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Read Letter

Traded Off!

My dear Jil, adultery won’t solve this problem. It will only compound the issues. And you have to understand the hypocritical make-up of human society. The woman is always guilty of adultery, never the man. That illogicality is millennia old. Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery… the one brought to Jesus for confirmation of death sentence? “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her,” they said. As if the woman slept with herself, but that story illustrates the pious discriminability of a male denominated society. If the story ever gets out, and I pray to God this gentleman of yours is truly a gentleman, society will roast you.

Your contemnors will include your women folk. They will goad the fire to produce embers of infernal condemnation. Don’t get me wrong: I recognize your needs – physical and emotional. And I take judicial notice of the limited capacity of your much older husband to meet those emotional and physical needs. He’s not culturally literate, and he’s educationally challenged. In my opinion your father traded you for money and importance in forcing you to marry this man at such an unripe age. Parents still do that by the way. They trade their daughters in marriage for money, pension and self-importance. As your father saw it, you’re his beautiful genetic asset who must be traded to the highest bidder. Now you’re paying the service charge on that misbegotten commercial transaction. You’re trapped and unhappy.

Unfortunately your fertility and child bearing capacity makes your case even harder. You now have three kids. Maternity was part of the original deal, and I recognize that in African culture it’s some form of validation. The irony is that your husband is so happily married: he married a beautiful wife, has beautiful kids. He’s married beyond his cultural potential to a beautiful graduate. He thinks you have a great marriage. He CAN’T appreciate your feelings, or understand your emotions. And the generational gap is huge. To be sure, there are marriages with huge age disparities that work. Very well. But that’s because those women are naturally attuned to marrying much older men. Some people are like that. Marrying a young man will not work for them. They won’t respect him. He’s out of psychological contemplation. They prefer older men. And not just older men, men old enough to be their dad. Society tends to condemn such as “gold diggers” but that’s extreme over-generalisation and simplification. Not all women who marry older gentlemen are mine workers. Solomon already told us the way of love is a mystery. I think it has to do with conditioning from youth. Psychoanalysts may well insist on father figure theories.

But you don’t seem like any of these women. You’re not naturally drawn to older men. And therein lies your dilemma. You’re in a horrible and difficult place. It’s not an enviable place to be. You’re just discovering yourself but you can’t become what you really want to become. Your dreams are caged. Do you stay in a forced marriage to a man who can’t even meet your emotional needs? Do you ameliorate his inadequacies with self-help? Or do you leave? The answers are not so pert and there’s no easy resolution of the issues involved. You’re in that place where forward or backward there’s a huge price to be paid.

My analysis is not going to be politically correct. I’m not one given to political correctness in these kinds of matter. If you wanted political correctness you wouldn’t have written me. I believe you just want an honest, non-judgmental 3rd party opinion. Human pain cannot understand our political correctness. Depression is no respecter of persons. If you decide to stay in the marriage you’re going to pay a huge price. If you decide to hop out you’re going to pay a huge price. Which price is the more palatable, which is easier to pay, which has a better upside… Now, those are questions. It’s either you accept your fate and reconcile yourself to the grim realities of your marriage… make the most of it… Or you decide to leave, but then be ready for the mother of recriminations and economic challenges. Not to talk of possible denial of access to your kids, and rupture with your family.

It’s going to be hard explaining to anyone why you want to leave. Emotional difficulties lack rational explanation. You can’t explain marital trauma, you can only make descriptive attempts. It defies human language. It’s why those who haven’t been through it are quick to judge. It’s beyond their comprehensive capability. You won’t have justification is what I’m telling you in essence. Your supporters club will be in single digits. How do you wake up after three kids with a sudden realization that it’s all been a huge mistake? No one will understand. Yet matters of the heart defy clinical treatment. Unhappiness can’t be rationalized or explained. Then there’s your dad. Unless he suddenly has an epiphany I don’t see him understanding or trying to understand. And your mum may know the truth about your situation, even be sympathetic, but she won’t defy her husband. Their generation married under same terms and conditions. Your mum stuck it out. She’d say she grew to love your father.

If the issue of the adultery ever gets out (and these things have a way of getting out) you will lose all pity. You’ll be branded. And the stigma may follow you for life. Only the uncaring will rally to your cause. Your hurt husband/benefactor will of course wonder, and “after all he’s done for you!” As it is you’re terribly exposed. And you stand to cause so much damage on many levels if you continue with the affair. You’ll also destroy so many things in many families. Your sexual liaison is married. Think of your children as well. The adultery wouldn’t solve a thing. It will only compound issues. And nothing good will come of it. You won’t have a happy marriage with this other man. The pressure of invisible condemnation will destroy the marriage. The adultery is thus a dangerous palliative. Fulfills short-term ends but creates long-term danger. I advise you get out of it. I understand the sense of anger and impotence you feel, which serve as justification for the adultery. But how long are you going to live under the strain of secrecy and detection avoidance? And you’re becoming what you never imagined yourself to be. I’m sure you can’t believe this is you. And you’re going to get careless at some point. He may blab to someone, as men are wont to do. Or a busybody might make you a special project. You also open yourself to the possibility of blackmail.

To resolve the problem there are two sets of people you need to have a conversation with: You need to talk to your parents and you need to talk to your husband. Tell them how you feel however it falls. As it is, no one knows what you’re going through, or how you feel. Everyone assumes you’re lucky and happy. Perhaps if you let your husband know then he can make some efforts to fulfill you physically and emotionally. But he may not be able to fully satisfy you because of cultural challenges. (Being realistic). Getting out of the marriage is a possibility of course, but what a price you’ll pay! It’s going to be steep. Your parents will resent you. You broke their contract. You can’t win the PR war that will ensue. Those who see life in stark black and white will not be charitable to you. They’re probably issuing edicts already. They know nothing of the anguish of the barricaded heavy doors of an unhappy marriage. You’ve got some tough decisions to make. I’d say make them prayerfully.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | 

Tags : Unhappiness, adultery

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