I am 28 years old and married, well, sort of.
I started dating this guy – now ‘my husband’ after finishing my undergrad and immediately after I graduated, I got a well-paying job. This guy also finished his Master’s program and we started cohabiting. Only my mum knew he and I were living together; my other family members did not know. However, all his family members knew we were living together.
While this guy is hardworking and intelligent, he was not fortunate enough to get a job. After moving in together with me, he said he wanted to open a shop. His family and I supported him. In fact, all my savings went into his business. I believed in building together with my man; so, I was happy to help with my savings. While the shop was running, his friend introduced him to crypto and he in turn introduced it to me and some of his family members and acquaintances; including our Landlord.
I was seriously in need of a car to make my commute to and from the office easier. My colleagues at work were wondering why I had not gotten a car. We were well paid and I was still using commercials which was totally unbefitting. So, my guy and I agreed that the earnings from the crypto investment would be used to buy a car for me. To cut this aspect of the story short, the investment crashed and the person in charge ran off with all investors’ funds which included the money I was able to save up after supporting my guy’s business. In fact, I borrowed money from my father but he did not know I was putting it in crypto.
Apparently, my guy had also collected money from our Landlord to invest into crypto. I did not know this and was only informed after the facts. The Landlord said he collected the money from a man who was known to be a deviant and not understanding at all. When the investment crashed, my guy had to run to his parents to save us from embarrassment. His shop was just getting by and not doing well at all. His mother came to the rescue by borrowing money from all and sundry to help us pay the Landlord and my father back.
Towards the end of 2020, my guy told me he would learn crypto trading himself because he heard it was highly lucrative. As the shop was not doing well, I supported him in this endeavour. However, his mum, after what happened, warned him seriously not to venture into crypto again. In fact, the mum would call me to ask if her son was still involved in crypto one way or the other and I would cover for him. By this time, he had stopped going to his shop and had handed it over to someone to manage for him so he could face his trading.
Because my job was highly demanding and required me to leave early in the morning and late at night, I didn’t know that the rapport between our Landlord and my guy had become so frequent. I would see them together sometimes but would think nothing of it. I thought the relationship was just a Landord-Tenant one.
In 2021, I got admission with about an 80% scholarship to study abroad. We saw this as an avenue to leave Nigeria. So, we quickly went to a Registry to legally get married so that we could attach the marriage certificate to my visa application. No one from his family and mine knew we did this. Later, we did an official family introduction. We planned to do the wedding proper months later. Then, I started noticing that my guy’s crypto trading was not going well. He was becoming leaner and I could sense that something was wrong.
On one night, he told me he had collected millions of naira from our Landlord to trade and had lost everything and was struggling. He told me that the girlfriend and family members of the Landlord were also his investors. In fact, the Landlord’s girlfriend was able to buy the apartment she was living from the earnings she was getting from my guy. But, there I was, toiling day and night with no help from my guy. Eventually, my guy’s crypto loss became so bad that even after getting more millions of Naira facilitated by the Landlord, he still lost everything.
Towards the end of 2021, my visa application was denied due to a funds issue and I had to apply again. To solidify my application, my dad helped me to borrow N10m which was put in my account. The interest rate of the N10m loan was N500k monthly. My guy insisted I give him this money to trade with so, he would be able to pay the debts on his neck. I was highly reluctant to give him this money but he said I was not being supportive and hurled insults at me. Eventually, I caved in as the ever-supportive ‘wife’.
To avoid a situation where there wouldn’t be my dad’s N10m in my account, my guy got another N10m from one of these Proofs of Funds people which was locked in my account. My dad’s N10m was not locked, so it was easy to withdraw it and give it to him. The interest rate on this other N10m was also N500k monthly. I also got an advance of N2m from my work’s cooperative.
Everything I gave my guy at that time was N12m out of which he used N1m+ to settle the interest rates and also pay my monthly contribution of N200k at my cooperative. Again, to cut this aspect of this story short, he lost everything AGAIN. By this time, the total of his debts was around N42m. This was in 2022.
He ran away from home and everything went pretty downhills from there; my dad’s N10m, the monthly interest rates, and my cooperative monthly contribution. I ran to my parents to rescue me. Justifiably, his parents blamed me, as they always told me to ensure he was not involved in crypto trading. I was horribly humiliated during this period. I was so ashamed of myself. The Landlord and the people he owed money issued all sorts of threats. It was such a terrible period. My mum had to come and stay with me to ensure my safety.
During this period, he cut off ties with his family members and pretty everyone, except me. He apologized and of course, I forgave him. My mum also asked me to forgive him as he was the only man I had ever known, so forgiving him was easy. He told me not to reveal to anyone that he was in communication with me and I didn’t.
My family members started paying back the N10m and because I had a well-paying job, I was also able to contribute in small ways. His family also helped in their own way. My visa reapplication was eventually approved but there was no money to buy a plane ticket, pay the remainder of my tuition fees and even prepare for my trip. My guy was of course unable to help. This time, I knew finally I could never depend on him. But, God came through for me. God showed me that only Him could be depended on. My brother gave me the name of a wealthy lawyer who gave me money that I never expected just because we were from the same region and was impressed with my academic performance. The money helped in preparing for my trip and also helped to reduce the N10m loan to N4.5m today.
Now, I am abroad studying but before I left Nigeria, I saw my guy and he was already making efforts to come and join me. In fact, I encouraged him as I felt his coming to join me would make payment of the debts easier as he would be able to work and earn valuable money. Since he ran away, he has been moving from one friend’s house to another to avoid getting caught by his debtors.
Two weeks ago, I saw that he had been sleeping all day and I told him to at least get a job; even if it is a virtual job. He got angry and told me to send the links to the virtual job to him. I told him it appeared he was contented just waiting for his travels to click without doing anything in the meantime. Two days later, I told him the amount it would cost to get Permanent Residence for us in the country where I am. I asked how we would get the money to finance the whole process and he started saying I should apply alone and leave him behind. I was really pissed at this and wished him goodnight since he had nothing useful to say and contribute. Since that time, he has not contacted me. It’s been two weeks now, and I am also consciously making efforts not to contact him.
God, I feel this guy has milked me enough. I was always carrying his burdens and I am tired. I was working in a highly-respected and well-paying place yet, I always looked haggard because I was always broke because of him. I know I have had enough of “tomorrow go better” and I just don’t want to have anything to do with him again but my heart is hard in accepting this. He is also so manipulative and a classic guilt-tripper; always telling me whenever we had a misunderstanding that he would cease all communications with me whenever he is done with the relationship just like he did with his ex. I guess that is what he has done now. He would also accuse me of being arrogant and not knowing how to speak while being angry.
I would like to know if I should just let this guy go or continue hoping for the best because we are married. I just don’t know how to start over. Please note that he is truly a generous guy whenever he has but he hardly has. Hardly would he do something lovely without going broke afterward. Please advice.