My story began in my second year at the university. I was a committed member of a campus church denomination. There was no program or service that I missed. On that fateful day, as I left my hostel for yet another program, I did not know that my life was going to change.
When the service ended, I locked eyes with a young man with a warm smile. I didn’t find him the least bit attractive but he had a striking presence. I smiled at him and walked away. I didn’t think much of him until I met him again at my aunt’s office. That day I took a good look at him. He is very short and has a distinct look. He is not handsome but he has the kind of face you could never forget. That day he was in the company of a beautiful lady. I smiled and nodded at him in recognition but didn’t speak to him. After that day I thought of him from time to time. Then I met him again when I went to do my attachment. He was working at the institution. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say this guy was following me around.” I thought. Of course, I was being silly.
This time he noticed me first. His warm smile covered his face when he introduced himself to me, “We keep running into each other. My name is Kojo, you?” I shook his hand “I am Lady. Nice to meet you officially.” We both laughed at that. We exchanged contacts and started chatting. Our friendship was fun and comfortable. I was completely myself around him. He was down to earth and he showed genuine care for me. It felt like we had known each other all our lives. A month into our friendship Kojo asked me out on a date. We had a deeply personal conversation about our relationship history. We had both suffered some disappointments but we were open to finding love again.
That day Kojo told me, “I like the easy flow of our friendship. I believe that we will make each other happy if we take things to the next level.” I interrupted “What do you mean the next level? You mean besties?” He smiled “Stop playing the naïve girl card. You know exactly what I mean. I feel there’s a chemistry between us, and I know you feel it too. Don’t you want to explore it and see where it leads?” He was right. I felt an attraction for him but I wasn’t sure if it was love. However, I was willing to see where it would lead so I gave us a chance.
We were still very close and we were completely at ease in each other’s company. We had our fair share of problems. Through it all, Kojo was patient and ever-ready to talk and work things out. After one year together, I introduced her to my mother. I wanted us to get her approval before we continue the relationship. When she met Kojo she was happy. She welcomed him with an open embrace. Later she called me, “Kojo seems like a good guy. But be careful and don’t put all your hopes on him.” I didn’t make anything of her advice at that time. Kojo and I continued to be happy and peaceful until I started my national service. He became insecure which led him to be unreasonably possessive.
This caused a lot of problems for us. He wanted to control every aspect of my life. From the clothes I wore, to who I talked to. We were always arguing over his jealousy and controlling habits. He wanted me to behave in a way that would make me invisible to other men. I am also not the kind of woman who would allow a man to dictate my life. We went back and forth until he conceded. He came to understand that his fears would cause him to lose me. So he worked on it. Gradually, things went back to how they were.
Five years into the relationship, Kojo proposed that we get married. The truth is, I never envisioned myself married to him. I loved him and things were good with him but I didn’t feel he was the one. However, we had been together for so long and it wouldn’t have made sense for me to walk away. So I agreed to marry him. When we started making preparations, my mother wasn’t supportive. She found little ways to discourage me but I didn’t let her get to me. When it got to time to set the date, she came up with equally important events that would clash with our wedding. Every date we proposed was met with “Oh no, there’s this person’s funeral on that day. Pick another one.” Or “I am travelling around that time. Postpone it till I return.” I didn’t notice what she was doing until Kojo pointed it out, “Lady, it looks like your mother is trying to prevent us from getting married.”
At first, I didn’t believe him. So I asked my mum, so I could prove him wrong. “Mama are you against my marriage with Kojo?” She didn’t deny it; “Tell me, are you sure he is the man you want to marry?” I got defensive “Yes. He is a good man and we’ve been together for five years. I have to marry him.” My mum tried to help me to understand that I didn’t have to marry him but that I should want to marry him. I didn’t listen to her. She didn’t have any choice but to accept my decision.
Kojo and I are now married with a child. The warm friendship we used to share is no longer there. The attraction I felt for him is dead. The love I felt for him is long gone. He is trying to make things work for us but I am not making any efforts to help him. He constantly tells me “I love you” and I feel its truth. But my response is always hollow. When I say it, it sounds like how school children recite the national pledge.
He is a perfect man but I don’t feel proud introducing him to my colleagues as my husband. I am beginning to regret marrying him. My mother saw what I couldn’t see and tried to prevent me from making a mistake, but I didn’t listen to her.
Since we got married, Kojo hasn’t done anything to hurt me but I don’t want him anymore. Every time he touches me, I fight the urge to flinch. Shuperu with him feels like an unpleasant chore. Nothing he does makes me happy. I think the best thing to do is to file for a divorce so we can both move on with our lives. My problem is, how do I tell him? How do I explain to him that even though he is a good husband, I no longer want to be married to him?