Women who move in and take over the role of a wife have become common   Photo: Courtesy

By Silas Nyanchwani

Apparently, a huge percentage of marriages in Kenya are based on cohabitation. It all starts like a joke that, unfortunately, ends with tears — for the woman.

It begins with a sleep over where the woman puts her best foot forward; cooks tasty meals, washes and cleans and generally keeps the house in good condition. This will impress the man, no doubt.

It has been alleged that most men hardly know what they want in a wife, and therefore, any woman with average so-called ‘wife material’ credentials can trick such men into marrying her. All she needs to do is behave well during the formative years of the relationship, and before the man knows it, she sticks on him like glue, forcing him to marry her.

Unfortunately, things always fail, and in no time, the same woman is calling a morning show FM radio host to complain in tears that the man she practically forced into marriage has not ‘touched’ her in three months.

When a man ‘accidentally’ moves in with such a sly woman, she assumes the role of a wife without his approval. And considering she cooks well, cleans and satiates his carnal appetite, he does not mind the treat. It is always good while it lasts. Soon, hair bands, earrings, belts, underwear and a pair of shoes are left behind. And when the man gets concerned, all he is told is, “ I can’t carry them in my bag; it will be heavy. I will pick them later.”

Washing jeans

The next time the man checks, each of the items has extra pairs, and his wardrobe begins to look pretty much like hers — with him encroaching!

Next, she will wash his pair of jeans. Or two. This is normally the point of no return. Washing hard jeans is the ultimate sacrifice. It shows the readiness for the bad times ahead. If you are in doubt, ask any woman which task they dread most.

Technically, the man is inadvertently married. Statistically, the number of men who got married this way are enough to elect a president in Kenya. It is always only when one realises she is the wrong woman — and attempts to throw her out — that it dawns on him that flushing her out is a herculean task.

Openly telling her you want her out is tantamount to opening the proverbial Pandora’s box. Cases have been reported of women living in pseudo-marriages gone awry going crazy. Plasma TVs have been broken into smithereens. Car windscreens have been on the receiving end. Houses have been soaked in water.

Women do not know how to handle reality like men do. With limited ways out of the quicksand, men always device means that might sound ingenious to other men, actually very creative, but downright disrespectful to women. The end will justify the means, either way.

However, the job has to be done, by all means necessary.

Andrew Mwaniki* was faced with such a sticky situation. Sleeping at friends’ houses, eating out and coming back home late in an attempt to get her  to smell the coffee yielded no fruits. He ran out of options and pulled a fast one that evokes adjectives such as childish, immature, silly, stupid and inconsiderate. Actually, more mean adjectives would be apt.

Mwaniki literally pissed his ‘wife’ off! Tired of the clingy woman he did not intend to marry, he decided to wet his bed, and he was not even drunk. The following day, he woke up, took a shower and left for work. When she woke up, of course, thoroughly annoyed, she could not believe what she was seeing, so she called him.

 “Hey, sweets, did you wet the bed last night?” she inquired.

“Yeah, I did. Sorry, I could not wake you up to tell you…”

“But why?” she exclaimed.

“Baby, it is hard, but it is a problem that I have and once it comes back, it can go on for over a month,” he managed to stammer, clearly apologetic. 

She packed her things immediately and left.

You simply cannot make this one up. Some have labelled it genius, but the main question here is, what if she chose to stay put and deal with it? For some men have tried to desperately chase a woman away, only for her to be ready to withstand the hardships that he puts her through.

Kamau Ngige, tired with a woman he had known for a short time yet she was pushing him to commit, used a trick akin asking a stranger to act as your parent when you have been suspended from high school. He looked for a man slightly older than him and plotted with him.

The older man arrived one night uninvited — luggage in hand, and began acting like he was the owner of the house and had just arrived from safari.

His no-nonsense hireling strolled in to the house and, in a rather authoritative way, began kicking up a fuss. Next, he dove into the bathroom while issuing ultimatums. Later, he emerged from the washroom spitting fire and asking rhetorical questions: “ Jeez, what’s going on here?”

All this went on as he fished her undergarments from the bathroom, throwing them out as he admonished Ngige, who, in turn, pretended to be remorseful.

Thick and thin

As Ngige was expelling the woman, he acted repentant of his sins. Meanwhile, his ‘boss’ was like Juma Anderson of Papa Shirandula, acting ticked off and about to explode.

“I leave you to take care of my house and the only thing you can think of is housing a woman? What is wrong with young men of today? Who is she? Have you introduced her to any family member? Does she know that you don’t even work?” he thundered.

After ‘humiliating’ Ngige, the woman got strict instructions to pack her stuff and disappear.

On seeing Ngige portrayed as a liar, poor and unreliable, the woman was quick to leave.

Nicholas Bundi*, too, once had a clingy girlfriend. She was hovering so much that it was beginning to suffocate him. Since they lived together, he tried all manner of tricks to evade her, but she hung on. She stuck with him through thick and thin.

Furious

Nicholas then had his Einstein moment. To get rid of her, he called on one of his female friends and agreed that they would simulate sex as soon as his girlfriend was due home. If she caught him red-handed, then she could get rid of herself. The plan worked well.

“As soon as she arrived home, we went to the matrimonial bed with my friend and pretended to be making out,” explains Nicholas.

His girlfriend was furious! He gave her a half-hearted apology, hoping that she would give up, but after crying the entire night, she resolved to forgive him. His means had not achieving the desired goal.

So he told her, “I can never forgive myself for what I have done to you. I think we are better apart than if we stayed together. I will hate myself. Things will never be the same.”

She believed him, and off she went, giving him the space he was desperate for.