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Just Because He Lived Next Door Doesn’t Mean You Know Him Well

I was raised in a very humble background. My parents were civil servants and they were often broke because salaries were often times not paid. They were owed salaries for months at times. We were taught to hustle early in life. My siblings and I were very close and we helped each other at every point.
I was lucky to get a good job shortly after my NYSC. My siblings were not so lucky so I basically shared with them until they were established. I also majorly took care of my parents after they retired. It was all well and good. I wanted to get married early but it didn’t seem to be happening.
My then boyfriend was rejected by my parents because he came from a part of Nigeria which they didn’t like. They said our people and theirs didn’t marry. I was devastated and for a while and I avoided dating or relationships.
During one of my visits to our village, I met Anthony. He came for a burial with his friends who lived not so far from our house. I attended the burial as well and he was introduced to me. From then on we became friends. Worked in a different city from me but we communicated regularly.
My parents supported the relationship and urged us on. Months later he proposed to me. I accepted and happily broke the news to my siblings. As expected they were thrilled. We had our traditional marriage shortly after. It was a huge event as my parents made it their duty to invite everyone they knew. He asked that I resigned from my job to move to his city. I agreed but I didn’t want to rush it.
He changed the moment we returned from the wedding. He pushed me until I had to resign without proper handing over. He began to restrict my movements and who and who I could talk to. He stopped me from communicating with my siblings and parents.
It was not what I envisaged at all. Remember that this was a new place for me; I didn’t know my way around so much. He beat me one day when he discovered I had called my sisters. I was limited to going to the market and church only. I had two miscarriages in the first year of my marriage.
I began to plan my escape. I did not have much money because I had used my savings for the wedding. He only gave me enough money for the upkeep of the house and nothing for me to use personally. I even tried to look for a job but he blocked me on several occasions. I also tried business ventures but he wouldn’t let me start.
When we travelled home during Christmas, my siblings were shocked to see the way I looked. He threatened me not to say a word to them about my marriage. I didn’t need to tell them anything they knew I was suffering. They asked me to leave but I thought it was too early.  I wanted to help save my marriage.
He later began to abuse me verbally. He told me I was his property and that I was bound to do as he said. He insulted me at every chance and this greatly affected my self-esteem. I remembered my ex-boyfriend who had treated me as a queen.
It came to a point I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to move out. So I started saving part of the money for the cooking and housekeeping. My opportunity came when he had to travel out of the country for a business. I don’t think his flight had taken off before I moved out of the house.
I moved to my sister’s house for a while. It took a while to sort myself out. I pushed for a divorce and my people returned the bride price that had been paid even before he returned from his trip. My parents were disappointed.
I’ve moved on even though it was a struggle. I have since remarried someone else. We have two children now and we are happy. Lesson learned, just because he lives next door doesn’t mean you know him well. Secondly always follow your guts don’t be swayed by peoples opinions.


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