Connect with us


Toyosi Phillips: 3 Crucial Lessons From My Relationship Mistakes



Toyosi PhillipsI was told by grandma not to smell what I would not eat. I’ve heard repeatedly that experience is the greatest teacher and very noteworthy is the fact that it doesn’t have to be YOUR experience. You shouldn’t fall into the same ditch your friend told you about after her fall; because that fall wasn’t for her alone. It was for you as well. My falls (and boy have I fallen!) should not be for me alone and I believe strongly that a time would come when I would be commended for those I helped avoid my slipups and reprimanded for those I didn’t.

I’ve found myself in several sticky situations and I’m going to be dead honest and say that ALL those situations could have been avoided. I’ve been with people I had no business being with and it’s annoying and somewhat embarrassing because I’ve been told repeatedly that I have a solid head on my shoulders. In Nigerian English, I’ve been told I have sense. So why I didn’t have lasting sense in these situations beats me. How I started off being strong and rebuffing all the advances only to end up falling face-flat to those same advances annoys me. What happened to the “sense”?

I took a good look at the situations; dwelt on some more than others because they stuck out- and truthfully they hurt more. So I came up with a list I’ve titled, How To Avoid Unnecessary Heartache/Stress Caused by People That Should Ordinarily Have Had No Place In Your Life or much simpler Notes From My Mistakes- Relationship Category.

I knew from the beginning of my relationship with Seal*** that the relationship had no future and I was vocal about it.

“We are from different places”, I said.

“You can’t “take me home” and neither can I”, I elaborated.

“This can’t work”, I continued.

“Let’s just take it one day at a time”, was the response I got, “We’ll do things on your own terms”.

One day at a time seemed doable and I liked the sound of my own terms so I took the option, telling myself I was strong enough and couldn’t fall; forgetting that human nature is inherently proud. This pride leads our nature to believe that it can be in control all the time. At that instant I forgot what I’d said to my friend last year when she was “playing with fire”- “You think you’re strong enough until it’s too late and you realize you’re not”. Of course after a while I forgot about my terms and “one day at a time” became a blur. Attention brings affection and before I knew it I was in a relationship (even though I refused to call it that). It didn’t end well…yet again. I finally decided to write the lessons I’d learned, so I no longer had any excuse to repeat the mistakes.

Lesson 1: Stand Your Ground
Regardless of the wooing and rhymes and lyrics, if you know there’s no future with the said person, stand your ground and save yourself future pain. The ones sent to derail you are full of tricks. They have tongues dripping with honey-coated words and minds filled with devious ideas. Do not be deceived, do not budge and frankly I’d say do not entertain them; because all a snake needs to slither through is a tiny crack.

Lesson 2: Reach Out
I have friends who would call every day- on the hour- to remind me of the beauty that I am and quote the fearfully and wonderfully made scripture to me if they as little as sense that something is wrong. People like this are there to prevent us from believing the lie that a stranger’s validation is the only thing that can make us feel good at any point in time. Evil prevails when we isolate ourselves and in writing this, I’ve thought of moments reaching out was the window of escape I should have jumped through to diffuse the iniquitous attention I was getting.

Lesson 3: You Have To Wait It Out
After bidding my common sense goodbye and walking through the shadow of death expecting to come out unscathed like Bond, I find myself coming out wounded, hobbling to the people in Lesson 2 that would have shielded me in the first place. I cry, talk, sigh and cry some more and they hug, listen, talk and hug some more. Tons of girl-wisdom are shared in these moments and it’s quite soothing, but the truth is my wounds still stay raw. The coos and hugs help but their effects are temporary. Only time has been faithful enough to ease the pain and bring permanent relief.

So sadly, the solution to permanently numbing your pain is waiting it out. Every minute that passes is a minute closer to getting back to your normal self and hopefully a minute spent reminding yourself to next time stand your ground and reach out to people you’ve been blessed with.

***not his real name

Toyosi Phillips is a Lagos-based producer, presenter and writer. She produced and hosted “The Gist with Toyosi Phillips”, an entertainment show on SaharaTV New York for two seasons and co-hosted Sahara FM's weekly radio show from 2014 to 2015. She guest-writes for different publications including Bellanaija and Genevieve Magazine and is quick to mention to everyone that she saw Oprah at the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans. Her vlog turned talk show, "As Toyo Sees" will be airing on networks world wide soon. For more news and updates, - Subscribe to her YouTube channel (Toyosi Phillips) - Check out her website - Follow and interact with her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn @toyosiphillips


  1. inspiring!!

    March 16, 2016 at 10:40 am


  2. lyl

    March 16, 2016 at 11:03 am


  3. Damola

    March 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Nice write up. Time & waiting in the right place does it all. I smile when I remember my mistakes, call my name & just shake my head. we aren’t whole yet but we are heading der!

  4. Temi

    March 16, 2016 at 11:35 am

    LOL Oje Sturvinzzz….

