“I Was Miserable AF” — Nigerian Men Talk About Leaving Toxic Relationships

January 18, 2022

We all know building relationships can be hard AF, but you know what’s more difficult? Walking away from a relationship you’ve invested your time and energy in. Spanning across romance, career and friendships, et cetera, these men finally walked away from relationships that weren’t serving them anymore. Here are their stories:

Priye, 28 

I was involved with a woman for far too long who was carrying a lot of emotional baggage from her past. She refused to take responsibility for anything and would always find a way to blame or make me feel small whenever we had issues. I subconsciously started feeling that because I’m the man, any bump in our relationship was my fault. I was deeply insecure and all her words just kept eating at me untill I felt empty. Why did I stay? I can’t tell if it’s because I truly loved her or maybe it’s because I felt unloved as a child and this was the only version I knew, either way, it wasn’t healthy. 

I eventually started seeing a therapist who helped me realise that my desperate need to be loved was blinding me from my current reality. I needed to fix myself first because the truth is, If I don’t respect and love myself, how do I expect someone else to do the same? I applied for jobs outside Abuja and eventually moved to Port Harcourt because I knew if we stayed in the same city, I wouldn’t be able to break up with her for good. 

Kaodili, 22

As a gay man, having homophobic parents is one of the worst things that could ever happen to you. All my life, my parents have told me that I was a mistake, an abomination. From the moment I had consciousness, I knew I was gay and to be honest, I think my parents figured it out too. I remember my mum hitting me at the slightest chance she got. I was miserable AF. My dad, on the other hand, was too disgusted to even pretend to care. He just acted like I didn’t exist. The weird thing is that they weren’t even religious. The world hating you is one thing, but having your parents treat you like shit? Man, it hits differently. 

I eventually got into university in the East, far away from them. It was the first time I felt some sense of peace and belonging, especially as I found my tribe in the school. I haven’t been home since I left and honestly, I don’t think they care. I graduate in July and once that is over, I’m moving to Lagos with my friends. I used to want my parents’  approval and love, but now I know I deserve to be surrounded by people who truly see me. As for my parents,  they can choke. 

Wole, 33

My work is my life. I know it’s a sad thing to say, but I honestly can’t imagine my life without two large-ass desktops facing me daily. It took me three years post-university to get a permanent job that I liked. I had sent over 1,000 CVs and prayed like crazy, but nothing was happening for me. I finally got a job and while I loved what I was doing there, my boss made my life a living hell. 

I remember I would wake up every day, scared shitless just thinking about what she’d do next. She would walk in like a dementor and just suck out all the air from the room. It was her man’s company, so no one dared complain about the names she’d call us or the crazy tasks she’d assign. I didn’t want to rejoin the unemployment streets so I sucked it up for as long as I could until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I resigned, and about a month later, I saw people dragging her on Twitter. It felt good to know I wasn’t crazy. 

TK, 27

You know those friends who make fun of you whenever people are around, and then gaslight you into thinking you’re overreacting? I had a friend just like that in my early twenties. He was the clown of the group, so everyone knew Jammal was funny AF. Being funny is one thing; being a funny asshole is a whole nother thing. He had this annoying habit of pointing out my flaws in front of other people, sometimes, even strangers. He would joke about my weight, my boring job, the fact that I lived on the mainland and just really petty things. He was a bully. 

Whenever I pointed out that I wasn’t a fan of what he was saying, he would turn it around and make himself the victim, and make everyone look at me like I was a killjoy. The last straw was the day he made fun of my mum after my dad left us for another woman. The beating I gave him that day? Lord have mercy. It was brutal but deeply satisfying. You don’t talk shit about people’s mums. I still see him around town and he’s still terrified, which makes me feel good. 

Hector, 35

I recently got a divorce and it’s still very hard for me to talk about it. We were married for seven years, and if I’m being honest, the first five were the best years of my life. As we got older, we just started to grow distant and it wasn’t anyone’s fault — life happens. The problem was that instead of finding a way to fix the obvious gap in our relationship, we pretended like it wasn’t there because we didn’t want to lose each other. But you can only pretend to be happy for so long before it becomes resentment. Over time, we just started treating each other like shit. We were both mean and I just hope our children didn’t notice any of it. 

We eventually saw a therapist and after a while, we realised we’d be happier apart. I hate that it took us this long and that we let the fear of “what if” mess up our marriage. Sometimes, there’s nothing left to save. I still love her and we’re great friends now, but I’m truly glad we split . If not for us, then for our kids.

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