Everyone was against our relationship right from the beginning. My mom said, “You’re only twenty-eight and have your whole life ahead of you. Why don’t you marry a woman you can begin from scratch with? This one has a child with someone else.
For the rest of your life, you’re going to take care of another man’s baby. Doesn’t that worry you?” My dad was straightforward; “If she’s a good girl, there are tons of good girls around who don’t have children. Look for one and marry her.”
Because of their position, we couldn’t marry at the time we ought to marry. I didn’t want Asantewaa to know what my parents thought about her. If she knew, it would have crushed her spirit and made her feel unwelcome. Whenever she asked why I was delaying, I told her, “It’s money issues. Things have to align so kindly be patient with me.” After two years of trying, my parents eventually changed their minds. They said, “We can’t stand in the way of your happiness and it doesn’t mean we hate your girlfriend too. Go ahead and marry her if you think she’s the one. We give you our blessings.”
It was the happiest day in my life when they finally accepted my decision to marry her. Six months later, I went to do ‘knocking.’ Three months after the knocking, we did our wedding. At the reception, a man walked up to me, shook my hands, and said, “Congratulations. You’re the man.” His face looked familiar but I couldn’t think of where I knew him from. When he was shaking my hand, my wife clutched my shoulder, and just before he left, she said, “I thought you wouldn’t come.” He answered, “Why would you think I won’t come?”
That was when the whole thing clicked. He was my wife’s ex. The guy she gave birth with. Honestly, I felt very disappointed, especially for the fact that she invited him herself. I wanted to ask her questions but the moment wasn’t right. I was angry and it showed in my demeanor. When we sat in the car going to the hotel, I asked her, “Why did you invite him?” She responded, “Nothing. I thought it was a good idea to invite him. After all, we are not enemies?” My anger shot up. “You thought? Why didn’t you think about it with me? Why didn’t you ask for my opinion?” She said, “I should ask for your opinion on a small issue like this?” My voice was going up. Those in the car were getting uneasy.
By the time we got to the hotel, we were both not talking. The first night of our honeymoon happened to be the first time we fought as a couple. We slept without talking to each other. The next morning, she made matters worse by calling me petty and jealous; “My ex came to our wedding and your petty mind won’t give it a rest. Did you see me talking to him or being all over him? How could you be this jealous?” I said angrily, “Your ex is an evidence that I’m marrying someone’s secondhand woman and I don’t need that evidence right on my face at my wedding. That’s the reason for my anger?”
“So I’m a secondhand good to you? Is that how you see me? Then why did you marry me?”
She picked her bag and left the hotel. We booked the hotel for four days and I wasn’t going to watch the four days go waste, so I stayed thinking she might come back at some point. She never did and she never answered my calls. After four days, I went back home to meet her there. She had been crying. She had been thinking. She looked horrible. I apologized to her. I said, “Yes I went too far but you would agree with me that you also went too far. Let’s forgive each other and put things behind us.”
Life was normal. Two years later, we were still struggling to have a child. I was worried but she wasn’t worried. If anything, she had a child—a proof that she’s capable of giving birth so if there was a problem, then the problem might come from me. Three years later, still no child. Conspiracy theories started whirling around. Some said it was because of her daughter; “As far as she lives with you both, you won’t have one of your own. She wants to be the only one.” I didn’t believe those theories. I believed in seeking medical help. We did. We visited hospitals and they all said there was nothing wrong with us. “Increase the action. Do it every day and everywhere and see if she wouldn’t conceive.”
One night, I saw her on her phone chatting and laughing to herself. I’d seen her doing that very often but I didn’t pay attention nor ask questions. A wife is allowed to laugh in any way that she could. Until one late night, I woke up from sleep and saw her on her phone. I checked the time and it was around 11:35pm. My thoughts jammed with questions. I waited till she fell asleep and picked her phone. I went through her chat and the current chat was between her and the father of her daughter. I took my time. I went to the beginning of the chat and started reading.
on her daughter’s eighth birthday, she sent the photos we took of her to her ex and said, “See how well your daughter is growing. She’s beginning to look exactly like you.” The guy said, “Our future lawyer.” She had sent her daughter’s school term report to him telling him, “It looks like she picked your brains. She’s very smart.” He said, “If you married me, we would have given birth to brainy kids.” Meanwhile, for all the three years that I’d been paying the kid’s school fees and helping her to do her homework, I haven’t been shown her term report. You may say I didn’t ask but her ex also didn’t ask yet she sent it to him.
I kept reading the messages.
He asked her at some point, “Won’t you two hurry up and give my daughter a sibling? She’s tired of being lonely.” She responded, “It’s up to him. Whenever he’s ready, I’ll be here for him.” The guy asked, “Or he’s not able to eat the thing well. If he needs help, tell him I’m available.” They both exchanged laughing emojis. They laughed while I was dying going through their happy chats. Most of their chats had been deleted, it was obvious but the little that I saw was enough to cause me aches at places I didn’t know exist.
At some point she woke up and saw her phone in my hands. He asked, “Why are you having my phone?” I said, “Why are you discussing me with your ex?” She asked, “You went through my messages? Why would you do that?” I asked, “You discussed our inability to give birth with your ex, why would you do that?” It turned to a fight. She jumped on me trying to snatch her phone. Of course, I was stronger. When she wasn’t able to collect the phone, she said, “Chew it and don’t bother asking me any questions because I won’t answer. I didn’t ask you to go through my phone so whatever you found is your own problem.”
True to her word, she didn’t give answers. I threatened her with a divorce and she still didn’t say a word. Some weeks later, I told her, “If you want us to continue living here as a husband and a wife, then you have to send your daughter away. You can give her to her dad or you can send her to your mother, I don’t care but I don’t want to see her here.” The next weekend, she packed all her things and left. She said, “I go where my daughter goes. If you can’t live with her then you can’t live with me.”
As I write this, my wife is living with her parents. I’m not changing my stand because it’s the daughter that makes her continue talking to the ex. If she doesn’t leave, our marriage won’t survive another year. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing but deep down my soul, I feel it’s the right thing to do.