HER-STORY: “I WAS THE CEE-CEE IN MY MARRIAGE”
Yesterday, as the world mocked the #bbnaija housemate who we’ve all come to dislike for her attitude which has even been termed as ’emotionally abusive’. It triggered a number of feelings on my part and in my case, it was the other way round, I was the Cee-Cee in my relationship.
Years back, I was very obstinate. I want to say something tragic had happened in my past that made me the way I was, but the only excuse that comes to mind is that I wasn’t prepared to be married. This is why I say this.
Initially, when I met my husband, he was this tall bloke who everyone wanted to be with, yet, he had chosen me. Not only had he chosen me, he wanted to marry ME. That in itself, I felt was an achievement. It also helped that I believed he had money, lots of it. He drove an expensive Merc and his house was very comfortable: you know, one of those serviced appartments with constant electricty that comes complete with an apartment gym. It was going to be an upgrade from my main-land life. Right? Wrong.
We had an elaborate wedding that was even featured on Bella Naija: again, everyone was envious. I was living my dream. Never once did I stop to weigh if he didn’t have these things and if he wasn’t everyone else’s idea of who I should be marrying, would I still marry him? Never once did I pause until after the wedding day was over. My family was just glad that their snappy daughter had found someone who was willing to love her flaws and all, not realising that we had never even had an altercation before, at least, nothing serious. We had never spent an elongated amount of time together, I still stayed with my parents and would only go out with him on dates; to him I was the perfect cultured girl.
The first day we had a big fight, it was as a result of bottled feelings about the fact that I had suddenly realised that the Mercedes he drove had been bought for him by his father. His rent was being half-paid by his dad and after marriage, his dad had decided his son was a man and could now take care of his own bills. On the flip side, he had a good job but I wasn’t working and we had a baby on the way; I had a life I envisioned for my child and it suddenly dawned on me that this man would not be able to cater to our child at least, not in the way I had hoped. I became bitter and would yell at him for being a useless excuse of a man. As far as I was concerned, he was nothing.
I had married a ‘nothing’.
He had a good job but was it paying him a million a month to cover the kind of expenses we had due to the house we lived in, the car he drove etc.; keeping up was going to be pretty impossible and very soon, the world would know our secret. I stopped sleeping in our bedroom, I would curse him-not cuss, curse. I’d curse the day I met him, I’d curse the day he got me knocked up. I just plainly hated him.
He stopped looking attractive to me and i was convinced my father’s house was way better than the sorry excuse I married. I officially had to find a business to run to keep my mind occupied or I was sure I would lose it. I began selling accessories to my fancy friends and soon enough, their fancy friends. I started making some money. Nothing too huge but even by his standards, it was substantial. He asked if I would be contributing to the household expenses such as groceries and maybe the cleaning lady’s stipend: I flipped. This man had no clue who he had married. In my father’s house, did my mother pay for anything?
Useless sorry excuse of a man. He should be ashamed of himself for even opening his mouth to speak to me. If I had known, was I the caliber of girl he would have come to talk to? It’s my fault, I married a failure.
Eventually, I gave birth to my baby girl here in Nigeria. I had to pretend I had gone off to the states to give birth so I was MIA for roughly 5 months and ensured the photos I put up on social media looked fancy enough to assume I was abroad. After about 3 months, my husband served me papers for a divorce. He was in tears as he handed it to me with his sister in the room. I laughed at him. I told him he didn’t even have the guts to get a divorce even if he wanted to. A man crying, what kind of sissie did I marry?
I was so embarassed for him. His sister at this point shut me up. She pulled me aside and broke down all the curses I had been raining on my husband. She made me understand that I was toxic to my own home and the words that came out of my mouth were very powerful so I needed to watch it. She described her own marriage which we all knew and dreaded as her husband had been using her as his favourite punching bag: she was a different colour every other week. She explained how blessed I was. She had all the money in the world but no will to spend it because she was so mentally drained. She would pass away 6 months after this conversation due to internal bleeding and that’s when I started to reflect on my life.
I sought therapy. At this point, my husband was sneaking in at midnight and leaving before I was even up. He dreaded even looking at me or talking to me. He tip-toed around me and I shared this with my therapist. He called us in for a meeting and my husband wailed like a new born. He wailed so much I thought he was going to die. Point by point, he explained how he had been hurting and was past redemption. He just wanted out.
We’re officially divorced as it was too late to remedy the damage I had caused but I’m still praying we make it back for the sake of our daughter and because I now know that love and commitment are choices you make every day within a marriage. The bottom line is, there are so many of us who can see in ourselves some of the things we all crucified Cynthia for yesterday. I needed to write this to urge us to examine ourselves and how we deal with people in relationships and even in friendships. I’ve learnt to watch how I speak and never allow myself to bottle up my feelings. If I feel a certain way, I speak about it immediately. I am currently in my 30s and my daughter is a little older. She has to deal with visitations to her father’s house because of my tongue, she may never know what a complete family fostered in love resembles all because I couldn’t handle my emotions well.
I also want to urge us all to guard our mental state. If you need to talk to someone, please do. They don’t have to be your pastors as we’ve managed to over-spiritualise everything. Don’t get me wrong, prayer is key but don’t play down talking to a professional who went to school for several years to understand people’s thought processes and enable them to better cope with their emotions. It is so important to get help when you need it and also know that it would take work and lots of reflection on your part.
Let’s stop throwing stones at the next party and let’s all truly examine ourselves; we might just find that the very wrong we see in them only bothers us so much because we see it in ourselves too.