Marriage pacts only exist in Hollywood movies. Or so I thought until I came across this tweet.

So I reached out to Clara, who explained that even though people think she and her best friend, Timi, are holding out for each other, the idea behind the pact is much different. But why make the pact, and what does it really mean to them?

This is Clara’s story, as told to Boluwatife

Image: Chris F via Pexels

I met Timi in 2015, when we were in SS 2 of the same secondary school. But we didn’t really consider each other as friends.

We started talking when our school set up extra lessons to pump our class with as much knowledge as possible for the coming Cambridge IGCSE exams. This happened over a two-month period between August and September.

He used to sit behind me during prep period, and at first, we only talked about the lessons. In fact, he’s the reason I know mathematics today. He sucked at English, which I was great at, but was better at maths. It was a help-me-I-help-you situation. 

Our relationship didn’t progress past classmates till we went home for a two-week break after the Cambridge extra lessons. We got each other’s numbers from the school’s group chat, and would randomly chat. Timi had this friend I liked, so I was trying to confirm with him whether his friend liked me too.

We resumed SS 3 in October and bonded over him trying to help me get together with his friend — classic Hollywood rubbish — and still assisting each other to prepare for exams. I helped him with essays and biology, and he helped me with stuff like matrix and coding. We also read together in the library. The exams came in November, and it was stressful. Not everyone wrote the Cambridge exams, so it became a shared experience we could talk and complain to each other about.

I later quit trying to date his friend because I started liking someone else. And that’s when it became apparent that Timi and I were friends beyond me trying to date his friend. We’d even stopped talking about the guy at that time. We’d started talking about how different our lives would be in a year, when we’d leave for university in other countries. He was to leave for Canada, and I, the UK. We soon left school for Christmas break and kept in touch.

On Christmas Day 2015, we officially agreed to be friends. My mum’s boyfriend decided to take her, my sister and I to a Chinese restaurant that day. It was strange because we typically spent Christmas at home; I’m usually lukewarm to the season.

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I texted Timi about it; something like, “You’re a new person in my life, so maybe that’s why I’m doing something new for Christmas.” He asked where we went because his family also went out. I mentioned the place, and it turned out he was also there. What are the odds that we were at the same place at the same time? We met at the reception and spoke for a while. Then he said it was the first time he’d see someone outside school and actually be happy to meet them. I said, “At this point, we’re actually friends”. It was the first time we mentioned being friends.

Our relationship became even better after that. We spent more time together, and on December 31, he went, “Now that we’re friends, I hope to have you in my life every last day of the year”.

The moment I started thinking of Timi as my best friend was when he did something for me that no one else had ever done. There was this book I was reading in the library, “Her Mother’s Hope” by Francine Rivers. It had about a thousand pages, and I couldn’t finish it in one go because I only had a three-hour library time. It was also popular among library goers; people used to rush it. This guy actually hid the book somewhere only I’d find it in the library. He did that until I finished reading it. It was so thoughtful that he considered my enjoyment. 

For him, he started thinking of me as his best friend when I showed him my appendectomy scar in school. I just found that out when he mentioned it during an interview we had with my friend Jojo in February 2023 — for a friendship-inspired Valentine’s blog. It was the first time someone did a story about our friendship.

Leaving secondary school was an emotional period because we thought we’d never see each other again. He left for Canada soon after, but I delayed my UK plan and went to a university in Nigeria instead. We kept in touch with calls and texts, but our friendship affected some of our other relationships because we were young and didn’t understand how our closeness could make other people feel a type of way. 

One of my exes didn’t understand why I’d drop everything once it was time to jump on a call with Timi. To me, it was “Timi time”. One of his exes also asked him to choose between me and her. He chose me, and that’s how wahala started; she left. I think we were just excited about being each other’s person. I learnt how to be a friend through Timi. I had no real understanding of friendship before him.

After 2016, when he left for Canada, we didn’t see each other again till 2018. It was a tough year for both of us. Timi was going through mental health issues; finding his feet in a new environment wasn’t easy. My boyfriend at the time had just passed away in a car accident. Our shared grief brought us together again. Timi flew to Nigeria because he didn’t want me to bury my dead alone. I still remember hugging him for the longest time, and looking at him, happy I could touch him again. 

By 2021, I was in my last semester at university and decided I wanted to be a hoe. The thing is, I’m not good at relationships. Neither is Timi. But it’s not because we’re holding out for each other, as people assume. I have some very unorthodox “doctrines”. For example, I believe you should be able to confirm from a potential partner’s ex whether the person they’re a good partner or not. I know I’m a good partner, but I don’t know what it is. We just don’t tend to date people for a long time.

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When I decided to be a hoe, I had a series of short flings with about seven people within a span of six months. I talked to Timi about how I was about to leave yet another fling, and he said he’d just left someone too and that he didn’t know if something was wrong with him because the girl was nice. I joked about us possibly losing our future spouses due to our unseriousness. He said he wasn’t worried because if, in the end, we didn’t marry, we’d just marry each other. It was just a joke at the time, but we kept reaffirming it and even told friends. What people don’t get is that, it’s not a thing of surrender. It’s our way of telling ourselves we’d never truly be alone because we’ll always have each other. 

I know many people, even many of our friends, will never believe we’re just friends. We don’t mention the pact to potential partners because we’ve learned from how we handled our friendship in past relationships, and I try not to present him as a threat. It’s not like we’re hiding the pact — obviously, it’s viral now — but we downtone it in respect of the other people in our lives. 

My mum thinks I’m wasting my time and should just marry someone who understands my on-and-off nature. She thinks my relationships don’t last because I’m unconsciously saving myself for him and that when we’re done being children, we’d marry. But we’re not just settling for each other. We’d only marry if it’s in the cards and the stars align.

My friendship with Timi is one of the strongest relationships I have right now. We have calls that last till midnight, where we’d talk about everything and anything. 

Have I ever thought about what it’d be like if we were actually together? Yes, but I always give myself a reality check. I’m in the UK now — he’s still in Canada — and I’m not a long-distance relationship girl. I don’t see the need to ask if he’s thought about the possibility of a relationship because it’ll unnecessarily put us both in an uncomfortable position and might ruin the best thing that’s ever happened to me. 

Why ruin this good thing all because of “Does he love me? Will it work?” questions? I don’t know if he’s ever entertained such thoughts, but I know I don’t need to prod him into any romantic situation. If it’ll happen, it’ll happen. We’re both 23 and single now, so we have seven years till we’re 30, to do magic and find someone.

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