Nigerian men have had their fair share of bad relationships. For this article, I was particularly interested in finding out the moment they realised they deserved better and walked away. I asked a few people, and this is what they said.
“This person was stealing my joy, and I couldn’t stand for that”
— Tobi*, 27
I’m typically a happy-go-lucky person; I like to have fun and enjoy life, and I like to spend time with my family and friends. But the person I was dating at one time was sapping all my joy and taking more away from me than they were giving.
Over time, I realised I wasn’t happy in the relationship. At some point, it hit me that I was spending a lot of time with this person because they liked quality time, but they were not making me happy. It didn’t make sense. We were quarrelling constantly. Then, we had this big fight that finally made us call off the relationship. They reached out to me to get back together, but I realised I deserved better, and I was comfortable and happy being single.
“I hustled and worked hard so that we could both be happy, and that’s how I became her ATM”
— Henry*, 25
The last relationship I was in lasted four years. I was a foolish lover boy. When we started dating, she called me broke. She made subtle comments about the fact that I didn’t have money. Because of that, I hustled and worked hard for two years so that we could both be happy. Then, my new nickname became ATM. She had access to my debit card and she’d spend as much as she liked while I was working my ass off. The moment I realised that I deserved better was when my eyes cleared, and it hit me that the feelings I had for this woman were one-sided. She never made any effort towards the relationship; it was always about money. When I had money, she’d be all over me, spending it anyhow she liked. When I became temporarily broke, she’d begin to drop hints about not wanting to be with a broke man. I was putting my best foot forward in the relationship and trying to be my best for her, but she didn’t care. When I realised that was the kind of person she was and she wasn’t going to change, I walked away.
“My friend asked why I was putting all my effort and feelings into someone who obviously didn’t like me”
I wasn’t in a relationship with this person, but we were in the talking stage for a bit. When we first started talking, her energy was always on and off. Sometimes, she’d be very chatty with me; other times, she’d give me one-word replies after ignoring for a while. I just assumed this was because she had a demanding job in the IT industry. This was also the reason we cancelled on dates quite a lot. When we finally went on a date, I went straight to the point and told her about my feelings for her and where I wanted our relationship to go. Then she talked about this guy she had been seeing recently who had just relocated to the US. She said we could still try for a relationship to see where it went.
After spending a lot of time together, texting, calling, and sharing car rides to work (her car had issues at some point), I finally decided to ask her to be my girlfriend. She gave me the same answer she gave at the beginning of our first date. After that, I just decided to back off. I was heartbroken. I told her I’d need some distance from her, which meant I couldn’t pick her up and drop her off at work and home. But she guilt-tripped me into continuing by making me feel bad and promising me her car would be fixed soon. She knew how much I liked her. During the car rides, she would act like she liked me, so my feelings for her intensified instead of going away.
I realised I deserved better when a friend of mine was in the car with us one day. After we dropped her off, my friend asked why I was putting all my effort and feelings into someone who obviously didn’t like me. I explained the whole situation, and my friend told me to drop her immediately, that I was wasting my time, and I deserved much better.
“The lack of communication and reciprocity on her side was what I couldn’t stand”
— Tunde*, 25
I had been receiving the barest minimum from my girlfriend for about five months. I was always the one who had to call and text for long periods without a response or feedback. When I got one, it was an excuse about being busy with work. We both had 9-5s, and it had recently become a long-distance relationship.
The funny part is, I started working first, and she was on my neck to always keep in touch despite my schedule. Her turn came, and all I got was radio silence. The lack of communication and reciprocity on her side was what I couldn’t stand. But I didn’t know how bad it was till a friend of mine asked me about her, and I told him everything. Doing that helped me realise that I was being shortchanged. I was like, “Is this really me?” That’s when I realised I was doing too much for nothing, and I ended the relationship.
“My ex constantly reminded me in every way possible that I didn’t have the kind of money she wanted”
— Emeka*, 29
My ex constantly reminded me in every way possible that I didn’t have the kind of money she wanted. She was the first daughter of her family, so there was a lot of pressure on her to take care of her siblings. I understood that, and I tried my best for her. But no matter what I gave her, it wasn’t enough. Aside from the family pressure, I think she was generally greedy. One time, she told me I gave her the least amount of money for her birthday. I can’t even begin to describe how badly that statement hurt.
The moment I knew I deserved better was when she cheated. When I questioned her, she told me nothing happened, and that she and the man she went to see just laid on the bed. She didn’t even make an effort to lie to me properly.