Toke Makinwa’s “On Becoming” from a man’s perspective – Why persevere in a loveless relationship? By Ikenna Okoro

Toke Makinwa’s “On Becoming” from a man’s perspective – Why persevere in a loveless relationship? By Ikenna Okoro

This is an opinion piece on Toke Makinwa’s “On Becoming”. This is not an attempt to render invalid the experiences of the writer and her opinions on relationships, nor those of readers who share her sentiments. I merely attempt to share my views as earnestly as possible. As much as my humanity allows, I try not to judge other people, their actions, and their decisions even when I find them mind-boggling. I try to do that which is easier said than done – to put myself in their shoes. When I find myself indulging in the rush which comes with judging others, I ask myself – what makes me think that I would act differently if I had ALL of that person’s decision variables? If I had their biology, physiology, sociology, psychology, and metaphysics (including their religious beliefs, or lack thereof) would I act differently?


This write-up is an instance of me completely ignoring that noble voice in my head telling me not to judge. Not because I am a qualified judge or some sanctified monk, but simply because I am mind-boggled.


The first truth which jumps out of “On Becoming” is that Toke Makinwa is a very good writer – and reader, too, because both definitely go hand-in-hand. Above all, she’s had the life experiences which fed her autobiography very well. So her writing bared her emotions and sentiments, and each of her words came to me like peppered hot oil dropping into my eyes. But does that mean that I cried? Absolutely not; more precisely, not the part where she narrated the story of her parents demise (damn, how heart-breaking). But the story of that roller-coaster relationship and marriage with Maje Ayida was very difficult to wrap my head and emotions around.

Why do women (and men, I guess – cos this book is from a woman’s perspective) stay in blatantly horrible relationships? Why does the Nigerian society seem to capitulate to the caprice whims of irresponsible men? Why do people think that marriage makes humans better – like some alchemy of the spirit, turning the copper of a wayward man’s heart into gold? I am deeply concerned about the attitude towards bad relationships. A man is clearly cheating on you, doesn’t show up, he lies and doesn’t respect you or care about your feelings. His only ammunition on you are his roses and apology-after-the-fact (remember, we know only Toke’s story so far; Maje hasn’t presented his own “On Becoming” story), and you go back to him? His mother doesn’t recognise that you two are a couple even AFTER your “introduction”. His sister warns you against marrying him but you cling onto hope which you’ve derived from I-know-not-where. Why believe that marriage would make such a person better? It boggles my mind to see women (I guess men too), wallow in the pit of bad, hopeless relationships. Why is the devil you know better than being alone? And, please dear neighbour, landlord, uncle, aunt, in-law, parent and MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR , pack your opinions and cast them into the fires of Mordor. Yes, I can leave a bad marriage. Yes, I believe that God will not punish me when I leave an irresponsible, hurtful and disrespectful spouse who has no love for me. Yes, I choose happiness.

Toke’s narrative of Maje’s behaviour was so touching that I felt it deeply just by reading the book, so I can only wonder what she went through. But my question is why persist in the bad relationship? Why choose unhappiness? Why should forgiveness and understanding be your first reaction to infidelity instead of protecting your happiness? You catch your man with his mistress, his response to you is “You’re the wife, she’s the girlfriend”. You cry and soon after, you forgive and accept him. At this point I wonder if Toke can really be absolved of the responsibility of the life she permitted to happen to her. My concerns multiply manifold times when I remind myself that I just read the story of an incredibly beautiful and financially successful woman subjecting herself to a loveless relationship. What if the opposite was the case? What if the story was about some poor, jobless lady who looked like the front of a MAN truck, how worse would the situation have been if the lady made same relationship decisions like Toke (remember, put yourself in her shoes). Why would a seemingly strong woman act so powerless?

I don’t know Toke so well and didn’t know how the relationship with Maje ended prior to reading the book. So with each new page, after reading about another misbehaviour by Maje, I thought – that was it; Toke would break up with him and the rest of the book would contain advice on how to deal with bad relationships. This was at page 50; imagine my surprise when I found out this up-and-down shoki dance continued until page 100 or so. The book is 110 pages long….

