I started dating Asamoah after I completed Senior High School. He is not the first man I dated but he was my first serious boyfriend. I was drawn to his physical appearance at first. He was tall, with ripped muscles, and a skin tone that everyone envied. “This beautiful complexion is wasted on you. You are a man, you don’t need to look so pretty.” I often teased. On his best days, he was calm, gentle, and humble. On his worst days, he was terrifying but many people did not know that side of him. Despite his ugly side, I loved him dearly. He was the first man I introduced to my family. They also loved him and warmly welcomed him every time he visited me at home. When I also met his family, they adored me. I got along well with his sister. We were so close that when she had a baby, I moved into their house to help her with chores.
When I met Asamoah, he was an unemployed graduate. We prayed and searched for jobs until he got a big position in a mining company at Dunkwa. I was in my first year in tertiary school when he got the job and we had dated for a year and a half. He would visit me in school and bring along a lot of gifts and groceries. “Girl, the way your boyfriend spoils you makes us jealous of you sometimes.” My roommates would remark. In their eyes, I was the lucky girl who landed the perfect boyfriend. A man who wasn’t only handsome, but generous as well. They didn’t tell me but I sensed that one of them was crushing on him. My best friend liked him and she always encouraged me to give him my all.
All these people saw was the glam and glitz involved with dating him. They didn’t know anything about the ugly side of him. They didn’t know that my gentle and sweet boyfriend had anger issues. They had never seen anger transform him into a beast. And the reason he got angry at me most of the time was my dedication to church activities. Every time I attended an evening service, he would get angry and unleash a swarm of hurtful words on me. I would spend a fair amount of time begging him to forgive me. During my first vacation, my mates were going for a Ghamsu evangelical program. I love doing the lord’s work so I joined them. Asamoah got angry and refused to talk to me the entire day I was at the program. After the program was over too he refused to talk to me. I had to plead with him several times before he forgave me.
Following that incident, his anger became quicker to surface. The mere mention of church programs would send him spiralling into angry fits. After calming him down, he would ignore me for as long as he pleased. I was of myself but my choices were not supposed to be my own. He never sat me down and said, “It is because of so and so reasons that I don’t want you attending church programs.” All he did was wait for me to say “I am going for an evening service.” Or “I’m joining my church’s youth for a retreat.” So that he would tell me, “Don’t go.” If I asked why he would say; “Do as I say and stop asking me questions.” It got to a point where I had to lie before I could attend any church program at all.
One time, my phone’s screen got broken and he got it fixed for me. When I went for it, I stayed with him for about three hours and he didn’t say a word to me. “What’s wrong with you babe? Or did I do something to upset you again? Is that why you won’t talk to me?” The moment I said that, Asamoah raised his hand and then formed a fist, forced a deep breath through his flared nostrils, and backed away from me. I was shocked, “Were you just about to hit me? What did I do again this time?” “You are such an ungrateful girl. I just fixed your phone for you and you didn’t say thank you.” He yelled. I was filled with so much fear that I just apologized and quickly took my leave of him. I didn’t understand why he would want to hit me because of that. But I understood that I had to find my way out of the relationship.
Another time, he went through my WhatsApp messages and found out that I asked a guy to add my name to a list of people going for an outreach program. This triggered him, “Leave. Get out of my room before I hit you with something heavy.” I run out in panic. The next day he came to my house with all my stuff that was at his house. The only thing he said to me was “This relationship is over. You are free to do whatever you want.” I was too afraid to speak so I just nodded and watched him walk away. He called me the next day and said, “I’m sorry for ending our relationship. I acted out of anger, forgive me. I promise to behave better going forward. Give me another chance.” I said okay and we put everything behind us.
There was another outreach program during the next semester. He asked me not to go but I went anyway. That week was a long week of hell. He called me every day to say things that made me regret going. I isolated myself and stayed in the chapel alone after each day’s outreach. I reflected on our relationship and asked questions like, “Why is he so set against me going to church?” I knew in my spirit that I had to get out of the relationship. But I wondered, “How will our families react if I leave him?” I was willing to stay in that relationship longer than necessary because I was worried about what people would say.
When the outreach program ended, I went to his house to apologize for defying him. He was still very angry so he said blasphemous things but I didn’t really mind. I only kept apologizing. I was determined to fix something that should be thrown into the trash. He must have known how desperately I wanted his forgiveness. Because he opened his mouth and said, “If you are truly sorry then kneel down and beg properly.” I told him, “That’s a line that I won’t cross. The only person I kneel before is God.” He went on and gave me an ultimatum, “Then I am giving you a choice. It’s either me or your church’s programs. You can’t have us both.” I was dazed. I just sat on his couch not knowing what to do or say. I guess I must have dozed off along the line because I was tired from the trip. He woke me up with a vigorous shake that made me panic. I thought he was going to hit me. Then it struck me that I couldn’t do it anymore! I was tired of the fights and the bad energy. I told him, “I choose the church. I will always choose the church.” I then got up and walked out. That was it. I was done.
I woke up the next day to sixty-four missed calls and countless messages from him. I never responded to any of them. He was blowing up my sister’s phone as well with calls but I told her to ignore him. A week later, his mother came to my house to apologize on his behalf. I told her, “You’ve been nothing but kind to me. I wish I could accept Asamoah back into my life for your sake, but I can’t. He scares me.” After that day, she came back again but my answer was the same. She kept coming back to talk to me but I didn’t budge. My friends didn’t understand my actions. They kept asking, Why would you leave such a dreamy man? He is everything a girl wants in a man. What is wrong with you?” They didn’t know the fire I was facing. I never told them.
His mother died last year and I went to the funeral. I got to talk to catch up with his sister. She told me, “It’s a good thing that you left my brother. He hits his new girlfriend all the time but she is still with him.” She went further to say that sometimes he would throw her out on the streets at 2:00 AM. Then he goes to apologize and the girl takes him back. When I heard that, I was sad for the girl. I wished I could have a conversation with her. I would tell her that he would only get worse. I would hug her and tell her that love protects, not hurt. Oh, how I wish I could tell my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend to run and never look back.