not too long ago, a friend, Ayo, complained bitterly to me that her relationship with Taiye was not working. They had been married for 25 years and should be planning their silver wedding anniversary. Instead Ayo has packed her personal belongings into a temporary storage unit.
Ayo told me that she had been secretly unhappy for 25 years and could no longer endure. She said, “Please don’t tell me to endure because this is what I have been doing for 25 years. Taiye does not hear me at all. He does not consider my feelings in any form. He does not know when I am sad, happy, angry, or lonely.”
‘How can he not know when you are sad, angry, happy or lonely, I wondered?’ And added: ‘All of us who are your friends know you to be typically upbeat and with very high energy. If you are not your usual exciting, warm and fine-spirited individual, we will know. How much more Taiye with whom you live? I find that disturbing.
Ayo said: “Taiye is very selfish. I run the home and also run the romance and everything else.”
This was getting too much for my ears. What do you mean you run the romance? Well she said, I have to initiate every romantic moment. Taiye just wants to penetrate and after two seconds, he ejaculates and falls asleep. He does not cuddle or hold me. I am super sick of that behavior.”
So, Ayo decided that she had had enough and made up her mind to leave. I could not talk her out of it.
Buchi, another friend of mine, on the other hand acknowledges that her relationship was not working, but decided that she would stay. And has since been looking for different ways to make it work. She decided to improve on her cooking by enrolling in a school. As she said, “I want to make sure he is happy and I know I can reach him through food. I even go as far as working out in the gym three to four times a week because Dike likes me to be toned at all times.”
I was confused. Buchi had told me earlier that Dike was arrogant and brash and often humiliated her publicly. Why in the world was she trying to please him? I did not understand it. Buchi tried to convince me that if her marriage fails then it would mean that she had failed as a female. Buchi has always had weird views and I just shook my head as I walked away.
The again, Esther also opted to stay in her marriage of 15 years. “If I leave, someone else will inherit my hard earned cash and sweat. Peter dislikes my strength of character but that is who I am; a strong independent Black woman. I am also very assertive and highly opinionated. Peter always has to have the last word and so do I. It is clearly not working, I am tired of the arguments, unhappiness and deep loneliness that engulfs me at night. Peter has not made love to me in two years but I am determined to save my marriage.
Al these women have one thing in common, a resolve to keep their families intact. How about you? Is yours working? Are you staying? Why? Lets talk about it.
ν Dr. NJ