Valentine: A Diary Of Nigerian Lovers As Told By Nigerians
‘Tis the cupid season where everyone is taken down the streets of love. It is also a time to remember every time you got “served breakfast” or how you swoon off your feet. Whichever it is, one thing is for sure: Valentine’s Day comes with some memories for everyone.
3 years ago, I reunited with an old family friend on Instagram. He lives in Lagos and I live in the United States. We followed each other on social media for over 7 years, and I didn’t reach out mostly because I wasn’t sure he’ll remember me.
In early 2019, a few days after I followed him on Twitter, he quoted a picture of mine with the love emoji. I was excited because I had been dying to talk to him but didn’t know how to. I made a tweet after, on how I find it hard to start a conversation first and he replied and told me to start with him.
I entered his DM, and that was the beginning of our love story. We would text the whole day, and it was obvious that we were fond of each other. He would tell me about his whole family, send me pictures and videos of his parents. I later found out that he didn’t remember me and I finally opened up to him 3 months into being friends that I knew about his family and he was shocked.
We became so close that he could tell me anything. He would even invite me to join his church service online to watch him lead the praise and worship. He had a girlfriend at the time, but he never liked including her in our conversations. We later ended up in a situationship because we never really defined what we had. He would sometimes complain about his finances since his fashion business wasn’t going so well, and I would give him money. He was always coming up with stories to either borrow money or manipulate me to support him. I tried ending everything between us so many times, but he was always coming back; telling me how much he can’t do without me and we can’t end things that way.
It was more like his girlfriend wasn’t in the picture because he had so much time to text and call me. After almost a year that we had been talking, he got a new place in Gbagada, which he also borrowed some money from me for. In December 2019, I decided to go home for the first time in so many years and he was one of the reasons I was going.
A few days before my trip, I had a dream that proved to me that he was a scam, but I ignored it. I landed in Lagos on the 26th of December, and he picked me up at the airport with my aunt. His suggestion before I left the US was to stay at his place and which I did for like a day before I had to travel to Ibadan for something important. We had also planned to go to the Redemption camp for New Year’s Eve so I could also see his parents after so many years. I came back from Ibadan on the 30th and we left for camp on the 31st.
We didn’t get to see his parents because they were busy at the auditorium, so we hung out with his friends at the camp. We later saw the parents on the second day; the 1st of January 2020, and I guess his mum had figured something was going on between us because she mentioned something about her meeting his wife some days before we came and introducing her to other family members.
He tried ignoring her. I was confused because this man mentioned nothing about being engaged or even probably bringing a babe home. We left for Lagos that morning and I asked him why he didn’t tell me about his engagement, but he couldn’t give any reason. I packed my bag that same day when we got to his place and left without looking back.
I also warned him to never text or call me again. This is someone that I went to Nigeria with gifts for. I got him a ps4 with games, expensive colognes for himself and his friend. He kept texting and calling to say “sorry,” but it was too late because I was so broken.
We met once again before I left for the US when he came to deliver the clothes I paid him to make for my dad. Getting on the plane back to the US was the toughest because I was so broken and all I wanted to do was to go back to work and make money to distract myself.
Two days after getting to the US, my friend sent a quoted tweet to me from his Twitter account. The initial tweet was a question from another person asking if people will be spending 2020 Valentine with the same person they spent Christmas with and he quoted it with, “Yes, and that is who I will be spending the rest of my life with”.
Christmas Day was the day he took his fiancée home to meet his parents while I was on the plane to Nigeria. He also claimed she knew about me cause I asked him if he ever told her about me. It was obvious he used me to get a ring and get their first apartment.
My mum later got to find out about everything through my aunt and she called him behind me to return all the gifts I got him and all the money I had given him. She also called his mum to tell her what he did, and they asked for my bank receipts.
After almost a year of telling him to return the money, he later sent 100k out of over a million naira and called my mum to forgive him that things haven’t been going well with business. He tried messaging me, asking if we could talk, but I didn’t reply. He is now married with a child and I don’t know if he ever told the wife the truth.
Abi & Kay
I was just a fresher at Obafemi Awolowo University, sharing a room with other newbies off-campus. Kay came to see this girl that shared a bunk with me. She was like a sister to him, and since she had just got admitted to the school, it was only right that he came to congratulate her in person. She was a little too reserved and struggled with holding a conversation or entertaining her visitors, so I decided to be a backup host. I cooked for them, engaged in chitchats and made them feel welcomed. I was just an excited young lady, trying to help a sister out. Little did I know that the handsome fresh graduate at the time was already “catching feelings.” Kay followed us to night readings, and when he eventually made his move, I politely declined because I had a boyfriend at the time. It was the easiest ‘no’ I have ever said to any wooer.
