I Had To Love Myself First To Know That I Deserve Better, Before You Judge Me, This is What Happened

It took about a year for me to knock some sense back into my head but it was worth it in the end. What happened? Arnold happened. I met him when I was doing my national service in 2017. He was working as a teacher in an international school. Our first date was fun. We went for a walk at the Legon Botanical Gardens. I enjoyed every bit of his company. He was funny, smart, and eye candy. After that date, he invited me to his house for our next date. And that became the pattern. He never wanted to go out in public with me again. All he wanted was for us to stay inside and have shuperu.

I wanted to complain but I was so into him that I was afraid that if I talked about it, he would stop talking to me. My low self-esteem was that bad. This guy never answered my calls or replied to my texts. He also never called me unless he wanted to see me for shuperu. His behaviour continued until I had to travel to the north to work for my sister who had just returned from abroad. I don’t know who sent me to disclose the amount of money I was earning from the work to Arnold. He took advantage of the situation and started asking me for money. I knew he was taking advantage of me but I couldn’t tell him no. I was the kind of person who always felt guilty when I said no to someone.

He managed to convince me to send him money every month even after my work with my sister ended. My national service was also over so I was searching for a job. He was the one working between the two of us, yet I was the one sending him money. I didn’t mind doing everything I was doing for him because I believed we were dating. Then I stopped hearing from him all of a sudden. All my attempts to reach him failed for two months. I was heartbroken.

I kept asking myself what I did to push him away. I wondered if there was anything more I could have done to make him stay. Then I saw that he updated his WhatsApp status with a girl’s photo. So I replied to the staus, “Is she the reason you ghosted me? If you didn’t want me anymore you could have told me instead of acting as if I never existed.” Immediately he saw my message he called to tell me, “No, I did not ghost you. I was on the run for my life. My family wanted to enstool me as a chief and I refused so they were chasing me around.” In my head,` those were all lies but my foolish heart believed him and forgave him.

After a while in the North, I returned to Accra and applied for NABCO, and was enlisted. This gave me hope that things were going to turn out well for me. With my newfound hope burning bright in my eyes I started taking some language courses to keep myself busy. I saw that my life was getting back on track and it boosted my self-esteem. That was when I realized that I was better off alone than with a man who made me beg and pay for his love. So one day I asked him, “Where is this relationship headed? It appears you only know your way to me when you are in need.” He couldn’t give me a straight answer and that was all the answer I needed to move on with my life.

I had succeeded in getting him out of my mind till he sent me a text that he wanted to see me on his birthday. I told him, “I was serious when I left you. I won’t be in a relationship that is heading nowhere and I certainly will not sleep with you again.” He was persuasive, “I just want to see you. We don’t have to do anything when you come. I just don’t want to be alone on my birthday.” I felt bad for him and I needed some closure so I went to see him.

We watched movies, ate, and then talked about life and work. Then he gave me his phone to look at some pictures he took when we were apart. I swiped back and forth and accidentally came upon a semi-naked photo of the same girl he posted on his WhatsApp status. This was a girl he told me was his childhood friend. I didn’t say anything. I just returned his phone to him, feigned tiredness and left.

Honestly, the picture did not provoke me. That was when I got the closure I needed. I was over him. I spent most of my time and energy studying and going for NABCO training so I didn’t have time to sulk about silly things. A few weeks after his birthday he asked me to visit him. I responded that I would never visit him again so he should stop bothering me. I spent months beating myself up for being foolish enough to ever fall in love with him. He spent a lot of time trying to convince me that he was a changed man but I refused to get sucked into his void once again. I even brought up the photo of the girl and he swore he didn’t have anything like that on his phone.

A few months after all that drama he posted his wedding photos on his status. His bride was the same girl he denied having any relationship with. I was so over him that I just laughed and kept going. I wanted to congratulate him but something told me to stop and wait for him to bring himself. Arnold was shameless and so deceptive that my predictions came to pass. Less than a month after his wedding he sent me a message, “I miss you. When will I see you again?” I had deleted his contact by then so I didn’t even know it was him until I saw his profile picture.

I laughed in my head and thought, “Let me see how far this guy will go with this.” Then I replied to his message, “I don’t want to be a booty call.” He texted back, “I don’t know why you keep saying that. You were my girlfriend, not a casual fling. If you want, we can get back together so I prove my love to you.” That was the last straw for me. “How many times do you think you can fool me? I know you are married so drop the act.” I responded. You would think for once, he would feel remorse after getting caught in a lie, but no. Arnold remained in character.

He blamed me, “You are the one who made me marry another woman. You pushed me into her arms when you decided to stop talking to me because our relationship was no longer working for you.” He started to get on my nerves and the whole conversation stopped being fun so I told him to leave me alone and lose my number. He replied, “You are treating me as if I am a dog who goes around humping anything I see.” “Well, I am glad you described yourself perfectly. Seriously, lose my number.” He stopped and never spoke to me again till I travelled abroad.

Barely a month after I settled in, Arnold sent me a message. I read it and ignored him. I have changed my number but he is starting to become a thorn in my flesh. I saw that he’s been trying to connect with me on LinkedIn and Instagram but I have rejected all his requests. I learned a lot from that so-called relationship. Now, I just look back and ask myself how I could be so foolish and naive. The most important lesson I learned is to know when I am not wanted. It took me loving and appreciating myself to get to this stage. I am sharing this story, not because I am still sad but because I have grown and matured a lot and I want to tell others going through similar issues that you are stronger than you think. It may seem hard to walk away but it won’t get better for you until you do.

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