Written by Bunmi Sofola - Nigeria
MUSTAPHA and Adun had been married for over fifteen years and had four children when Adun said she began to notice personality changes in her husband. Mustapha, a seasoned banker got a plum general manager's job in a relatively new merchant bank some few years ago and since then, money problems became a thing of the past. “The rent on the house we live in was paid for by the bank so were things like domestic helps and the furniture. Life became more bearable and interesting for a while. Then things changed," recalled Adun.
“Mustapha started to come home late and when I asked him about it, he claimed to have been working late in the office. This was understandable because of his new responsibilities at work. On some occasion, I got a phone call from the principal of the school our two oldest children attended, asking me to come and collect the kids as their dad hadn’t come for them. This really upset me as Mustapha never used to joke about the welfare of his children. He always looked guilty about the children and that gave me the strange impression that his mind was no longer in his family’s affairs. All these went on for a while until the cat was let out of bag, albeit in-advertently, by a staff of my husband’s. He was at another friend’s house and was talking about a graduate receptionist they had who had the GM under her thumb. He then mentioned my husband’s name. I went really cold and my friend looked embarrassed. The guest had no clue who I was. It was then I had to admit to having this strange impression that lately, he was there in body and not in spirit whenever he was with us at home.
At that juncture, it would have seemed obvious to most wives that a husband behaving like that must be having an affairs. Maybe I suspected but was scared to face a confirmation. “I was now pushed to the wall. I knew I had to confront my husband about his new mistress. If he denied, I resolved, I was really going to tear into him. But he didn’t even bother to deny anything. He was in love with the receptionist. Angela her name was and might even marry her, he said. I stared at my husband in disbelief, unable to take in the implication of what he had just said. “The next six months were a nightmare. Now that I knew, Mustapha thought he should be open about his affair. He spent nights with her and they went to functions together. I was at a family friend’s party when he arrived, a bit later than me. I was about to go to him when I saw to my horror that Angela was in the car with him! Seeing them together made me want to attack her physically and I refused to stay at the same party with him and Angela. He left with her.
“A few weeks after this incident. I had a heart-to-heart talk with my husband. I spoke as if my life depended on it. I told him I was not going to let him go. that he was my husband and father of my children and that my marriage meant more to me than my pain over his affairs. Surely, he could give Angela up to save our marriage. He promised to think about all 1 said and simply carried on seeing her. Out of desperation I did what no self-respecting wife should do. I went to see Angela at the office when I knew Mustapha was out of town. She looked a hit flustered to see me but when we finally settled down to our little “talk” she told me flippantly that I should be talking to my husband, not to her as she didn’t make a play for him. He did the running.
Angela must have told Mustapha about my visit because a few days later, he brought her to our matrimonial home. It was a Sunday and the kids were out with their friends, as soon as they came in. Mustapha wore a serious look and told me Angela had something to say. I was mad with anger. I could have struck her across the face and beaten her to the ground for trying to take my husband and still have the cheek to stand there and try to talk to me, but some instinct warned I should hear her out.
“She said she’s talked with Mustapha and come to a decision. She was going back to her boyfriend who would soon be home from abroad.
I was greatly relieved. I was also angry and resentful but like I reasoned, maybe it was going to be all right after all, my children were not going to lose their father and I had won my husband back. How naive can you get? Our sex life, I soon found out, was not what it used to be and it had got to a stage where I didn’t care if Mustapha made Angela a second wife. I knew he was still seeing her despite her hollow promise and I gave up caring. I threw myself into my work and widened my own circle of friends. I spent more on clothes than on buying things for the house, then 1 discovered that I was flattered when men admired the new me. I started having social outings too and was actually enjoying them.
Mustapha was a bit relieved at first that I was no longer hounding him to return to his family. Then he had the nerves to tell me to stay home more ‘because of the children.' I simply ignore him. Who was he to give advice? “I heard Angela’s man was in town but her affair with my husband still continued. I marvelled at how an affair can turn a husband you thought you knew into a stranger. What happened to his sense of responsibility to his family? I had done everything I could to repair my marriage. Even the children sensed the tension and were bewildered. Then fate stepped into the whole mess. Unknown to Mustapha, Angela had been processing her travelling papers with her visiting fiancee. They both had a secret wedding in their home town so that Angela could get a visa as a wife. She left without letting my husband know.
“I just found out that, all of a sudden, he started staying home more. I made discreet enquiries from my “mole” in his office and learnt the truth. I was very jubilant Mustapha was really hurting. He no longer took that much notice of what he wore, he ate less and was helpful around the house. In a pathetic way, I almost felt sorry for him. But this was a man who’d caused me so much anguish in the past. Let him stew in his own juice. He was only sorry because he was unceremoniously dumped. Our marriage has definitely gone through a lot of strain. Obviously, things will never be the conscious thought that this sort of fiasco could happen again. So, I am careful - and less rigid about enjoying myself whenever the opportunity arises.