An anonymous series where real people share their interesting life stories and experiences.
We spoke with a Nigerian woman who got real about what it was like being in a four year relationship or should I say ‘ordeal’, with an emotional manipulator. She opens up about her struggles with her mental health while being fully emotionally dependent on her now ex, his toxic traits and what she would tell her younger self if she had the chance. She talks about how he serially cheated on her, tore down her sense of self-worth and leaked her private photos and videos on Snapchat without her consent.
Tell Me About The Relationship. How Did You Two Meet?
It all started while we were in the university. Our first encounter was in class. He asked a mutual friend to ask me for my number and I straight up told him no. We didn’t start dating until we were both in our third year. However, prior to us getting into a relationship, he was actively pursuing a friendship with me and would open up to me about his struggle with depression and that’s what got me hooked because I naturally wanted to be there for him. I think he caught wind of that and used it moving forward as a way to emotionally manipulate me. The more time I spent getting to know him, the more my feelings for him grew and we eventually started dating.
At What Point Did You Notice The Relationship Began To Turn Toxic?
Looking back now, the relationship was toxic from the beginning I just did not know it. There were lots of things going on with him beneath the surface that I was not aware of. For instance, I was not aware he had been sending unsolicited nudes to women and underaged girls.
Our first breakup was a few months into the relationship. I was going through a rough patch with family issues and though he was fully aware of it, he decided that was the best time to end the relationship. I was devastated because this was my first heartbreak. He came back crying and kneeling on the floor, begging me to take him back. He claimed the reason he broke up with me was because I was going through a lot emotionally and also because he had cheated on me with not one, but three people! Guess what? One of them was my close friend at the time. I naively thought he had changed and took him back. Little did I know that was just the beginning of the worst four years of my life.
Did You Confront Your Friend About It After He Confessed To Cheating On You With Her, And Did You Resolve The Issue With Her?
I did! He made me promise not to say anything about it after he told me, but the story was not adding up. I decided to get to the bottom of it and invited her to my room to hear her side of the story. I called him on the phone in front of her and asked both of them to explain because the story did not make sense and I do not like confusion.
After that incident, I may or may not have dragged her on Twitter which was not very wise of me. I felt so guilty afterwards but hey, I was young, hurt and did not know any better. Our friendship ended with the cheating saga but I felt very guilty about the way I handled the situation. I was way out of line and told her how I felt and heard her out. We ended up hugging and crying and resolving everything.
You Mentioned Him Cheating On You With Three People, Your Friend Included. Was This The Only Incidence Of Him Cheating In The Four Years You Were Together?
I thought it was, but I found out recently that he was posting my nudes and videos of himself and I having intimate sexual moments on his private story on Snapchat and apparently, he had posted one of himself with another girl. I only found out because a mutual friend of ours told me everything; from his rated r private story, to the girls he was cheating on me with because he had lied to our mutual friend that I was okay with all of it.
During the course of our relationship, I had a lot of issues with Bacterial Vaginosis and Yeast infections and looking back now, it was most likely because he was cheating on me with multiple people and it was affecting me. Once we broke up, I got tested and thankfully I was fine. I am not completely sure of any other cheating incidents asides the girl in the video. I do know however that he was always sending unsolicited nudes to multiple women and underage girls. It got so bad that girls literally knew him as the guy who was always sending unsolicited dick pictures.
Wow, I Am So Sorry You Had To Go Through That. What Was Your Reaction To Finding Out He Was Posting Your Private Photos And Videos On Snapchat? How Did You Handle It?
I was hurt to say the least. I was just sitting there almost numb while our mutual friend was breaking the news to me. It was like glass shattering on my head and till now I feel like I can still hear it. I was fuming and the first thing I did was send him a message, then decided against it and blocked him everywhere.
We broke up that same day. He knew our mutual friend was going to tell me everything because earlier in the day I was fed up with him and sent him an epistle letting him know he was messing up and would lose me if he did not act right. I called our mutual friend afterwards who invited me to her house so I would not be alone and believe me when I tell you this man begged me not to go. He promised to change and do better if I didn’t go but I did not want to be alone and went against his wishes. Little did I know he was only saying that so I would not find out what he had been doing behind my back.
Was There Ever Any Confrontation With Him After You Found Out About The Private Snap?
The next day, I put a call through to one of the girls he was messing with and we were exchanging stories over the phone and talking about how he had been lying to both of us. She said she was going to confront him and I went with her because I found out I was pregnant with his child through three positive at home tests. He tried to kick me out of the apartment he was staying in until I told him I was pregnant with his child.
Till this day, I am still so grateful it turned out to be a pregnancy scare because I went to the hospital shortly afterwards to get the blood test done and the result came back negative. Apparently, the Plan B I had taken had delayed my period and I guess the pregnancy test sticks I used at home were faulty.
Sound Like A Very Toxic Environment. What Were Some Of His Toxic Traits You Noticed While You Two Were Together?
He made sure I was isolated from my friends. He’d manipulate me into thinking it was “us against the world” and no one cared about me. He’d go out of his way to fuel arguments I had with my friends and I was completely oblivious to the fact he was doing all this because he did not want me to find out about the things he was doing behind my back.
I was miserable in the relationship and suffered from depression during the four years we were together which only made me even more dependent on him emotionally. I would call him crying, telling him I feel so alone and he’d either ignore my calls or block my number, then I’d see him on Snapchat partying. When I’d ask him about it, he’d gaslight me and tell me it was all my fault.
He would ridicule me when we were alone and was always bringing me down. He would compare me to other girls to my face. I started building my confidence back up and posting more on my social media. I naturally got more attention from guys and he’d berate me for the kind of guys talking to me. He would tell me no one would ever care about me and the only reason people would be interested in me was for my body. To tell you the truth, I still struggle with feeling valuable because of those comments.
This Is Unreal, I’m So Sorry. How Were You Able To Pull Yourself Out Of All That Toxicity?
Honestly, what made the difference was me realizing my true value and genuinely believing I was so much better than him, than the toxic relationship and environment.
My friends sat me down and really made me realize I was worth so much more and deserved so much better. I don’t think they know how much their words positively impacted me because it was the words they spoke to me that gave me the courage to leave the relationship. I am still working on myself and working on slowly getting my life back together. I just take it one day at a time.
It’s So Good To Hear That After Everything, But How Are You Doing Now Really And Are You Still In Contact With Your Ex?
I am no longer in contact with my ex and I am doing a lot better now. I still have my days but I am gradually getting back to myself and it feels good after so long. I’m going out more, rebuilding my friendships and building new relationships with people.
I used to loathe myself but now I can pass by the mirror and hype myself up. I recently started dating again. I am seeing someone now and it’s going really well. I’m learning to be vulnerable and that it’s okay to let my guard down when I feel safe. I am generally just in a much better place mentally.
The Past Four Years Have Been Such A Wild Ride For You. If You Could Go Back In Time And Warn Your Younger Self About This Situation, What Would You Say To Her?
I know this might sound strange, but I do not think I would tell myself not to be involved with him because there’s so much I learnt from the relationship. A lot of growth happened within me through the hurt and pain and I am someone who hates hearing people say, “trust the process”. However, I would tell myself to just sit back and know that eventually you’ll come out of this ten times stronger than the person you entered in to the relationship as. Be strong and you’ll make it through.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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