By Chioma Gabriel
Is it justifiable by any standard to succumb to a relationship with a man who is already hooked to another woman? Does it matter that it has become so common and every single lady you know is doing it? Is it justifiable? You have seen homes broken and relationships rubbished for that fact but is it fair to be the one responsible for a broken home? Have you put yourself in the other womanâ€™s shoe? You are doing it now. Would you tolerate it if you were the one whose husband is being dated? Helen shares her experience this week.
He sent away his wife and married me -Helen, 37
Chief was the Chairman and CEO of the company where IÂ did my NYSC. Initially, I didnâ€™t know him until I was transferred to the chairmanâ€™s office and I worked closely with him.
I was leaving the office one evening at the close of work. It was about to rain and chief offered to drop me at a place where it would be convenient for me to pick a cab. But before we could get to that junction, the rains came heavily and chiefÂ changedÂ his mind. He said the driver would drop him at home and then go and drop me at my place because of the rain and that seemed fair enough. When we got to his home, the driver had a few things to do first and I was required to come out of the vehicle and wait a while for the driver to be ready. I was taken to the ground floor sitting room of the palatial mansion to wait.
As I seated, chief went upstairs and the driver carried his brief caseÂ and followed him. I was alone when a woman came down and demanded who I came to see. I told her I was waiting for the driver toÂ drop me, that I came with chief from the office. She did not wait for further explanation. She descended on me and tore my shirt and gave me a hot slap. She generally roughened me and I had blood marks of her finger nails on my face. I didnâ€™t know what to do and since it was raining heavily, I got up to save my life and raised an alarm andÂ ran upstairs. I ran into the shocked chief at the staircase who now stood between me and the woman whoÂ had followed me in hot pursuit. The woman rained all kinds of abuses on me and threatened me with everything you can imagine. I didnâ€™t need anybody to tell me she was chiefâ€™s wife.
Eventually, I managed to escape to the car and the driver quickly joined me and drove off. I never imagined anything like that could happen to anybody. At home, I was faced with the unenviable task of explaining my disheveled state to my elder brother and his wife who initially thought that I was raped.
The next day, my face was still swollen and I felt very ill. I called my supervisor and told him I could not make it to the office. I was shocked when in the evening of the same day, chief dragged his wife to my house to come and apologise. I learnt that his wife was in the office the same day to create more scene.
My elder brother and his wife expressed shock at the incident and if that display by chiefâ€™s wife was meant to scare me, it achieved the opposite . Before this time, I had never had anything to do with any married man but after she brutalised me, chief began to pay special attention to me. I knew he felt guilt about his wifeâ€™s attitude especially as there was nothing between us and I thought he was making restitution for his wife. He increased the allowances ofÂ NYSC membersÂ in his office; increased my responsibility and had an official car attached to me. At the end of the service year, he gave the three youth-corp members that served in his organisationÂ permanent appointments and official quarters.
I realised later from gossip making round the office that chief has divorced his wife because of me. Someone else confirmed it and I felt strange about it. I thought it was wrong and decided to tender my resignation. It was rejected. The Admin Manager said that I had some financial engagements I had to finalise with the companiesÂ involved before my resignation would be accepted and that dragged on.
At a point, chief insisted on being personally involved in these official engagements and one thing led to the other and we became lovers. I told him I felt bad because I was being accused of being responsible for the problem he had with his wife but he said it had nothing to do with me, that his wife was pronounced barren by the doctors and he was giving her all the medical attention and treatment required to get her out of the situation but his wife chose to blame witches and wizards for her problems and rather than concentrate on her treatment, resorted to partronising herbalists. He said his wife fought his mother and broke her waist, fought and injured his niece living with them and sent her packing without his knowledge inspite of the fact that the girl was an only child and her parents are late. He told me sordid stories and showed me medical reports that he has developed hypertension and BP. I guess I felt sorry for him and that was it.
We got married quietly when I became pregnant but refused to live in the house with him under the agreement that he would bring back his wife. He rented a place for me and brought back his wife and despite the fact that I never went to that place, the woman was not comfortable with me as a wife. I gave birth to three kids in three years and she asked chiefÂ to send her abroad to live but he divorced her instead and settled her handsomely so she could start another life.Even though chief divorced her because of me, Iâ€™m glad that I never interfered in their affair and uptill now, Iâ€™m still living in my place except when chief moves in to stay. I donâ€™t ask questions about the other women in his life. I still work in the office and he is still my boss. He has female visitors all the time but I never asked questions except when he introduced them to me or explained their mission.Â I should be blamed for the fateÂ ofÂ hisÂ ex because I had nothing to do with chief initially. That is my position on this issue.