own sha but I can imagine what that is like. Love and all the musical worthy emotions it brings comes to an end at some point, leaving you a gooey emotional mess that posts things like “when God wants to take you to a new level he removes some people from your life” on social media.

I could go on about the demerits (adjusts pince-nez) of falling in love- especially when you are at the “developmental” stage of life- but I think you get the picture. I won’t be talking about huge things like not getting physical and all what not; you should know that stuff. Falling in love starts with the seemingly insignificant stuff; a delicate touch here, a touchy story about their childhood there, and before you know it, you are pulling petals off flowers with stars in your eyes. Not falling in love lies in how well you can avoid those micro-moments of attraction. So if you are trying to dodge the land mines of attraction, love and all that mushy stuff, you are at the right place. I will be your keypad-wielding fairy godmother, teaching you how to sit balls out and leave parties with both shoes on, thank you very much.

If you feel you are in “love” or are getting there, read on. Doing any of these means you are halfway there- and though we feel sad at another heart lost, we wish you well.

If you want to “fall in love”, read on; just do everything in reverse and may the force be with you

Disclaimer: These tips only work when the attraction is in its infancy. If it has spiraled out of control and you find them in your every waking thought, then I’m sorry you are too far gone to be helped.

Ok, ¡vamonos! Here are the nine rules to (not) falling in love.

1. Obey the Rules of Proper Writing

First meetings are always lovely. You meet this person and they seem like they just walked out of your fantasies. When they open their mouths, Chineke nna, my God! It seems like they were tailor-made for you. Like all things in 2020, after the first meeting (and sometimes before), serious talks and getting-to-know-each-other continue on WhatsApp or any other handy messenger app. They text, you text back. They say something funny and you send a laughing emoji and the silly thing is you are actually laughing at the screen too. The chats get heated.

Question marks and full stops are forgotten

Commas go into comas and are thus, forgotten

“You” turns to “U”

Simple sentences turn to “wyd” “brb” and similar abbreviations.

Don’t do that. I know you have so much you want to say. I get it. The truth is conversation deepens feelings. The more you talk and the more things you talk about the deeper those feelings get. So chill, take a deep breath and structure your messages as if you are taking a language test.

Put your commas, semicolons, full stops, and all that.

Spell out your words in full. Yes, Carol, it’s “please” and not “pls”

Take time to paragraph your work, sorry, your message adequately

Are you guys chatting in Spanish? Coloque todos los accentos y ponga todas las punctuaciones.

This will make chatting a pain and eventually you’d go do something productive with your time. Thank me later.

2. No Chats After 11 p.m.

No, homes. The last thing you want is a textual booty call.

I discovered this one as an SS2 (11th grade) student. That time, 2go was all the rave, and a lot of us young people found ourselves sucked into the colorful, star-studded (literally) world it provided. This led to a lot of midnight chats. Back then I discovered that science shows inhibitions go down late at night- and by science, I mean I read this somewhere I cannot remember and it somehow tallied with my observations, hence, science. When you are tired, your inhibitions lower and you start replying messages you ordinarily won’t reply and talking about what’s on your bosom (literally and figuratively) and emosh stuff like your first kiss and their fears about love and life. Essentially, night time and exhaustion have a similar biological effect on your brain as being intoxicated. It brings out the feral you; you know that you that craves love, attention, and a heart that understands. It loosens your tongue, relaxes you, makes you more impulsive and makes silly questions seem important. When the clock strikes 11 p.m., go to bed, ese. If you don’t feel like sleeping, crack open a book, write, workout, paint, knit, go through those bookmarked internet pages, count every grain of rice you have in your pantry.

Anything!

Just don’t start chatting with your love interest by 2 a.m.

3. Your Friends Shouldn’t Know

This tip is for the ladies. What’s the first thing you do when you finally meet that one that could be “the one”? Let me guess: you tell Amanda, Amaka, Zahra, Sade, Siobhan and all of your friends. Pictures and screenshots fly and they “oooh”, “aaahh” and “awwn” over them.

Umm, no. We are not doing that. Telling your friends about this person confirms the attraction and we don’t want that now, do we? When it comes to attraction and relationships, friends can sometimes stoke a flickering flame until it becomes a burning inferno.

“You guys look so perfect together.”

