My very dear wife, my queen, the love of my life,
I see your pain and I am so sorry. If I could take it all back and stop this heart wrenching pain from gripping you, I will! I am sorry. Please forgive me.
My queen, I do not often speak but I now feel I have to; because I am still me. I cannot guarantee that I would not fall again but I know that with your help, it would be easier not to. You keep asking me why I did it, what did she have that you do not have? What didn’t you give me? And I feel your pain! I wish you never found out, because it hurts me that you hurt like this. You see, I never stopped loving you.
We were students in the University when we met, you were young, care free, beautiful to behold. You dropped your hat at a moment’s notice, just to be with me, we talked, argued, hung out and once in a while, you even danced on the table! You had friends, you were popular but still intelligent; you were kind hearted but still sensuous. I knew then, like I still know now, that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
We got married and you got pregnant and I loved the fact that you were carrying my baby. I watched your body change, I watched your feelings change, I saw how tender you became towards someone you did not even know yet; I watched and I loved you all the more but I also felt insecure. I wondered if that body will be the same as the one that I fell in love with, the one that made heads turn and made my buddies think I had struck gold. I wondered. More importantly, I wondered whether this little person will take my place. Whether there was enough space in you, to still love me like you did and love this little one the way that she’ll need.
Then the child came. And your eyes seemed to be drawn to her as if by a magnetic force! Even when you looked up at me, it was to tell me to look at her. I saw you try to make space for me but babies are demanding. She cried at night, was hungry at day, her diapers needed changing, after a feeding was a burping and after a burping was a cleaning and after a cleaning, was rocking to sleep and when she slept, you tried to sleep as well. And so that year went by. I watched and loved you for the nurture you provided our child but I felt like a spectator in my own life.
You who always dressed well, who had those amazing nails I loved; had to cut them down so they won’t scratch the baby. You tried with the dressing but I watched you clean spit-up and diapers, mix baby food and eat the left over’s; I even helped sometimes but I still felt lost and alone. My queen had changed, her priorities had changed, her body had changed BUT I hadn’t changed. I was still the same and I still wanted the same things.
You may think I’m selfish and wonder if the sacrifices you had made weren’t for both of us. You may also say you were confused as well, did not understand the changes in your body and even sometimes wished they were not happening to you. But the change happened in you and in that time you got impatient with me. You wondered why I wasn’t catching up fast enough, why I did not help enough, why I did not understand that between work and nurturing our baby, you were too tired for sex.
There was always something you needed to do and it was no longer dancing in the clubs with me. It was no longer spontaneous- you were not at my beck and call for the fun things anymore, we could no longer blow all our money and you could not talk till morning. I know! I prepared for these changes but no one described them to me and no one told me that through all of that I will not change! No one told me, how shocking it’ll be the first day I saw my own wife, breast-feeding our child (whom I love) with breasts that I have grown to think of as mine and no one said to me, that it will be difficult to share! and that when I did share, it’ll be difficult to see them as they once were.
It wasn’t intentional on your part but more and more I began to feel like a pay check. I paid bills; I even paid for your hair. When I got home, I became the handy-man and the garbage man and the one who was meant to solve your problems and I wondered, “what about my own?” I realise that you tried, there was always food on the table, you did not wear pj’s to bed every night, though, it was now my t-shirt, no longer lingerie that you wore. You tried with your body as well, you exercised and got into shape but I’m visual you see? And the picture I see now is not the picture I saw when I said “I do” and I have not changed. I may have grown in girth, made more money, started to grow in influence but I am still the boy I was when I said I do. You married me, hoping that I would change; I married you, hoping that you would not change!
But all of these did not make me cheat. In fact I loved you so much more, in spite of all these feelings. One day though, I realised that all the times, I said ” I love you” to you, what I actually meant was I love the way you make me feel- you made me feel strong, powerful, invincible, like all the answers lay in me, like I could take the world! You also turned me on! As I thought about this, I realised, I do not get this validation from you anymore! The look you used to give me is softer now and focused on the kids; I can no longer solve all your problems, other mothers and other married women are better at it. I no longer have your company or body when I want and even when I don’t. And the ‘I love you’ that I say now is more like ‘I am comfortable with you, I know you.’
I did not realise I felt this until SHE came along, she thought I was the best looking man on the planet and though I knew it wasn’t true, it felt good to be so adored. She asked my opinion on most things and did exactly what I said she should! She liked tennis as well and was not doing homework with the kids on Saturday morning, so she could play with me. She made the effort and even when I did not want her in a physical way, she made sure I knew that when I said the word or gave the look, she would be there! In a French Maid’s uniform, as a nurse or whatever it was that caught my fancy! Her nails were done, her hair was done, she smelled like perfume. Being with her was like escaping from life and drudgery! I could be anything I wanted and it was fleeting. For a hunter who has lost his hunt, it was intoxicating and dangerous!
I do not mean to hurt you with these details but I need you to know that I have not changed on the inside. I am not asking you to be perfect but I am saying I still need us. I still need to look in the mirror and though I may see a cat, be assured that you see a lion. I need you to wear those heels and dance by the table if not on it. I need you, I need you and it was fear that I had lost the ‘you’ I had, that pushed me away the most. It was fear that the changes in you will overwhelm me and mean that I am advancing in years that made me cling to a fantasy!
I am sorry. I love you; I do not want to lose what we have. I know it may have helped if I said some of these things sooner but I am a man and words are not my strength! I will work with you now and we will make us, work. We will work, if you give me another chance.
*This blog is inspired by my friend, the Desperate Naija Woman, who wrote a post yesterday called “Mistress are you for real?” Read it at http://diaryofadesperatenaijawoman.blogspot.com/2010/11/mistress-are-you-forreal.html ; a kind ex-mistress replied her post and I just thought, what do the men feel? Apart from the erosion of moral character and the pervasion that is in society worldwide? What is it that makes a good man cheat? I will appreciate it if some men let me know what sentiments I have been able to capture correctly and where I have represented them wrongly.