For many young Nigerians, especially those with strict parents, moving out and gaining your freedom may be the only legit thing to look forward to in adulting.

But what happens when, for whatever reason, you have to move back in with your parents after getting a taste of freedom? And no, I’m not referring to the fake one where you move out for university but your parents still foot your bills. 

I’m talking about moving back in after you’ve lived in the real world on your own. Are there changes to the relationship dynamics? I asked five people who’ve experienced this, and got interesting responses.

“I’m this close to breaking down”

— Fatima*, 29

I got separated from my abusive husband around December 2021 and moved back in with my parents (I’m still with them). My dad has been really supportive — he was the one who encouraged me to choose my life over marriage — but my mum is a whole other issue.

She doesn’t outrightly say anything, but I can tell she wishes I’d stayed with my husband. She’s steady dropping passive-aggressive hints. I work from home, so I’m always with her too. If I stay in the study for more than 30 minutes, she’ll start murmuring about how she’s the only one caring for the house, or how idle hands always cause trouble.

I’m honestly tired. I’m currently trying to save up as much as possible to rent my own place before I lose my mind. 

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“I feel closer to my parents”

— Daniel*, 32

I moved back in with my parents four months ago, after I was forcibly kicked out of my apartment because I owed rent. I had just lost my job, and finance was really tight. I struggled to share it with my parents, but they eventually found out and basically forced me to move back home.

I thought it’d be awkward, but it’s actually been great. My parents relate with me like friends — I guess this is because I’m now an adult — and they respect my space. I’m slowly getting my finances together and should get another place soon, but it’s not been bad.

“They respect me more”

— Olaedo*, 27

I moved back in with my parents in 2020 just before the lockdown, because I wanted to spend that period with them. The short stay eventually became somewhat permanent when I got laid off, and I eventually got another job close to my parent’s house in 2021.

I’ve noticed that they respect me more. They don’t police my decisions, and they seek out my input on important matters. The only side effect is, my mum wants me to get married tomorrow.

“Black tax wants to kill me”

— Gifty*, 26

I decided not to renew my rent in 2021 because my roommate got married, and I couldn’t afford it by myself. So, I had the bright idea to move back in with my parents and cut costs for a while. 

Omo, it’s hard. My parents see me as an adult, which is true, but it means they expect me to provide for the house. I know I’m supposed to help out, but not to this extent, biko. Plus, I have younger siblings. Do the math.

“I feel like a part of their marriage”

— Dayo*, 27

I returned to Nigeria in April [2022] after spending six years in the UK, and decided to stay with my parents for a while.

It’s cool and all, but it suddenly made me realise their marriage isn’t as perfect as I thought it was. Now when they have issues, they take turns reporting each other to me, expecting me to take a side. I guess they feel like I’m old enough to take it, but I’d rather not be involved.

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*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.