My First Real Boyfriend Was Unemployed, but That Wasn’t Why We Broke Up

August 23, 2022

Like me, you probably come across the “never dating a broke babe or guy” conversation at least once a day on social media. But I was curious about how someone who’s actually had an unemployed partner feels about that hot take. In this article, Dolapo* shares her experience. 

She opened up about the first real relationship she had after university. Initially, it was all about looks, but the night they finally hung out, Dolapo* realised there was a lot more to his pretty face. My burning question: What kept them together, and would she do it all over again even though their relationship didn’t last?

My Cute, Resilient and Broke Lover as Told to Ortega

I was 21 when I got into my first official relationship. Before meeting this person, I was in university, so I’d only dated childhood friends, nothing serious. 

We met when I was in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 2016. I was working at a radio station in Abuja, and he showed up looking for a job at the time. When I saw him at the reception, my immediate thought was, “This guy is cute!” I noticed he was wearing a Catholic rosary ring, but he looked way too young to be married. Rather than stand and stare, I decided to walk up to him and ask. 

Turned out he wasn’t married; he wore the ring because of his faith. The conversation went on with how I liked him and thought he was really cute. I wasn’t the kind of girl to shy away from being upfront, so it wasn’t awkward. 

When he was done submitting his files, I asked my colleague for his phone number. My colleague was a presenter at the station trying to link my new crush with a job, and he didn’t think it was weird to shoot my shot if I liked him. I called that evening and invited him to my house the next day. Of course, we already had a vibe going on, so he showed up. 

RELATED: 7 Hilarious Ways Nigerian Women Shoot Their Shots

We shared a lot more about each other when he came over. He was only four years older than me. But that’s when he opened up about being laid over from his job at the bank nine months earlier and had been looking for a new one ever since. The 21-year-old me didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, my previous relationships were with students who were also unemployed. Maybe it would’ve made a difference if I’d dated proper adults with a job back in uni. 

Besides, I just wanted to have fun. I didn’t think anything would last since I’d be moving back to Lagos at the end of my service year. 

I can’t even remember at what point we officially started dating, everything happened fast. That one evening he came over turned into seeing him every day after work, and that was it. He showed up at my office a lot because he was keen on working at that particular station as a presenter. When I asked him why he wanted to move from banking to presenting, he went on about experiencing something more creative. And you don’t need to have a specific background to get into a radio station, so I didn’t dwell on it.

Of course, he also wanted our relationship hush hush so it didn’t ruin his chances of getting in. But in the whole year, we were together, he never got the job. While we dated, I tried persuading him to try another station. But, he was bent on famzing my colleagues, hoping they’d pull one or two strings. 

RELATED: “My Life Ended When I started NYSC” — A Week In The Life Of A Tired Youth Corps Member

Asides from the issue of getting a job, I did enjoy spending time with him. He was nice, funny, and obviously, cute. We knew how to have fun together too. The sex was also so great I’m sure we wouldn’t have made it through an entire year of dating otherwise. A part of me loved how available he was. Working at a media company meant I had really long days except during CDS. We didn’t even observe public holidays because we always had to be on air. So, it was convenient having someone who could easily visit me. 

His availability became an issue when working in a busy environment meant I couldn’t always take his calls or respond to a message quickly enough.  His typical day was calling me in the morning, sending texts during the day and showing up at my house between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., depending on how long I’m at the office. Trying to match that energy all the time got tiring after a few months. Yet, I needed the company because I didn’t have a lot of friends in Abuja.

We never celebrated milestones in our relationship. Six months went by without any date out or gifts, and so did our first anniversary. But the major issue was depending on my NYSC allowance to buy food for both of us anytime he came over. I never brought it up though. I understood he relied on his savings from his bank job and allowance from his older brother. 

There was never anyone to think through the situation with. I didn’t see the need to share it with my old friends. It was just him and I in our little bubble. And that worked for me at 21. I didn’t need much more than the comfort of having someone to talk to, laugh and enjoy intimacy with after a long day. That’s why everything needed to end when it was time to move back to Lagos. 

NYSC was over. The carefree life in Abuja needed to come to an end. There was no way a long-distance relationship could work because what was going for us was the physical presence; his fine face was my first attraction and the sex was what kept us together. Without the ability to see each other at every whim, there wasn’t much left.

RELATED: How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship as a Nigerian Man

I geared myself to break up with him, but he beat me to it. I guess he knew the end was inevitable. I was glad he took that responsibility away from me, but I was sad, really sad. The last time I heard from him, he’d finally gotten a job. But it was with one of the shitty radio stations in Abuja. He actually moved to Lagos this year, so we jam sometimes. But our conversations never go beyond a “hello” or “hi”.

Nothing about the year I spent dating him makes me feel like I can ever date an unemployed guy. I’ve never relied on anyone for anything, but I’d still want my partner to actively look out for jobs or at least start a business. That was something he never did at the time. He was stuck on one thing, and that’s not how life works.

Heck, the guy I started dating a year after our breakup, currently doesn’t have a job because he’s relocating soon and had to resign. That’s the kind of unemployed love that eventually works out. We’re both pulling our weight for a better future, so the momentary delay doesn’t matter.

ALSO READ: 6 Women on the Burden of Being Breadwinners in Their Families

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