By Bunmi Sofola

MOST times, lying with my husband watching him sleep on his back, beer belly rising and falling with each snore, he doesn’t look appetizing in the least especially with his treble chin and bald head. I am starting to find him repulsive…” Melisa looked so forlorn as she told me about the state of her marriage that I had to laugh.

She wasn’t amused. I reminded her they’d just been married 12 years and it was a bit early for her to start being resentful, especially when she has two adorable kids and a well heeled husband who gave her and the children virtually everything they wanted. “But what about meaningful sex? Seun was fit and to die for.

Now he’s flabby and unattractive. His weight had more than doubled; the only thing that hasn’t changed is his personality. He’s still kind and loving with a good sense of humour. Trouble is, I just don’t fancy him any more. I want rippling muscles – not rippling fat!”

I warned her to be extremely careful. After escaping the seven year-itch, maybe, 12 years is when her marriage should have started showing signs of being in a rut – she should strive for both of them to get out of it. “I don’t know about Seun,” she said simply, “but I’m trying my best to do just that. As a matter of fact, I’ve just met someone at work.

He is a technician we briefly used. Though he is single, he knows he’s nothing but a bit-on-the side. And he’s so sexy. Instead of the usual boxers, he wears clinging lycra cycling shorts which makes him look deeply sexy. It is easy to get a way to meet him as Seun works really late now he’s been promoted to management level. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seun, but sex with Ephraim is like an icing on a cake.”

I told her she was treading on dangerous grounds but she just laughed in my face. Months later, she came running back to me. “It is Seun” she said, a bit frightened, “it is as if he suspects I’m having an affair. Last night, he came outright to ask why we never seem to make love any more. That I couldn’t get away quickly enough whenever he touched me.

I told him not to be silly, that I love him, which I do, but I was always a bit tired. ‘Is it because I’ve put on a lot of weight,’ he asked me, ‘don’t worry about that. My new post means I could join any club I want and I have joined one with an impressive gym. You could come along too if you like, so we could get healthy together.’

“I assured him I would help him lose weight. But there’s another weight I have to lose – and that’s Ephraim. He is cute, but Seun is the man I love. I’m seeing him tonight. He’s had enough fun and it is time to let go…” Well, it wasn’t as easy as she thought. When we met some days later, she told me, “That Ephraim is a lunatic.

As soon as we settled down to our favourite meal at the restaurant where we usually went first before sex, I told him I wanted to call it a day, that my husband could be dangerous now he was suspicious. I thought he’d be fine – after all we both knew all we could have was fun no-strings sex. But his face changed. ‘You can’t just dump me like that’, he fumed. ‘I really love you’.

I was shocked, “Look”, I told him gently, “you’re a lovely man, but I want to concentrate on my marriage”. I was really put off by his sudden declaration of love. Our arrangement had nothing to do with that. He glared angrily at me, ‘Oh really?’ he spat. ‘You should have thought of that before.’ With that he stormed out of the door. I felt sick and shaken. But at least it was done and over with. Thank goodness I hadn’t given him my mobile number. So, I kept that turned off when I was at home. Better to be safe than be sorry!

“As soon as I switched it on the next day, there were pleading text messages from him and more kept on pinging text messages. I erased them all.

He had to understand we were now history. And as Seun’s flab began to melt, his treble chin slimmed down and his beer belly shrank. I found myself thinking about Ephraim less and less. Then last Saturday when I was vacuuming, there was a knock on the door. I was irritated thinking Seun had forgotten his key again.

He’d nipped out to the gym to meet a few friends. Only pulling open the door, I found Ephraim glaring at me. “So I’ve finally tracked you down,’ he snarled. “Why have you been ignoring my text messages?” I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. Was he mad? “You have to go,” I yelled at him, terrified Seun would arrive any minute, ‘I’ve told you it is over.’ I tried to shut the door in his face, but he went berserk.

Booting the front door open, he pushed his way into the flat. “I love you Melisa,” he whined, “and I’m not leaving your house until you admit you love me too.” His eyes were bulging. He looked really demented. If you didn’t get him out of the flat soon, Seun would come back and find out about everything. ‘Ok, ok, I love you too, now go!” How could I have found this simpleton sexy? I fumed silently.

“He calmed down and eventually left, but not before issuing an ultimatum. ‘Start seeing me again’ he threatened, ‘or I’ll tell your husband everything,’ I told him to get lost! Since then, I haven’t seen him, not even at work since he knows where my office is. But every time the door-bell rings, I’m edgy, terrified it’s him, Seun is now looking great and our marriage is the best it’s been for a long time. I just pray Ephraim doesn’t’ come back and ruin it all. W

hy are some men so childish? A single girl that goes out with a married man doesn’t believe it would be a happy-ever-after relationship. So, why can’t a married woman do the same with the hope that the man would be grateful for a few free bunks?” Shows you how naive some people are. I reminded her that she must know of a few men whose bits-on-the-side have turned to second wives they never really bargained for. And if a young married woman is having an affair, she’s sending the signal her marriage is not happy and what gullible lover wouldn’t think he might just be better than her husband – enough to take her away from him!

How I sent my violent husband packing — Reader’s Reaction

Dear Bunmi,

I’ve been a battered wife and the memories still haunt me. It’s upsetting when I read some of the things you write about violent relationships – they’re just like I used to be. I feel sad because I’m out of it, free whilst some women hang in there. When I met my husband, I thought he was the most charming person in the world.

He seemed so gentle and loving. I had no idea of the monster hidden inside. A few people tried to warn me: “He’s got a reputation for being handy with his fists. Be careful,” I was told. But when you’re in love, you don’t listen. We were happy for a while and then it started. The abuse began as verbal. The odd insult thrown at me here and there.

“Then it was the odd slap, finally turning into punches, I became pregnant and thought it would be a turning point. He would change if we had a child to think of, surely? But he got worse. So many times I tried to leave, but I was always taken in by his lies that he would track me down and take my son from me. It was too much of a risk, so I stayed. I could go into great details about what happened to me and my son, but to list over three years of abuse would take forever.

“The final straw came one night when I was beaten so badly I had bruises all over my body. I fled to my family and they were aghast! They had no idea I was abused in whatever form. With the support of family and close friends, I was able to start picking the pieces of my life. My dad threatened to actually kill him with his bare hands if he as much as showed up in the house. With time, I got over most of the nightmares that plagued me after I left him.

“I now have a loving relationship with a decent divorcee, but I’m not keen on getting hitched to him right now. But I am happy and my son is thriving. To all you battered wives out there – get out! There’s always a happy ending. You just have to go out and find it”. 

— Betty.

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