In December 2018, I met Nii on a project I was working on. I was 34 years then. He is ten years older than me. Even though the age gap was wide, I didn’t feel it in our interactions. Our conversations were mostly casual until he proposed to me in January 2019. I gave it a lot of thought and figured a man his age will be serious when it comes to love and relationships. I told myself, “He is 44. At this age, he won’t be interested in playing games. Let me give him a chance and see how far we can go.”
Before I accepted his proposal, I asked about his intentions and he said, “I love you. Haven’t you noticed how I’m always looking for reasons to talk to you? I want to get to know you and love you the way a queen deserves to be loved.” His words were intense. He said nothing wrong and touched on everything I loved to hear from a man. He sounded genuine so I agreed to be his girlfriend.
This man would ask me random questions about the type of wedding I wanted, and I would tell him. It got to a point, it was no longer my wedding plans but our wedding plans. He was always the one who led such conversations about weddings and marriage. Sometimes he would say random things like, “I met this caterer who makes good food at affordable rates. I’m thinking we should hire her for our reception.”
We planned everything in detail. We talked about where we would live after the wedding and even talked about the number of children we would have. We picked names for our unborn children. We built a family in the air hoping one day we could bring it down and live it the way we had carefully planned it. We were both adults with stable finances so I believed it was just a matter of time before our plans come alive.
One day I woke up feeling out of sorts. I did everything to feel normal again but nothing worked. At first, I thought it was fatigue but the symptoms persisted the more I rested. My mind run over a lot of possibilities until it settled on the most palpable one. I took a test and discovered that I was pregnant. It didn’t scare me. The man responsible was Nii so why should I have fear or confusion?
I told Nii that I was pregnant and the show he put up got me knackered. “This is not the right time to get pregnant Aku. Is that the plan? To get pregnant at this time and bring all our plans to waste? No, we can’t have it. We cannot do anything outside the scope of our plans.” I responded, “I didn’t commit a crime. I’m only pregnant so why are you making it look like I killed someone? It’s life I’m going to bring forth and we are capable. We should be happy.”
Nii insisted. I even told him I would take care of the child without him but he wouldn’t have any of it. He used emotional blackmail and all sort of tricks to get me to do it. It was heartbreaking. I cried until my eyes turned red but there was nothing I could do. The harm had already been done. That should have been the moment I walk away from the relationship but I stayed. My heart held onto the thought of a better future so I stayed with him.
In all our time together, he never gave me anything. No gifts, no money, no surprises. Not even on my birthdays. He always told me he forgot it was my birthday. On the other hand, I always went out of my way to give him gifts and planned surprises for him on his birthdays. One day he gave me an infection. That’s the only gift I can confidently say he gave me. I treated the infection with my own money. I still stayed with him. And then he told me, “We should try as much as possible to keep the relationship a secret. I don’t like people probing into my issues. I like things to be private, that’s who I am.”
All the signs were there but I was too wrapped up in love and promises that I failed to see the impending disaster.
In October 2021, I needed financial assistance. I needed help to pay my school fees so I asked Nii for a loan. I told him I would pay it back at the end of the month and he agreed to help. Two weeks later he called to tell me he forgot I asked him for money. Luckily for me, I had asked a friend of mine so I no longer needed his help. That was the last time I asked him for anything.
He stopped communicating with me the way he used to. I asked if something was wrong and he said no. Something was wrong and I could feel it. In February 2022, I asked him; “Are you dating someone else apart from me?” His answer was, “Yes, I am. Why are you asking me? I thought you knew.” “You’re playing with me, right? We’ve been together for three years Nii, how can you tell me you thought I already knew?” He shrugged as if what he told me was something normal. To make matters worse he said, “You are a good woman so I won’t leave you hanging. I am talking to one of my friends to marry you. He will be a good husband, trust me. Just give me some time to finalize the arrangements with him.”
It didn’t feel real. The insults, the pain, the disrespect, they were too painful to believe they were true but Nii wobbled around as if I was a little girl he met not too long ago. My only response was, “I’m done but you’ll pay for it.”
I call one of my girlfriends and recounted everything I’d been through to her. She said, “Sis, you should have spat on his face.” Actually, I should have. I don’t know why I stood there and watched him tell me all that without reacting.
A month later he sent me a text telling me he missed me. Whoever gave that audacity to some men ought to answer to humanity. What? Not even an apology. If I told him what was on my mind, he would have burnt the sea but I restrained myself. I said, “I am no longer the woman you took for a fool. Just leave me alone.”
In April this year, I saw his wedding video on a friend’s WhatsApp status. If I thought I’d healed, that video proved to me that It takes longer to heal than I thought. I was hurt all over again. I watched the video and cursed him for all the pains he brought into my life. May he experience the same pain so he would know how it hurts.