I’m here planning a wedding—a wedding no woman in her right senses should be planning. Actually, the wedding is just five months away. It gets closer each day and each day when I think of it, it fills me with dread. Deep down in my heart I know I shouldn’t be getting married to this man but the reasons that keep me glued to him are equally important to me. We’ve been together for seven years. We have a child together—a child I adore with all my heart. It’s sad the man who gave me this child has become the reason I live in dread each day.
On paper, he’s quite a great guy—good-looking, ambitious, good fashion sense, and intelligent. Every woman would innocently fall for this man because of his charisma. He is a lecturer in one of the renowned universities in Ghana and he recently passed the bar exams. What doesn’t he have? I will tell you.
For the past seven years that we’ve been together, not a single day passes without him abusing me. Talk about verbal abuse, I’ve suffered that from him. Talk about emotional abuse. I’ve suffered that too. He’s a gentleman on paper but when it comes to words and what he can say, he’s not a gentleman. One day he called me a slut. Another time, I graduated from being a slut to a piece of shit. When he wants to be lenient, he calls me a prostitute. Education brings refinement to people. If nothing at all, education should polish our utterances and bring out the best in us but not this my man. It looks like he passed through the school system without the system passing through him. I’m not saying education should make us perfect people—none is. All I ever wanted was for him to treat me with respect. The kind of respect that will restrain him from verbally abusing me.
I know you’re thinking, “So why are you still planning to get married to him if he does all these things to you?” I will answer that.
In the beginning, I kept thinking he would change. It’s the reason I kept going back to him for the past seven years that we’ve been together. At this point, I know that change will never come and I’m fully aware of what awaits me in the marriage and I know I am not going to be happy. What makes me dread the thought of marrying him now is whenever he gets angry he tells me, “I don’t want to marry you. I am only going ahead with this marriage because people I respect very much have told me that it is the right thing to do. If I go through this marriage, know that I didn’t do it out of love. I did it just to make those people happy.”
I want to leave him but I’m afraid to get up and do it. Looking at the kind of person he is, I am afraid if I leave him he would stop taking care of our son. I can take care of our boy by myself. I have a good job to be able to take care of him but I want my fiancé to take responsibility for his son. I want him to be in the frame, taking care of our child together. There is also the fear that he could use his influence to take the child away from me. He can do it just to spite me not because he really likes one son. I wouldn’t want to put my baby through the traumatic experience of a custody battle. There is also this fear of my age and how long I’ve stayed with him. I have been with him for seven good years. I was twenty-seven when we started. I am 34 years now. I want to get married. If I leave him, I have to start all over again and it’s not easy for a girl my age to start all over again, especially when I have a kid. I have seen the red flags but I’m thinking; “What if this is my last chance to get married?”.
As I am writing this I am gravely sad. My wedding is about five months away and all I do is panic. I think of it as something coming too soon and I shudder at the mere thought of it. Our relationship feels more like a master and slave affair rather than a partnership. His actions show he doesn’t love me. I didn’t know what the word ‘narcissist’ meant until I googled the things he does and says to me. Now I know he is a narcissist. He believes himself a good person when in fact he is not. When he does or says something hurtful and I try to talk about it, he would say, “When did I say that to you? Are you sure you are not confusing me with someone else?”
One day I brought his attention to some of the hurtful things he said to me. All I wanted to hear was sorry but he said, “What? What am I doing that is so hurtful to you? Why are you trying to make me look like a bad person? It looks like you don’t appreciate the good things I do in your life.” When he says things like these I start doubting myself and questioning if I am really making stuff up about him. I thought I was losing my mind so I started recording our phone conversations just so I know that I’m not making all that up. That’s the point I’ve gotten to. He never apologizes when he is wrong. That’s how much of a narcissist he is. He truly believes everything he does is good and so there’s no room for remorse in his actions. How can I marry someone like this? This marriage is already a failure before it begins yet I don’t have the heart to walk away from him.
People look at his status in life and think he’s a good man. They think of his educational background and believe he’s the holy grail of men. No one associates him with abuse. When I say I want to leave him, I get asked, “Why? What would make a woman leave a man like this? Is he cheating on you?”.
In all honesty, I have never caught him cheating but I have my suspicions. You know the usual signs—he doesn’t answer my calls at certain periods and he doesn’t answer certain calls when he is with me. I sought counsel from some married couples I know in church and out of the church. After revealing the true nature of our relationship the advice was “The red flags are too many. We won’t advise you to go ahead with the marriage.” I know they are right and I know I should leave but it has been so difficult for me to do so. My mind. It keeps telling me what I will lose if I do leave. It keeps scaring me into submission.
I have started having bad dreams about him. In one of my dreams, he left me at the altar on our wedding day. In another dream he made me drink from a poisoned chalice. Two of my friends who don’t know each other told me they dreamt that he abandoned me after we had another child.
Maybe the dreams are my subconscious mind projecting the fear I associate with marrying him. Maybe it is God warning me not to enter into a bad marriage. All I know is that the dreams align with his narcissistic attitude. This should make me want to run for my life but here I am, still waiting for my wedding day. I need help. I need a voice to teach me how to walk away from him without causing a chain reaction that ends with him taking our child from me.