“Hey! How are you?” he smiled broadly.
“I am fine. Good afternoon sir.” I respond.
His body build is athletic. He is tall, a little on the fair side. Grey patches in his beards and hair however, reveal that he is not a small boy. I could say he is well into his forties or early fifties.
“Where are you off to?” he asked, coming up to me.
“Lesson. My kids are waiting for me”.
“Really? You take private lessons?”
“My kids will need your services then”
“I’m sorry sir, I’m already choked up with the one I have. I won’t be able to create time for your kids.”
“Oh. Ok. Its ok. But I do like your person. Whenever you walk by, I sit here and admire you. You’re different from the others.
“Oh. Thank you sir.”
“Please can I know your name? I will love for us to be more than friends”.
And that was how I first met him. It was some time in August 2016. I told him no. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I started to dodge him. But occasionally, when we ran into each other, he reminded me that he was still interested in me. And still I said no.
A man with kids surely has a wife at home. I thought several times. If the love was dead between them, he should find a way to rekindle it. Simple.
All the while I said no, it never occurred to me that I never told him I had someone I was in a serious relationship with. Maybe because even if I wasn’t in a relationship, I wouldn’t still say yes.
It wasn’t until two days ago, when we met on my way back home, that I finally told him I had someone special in my life.
“Wow!” he sounded disappointed. “But if you had told me from the start, I wouldn’t have bothered you anymore. I won’t like anyone to take away my woman and so I wouldn’t like to take away another man’s woman. But I will still like us to just be friends. Nothing attached.
I was glad he said so. And I let down my guard. We discussed a little more and before we knew it, he was sharing his life experience with me.
He had a wife. Together they had 3 kids. He was a journalist in Abuja and did some side contracts as well. Although he worked in abuja, his family was in Benin.
Things were smooth for him. He and his family lacked nothing, until the day he got a call from a friend in Benin . The friend told him he had just seen his wife at a hotel with another man. But this man couldn’t believe it. He trusted his wife so much. To him, her yes was yes. Her no was no.
Out of curiosity though, he called her a few minutes after speaking with the said friend. and she picked the call.
“Where are you?” he asked her
“Ok. Let me speak with the children”
“They are asleep.”
He said he looked at the time and frowned. He knew his children too well. And he knew it was too early for their bed time.
“Asleep at 6:00pm?” He asked
“Oh. Sorry. Let me check. Ok. They went out. I forgot.”
“Are you serious? How can a mother be at home and not know if her kids are in or out? Or know if they are asleep or not?”
He said he let the issue slide and the next break he got from work, he went home to his family. He sensed that things weren’t right. plus his wife didn’t welcome him, neither did she let him touch her, as he used to.
After his break, he went back to abuja. immediately he resumed work the following morning, he got a sack letter. That was not enough, he lost his contract jobs too. Things were hard. He returned to Benin and tried to start all over. All to no avail.
Then he went to his father. And his father told him “Ask your wife what she is doing”.
He went home and asked. The question ended with quarrel. He apologized so peace would reign. But things were never the same again. Feeding became an issue. House rent was an issue. Even to put himself together and try hands on business was futile. Things just kept getting worse.
Then a few months later, he went to his village, sold from his plot of land. He sold it at 1.5million. His plan was to start a business with the money. However, he suddenly took ill for no reason at all. He was admitted in the hospital and spent almost the whole money paying hospital bills. By the time he was discharged, he had only 60k left.
The elders in the family had to sit over the issue. They warned him to take their advice serious or end up dead.
“Stop sleeping with your wife.” they said. “Do not eat her food and do not take anything from her. While you are at it, find out what she is doing. Catch her in the act.”
He took the advice. He never slept with her or ate her food. However, the children still ate from her. Then they started to fall ill. Sometimes, it was convulsion.
The issue scared their dad. Was he now spared, just so his children would die? No way. So he had to act. The earlier he caught her red handed, the better.
One day, he told his wife he was travelling. She carried him in the car they both used and dropped him off at the park. After she had gone, he waited an hour before taking public transport back home.
Lo and behold, there was a man in his matrimonial bed. He even had the guts to feel comfortable on the bed. After questioning the stranger, he admitted to be the wife’s lover but he insisted she never told him she was married. He said she told him the house was rented for her by another boyfriend.
That was how the wife was caught. But unknown to him, she had several other boyfriends outside. The man took a few clothes, took his kids and left the house that same day. He never returned and he never allowed her take the kids out. He only allowed her visit them under his supervision. She is not to buy gifts or food for them. Tradition forbids that a woman, still married, will go out to have affairs and then bring the gifts from such affairs to the kids she had with her rightful husband. Who knows what other bad omen will come out of it.
Years has passed. He has single handedly cared for the kids who are now in secondary school. He never wanted anything to do with women again, not for a relationship and certainly not for marriage. Besides not trusting women anymore, he didn’t want a case of bringing in a wicked step mum for his children. He only approached me because he saw me in a different light.
I was shocked at his story. I always knew such traditions exist among the Isokos and Urhobos. But among the Edos? No, I never knew. You see, tradition forbids that a maried woman should sleep with another man and still come back to her husband to sleep with him and cook his food. If the man doesn’t know about her affair, what he doesn’t know wouldn’t kill him. If the man knows about it, or even suspects it, he is to act immediately. Make her confess, if she is the repentant type. And if she is not, then divorce her. Do not eat her food and do not have sex with her.
He confirmed that this belief exists among the Edos too. He said he has a friend who suffered the same fate at the hands of his cheating wife. Apart from loosing his job and house and being unable to start any meaningful business, all his friend’s kids fell ill and died. The friend was at death’s door too. His family had to intervene to save his life.
“So where is your wife now?” I had to ask. I was curious.
“She is based in Abuja now. She’s the fourth wife of one chief there. She only comes once in a while to see the children. But I never let her give them gifts especially as we are still married and taking her gifts could affect them. Those kids are my life and only reason for joy. I love them so much and if anything bad happens to them, I wouldn’t forgive myself”.
Money. I thought. The length some women will go for money. But her husband was well off. He had two nice cars, and she drove both. Housing, feeding, clothing, the three basic needs, were always met without struggle. And she still had enough to spend on whatever she wanted. So why cheat again and ruin your home?
“But how come both of you two are still married” I asked.
“We did only traditional marriage.” he replied. “So we signed no paper.
I have asked her family to return the brideprice so I can be free of her. But they refused. They know that once that is done, she will have only 5% right to the kids. So they refused to return it.”
Yes, there are countless stories out there about cheating or abusive husbands. These set of men don’t have my respect or support. But what about women, hiding behind the mask of feminism or the idea that women are weak? I notice that it is easy to believe a woman who cries fowl, than a man who has actually been hurt. Why? Because they say women are the weaker sex.
See this real life example:
I once read a post about a man who borrowed 200k from his girlfriend. Only to go home and use the money to marry another woman. Still someone close to me gave his girlfriend about the same amount, only a little less, and she used it to finalize plans for her marriage to another man. Different sex, same evil.
Marriage is a school. You have to learn and keep learning to make it work, as long as you have a spouse who is also ready to make it work. Money is an added advantage, NOT the main deal. My dear sisters, brothers too, if you decide to get married, plan towards keeping a home, not just a house. Truth is, there are good men and good women out there. But bad experiences turn the good to bad. If the man refered to in this post refuses to trust or love again, it is because someone hurt him bad enough.