That brings me to Toke’s 5 tips on what to do when you find out that your partner cheated on you. What a load of crap! It’s such rhetoric that prompted me to write this in the first place; such rhetoric that makes me wonder if Toke is truly ready to move on and heal. WOMAN up, ladies; take the reins of your life and ride gloriously towards the rising sun. And don’t look back. Again, I remind you: to each his own – my solutions to a failed relationship aren’t Toke’s, and neither are they yours.  Every relationship is different in its unique way so what solves the problem for couple A may not work for B and C. Take control of your life and don’t let anything or anyone keep you in a loveless, hurtful, unhappy relationship. You deserve the best.


About the Author

There's more to Lynn than meets the eye; visit "ABOUT ME" page for more details. I hope you enjoyed the article.

12 thoughts on “Toke Makinwa’s “On Becoming” from a man’s perspective – Why persevere in a loveless relationship? By Ikenna Okoro

  1. Shirley - December 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Heheheee….. why na Toke??? Is it by force to be with this Maje guy sef? Ikenna thanks for writing this, at least a different perspective that speaks to ladies to avoid remaining in loveless, hurtful relationships. If you’re not happy, just leave cos your happiness is very important.

    • lynnvillle - December 3, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Honestly, was there a gun to the head or a price to win for staying with Maje? I think many ladies in hurtful relationships have lost their sense of worth and unconsciously tell themselves that they may never find another man. It’s just sad…

      Thanks for your comments Shirley.

  2. Ayo - December 3, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    This Ikenna, you deserve a handshake. You just hit the nail on the head, I feel bad for her though…. it is well, ladies shine ya eyes well oh.

    • lynnvillle - December 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Oya Ikenna, come and collect handshake. Thanks for your comment, Ayo – my eyes dey shine like iMax, lollll

  3. Raldek - December 3, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Crucify Maje ! Crucify Maje !! Crucify Maje !!! Noone has bothered to asked what the wrongs of Toke were that brought out the worse in him which the antidote was in Anita. Toke and Maje’s ish is simply a case of dragging a horse to the stream and trying to force it drink and horse running for safety at the slightest avaliable opportunity.

    • lynnvillle - December 3, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      This part of your comment just explains the whole scenario – “Toke and Maje’s ish is simply a case of dragging a horse to the stream and trying to force it drink and horse running for safety at the slightest available opportunity.”

      Thanks for your comment Raldek

  4. Damilare - December 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    This is the sort of treatment most people subject themselves to in search of “paparazzi” or “red carpet” spouse. As the saying goes, he/she that finds love(true love) has found a very good thing.

    • lynnvillle - December 3, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      lol @ “paparazzi” or “red carpet” spouse… Thanks for your comment

  5. Jasmine - December 3, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    She did all that? As his mother doesn’t acknowledge me, as I dey change lane (lollll). I cannot come and die, I’m not Juliet #RomeoandJuliet #MyOpinionTho

    • lynnvillle - December 3, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      My sister, I’m with you on this one oh cos you don’t just marry the man alone; you marry the whole family. Even for the movie Juliet no die (lolll). Thanks for your comment dear

  6. Adesuwa - December 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    You know telling a woman to walk away from a bad marriage in a plaice like naija is easier said than done, she will think about a lot of things and sometimes believe that this guy might just change if I am a little patient but I have come to realize that it’s a difficult thing for a man to change. When you show a woman love it is easier for her to change and become a better person but when you show a disrespectful guy love, he becomes even worse (my opinion and personal observation though).

    So the lady keeps waiting and hoping that this guy might just change especially when he comes back at intervals with a repentant behavior just to get the lady to forgive and loosen up a bit and then he strikes again and then she starts thinking “oh this guy can’t just change, I need to take a walk” and just as she is making up her mind, the guy comes back apologizing unwilling to let go of the lady. Now the Lady starts thinking, he is unwilling to let go, he must be willing to change and she holds on to that “hope”.

    All these take time because if you walk away the first or second time he hurts you, you might start thinking after a while that maybe I should have been a little patient so as you wait a little and tolerate a little, 2 things are happening; 1. You are watching to see if this guy can really change and 2. You finally making up your mind that indeed you have tried and that this can’t work, you just need to walk away. When this happens you are able to walk away and not look back because you are convinced that you have tried.

    That’s what I think made Toke wait.

    • lynnvillle - December 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Hhhmm… They were not even married when Toke was waiting for the change; it’s just like placing your life on hold waiting for someone that you don’t know when he will change or if he’s ever going to change. But I just think waiting for 12 years is too long a time….

      Thanks for your comment Ade…


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