Sunken Ships is a Zikoko series that explores the how and why of the end of all relationships — familial, romantic or just good old friendships.
The subject of this week’s Sunken Ships is Mercy* (26). She tells us how she had to suppress her bad bitch life because of her ex, Olamide* (28). He didn’t like that she was always outside and knew so many rich people.
How did you meet?
Mercy: Olamide and I met in 2020 at a small New Year’s Eve party. Since the COVID restrictions weren’t completely lifted, it was an invite-only party, but we could all bring plus one’s. He was his friend’s plus one. So there was one guy who kept trying to talk to me. I just grabbed Olamide randomly, and pretended he was my boyfriend. Luckily for me, he went along with it and the other guy bought it. That’s how we started talking that night.
He looked harmless, so I just stayed with him. He told me about anime, tech, crypto, and all the other stuff he was interested in. I wasn’t really into any of that, but he spoke with so much passion that I listened. Plus, he was kind of funny. I had a good time. Towards the end of the party, we exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch. We did.
Mercy: We texted as often as we could and even planned to meet up. What really drew me to him was how different he is from the kind of guys and girls I usually date. Because of the kind of work I do, I’m used to people who want to be as public as possible because of collaboration opportunities and other stuff. He, on the other hand, was a banker who loved to watch anime and read books. A good time for him was indoors just chilling. It was refreshing, and he quickly became a safe space for me for when outside became a little too much.
So what happened next?
Mercy: The first time we went on a date was a week or so after the party. It was to a lovely restaurant I’d been to a couple of times. He said he wanted to impress me, and I thought it was cute. I got there before him because I lived closer to the place, so while I waited, the waiter told me someone bought me a bottle of wine. I’d already had about two glasses when Olamide arrived.
We talked a bit, ate some really good food and even drank the wine together. When the bill came and he asked why the wine wasn’t on the bill, the waiter informed him that it was paid for by someone else. He got upset that I shared a drink with him bought by another man on our date, but I apologised, and he let it go.
Did things like that happen often?
Mercy: Random people buying me stuff? Yes. I won’t say I’m the prettiest girl in Lagos, because babes dey, but I can hold my own. Plus, people with money just like to impress. I didn’t grow up rich, but I grew up around rich people, so I had a lot of connections and certain doors opened for me because of this. I’ve gotten used to being around people who flaunt their money hoping it’ll get something from whoever. But it’s usually because they have nothing else to offer. I take the money or gifts because it’ll make them feel good about themselves, and I get to spend less. Win for everybody.
How did Olamide feel about this?
Mercy: Oh, he hated it. Before we started dating in April 2021, I tried to hide it from him as much as possible. I chalked up most of the perks to being a part of my job but didn’t go into details.
What changed after you started dating?
Mercy: I couldn’t hide the real sources of the gifts any longer. It’s not like I didn’t try, but dating meant we spent a lot of time together, and he got to see what my life was really like — parties, gifts, mini and not-so-mini celebrities and a lot of other things. I tried my best to make him feel as involved as possible, but he made it very clear that it wasn’t his thing and I should just have fun. At first, it wasn’t a problem. I’d text him while I was out and sometimes call him when I get back. Sometimes, I’d go out from his place so he could watch me get ready. When I return, he’d help me take off my makeup and clothes, and we’d cuddle till I fall asleep.
I also stopped accepting every invitation to every event. Being with him made the world stop moving at 1.5x speed. We’d order food in and take turns watching romantic comedies and the anime and thrillers he liked. The first couple of months into the relationship were great.
When did it stop being so great?
Mercy: I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but I know my birthday in September was a disaster. It wasn’t because of anything he did, but because of everything else that happened. At this point, we’d basically moved into my place together because it was bigger and closer to where he worked.
So on my birthday, he wanted us to have a sit-down dinner at home. He’d cook, we’d dance to some songs from the speaker and do a marathon of movies I’ve been meaning to see. I loved the idea. I hadn’t spent my birthday indoors in about three years, so I was excited. It was a Friday, so he got home earlier than he usually does and met several boxes and bags of stuff in the house. People had gotten me a lot of gifts. Hair, money towers, expensive perfumes, clothes, etc. He didn’t say anything, but with each delivery I got, he got quieter. During dinner and after, my phone kept ringing and buzzing from notifications. I had to turn it off at some point.
The next day, my friends were throwing a birthday thing for me at the club, and he’d agreed to come, but he suddenly changed his mind. He said he wouldn’t feel comfortable there, and I didn’t rate him as much as I did my club and party friends. I was upset he’d think that because I’d turned down so many requests to hang out on my birthday just so I could spend time with him.
I went to the club alone and tried to have fun, but I kept thinking of how sad he must’ve been. When I texted, he didn’t reply. I called, he didn’t pick up. I couldn’t face him, so I told him I won’t be coming home and spent the weekend at my friend’s place.
How did you guys move on from that?
Mercy: I don’t think we really did. I went back to the place on Monday and tried to cheer him up with a gift I got him. It was a sweater of one of the animes he likes, but he barely acknowledged the gift. He just said he wasn’t upset and we just continued living together.
I kept trying to keep things from him to prevent him from getting upset, but that backfired because it made him think I was cheating on him.
Mercy: Not at all, but he thought everyone was a suspect. Whenever I mentioned hanging out with a girl or sleeping over at hers, he’d get pretty defensive and angry about it. He even tried to stop me from going out a couple of times, even when he knew they were work outings.
At a point, my friend got involved and staged an intervention for me. She told me that he knew the kind of person I was before he started dating me, and I did all I possibly could to reassure him. It wasn’t fair that I was the one making all the sacrifices and walking around eggshells because I didn’t want to upset him. She rounded it up by saying I was too much of a bad bitch for him so he either had to get with the program or get out.
Damn. That’s a lot
Mercy: Yeah, she’s kind of intense. Would you believe that I didn’t even break up with him after her pep talk? It wasn’t until November ending that I found out he was cheating on me with one of his coworkers.
How did you find out?
Mercy: I needed his phone for a video I was making and she texted. I went through their replies and I was wrecked. I threw him out of my house, blocked him everywhere, and I haven’t been in contact with him since then.
Wow. Any regrets?
Mercy: That I allowed myself change so much for him. Sure, staying indoors is nice and fun, but I chose my line of work because I like to be outside. I like to shake my ass and have fun with my friends. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t like that. It’s too much of an important part of my life.