I was twenty-nine years old when I met the woman who is currently my partner. She is older than me by three years but that’s not my problem. My problem has to do with her personality. It’s not compatible with mine and I don’t even know why I got involved with her. Prior to meeting her, I was in a relationship with Naomi, a woman who is two years younger than I am. By then I was living with my aunt, and she was our house help. I can say without a single shred of doubt that she is a very good and caring lady. There was a time my aunt travelled out of the country and I ran out of money. Naomi took care of me and made sure I never starved or lacked anything.
One thing I always appreciated about her was her cleanliness. I considered myself a neat and orderly person but Naomi always outdid me. Our home was spotless because of her. She would clean the toilets to the extent that you could even have dinner there. And she wasn’t only doing it because it was her job. She did it because it was just who she is. I think some people would classify her as having OCD. She couldn’t stand it when something was out of place. I really loved her for that. I also loved her lively personality. Naomi was the life of the party and she infected everyone with her big smile.
Though she didn’t have the kind of body I wanted in a woman, she has the complexion I desire, fair. We had shuperu several times, but neither my auntie nor her children knew about it. We kept our relationship top secret. Occasionally, there were some slip-ups which earned us some teasing remarks here and there but no one thought we were actually together. She even got pregnant for me, but we terminated it. I was not ready for marriage, let alone fatherhood. And Naomi wasn’t ready to lose her job either. Besides, my aunt would have kicked both of us out if she caught a whiff of our relationship.
My only problem with Naomi was her temper. It wasn’t something I could put up with at the time. If I was a little more mature, I would have been patient with her and managed her as she was. She was easily provoked, and when she got angry, she was verbally abusive. I remember telling her, “Naomi, it’s not good for you to insult people like that. Men, women, and even children get insulted when you get angry. Learn to tame your emotions and control your tongue.” And her defence was, “This is who I am, take it or leave it.” So she never tried to change even a little bit. One early morning, she insulted me for something she suspected I did, but I was innocent. The insult entered my bones, and I slapped her. It was the first time I ever hit a woman and it certainly will be my last.
After that incident, I lost interest in Naomi. We were in the same house but we barely spoke. I expected her to apologize to me for the insult but she didn’t and that made me unhappy.
Fast forward, I was going to work one morning, when a friend of mine who lived in the same estate with us was seeing a lady friend off. I happened to be heading in the same direction as the lady so my friend told me to take care of her. She is a very beautiful woman with the exact body type that I like. The only thing was that she was dark. I shrugged and thought, “Well, you can’t have it all.” Just like Naomi, she also had an infectious smile. We talked and then exchanged contacts.
We spoke for several hours on the phone after our first encounter. Even though I found her attractive, I wasn’t interested in her. I only entertained her to spite Naomi. I often spoke to this lady in front of Naomi and said things I hoped would provoke her but she always seemed unfazed. So I took things up a notch and proposed to the lady after four weeks of phone conversations. I did all this but Naomi didn’t even budge. If only she had shown a hint of jealousy, I would have called the whole thing off. But she didn’t so I went ahead and dated this woman. The problem with this current lady popped up when I visited her at home for the first time. I couldn’t fathom how a human being could live in such filth.
Her place was very messy and smelly. Unwashed dishes were sitting in a bucket in her kitchen. There were also dirty rags on the floor of her bedroom. My first reaction was to flee but I was partially blinded by her nice body and the possibility of love so I continued dating her. I convinced myself that I could change her. But no matter how hard I tried, she didn’t change. Then she got pregnant and I asked her to keep the baby. I had gotten a job that took me out of Accra to a different region, so I was no longer dependent on my aunt. My partner visited me on some weekends. I also visited her anytime I came to Accra. I saw more of her character when she visited me. If given the chance, this lady would sleep 24/7.
I had an elderly woman working for me as a house help, and I expected that my woman would help her out in the morning to sweep, and also do my laundry when she was around. But none of that happened. Initially, I thought she wasn’t doing it because of the pregnancy, but it continued even after she had the baby. I also found out that even though she is soft-spoken, she spews out offensive words when she is provoked. By then we had a child and it was too late to back out. I ended up marrying her, and now we have two more children. I haven’t been happy in a long time and I’m wondering how to back out of this marriage.
Sometimes I have to tell her, “Cook something, the kids are hungry,” before she does it. I either clean the house myself or tell her to do it before she does that too. Most of the time she tells me, “Today I can’t cook. I am tired.” Then she goes out to buy food. The only thing she cares about is dressing up and going to work. Whatever happens to the children doesn’t concern her.
The love I developed for her has depleted. I am only still with her for the kids’ sake but I am considering moving out and taking them with me. Sometimes, I wish I had stayed with Naomi.