“I think you should take this further and see where this goes.”

“I am happy you are taking the leap. You have a good thing right here.”

“He is a nice guy, give him a chance, dear. It can’t be that bad.”

Treat me like a hotdog and ketchup. It is and can be that bad.

4. Chat Histories Must Go

Back when I was in University, I was talking with one of my friends about school and how scary life after school seemed. She was not into the conversation and kept staring into space which was so unlike her. After three minutes of more or less soliloquizing, I had had enough.

“What’s up? What’s wrong? I’m usually the quiet one but for the past five minutes, I think you might have broken my record.”

“Nothing. It’s just my phone.”

“What about it? Did the owners take it?” (a euphemistic way of asking “did it get stolen?”)

She shakes her head

“What happened kwan?”

“I lost my WhatsApp chat histories. I lost all of my messages with (insert boyfriend’s name)”

I blanked out for the whole of thirty seconds. I felt like pulling out all my hair.

I could understand feeling bad about losing chat histories with business associates, employers, and even the class WhatsApp group but relationship chat histories? Haba.

She went on to tell me how she would scroll back to their first chats, the ones they had when they were getting to know each other and read down to the present day.

I had no words.

I realized that for a lot of people, chat histories are the textual version of ecstasy; a way of recapturing the pleasant feelings experienced in the early stage of falling in love.

Wipe them clean. It will hurt, that I know. But is better to hurt now than later.

5. Sistahs before Mistahs, Besties over Betsies

Uteruses before duderuses. Bros before…you know the rest. I don’t like that word. It’s hard to find a word that rhymes with bro but I digress.

(sings) Who sat and watched your single ass

When love just seemed your heart to pass

And listened to your jokes so crass

Your best friend!

I’m awesome.

A lot of the times when someone new gallops into our love radar, we push our friends to the back burner as we pursue the object of our affections. We cancel multiple hangouts and girls’ night outs in favor of dates, long romantic walks, or whatever it is people do on dates these days. Your friends matter and should be treated as such.

Cancel that date if it coincides with a previous appointment with a friend.

Don’t be in a haste to reply to their message immediately it dings in; focus on listening to your friend as (s) he vents about their dragon of a boss on WhatsApp. This is your opportunity to be the quintessential best friend. In the grand scheme of things, friendships rank, and last longer than whatever it is you feel for your love interest.

6. See their flaws!

I like to think of love as short-sighted. When you have your love goggles and goo-goo eyes on, it can be hard to see the flaws of your Enamorado. Their smile seems like a sip out of Dionysius cup and in their eyes shines the entire Milky Way galaxy (gags). Yeah, don’t do that. I want you to notice their flaws.

Notice how they pick their nose when no one is looking.

How their morning breath could slay dragons.

How that zit in their nose seems to breathe each time they crinkle their nose

Or how they have so much hair on their backs

And by Jove please do not romanticize their flaws, talking about how their snores are cute. I am trying to help you here.

7. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Distance is the magnitude of separation between two points- or in your case two people/hearts- and by far the fastest way to snuff the life out of a budding relationship. Sure, absence/distance can make the heart grow fonder but that applies to older, more stable relationships and not this new attraction you are still coaxing to life. You have to distance yourself from them in every way possible.

Archive their chats. Staring at it every time you open your chat messenger is counterproductive.

You know those pictures they sent you? Put them somewhere you won’t have to look at it every three seconds- or better still, delete them.

Limit meetings and dates. You are super busy. The rat race (or your business, if that’s how you roll) isn’t going to run itself. Availability fans the embers of attraction; be unavailable.

8. If All Else Fails

…then give the poor sod a chance.

I know, I know.

I said this would help you not fall in love but if you read this hoping not to fall for a certain someone, I really feel giving them a chance is easier and less ulcer-inducing. You might crash and burn but as yucky as the thought is, you just might find a good thing.

Disclaimer: This article doesn’t take itself too seriously so if you do, the joke’s on you.

Did I piss you off or make you laugh? Good. Either way, check out Is True Love Calibrated by Its Unfortunateness and 13 Lessons I Have Learned on My Writing Journey

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Ifeanacho MaryAnn

Storyteller, Long Distance Cat Mom. A quiet voice rambling in an isolated corner of the internet. I write on psychology, films, books and my random thoughts