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The Elastic Heart Series with Atoke: Part V – I Have to Let You Go



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I always say to Glory Edozien, “You are the love mistress. Love is your territory. You love, love.” It is true; Glory IS the love queen. She has this glow when she talks about matters of the heart. Me? Not quite. I don’t care. My love is my writing. My heart? Chained away, padlocked and frozen.

So, when I found myself in a Situationship, I struggled with confronting the realisation that this is what was actually going on.

Wait, you don’t know what a Situationship is? Where were you when Isio Wanogho and Uru Eke were talking about it here on BN? Tsk, Tsk! Okay, I’ll help you out: properly captures it:
“A situationship is basically a pseudo-relationship. A placebo masking itself as a formative relationship. It smells like a relationship, it sorta looks like a relationship, and it may even feel like one, but it’s not. Urban Dictionary describes a situationship as any problematic relationship characterised by one or more unresolved, interpersonal conflicts. usually confused with dating.”

All caught up now? Good!

A situationship is that halfway place between talking and being in a relationship. It’s sha a whole lot of rocking chair style techniques. (No, not sexual, you perv!) I mean, it gives you so much to do, but takes you NO WHERE!

You’re talking to this person but you don’t really want to ask that dreaded question because you don’t want to come across as an Eager Beaver. So you just let the absence of definition drag on and on and on! Till you find yourself broken hearted. Then you’re told “But we were not in a relationship, ke!”

Dearly beloved, I’m here to preach one word of Rhema to you today…It is very okay to ask that question. The Love Queen, Glory Edozien also confirms it. In any case, once you’re in your 30s, you have the carte blanche to do anything you want to. You know why?

Because you’re an ADULT!

So, since I’m such a tough talker and a know-it-all, why did I fall into this pit of despair and become a bumbling mess when I asked the “what do you want with me?” question and got the “friendship!” response?

But, I was still going to be a strong woman, okay? I wasn’t going to let a man use me emotionally and tell me he just wants to be friend. No! I beat my chest and stood in my room, with all the righteous indignation in the world.

“I am going to need to dial this back a whole lot! I can’t do the kind of friendship you want.” I beat my chest King Kong style and decided to cut the man off!

The Elastic Heart Series is the result of my decision. It chronicles my walk through the pain of trying to clutch myself back from my Situationship. It has been a long, arduous journey and I hope that nobody will ever tell you that it is easy.

Because, that sh*t hurts so bad.
My emotions Yo-Yo’d from happiness, to relief, to anger, and back to intense sadness. Days of tears soaking my pillow, and me trying to muffle my sobs because I didn’t want my roommate to think this strong girl had somehow crumbled. I feel a little better now, and I’ve decided to share my experience in a 5-part series. If you have never heard Elastic Heart by Sia, please get acquainted, because this song got me through this very difficult period. I may not be as strong as I thought I was, but now I realise that what I have is an Elastic Heart.

I hope you enjoy this series and I hope it helps somebody.

I should be asleep, but I’m lying here thinking about you. This is stupid. I am being stupid.  Even writing this now feels stupid. The fact that my vocabulary seems to be limited to just one word, in all of this, seems equally stupid. All of it is stupid.


Yes, you should take all the awards for being stupid. All….

But the summation of all your stupidity is still not as much as the knowledge that I’m basking in the glow of the memory of knowing you were there.

I want to step out of this bubble for a few minutes and call you, chat with you… then come back to being angry at you.

I want to know that you’re fine.
I want to know that nobody is giving you anxiety issues.
I want to know that you’re in a happy place.

And when I know, I want to be mad at you for doing so well without me.

This is the last of The Elastic Heart Series. I can’t be sad in perpetuity and so I’ve found strength in the one thing that never lets me down – my work.

I find writing very therapeutic and very much a form of cathartic release. So, I’m putting all of this force into the TV show I’m currently writing – which by itself is incredibly emotionally draining. But I can do it. Why? Because I see women like Shonda Rhimes, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Serena Williams (Dr. Temperance Brennan, too – yes I know she’s a fictional character, but she has earned her stripes) kicking ass, and pushing through.


Right after the Toronto International Film Festival 2016, I’ll be in Lagos to host an event titled………

Erm.. Look, guys! I’ve been nursing a heartbreak here. My brain hasn’t quite figured out a nice title. Suggest something in the comments for me, abeg.

But, it is going to be a nice evening where we will gather around a nice room with lovely potted plants and a lot of art work on the walls. Because, ambience is EVERYTHING! We will have loads of cocktails because cocktails helps to loosen tongues! and, we will have a lot of laughter.

The idea behind the event is for you to learn how to get your voice heard. Also to just come and chill, and laugh! I’ll even share some BellaNaija behind-the-scenes for those of you who wanna know how things work here. *comments moderation expo| and how to get your articles published*

Look, we live in a world where everybody is saying something! Who is really directing the type of conversations we’re having? And, as you can see in the comments online, people always have something to say; sometimes they’re just afraid of saying them – to avoid ruffling a few feathers.

In October, I’ll be sitting with my friends, and some of you lovely people who want to have fun with us; and we’ll talk about how the things we read, see and hear around us shapes our mindsets, on our lifestyle and invariably our culture. The idea is to encourage people and spark a light for positive change. Also, to start a revolution within the minds of the millennials in Nigeria because, honestly, we’re really becoming dodoyos.

