Ahmed and I have been dating for five years now. He is my first serious boyfriend. No one understands me as he does. He knows my words even when I am silent. He knows what makes me happy and he likes to do them. He treats me like a queen. By all standards, I should want to spend the rest of my life with him but I am scared to.
My uncertainties about him started two years into our relationship. I had just started schooling. I did something he wasn’t happy about and he lost control of his anger and raised his hand at me. I couldn’t go outside for days, because the side of my face he hit was swollen. He apologized many times saying; “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I promise that I will never do it again.” Even though he hurt me, I still loved him so I forgave him. In return, he has been true to his word. He never hit me again. If we got into an argument that made him angry, he would walk away from me till his anger left him. So I am not worried about that.
What I am worried about is, that a few weeks after he hit me, he sent me a lot of photos. There were about forty of them. The moment I received the photos he called, “I am sorry I dumped those photos on you. They were meant for a friend. I hope you didn’t look at them.” I hadn’t looked at them yet so I said no. After we finished talking I wanted to just delete them but I ended up opening them. The photos were of him and another lady. In some of them, they were kissing. When I saw it, I didn’t say anything to him. I carried on with the relationship as if nothing had happened. Later we were having a conversation when he said, “The pictures I sent to you the other day were a prank.” “Which part was the prank? Is it the part where you were kissing another woman?” I asked. He looked me in the face and said yes. I was so disappointed in him. It was one thing to cheat, but to lie about it? That hurt me more than the photo did. It made me feel like he didn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth.
As a student, I barely spent time with him. So I would have ignored the cheating. But I couldn’t ignore the lying so that day we had a heated argument about it. We didn’t talk to each other for days after that. I considered leaving him but I forgave him and found my way back to him. Recently, I realized he has been in contact with his ex, the immediate one before me. I confronted him and he said, “She is not my friend so relax. I don’t even have a name for the relationship we have with each other. You don’t need to worry about her.” Oh, I wanted to believe him but his actions spoke differently.
He spent a lot of time on his phone anytime I was with him. Sometimes when I go over to his place in the evening, he would excuse himself and go outside and talk on the phone for as long as four hours. By the time he returns to the room, I would be sleeping. One Saturday I called him from campus, “I want to come over for the weekend. Are you going to be around?” He said, “No I have a wedding to attend today. You can come on Sunday though.” I agreed and left him to prepare for the wedding. Around 11:00 PM he called me, “My ex came to my neighbourhood and I met up with her. Right now it’s too late for her to go home so we decided that she would spend the night with me. I don’t want you to find out and think the worst so I am informing you about it.” I was enraged, “You already decided to let her sleep over so get off my line.” The next morning I went to his place to see for myself, and true to his words, the girl slept over. I quickly got out of there.
He called to apologize and said nothing happened between them. I had no proof that he slept with her, so I just listened to him.
One fateful day, I decided to read his WhatsApp chats. The things I saw that day nearly put me in the hospital. He was dating his ex and several other women. He told his ex that he loved her and he wants to marry her. He told the other women that he wants to kiss them and eat them out. I didn’t realize when I started crying. I felt inadequate all of a sudden. I kept asking myself, “Why? Am I not enough for him? Is there something wrong with me that he had to go find fulfilment in other women?” I became insecure about myself and so self-conscious.
When I confronted him about the chats, he said, “It’s not what it looks like. I don’t have anything doing with those women. I was just flirting with them. You are the one I love and you are the only woman I ever want to marry. Trust me.” But that’s the problem. I don’t trust him anymore. I told him that our relationship is over but he won’t let go. He keeps pestering me and asking for another chance. He has sworn that he has cut ties with his ex and all the other girls. It’s like I never learn because I believed him again. He took me out on a date just so he could apologize for his mistakes. We had fun and I remembered how much I loved him. I was willing to take him back but the next day, I found out that he took his ex on a date after ours ended.
When I confronted him, he didn’t deny it. He has accepted that he made a mistake and he keeps apologizing. At this point, I am tired of the mistakes and the apologies. How long are we going to be doing this dance? Everything points to the fact that I should walk away from him. But my problem is that I love him a lot more than I love myself. When I realized that, I asked him to give me space to think. I have been pouring all the love into myself and I have seen that I can’t continue a relationship with a cheat. I haven’t seen him for the past two months and I am okay with it.
We still talk and he tells me he has changed but I don’t believe him. We planned to marry after I complete school and I am about to complete so he has been reminding me about our marriage plans. He has asked my parents for permission to start preparations and they have agreed. Apart from his cheating, everything else he does makes me happy. Now I’m wondering if I should accept that he will always cheat and marry him just as he is. I have tried to find another man who will make me feel the way he does but I haven’t been able to. Ahmed makes me happy and I want to be happy but I also don’t want to marry a womanizer. I am so confused, I don’t know whether to leave or stay.