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.
Esther* (23) talks us through what she labels the worst relationship of her life so far. He constantly tried to get her to lose weight, got her pregnant and ignored her feelings during the abortion process.
How did you meet?
Esther: Meeting Osas* was very random. It happened in April 2019 in my department while I was waiting for my class to start. He struck up a conversation with me. He had political ambition in school so he talked to a lot of people to get his name recognised when the elections rolled around.
During our conversation, he found out I liked to write and apparently so did he. He wasn’t completely senseless so I wanted to have more conversations with him. At that time, he fit into what I wanted in a partner physically. He was tall, had pink lips and he also dressed very well.
We had similar interests and he looked good so when he asked, I gave him my number.
Did you talk often?
Esther: Yes we did, and whenever we did, we had really long conversations. He even started coming to see me in the hostel I stayed in on campus.
I enjoyed the visits, but sometimes he’d make comments about my weight and how I should try to lose weight. He even offered to take me to the gym once. I found it interesting that he was always talking about my weight but he kept touching me and trying to sleep with me.
Eventually, after weeks of coming to my hostel, he asked when I would reciprocate and see him too. He said he wouldn’t come again until I came over and I decided to pay him a visit.
How did seeing him go?
Esther: My first red flag about how uncaring he is should have been how he treated me. I didn’t feel like a guest. He told me I could take the yoghurt if I wanted and didn’t even try to offer me water. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have left, but I was attracted to him and I enjoyed whatever attention it was he gave to me, so I stayed.
He was touching my breasts and kissing me, but I knew it wouldn’t go farther than that because I was 19 and hadn’t sex with anyone before. I didn’t want that time to be my first.
But he was
Esther: That visit triggered more visits and on the second visit, we had sex. All my friends were having it and I was attracted to him, so I just thought to do it. It was bland and just there because it was my first but with the way sex was discussed all the time, I expected more from it. We started having sex a lot more often and it got better along the line. I was fine with just having sex with him casually, but he kept putting the idea of a relationship in my head.
How was he doing that?
Esther: He was always talking about how we’d be as a couple, but he was hesitant to ask me out. His excuse was that he didn’t have time because as a politician, he was so busy. Mind you, this boy was 20. I found that excuse extra funny because he had time to have sex with me and call me will that time vanish if we dated?
One day in August, after having sex, we had a conversation about our “relationship”. He told me that being in a relationship was entirely up to me and so I guess that’s how we became a thing.
What was being with him like?
Esther: The relationship is what I would now refer to as toxic. But then I didn’t think of it as that. It was a completely sexual relationship. We barely did anything other than sex. He stayed off campus so I would visit very often and in all of those visits we just kept having sex. No real care for my feelings. He would barely call as per “I’m busy” but when he’s horny he would call. What offended me is that he could have simply told me all he wanted was sex and I most likely would have agreed and then not invest my emotions.
All he did in that relationship apart from have sex with me was complain about how fat I was. He complained so badly to me that I started to take slimming pills. That’s one thing I hated so much about the relationship; the way I lost myself. Normally, I’m vocal about things I don’t like but in this case I just found myself accepting everything and making excuses.
But the relationship ended eventually.
Esther: He was even the one that broke up with me. We had been together for just two months and one day after we finished having sex, he broke up with me. The situation really messed with my mind because I kept wondering what was wrong with me. How do you have hot fuck with someone and even before they clean up you tell them you are breaking up? He said he was breaking up with me because he needs to focus on his life. Me that he broke up with while I was writing exams, didn’t I have life to focus on?
Did you get back together?
Esther: We didn’t, but we still had sex. It was a week or two after we had broken up and I was trying to mend my broken heart and move on when he drove to my hostel one night to see me. He wanted me to go back with him to his place and he cried, begged and pleaded with me to come with him. I felt smitten because he was begging me, but I didn’t realise it was only because he wanted to have sex with me.
So we didn’t get back together because he kept insisting he couldn’t handle a relationship. We stuck to being friends with benefits. This continued till 2020. I don’t know why I decided to stick with someone who had no regard for me as a person. I had not properly moved on from the break up yet I was still with him. It got worse when I got pregnant.
Tell me about the pregnancy
Esther: I found out about the pregnancy in June 2020. I was sleeping so much and had cramps for weeks. I was dizzy, had heavy breasts and hadn’t seen my period in weeks. After googling and finding out those are pregnancy symptoms, I took a test. When I saw the positive test strip, whatever remnants of feelings I had for him evaporated. The idea of being pregnant with his child scared him.
I knew I couldn’t keep it so it was operation fetus deletus immediately after the test confirmed it. The process was eye opening because it made me clearly see that this man didn’t give a shit about me.
How did he treat you?
Esther: Well for one, on our way to the hospital he agreed to be with me but the moment we got there he changed mouth and said if we went together, the doctor would overcharge. It didn’t seem logical to me, but I agreed to talk to the doctor alone. He’s the kind of person who always thinks in “what ifs”. So he was trying to prevent a situation where a doctor will know he assisted a girl to get an abortion. There’s a level of consciousness he has that has always baffled me. He doesn’t even like tweets of people insulting banks or network providers because he believes he might need a job from them one day or that it might stand in the way of his political ambition.
The meeting with the doctor was only stressful because Osas was downstairs and every time I had to pay for something, I had to go downstairs to collect money from him. Even after the surgery and I was dizzy from the medication they gave to me, he was downstairs. At no point did he try to offer me physical or emotional support.
When I got home that day, he didn’t even call me to ask about me. The lack of care I got during the whole process was eye-opening. It was when I realised he didn’t even like me because if he did, he would not have treated me that way.
Was that the last time you spoke to him?
Esther: No, it wasn’t. We had sex again in December 2020. I went to his house to see him because he called and asked for it. I was hoping for a conversation where I could finally confront him about his behaviour, but sex happened instead. It wasn’t as great as it used to be and I think it’s because I got tired of him.
Do you think you can ever work out?
Esther: I know we can’t. I’ve moved on from him and how he made me feel. When I was with him I was self-conscious about my body and self, he didn’t care for me how I’d liked, and I sometimes felt used. Nothing can take me back to him again.