I spend a lot of time in the bathroom because it’s the only place where I can feel calm and think without anyone asking me questions. I turn on the shower but don’t step in; instead, I lean against the wall and reflect on the troubles I’ve brought upon myself. I have a wife and two kids, but I also have three girlfriends. One of them is pregnant, about four months along. I’m not sharing this as a proud accomplishment, but rather because I feel overwhelmed. I’m frightened of my own actions and the uncertainty of the future.
My job requires me to travel frequently. In a month, I visit at least four different places and spend around five days in each location. I meet new people, and many of them happen to be women. Maybe it’s because of the nature of my work, but women, of various appearances, show interest in me.
When I travel, I sleep alone in a new place, away from my wife. The nights feel long, and as a man lying in a big bed by myself, thoughts of being joined by other women often arise. Over time, I developed relationships with some of the women I met through work. It was easy; I just expressed my desire to be with them.
They would raise concerns about me being married, but I assured them that my wife wouldn’t find out. With that reassurance, they agreed to be with me. This is how I got involved with Fonda and Efia. Aisha, who is now pregnant, came into my life one night and never wanted to leave. She’s the one carrying my child as I write this. All of them know I’m married, but my wife has no knowledge of my affairs. When I return home, I pretend to be the best husband in the world. My children greet me with hugs, calling me daddy. In their minds, I’m all they have, but in my mind, there are others.
Why can’t I let go of these women? It’s not as simple as it sounds. Aisha lives with me in another town, and her parents are aware of our relationship. They consider me their future son-in-law. When Aisha became pregnant and I wanted her to have an abortion, she informed her parents. They called for a meeting, and her father told me, “You’re a man, and you can do as you please. You can tell your wife, and although she’ll be angry, she might forgive you. We’re not forcing you to marry our daughter, but if you choose to marry her, we’ll give our blessings. However, abortion is strongly discouraged in our family.”
Aisha assured me that we could keep the child a secret for as long as I wanted. She said, “I won’t tell your wife, and if you don’t tell her, how would she find out? You just need to fulfill your role with me, and it ends there.” She lives with me and behaves like a wife. One night, she woke up and started an argument, saying, “When was the last time you touched me? Do you find me repulsive because I’m pregnant?” My wife had asked me the same questions before. When I started seeing other women and didn’t engage with her for weeks, she complained and fought with me. Aisha is doing the same now.
These days, when I travel and don’t see Aisha the following week, she threatens to inform my wife about the pregnancy. She has my wife’s phone number. If I don’t answer her calls, she threatens to call my wife directly. I’ve become a plaything to her, someone she can manipulate because I’ve been living a lie. Sometimes, the weight of my sins becomes so heavy that I cry.
I cry because the burden of my mistakes weighs heavily on my shoulders. However, I can’t show any signs of emotional distress because my wife would notice and ask me what’s wrong, and I can’t reveal the truth. So, I pretend to be happy when I’m at home. Even when my wife cooks, I force myself to eat, even when I have no appetite. At night, when she snores, I can’t close my eyes because I fear Aisha will call me.
Fonda, the youngest of the women I’m involved with, is with me because of what she gains from our relationship. She’s a teacher in the village and dreams of moving to the city someday. She sees me as her ticket out of the village, and I’m aware of it.
Once, I tried to break things off with her, but she did everything in her power to draw me back into her web. I do have feelings for her, I won’t deny that. When I’m with her, there’s a sense of peace. She doesn’t argue with me, she doesn’t push me to my limits, and she doesn’t ask uncomfortable questions. She accepts whatever I can give her, and that suits me well.
Efia knows about Aisha but is unaware that Aisha is pregnant with my child. One day, Aisha called, and Efia answered the phone. It turned into a heated confrontation right in front of me. They were both screaming at each other. Efia cursed Aisha for encroaching on her territory. Aisha would speak in a language I couldn’t understand when she got angry, often Hausa.
To calm Aisha down after their fight, I had to offer her money as compensation. How can a man move forward in life when he keeps going sideways every day? I’m the one who has the most to lose, but I’m also the one who initiated all of this.
If my wife were to discover any of these affairs, my marriage wouldn’t stand a chance. From the beginning, my wife made it clear that cheating is a dealbreaker for her. She warned me, “The day I find out you’re cheating on me, it will be the end of us.” She even expressed this when we were just dating. I can’t challenge her on that because she would end our relationship.
Right now, she’s all I have. The others are like sinking sand, slowing down my progress. I need someone to talk to, especially about the issues with Aisha. If I could just remove her from my life, I swear I could easily shake off the rest of my mistakes.
I wish I hadn’t gotten Aisha pregnant, and I wish I could make my wife listen to me and forgive me. If she forgives me, I promise I won’t tread this path again. However, deep down, I know she won’t forgive me, so I continue to carry the heavy burden of guilt while living in fear of what lies ahead for my marriage.