Kay knew what he wanted and knew how to get there. His communication game was unmatched. From his service year in Katsina to his move to Lagos, he was always in my ears. I had my fair share of heartbreaks and he had his. Most times we made our “breakfast experience” the topic of our conversations. It was one of the things that helped us bond and reconnect after some gaps in our friendship.
Our friendship was tested many times. According to him, I once broke up with him via a text. I remember most things, but somehow, that part of our story didn’t stick around in my head. He also took his revenge on me by ghosting me for a certain period. When I asked him, he said it’s because I rarely try to reach out even when he does most of the texting and calling.
Past heartbreaks almost cushioned my belief about relationships. At some point, I kept waiting for this boy to “serve me my breakfast,” but how wrong I was.
Before me, Kay had been through several relationships that started so casually. He wasn’t used to popping the question. I insisted he must ask before I agree to do anything with him. I broke the cycle, and he did it most romantically. The outing still tops the chart of my love story fantasies.
I was very difficult. Part of that blame points to my strict mom that repelled me from social experience in my teen. I once threatened that if I ever get married, it would be when I’m in my late 30s. Surprisingly, the same woman that taught me how to say “no” allowed me to attend a wedding party in Oyo with Kay. She liked Kay from a picture I showed her. My dad too. Kay’s friends also nudged me toward dating Kay.
Don’t tell Kay I told you this: Until our third year in the relationship, my parents and his friends were the first to see what I am seeing now in him. Kay and Stubbornness are blood cousins (LOL). Well, only I can say that. However, when it comes to stepping up as a man in all ramifications, my man, Kay, is the frigging best!
Sandra & James
I’ve known James for 14 years. We met at the University of Benin in our 1st year. The first few months we started as friends. Somehow, we fell in love and dated for 3 years, but we broke up before we graduated.
Eventually, when we got back together 7 years later, it felt like there was something more we didn’t get to explore. We realised we still loved each other. And I don’t necessarily know if he was the one, but he felt like the right thing.
When we got back, there was the extra drama that made us path because there was another girl that he had supposedly made a promise to get married to and he made the same promise to me too!!! So I was like, “dude, I’m not desperate for marriage, so why the promises all over?” Besides all that, I just knew that I loved him and well whoever he goes with it is his business but his loss, anyway.
I think it was by the grace of God we came back because our situation looked like we would never get back.
But in between those 7 years, we still kept the friendship, we still talked to each other, we still met each other if you know what I mean, basically cheating on the people we were dating. It was wrong and I’m not proud of that, but I just want you to understand how we were “addicted” to each other. Somehow we kept appearing in the picture for each other throughout the 7 years. At some point, we were like, “you know what we’re tired of breaking hearts, let’s see this through. There’s something that needs to be completed here,” and that’s how we are where we are.
And I must say that in between, it involved a lot of prayers on our parts, you know. I told him I was tired of the stress of the relationship and he said he was too so we just got to pray about it together to know if it’s something we’d want for each other and if it’s not God’s will, we will definitely not continue what we cannot finish. And that’s exactly how we got to understand that we complete each other as crazy as it is.
I got to understand I was the one when I realised how empty my life would be, not necessarily because I do not have the joy that I need as an individual, but then he brings in some extra light, some extra joy into my life.
James loves to take care of me, that’s the word. No matter how little, no matter how big, he enjoys taking care of me and he does it with his heart. He doesn’t complain, so some of these signs got me to understand that this man is definitely what I need and what my children need and he’s going to be perfect for all of us. That’s some divine revelation there. We became friends and lovers and now we have a baby.
Every time I open Twitter or Instagram and see other ladies talking about how they found out their partner was getting married, I always think, “God forbid it can never be me.” That was until they tried to use my money to pay somebody else’s bride price.
I was in a situationship last year, no tags, nothing, so basically no expectations. Despite the no tags, I just felt like we were exclusive.
Fast forward to some months later, he told me his elder brother was planning to get married, and he needed 150k. My red flag immediately went off because we were not exactly serious, so why am I getting involved in your family? Anyway, I said no sha.
He came back again, this time asking me to loan him $1000 that he’ll pay back $1500, gaslighting me, telling me if I had feelings for him I’d do it.
To cut the long story short, I refused and walked away from the relationship.
I later found out uncle got married three months after, the wife was heavily pregnant and God forgive me; the wedding was bottom tier 🙂 Thank God for the Lagos woman in me because the audacity of these men…
To read the complete diary, visit guardian.ng/life/cover