Every Tuesday, this series - Pulse First Love - will try to capture the emotions people felt, and the motions they went through that first time they tried being in a relationship.
This week, we tell the story of a 24-year-old woman who, at 18, suffered intense emotional manipulation and physical assault for 2 years in her first relationship.
How old are you?
Tell me about the first guy you dated
It was not love at first sight, far from that. I met him when I went for a pre-degree program in Uni. He was a 200L student then. I was 17. He was somewhere between 22-24. He soon began to ask me to date him but I didn’t like him like that.
When I clocked 18, I think I had this pressure of having a boyfriend (I was moving with girls who were older than me and nobody would have believed I was even 17). So I decided I was going to have a boyfriend and I and my roommate then brought out a paper and pen, and wrote out the names of the guys asking me out. We eventually picked him. The next time we saw, he asked me again to be his girlfriend and I said yes.
So your first relationship as an 18 year was down to a bit of peer pressure and with someone who was in his 20s. When you think about all that now that you are 24, how do you feel about it?
Hmmmm. I wish I didn't have to do it. I was young. So young. It was too much burden on an 18 year old. Yes, it was sweet for some part of it. But if I could go back in time, I would have stayed alone. Now that I look back, that my first relationship was needless. We broke up when I was 20.
E.B things. Tell me about the relationship though.
We started off very good for the first few months. Then, we went on holidays for two months when I was in 100L and when we got back, I just realised I was tired of the relationship. No explanations. I was just tired. The first time we saw after the holidays, we were supposed to be so excited but I spent the whole of the night crying and when we tried to even get sexual, my body was so dead. So, I suggested we took a break. But he was a man in love and the break did not work as I woke up to texts every day and in the evenings, he would always bring food for me. So, what was the point?
The break up didn't work and it affected us so bad. It was my first relationship and I honestly didn't enter that relationship with the hopes of being serious. I don't even know what came over me. It was like I wasn't ready for all the seriousness that came with it. I was already meeting his friends, his family, he was already a big part of my life and I felt like my life was being intruded. I didn't know it was going to be like that. I wanted space. And I wasn't getting none.
During that holiday I mentioned, for instance, he got over possessive and would always question who I was out with and why. That kind of contributed to me being stiff when we resumed, because it felt really creepy. During the holiday, he would get angry if I didn't answer his calls or sometimes, he’d tell me to take a picture of me and send to him just so he's sure I wasn't with anyone else. Bruuuuhhh, It was really creepy.
That took a turn so sharp it nearly snapped my neck.
He loved me, that I could tell and he respected me, a lot. He was the guy a lot of girls gushed over because of how good he was to me. I mean, he would come to my house on Fridays, pack my dirty clothes to his place, wash and iron them, return them on Sundays, he would come to my house to come help me fetch water and bring it upstairs, did other house chores for me and I appreciated that. I still do. But other things set in. The insecurities, the possessiveness, it was a great threat to me.
It took me almost two years to eventually get the break up done. From threatening to kill me and kill himself if I ever left him, to harassing any man he saw with me, to stalking me and hacking my phone. It took me leaving that school to finally get away from him. I had to leave because I wasn't fulfilled with my course of study and I needed to change, so, I took another jamb form and left. It was the messiest moment of my life.
I’m actually so sorry to hear that.
Thanks. The relationship ended the day he saw me with a man and got angry, I had apologised to him that night and told him I had nothing to do with the man, I barely even knew the man and that day was the first and the last day I saw the man. He got angry and when I apologised to him, he didn't listen.
So, I left him and slept. I was at his place for the weekend that very day. Middle of the night, he woke me up, dragged me from the bed, pinned me to the wall and said "I will kidnap you, rape you, impregnate you and I'll see if those men would still be following you around", this was days after he brought out a knife and threatened to stab himself if I should repeat that I was tired of the relationship. At that moment, I knew I was done. I started crying and he left me alone and apologised. The next morning, I left and texted him later that I couldn't continue with the relationship. But well, it took me more than a year after that to finally get off his hook. See ehn, that was just too much for a teenager.
It is too much for anyone as a matter of fact, and I’m so sorry you went through that.
Yeah, thanks. I'm good now, I think. Well, four years later and I'm still scared of men who dote on me.
Since we are already here, wanna talk more on how that relationship changed your outlook on loving and relationships?
