Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Love: A Game of Emotional Manipulation

We sat in my sitting room watching one of those Ghanaian movies. It was a pleasant but lazy afternoon. My friends, Uduak and Yetty had visited since we were forced to stay at home because of the nationwide strike and protest. We had nothing to do and there was really nothing interesting to watch apart from the movie.

There was nothing spectacular about the plot of the movie. The same old love story of a woman who married a much older man and fell in love with her step son. I watched the movie half heartedly while I read a novel which I was reading a second time. I was bored with the movie. I looked at my friends and saw how they concentrated on the movie as if their lives depended on it or there was going to be an exam on the plot after viewing it. I smiled to myself as I tried to get back to the movie. “Love is a game, sex is the real thing” one of the actors in the movie said. The statement got my attention. I pondered on it wondering how true the statement is.

Ore, “I called “is that statement true?”
“What statement is that?” Nduak asked as if she just came back to planet earth
“Love is a game, sex is the real thing” I replied
“Why are you fascinated with that statement? Yetty asked
“Because I am a romantic by nature but I am beginning to wonder if love is actually real” I said
“Ah! I don’t believe in love or let me rephrase, I used to believe in love but I now, know better. Love is just a word that’s touted about. It is a cliché that has being abused. People use it because they want something from you or just get in between your legs.” Nduak said.
“You have become jaded.” I replied rolling my eye balls. “If you don’t believe in love how come you have stayed married for the last twenty something years?” I asked
“Haven’t you heard? What’s love got to do with it” Nduak sang in her croaky voice and we laughed.” Honestly, love has nothing to do with it. I married my husband because I got pregnant. Our relationship, even when we courted was filled with emotional manipulation and verbal abuse. I ran away to America when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want his wahala so I took off. But he came after me pleading and apologetic. Since I didn’t want to be a single parent, I agreed. Really, being a single parent twenty-five years ago was a taboo and my parents didn’t help either; insisting that I had disgraced the family. I had to weight all my options and I married him”
“If you didn’t love him, why did you stay with him all these while?” Yetty asked
“Where will I go with my broods? How am I to manage with six children? I beg, I stayed because of my children. I know staying with my husband will give them a good life. Look, nothing has changed since I met my husband. As a matter of fact, things seem to get worst. But I have developed my coping strategies. I just pray that my children would not make the same mistakes.” Nduak said
“I believe you must feel something for him. No matter how small.” I said not wanting to believe that she was not romantically inclined towards her husband
“Yes, I feel something, which is more of dislike. My friend, love is a game o! We all pretend to love but half the time…..!” She left the sentence hanging, paused and continued. “Do you know that sometime, I have sex with him so that I can get some money from him? With him, money is the instrument of manipulation for me, my body is. Now tell me, how am I better than the common hooker on the street except that I have only one customer, my husband. We have both perfected the act of emotional manipulation”
I was taken aback by Nduak’s outburst. I never knew she felt like that towards her husband. 
 “You try my friend” Yetty commented.” This is why I have refused to marry. I was in love once. I dated this guy for ten years. I gave him everything and did everything in my ability to make him happy and comfortable. I had money so that was not an issue. I didn’t have any problems taking care of his needs. I loved him so much that I just wanted to see him happy and he capitalised on that. I ended up being responsible for all our financial needs. I was manipulated in everyway one could imagine. Everything was my fault and I was made to believe that I could not do anything right. The more I tried to satisfy him, the more dissatisfied he became. Ah! How I tried. I sacrificed everything for him. After a while, I thought if I got pregnant things would change or at least, improve. I stopped using the contraceptives hoping to get pregnant. I tried but nothing happened. I visited my gynaecologist and I had to undergo the most painful and horrific medical tests that I didn’t wish on my enemies. I had some problems really but according to my doctor, nothing to prevent me from getting pregnant. At the same time, I started talking to him about us getting married. We had spent 10 years together and my parents were no longer comfortable that we were living together without him making an honest woman out of me. He refused initially when I broached the subject, insisting that I have to get pregnant before we can tie the knot. I became almost desperate and I signed on for an assisted conception programme which was very expensive but I didn’t mind. It was the condition I had to meet before I got married and so getting pregnant was the only thing on my mind.
At the clinic, I was asked to invite him for examination and other necessary procedure but he refused saying that I didn’t seek his permission before signing in on the programme. I pleaded with him to see reasons and how was I to get pregnant if he was not going to be cooperative? I was devastated at this point. After a while, he reluctantly agreed to go with me to the clinic but only until after our wedding ceremony but well, we could proceed with our plans. I didn’t understand why we had to wait until after the marriage ceremonies but who cares? Anything to make him happy abi? I was excited and   earnestly started putting things together for a ceremony that I was not going to be the bride.” Yetty narrated
“How do you mean?” I asked
“Oh a month to the date of our wedding, he married another girl. I beg! Love?” she said sarcastically.
“That was a really bad experience.  Ah! Ten years of a relationship? Only for him to marry somebody else? I just can’t fathom it” Uduak said
“Why did you court for such a long time?” I asked
“Long or short courtship doesn’t really matter. We met at the University then in my prelim and we dated all through University. Moreover, there was always a reason why we couldn’t marry. Again, I wasn’t really crazy about marriage not after watching my mother go through her gruesome experience with my father. I just didn’t want to go through all that wahala but what happened? Please I don’t believe in love again o!
“So what are you doing with mystery lover?” I asked. We have taking to calling her recent boyfriend that because she has refused to introduce us or disclose his name to us.
“My mystery lover? Hm!” she giggled mischievously. “That one is another story. You know, I have known him all my life technically. Actually, he was my first boyfriend. We didn’t quarrel but we lost contact until two years ago when we saw each other again. He started showing interest in me and I thought well, let me give him a chance. I mean he has had his bad experience too and I expect him to have learnt from his experience but alas! Initially, he was very devoted and I actually started feeling something akin to love. I believed in him and I started opening up to him. However, he is comfortable now and he has started the game of power and emotional manipulations that men tend to use in relationship. You won’t believe that he gets angry at every little thing and sometimes, will not pick my calls or call me for weeks and he expects me to know through some astral means what could be biting him. Am I a witch?  I don’t have energy for this emotional manipulation. I am a grown woman and I can’t deal with a man who has refused to grow. I care but I am not treading the road I took before.” She concluded.

