I met him two years ago. Right from the moment we met, he told me he liked me. I liked him too but there was one thing that mattered to me most. That was, whether or not he was married. I asked him, “Are you not married?” He answered, “Oh no I’m not married.
I have two children though. They live with their mother in one of my houses so that shouldn’t be a problem.” I didn’t have any problem with him being a father as long as he wasn’t somebody’s husband. Once my question was answered, I accepted his proposal. As I said, I liked him too and was ready to go all out with him.
He didn’t hide anything concerning his kids from me. They came to visit with their mother and he told me about it. I understood his role in the lives of his kids. Kids need their fathers. I was happy he was being there for them, providing the fatherhood the kids needed so much. But this is what I didn’t understand. Anytime the kids were coming around with their mother, he asked me to leave his house. One moment we would be having an intimate time and bonding moment as a couple. The next moment he would ask me to leave quickly because his kids are coming around with their mother. “You have to go. The kids are coming with their mum. She can’t see you here.”
It got me confused and pushed a lot of thoughts into my head. I couldn’t live with the questions in my head so one day I asked him, “If she is not your wife then why can’t she see me here with you? Are you hiding something from me?” He answered, “Anything at all can happen when it comes to that woman. She could even pick a fight with you for nothing. I don’t want such a situation to happen that’s why I’m trying hard to prevent it.”
Perhaps, I was blinded by love. Instead of looking at things through logical eyes, I looked at them through an emotional lens. It’s the reason why I accepted his explanation though it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I told him, “If that’s the case then I will make sure to get out of the way when it’s time for them to visit.” This woman would visit with her kids and leave the house messy. The kids would mess everything up and their mother will never bother to clean the place up before leaving. I’m the type of woman who cannot stand to look at a messy environment and be at peace with it. I like things to be in their rightful places. Wherever I live, I ensure there is order. I would come back after they are gone and clean things up. It became a routine. They visit and mess the place up and I will go and clean up after them.
I was doing all these chores and making sure his life was comfortable but this man never introduced me to his friends or relatives. Anytime I was with him and he got an unexpected visitor, he would ask me to hide. He will speak almost in whispers to me, “Stay in the bedroom, don’t come out till they leave. I don’t want them to see you here and know that you are my girlfriend.” This got me frustrated. “Are we children that we have to sneak around?” I asked myself. “Why must he treat me like a dirty little secret?”
I don’t take anything from him and he has never offered me a gift. Whatever I do for him, I do it from the heart of love and nothing else. I clean up after his baby mama. I wash his clothes and iron them. I cook his meals and polish his shoes. Sometimes I have to flash his own toilet for him because he forgets to do it. I thought I was being a wife material—a woman he could look at and say, “This right here deserves to be a wife because she does it all.” While I was busy proving myself worthy, all he saw in me was a maid who comes around and turns all dirty things clean. He even got angry when I spoke about marriage after being with him for a year. Every time I spoke about marriage he told me, “You can’t tell me what to do.”
In June 2021, the woman came around and left dirty dishes as usual. I’d had enough so I told him I was not going to clean up after her mess any longer. He defended her, “Just do it. Do you know what she says about your poor housekeeping skills when she comes around?” I saw clearly then that he was using me while I was being faithful to him. I turned down so many proposals from capable men because I actually thought I had a man in my life.
I broke up with him that day. I thought of living my life without him. Unfortunately, our families had already gotten involved in the relationship and they refused to accept the breakup. They pushed me to go back to him so I forgave him and took him back. One day, a family member of his told me, “Why don’t you marry him and be his second wife?” “Be his second wife? What do you mean? This man said he wasn’t married so what do you mean when you say, “Marry him and be his second wife?”
So, the truth finally dawned on me that day. I’d been dating a married man all this while. I vowed years ago never to get involved with anyone’s husband but I’d been dating one for two years without knowing. Just recently, the woman and I ran into each other. I tried to be civil, but she told me right in front of him, “Find your own man and leave mine alone. In case you haven’t realized, he is done with you. Your time is up. Find someone else and move on.” He sat there and watched her call me names. He didn’t say anything to suggest that there was no relationship between them. That confirmed what the family member said.
Later he came to apologize. That was when he admitted that she is indeed his wife and asked that I marry him so I can be his second wife. “Marry me. You know I love you,” he said. “I will rent a place for you outside of town so you can have your independence. We’ll find a way to make it work, just believe me.” I was so shocked by his revelation and his proposal. He lied about his marital status and instead of being sorry, he was there asking me to marry him. I told him. “No, I can’t. I’m sorry.”
I felt like I was losing my mind. I had to talk to someone about it. I called my mother and told her everything. She was calm as if what I said didn’t have the punch I expected it to have. She said, “I think I agree with him. You’ve already stayed with him for a while so why not continue? He has a wife and so? What’s wrong with that? He will marry you and make an honorable woman out of you. He built a house for his first wife so I’m sure he will build one for you too.”
Hearing my mother talk like that got me numb. She wasn’t my father’s second wife yet she expects me to accept the position because of the possibility of a house. Is that all I’m worth in her eyes? A house? I spoke to the man’s sister and she also spent time on the phone convincing me to marry her brother. “My sister, I’m not saying this to you because he is my brother. This is from woman to woman. Go ahead and marry him. Clean his house every day so that you’ll have that advantage over his wife. When he marries you, you won’t even live with him. You wouldn’t have to slave for him anymore.”
I know in my heart that I love him but is love enough?
I don’t trust him anymore. He lied to me and he would do it again. I can’t accept the terms of the marriage, the part where I cannot live with him because his wife and children visit him. I believe he and his family have their own reasons for wanting me and I’m not about to find out.
I think about everything and I get disappointed in myself—for not seeing the signs. There are days I feel useless and I get suicidal thoughts. There are days I’m tempted to walk up to a random man and ask him to marry me just so I could get this married man out of my heart. His lies and betrayal have broken me but the love I have for him keeps driving me back into his arms. Please I want to know if there is any magic I can use to forget him and move on. Currently, my heart and my mind are at war with each other. My heart wants him but my mind knows he is not the right man for me.