Does any law protect my interest?

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I completed Senior High School in 2013 but I didn’t have money to further my education so I went into petty trading. The money wasn’t much but it sustained me. I had hoped that someday I would go back to school and make something good of my life. I was working toward that goal when I met Cudjoe. He was a policeman. I had no intention of giving my heart to him but he stole it. How do you arrest a policeman who has stolen your heart? I had no choice but to let him love me. And he did love me. I too loved him. Through that love, I conceived. When I broke the news to him he was disturbed.

He sat me down and said: “You know I love you. I want more than anything to have a baby with you. But I don’t have what it takes to take care of a child. I just got posted. I haven’t even been assigned an accommodation. Please, let’s get rid of it.” I understood him because I also felt I wasn’t financially ready for a child. So we terminated it.

A year later, I found myself pregnant again. It looked like the goddess of fertility had touched my womb or something. We were having protected sex. So, it was shocking how these unplanned pregnancies came about. This time around I didn’t let him talk too much. I saw for myself that things were bad for him financially. So we got rid of that one too.

I know I say it easily but it wasn’t easy for me to deal with the loss of two pregnancies within a span of one year. The guilt ate at me little by little until all I wanted to do was to check and see if I was still capable of bearing a child. It was the same protected sex we had the last two times I got pregnant, but this time around no pregnancy came. For about two years, nothing happened. I even went off my contraceptives but I never conceived.

What happened? Had my sins caught up with me? Had I thrown away the only babies God gave me because I wasn’t financially ready? I became concerned. I discussed my fears with Cudjoe and he gave me money to go to the hospital for a check-up. I went to the hospital but none of the medications they gave me worked. I went to herbal centres and roamed prayer camps until I finally conceived.

After everything we went through to get this baby, none of us thought of getting rid of it. We kept it. He promised me: “I know the right thing to do now is to see your people and ask for your hand in marriage, but I am paying off a loan so I can’t afford to marry you and still take care of you and the baby. So be patient with me. I will do everything when the baby comes.” It sounded like a reasonable request, so I accepted it.

In 2018, I delivered a beautiful baby boy. We were not married but we lived together. I performed all the wifely duties for him, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and sex when he needed it. Yet, when I brought up the issue of marriage, the guy gave me excuses. Today, he would say tomorrow. When tomorrow came he would say next week. We did the back and forth for two years. That was the first time I threatened to leave him.

Cudjoe told me that he was going to take a loan to marry me so I shouldn’t leave him. I thought about the fact that we had a child together and gave him time to do whatever was necessary. True to his word, he took the loan. However, he said: “The interest rate on the loan is high so I want to use the money to buy a taxi. I will work with it to raise the money for the marriage rites.” It sounded like another excuse but he gave me GHC4000 to invest in my trade, as a show of good faith.

For some reason, I didn’t invest the money immediately. I thought I would keep it and use it to support him when he starts buying the marriage items. But to my surprise, he came back and asked for the money back. He said he had to add it to his money to complete the purchase of the taxi. I refused to give it to him. So he brought his mum and aunts to talk to me. They promised he would give it back to me if he started making money from the taxi. I listened to them and gave him the money but he never paid it back. A year after he got a driver to work with his taxi, there were no signs that he was going to marry me. I pushed but he only pushed back with more excuses. While I was thinking of what to do, the taxi driver came to me. He said he had something to tell me. It sounded serious so I gave him all my attention. “Please, don’t be angry with me for telling you this. I am only doing this because you are a nice person. And I think you deserve the truth,” he confided.

I kept listening as he said: “I want you to know that you are not the only woman in my master’s life. He has another girlfriend in the next town. They live together. In fact, he introduced me to her before I met you. If not that you are the mother of his child, I would have thought you are the one snatching someone’s husband.” I was shocked but I kept my cool.

I asked him to show me the woman’s place and he did. I wasn’t angry with her, no. I felt she was just a victim of his deception, so I approached her calmly. When I introduced myself she didn’t seem surprised. She already knew Cudjoe had a child. The only thing was, she didn’t know I was still with him. According to her, they started dating in 2015. Then they got into a big fight in 2018 and reconciled after a few months.

He told her that he had a one-night stand with me after their fight and I got pregnant. He made her believe I didn’t mean anything to him and that we had no relationship. “He lives with me so I never suspected he could be living with another woman. Oh, I now understand. He was always going for night shifts at the barrier. How would I have known that some of those shifts were just excuses for him to go to his other home? He played us so well,” she sadly said.

Before I left that day I begged her to leave him for me. “Please, you don’t have a child with him but I do. No woman wishes to go about having babies for different men. Please, let him go so you can find someone else.” She listened to me but she never left him. When he also found out about her, all his actions showed he loved her more. He started leaving home whenever he wanted. He no longer bothered to use night shifts as cover-ups. When I noticed what was going on, I pleaded with him to stay with me for the sake of our child. This only gave him the opportunity to do worse. He would just come home at night to have shuperu with me, only to leave at dawn. It was so bad that I decided to just walk away.

I got a loan and set up a shop so I would be financially independent. That way I could raise our child with or without his support. Just as I was finding my feet, he fell seriously ill. It seemed like a spiritual sickness so his relatives took him to his hometown for healing. While he was away, I got my affairs in order and prayed for his recovery.

As soon as he got better, I broke up with him. You should see this man begging me to stay. He spoke to both our families and asked them to plead his case. I had had enough so I refused. I even bought forms to further my education. I wanted nothing to do with him but he was relentless. “Just give me one more chance please, I will marry you. I will sell my taxi and use the money.” His family and friends also helped him beg until I agreed to stay.

This guy paid my fees, bought me a laptop, and a washing machine just to show that he is serious. He even swore that he broke up with Amina. I believed him and allowed myself to expect something positive. Guys, he sold the taxi and used the money to buy a piece of land in his village. Nothing about marriage happened. Not even knocking-on-the-door rites. I complained but all he asked was a little more time. I stopped doing wifely duties for him. I even withheld sex so he would be moved but he wasn’t.

Just last month I found out that he didn’t break up with Amina like he said. It was one of his relatives who told me. I found Amina’s number on Facebook and called her. And she confirmed that they never broke up. Honestly, I am not hurt or heartbroken. I just feel like I let myself down by staying with a man for nine years with the hope that he would marry me. At this point, I knew it won’t happen.

Before you judge me, know that I have already judged myself. I know my part in this. I am not here for you to tell me what I did wrong. All I want is a little advice. He is a policeman who promised to marry me but dragged me around for nine years without fulfilling that promise. Is there any law that says I can get a compensation for my time he wasted? That’s what I want to know. If I leave him now, will I be leaving empty-handed? Is there a legal action I can take against him?

— Korkor

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