I kept quiet for a long time pondering at the experiences of my friends. I have had it rough too but I still believe in love. “But who is there to love?” I asked aloud

“Your brother who is probably the sweetest human being on earth but most likely, manipulating his wife.” Uduak answered


  1. Another great write up! I feel like I know Uduak and Yetty. Well done Yemi!

    1. You might say that its over
      You might say that you don'tcare
      You might say you don't miss me
      You dont need me
      But I know that you do
      And i feel that you do

      Maria takes time lyrics

    2. Why am I worthy of being replied? Love do not jump into conclusion.


  3. Wow, so profound....I am a die hard romantic so could not resist reading this write up and somehow could identify with the ladies. Well done!...unfortunately such is life...I was just wondering some days ago how many people are really married to the one they really love...we all make our choices in life, and some decisions may be due to circumstances or even mistakes, but we learn to cope, to live with it. Most relationships that are based on love from both parties unfortunately are usually so emotional and full of heartbreak...yes, some of us still believe in love...but the reality is that one may not necessarily marry the one they are passionately in love with...

  4. Oseyemi, this is a beautifully crafted piece! And yet, it naturally flows like a delicious ogbono soup! Well done! I should add that you try to do some proof-reading to correct typo-graghic errors!

  5. Great write up Yemi. Very good read. It took me in front of the tv listening to the girls. This kind of love means different things to different people. It either makes or breaks u... (I know someone who went MAD -'ya were' cos of heartbreak- jilted)... There's no one way that makes love feel or look real. Right or wrong. U only feel what u believe and act what u feel..... Doesn't mean u'll get reciprocal response or action from the receiving end! HOWEVER.... Some people are lucky in love and its fairytale. U then wonder which supermarket the guy was bought from. Advice?.. Settle for agape love, live a fun filled life and get ur peace. God loves us all.

  6. interesting, facinating, real world which shouldnt be

  7. Personally I think people confuse the addictive endorphin (endogenous "opioid" peptides) effect of sexual attractions / relations with what love is supposed to be.

    For me, I have come to find that love is a choice you make, inspite of everything to be with someone for better or worse. Perfect example of real love is found between parents and children.

    what you observe between man and woman that knows how to compromise and enjoy a mutually satisfactory relationship, grows from respect, to attachment (sex / endorphin effect helps cement this) and over time to love.

    To make sure us (especially) women folks do not end up in unsatisfactory relationships, we need to hone in on our ability to make the right choices and look beyond giz! giz!! (again endorphins) which fades over time and only acts as a sealing agent, we need to look at the characteristics we crave in our he a good kind hearted man, does he work hard, is he focused, is he disciplined? what type of father will he be to my children?? trust me if a man ticks the box for all these it makes it soooo much easier to respect him and to grow to love him. But you also need to make sure you know him and know what he wants in his wife and make sure you have those qualities or you are prepared to change to ensure you have those qualities. That is the making of a perfect relationship out of which strong bonds / love grows...

    Love do exist, but like all living things it needs certain "soil/environment" to grow and it needs "tending /nurturing" to bud.

    that's my 2p's worth.

    Yemi A.

    1. So much grammar that you got me confused a bit. To a large extent I agree with you but I know that sometimes, it is never clear-cut but I love your comment.

    2. I think choosing the right person to choose to fall in love with can be clear cut, I am not talking about mindlessly "falling" in love because an attractive person is interested in one. As with all good things that is worth having, you need to dig beyond the surface to see if the core of the person is worth the investment of your time and emotions... I guess some things become clearer the older you get...hope the grammar is less this time :)
      Yemi A

  8. Love is Hardwork

  9. This could have been a chapter of a romantic novel - that was how well written it was. However, it runs the risk of the danger of a single story. Overall I can sympathise with all the ladies regarding the misfortunes they witnessed in their love lives. Perhaps if we are privy to hear the other side of the stories from the men involved, our judgements and opinions may be different. But the truth is that we may never know.

    1. My friend thanks for the compliments. Actually, I intend compiling these stories into a book I am working on. The response and comments have being encouraging and I am trickled pink by this because I almost didn't want to publish this. You are very right about having a male's view but men are rather secretive about their experiences but I will write something soon from a male's perspective.
      My intention is let women know how they contribute to the success or failure of their relations. The book, though not romantic is called "Monster You have created" I will publish another excerpt from the book next week.

  10. Enjoyed this Yemi. Thanks for sharing. True love is selfless and uncontrollable. It just radiates from within and unfortunately the recipient may not for reasons reciprocate this love. This experience is not limited to women. Some men's experiences are worse. My view of today's love is 'mostly truly a game' in which relationships are based on outsmarting your partner to your advantage and dumping him/her when your mission is accomplished. Ronkie B