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Some months ago, my ex-husband called me on the phone. He said, “I have a job now.” I said, “Congratulations.” He said, “I’ve been working for the last three months. Things are getting better.” I said, “That’s good to know. Congratulations.” He said, “Thank you.” Then he went mute for some seconds. He sighed. I asked, “Is there anything else you want to tell me?” He said, “Yeah, but it’s hard.” I told him, “You’re a man. I’m only a woman. You can tell me everything.”

It had been over a year since I walked out of the marriage. Our son was two years when the divorce was finally granted. Our son was the reason it took me so long to walk away. I said to myself often, “My son needs his father. A son needs someone to teach him what it means to be a man. Who else can do that than his own father?” I was scared about what society would say. That I left my husband when the going got tough. That they would blame me for the failure of a marriage that was already limping before I walked out.

But it got to a point, I couldn’t bear it any longer. I come from work and see him sleeping on the couch and all I had for him was resentment. After bathing, he’ll spend minutes on end in front of the mirror, brushing his bead and admiring how handsome he had become. He’ll wear a nice dress and walk out of the house to God knows where doing nothing while I slave away in the office. I would come home knackered while he looked fresh and well-rested. When the baby cried at night, regardless of how tired I was, I had to wake up, take care of the baby while he snores softly by my side like a tired cinderella.

He told me he was trying to get a job but I didn’t see the zeal. I didn’t see the aggression in his search. Even when I had given him a contact to call for a job, he won’t call. He’ll take his time until I ask him on several occasions before he tells me, “Ok fine, I’m going to call now.” For someone who had been home for over a year without a job, I thought he would be eager. I thought he’ll rush to make simple calls to enquire about job placement. My husband never did. All he did was to stay home, work out in the morning and evening, build muscles and look fine at my expense.

So I woke up one morning knowing very well what I had to do. I asked myself, “What do I gain from living with a husband like mine? What does he bring to the table that I can’t live without? What’s the future like if it continues this way? My son needs a father but would he be proud to have a father like this one that I’m living with? So many questions and no answers. We were watching TV one evening when I told him I needed a divorce. He asked, “Why? Is it because of my joblessness? Please think about the future. Things would be better because I’m trying to turn things around.”

I said, “It’s not about your joblessness. It’s not even about you. It’s about me. I’m tired. I need a break from everything. At this moment, I wish someone can even adopt our son so I have a moment of respite.”

He kept giving me hope and telling me how hard he’s trying. I repeated, “It’s not about you. It’s about me.” A week later, I packed few things and left to live with my parents. Not too long afterward, our rent expired. He called to tell me that the landlord called; “The Landlord asked if we will renew our tenancy.” I told him, “If you want to continue living there, you can pay. I’ll come for the rest of my things later.” He moved to his parents and brought me the keys. I called the landlord, renew the tenancy, and went back to live there with our son.

We’d been separated for about three months. He called to ask me; ”So what’s the way forward?” I answered, “Divorce.” He said, “If that would make you happy.” So a few months later, we got a divorce. He called it amicable divorce. It was amicable because the two of us laughed through it. After the divorce, he came home often. He’ll come on weekends, play with his son and sometimes take him out. I had to pay for that outing. On weekdays, he stayed and helped his son to do his homework. When there was a PTA meeting I couldn’t attend, I called him and he gladly did attend. I asked myself at some point, “So this guy can do all these and he never did any of them while we were together?” It was like all of a sudden he had become a helpmate I never thought I had.

So that day when he called and couldn’t say what he wanted to say, I pushed him a little. It was hard for him to say but eventually, he said, “I have a job that pays well. Problem solved. Why don’t we try again?” I asked, “Try again? Try what again?” “Let’s get married again,” he said. Now it was my turn to sigh. It was my turn to go mute. Finally, when I talked I said, “It’s not possible. We’ve done our time and things didn’t work out. Coming together again isn’t an option. You have a job now and I’m happy for you. That’s enough.”

He’s been working all these years. His son would turn six years in the coming months but not once has he sent in money for his son’s upkeep. No birthday cake for him nor a new dress for Christmas. He paid no fees and no medical bills. Nothing. But whenever I post him on my status, he’ll come into my inbox and scream, “That’s my boy. See how he’s picking up my features as he grows up.” All is well. I’m grateful to God each day that I’m in a position to take care of my own son and also grateful that my son’s father has a job that makes it possible for him to take care of his own self. At least, he’s not a nobody and that helps me and my son to keep a good face among our peers.

