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7 Nigerian Women Talk About Their Best Ex

In mainstream media, when people talk about exes, they are usually referring to the worst one. In a bid to balance that, we asked 7 Nigerian women to tell us about their favourite ex.  

Abigail, 34 

Let’s call her M. She was everything I wanted in a partner — honest, loving, ambitious, beautiful and smart. We dated for over three years and it was the best time of my life. We loved each other deeply. We even had plans to leave Nigeria, get married and start a family. Our friends called us their couple goals. 

But life happened. I lost my dad and I don’t do grief well. I shut down – mentally and emotionally. I started acting out and stopped communicating my needs to her. She tried her best to understand but I guess, at some point, it became too much for her to handle, so she broke up with me. She set the standard for everyone I dated after her. It’s been 11 years since then and no other woman has come close. Because of this, I stopped dating women and went back into the closet.

Annabelle, 27 

My relationship with my ex was amazing. This guy worshipped the ground I walked on. He always bought me gifts and cooked me food. He had my pictures around his house. I met his family and he met mine. One day we were arguing and he said, “It doesn’t matter anyway, I’m getting married next month.” 

Rese, 18 

The last relationship I was in was my first serious relationship. It was also my ex’s first so we didn’t have enough dating experience. Everything went well until the end. I feel like I’m the reason we broke up but maybe that’s just my need to blame myself for everything. We both sucked at communication. Initially, I would tell her the things she did that annoyed me but she would do it again within two days. Towards the end, instead of talking to her about it, I would hold it in my mind and resentment started to build. It wasn’t the best decision because I snapped. I told her she was useless and ended a call we were on. We didn’t speak for seven months after that.

Nenye, 20 

My ex was with someone else when we met. We were in the same university but I was a year ahead of her. Her boyfriend – at the time – had gone on IT for a semester so he wasn’t around when our thing started. We met through a mutual friend. We were always texting each other and spending time together. 

One day, we were laying on my bed in school one night and she kissed me. I was shocked and when I asked her why she did it, she didn’t say anything. It didn’t matter because I was hooked. She kept telling me that she wasn’t like that and that she was dating someone else but I didn’t care — I just wanted to be with her. 

The next semester her boyfriend returned and it was like I didn’t exist anymore. I kept buying her stuff and doing nice things for her to get her attention. We would go months without talking but whenever we got the chance to talk again, I would lose my sense of reasoning. This lasted for two years and then I left school. I think the main reason we lasted that long was because she was my first and I hadn’t fully come to terms with who I was at the time. She didn’t know what she wanted and eventually, I had to come to terms with that. 

Emilia, 24

It was a tumultuous relationship yet I didn’t see myself leaving. I tend to be closer to people I can learn from. To me, he was this person that had so much to teach me but that’s where the problem came from. I idolized him as a beacon of knowledge. Once you cross that line where you can’t differentiate between where their knowledge ends and where the gaslighting starts, it becomes difficult to see things for what they are. 

It took me a long time to realize that this person whom I’ve surrendered myself to —  as a student and a lover —  was different from who I thought he was.  The gaslighting made me feel crazy. He made me feel like I was nothing without him so it was harder to leave than it was to stay. 

He broke up with me after a while but I refused to let go. There were a lot of back and forth conversations before the end in 2018. Left to me, I’d still be in that relationship. Yet somehow, it has been my best so far because it opened my eyes to a lot of things I wouldn’t have known without him. 

Olamide, 24

Tunde* and I met on Obafemi Awolowo University campus. He was a foreign Master’s student from Liberia while I was a final year student. That period was the best time of my life. Sex with him was amazing. He introduced me to my body and taught me what sexual pleasure should feel like. He was good to me and particular about satisfying me. 

He told me about his large family —  he has about 30 siblings. His father had many wives and he is the first child of his mother. His father is dead so his elder siblings controlled the family’s members activities. He always told me they might not like the idea of him marrying a foreigner, but he will try his best to convince them. I loved him and he was everything I wanted in a husband so I was quite hopeful. 

After his Master’s programme, he went back home and discussed it with his family. They refused so we broke up. He got married a year later to a woman his family arranged for him. We still talk once in a while but I don’t initiate it because I respect his marriage. He also sends me money randomly. 

R, 25

I was in a non-exclusive relationship with this woman that lasted a year. It was absolutely beautiful. It was unique and it fulfilled me in many ways. Before her, I was used to being the sole giver in my relationships. I’d love you, cater for you, be your mum, your friend, your sister, everything and leave no room for you to be there for me but for the first time, someone wanted to give me love. One of her love languages was acts of service so she did a lot of things for me. 

She understood mental health and made it easy to talk about the things that affected me. She was also kind to strangers. When I wanted to start a business and I was anxious about it, she got me some of the things I needed and constantly reminded me that I could do it.

It ended because I wanted a more defined relationship and she wasn’t ready for it. We talked about it and decided that we had to break up. Even though there were no fights, it still hurt like a motherfucker and it took me the longest time to get over. Till now, I am not sure I am over her but I’m grateful for time and progress. She’s still a part of my support system. We’re even better friends now than we were in a relationship.

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