My husband was a teacher when I met him. We started dating before he got the opportunity to be recruited into the military. Our relationship had always been long-distance so it didn’t make much difference when he was in the military academy. Two years into our relationship we got married but we did not move in together. He lived in Accra because of work while I also lived in Kumasi because of my job as a nurse. Having a long-distance relationship was one thing, but a long-distance marriage is an entirely different scene.
The first few months were good. We took turns visiting each other every month until I got pregnant and could no longer bear the stress of traveling. So he was the one who always visited me. During one of his visits, I decided to go through his phone. That was because I had seen some changes in his behavior. He was still the responsible man I married but there was something different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. That’s why I went looking for answers on his phone.
I had no idea what to expect but what I found broke my heart. My husband had changed because he was having an affair with a woman in Accra. I confronted him about it and he did not deny it. “I am sorry I broke our marriage vows. You are not there with me and I have needs. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It was purely sex with her. Please, forgive me.” What could I have done? He is my husband. So I forgave him and put all that nasty business behind us. After the baby arrived, I took a transfer and moved to Accra to join my husband. He said he cheated because I was not there with him, so I was certain that he wouldn’t have any need to cheat if I moved in with him. Sadly, I had to find out how wrong I was in a very painful way. Living with him rather made things worse. This time it was not just one woman. It was with different women. And he was not remorseful. He did not even make any attempt to hide it. He did it openly for me and everyone else to see.
I complained bitterly about how his behaviour was affecting me but that did not change anything. Sometimes I would sit him down and cry just for him to see my pain. I would speak to him as calmly as a mother admonishes a child. He would listen to everything I have to say, only to go out and meet another one of his girlfriends.
The only person I could confide in about this problem was my mother. She encouraged me to be patient with him and upgrade myself. “Maybe he is after those women because they are more educated than you are. Go back to school and be better than them.” So I went back to school for further studies. Despite my husband’s numerous affairs, he has always been financially responsible for our family. He was the one who even sponsored my education. While I was schooling, he continued to cheat. My mother constantly advised him to be faithful to me. He would listen to her and promise to change but he wouldn’t.
Right now we have two beautiful daughters together, and things have gotten worse. Countless times I asked him: “How can I be enough for you?” Tell me what I am not doing well so that I can improve myself. He would look at me and say nothing. We would share the same bed for three months and not have intimacy unless I initiate it. Our marriage continued like this until he was transferred to Kumasi in 2022. I was in Accra with the children. So we were back to where we began – another long distance marriage.
He visited us once a month. And though I was not there with him I knew him enough to know when he had found a new plaything. His behavior was killing my soul. So I made a decision to join the train of nurses traveling to the UK for work. When I spoke to him about it he encouraged me and sponsored all my activities. While I was making preparations to leave I took the children to my parents’ place in Kumasi. He lives close to my parents’ house so the arrangement worked perfectly for everyone.
Before I left for the UK, I went to Kumasi to say goodbye. When I went to visit my husband at the barracks I found women’s clothing hidden in his wardrobe. I didn’t confront him. I didn’t even mention it. The man was cheating while I was living with him, so it wasn’t news that he would do it in my absence.
I am now in the UK. I have been here for the past nine months and all I hear day and night are rumors of my husband’s extramarital affairs. I am told his new woman is someone who is even older than him. She is a divorcee who delights in dating people’s husbands. She and my husband fit perfectly together so now they are all over the place with their affair. His church members know about her but he doesn’t care. His family knows too, and they are even tired of advising him. What pains me in all this is that he has introduced this woman to our children. He goes with her to my parents’ house to pick them up and they all go to his place or her place. Whenever I call my kids, they mention her name in all their activities. I looked the other way while he cheated because I got tired of complaining. Now, this woman is in my children’s lives. It’s disrespect for me. Even my parents have spoken to no avail.
The last conversation we had was about this woman. I asked him: “Who is this new woman you are parading around in my absence? Everyone we know is talking about her. What’s going on? Why are you disrespecting our marriage like this?” My quest for answers led us into a heated argument. My husband insulted me miserably. That was the first time he ever insulted me. We haven’t spoken since then. And it’s been two months now.
I was there the other day when his uncle called me. He asked me to call my husband so we resolve our problems. I told him I won’t make the first call in this situation. He thinks I am being disrespectful but the truth is, my spirit is broken. I am in so much pain that when I think about my husband, I cry. The fact that he insulted me over that woman is what is even killing me. The entire family is waiting for me to call him but I have refused. I am not the villain here, he is. So why should I be the one to take the first step in fixing things? Haven’t I lost enough respect in this marriage? I am just venting out my frustration here because I need a listening ear.
Editor’s Note: Dear readers, what would you do if you were in this woman’s shoes? Please email your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org