I originally wanted to talk to atheists, but I decided to talk to irreligious Nigerians in general about what dating in Nigeria is like for them.

Here’s what they had to say:

Bisi, 27, Agnostic

I’ve been with the same person for eight years. I’m agnostic, and he’s an atheist. I’ve been “agnostic” since I was 11, but I had periods of intense Christianity up until I was about 19.

I care that he’s not religious because that was a major thing for me when I picked my partner.

I was having my cycles of agnosticism and religiosity when we met, but I knew that I didn’t want a “God-fearing” man. I used to go to church when we started dating, and he’d go with me even though he was an atheist.

Lare, 25, Atheist

Being irreligious has affected my love life. I don’t bother trying to pursue relationships with actively religious people because my atheism has reached a place where it’s a bad idea. I can’t even pretend that I’m still deciding anymore.

Before, I did not care if the person I was with was religious, but now it’s in everyone’s best interest that I find someone that doesn’t mind when I call a pastor stupid.

I used to think it was hard to find irreligious people, but it’s not that hard with the internet.

My ex said she had to break up with me because her mum read her a Bible verse that said you cannot be unequally yoked. After all, what does righteousness have to do with unrighteousness, and what does light have to do with darkness?

Lasobo, 26, Irreligious

I’m irreligious, and the only babe I’ve met that is like me is queer.

I don’t care if my partner is religious or not, but I prefer religious women, as long as they’re not overly religious. I believe in God or a higher power, and a part of me wants to believe in a religion. I think being with someone religious might help me find and settle in religion. 

Religion was a major reason my ex and I broke up. Apart from her, I don’t remember meeting any woman that stopped talking to me after finding out I was irreligious.

Sogie, 22, Atheist

Being irreligious hasn’t really affected my love life. My first ex wasn’t a serious Christian, and the second one was irreligious.

When I became irreligious, my first ex used to look at me like “you just don’t believe in anything?”, but it didn’t affect our relationship.

I don’t think I mind being with a religious person as long as they respect that I’m irreligious and I respect their religion. I’m currently talking to a Christian, and things are getting serious.

Jai, 22, Irreligious

Dating for me honestly hasn’t been all that bad. I think the fact that I’m queer helps. I guess a lot of us aren’t religious.

There have been instances where I got involved with religious people, but it never worked out. They were always either trying to invite me for a service or actively trying to win my soul for Christ. Sometimes they say they’re okay with me being irreligious, but it later becomes a problem. 

There are times I also think I can overlook it, but it generally gets tiring for me. Always having to watch what you say around your partner because you might offend them and their beliefs is exhausting.

But dating in general? I’ll give it a 7/10. I either live in a bubble or have just been lucky, because somehow I mostly meet other irreligious people like me.

Toyin, 26, Apatheist

It is extremely difficult to meet other irreligious people because of my conservative nature. People mistake my apathy towards religions with me living a wild life of freedom and liberties.

I don’t care if my partner is religious or not. I care about their ability to see me for what I am and how I treat others. Also, the fact that my actions and decisions are not hurting anybody.

I’m presently single, but my past relationships were heavily damaged by religious differences. My first relationship ended because of religious differences.

Victor, 26, Atheist

Being an atheist in Nigeria means no partner for you. I’ve been an atheist for 3 years, and I’ve not been in a relationship since I became an atheist.

Someone even stopped being my friend because I don’t believe in God.

It’s hard to meet other irreligious people in real life, but the internet bridges the gap.

I’ve not really been dating. A lot of people’s response is to try to change me. They want me to repent. Someone told me that I only became irreligious because I love fornication.

It doesn’t matter much to me if my partner is religious or not, but I’ll rather date someone like me.

Gabriel, 29, Agnostic

Navigating the dating scene as an irreligious person isn’t as complicated as one would expect. 

I have never set out to look for irreligious people, I just know that I don’t want to be with a spiri coco. 

I only ever meet overly religious people on social media. Most of the religious people I have been with just want to go to church and come back, and that’s fine. As irreligious as I am, I am open to having those conversations as long as you’re not trying to convert me or judge me.

I’m agnostic, and I get why certain people are religious. I guess it’s why I’m not averse to being with them.

Blue, 23, Agnostic

A major criterion for me when picking a partner is that they should not be overly religious.

Dating as an irreligious person is difficult. Most people automatically assume you’re a devilish person without morals just because you’re not religious, or they want to date you so they can convert you.

It is exhausting. You might find a partner who doesn’t mind that you’re not religious, but it eventually becomes a problem.

I broke up with my previous partner because even though she wasn’t overly Christian and didn’t mind that I was agnostic, I knew that she would want to pull me into religion over time. I just decided to end it instead of waiting for things to get there.

I respect people’s right to be religious, so I remove myself from situations where they may want to attempt converting me.

Most people just cannot comprehend that you don’t want anything to do with religion. They tell you that you haven’t found the right church or whatever.

On top of it all, I’m a queer African woman, and religion has never loved my kind of people.



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