As told to Eris Ekanem
I had a conversation with a 24-year-old who suspects that her husband cheated on her with his cousin while they were still dating. She talks about the age difference between them, the disrespect she had to endure while dating him and the choice she had to make.
There are so many decisions I have made that I regret. My only excuse is that I was young and very naive. Looking back, I can see how easy it was for people to take me for granted. First off, I was a 17-year-old dating a 32-year-old man. Secondly, I got pregnant and married him 4 years after. Within those four years, so many things happened that threatened our relationship and I wish I saw them for what they were: red flags.
When my husband and I were dating, it was a rollercoaster ride. The contrast in personality and age was vast, but the idea of dating someone older held a thrill for me.
My life was pretty simple. I lived with my parents, and he lived with a family friend because he needed to be close to school and work. For someone who was a big deal in the area, people didn’t get why he would date me. In a lot of ways, I felt lucky that he was dating me. His ex-girlfriend was such a babe that waves of insecurity hit me every time she came up in a conversation.
I thought my husband was only with me because I was a virgin, and he wanted to fuck and go. In fact, that was his initial plan, but after a while, he decided to take things more seriously. I made up my mind to have sex with him because I felt I was going to do it anyways and it was best to do it with someone I won’t regret being with.
The real problem started when the younger sister of the family friend he was living with got very close to him. I figured she didn’t like me at all because when I started dating my husband, I would greet her and she wouldn’t respond. The way she’d look down on me, I could tell she couldn’t imagine what he saw in a small girl like me when she was there, a working-class lady with her own car.
After the second year of dating my husband, she realised that we were getting pretty serious, so she started speaking to me. However, it didn’t stop her from laughing at me with her friends when they came around.
I was hurt, but I just ignored the whole thing out of love for my husband. But, there were so many times that this same man that I was enduring insults for would leave me on the bed in his flat and go to her flat.
I would wake up in the middle of the night and I won’t see him on the bed.
Sometimes, I’d worry so much I’d start pacing. The first time it happened, he said he went out for fresh air because the room was hot and had lots of mosquitoes. This was a blatant lie because he didn’t want me to follow him to get that fresh air he was receiving
And I couldn’t go to the other flat cause nobody knew I was staying in his flat for the night. He had to sneak me in at night and sneak me out early in the morning after everyone goes to work.
When it became too much, I confronted him about it. He swore that they were cousins and he had never done anything with her. While he was talking, I kept thinking, “Why are you cheating and lying about it? The lies are so disrespectful because you don’t even rate me enough to put in the effort.” I felt extremely hurt.
I knew for a fact that he was cheating because there was a time he was talking to his friend and he mistakenly let out that he has seen the other girl naked. He didn’t know I was in the room. He just went on and on about how the girl likes to touch herself and fuck her pillow cause she doesn’t have a man.
I would cry and ask my friends for advice. Some told me to leave the relationship. They believed we won’t end up together because I was so much younger than him and had nothing to offer. I was also scared to leave him because I had already gotten an abortion for him and he was all I knew.
In our 4th year together, I left him to date someone else. I really liked the new guy. He was everything I could ask for in a man. The new guy was kinder and just perfect but I found out I was pregnant for my ex, I couldn’t abort this one again. The guilt from the first abortion almost killed me. Honestly, I just didn’t have it in me to do it the second time.
I really didn’t want to go back to the relationship. After being taken for granted, I was tired of him sleeping with other girls and reassuring me of my place in his life. He was so freaking arrogant. He planted the impression that if I tried another relationship, they will fuck and dump me. I held on to him for so long because I didn’t feel desirable.
My current boyfriend thought the pregnancy was for him and wanted me to keep it but I had to tell him the truth. I didn’t want him to care for the child and one day find out the truth so I left him.
My ex took responsibility for the pregnant and we got married. His “cousin” was at the wedding giving me the stink eye. Her mother and herself were just acting strangely throughout. I knew it was because they didn’t expect my husband to marry me. But I don’t care. I have learnt to just put myself together and live without regrets.
Anyway, he is nicer now. Much better than when we were dating but I sometimes wish things turned out differently.
For more stories like this, read Sex Life: Why I’m Now Celibate After Several Terrible Experiences.