Two Things You Should Never Do For Your Girlfriend –
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Two Things You Should Never Do For Your Girlfriend

I proposed to her in January. In March she had rent issues. Her landlord increased her rent exorbitantly so she had no money to pay. She reached out and asked for help. I asked how much she had so I added up. She told me, “I don’t have anything currently but if you give me something, I’ll look for the rest.”

She was in school then. I wondered how she was going to look for the rest. She didn’t give me a clear road map as to how she was going to raise the money. I was living in a two-bedroom house. Where I lived was closer to her school than where she was living. I suggested to her, “Why don’t you move in with me so we sort out the rent issues later?”

One thing I will never do again for a woman I’m dating; to allow her to move in with me.

When she came, she lived like my wife and I treated her like she was my wife. I paid for everything and tried as much as I could to make her life comfortable. We were far from getting married. I didn’t even know I was going to marry her but she lived in my space and took the position of a wife. She knew my moves because I told her. She knew how much I was making in a month because it came up in our conversations. I paid for what I was not supposed to pay for, even her school fees until she completed school.

My parents didn’t like her the first time they met her. My mom told me, “If you are not married to a woman, you don’t share your house with her. She has a family. Let her family take care of her until she becomes your wife, which I doubt because this woman will not help you.”

I didn’t listen. To me, she was saying all that because she didn’t like her. My dad was of the same opinion. He went ahead to ask, “What if something bad happens to her in your house? How would you explain it to her family?” I responded, “Her parents know me. They are aware she lives with me.”

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“They are aware she lives with you and yet say nothing because you’re doing what they themselves should have done. You’ve taken up their burden that’s why they’re not complaining. This should even tell you the kind of family they are. If she should die right now, you’ll know their true colours,” My father exhorted but I didn’t listen. I chose a woman over my family, hoping my family would rather come down to my level to accept what I’d chosen.

That’s the second thing I will never do for a woman in my next life; to choose her over family.

My parents went silent in anything that had to do with me. They used to call me for financial assistance but they stopped. I was paying the fees of my siblings, I stopped because I felt my parents were fighting against me. I did the barest minimum just to keep the parents-son relationship going but I didn’t invest the way I should have.

Four years later, I decided to make it official, to marry the woman I’d always lived with. We went to see her parents for the dowry list and these people listed heaven and earth as part of the things I had to buy.

I looked at the list and laughed. I told my girlfriend, “Erica, it looks like your parents don’t want us to get married. Look at the list they gave me. I should buy them a piece of land? Where has it ever happened that a man bought a piece of land as part of dowry?” She responded, “If you can’t buy the land, then make it money so they buy it themselves.”

I was livid. I thought she’d support me but she chose her parents’ side. She told me she was worth everything listed as part of the dowry because her parents suffered to bring her to the level I met her. For four years, I took care of her. She was living in my house and I played the role of her parents. I felt that should be considered so I went back to her parents with the head of my family to ask for a reduction.

His father looked at us and told us, “We should have charged more. You’ve been using our daughter for four good years. She was cooking for you, washing for you and helping you to build your business. She deserves more because we raised a good child.”

When I was leaving, I knew I wasn’t going back to that house again until they did something to the dowry list. Erica called me ungrateful and saw the whole thing as a disgrace. “Why are you disgracing me in front of my parents?” She asked me. “You have the money so why don’t you go ahead and do it so they’ll know the kind of man I’m bringing home?”

When my own parents protested the idea of me living with her, I fought them. When they didn’t agree with me on the choice of her, I took it as hatred and sidelined them. I chose her over my family but when the tables turned, Erica chose the side of her family. I learned sense that day. I asked her to pack her things to her parents’ house; “I will come for you when I’m ready.”

She didn’t protest. She picked up a bag, slippers, dress, one after the other, she packed everything of hers and left my place. When she was gone and I was alone, this air of freedom blew around me to remind me of who I used to be without her. My space became larger. My life looked so big I could bring everyone in and still have some space left. The first thing I did was call my dad and mom and apologize to them. He said, “We are not angry. We’ll support you in every decision you take.” I told them, “I’ve decided not to go on with the marriage.” They responded, “We support you.”

In Erica’s mind, I’d invested so much in her she thought I couldn’t live without her. She and her family thought they could use my investment in her to trap me into paying whatever they wanted. Her father called and asked when I was coming back to marry his daughter. He even had the audacity to tell me if I didn’t come early, he would accept drinks from other suitors. I laughed while he laughed. I told him, “Accept their drinks when they come because I’m no longer coming back.”

Minutes later, Erica called. She was fuming; “What did you tell my father? What kind of disrespect is that? If you knew you were not ready, then why did you go for the list in the first place? What kind of embarrassment is that?”

In my next life, I’ll never do these two things for any woman; one, bring her home to live with me. Two, choose her over my own family. My children will never do these and their children will never do them too.

The marriage didn’t happen. She was no longer my girlfriend the day she left. When tempers went down and she realized I was set in my ways, she came with a calm voice, “OK, I’ve spoken to my dad. We didn’t handle things well. I’m here to apologize. My dad will later call and say some apologies too. We shouldn’t throw four years away just because of this. We’ve come very far.”

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The movie had ended long ago and the credits were rolling but she didn’t see it. She thought she could unmake the hurt and frowns but I told her, “Apology accepted but we are too far gone. It won’t work because the fool had learned sense.”


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