Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
*Caroline, 20, and *Somto, 20, used to date. They went from friends to lovers to frenemies. For today’s Love Life, they talk about their relationship and how one party felt bullied into a relationship they never really wanted.
What’s the relationship here?
Caroline: We used to date.
Somto: She’s my ex.
How long did you guys date for?
Somto: We started dating in February 2020. I’m not sure.
Caroline: I like to count it as a month, but I think it was just three weeks. We broke up on March 30th.
Tell me about your relationship.
Somto: I feel like I was bullied into it. I just got out of a relationship and my emotions were all over the place. Caroline and I were working on a project together. We started hanging out and it was fun at first. Then one night, she sent me a text and basically bullied me into a relationship..
Caroline: I didn’t bully him. We go to the same school; we’re students. We were working together and we had so much in common. I just thought to myself, maybe you should just ask him if he wants to be in a relationship. He first hesitated but later agreed. I didn’t force him.
Somto, do you think you’re easily persuaded to do things you don’t want to?
I am usually not easily persuaded, but a part of me was hoping it would work. I lowkey knew that this wasn’t something I wanted to do. I made it clear from the onset that I didn’t want to be in a relationship. I just wanted to be friends.
Interesting. How did the relationship end?
Somto: I won’t say it was a breakup, it was more of an agreement. You know when you’re not meant to be with someone? That’s how I felt.
Caroline: Before the lockdown, we were having lots of fights, disagreeing about a lot of things, yelling at each other. I saw it coming because I got the vibe he wasn’t quite comfortable with our relationship. The day school sent us home, he called and told me he still loves his ex-girlfriend and wanted to break up.
Yikes. Somto, are you with your ex now?
No, but it’s fine. I’m learning to love my own company.
Caroline mentioned fights. What exactly were you guys fighting about?
Somto: I didn’t want to hang out. I just wanted to be alone and she would make a fuss. It was silly little things. They were absurd because, on a normal day, I wouldn’t want to argue about them.
Caroline: I was getting paranoid that something was wrong with him and he wasn’t telling me. I remember one of the arguments where he said he didn’t know how to explain himself, and I kept insisting he talk to me because we were friends before we started dating. The whole secrecy thing was bothering me and I needed to know what was wrong.
Somto: I didn’t intentionally make things difficult for you. I was going through my problems and I didn’t want to get anyone involved. I like to sort things out myself.
Caroline: I was just trying to be enough.
Somto: You were more than enough. I just wasn’t complete yet.
What did you guys hate about the relationship?
Somto: There was nothing to hate. If I had met Caroline at a different point in my life, things might have worked. Right now, I’m not just in the mood for a relationship.
Caroline: I didn’t really hate anything. The timing was just off. I was very busy at that point and the feeling that I wasn’t doing enough or spending adequate time with him kept eating me up. Sometimes, I’d make him come to my meetings so we could spend more time together.
What was your sex life like?
Caroline: Honestly, it wasn’t intense. We made out and it was just there, but we never had sex. We tried, but I didn’t feel ready.
Somto: Meh. I’m not pushy so, for me, it wasn’t a priority. I’ve had it too many times to care.
What did you pick up from the relationship?
Somto: She pushed me to do a lot of things. I basically doubled my hustle because of her.
Caroline: His music sense. I’ve been listening to a lot of songs he likes. I am also still friends with some of his friends. Oh, and I’m now experimenting with weed.
Are you guys still attracted to each other?
Caroline: Attraction is such a wide spectrum. I am still attracted to him physically and because I have been in a relationship with him, it’s easier to say that I still might be attracted to him emotionally, but the relationship fucked me up and gave me PTSD. I couldn’t even listen to some songs I liked because they reminded me of him.
Somto: I would assume so. Probably.
How did you guys get over the break up?
Somto: I was still getting over one when I got into this one so it felt like a compound effect for me. Dealing with it while working was very effective for me.
Caroline: When we would fight in the relationship, because of how busy I was, I never had time to brew over it. When I went home because of Corona, I had time to organise my feelings and frankly, I lashed out at him.
The night of the breakup, I called my best friend and cried over Facetime. A friend of his kept checking in on me for about a week to make sure I was okay. The sleepless nights didn’t help either. I don’t want to say I was used, but I felt deceived.
Somto: Caroline, in all honesty, I was very nice to you. I never lied to you.
Caroline: But you concealed the truth and that’s just as bad.
Somto: Did I? Did I really?
Caroline: You using the term “bullied” at the start of this interview when all I did was ask you is very weird. I wish I had my old phone so I can go through the chats and see where I came off as a bully.
If you didn’t want to, you shouldn’t have accepted. We’ve had this argument before where you said you never wanted this and because I really don’t want to keep bringing this up. So, yes, lying and concealing the truth may be different but they are closely related.
Somto: The night I told you I didn’t want this and would prefer we were friends. You looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes and I felt pressured. I don’t really like dealing with emotional stress, I’m not really good at handling it.
When I start hinting at not wanting to do something and you start giving me those eyes, I just go with it. At the point I felt it was too much, it made more sense to just rip the bandage off.
Somto, would you say you dated her out of pity?
Somto: It wasn’t really out of pity. I understood what it felt like to be alone and didn’t want that for her. I really liked her. You have to understand that I was just trying to get over my ex.
So, she was a rebound?
Caroline: It’s all good. I just wish you had said something in the beginning instead of having me go through all this.
Is there a chance of getting back together at all?
Caroline: In this exact moment, I’d say no.
Somto: I don’t think so.
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