There was a story about a man who wants to get his wife back after divorce. I read that story and felt it somehow connects with what I’m going through right now. Last year by this time, I had a husband and a family. Now, all I have is my son. I won’t say I regret anything. Rather, I’m in a good place as I write this.
My ex-husband came into the marriage with two children. He had them with his late wife. I loved the children like they were my own. You couldn’t even tell that they were not mine biologically. I treated them with all the care and love I would give to my own children. I loved my husband so I love whatever belonged to him. His kids were one of those things.
My husband is the jealous type. He wants to be in control to feel like a man. Whenever he loses control, he resorts to violence. He is a control freak. We were very good together because he had control over me. I was unemployed and he was the one taking care of me so he called off the shots. He controlled where I could go and who I could go to. He controlled the kind of people I could keep in my circle and the kind of people who could come into my life. He knew everything. He knew where I was at any given time. He knew what I was doing at all times.
Then I had a job. A job that brought income to my pocket and reduce my reliance on him. When he realized I wasn’t relying on him like I used to, he felt inadequate and thought he was losing his control over me. So, he resorted to something unconventional to get his control back. He recruited my unsuspecting colleagues at work to spy on me. He’d ask them questions like “Is my wife making new friends?” “Who does she talk to the most?” He didn’t stop there. He constantly checked on my phone to reassure himself that I wasn’t cheating on him. I’m not a woman who will cheat on her husband. I don’t have that courage. I went home straight from work. I didn’t even spend so much time on my phone chatting, to make him think that I was cheating. I don’t know how he came to that conclusion but somehow, it became the safest spot he chose to attack me from.
I found a friend in Tony. I found him a friend because he lived close by. Our relationship was strictly platonic. There were no inappropriate comments or jokes exchanged between us. I didn’t even see him in a sexual way. He was someone I talked to when things got too heated at home.
One early morning, I was sleeping when I felt a heavy tap on my thighs. It was my husband. He screamed on top of his voice, “Masi, wake up! What were you saying to Tony in your chat? Translate! Translate it ley=t me also know what you guys were talking about.” He had gone through my phone and had found a chat between me and Tony. He couldn’t understand the language because he doesn’t speak my mother tongue, the language I speak with Tony. I translated the chat for him. Word for word I explained everything. There was nothing inappropriate. There was nothing to hide. He still did not believe me. He took screenshots of the chats and sent them to a family friend who was from my tribe. The person said exactly what I said, but my husband was grounded in his convictions.
When I got home that evening, he greeted me with insults; “Masi, you are a whore and I’ve I have always known it. I thought I could change help you change. I’ve tried everything but little or no improvement.”
His words cut like a knife. The demeanor with which he said them hurt me more.
He sent threatening text messages to Tony; “Stay away from my wife. O know what you two have been up to and I’m warning you to stay away from her.”
He started choosing my friends for me; “You can talk to this one ad I wouldn’t have a problem but you can’t keep this one close. I don’t like him.” He handpicked the friends I could keep in my life. Whoever didn’t make it to his approval list, I cut them off. He demanded that I quit my job and I did. I did whatever he asked me to do hoping that would bring the glory back to the marriage I once cherished.
It was never in my plans to be a stay-at-home mum but I became one. To spite me, he cut off my allowance. I couldn’t afford to go to the salon anymore. He still wasn’t assured that I wouldn’t cheat. He came up with a timetable stating when I could leave the house, how long I could stay. He wouldn’t allow me outside the house for more than an hour. If I went to church, he would call me nonstop until I returned home. I did almost everything with his permission. Call me a prisoner and you wouldn’t be wrong.
During one of my permitted outings, I ran into an old friend. My unhappiness was so glaring she couldn’t ignore it. We talked. I poured my heart out to her. She was touched by my predicament. Later, she called to tell me she got me a job. I took it, against my husband’s protests. I was done bending over to his ego.
When I started work, the old problems crept back. He wanted me to stop working but I didn’t listen to him. The fights escalated. Our children started getting affected. He threw careless words at me just to hurt me; “I know by this time you’ve slept with all the men at your workplace.” When that didn’t make me stop the work, he resorted to another accusation; “I know you’re trying to kill me. You put poison in my food.” Whenever I heard these things, I cried. I called his people. I begged them to talk to him for me. I begged my parents to talk to him. They all tried to reach him but he refused to see any of them. He was like a stone, unmoved.
I planned to get away from him so I discreetly got myself a job far away from home. I made arrangements for his children to go live with their maternal aunt. On the day I was supposed to report to work, I woke up and made breakfast. I asked him to take me halfway to the workplace and he did. We took the bus. On the ride, he chatted with the other passengers about whoring wives and how there are no good wives. I felt pain but I remained calm. When I arrived at my destination, I stopped contacting him.
When he realized that I wasn’t reaching out to him, he called. We said our greetings. He asked, “What is going on?” I told him “I am done with you. I am filing for a divorce.” He rained insult on me that day. “I know why you want a divorce. No problem. Bring back my son so you can continue with your whoring job.” I hung up.
If my husband had been apologetic as the man who wrote that story, or if he had even shown a little bit of remorse, I would have gone back to him. But no. He kept calling. He kept insulting me. He cut off child support. To date, he hadn’t paid child support. He calls once in a while only to insult me. One day he said, “You have to apologize to me for leaving.” When I didn’t mind him, he requested to speak to his son.
The last time I saw him was at my mother’s house. He was there to cause havoc. I was there with my son. He demanded I show him how much money I had in my account. I calmly told him, “For what? You think you can roll over me like you used to?” I left him there fuming with anger.
I have unfriended him on Facebook so I don’t see what he posts. I muted his WhatsApp status too but I am told he posts things about committing suicide or killing me for hurting him. I have reported him to the police. The divorce is ongoing. I am in a town far away from him. He can’t reach me and he knows it.
I am not seeing anyone yet. I am focusing on my healing, my son, and my career. All I pray for is peace. If a good man comes along, fine. But for now, I am content with the lessons. It’s the reason I’m at where I am now. I will bounce back. I’ll rise to my feet again.