Tokunbo’s* first marriage began to crash barely a year after the wedding due to infidelity and constant arguments. He married his current wife while processing his divorce in 2017 and thought he’d finally found a shot at happiness. 

Seven years later, he’s struggling with regret and hopes to reunite with his first wife.

As told to Boluwatife

Image source: Freepik

I married my first wife, Yetunde* when I was 27 years old, but I’d loved her since I was 10. 

We were childhood friends. Actually, she was my childhood bully. We lived in the same estate and we met when my dad bought me a bicycle as a reward for getting the first position in JSS 1. I rode the bike to the farthest part of my street that day, and as expected with children, other boys came up to me and asked me to let them ride for a bit. 

I allowed a few boys, and Yetunde came to ask for a turn, too. I refused — not because she was a girl, though. I had a very small stature growing up, and Yetunde, who is two years older than me, was taller and generally bigger than me. I was scared she wouldn’t return my bicycle. She thought I was just being mean and forcefully dragged the bicycle from me. She did return it later, but we became sworn enemies after that day.

Like I said, we lived in the same estate, so we always ran into each other. Whenever Yetunde saw me, she either mocked me by calling me “Stingy koko” or knocked down whatever was in my hands. I’m not even sure how we later became friends. I just know I reported her to my elder sister, and she made her stop bothering me. We became inseparable, and I thought she was the prettiest girl ever.

We started dating in SS 3 and tried continuing in university, but we schooled in different states, and our love didn’t survive the distance. We only communicated occasionally via Facebook and only saw each other thrice over the next nine years. We always had a one-night stand kind of “reunion” each time we saw. One of these reunions led to Yetunde getting pregnant in 2014.

The pregnancy came with serious issues for both our families. Yetunde’s family insisted we had to marry because it was taboo in their village to give birth outside wedlock. My own family said she was older and physically bigger than me, and that meant she’d control me in the house. In the end, Yetunde and I felt we still had feelings for each other, so we married.

It’s safe to say both of us didn’t know what to expect in marriage. We didn’t even really know each other. We’d loved each other as kids and were attracted to each other sexually, but that was about it. Living together opened our eyes to the fact that it took more than childhood love and sex to keep a home.

We fought over the smallest things. I remember how we kept malice with each other for three days because I farted in the sitting room, and it led to a huge fight. Parenting strained our relationship even more. I spent long hours at work, and Yetunde expected me to take over the baby’s needs once I returned because she’d done it all day. But I didn’t think it made sense for me to come home tired at night to start babysitting. 

Yetunde resented me for that, and we fought endlessly. We also stopped having sex after our child was born. She just stopped letting me touch her. This was barely a year after marriage.

So, I started cheating. I know I should’ve put in more effort to solve our issues, but I took the easy way out. It was just casual sex, honestly. There was this babe at work who I knew liked me. We got closer when Yetunde and I stopped being intimate, and things just got out of control. 

Yetunde found out six months later after going through our chats. She threatened to leave, and I begged for weeks. She only agreed to forgive me if I tested for STDs. I did the test and came back clean, but she said we’d still have to abstain from sex for three months so she could confirm I didn’t have HIV.

I was annoyed at that. It was like she thought I was a child who didn’t know how to protect himself. I still did the test again after three months, but I decided I wouldn’t approach her for sex again. If she really forgave me, she should also make the first move. She didn’t make any move. 

I couldn’t cope, so I went back to having affairs. I think Yetunde knew, but she never confronted me again. We grew apart even more, and our conversations reduced to ordinary greetings or if she needed to ask me for something our child needed. I still sent her monthly allowances to care for the home as she wasn’t working. I wasn’t completely irresponsible.

In 2017, I met the woman I’m currently married to — Comfort*. I initially intended to keep her as a girlfriend, but I fell in love with her and stopped seeing other women. Comfort didn’t know I was married.

By now, I was tired of my marriage with Yetunde. I came up with every excuse possible to convince myself we weren’t meant to be together. I thought, if she hadn’t fallen pregnant, I wouldn’t even have had to marry her. Did I have to resign myself to a sexless, loveless marriage just because of one mistake?

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I decided to put myself first, so I told Yetunde I wanted a divorce. Surprisingly, she didn’t argue. She just said she wouldn’t move out of the apartment, and I had to keep paying the rent. She also said she’d never give up custody of our child, which was more than fine with me.

So, that same year, I married Comfort. I had to convince her we didn’t need a court wedding because I was still in the middle of divorce proceedings (which she didn’t know), and I heard I could face jail if I tried to remarry legally while still married. We even did the traditional marriage quietly because I didn’t want Yetunde to know and probably tell the court. My family knew about my issues with Yetunde, so it wasn’t difficult telling them of my choice to remarry and keep the whole thing quiet. 

I only told Comfort after the court finalised the divorce in 2019. She was angry, but my family joined me to apologise to her, and all went well. I also tried to introduce her to my child, but Yetunde relocated out of the country with her. 

I’m still shocked that she didn’t tell me beforehand. If I hadn’t texted her to inform her of my marriage and ask to see my child, she probably wouldn’t have told me they’d left. I mean, I still paid the child’s school fees for the previous term, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t doing my part. I wanted to drag the issue out, but I just told myself it was for my child’s benefit. 

In my head, I was finally getting a new shot at happiness. I’d tried marriage, and it didn’t work out, but I had a second chance. I was also on civil terms with my ex and didn’t need to hide anything from Comfort again. I could now be happy without feeling guilty or thinking of another woman outside.

And I was happy. Comfort even encouraged me to attend church more, and I gave my life to Christ in 2021. Since then, I’ve been serious with God and feel like a new person. But I’m now navigating a new kind of guilt: regret over divorcing Yetunde.

I listened to a sermon in 2022 about how God hates divorce, and since then, I’ve been struggling with feeling like I made a grave mistake. The Bible says, “Whoever divorces his wife and remarries has committed adultery — except the wife was unfaithful”. Yetunde wasn’t unfaithful. She didn’t even do anything to me.

No matter how I try to reason it in my head, I feel like I’m constantly living in sin by staying married to Comfort. It’s even affecting my walk with God. I feel like I call myself a Christian, but I’ll still go to hell because of this one mistake. I’ve never discussed this with Comfort.

Some church elders I’ve spoken to about my concerns have suggested reconciling with Yetunde and probably letting Comfort go since we don’t have children together yet. But first, I don’t even know if Yetunde wants to come back. I know she isn’t married, but she might not want to have anything to do with me again. Second, what do I tell Comfort and our families?

I wish I’d made better decisions and generally been a better person, but I can’t turn back the hands of time. I just know I need to make a final decision soon because I can’t continue living like this. Comfort already thinks I’m cheating because I’m constantly acting distant. Maybe I’ll gather the courage to beg Yetunde and hope she forgives me and returns. Or maybe I should just let Comfort go and live alone for the rest of my life. I don’t know.

*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

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