If marriage is what you want then let’s break up

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She was at level three hundred when I found her. We had gone to campus to visit a friend’s sister and the sister introduced her to us as her best friend. I’m a very shy person but that day I don’t know what came over me. Immediately after the introduction, I said, “This one looks like my future wife ooo.”

We all laughed but that was enough for me to get her number. I remember I didn’t call her for over a month until that my friend went to visit her sister again and she gave him a message for me. My friend said, “The girl you took her number the other day, she says if you won’t call her, kindly send her number back to her.”

That night I called. She said, “You took your future wife’s number and wouldn’t call her? What sort of future husband is this? Don’t let me divorce you even before we get to the future.” It was all laughter that night. Two days later, I went to visit her on campus. The weekend that followed, I took her out on a date. The weekend after that, she came home to see where I live. From that day on, we met every other weekend. One day she asked me, “So what you said that day when you saw me the first time was the proposal, or I should look forward to another proposal coming in the future?”

She had a funny way of saying simple things and had a beautiful way to persuade you to do what you’ve not thought of doing. That day I said, “Yeah that was the proposal or you want an official proposal.” She said, “Nanka!” That night I sent her a message, telling her how I felt the very first day I saw her and how she makes me feel whenever she comes around. I ended the message; “That’s why I want you in my life. I want you to be my girlfriend.” She responded, “You’ve been a kind man, so why not?”

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So we began dating officially. I went to see her after work each evening. Sometimes, she would go with me to the house, and other times, we would just sit somewhere until late at night when I would leave. One year later, she completed school. I was at her graduation. I had to speak to our HR so they’ll give her a chance to do her National service at where I was working. We were closer than we could imagine. We came to work together and left together each day together. After her national service, I proposed marriage. She said, “I need to start working and make some money for myself before I can get married. I need to be able to support myself and support us.”

She made a lot of sense. We agreed the next time we discuss marriage would be when she had found a job for herself. Luckily for us, she found a job some months later. I was waiting for her to bring up the topic but she never did. So six months or so into her new job, I said, “You’re working now so what are we waiting for?” She said, “When I said we should wait till I get a job, this is not the kind of job I had in mind. You know this doesn’t pay well. It’s only for a start.” I asked, “So you’ll continue looking for a job?” She said, “Why not? I started looking for a new job the very day I started working here.”

I didn’t want to push for her to think I was desperate about it but I was ready to provide for everything. I had saved for it and I was ready for it but you have to allow a woman to have her way. They usually have the best intuition when it comes to these issues. A year later, she was still working at the same place. Two years later, she was still there, working there. The pay wasn’t good she said, but she had been able to rent a new place and furnish it. Three years after working and over five years after dating, I brought the topic again; “Dear, we are not growing any younger. If there’s something we have to do, this is the time. You earn enough to support yourself. Leave the rest to me and let’s get married.”

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She said, “Why are you so obsessed with marriage. Everyday marriage. What is in a marriage that you’re always pushing for it? And what do married people do that we are not already doing? I said give me some time. Is that too much to ask?”

Obviously, she was frustrated but I didn’t understand her source of frustration. I kept mute and decided never to bring it up again. Two months later all was fine and sweet between us. She came to visit and before she left she said, “I’ve been thinking about the marriage thing for some time now. It doesn’t look like I would like to marry anytime soon. There are so many rivers to cross and I haven’t even started. If you think marriage is what you want now, which I’m not ready for, then let’s break up so we don’t continue wasting each other’s time.” I asked her calmly, “How long do you have ahead of you before you decide on marriage? I can wait. I just want to know so I prepare my mind towards that.” She responded, “There are no specifics. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know when I will like to marry.”

From there she changed drastically. She wouldn’t pick my calls and she wouldn’t call back. Anytime I asked to visit her, she gave me excuses. When I’d gone there unannounced, I didn’t meet her—thrice it happened. Once I met her and she was angry that I didn’t tell her that I was coming. I got the message so I was ready for anything that came along. As I expected, she called one day to tell me; “I don’t think this thing is working. Both of us have different dreams and different paths and it’s affecting us. I don’t want to continue again. It hurts but please understand me.” I said, “It doesn’t hurt. Not one bit. I saw the rains coming so I picked my umbrella.” She said, “Thanks for understanding me.” I said, “thanks for giving me a chance in your life.”

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That’s how over six years of relationship came to an end.

I’m a man but starting all over again felt daunting, looking at where we had come from, the obstacles we’ve jumped and the milestones we’ve chalked. I didn’t know where to begin from. Do I have to go through all the years again, get to know the girl through and through before I propose marriage? Every step again? including the awkward phase of getting to know each other? That was hard. I shelved my relationship life for the time being but guess what…

Our breakup was only three months old when I saw on her Facebook profile that she was in a relationship with a certain guy. I went through the guy’s profile and saw photos of them as far back as two years ago. It looked like the guy lived abroad and came once in a while. I went through the comments. Even as far back as two years ago, the guy called her “my girlfriend.” Wow! I’d been played. Surprisingly it didn’t hurt as I thought I should.

Our breakup was only nine months old when I saw their wedding photos. That day, I wiped off a tear I didn’t see falling from my eyes. Wow, being hit in the head with a hammer wouldn’t hurt like the pain I felt that day. I thought I’d moved on but seeing her smile in a wedding gown with another man as the husband brought back all the hurt I didn’t feel when she said it was over. “Wow. Life.” That was all I could say.

I sent her a message, “I thought you said marriage wasn’t part of the plan. Anyway, he looks like the perfect guy. I wish you well. Congratulations.” She responded, “Thank you.”

—Pappy

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