The Confessions of a “Married bachelor”

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How can that be? A married bachelor? How can a man who is known to be married still retain the title of a bachelor? Yes, it’s very possible. In fact, there are many of such men out there; waiting to make their own confession. Come with me and read one man’s confession.

“Here!” With tears streaming down her face, Temitope, my wife of five years, stormed into my office at work and tossed a list on my desk. “I need you to stop at the supermarket on your way home. I have to pick up the kid from their place of after-school lesson.”

“What’s wrong?” I approached her, but she waved me away.

“You never talk to me, and you expect me to tell you what’s wrong? Forget it!”

“Temitope, please. Sit down and tell me why you’re so upset.”

“Not here! Later.” She left before I could argue further.

I didn’t try to stop her. Temitope knew. Somehow she’d discovered the secret I’d concealed for months. That I’d fallen in love with 2 other women.

Temitope and I had been undergraduate sweethearts in a University in Lagos. I couldn’t wait to marry her. But our marriage soon became a war-zone. Close ties to her family, who lived nearly, constantly interfered with our marriage. Temitope didn’t see the need to separate herself from her parent’s umbilical cord, and put me first. She ran to them when we had a disagreement. If we plan  a trip, she always saw the need to invite her family member along.

Over time, I began to feel like a boy waiting on the reserve bench; waiting to join a big men’s football team; raising my hand and shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!” Jealousy grew, poisoning our marriage, and everything we shared.

In a heated argument one night, I demanded, “If I asked you to choose between me and your parent, whom would you choose?” Without any hesitation, Temitope answered my question: “my parents, of course”

Four years into our marriage, Temitope and I had drifted apart. I’d grown weary of being rejected, emotionally and sexually. She derived joy from others, rather than me; the man she married.

Her excuses for refusing my sexual advances ranged from fatigue to lack of interest. One night in bed, I massaged her back and legs, knowing it to be a turn-on for her. She murmured. “Not tonight, Kola. Maybe, tomorrow.” She rolled over and slept off; leaving me dejected and hurt.

Before long, we were having it only once every couple of months. I envied my married co-workers who described frequent and healthy sexual relationships. As my resentment grew, I began to wonder what I’d ever loved about Temitope.

A change of scene

Needing a change, I enrolled in a part-time Law programme in our alma-mata. There, I met Ifeoma in my first year. We attended classes together. I learned her father worked for the same company I did. Ifeoma and I both  had kids the same age. She was stuck in an unsatisfying relationship with a married man, twice older than her; I was disillusioned in my marriage. We connected instantly, sharing long conversations during lunch, in-between classes, and sometimes even during class.

Second year, Ifeoma and I didn’t have any classes together. Deprived of the opportunity of seeing and talking with each other, we started to chat over the internet. I a created a new e-mail account strictly for our coded correspondence.

Our instant sms scheme began as a way to communicate during class, similar to the way I’d passed notes as a kid in secondary school back in Ekiti state. But the sessions grew more frequent, and soon I was singing for Ify while at work and late at night while doing nothing. Our physical separation provided a false sense of security when our conversations and e-mail turned gradually more flirtatious or sensual.

Ifeoma stood out from the other women I knew. She was free-spirited, intelligent, funny, and kind. But most important, she was attentive and non-judgmental or demanding. As our friendship grew, so did my romantic feelings.

Inside, though, I was in a world of quiet desperation. I knew I was breaking my marriage vows, but I felt Temitope’s rejection justified my feelings for Ifeoma. I often cried out to God through my heart. I knew he’d forgive me if I repented. But at the same time, I blamed God for allowing my marriage to crack. And frankly, I wasn’t ready to repent. I really needed Ifeoma.

The big divide

Sensing the divide between us, Temitope sought ways to spend more time together, clearing her calendar of events, she planned weeks in advance. She made certain we ate dinner together and cooked my favorite Ifokore (Ijebu food). I stubbornly resisted her efforts.

“How was your day?” she’d ask, when I came home from work.

“Fine!” I’d reply, and then ignore her. Although I knew I should work on my marriage, I was still angry about Temitope’s loyalty to her parents and her constant rejection of my sexual advances. I wanted to hurt her as badly as she’d hurt me. Oooh yes!

Months earlier, I’d planned a romantic, weeding-anniversary trip to Obudu ranch with Temitope. As my relationship with Ifeoma intensified, so did my desire to cancel the trip. One week before we were to leave, Temitope and I had a heated argument. “We may as well cancel our trip to Obudu ranch” I said. “I don’t want to waste the time or money when all we do is fight.”

Shocked, Temitope began to sob… “Jeee! Why is this happening to me?” she said repeatedly.I cancelled our reservations the next day; while fantasizing about Ifeoma.

Four weeks passed. One day at work, an instant message from Ifeoma popped onto my screen. “I need to tell you something, but I don’t know how.”

Replying back, I urged, “You can share anything with me.”

“It’s really personal and I don’t want to look foolish.”

“Okay,” I said, “If it makes you feel better, send me an e-mail.”

