My entire life, I have never met anyone like Father Bernard. When we met in 2019, I did not envision that my life would revolve around him. Even when he expressed interest in me, I had no desire for him. I just wanted to focus on my education. Father offered to help me with my financial needs, and that got my attention.
This man took good care of me financially. He anticipated my needs and provided them for me before I even asked. He even gave me a car so I wouldn’t stress myself with public transportation. He also gave me enough money to buy fuel whenever I needed to. He did all of this for me but I did not fall in love with him. He, on the other hand, said he loved me.
One day he proposed, “If I leave the priesthood, will you marry me?” Honestly, I panicked at his proposal. Yes, he is a generous man but he is also very toxic. There is a twenty-six-year-old age gap between us. That alone was enough for me to decide that I didn’t want to marry him. The other one was that he is a Priest. It’s one thing to date a man who belongs to God, but to snatch him completely from God? That’s something I will not do.
The most important reason is his jealous and controlling nature. This man dictated everything I did with my life. If I dressed up to look good, he would complain. He didn’t want other men looking at me and desiring me. If he called and I was already on a call, he would get angry. “Who were you talking to?” Does the person know that I bought you a car? Does he know you belong to me?” Even if I explained that I was talking to my father, he would ask why I didn’t hang up when I saw his call.
On his bad days, he would beat me. The first time it happened I was shocked. He didn’t feel remorse. Rather, he said I provoked him. I started plotting my escape from the relationship after that incident. But he compensated me with gifts and money. I was in school and needed all the help I could get so I stayed. It didn’t stop there. If he felt threatened by another man in my life, he would come to my apartment and cause a scene, and sometimes, hit me before he would calm down. How on earth would I want to spend the rest of my life with him?
I gave him a simple response to his proposal; “I wish I could marry you but your age is a problem. My people will not allow me to marry a man as old as you.” He tried his best to convince me but I stood my ground. In the end, he said, “If you won’t marry me, it’s okay. Just stay with me until you meet someone you want to marry. I promise I will let you go when that time comes.” I agreed to these terms and continued to be with him.
About a year ago, I met Chris. It was love at first sight. The chemistry between us was very thick but we were too shy to talk to each other. I am the one who found him on Facebook after our encounter and sent him a message. The conversation flowed from there. I liked him very much so I didn’t lie to him. I told him the truth about Father Bernard. He also told me, “You should know that I am a married man. However, that is not a problem. My culture allows me to marry a second wife.”
He explained that he was having problems with his wife, so he’d like to get to know me and marry me if I didn’t mind. At that moment, I was happy that I met someone I liked enough to cling to so I would let go of Father Bernard. I took my time to get to know him and I liked what I saw. Chris is calm. He has no abusive bone in his body. The man wouldn’t even argue or engage in a confrontation. Compared to my relationship with the Priest, he was a breath of fresh air. So I accepted his proposal.
When I tried to break up with the priest, he refused to go down without a fight. He kept reminding me of the fact that he bought me a car. I couldn’t take his taunts anymore so I returned his car. I thought he would leave me alone but this man was not satisfied. He had access to my apartment so he went there to collect all my belongings. He didn’t even leave my bed for me to sleep on. He is not the one who bought the items for me but he ceased them out of spite. To date, I am still trying to get him to return the things.
Through all the drama I faced from the priest, Chris stood by me. I live in the same region as him while his wife lives in another region. So I have never met her. She doesn’t know about our relationship either. The only time she comes up is when I am with him and she calls to ask him for money. If she says, “Honey, the kids saw something they like so I want to buy it for them,” Chris would drop everything and send her the money.
I admired this about him. I also respect that he has never spoken ill of his wife. All he says is that they are having problems. He refuses to give me details of the problem. The one thing he has done that I am not comfortable with is his behaviour when I ask him for money. When we started dating, I asked him for money on three occasions to fix my hair but he only gave me excuses. He never gave me the money so I got tired and stopped asking him for anything.
The only time he gave me money was when he gave me GHC1000 to buy some items for his house. The items cost GHC700 so he asked me to keep the change. That’s it. Even when I got pregnant and we decided that the timing wasn’t right to have the baby, he didn’t pay for me to get rid of it. I paid for the procedure myself. Later, he didn’t even ask me how I did it or how much it cost. I have gotten pregnant five times in the one year we have been together, and I am the one who paid for all the abortions.
This is something that bothers me. I keep wondering if this man is being stingy because we are not married. Is it that he is waiting for me to become his wife before he starts showing me generosity? I didn’t want to find things out after marriage so I did some investigation. I got my friend to talk to his wife to find out how he relates with her.
His wife told my friend, “Chris is not caring. Sometimes I have to force him to provide for our children. Apart from that, he gets a lot of mood swings. He can decide that he is not in the mood to talk, and he will ignore you until he feels like talking to you.” Some of these things are things I know about him already. I have learned to live with his mood swings so it doesn’t bother me anymore. Some of the things his wife said too are lies.
Chris is a lovely man when he is in a good mood. We would cook together and he would serve me. He orders my favourite meals when he knows I am having a bad day or he has offended me. I consider these acts as acts of care and love. Besides, I have seen the urgency with which he sends money to his wife when their kids want something, so I know she lied about that part too. In the end, I am left with more questions and no answers.
As I am sharing this story, Chris is putting pressure on me to meet my family. He wants us to start preparations for marriage. I love him very much but I am having second thoughts. I keep wondering if he will change and start providing for me once we get married.
There’s also a part of me that isn’t enthused about entering another woman’s marriage. I am trying to put myself in his wife’s shoes, and it doesn’t feel pleasant. I thought I found freedom when I left Father Bernard for Chris. But what if marrying Chris is another bondage on its own? Please I need advice on what to do.