Our relationship was only two months old when I started having doubts about him. His attitude didn’t add up. His actions would go left while the explanations for his actions would go right. I hesitated a bit because I didn’t have clear evidence that he was cheating. He would leave town on Friday after work and would come on Sunday evening. All the while he would be away, he won’t pick up my calls. He’ll rather call me later to tell me he was busy. “Ebo, what are you hiding from me?” I asked. He answered, “I’m not hiding anything. Why are you always trying to find me guilty? What have I done? Have you ever caught me on top of a woman?”
“Ebo, that’s not the question. You leave here every Friday after work. You tell me you’re going to visit your parents but immediately you leave this place, you don’t answer my calls. You only call me when you like. What can make you do that if there’s nothing to hide?” .
He called me crazy. He made jokes about my insecurity. He even reported to my mom that I’m overly jealous and that if I don’t take care, I would destroy our relationship with my jealousy. My mom called and poured all she knows about relationships into me. She said, “If you love a man, you give him wings to fly far and wide. If he comes back home to you, you’re the one he loves. Jealousy can’t heal a man with cheating sickness. You’ll be jealous until you destroy what you have and later regret it. Have patience. If he’s keeping something in the dark, the sun will shine one day and it will shine on everything in the dark.”
I took my mother’s advice and calmed my heart. When he travelled home, I didn’t call him. He’ll rather call and text whenever he was free. When he comes back, I would spend most of my days in his house, cooking and cleaning for him. When I had problems, he came to my rescue. When I needed money, he gave me his wallet. He played with my mom as if they were equals. My mom loved him to a fault. It’s the reason she defended him in everything.
One day he returned from his travels with washed clothes. When I was folding them up, I saw a woman’s dress and a child’s shirt among the clothes. My heart skipped a beat and started feeling weak but I didn’t say anything. I knew if I did, he would have branded me as a jealous girlfriend so I folded the things neatly and placed them in his wardrobe. I started fishing for more evidence. Our relationship was only five months old. When a call came on his phone, I watched who called. There was one particular number he had saved “Aunt Naaa” but the conversation they had wasn’t the kind of conversation you’ll expect from an aunt. I watched his fingers and studied his password. When he went to sleep, I went digging.
Don’t let me bore you with the drama and the pain I went through when I found out that he’s a married man. He had been married for several years with three kids. His wife sends him photos of her daily activities. She even sends him explicit photos and videos. I watched some. The woman looked like someone who will do everything to satisfy her husband. She sends videos when she goes to the washroom. She sends one when she’s naked in the bed and asks him to come over. They chat about a lot of silly things but they fight a lot too.
The fights always ended up in exchange of voice notes where Ebo would be calling the woman names. The woman knew my name and I came up often in their fight. My heart was breaking. I wanted to run away and disappear forever. He was peacefully sleeping as I was going through his phone and sobbing. I didn’t wake him up until he woke up early morning to see his phone on my lap. I hadn’t slept all night. I said, “So I wasn’t crazy after all. I’m not the one with issues. You’re the one who has been lying. You’re married. Your wife even knows about me. You don’t even know how to lie. Why is she not coming here? You want her to come here and attack me? What sort of man are you?”
He didn’t say anything for a while. I screamed, “Are you dumb now? Go ahead, call me jealous. Call me insecure. Have you forgotten the names you use to call me whenever I accuse you of cheating? Call me by those names I’m waiting.” He sat in the bed with his face buried in his palm. He said, “I couldn’t tell you because I loved you. Would you have said yes to me if you knew I was married? I didn’t want to lose you because I love you so much.” He got up and tried to hug me but I escaped the hug and walked out.
I went home and cried in the arms of my mother. She consoled me. She apologized for not trusting me. He called Ebo on the phone and started insulting him. I was even feeling bad for him. In the evening, he came around to apologize. My mom pushed him away. The following day he came around. My mom again pushed him away. He came every day until my mom got tired of pushing him away. We talked and he asked for forgiveness. He said, “I still don’t want to lose you. If there’s someone I should leave, it’s my wife and not you.” His words got to me so I fell back into his arms again. My mom advised me against it but I said, “The harm had already been done.”
He started talking about all the bad things his wife had done against him. He told me his wife wasn’t neat and couldn’t keep a home. He told me a lot of nasty things about his wife. I said, “But you’re still with her? She’s still your wife. If she’s that dirty as you want me to believe, why don’t you leave her?” His answer was, “I want to but the time isn’t right.”
His wife and kids started coming around on weekends. They will be with him while I stay and hide from them. When they leave and I go back to the house, I have to put the whole place in order again. She won’t clean. She would leave the kitchen messy and leave the toilet as if it was a public toilet. Ebo will tell me, “You see what I’ve been telling you? I’m glad you’re a witness to it now.” It got to a time I didn’t want to go there after they have visited. The whole place would be a mess and I’ll be the one to clean the place up. I told Ebo, “Maybe you should talk to her or tell her mom about it.” He answered, “Her mom is even worse. She doesn’t know how to cook that’s why my wife can’t cook any better meal. Like mother like daughter.”
One late evening I had a call. When I answered the voice said, “It’s me, Sandra. Ebo’s wife. I know you’re seeing my husband. I know my husband, he’s not capable of maintaining that level of neatness I see around when I visit. It has to be you and I’ve known you since the beginning of your relationship with him. I’m not coming after you. I’m only asking you to leave my husband for me. He won’t listen to me but I figured if I speak to you woman to woman, you’ll understand and leave him for me.” When she cut the call that evening I cried until my eyes became puffy. The kind of guilt that fell on me was heavier than any load I’ve ever carried. I decided to walk away without telling Ebo anything. I was so determined to leave him that I didn’t know where I had that strength from.
I wouldn’t pick up his calls and I wouldn’t answer her text messages. When it became tough, I blocked him. When he came home to look for me my mom handled him squarely. She threatened to unleash the town boys on him. Slowly, he stopped coming around until today when everything is over. His wife calls me every now and then to ask questions about her husband. I tell her I don’t know anything about him because I no longer talk to him. I’ve come to like his wife because of how calm and respectful she is. When we talk, I want to help her. I want to tell her all the things Ebo wants and what she can do to rise slowly back into Ebo’s heart.
I’m not going to tell her all the bad things her husband told me while dating him. I want to tell her the things she can do to win him back. I want to teach her about cleanliness and other things Ebo told me it was lacking in her. Maybe if I succeed, and the two of them build their marriage again, it will help me rid of the guilt and set me free. Do you think it’s a good idea?