As told to Mariam
In my first month at Zikoko, I put a call out for Nigerian women to tell me about their proposals. Cynthia* was one of the women that reached out to me. I thought it was interesting that she was a bisexual married woman, and I wanted to know how that worked so I asked a few more questions. Here’s what she told me:
I was ten when I first kissed a girl. She was a light-skinned girl like me and we lived in the same compound. She already had boobs, and it was fun to touch. When I was 13, I kissed a boy too, and I liked it. I didn’t put a name on my sexuality until I was 16.
I was doing my diploma in primary health care at the time. I met a lot of people and they taught me different things. There, I learned that I am bisexual. I learned about sex. I dated boys and girls throughout my university. Although I had to hide my relationships with women so no one reported us to the school authorities, I loved that I was able to express myself.
In 2015, I went to a friend’s wedding and I met Osi*. He was the groom’s best man. He was older than every other man I had dated and I found that sexy. He was easy to talk to, and he didn’t judge me. When I told him about my sexuality, he joked about the possibility of a threesome. We never got to it because we lived in different states.
After dating for about two years, he came with his dad to tell my dad that he was interested in getting married to me. I was 25. I told him he didn’t need to propose — he could just give me the darn ring and get it over with. He wanted it to be special.
In June 2016, we went for a weekend getaway. It was a lovely experience away from the Lagos noise. On the night before we returned, we were arguing when he tossed the ring box at me. I cried so much I didn’t hear the actual proposal. He was on one knee and all of that. I was just giddy. After I said yes, he asked if we could watch a movie. The television came on and it was videos of my family, friends and my colleagues saying congratulations to us. I emptied out my tear ducts that night.
We got married in mid-2017. A few months into the marriage, I realised that my husband and I communicate differently. He could say A, I would say B and neither of us would comprehend what the other meant before making decisions. There was always an expectation that I would change my choices or plans to accommodate his own. We spent a lot of our time trying to prove we were right. By the time, I realised how far we’ve gone into our fights and tried to makeup, he would stop talking to me.
He would ignore my questions and refuse to engage me on little things like how his day went. Eventually, I gave him space. The most frustrating thing for me was the lack of intimacy. He held back from sex and wouldn’t even touch me as punishment for whatever it is I did he wasn’t happy with. I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant but even that didn’t change his behaviour towards me. He continued treating me like I wasn’t living in the same house with him, carrying his child.
The pregnancy was a sensitive one so I spent most of the nine months either at my parents’ house or at the hospital. This only made us grow more distant. Things became worse after I gave birth to our daughter. We fought over everything. In a day, we would argue about three times and lose whatever progress we’d made.
One time his mum came over. After spending a few days with us, she reported to him that I wasn’t sending her on errands. Osi was angry with me for not asking his mother for help, after all that’s why she was around. It didn’t make any sense to me to send a 70+ woman to boil my bathing water or make my food when I wasn’t paying her to work. He didn’t understand that I was respectful of her. We fought about it for months.
I opened up to a friend and he encouraged me to open an anon account to express myself. So I created an Instagram account. I met another married woman with an anon account. We became friends — she encouraged me to open a Twitter account and I did. That’s how I met Isi*. I was immediately attracted to her. We would exchange messages for hours. Talking to her helped me see how bad my communication problem was. We met in person like a month after but we never had sex because the opportunity never came. What we had was more of an emotional connection than a sexual connection.
My husband became suspicious. Whenever I leave the room to talk to her, he would ask who I went to talk to. He always wanted to know who I was talking to and how I was talking to them. I would tell him I am talking to my friend and she wanted to talk privately. I could tell he knew there was more I wasn’t saying so I ended things with her. I went back to trying to make things work with him.
He was still distant, and I was tired of feeling alone in my marriage so I reported him to his sister. She and her husband decided to talk to him. I don’t know what they told him but he started to warm up to me again.
Before we got married, he was open to trying out new things with me. We were always playing with sex toys or trying to tick something off our sex bucket list but he changed after we got married. Sex became pretty much basic so I went back to my anon accounts.
This time, I resolved to keep it online. No physical contact — just sexts and nudes. Our daughter is going to be two in a few weeks, and I wonder if things between me and her father are ever going to change or if I made a big mistake marrying him. There is a lot of work to be done to make this marriage work but I don’t know how long I’m willing to commit to it.
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