I was a first-year student in one of the country’s polytechnic when I met Jonas. He was a second-year student and doing the same course I had come to do at the Polytechnic, a fine gentleman, and academically brilliant fellow.
He became my help. He helped me academically and also helped me discover a lot of things about the course I would have struggled to know if I was left alone. He gave me his first-year books and exam questions so somehow, I was always ahead of the class. Everything we shared from the beginning had to do with learning and research on topics of interest.
We started dating when I got to the second year. By that time, in his own words, “I looked matured and established so we could move a step further.” Dating was very easy with him. I mostly called it academic dating because nothing was happening between us sexually.
He preferred taking his time and I preferred relying on his judgment on what was right and on what was wrong. When he finally completed school, he took me with him to his house to meet his parent and siblings. He introduced me as a friend. Just a friend but the parent got the message.
Being in his house for close to a week presented a lot of opportunities to be “bad friends.’ We broke all the rules of our relationship and got to know ourselves sexually and how we could connect emotionally. It was the best time of our lives.
When he started national service, I went to see him every weekend with my assignments and project works and regardless of his tight schedule, he moved to sort me out.
Then I completed school and also started National Service in a village in Ashanti region. Jonas by then had completed Service and working in one of the government sectors in Accra and doing very well. Distance came between us. We tried to conquer the distance by seeing each other on weekends. The flesh got tired from the travels so it turned to monthly meetings and later got to as and when.
We were seeing each other less and less and something came in between. I had something going with a guy who worked as a contractor for the institution I was working with. He was a kind man. He brought me gifts and usually will take me out on a date. He became an escape plan for me in the village. I told him I was dating and even planning to get married. I wanted to let him know we could not go beyond friendship.
But he broke my defenses with his constant presence, care and affection. We had sex. We had it again some months later and things started getting steamy between us. I had no plans of leaving Jonas but this guy was also available for the taken. He was always there.
As fate would have it, Jonas got to know about it. He came to visit me in the village and took my phone and read all the messages I’d ever exchanged with the guy. How he got to know my password was a mystery to me but trust me, he really read things—I mean everything.
I couldn’t defend myself. No lie could extricate me so I confessed and apologized. I’ve never seen Jonas that angry! He even hit me, once or twice. I didn’t count that against him. It was my fault. He left the village and for the next several months we fought very hard to regain trust and rebuild our relationship. It wasn’t easy but we tried. That was when I realized how deep a man’s love could go if it’s true.
We got married two years later and started a journey together. Things got rough, very rough after marriage. Jonas became so possessive that at some point he wished he could live inside my skin. When I was on call, he wanted to know whom I was talking to. Not just the person’s name but a complete profile—what does he do? why are you talking to him? Where do you know him from? Have you met him personally before? And why are you talking to him this long?
He had my passwords to every social media account I own and even had the passwords to my email address. When I returned from work and the lipstick on my lips is changed, he would ask; “You had a pink lipstick on when you were leaving home, why is it red now?” Or he would ask, “Half of your lipstick is gone, who did you kiss?”
Sometimes I wanted to laugh at his questions but it rather got him more infuriated. I remember one night I got home from work late. We had some deadlines to meet and traffic situations didn’t favor me. Because it was late, I pleaded with a colleague to take me home. We met my husband at the junction waiting for me. I knew I was in trouble. I was only praying it doesn’t happen in front of my colleague but guess what?
“Gentleman, where are you coming from with my wife?” Before my colleague could utter a word, he screamed, “Don’t you know she’s a married woman? What happened to your sense of morality? No wonder these days people like you die so young. Very soon you’ll be “gone too soon” because you slept with people’s wives.”
I was only standing behind, signaling my colleague to move his car and go but he didn’t. Maybe out of respect. He only said, “Your wife pleaded with me to bring her home because she was late.” And then he left.
From the junction to the house is only five minutes walk but it took us almost thirty minutes to get there. I’ve had enough of his disrespect and I was bent on letting him know. We shouted at each other. He called me names and I called him worse names. We drew eyes to ourselves but we didn’t bother. That night, in the bed, all I wanted was to be somewhere else.
When he was leaving for work the next morning, he said, “I would be at your office to pick you up myself from now onwards.” The last freedom I had to go to work and return myself was also taken away from me that day.
We needed help. I knew we needed help. The person who needed the help most was him but he didn’t want to accept that. He always said, “I have to protect what is mine and this is the best way to do it.” I suggested professional counseling, he said no. I suggested we talked to our pastor or some church elders about it, he said no. He didn’t need help.
I was the one suffering. I felt I was in a straight jacket kind of marriage. I wanted to break free but I loved him and somehow I knew he loved me too but he was expressing the love in a wrong kind of way. Because of him, I didn’t have friends and I didn’t have any social life. I was miserable.
I woke up one morning with a swollen left eye. I looked into the mirror and saw the mess I’ve become and immediately knew I had to leave for my own safety and the preservation of his own sanity.
The night before that morning, he had hit me in the face for lying. I had posted a Facebook status that said: “When everything is going wrong, look up to God for a miracle.” And a Facebook friend, someone I don’t even know personally commented, “Sometimes if everything is going wrong, it’s a sign that you should walk away from where you are. God doesn’t always give us a miracle, sometimes he expects us to follow the signs.”
According to him, I’ve discussed my marital issues with the guy who commented that’s why he was advising me to leave. He would not accept any of my explanations. Another scuffle. Another hit on my face. Another bruise. I should be fed up. And truly I was. So I left.
We’ve been separated for almost a year now. The church advised us to solve it through the separation but the kind of freedom I’m enjoying now, I doubt if I could go back.