MORE and more women today are settling for ‘living happily apart’ relationships.
They all had dreams of the stereo-typed relationships – meet a prospective partner, get married, have desired children and live happily ever-after. But reality is far from all that. When I got married,’ said Lisa, a medical doctor, “I did because I was pregnant. Both of us were in medical school and my family wouldn’t approve of me getting married out of wedlock.
“Marriage is for life,” preached my prim mother, “and no child has a right to be born a bastard if both parents could help it.”
“So we got married and married life was not what I expected it to be. My new husband was always studying and it was soon obvious we got married out of necessity than love. We eventually qualified and went on to have two more children. I was lucky to have a cossy apartment that went with my job whilst my husband stayed on at the teaching
hospital. Marriage was dull. I was in my 30s and not prepared to hang on to a hum-drum existence for the rest of my life. Then my husband was given the accommodation he’d applied for for years and he wanted me to move in with him. 1 refused. The apartment I had was on a good part of the city – why leave that to live in a block of flats?
“We parted amicably and got divorced shortly after. I eventually met a man I really fancied. He was a divorcee too – he’d been for about seven years and had four children. A successful businessman, he wanted us to get married straight away.
I was happy in the relationship and was actually in love with him. The more I thought about the prospect of re- marrying, the more I convinced myself that what mattered most to me was romance. Romance had quickly died when I first got married, and I resented staying at home to look after the kids, see to the cleaning of the house and hold down a full-time job.
“That was when I made up my mind never to live with a man again. I sat my new man down, explained how I felt and left it to him to make up his own mind about the relationship. I was happy when he said he loved me and was quite happy to have me on any terms. He’d had some bad experiences in his marriage and didn’t want a repeat
performance. To give our union a semblance of stability, we did a traditional wine-carrying ceremony just to appease our relatives. So now, he stays with me weekends till Monday when he goes back to his house. His children are quite grown and either live abroad or stay in apartments given them by their dad.
We’ve had this ‘marriage’ for five years now. We value the time we’re with each other and have a healthy social life . This keeps the romance and passion alive and because we’re not together all the time, we don’t get under each other’s skin. There are no rows about money or silly little things that drive a wedge between other couples. When he comes
into my home, it’s on my own terms. His things are neatly placed – whereas in his home, he does what he likes. He always leaves lights and air conditioners on unnecessarily. But he knows I’m conscious of my electricity bills and will turn off all lights and won’t leave things plugged in.
‘It’s the happiest relationship I’v ever been in and I put it down to living separately, I wouldn’t change a thing!’.
According to Edurie, a renowned actress, “I love the fact that I can get on the plane to say Abuja with my friends instead of being tied to the house because I have to put hot meals on the table for my husband or breast-feed a child.
After I had my daughter, 13 years ago, I’d decided one was enough. I’m only human, and like any woman, have had days during a break-up of a relationship when I sit around in my nightie feeling depressed. Yet I quickly realise that, we came into this world alone and we all go out of it alone and there’s no point being reliant on anyone else to make you happy.
‘I’ve’ really had three boyfriends in my 40 odd years and all have been high-profile relationships. My first serious boyfriend was an industrialist with whom I had my daughter and he still takes good care of us. I was engaged to the second one and dumped him when I caught him sleeping with a close friend. The third one was a bit younger and immature so we amicably agreed to be just friends. As a matter of fact. I’m on friendly terms with my exes and appreciate what I have learnt from all of them.
It takes strength to look back on a relationship and learn from the experiences you had with that person.
‘This understanding comes with age, of course. When I was in my 20s, I was in a relationship because I felt it completed me. But now I look back and feel so grateful that I didn’t marry the person I was with then, I have changed so much as a person since then and I’m sure he has changed too. With age and experience, I have become confident and
happy in myself regardless of who comes in or out of my life. I certainly don’t want anyone to look at me as a 40-year-old single mother and feel sorry for me. I’m having the time of my life … “