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JILTED HUSBAND WRITES AFRICAN COLUMNIST

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Dear columnist,
I am a regular follower of Gender Focus and I was impressed with your article entitled “Modern couples losing African warmth.” It was thoughtful of you to give counsel to young couples who are lost in modernity so that they could learn to warm up to the extended family.
I write to seek counsel on a marital problem which has been bothering me quite a lot. I am nursing a broken heart after a bitter divorce I found myself in after my wife cheated on me with another man.
Please do not reveal my true identity for obvious reasons.
My ex-wife and I lived happily until my friend got a job in the civil service after I took her to college. We got married under a traditional arrangement after we had our child out of wedlock soon after we completed school.
I would like to mention that my ex-wife and I were childhood sweethearts. I was on the Copperbelt studying when my friend moved in with me and that’s how we got married.
When my wife started working, we could not just get along until I found disturbing text messages from her boyfriend. People hinted to me that my wife was cheating on me but I could not believe it until I found disturbing text messages in her phone.
I loved this woman and was ready to forgive her then, but she personally opted for divorce because of this man who is actually married. Though not formally divorced in court, we went our separate ways because my in-laws rose against me in favour of their promiscuous daughter. With the way everything went, I felt going to court would be a waste of time. I just decided to leave the country for South Africa where I am currently working.
My wife has continued seeing this man who is married, and they have a child together.
I have tried to let bygones be bygones but it hurts me a lot because I sacrificed my meagre salary to take this woman to school. It is also disheartening to see my two children separated from me because of a selfish man who has no regard for other people’s wives.
To take you back, when my friend got pregnant, we were not ready to tie the knot because I needed to go to college. But my parents paid damages to the tune of KR320, equivalent to three cows ,and this was a substantial amount in 1991. I was on the Copperbelt when my fiancée moved in with me.
though I objected, she insisted saying her grandmother advised her that I might ditch her if we continued staying apart.
It was at this time that my wife became pregnant with our second child. After this we travelled to the village where I was asked to pay dowry.
When we came back from the village our marriage was rosy until I lost my job and relocated to my home town in the Eastern Province.

From the blues, my wife started behaving in a funny manner and denying me sex. She would travel to Lusaka every week-end without informing me. To cut the long story short, we convened a family meeting when our problems got out of hand. It was in this meeting when one of my in-laws confided in my mother that my wife was going out with a rich man in Lusaka and her parents were aware about it.
Apparently confirming it all, my wife told our elders that she was no longer interested in me. She gave no reason and that’s how we separated. A few years later, I sued my wife for reconciliation in the Lusaka Boma court, but she totally refused to take me back.

As I write to you, am hurt because I am staying outside the country while our children are with their mother. I am all by myself but my ex-wife has a third child from her lover. I need advice on how I can get my children. I support them financially- one is a school- leaver, while the other is a ninth grader.
I have given up on reconciling with my ex-wife, but I would like you to comment on prominent people in society who are wreaking havoc on other people’s marriages. I sacrificed a lot for this woman, but here is another man who is reaping where he did not sow. I feel that men should respect other people’s wives.
Please don’t mention my name, a pseudonym will do.
Dear John
I really sympathise with your plight especially that you are deeply in love with a woman whose heart you have lost to another man. It is sad that this woman decided to ‘repay’ you with an adulterous affair after sacrificing your hard-earned money by sending her to school. Despite everything that happened, I would like to commend you for empowering your ex-wife with a trade because not many men would do what you did. You meant well because you wanted your woman to be financially independent, though you were able to provide for your family. Some men would rather wives who are financially-dependent on them than those who want to work or engage in business.
You might have lost this woman to another man, but I am sure that your children will definitely benefit from the investment you made into their mother. It is good to do good to other people even if they repay you with evil.
From the tone of your letter, I feel your pain and bitterness and my encouragement to you is that this is not the end of the world. You should not allow yourself to wallow in self-pity; it’s not worth it. This woman has chosen to leave her husband to become someone’s mistress; shameful as it is, there is nothing you can do about it.
You are engrossed in bitterness because you have not forgiven your ex-wife and her lover. This may sound like a bitter pill to swallow but that’s what you need to do in order to rid your heart of that excruciating pain.
God commands us to forgive no matter how much we are wronged, and no matter how right we may be. Make a decision to let by-gones be bygones and say a little prayer so that God could help you move on in life.
As for your children, I think they are now old enough to live with either you or their mother. I know that it is usually difficult for divorced couples to amicably resolve the issue of custody of their children without seeking legal advice. I would urge you to take the matter to court and am sure that the two of you will get a fair deal.
God bless and all the best.

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