She was broken when I found her. She had come out of her fourth relationship in two years and had resolved never to love again. She said, “This love thing wasn’t made for me. I find who I love and give him my all, but in the end, I lose him just at the time when I needed him the most. Now, I don’t even know what love is. I won’t see love if it’s right under my nose because I’ve closed my heart to it.”
She believed it was because of her size. She said her first boyfriend always called her fat and told her to lose weight. She started trying; taking slim teas and other stuff that promised her eventual weight loss but her weight remained the same. The next thing she knew, her boyfriend of two years was going out with a lady half her size. That broke her into pieces and shattered her confidence but she didn’t give up.
And then her last boyfriend came along. She wanted to ensure that he loved her just the way she was so she asked him, “Do you think a lady of my size is what you want?” He said yes. “The thing is, they always say yes but few months together and after the sex is given, you begin to see a change in them. They tell you it’s alright but the next thing you know, you’re the only one left in the relationship. They stop loving you. They lie about it until they finally leave you.”
I knew she was broken and I knew I had to do so much for her to regain her confidence. Most importantly, I had to find a way to make her love herself first. It wasn’t easy but a man has to work on what he loves and believe it’s true. I started going to places with her and started introducing her to my friends as the girl of my dreams. Even to random people. We went out to eat one evening and when the waitress came to take our order, I lied to her, “I and my girlfriend want special treatment because we are celebrating the anniversary of our love.” I was ready to show her to the world to make her give up on her insecurities.
She was still scared. The more I tried to make her feel loved and comfortable the more she got scared of losing me. She said, “I’ve seen this before. My third boyfriend was like that at the beginning. He acted as if I was his world. He showed me to his parents but when he decided he was leaving me, nothing I said could stop him.”
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The problem again was that she had seen everything before. Whatever I did or say had been done or said to her before by one of her exes. I could think of something smart and fun to do with her. We’ll both do it and indeed have fun. Usually, I would expect that to score me some point but no. It rather brings back memories of when things were better between her and one of her exes. She would say, “That’s what Joe did,” or “That’s what’s Martin did and later left.”
I told her, “If love between us is going to work, you ought to let go of the people in your past. I can understand they hurt you and I can understand they left you when you were still loving them but there is a reason they are no more in your life. They didn’t want you in their lives so they moved on. Why are you carrying them every step of the way?” She would be quiet for a while and say, “You don’t understand. I’ve been hurt before and I don’t want to go through that pain again.”
One year into our relationship, we planned to take things a step further. The plan was to introduce her officially to my parents and she would do the same and then put resources together so we could marry before that year ends. She was happy to hear that and I was happy too. I thought our decision to marry will boost her confidence and kill her insecurities about love. I was wrong.
She did a sleepover at my place one night. I woke up from sleep at dawn and saw her going through my phone. I pretended I didn’t see her, I turned to my other side and slept. She wasn’t looking good in the morning. When I asked how her night was, she didn’t respond. The next minute she asked, “What is it about this girl that you couldn’t stop taking photos with her? Is she the only person at your office?”
I knew what she was talking about. I asked her, “Which girl?” She picked her own phone and showed me the photos I’ve taken with Pat, a lady in my office. She had transferred those photos from my phone to her phone when I was busily sleeping. I asked her, “Where did you get these photos from?” She retorted, “That’s not important. Oh, I know. She’s beautiful, right? She’s beautiful because she’s slim, right? Why did you come for me if it’s slim girls you want?”
That morning, I said to myself, “Abe, walk away. The issue is bigger than you think it is. Don’t try to be a hero. Not everyone can be saved. Just walk away and be free.”
I looked in her eyes and asked, “Why are you trying so much to break us apart when all I’d ever wanted was you?” Is it intentional or you really don’t like yourself that much?” She retorted, “You should be answering my questions and not the other way round.” So I look into her eyes and said, “Yes! She’s beautiful because she believes she’s beautiful and I like her so much because she believes in herself.”
She angrily picked her stuff and stormed out.
I was relieved. In my mind, it was over and I was pleased because I knew I’d been truthful about my feelings all the way and I’ve had nothing to hide. “God knows I tried. She’s the problem. She won’t give herself the chance to heal and that’s her own problem.”
For three days I didn’t hear from her. Soon it was a week and she didn’t call. One morning she called to apologize. In the evening we met. I told her, “You’ve been through a lot I know, but don’t make me pay for the mistakes of others. You seem to be punishing me for the wrongs other people did against you and that’s not fair. If this continues, we won’t go far. Let’s start again but this time you’re going to trust me.”
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Things got better. She wanted me to be transparent with her. She wanted to know where I go and who I hang out with and most importantly she wanted me to tell her often that she was beautiful. It wasn’t easy but we never stopped trying.
We are here, still together and still planning on getting married very soon. She’s not completely healed but she tries every day to remind herself that she’s better than her troubled past. Little by little, we will definitely win and live as husband and wife. We are taking it one day at a time.