Sure, she was going to confide her feelings toward me, I logged onto my e-mail box. I read her message, enjoying every word.

“The last several weeks have been great,” she wrote. “I know you’re married, which makes this a lot harder.” My heart pounded in my chest as I read on. “I’ve realized I have deep feelings for you. I often imagine what it would be like to kiss you and feel you.”

Elated, I replied back, “Me too,” “I can’t wait.”

For the first time in months, I felt needed and wanted. I looked forward with anticipation to “kissing” Ifeoma. A few days later, in a “remote spot”, we shared our first “kiss”. My heart said I’d found paradise; my head screamed, what are you doing? Although we never progressed past one “kiss” at a time; each time we kissed, the urge to continue grew.

As I continued to withdraw from Temitope, she became suspicious and angry. “You touch your computer notebook more than you touch me,” she complained.

“Welcome to my world,” I mumbled, remembering her sexual rejections.

“Kola, I’ve tried. Won’t you ever forgive me?” “Do you want the truth?” I asked.

“You’ve pushed me away for years. It’s too late to fix things.”

I thought about Ifeoma; how she treated me with respect and gave me the attention I craved. She soothed my wounded ego with compliments and love notes; filling a void in my heart. I began to believe she was my soul mate. I was in love again.

Late one night, I was sending sms to Ifeoma, when Temitope sat up in bed; acting like a woman who is in heat, said “Kola what are you doing?”

“I don’t know” I replied.

At exactly 10:47pm a message from Ifeoma popped up on my yahoo messenger platform, and I quickly left the bedroom with my computer notebook.

“What was that?” Temitope asked.

Adrenaline rushed through my body but I remained speechless.

I knew my sneaking around was wrong. I buried myself in work and school; no longer interested in going home early like I used to. Fearing my relationship with Ifeoma would soon be discovered, I limited my contact with family and church friends. I knew I should end things between us, but I wasn’t strong enough.

Six weeks had passed since Ifeoma and I admitted our feelings each other. One night after skipping class to be with her, I returned home to receive a call from Mr. Ojo Bello, a close family friend. He asked if I’d meet with him that evening.

“I’ve seen changes in you,” Bello told me when we got together. “Your priorities have shifted. You’re investing far more time in school and your friends there than in your wife and son.” He proceeded to share how, as a young husband and father of three; he’d abandoned his wife because of a beautiful primary school teacher. “Kola, I can see my past living out in you.”

For some reasons, I confessed my relationship with Ifeoma and that I was ready to leave Temitope and our son for her. Bello listened patiently, making only one request. That I should allow him to arrange a meeting between me, Temitope and our pastor. I agreed.

Secrets revealed

The next day, Temitope confronted me in my office. Bello had  told Temitope about Ifeoma, I guessed.

I was steaming hot as I drove home from work that night, bracing myself for the confrontation

When I arrived home Temitope’s face was puffy and tear-stained as she prepared my food. After an uncomfortable silent dinner, I watched my son go to bed. Walking downstairs, I found Temitope sitting on the staircase, waiting. I sat on the floor and said, “is there anything you want to ask me?”

“Who is she?” Temitope asked. “How long has this been going on?” And how many women are there?

I told her Ifeoma’s name and that we’d been involved for six or seven months.

“Do you love her?” “When will it end”

“I think so,” I admitted. “I’m not sure I can end the relationship. How did you find out?” I asked her.

Temitope started to cry. “Bello told my parents. When I stopped by their house this afternoon, mom was crying. They didn’t want to tell me what was wrong, but I guessed.” It shows, I thought angrily. Once again, Temitope’s parents had come between us.

I felt I was on trial as I confessed everything – that I’d become emotionally involved with Ifeoma through e-mail and instant messaging, and that the affair was on the verge of becoming permanent.

I hoped Temitope would give up on us. Since I didn’t have the courage to end our marriage, I wanted her to do it for me.

When I revealed that that Ifeoma’s mother attended the same women’s cultural group meeting as Temitope, her control snapped. “What?” she yelled. “It’s her?” Eyes flashing with anger, she ran to backyard. Grabbing a beer bottle, she beat it against a sack of granite and rushed at me with it. I ran upstairs, but no place to hide.

“You’re nothing but a bastard!” she wailed loud enough for me our neighbours to hear. “How could you betray me like this?”

I stood in the bedroom, torn between anger, shame, and fear.

You drove me to it, I thought bitterly. You chose your parents over me, so I chose Ifeoma over you.

Temitope finally came to our bedroom upstairs, red-eyed and exhausted. “What are you going to do?” she asked. “I don’t know.”

“I’m willing to work through this,” she said. “But it’s your decision. Either you end your relationship with Ifeoma, or it’s the end of our marriage.”

The next five days were my darkest days. My secret was out. Our family and Church friends knew what I’d done. Inside me, a spiritual battle raged. Who am I?

I felt like a real married bachelor!

Universal Hair Care Ltd, in conjunction with Hair Media, organized the first ever “Hairdressers’ Conference & Exhibition, which held on October 25th, 2012, at the Timesquare Events centre, Ikeja, Lagos.

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