I read your piece yesterday – I do read your column now and again, but haven’t had the patience nor time to respond. I thought, I’d take time out today, especially as you have touched a matter that I am well involved in. When I started reading, I saw your attempt not to judge me or us; you can be at ease, as I judge myself as well, I never pass, whether I use the Christian or Muslim yardstick.
I think what is good is that I can live with myself. My name is Toun (Pseudo name of course)! I’m married with two gorgeous children. I’ve been married for 12 years to someone I had thought was a great man; we dated in school and got married right out of school. All was hunky dory until my husband hit wealth. Six years into the marriage, he left his banking job where he looked after oil and gas and entered into oil and gas proper, that’s when all hell broke loose, that’s when he realised he was a ‘fine boy’ and could have any and every girl he wished.
When this started, he was full of apologies the few times I caught him. Back then, he’d make the effort to apologise, we’d see a pastor together, undergo counselling, etc. The pastors, our families (and friends), all gave the usual Nigerian speech of ‘manage it,’ ‘it’s not new,’ ‘you’re not the first,’ ‘it’d be well’… and they were all right, I wasn’t the first to have trust broken and broken so recklessly. I continued in humility and doing all the things I needed to do, in and out of the bedroom and yet things just got worse. The number of ladies didn’t abate, he graduated from hiding them to flaunting them… it was hard to see my school boyfriend, husband, friend, lover and everything change so much, it was almost as though he was a stranger!
It was either one girlfriend was going with us on a family holiday and is housed in a hotel not too far or he was in town with us, but staying in a separate hotel from us. Oh, I forgot to add that I resorted to praying, begging, and quarrelling and all and nothing worked. Nothing until I met Zite, my colleague at work. Met is the wrong word, as Zite and I have worked together for as long as I’ve worked in my current place of work. Zite and I were in the same management trainee programme years ago and just remained friends, nothing dramatic, we had very similar sense of humour and would laugh at people secretly at meetings, exchange texts with straight faces at meetings – we just got on very well and had tons of similarities – close knit families who were dependent on us for upkeep, same faith (yes, please, I do have a religion), we loved the same books, magazines are impatient about movies; loved documentaries, etc.
Our closeness was natural and had been for a while, my husband, Oghogho, knew Zite, Zite wasn’t a stranger at our functions and vice versa… when Oghogho’s started to change, I found myself talking to Zite more often, explaining what was going on. It was a natural flow, for we shared opinions, etc. To be honest, I had no idea whatsoever that Zite found me attractive, for he was always well behaved around me, respectful and defended Oghogho’s behaviour now and again. His message was always – Oghogho will turn the corner one day soon.
We were on a company trip once when Zite reached out to comfort me during one of my lamentation sessions; one thing led to another, as they say, and to shock you, I am having the time of my life. Zite’s continued being my friend, supporter, and yes, my lover. He’s involved in my children’s life (not in an obvious way), we discuss their progress at school, socially and otherwise, he’s of course involved in my work progress, we dodge the office bullets together, we share what we could have done better, we discuss current affairs, life in general, Boko Haram, Boston bombings, the state of emergency… everything, except Oghogho – somehow, it feels wrong now to discuss Oghogho. And Oghogho?… he doesn’t know or suspect a thing, I can almost say he couldn’t be bothered, he still comes and goes, pays the children’s fees, doesn’t pay attention to them still, provides generously, keeps his women and keeps travelling.
He recently told me, I appeared ‘more at peace with myself.’ In his words, I had ‘come into my own…’ to think he doesn’t nearly know how right it is. Oh, and Zite isn’t married as yet, we don’t discuss the future, we just work and keep our relationship going, it’s all one step at a time. During my fantasy times, I imagine that we have run away to an island where we’d live together happily ever after, but that’s what it is… only an imagination!
I love my children and will do nothing, nothing to hurt them…. There… I trust I you’ve heard it , one thing this has done for me though, it’s reduced my speed to judge other people in such situations – one never knows what the other is going through, it’s taken me 12 whole years to understand this. I suspect you probably can’t, all going is well for you isn’t it? And I do sincerely wish you the very best!