By Bunmi Sofola
SINCE my wife and I separated five years ago, I can count the number of times I’ve seen my two children … “, said 42-year-old Teslim, a self-employed electrical engineer.
“This is not because I don’t want to see them; it’s not because I don’t love them. It’s because Folu, my ex and I can’t put our hatred of each other to one side for a moment- even at festive periods and holidays – to think about the people who really matter most – our children.
“Her excuse is that the children, who are now in their early teens don’t want to see me and I can’t make them. I know they don’t want to see me because Folu has turned them against me. When I first started my business, things were very tough financially, and, for a few years, Folu was responsible for keeping food on the table. The house we lived in was half-finished, but it was mine.
“I came home one day to find her gone with the kids. The note she left was really humiliating and the rich parents she ran to didn’t even bother to find out from me why she left. A few weeks later, I went to her family house and met her mother who told me snootily that maybe we should give each other some breathing space. That Folu was really traumatised by the experience she went through in her marriage. What experience for goodness sake? Will she be the first wife to support a husband in his trying times?”
“Neither Teslim nor Folu can bring themselves to face up to their role in their break-up or swallow some pride and call a truce” said Folu’s aunty who was very angry with Folu’s mum for driving a wedge into the marriage. “Neither is ready to say: We might not love each other any more but at least we can love our children”. Instead a yawning gap has opened up between them into which the poor children have fallen. And, it is these children that will miss out on quality time that should be spent with their dad.
“When a family breaks up for whatever reason, there is sadness. It is sad for the parents, sad for the children and sad for the grandparents left in the wings, deprived of their grand-children in the fall-out from their child’s failed relationship. When things go wrong the pain is felt all round. But it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Reason does not have to give way to anger. Pain does not have to replace fair-mindedness. It is hard to put aside your feelings, especially in the early days when emotions are raw. But it can be done … “
It is sad that the number of children who live with both parents is dwindling while more and more children live in a single-parent household.
Like thousands of others up and down the length of the country, Teslim’s family is fractured and scattered, forced apart by separation or divorce. And, it is a growing statistics. My marriage ended when my ex left home, taking our children withou’t even telling me,” Teslim continued, some of the resentment in him still flaring. “There had been times when that moment had pushed my good nature and reasonableness to the brink. What did she expect when she left? That I would go after her, begging her on my knees to come back? That I would be so destitute, I would be begging on the street?
“The ironic thing is that my luck changed for the better after she left. My business picked up to a peak that even astonished me. I found romance when I was not even looking for it. Before I eventually got hitched to my second wife, he had thrown all her savings and contacts into the business and insisted we should complete the house so we could let half of it. Folu refused to let the children attend the wedding and she had even bitched to her friends that all I could end up with was an ugly wife. My wife might be ugly in her eyes, but to me she is a beauty inside out. She is a wonderful mother to our twin sons and personified what a wife should be.
“ All I know is that I would one day regain the control of my first two children. Divorce doesn’t mean I have to lose control of my children.
“In spite of the court’s decision to let me have access to them, my ex still clings to them as a bargaining chip. I wish her all the luck. I won’t
be the first man to be deprived of time with my children because of a bitter ex and I certainly won’t be the last! Yet, there had been cases where parents put their differences aside for the benefit of their children. I hope that, very soon, Folu would meet a man who would help her let go of her bitterness – just like my new wife has helped with mine.”
Could The Cure For That Impotence Be This Simple?
Some 15 years into their marriage, Sina discovered he’d lost all interest in love-making. “At first I thought it would-be temporary”, he confessed, “but when my wife threatened to leave after years of being sexually frustrated, I decided to do something about it. So the next time I travelled, I complained to my doctor who referred me to a clinic dealing with psychosexual problems. After a few questions, the therapist at the clinic told me: ‘I think your testosterone level may be low. That would be an explanation for your lack of energy and poor sex drive.
“Blood tests were then taken. The results, which came a month later, confirmed I had a hormone imbalance. A normal testosterone level is around 20. Mine was nine.” I was relieved when he assured me my problem was treatable. I was then given a hormone gel to rub between my shoulders. It’s absorbed through the skin and within two weeks of smearing it in, I was like a floppy toy with new batteries – I came to life with renewed zip and vigour.
“I was virtually unstoppable – and I’m still going strong after two years,” which buttress the point I’ve always made that no one should be afraid to seek medical help no matter how trivial they think their ailment is.