I Got Pressured Into A Marriage That Stole 10 Years Of My Life
Meeting my ex-husband, Tosin* was the most random thing.
It was 2008. He called my line and opened with, “Hi! Can I get to know you?” I asked how he got my number, but he couldn’t give me an answer, so I ended the call. He kept calling. Sometimes I would pick, and we would do the same dance — “How did you get my number?” “I don’t remember.” “Goodbye.” This went on for weeks.
One day, I was on leave and bored at home, so when he called, I didn’t hang up. We had a long conversation. We discovered we are from the same state and I went to secondary school with his siblings. That got me curious. I wanted to meet him.
I suggested we go out for drinks, but he said he wanted to come to my house instead. I refused and insisted on a public place. When he saw me, the first thing he said was, “I don’t like how your hair is uncovered as my future wife.”
I don’t remember what my response was, but I know we didn’t have drinks that day anymore. We had drinks two days later.
Some days later, I was at home when Tosin called that his mum would like to talk to me. I spoke to her, and shortly after, she sent me some gifts. I didn’t think much of it. One day, my dad asked when I was bringing my husband home. I said I didn’t know when, but I was talking to someone.
When I told him about Tosin, it turned out he and my mum already knew his family. My dad said I should invite him to the house. I did, and we had lunch with my dad. They talked. I was indifferent about the whole thing.
My leave ended and I went back to work, which was out of town. After a few weeks, I called my mum and there were drumming sounds in the background. I asked what was going on, and she said, “Your husband’s people came.” I was like, “Which husband? I never introduced anybody to you as my husband.” My dad said, “You shouldn’t have invited him for lunch if you didn’t want to marry him. They came with a letter, and we have responded. The next thing is to agree on a date for the solemnisation.”
I was 22 at the time. I had never actively thought about marriage before then, but I knew it was expected of me. It didn’t seem like a bad idea if it would get my parents off my back and possibly make them happy.
But you see, marriage was nothing like I expected it to be. First of all, I lost my freedom. I used to wear tiny dresses and skirts, but when I got married, I had to cover my hair. Even though I am a Muslim, I hated that shit. I loved travelling, but marriage meant I had to take permission for my trips. Sometimes, he would make me feel bad for even going at all. I had to give up everything that made me myself to be acceptable to everyone — my partner, my parents, my in-laws.
I think I was too young. Tosin was six years older than me. I didn’t centre my needs in making the decision to be married. If I had, I would have chosen better. Before I knew it, kids started coming into the equation. The first child was born in the first year, the second child was born in the third year and in the seventh year, we adopted the third. I think the kids made the ten years we spent married bearable. Tosin and I had nothing in common, but we were able to bond over caring for the children.
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