I honestly haven't bothered myself with relationships much since then. Of course, I've gotten into a couple of other ones and they've just been there. But I get so alert now, a lot of things freak me out in men now, I pay utmost attention to everything. From how they behave if you tell them ‘No’ because to be honest with you, my greatest fear now is to get killed by a man most especially a lover.
In the early days of my next two relationships, It was very uncomfortable for me staying alone in the same room with my lovers. I think of my first relationship a lot while looking at a man, I am dead if I ever make that mistake again. I think of that fact that he could have killed me or himself one of those days and it gets really scary. I am not anyone's therapist, once I see a sign of having issues either with temperaments or emotions, I run away.
It just comes so easily now [kicking damaged men to the curb]. I honestly won't pamper anyone's emotions like I did with my first. If I'd taken note early enough, I should have walked away after the first two months of that relationship. So, now, I like a stress free relationship life. If it's not it, it's nothing. I don't like fights or quarrels and I won't entertain it for any reason. So, once I start to have unreasonable disagreements in a relationship, it's time to walk away then. Thank God, I've not dated anyone else who'd threaten to stab themselves.
Ah, we Thank God o.
Funny gist, yeah, but when i was growing up/teenage years, I used to think that all relationships ended in marriages -
- Hahaha. It's normal. With the way we're being bred in this society, it's not out of place to think so. Maybe only a few of us have a different opinion about dating/marriages.
I know right. So my analogy was to ask if you had any ideas about relationships before entering the first one.
Of course, at least, I'd been close to people who were dating. I'd seen people been in relationships, I'd had friends that we almost dated. One of the issues for me was while many other girls had their first as the love of their life and all those rosy things, I was just a girl who wanted to experience relationship and sex. It wasn't that deep.
Yes, I was a good person but not necessarily deep in love. So, I did things because I was just a good person not that I was crazily in love. No. I didn't expect that relationship to turn that way. I didn't even have any expectation. I just wanted to have a boyfriend and have sex. I honestly didn't see us going that deep but well, I got carried away, I think.
Let's talk about sex. When was your first time ever?
Some three months into my first relationship.
What did you know about sex before that first time?
I'd read a lot of things about sex and I knew I wanted to have sex. I expected the first time to be painful and it was. I didn't have much expectation than this. Subsequently, the sex was great but of course, I soon got tired of the person and so, I got tired of the sex too. So, for the most part of the relationship, we weren't getting it. The few ones that happened were due to guilt tripping and pity and all of that. So, of course, it was bleh because I didn't want to to do it. So, I'd sleep off during sex or sometimes push him off if I got too irritated.
Yeah, it's fine.
You surely wouldn't do this again
I often ask that if people could go back in time, would they date their first love again?
I'd use my teeth to count all the sand on a beach instead.
LMAO. I figured. Are you dating anyone now?
Last you heard of this guy?
My birthday was last month so he called to wish me a happy birthday.
Oooooh. Really? I wasn't expecting that
Hahahaha. He calls me once in a while. Although he says he's gone for therapy and he's now a better person. But LOL, I'm never even taking chances at meeting him again. I don't want to ever set my eyes on him again, I might pass out out of fear.
I'm sorry if any of this is too jarring for you.
It’s fine. Strangely, it actually feels interesting having this conversation.
Ah, nice. So two years for a first relationship is comparatively long. What's up with your subsequent ones. Did they go on for that long?
No, they didn't last that long. The next one was a year and half. Then, the last one was 8 months.
I see. I'm kinda done here. Have you got any parting words?
Erhmm, well, I like to tell girls who are as young as I was when I got to into that relationship and are going into relationships to be intentional. I've heard a lot of "he took my virginity" cries a lot and it annoys me. Secondly, I wish I'd dated someone in my age range when I started dating. Maybe 19/20. Of course, I am not bothered about age differences now because I am an adult now, of course.
But then I was 18 and I had no business dating a 23/24 year old. That was 6/7 difference. These things set room for manipulation and if I had been an easier girl than that, I would have been so damaged.
Oh! One more thing, when I was preparing to leave for another school, he would cry and beg me not to leave him. He tried to discourage me from taking another JAMB form and all that, saying I was going to end the relationship once I left. I'm just so glad I didn't fall for his antics.
Power to the resistance!
If you loved reading this, then you'll surely love this, too: "Crushing On A Secondary School Jerk At 16."