—Abla

It had been over a year since I walked out of the marriage. Our son was two years when the divorce was finally granted. Our son was the reason it took me so long to walk away. I said to myself often, “My son needs his father. A son needs someone to teach him what it means to be a man. Who else can do that than his own father?” I was scared about what society would say. That I left my husband when the going got tough. That they would blame me for the failure of a marriage that was already limping before I walked out.

But it got to a point, I couldn’t bear it any longer. I come from work and see him sleeping on the couch and all I had for him was resentment. After bathing, he’ll spend minutes on end in front of the mirror, brushing his bead and admiring how handsome he had become. He’ll wear a nice dress and walk out of the house to God knows where doing nothing while I slave away in the office. I would come home knackered while he looked fresh and well-rested. When the baby cried at night, regardless of how tired I was, I had to wake up, take care of the baby while he snores softly by my side like a tired cinderella.

He told me he was trying to get a job but I didn’t see the zeal. I didn’t see the aggression in his search. Even when I had given him a contact to call for a job, he won’t call. He’ll take his time until I ask him on several occasions before he tells me, “Ok fine, I’m going to call now.” For someone who had been home for over a year without a job, I thought he would be eager. I thought he’ll rush to make simple calls to enquire about job placement. My husband never did. All he did was to stay home, work out in the morning and evening, build muscles and look fine at my expense.

So I woke up one morning knowing very well what I had to do. I asked myself, “What do I gain from living with a husband like mine? What does he bring to the table that I can’t live without? What’s the future like if it continues this way? My son needs a father but would he be proud to have a father like this one that I’m living with? So many questions and no answers. We were watching TV one evening when I told him I needed a divorce. He asked, “Why? Is it because of my joblessness? Please think about the future. Things would be better because I’m trying to turn things around.”

I said, “It’s not about your joblessness. It’s not even about you. It’s about me. I’m tired. I need a break from everything. At this moment, I wish someone can even adopt our son so I have a moment of respite.”

He kept giving me hope and telling me how hard he’s trying. I repeated, “It’s not about you. It’s about me.” A week later, I packed few things and left to live with my parents. Not too long afterward, our rent expired. He called to tell me that the landlord called; “The Landlord asked if we will renew our tenancy.” I told him, “If you want to continue living there, you can pay. I’ll come for the rest of my things later.” He moved to his parents and brought me the keys. I called the landlord, renew the tenancy, and went back to live there with our son.

We’d been separated for about three months. He called to ask me; ”So what’s the way forward?” I answered, “Divorce.” He said, “If that would make you happy.” So a few months later, we got a divorce. He called it amicable divorce. It was amicable because the two of us laughed through it. After the divorce, he came home often. He’ll come on weekends, play with his son and sometimes take him out. I had to pay for that outing. On weekdays, he stayed and helped his son to do his homework. When there was a PTA meeting I couldn’t attend, I called him and he gladly did attend. I asked myself at some point, “So this guy can do all these and he never did any of them while we were together?” It was like all of a sudden he had become a helpmate I never thought I had.

So that day when he called and couldn’t say what he wanted to say, I pushed him a little. It was hard for him to say but eventually, he said, “I have a job that pays well. Problem solved. Why don’t we try again?” I asked, “Try again? Try what again?” “Let’s get married again,” he said. Now it was my turn to sigh. It was my turn to go mute. Finally, when I talked I said, “It’s not possible. We’ve done our time and things didn’t work out. Coming together again isn’t an option. You have a job now and I’m happy for you. That’s enough.”

He’s been working all these years. His son would turn six years in the coming months but not once has he sent in money for his son’s upkeep. No birthday cake for him nor a new dress for Christmas. He paid no fees and no medical bills. Nothing. But whenever I post him on my status, he’ll come into my inbox and scream, “That’s my boy. See how he’s picking up my features as he grows up.” All is well. I’m grateful to God each day that I’m in a position to take care of my own son and also grateful that my son’s father has a job that makes it possible for him to take care of his own self. At least, he’s not a nobody and that helps me and my son to keep a good face among our peers.

—Abla

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