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Dear Duchess,

My name is Omotola. I am a young Nigerian and a first year student in the university. I have a story to tell and I really would want you guys to learn something from it. Life is all about lessons and I wish to use my life story to send some messages across. I met my boyfriend when I was 19 years. He was three years older and we started a relationship. He was my first boyfriend. We met in Lagos. I just thought he was so cool, he’s really good looking. At first he came across as pretty nice towards me, sort of protective over me, looking out for me and so on.

But it wasn’t long after we got together that he started this jealousy thing, like he was constantly watching me to see if I was cheating on him. He just went crazy if I talked to other guys at a party or exchange greetings with a male counterpart. He acts like I was flirting with every guy I spoke to, which I wasn’t. He was like “you’re my girlfriend and you do as I say”, basically that was his attitude. At that time, I took it as a sign that he really loved me, he wanted me so much. We made love after about a month we met. I was quite nervous, mainly because my parents are really strict and I was like, just so scared about them finding out. They are quite religious, they don’t believe in sex before marriage. I didn’t really want to do it, it was my first time and I was really stressed out about it. But I thought I’d better give in to his request because he really wanted it.

He’d say “I don’t think you really love me, because you don’t want to have sex with me”, and he’d accused me of loving someone else instead of him. And he went on about how everyone else did it, what was wrong with me? Eventually I gave in to the pressure. Every time I had sex I felt so guilty. My boyfriend’s attitude towards me was really like “you’re mine”, like he wanted to control everything I did. He wanted to control who I saw, what I wore, what I say, it was like he wanted me to be what he wanted. He didn’t like me talking to friends, he was really critical of all my friends, thought they were stupid and stuff like that. After a while it got really bad, if I told him I’d spoken to a friend on the phone he’d be like “you know I don’t like you talking to her”.

Whenever I tried to argue with him, he’d just get so aggressive, start shouting at me, and sometimes he’d be like, start grabbing onto me really hard, he’d come up really close and stand over me and shout. Even though I was really upset, I’d just give in. Sometimes he’d apologize for shouting at me. He’d be like “I’m sorry, I can’t help getting angry with you, if you didn’t do these things I wouldn’t be so angry, it’s just because I love you so much”. Other times he’d stay in this really angry mood, he’d just sit there in silence and sort of smash things around, or if he was driving he’d drive like a maniac. He was always suspicious of me and it was like I couldn’t do anything right. Once he was waiting for me after lecture and he saw me talking to this guy in my class. Anyway he got so angry with me for talking to another guy that he pushed me, really hard so I nearly fell over. And then he’s still going on at me “Why were you talking to him? What were you talking about?” I’d really had enough, so I said “Just shut up”. Then he says “What did you say?”, so I repeated it, and then he just slapped me across the face. And there were a few people there watching us, and my boyfriend screams at them “you mind your own business”. So no-one said anything, they all just turned away. That was the only time he actually hit me. The rest of the time it was all this harassment and criticism. It just weighed me down. Normally I’m like, a really talkative person, really social and happy, but I became really quiet with him, hardly ever smiled. I was just so stressed out all the time, constantly worrying what he thought, trying to do what he wanted so he wouldn’t get so aggressive or hassle me. I was really nervous around him and scared of setting him off. I lost contact with most of my friends because he harassed me so much when I saw them. I didn’t really tell anyone about how he treated me, because I thought it must be my fault. Once, some friends saw him shouting at me about something and they were like “Why do you put up with him? You should just break up with him”. That made me feel really bad too, because I felt so stupid, like there was something wrong with me for putting up with him. But I just couldn’t leave him. I thought he really loved me, and he wasn’t always so bad to me, sometimes he was really nice. I thought if I was more like what he wanted me to be, he would treat me better. I suppose I really blamed myself, felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt really vulnerable. After being treated like shit for so long, my esteem was close to the gutters. And I was totally scared of his reaction if I left him, he’d just go crazy, I didn’t know what he’d do if I tried to leave. One day, I told him I’ve had enough and didn’t want to see him anymore, he threatened to blackmail me by telling my parents that we had sex, and that I’d took drugs with him. I thought my parents would absolutely kill me if they found out. I was practically in a cage of a relationship. His older sister used to see how he treated me, but she concluded that it was my fault. She’d say “you know what his temper is like, you don’t want to go and provoke him, why do you provoke him like that?” This went on for almost three years. Finally, I decided I had to break up with him. I think I realized he was never going to change, it was always going to be like this with him forever. It was like I just snapped; I just had enough and couldn’t take any more. READ ALSO: 8 Things Married Men Should Do Around Single Ladies On the day I broke up with him, I’d been late to meet him. Then I had to hand in an assignment that I’d worked really hard on. He was so angry about me being late, he grabbed the assignment and just ripped it up, right in front of me. I’d been told by the teacher I’d probably fail if I didn’t get that assignment in. So I just lost it. I said “that’s it”, and I walked off in the other direction. He comes after me and says “don’t you walk away from me”. I said “I’ve had it with this”. So we’re screaming at each other in the street, he’s grabbing me by the arms and holding me and shouting at me, saying if I leave him he’ll tell my parents what I’ve done, like having sex and everything. When I get home he’s not there, and I just walk in and burst into tears in front of my mother. I just blurted out everything. She was pretty shocked, going on about “How could you? You should have told us, we knew he was bad for you” and so on. I was partly crying with relief, the relief of having finally told someone. He sent me a few text messages, some angry, some apologetic, but I didn’t care. Because I have closed my heart. One thing I’ve come to learn in life is that the only limitations you have are the ones you have imposed on yourself.