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Five women on what they did after their relationships ended.

On a cold rainy evening, Iquo arrived home from work wet, and in dire need of warmth, dry clothes and hot chocolate. She escaped from the drizzling rain, into the house, to find her husband packing his personal items into different bags. From the look of things, he’d been at it for a while and was wrapping it up with a thorough look-over to avoid leaving anything behind. His photo-frame was off the wall. In its place was blankness. Hers was hanging awkwardly alone, in need of company, having been adjusted to accommodate one.

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Iquo took small steps into the bathroom, and stayed there longer than required. She needed the time to process what was happening and the best way to respond. She perched on the side of the tub, still in her dripping wet dress, numb to the coldness of it, and dumbfounded by what she just walked into: He was leaving. And without prior notice, too. They’d slept skin to skin the previous night and had passionate intimacy, so good she’d thought about it throughout the day. Therefore, ordered dinner, and stopped to get wine, hoping to make that another special evening. But he was leaving? Why? Granted, things had been a little off-rhythm between them for a few months, and he’d been distant and emotionally unavailable for a bit, but couldn’t they work through it like they usually do, and get out at the other end, stronger and more in love?

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The sound of a parking truck jolted her to the reality of the moment, and she climbed the tub to watch the man she thought she’ll spend her whole life with, cutting short their journey with a single hard-hitting action, which carried an unmistakable message that left her speechless for days, and sent her gripping the feet of God and glasses of wine.

But really, what does a woman do after her world has been upturned by a breakup? Five women tell us what they did:

Chizara. 37yrs. Food Scientist.

When my four-year relationship ended at the threshold of the altar, I was in denial for quite a bit, till the wedding day came and went, and he wasn’t back with me, but had posted photos of himself, engaging in different activities with someone he’d cheated on me with. At that point, it became clear that I had to move on, as hard and as painful as it was. To aid the process, I lobbied for an expatriate position in the UK, with the help of a mentor and two sponsors. Thankfully, I got it and left everything behind. Starting afresh, in a new environment with new work challenges, helped to shift my attention away from that loss. My need to succeed in my new assignment, and world, became my focus. And one day it dawned on me that I wasn’t hurting anymore.

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Omo. 40yrs. Software Engineer.

Things ended between my ex and I in a very ugly way. He’d cheated throughout our time together. 12years, 2kids and a dog later, I struck up a connection with a fine man I met at a tech conference and decided to use it as a catalyst for whatever outcome was ahead of us. He found out like I wanted him to, raised hell about it and left. Even though I initiated the events that led to the end of our relationship, I was broken by it because my one true desire was a happy ending. After he left, I ended things with the fine man, and embarked on a spiritual journey to cleanse my soul of all the toxins deposited in it over the years. I got therapy, visited a few “holy” places, became celibate, and read books on self.

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Bunmi. 30yrs. Medical professional.

My ex didn’t leave. He married someone else and I left when I found out. It was a tough situation for me. There were many times I wanted to take the mistress position he offered me, because I missed him so much and I was so in love with him. But self respect didn’t let me go through with it, majorly because he was shoving it at me un-affectionately. If he had begged, I’m pretty sure I would have taken that bad decision, just to avoid the pains of a broken heart. But he was cocky and unrepentant, so I took the rebound route that could also be beneficial to my financial plans, and it became a very exciting adventure that lasted longer than I thought it would.

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Tolani. 33yrs. Fashion Entrepreneur.

I was out of work when he left. He reunited with his ex and moved in with her, leaving me alone with our son who was barely two. I couldn’t fall apart because my son needed me, and I had to put food on our table, along with other bills I couldn’t but pay. With the rate of unemployment and cost of childcare, I had to get creative and intentional. So, I turned my hobby into a business, did all the work required, and survived on little sleep. I was shaky about the first set of clothes I made, but people loved them and that boosted my confidence to try again, and here we are.

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Constance. 36yrs. Marketing Executive.

I had just been promoted, and I thought now is the best time for a get-away, so I could resume my new role refreshed and on fire. My darling ex had been trying out different ideas in the IT sector. He was self-employed and could easily go with me. We both decided on America because we’ve never been there, got the process done and travelled. Everything was great, until he went out without me, a few days before we were due to leave, slept out after that first outing, and did not get on the plane with me, when it was time to leave. He met someone and stayed back. I cried throughout the journey home. What did I do after that? I threw myself into work, and took it one day at a time. Self-affirmation was one of the tools that helped me push through the very difficult days. And working with a supportive team also helped.

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