My mother saw her death before it happened. I don’t know how but somehow she knew what was coming for her. I say this because, one day she called Owusu to have a conversation with him. Before the call ended she said, “Owusu, take good care of my daughter for me.” Neither of us thought much of this statement until my mother took her last breath. That was when my boyfriend recognized those words as my mother’s dying wish.
After the loss of my only surviving parent, I had no one. Owusu and I had been dating for about a year then. We were so close that he became my family. I had a job then but he insisted on providing for me financially. He made sure that I never lacked anything. It was at that moment that I understood the depths of his love for me.
Two years into our relationship, I found out that I was pregnant. While I was concerned about what it meant for my future, Owusu was happy. He assured me, “You have nothing to worry about. I love you, and I will take care of you and our baby. So let’s keep it.” I had never had any reason to doubt him so I agreed to keep the baby.
My first trimester had me so sick and weak that I had to quit my job. My boyfriend was concerned about me living all by myself. So he asked me to move in with him. “Why not?” I said as I packed up and moved into his house. Just like before, he continued to provide for all my needs. I didn’t even feel the financial toll of my unemployment. It was all good between us.
When I delivered a beautiful baby girl, things got even better. You would think I gave my boyfriend the world. His happiness added to mine and it doubled. I looked forward to our future with so many expectations, and in every scenario I came up with, we were all happy.
As I share this, Owusu and I have been together for six years now. Our daughter is a toddler now. The kind of relationship I expected her to have with her father is not what they have. I understand that she is still an infant but I don’t believe she needs to grow up before her father establishes a relationship with her. I have encouraged him to spend time with his daughter but he doesn’t listen. He is rarely home. Even when he doesn’t have to go to work, he prefers going out with his friends to spending time with us.
When I complain about his behavior he gets angry. And when he gets angry, he wouldn’t talk to me for days. He wouldn’t even eat my food during this period. When he calms down and wants to make amends, he won’t apologize. He would just initiate intimacy. That’s his way of saying sorry. One time I told him, “Babe, it’s important to me that you offer me a verbal apology when you offend me. Don’t just seduce me and expect me to forget about everything.” He shrugged, “That’s the only way I know how to apologize.”
This is something that scares me now about our lives together. His inability to say, “I am sorry,” and the rate at which he gets angry. Sometimes, it’s over little things. The other day, for instance, he turned on the fan while our daughter had a cold. So I said, “Please, turn off the fan so our child’s cold doesn’t escalate.” This man got angry and shouted, “Everything about our relationship these days is about your child. It looks like she is more important to you than me.” After his outburst, he didn’t talk to me or eat my food for four days.
When he finally calmed down, I asked him, “So is this how you are going to behave even after we get married?” He responded, “I am behaving this way because you are loud, and you don’t respect me.” I have always been loud so why is this now a problem? It isn’t that I shout at him. I am just the kind of person who expresses my emotions immediately something happens. Once I am done, I let it go.
As for the disrespect part, I know it’s not true. Why on earth would I disrespect a man who takes very good care of our family? This is someone who brings me his salary at the end of every month and tells me to run the home with it. Who wouldn’t appreciate a man like this?
In my attempt to limit the rate at which he gets angry, I asked him again if he behaves that way because of financial stress. “Is it because I am not contributing to the home?” He shook his head, “Of course not. You know me. Even if you had a job it wouldn’t change anything. I will still take care of all our expenses.” He wants to send me back to school so I can further my education but I am worried the financial burden will be too much for him. And it would escalate his anger issues.
This is why my only concern right now is how to manage his anger. This is the only flaw he has that is causing problems for us. He is a good man so I don’t want to leave him. Besides, I don’t want our daughter to grow up without both parents present in her life.
He has started talking about marriage, but I am worried. I don’t want to walk into it while things are still like this between us. This is why I am here with our story. Is there anyone here who has had to live with a man like Owusu? Did things get better? How did you make it work? I need all the counsel I can get.