Japa Incompatibility: The effect of migration on dating and romance

When God has joined together, japa can put asunder.

Japa has served breakfast many times [GettyImages]

Japa is Yoruba slang which means 'to run away' and it has become a popular speak amongst young Nigerians who are either migrating out of the country in droves or making plans to. The harsh economic realities of the country are sending young people packing to Canada, the United Kingdom, European countries and even other African countries.

Besides the obvious brain drain, one of the most interesting effects of this has been the impact on dating and relationships.

Richard and Annabel had a loving relationship until she decided to travel to Canada for her Masters. They did not immediately cut it off because they were in love, but they soon got tired of time zones - when one person is sleeping the other is going through their day and for there to be any form of communication, one of them has to be sleep deprived.

Plus, we cannot forget the absence of any form of physical contact except any videos calls and sexting. Richard had no plans to relocate to Canada, he loved his job in Nigeria because of that the relationship felt like a waste of time, it was promptly ended.

Richard’s story is similar to that of many other Nigerians who had to end their relationship because one of them was travelling to another country, and the other person doesn’t want to go or can't go even if they wanted to.

This means dating nowadays has become dicier because this new japa compatibilty phenomenon now adds to the customary genotype, family, financial and even spiritual compatibility tests that people would have to consider before taking a relationship seriously.

Nowadays, single people who are looking for relationships have to ask, “Do you want to leave the country? Where? When?”

Now to the elephant in the room: Long distance relationships

What remains is the ever-relevant question, do long distance relationships work? Well, I know people in long-distance marriages.

Derin and Made met online. Derin was at an age where he was desperate to get married and after being served hot breakfast (heartbreak) for years, he was happy to meet Made who was just perfect for him.

The only issue was she lived in the US but that didn't stop their budding romance. After dating for a year, Derin and Made got married.

For three years, their marriage has been long distance - they even have a kid. It just involves a lot of travel and flights. Why did he do that? Well, Made simply felt perfect even though he still has no plans to move to the US.

So maybe an intercontinental relationship or marriage is possible?

Nigerians are facing a migration crisis nearing refugee proportions and one low-key consequence of this is that many relationships will be torn apart and many hearts will be broken - it is already happening.

If you meet any person whose genotype is AS, they are quick to ask if you are AS too once they feel they are catching any feelings.

If you know you want to Japa or leave the country and you do not want to do long distance, save yourself the stress of dating before you meet someone you really like but you have to say goodbye - except you are willing to change your life plans for them.

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