I’ll also read excerpts from my upcoming book. Shhh… that was supposed to be a secret! But, broken heart, loose tongue.

Oh, there will be love talk by Glory Edozien, and canapés will be provided by Chef Fregz! (Because, y’all know I have the BEST FRIENDS in the world!)

Please follow me on Twitter @atoke_ and on Instagram @atoke_ for updates on the event.

Peace, love & celery sticks!

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Finally! Phew!

    August 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm


    To the, and all situationships.

    And a big warm welcome to all the new, good ships that have just sailed in.

  2. olanna&odenigbo

    August 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Nne we can’t be sad in perpetuity loto!!! literally 10mins ago, my recent almost- love-relationship boyfriend just shows up in front of my office with his chic (old flame rekindled)… it’s been a horrible anxiety filled 2months or so, also lost3kg without trying…. so today my heart missed a few beats, anxiety kicked in about 10mins, quick call to the bestfriend to calm down and I am back to work

    I pray and look forward to the day when none of it will matter.amen

    • BM

      August 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Dear olanna&odenigbo, may you receive enough strength to look away. See, it’s no biggie. Just let him go if he wants to go. There is nothing as hurting and sad as running after someone who is over you. God be with you.

  3. Anonymous

    August 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I’m presently in a situation ship now..Really don’t know how to let go maybe because I enjoy what we have. God help me

    • Me too

      August 26, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Each time I let go, I turn back

    • nikky

      August 29, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Easy. Tell him you have fallen for him and watch him run wheeeeeeeeeee! That way you know where you stand. Put all your cards face front on the table. Either he shits or gets off the pot.

      Please, when he runs, dont start looking all sad and refusing to be social. Get active. Meet people. Join Tinder (casual and nothing serious, as all them guys on there are insane. LOL). Be active and with time you will get over him

  4. Quintessential African

    August 26, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    “I want to step out of this bubble for a few minutes and call you, chat with you… then come back to being angry at you.”

    My current exact sentiments!!! The only difference is that I don’t want him to be happy without me. I want him to be miserable, to know that he screwed up, to truly and honestly feel like a douchebag. I want an honest apology. Not the rubbish he has been tendering to me over the past year just because he doesn’t want to die with me or anyone on earth hating him…yet still going back to his old ways.

    We shall overcome sha!

  5. miini

    August 26, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    It seems I’ve been writing about you of late; line upon line of how i feel, how you hurt me, this pain in my chest.
    I miss you, that much I know, and I’m amazed at how in such a short time you came to mean so much.
    I miss you so bad it hurts. And I hate that fact. Why should I miss you when you hurt me so?

    But I miss you still. I miss your face in my face. I miss your stupid jokes. I miss your stupid gluteofemoral jokes. I miss that funny curve of your teeth. For some reason I’m really into that. I miss how you made me laugh, I miss how you were with me. I miss my friend.

    Sometimes I sit and wonder what you are thinking. Are you thinking of me? Do I even cross your mind? You are constantly on mine though.
    I wish it would stop hurting so bad. It’s been weeks and I still sit and cry. I’m a strong woman but you left me weak and broken.

    Nothing is the same without you. Not the conversation, not the jokes. I laugh a lot these days but i wish it was you telling the joke.

    I hate that we both chose the easy way out, pretending to be strangers. Why can’t you break the silence, tell me you’re sorry?

    Maybe because you are not, or maybe because you know i will forgive you again, because thats what friends do.

    I wish I could hate you because you deserve it for treating me so. But I can’t. My heart won’t.

    I miss you. I miss you so bad it hurts. I miss you so bad I cry.

    That’s my own elastic heart write up about my friend who messed up our amazing friendship. He has a girlfriend but couldn’t keep his emotions in check. Dude went cold turkey on me after we made out. So I called him an ass, told him off and lost his number, I cannot comman be doing on and off emotional rollercoaster. But I miss that boy. So like you and Californiabawler, no more make friends, shikena.

    • miini

      August 26, 2016 at 6:43 pm


    • miini's alter ego

      August 27, 2016 at 3:49 am

      wow Minni! my heart raced as I read this. I kept wondering when I wrote it coz it is so me, i can relate with every feeling.
      the only good thing(not that it is even good) is that recently, the pain has subsided thanks to a shocking experience on my job.
      either way, I’m still grieving. and like olanna&odenigbo, seeing her even just her picture destabilizes me

  6. Andallen

    August 26, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Hmmmmmmm. Atoke I could totally relate from the series
    My consolation is this we shall overcome today and not some days. I pray God strengthen your heart to love again. Peace, love, carrot and celery stick

  7. Nelo

    August 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Atoke Ndo! U hear. Been there done that and it hurt like he’ll. He even came back again sef and I fell into the situationship again. I hated him for it. After so many months of hardening my shell, he thought he could use me to fulfill his needs. I told him off.

    We became friends (had nothing else to offer) he opened up after much probing, he was just doing the ‘situationship’ with so many. After all, boy was fine as hell, looked as meek as a lamb but could charm the pants of u. He travelled down for my wedding sef. But the friendship don die biko.

  8. Tina

    August 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Love you Atoke. Love how your stories flow

  9. Didi

    August 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I understand totally. Took me over a year to get over a three year situationship. It was at some point so unbearable I was going to use my little time off work to go try and ‘mend things up’, even though clearly it was all him.

    It takes time but we all heal. We take the good parts and it teaches us that yes we are capable of love and being loved and we are stronger than we think.

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