I am 32 and, for five months, my six-year-old daughter and I have been living with a man who is 31. He is not her biological father and we come from different communities. We recently had a fight and, in the process, he said I am too old for him and that my child is too big. I realised he might be having issues with me so I thought to give him some space. I was so hurt by this and I suggested that we separate. Now, he is really begging me not to leave. He has since apologised, but I am confused about what to do. Please advise me.
What the readers say:
Hellen, sorry for what you have gone through and are going through. To me the man told you his heart and what he has been thinking about you...or what his close friends or relatives have been telling him. We have heard of several cases of fathers molesting children - most recently of a man who raped his own son and 4-day-old daughter and even accompanied the mother to the hospital. There are also many cases of family conflict that may lead to violence, physical injury and even death. Have you reported your case to your parents, his parents, chief or children officer, or even your landlord or neighbourhood elders? What has been their take? If you haven’t confided in anyone then please do. Silence is a cancer-like disease and, when not checked, there may be consequences. As you make your decision, free yourself by being financially independent. Your child can be supported by her own father through the intervention of your chief, children’s officer or children’s court. Meanwhile, you can join social clubs, church groups or Chama to act as a support group and keep you busy. Think in a tank, consult widely and make a wise decision.
Hellen, this man seems to have been either playing games with you or he is listening to advice from someone who doesn’t like you. When he was saying all these things to you, he was looking for an easy way to get rid of you. He was probably not ready for the responsibility that comes with suddenly being a father and he must have discussed his fears with someone who advised him to let you off with an excuse. When he realised how hurt you were, he thought about his actions and decided to beg you to stay. Remember, that he did both things without considering your future or your daughter’s. In fact, he has never put that into consideration. If he truly loved and respected the two of you, he would never have allowed you to become so invested in the relationship before making a commitment to you. What he is doing is acting to suit his ego and conscience. For now, how you reacted is still top of his mind and he didn’t want to feel guilty about making you feel that way. Sooner or later, he will have to choose between guilt and fear and fear will win. Don’t be surprised to find yourself ghosted. He will probably move out quietly so he doesn’t have to witness your feelings of rejection and loss.
Anne Obot Chemutai
The way he can easily send you away and end the relationship makes anyone wonder how you got to live together as husband and wife. I am not by any means talking about ceremonies.
Going through your story, I could pick a casual set up to this relationship. It is so casual in a manner not expected of you, especially as far as your age is concerned and also considering the fact that you have a child.
I do not know the circumstances that surrounded your moving in with him. However, something indicates that you need to improve on how you feel about yourself. You need to boost your self-love. You are vulnerable and you will be easily taken advantage of.
Everyone desires a good relationship, but we should not be desperate for it. Desperation makes one easy prey to abusers and will always attract the wrong people into your life.
If this guy has verbalised the things you have said, then you have got to leave. Take him seriously. Many people hide behind bouts of anger to speak what they would otherwise not have the courage to say yet they desperately need to because they mean every word of it.
It is the same way that, when some people are drunk, they say things that are not very far from what they have been meditating.
Whether you will later reconsider your decision or not, for now I would encourage you to leave. Get yourself and your child out of that place. It is not doing you any good.
Take time to re-energise and pour into yourself. If it is about financial support, brace up. It could be a struggle at the beginning but you will be OK.
You are better off struggling honourably than being comfortable at the expense of your emotional wellbeing.
Remember this incident is likely to reoccur. Also give him time to rethink his actions and words. Otherwise, you deserve better than this.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology