We’ve been together for two years but I’m almost giving up. He’s a good person, no doubt about that. It’s his good nature and upbringing that made me said yes to him in the first place. He had proven to me beyond all reasonable doubts that he knows how to care for a lady. Anytime he had come to my house, you’ll never see him sitting down while I do things. If I’m in the kitchen, he would be there with me. If I’m in the bathroom cleaning, he would be there with me. While I sit and wash, he’ll pick my washed clothes, rinse them and hang them in the drying line. He’ll make fun of my panties. He has a name for each of them; “This looks like a fishing net.” “That one looks like a thread. How do you put them on?” This looks like a pillowcase for a baby.” We’ll laugh about it and in no time, we’ll be done washing.
He’s a dreamer—a dreamer of little things and almost impossible things. I like him when he dreams about our future together, He’ll talk about the money we’ll have. The number of kids and even the cars we’ll be driving; “Darling, I’ll be a billionaire. You wait and see.” You ask him how he’s going to turn out a billionaire and he’ll say, “All these sports betting I’m engaged in, you think it’s for nothing? Let me tell you, one day my star would shine. I will win millions of cedis, invest in a lucrative business and leave the betting game.”
So on Saturdays and Sundays, he’ll move from one betting house to another, looking for favorable odds. He’ll speak to friends, they’ll tell him likely winning tips. He’ll go out there and put a lot of money on it. In the afternoon, you’ll call his phone and all you’ll hear is noise from football games. He’ll sit and watch all the games he’d bet on. In the evening, he’ll call me with disappointments in his voice. I’ll ask him, “You won something today?” That’s where the insult would begin. He’ll insult players, insult coaches, and insult goalkeepers; “I nearly won thousand cedis today, had it not been that stupid coach. All he had to do was to play that player or that player and I would have won the bet. But that silly coach won’t listen. He had to be fired.”
He’s almost always angry on weekends. After the games, he’ll pass by my house, sat on the sofa, and bring a tall sheet out of his pocket. He’ll be assessing what went wrong and in the end, fold the paper and begin chewing it. I’ll tell him, “Darling, all this stress won’t get you to be a millionaire. How can you lose all that money and still think you can be rich? You don’t have to go that route to be rich. You can build by saving.” He’ll respond, “It takes a big risk to win big. You wait and see, I’ll be a millionaire someday.” They say you can’t advise a woman in love but trust me, no one advises a man addicted to betting.
One day he asked, “Can I have some money to pick a taxi home?” I gave it to him. He had lost all he had and had nothing to take a car home. His addiction to the game gets me worried. He’s always losing but somehow, he believes winning comes from losing and nothing could change his mind about that. Why do good people come with something bad attached to their being? Can’t people be all good or all bad so the decision would be easier?” My ex did a lot of bad things and some good things once in a while. It was easier to let him go. This one does nothing bad to me but does things that would affect our future badly.
A man who puts all his money on betting? How can a future with him look like? Can we save money together and believe that he would not put it on betting? Thoughts like these always leave me scared. So I started talking to him—threatening him actually; “Darling, if you don’t stop gambling, I’ll have no choice but to leave you and I mean it. This weekend I want to see you here and nowhere else. If you go to that your places and waste money, it’s over between us.” He’ll come to my house early morning on Saturday and I’ll be happy that I’m making headway. Not knowing, all the while he was in my house, he was doing the betting online. His mood would change in the evening. I’ll talk to him and he won’t mind me. You’ll see him talking to himself often and getting angry about nothing.
I probed and got to know he doesn’t have to be there to engage in betting. He could do it online. It broke my heart. I’ll talk to him harshly and tell him to leave my house. I’ll tell him to leave my life and never return again. I’ll tell him to make love to his betting receipts. He’ll leave, get home and apologize. I’ll forgive him and tell him not to do it again. It’s like that when you love someone with his flaws. You’ll fight over the flaws, he’ll say he’ll change. He’ll do it again and you’ll fight over it again. Then fighting over his flaws become the new flaw in the relationship. But where does it stop? I don’t know.
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It’s been two years of addictive betting. He had borrowed money from friends and they had been on his neck until I helped him pay. A month ago, I told him with all the seriousness I could muster, “I’m giving you three months, if you don’t stop, this relationship is over. I won’t accept any apology from you and I won’t even pick your calls if after three months I catch you betting. You need to make changes and you need to make it right now.” He said, “I’ve stopped. Trust me. I won’t do it again.”
Here I am hoping he doesn’t do it again but what if he does it again? What if he doesn’t stop? Will I be right to walk away just because of a single flaw in a man? The ultimate question is, will I have the will to walk away when the time comes? I can only pray for strength.