An anonymous series where real people share their interesting life stories and experiences.
We spoke with a Nigerian woman who got real about her toxic relationship with her now ex-fiancé who she had no clue is a married man. She opens up about all the ways he manipulated her and lied to her throughout the relationship, took away her autonomy over her body by forcing her to have two abortions all the while cheating on her with her best friend.
Can You Give Us Some Backstory, How Did You Two Meet?
We met at a bank. He seemed very responsible and charming, little did I know he would become my worst nightmare. A few months prior to our meeting my mum had been praying for me to meet a life partner. I loved the idea of getting married and equally joined in her prayers. I was twenty-one at the time. We exchanged phone numbers after our brief conversation and he asked me out to dinner a few days after we met saying he was travelling the next day and absolutely needed to see me.
Our date went smoothly and I was smitten. Following our date we spoke often and he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was hesitant and told him I needed some time to think about it. He was so understanding but a bit pushy about me being his girlfriend and not long after, I agreed.
Were You Aware Of His Marital Status From The Start?
I had no clue! He told me he was thirty-three which I believed was still young only to find out later on that he was actually forty-three years old.
Girl! Did He Ever Make Any Promises To You To Keep You Interested?
He made so many promises to me. He would make our conversations about money so he could brag about his financial status and tell me he would be able to take care of me. He would always say my future is secure with him. This man was full of lies! Not long after becoming his girlfriend, he started talking about us getting married. I had so much faith in our relationship because he attached so much importance to honesty and faithfulness. He would boldly promise to never cheat on me or lie to me.
He knew some people from my past and insisted I cut all communication from them. He asked me to block everyone and start afresh with him. I was thrilled but while we were dating he would always say there is a lot I don’t know about him yet and I would naively laugh it off.
Did You At Any Point Feel Like The Relationship Was Moving Too Fast?
I did, but he made it clear that he knew what he wanted and what we had was no joke to him. I convinced myself against my better judgement into believing everything was okay and the relationship was just an answered prayer.
What Was A Major Red Flag You Noticed In The Beginning?
He had taken me to a house which he claimed was his but it was almost empty. None of his personal belongings were there, just furniture and decor. When I raised my concerns he said the house was for his company’s expatriates to accommodate them when they come to Nigeria. He told me his main house is in Lagos. The story was not adding up but I chose to believe him.
Is Marriage Something You Both Had Discussed Or Did His Proposal Take You By Surprise?
Marriage is something we had both discussed prior to his proposal so the proposal itself did not come as a surprise, the timing did.
What Do You Mean By The Timing Of His Proposal Came As A Surprise?
I was not feeling well and questioned the possibility of me being pregnant. I was away with him on a work trip and he suggested we get a scan when we got back. He seemed happy about it until we got back five weeks later and he asked me to abort it. I did not want to but he insisted saying we were not ready. It was a few weeks after this incident he proposed to me.
Twenty-One Is A Relatively Young Age For Marriage. How Did Your Family React To The News Of You Being Engaged?
My family loved him. He made his intentions clear to them and they were impressed.
Did You In The Course Of Your Relationship With Him Ever Meet Any Of His Family Members?
I never got to meet any of his family members. He told me both his parents had passed and all three of his siblings were abroad. He’d say, I would get the opportunity to speak to them after the engagement but I had only spoken to his brother once over the phone and when I requested to speak to his sisters he told me I was being desperate.
What A Player. How Did You Find Out He Was Married?
A friend of mine posted our engagement picture and someone she knew commented saying she knows my fiancé and he is already a married man. It came as a shock to me and when I asked him about it, he brushed it off saying he had been engaged to two girls prior to meeting me but it didn’t work out that’s why my friend was referring to him as a married man.
He made himself the victim in all his broken engagement stories and I felt pity for him. I had my suspicions about him being married because whenever we were together he would leave abruptly and claim it’s a work emergency regardless of the time, he was always going on business trips and his phone would be switched off whenever I tried to contact him.
The night before he was supposed to return from one of his many business trips, I went to watch a movie with a girlfriend and he got so angry. I called him to talk things out but a lady picked up the phone raining curses on me for calling a married man. I was dumbfounded to say the least. He came home to me a week later and when I gave him the cold shoulder he got angry at me for believing anything I heard. He pointed fingers at me saying I don’t trust him and said the lady on the phone was just a friend’s baby mama claiming to be his wife trying to get back at him.
His explanation made no sense but for my peace of mind I let everything die down but I started to mentally check out of the relationship until I found out I was pregnant again.
How Did You Find Out You Were Pregnant A Second Time?
A month after his baby mama story, I went for a series of tests because I was not feeling well and found out I was pregnant. I tried to convince myself that he would not make me abort it, considering we were engaged and planning on getting married in a few months.
He was not happy about it when I broke the news to him and told me to do the needful. I was so heartbroken, I tried to talk him out of it but he refused saying it would put pressure on him not caring about me having to undergo the procedure again.
I thought about everything and had to come to terms with another painful decision because I was not even sure I wanted to marry him anymore and when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. I found out he had been cheating on me with my best friend after we got engaged.
This Is Crazy! How Did You Find Out Something Was Going On Between Your Fiancé And Best friend?
My best friend who had planned our engagement, overheard him telling me he wanted to talk to me about the people close to us when he got back from work. After I ended the call, she told me there was something she wanted to talk to me about and I should have an open mind, so I listened. She told me my fiancé had been hitting on her and even asked her to marry him, saying he would send her to another country far away from me.
She told me he made so many promises to her and she met up with him in a hotel room twice and all the while she had been living in my house. He sent her money several times and promised to invest foreign currency in her business. After she overheard our conversation she texted him concerning it and he asked to send all the money he had sent her back and told her the worst she could do was to tell me and I would call everything off and he did not care about me leaving him. She showed me their chats and it broke me.
This was the last straw for me, I still gave him a chance to explain but he blatantly denied everything and lied to my face not knowing I had receipts.
I Can’t Even Imagine How Hard This Period Must Have Been for You, Can You Share How You Were Feeling At The Time?
I felt so frustrated, angry and sad, like I had made a terrible mistake. I blamed myself for everything and for allowing myself to be in that situation. It seemed really hard because calling off an engagement was a big deal.
Were There Moments When You Wanted To End The Relationship But He Manipulated You Into Staying?
He manipulated me into staying every time I thought of leaving. He manipulated me throughout the relationship. He would gaslight me and invalidate my feelings, then apologize and promise to change.
I’m So Sorry You Had To Go Through This. What Is Something This Experience Taught You?
I am still healing but this experience has taught me to never ignore red flags no matter how in love I think I am. I learnt the hard way that actions speak louder than words. It is so important to focus on self-improvement in all aspects and a partner should only complement your life not become your whole life. This experience taught me to take a step back and evaluate what I want for myself and in a partner and to not be afraid to stand up for myself, because a manipulator thrives when you do not know your value.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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