On Wednesday, September 15, The Standard received, on Facebook inbox, a relationship dilemma from one of its readers. We sample some of the advice shared by Kenyans, and also an expert’s opinion on how the reader can come out of the confusing situation.
Every Wednesday mid-morning, The Standard publishes on its verified Facebook page (Standard Digital) a relationship dilemma sent to us via our Facebook inbox.
If in need of relationship advice – from an expert, or are seeking to get Kenyans’ opinions on a certain confusing relationship situation – send us a message via Facebook, with the title ‘Relationship Advice’, and we will escalate the message to appropriate respondents. We guarantee you dignity by hiding details that could lead to your identity being known or exposed.
Hi, my name is Mary.
I’m 31 years old. I live and work in Mombasa. I first conceived when I was 17 years old. I was in Form Four at the time. I got pregnant again when I was 23, and for the third time four years ago. My children, who have been sired by three different fathers, are aged 14, 8 and 4. I love them so much. They’re living with my parents upcountry. About two years ago, I met a man who is in his late 30s. He engaged me in April this year and wants us to exchange wedding vows in November or December this year.
My dilemma is: He knows that I have no children. He asked me some time last year, and I told him that I have never been a mom. I fear he’ll know the truth and leave me. The man really wants a wife in his life, considering his age. I fear when we’ll go for introduction in mid-October at my parents’ place, the truth will come out, as my children fondly refer to me as ‘mum’. What do I do? I don’t want to lose this man; he is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.
SAMPLES OF THE ADVICE WE RECEIVED FROM READERS
Noella Kapsir: The foundation of any relationship should be trust amongst many other factors. I believe with honesty, he will love you for who you are. If he loves a tree he will love the fruits and if he loves the fruits he will love the tree only if you allowed the truth to take precedence. You have proven that you cannot be trusted. The only way you can redeem yourself is by opening up to him about your past. Everyone has a past.
Rhoda Njeru: You are the reason why you keep finding yourself in the confession box all time. Who denies her children? Love will air out, so nurture it with the truth. Tell the man the truth and allow him to make his own decision. If you read this: change your ways and stop lying. Again you are a mom bringing up three children is quite a task!
Jess Muyia: You don’t love your children as much as you claim you do. You want to build your marriage on lies. You even wish they could not refer to you as mom to conceal their identities.
Solomon Sang’any: Take heart, you have already lost him but that’s not the end of the world. Marriage, relationships, friendships can’t be built on the foundation of lies. Soon, the lies catch up with you.
George Wambua: Run from your wicked ways and repent by being baptised in the name of Jesus. I suggest everybody should just go home quietly. What a mess!
Krace Mumo: Is your man blind? Sorry to ask, but a man can clearly see the difference between the body of a three-time mother and a young lady who’s never been a mother? Then you denied your own children to please a man? God forgive me.
Isaac Dancun: Do you mean a man in his late 30s cannot recognise a woman who has given birth to three kids? Boy child needs to be a bit serious with his life.
Mutethia Godfrey: The way you have created the background for the relationship is wanting. You would have said the truth for him to decide whether to leave or stay. You cannot build love in deceit. This tells me that you don’t love your kids as you say. Why abandon them in a new proposal? We are blessed differently. The key is commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, respect and in everything put God first.
Rollince R Oketch: There is one thing Akothee has been saying that every woman should learn. Never disown your children for a man. You have to choose your children over the man any day. If he loves you, he will accept you with the kids. The mistake of lying is already done. Make a point of letting him know, and meet your kids before exchanging the vows. if he’s in for it; fine and if he is not, then take care of your kids until a father figure shows up. Every decision you make about your relationship moving forward, your children should be at the center of it. A lie never survives long enough.
Diana Asere: How can you deny your own flesh and blood just because of Love? So you say you have never been a mum? so have you been a dad?
Dr Karatu Kiemo is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
Love is a strange thing. It sometimes tolerates extreme acts of violation and mischief including sexual infidelity, violence, desertion etc. It’s, therefore, possible that the man will still love you after knowing the truth about your family, just as much as you have tolerated yourself having kids with different partners. In any case, you might also find the new man also has several children out there. A conscientious man will understand that having had a child at the tender age of 17 years and having to raise three children by age 31, you have had it tough.
He could sympathize rather than judge you even for the secret. So decide to reveal today or tomorrow but don’t wait for him to know from a third party, or in a public space. Should he not be understanding, do understand him because disclosure of material information like having children, or having health problems is good for trust-building.
Lastly, stop judging yourself too hard – we the society failed you by making you a mother when you were only a child. Three kids are also enough for you and you may also consider getting into a prenuptial agreement about the need to have no new children & raise the ones you have.