I had a boyfriend once, Martin. We were both young and thought we were in love and promised to get married when we grew up. We were in the senior high school and surprisingly, we were able to keep the relationship going until we both completed the university.
Martin had been the only man I’ve ever known until he left me after university. I’m here today struggling to recall the reason why he left me and I can’t find any. It was about something flimsy, bizarre I should say. I don’t remember the details but I remember thinking maybe he’d found himself another girl.
I didn’t know how to handle being single. I’ve already spent six years of my life with a guy who left me but I was only twenty-three. I felt I needed someone to replace Martin immediately.
Where I was doing my National service, my boss was madly in love with me. He was kind and giving and was surprisingly young for the position he was handling. I liked him. I liked everything about him but one thing; he was a married man.
I was very frank with him when he finally proposed; “I like who you are and I would date you in a blink but you are married. It doesn’t sit well with my conscience to date another woman’s husband.”
He got the message and left me alone. He later became a father figure in my life and I loved him more for that role he played.
After National Service, I found myself a new job providing contract services to clients. That was when I met Robert. He preferred to be called Rob. He was a South African who had come to settle in Ghana to work. Our company gave contracts to their company so he came to the office a lot of times.
We got very friendly and our friendship developed into a full-blown relationship. After being single for about three years, Rob came to fill the void Martin left. He was a gentleman who knew how to treat a woman. His South African accent made everything he said sounded funny and I loved to tease him with that.
He loved spending time with me and even traveled with me on a vacation in Botswana once. It was the best day of my life and the first time I traveled out of Ghana.
After a year of dating, one morning after spending the night at his end, he asked that I picked his phone from a drawer for him. Three drawers and he didn’t specify which one. So I started opening the drawers from the top. I opened the first drawer, there was nothing. Then I opened the second drawer, I saw his wallet, a handkerchief and a ring that looked like a wedding ring. I inspected it. Yeah, it was a wedding ring. My heart sunk!
I screamed, “Rob are you married?”
“What? what are you saying?”
I’m asking you, are you married?”
What makes you think I’m married?”
“Answer me, are you married?”
Immediately he spotted the ring in my hand, his demeanor changed. I got the message. I’ve been fooled. I’ve been dating a married man for a year and I was too blind to see. He tried explaining. He talked about a woman he was trying to divorce and blah blah blah.
I left and that was it. I tried to see very little of him at work and he soon faded away.
Leave a married man, get a married man, how ironic.
Then Arthur came, he was married. I skipped. Ebo proposed to me while wearing his gleaming wedding ring, I smiled and said no. Denis was next. He was a fifty-something years old man with a very successful wife and children. I sat next to him in his luxurious car and he said to me “Be my girlfriend and I would make life easier for you. I got down and never picked his calls again.
For the next years ahead of me, all the men who came to propose were married. Some have been married for only a week. I gave in and started saying yes to some of them.
If you have a quiet conscience that doesn’t question anything, dating married men is very fun. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. They give you all you want and take you to places nice and fulfilling.
Emotionally, I wasn’t engaged with any of the married men I dated until I met Phil. He had been married for two years. Very successful man. He told me after a year of being married, he discovered his wife had mental disorders that make her very violent and destructive. His wife had made several attempts on his life whenever her sickness came.
One night he called me crying; “Her ‘thing’ has come. She’s destroying everything and has pulled a knife on one of the kids.” I was scared for him. I wanted him to come over for safety reasons. But he assured me he would be fine.
Slowly Phil got to me emotionally and all of a sudden I felt I owe a duty to protect him. I felt like I had to take care of him so nothing happens to him.
Phil was with me one night and a call came through. We were on a planned date that should have ended with us spending the night together but that call changed everything.
He screamed on the phone, “Try whatever you can to calm her down, I’m on my way coming.”
Immediately he hung up the phone, he said to me “Dear, sorry I have to go. Adina is acting up.” I answered, “But we planned to…” I didn’t complete my statement and he retorted, “This is urgent and I have to be home and see my wife.”
He left me and rushed home. My feelings didn’t count. My plans of being happy with him didn’t count either. I sat staring at the food and drinks and what was supposed to be a night for the two us.
That night I changed. I understood what being a wife means. A mad wife is still worth the struggle than a sane beautifully dressed side chick. Phil rushed to the side of his mad wife. I didn’t matter.
The next day when he called, I told him, “Take care of her. She needs you. I don’t”
And that was it.