    • Dami

      March 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Oje of 1972 is who she’ll still be writing about. Awon frenemy of life

  5. kk11

    March 16, 2016 at 11:49 am

    You just wrote nothing dear

  6. GraceOfGOD

    March 16, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    @Toyosi Phillips

    Good morning Madam, I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU. Your article brought back some SAD memories but I am VERY GRATEFUL. I should have STOOD my ground and say NO to my STUPID emotions. I knew from the ONSET that they will NOT lead to somewhere but I had hope that may be they would CHANGE the things I were not ready to ENTERTAIN my WHOLE life, I thought I could pray to GOD to ADJUST them but that was a WASTE of TIME. I would like to use this opportunity to advise the single LADIES SEARCHING here: Dear Sisters PLEASE never think that you can CHANGE a man, never think that you can OVERCOME everything with just LOVE. Remember LOVE is an EMOTION, it can DISAPPEAR after TOO MUCH challenges. I am not saying that LOVE is not IMPORTANT, of COURSE it is IMPORTANT but it is NOT ENOUGH to settle with someone. There are CERTAIN THINGS we also NEED in order to BE and REMAIN HAPPY in a Relationship or Marriage. For me RELIGION matters A WHOLE LOT, I am a CHRISTIAN and GOD means SO MUCH to me. I need a CHRISTIAN also, a REAL CHRISTIAN and nothing ELSE but I fell in love with a Muslim and I thought I could pray in SECRET for him to become a CHRISTIAN so that I would have my Mr.RIGHT. I think he also loved me, at least that is what he was saying and the relationship lasted a couple of months. I had to END it because after all the prayers in SECRET he was still a Muslim. I have NOTHING against Muslims, please do not get me WRONG but I am a CHRISTIAN and that is the way it shall remain for the REST of my LIFE. Even though I am the one who ended the relationship I was HURT emotionally and I am still RECOVERING. He is a nice man but He is NOT my Mr. RIGHT. When some certain FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA are NOT MET LET IT GO, DO NOT START WHAT YOU CANNOT FINISH. Sorry for the LONG epistle, I thought this could HELP someone out there to AVOID making the SAME mistake. Have a nice day and stay BLESSED. So one love and peace!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Lola

    March 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I agree, especially with number 1. It is important to stand your ground. If you’re not interested in the person for whatever reason, say so as soon as you know No need to be mean about it, no need to drag things out because of all the wooing. Even when the person is persistent, stand your ground clearly and keep it moving. That is what I would tell my younger self.

  8. Dewunmi

    March 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I’m getting really fond of this girl

  9. Iffy

    March 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    In life we are faced with choices. No one person ALWAYS gets it right. Mistakes are ok. We learn from them. Just ensure its not Foolish ones that can take your life. Even with your best decisions etc you still get trials. You wonder if making a different decision would have been better.
    There are people who never try at all. They sit safe.stand safe. Etc. Too much caution and analysis you end up 100yrs nevert attempted anything cos you don’t want to get hurt. We are built with instincts. Christians learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Passionate people go out and live. No matter what keep living. Learn from mistakes. Don’t dwell on it and wish you could relive it and make a different choice. You have a brand new day everyday. Create new memories. Rewrite your story. … Live!!!!!!!!

    • Pearl B

      March 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Iffy can you be my e-friend?

      Truth is matters of the heart are intricate, they defy logic and often can be overwhelming especially when the parties involved actually care for eachother.

      I continue to pray over my heart wey no dey hear word and beg for forgiveness of self.

      Growing up isn’t easy.

    • Tosin

      March 16, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      …take a little risk, lose/fail sometimes, exactly.
      both sides make sense.

  10. DAME

    March 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Toyosi..I NEEDED THIS
    In a sticky relationship situation .,,,everything you have said is very correct…am currently on your Number two…lots of girl talk, hugs, tears and more hugs
    I could have avoided all that…and i do not need to have experienced it all….another thing is fear…fear of being alone, marriage fear etc

    A senior friend told me something and i want to share…
    The only fear you should ever have is the fear of GOD….any other fear is of the devil
    Fear of being alone, unwanted..etc etc is of the devil and it is not true.
    Lastly, we all have our dreams…reasonable dreams..please do not settle ..please


  11. bella

    March 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks alot @dame. I was so scared that age was no longer on my side…so I settled for less. Sorry to say…this guy is not my kind of man, different background and orientation. Now I don’t want to go ahead with the marriage and I’m pregnant with his child…seriously I’m so confused. I thought we could work out things together but I discovered that you can’t change a man. I just want move on with my life and be happy.

    • Tee

      March 16, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hi bella, my heart went out to you after reading your comment, if you have the strength to move on, please do, so you can have peace in your life. Anyone that says marry a man because you both share a child is wicked! You see that precious beautiful child made out of love would always know who his or her father is..There are countless women out there who wish they could turn back the hands of time to your moment based on the ‘marry for the child sake’ situation. If it’s not working don’t force it, never think this situation is beyond your control, be courageous, the road may not be easy but God will never leave you. It’s easier to raise a well rounded and happy child by yourself than a frustrated depressed child in the name of a frustrated marriage, God will grant you wisdom to make a choice and give you your desires.Amen

  12. That

    March 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Dear Bella, I will advise u to go ahead with the marriage and give it a try. Your child needs both u and d dad. Most times we have a particular image or characteristics we want in our partners but reality is that not everybody get them. As long as d man in question is not abusive I think u shd marry him. don’t u think u can develop love for him after marriage. Life is full surprises

    • "changing moniker"

      March 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      your comment would have made more sense if you suggested that she try to love him now, not after marriage.

  13. Voke Ezeodum

    March 18, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Don’t beat yourself up for it darling, we all fall in the same situations

  14. Zainab

    March 18, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Hey Toyosi, thanks a lot for the article, gosh I just experienced a very bad heart break! So I am really trying had to move on. I knew it was a wrong decision from day one, but I went ahead with it! You made me feel better with your article! Thanks! every single step you take shall be blessed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa

Star Features