“I want to get to know you better. Tell me something deeply personal.” I said to her. She smiled, the kind of smile women usually give to men they are trying to get away from. I knew she liked me, based on the amount of time she spent talking to me since we met. This assured me that she wasn’t trying to get away from me per se. Maybe it was my question. “Have I made you uncomfortable with my question? You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.” I told her. She smiled again, the same empty and brittle smile. “I don’t have a problem telling you everything about myself, she said. “My concern is, that you might see me differently after I tell you certain things about me.” Her answer made me more curious, “You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t trust me to handle whatever it is with maturity.” She sighed.
“Okay fine, I will tell you. I am a mother. I have two children under my care. One child is mine, and the other is my sister’s. Usually, that scares men off. They assume I will burden them to take responsibility for the kids.”
I didn’t say anything for a while. We just stared at each other, a heavy silence between us. Eventually, I told her; “Emily, I like you and I know we just met but I want a future with you. The fact that you are taking care of two kids makes me see you as a responsible woman. Give me a chance and let’s see how things go.” She smiled in relief and said yes to my proposal.
That day we spent more time talking and sharing more personal information. By the time our date ended, I was certain that I knew everything there was to know about her.
As our relationship progressed, we met each other’s families. My family didn’t have any problems with her being a mum. They loved her and treated her as one of us. Her family was open to me as well. The kids especially loved me. I also loved them so it wasn’t difficult for me to start taking care of their needs. I took care of Emily’s needs too. I considered myself her unofficial husband. I told myself, “I am going to marry her soon so it’s okay if I start playing my role as her husband.” In the beginning, she was grateful. She would thank me and say, “Sometimes I don’t think I deserve you. You are so generous and loving. The kids and I are blessed to have you.” Her praises filled my head like a helium-filled balloon. It massaged my ego so I did more for them.
As time went on, things became different in the relationship. Emily started expecting me to do more for them than I was already doing. I would give her money and she would say, “This amount you are giving me won’t do much for us in this economy. Add more to it.” If I tell her that I didn’t have more to give her, she would get angry and start murmuring. The longer we dated, the more she revealed about herself. I got to know that, what lies behind her sweet smiles is a woman who gets angry when she can’t have her way. She graduated from murmuring her displeasure to shouting insults at me in front of the children. Sometimes she would go as far as comparing me to other men; “You are giving me peanuts so you think you are doing something. Do you know how much my friend’s boyfriend gives her for a week?”
What bothers me the most is that whenever she insults me, the children stop talking to me for days. They only start talking to me again when Emily and I work out our differences. I gather from this that she is the one responsible for their behaviour. And I don’t think that attitude is healthy for the family I am trying to build with them.
Another thing Emily does that makes me worried is her constant communication with her ex. I didn’t know her ex was still in her life until we started dating. When I found out about their phone calls and text messages, she defended it; “You have to understand that my ex and I have a child together. We can’t cut off communication between us. I give him updates on the progress of our daughter.” At that time, I thought they only spoke once in a while so I let it slide.
Along the line, I discovered that she meets up with him secretly. That part didn’t sit well with me. So I gave her an ultimatum; “I’m not going to play second fiddle to your ex-boyfriend. It’s either me or him. You choose.” She apologized, “I am sorry if I made you feel there was a choice between you and him. It’s you I love and you are the only man in my life. I will limit contact with him going forward.” I was so in love with her that I believed her. We’ve been together for a year now but I have realized that she still talks to him, and it’s almost every day. The interesting thing is that their child is old enough to hold a conversation with her father yet he barely talks to her when he calls. The conversation is usually between him and Emily. I doubt they even talk about their child at all. I feel hurt by this. I don’t know what she talks to her ex about.
I accepted her with her baggage. I break my back to provide for them despite her ingratitude. Now I have to put up with her ex? I have tried to talk to her but she doesn’t see anything wrong with what she is doing. She is acting as if I am the unreasonable one. Meanwhile, we are putting things in place to tie the knot. I am worried that she will continue talking to him even after we get married. I have no idea what exactly is going on between them.
As it stands now, I don’t know if I should confront her ex and ask him to back off or if I should call the marriage off. Please I need advice and suggestions on how to handle this.