I fell in love with you the first time I heard your hit song ‘Kele Kele Love’. You were a beautiful dark skinned woman and you could sing for the Gods. I became a fan instantly. You had your own style, it was unique, sexy and unapologetically Nigerian. I watched you blow up and receive international attention. Hit after hit and us your loyal fans couldn’t get enough.
And then you got married.
As I’ve gotten older, marriage appeals to me less and less. I have seen the sacrifices women often make in marriages and I have watched them lose themselves. I have seen the imbalance in these relationships. Despite this, I still think it’s amazing when two people find each other and decide to be companions through this thing we call life. It’s amazing when they are equals that respect and love each other. It’s amazing when a relationship is filled with compromises and not one party making unreasonable sacrifices. Let’s just say I’ve become more cautious in celebrating marriage. So when you got married, I hoped for the best. I hoped that you wouldn’t have to mommy him. I hoped that you would be able to make healthy compromises and not sacrifices. I hoped that he would not betray your trust by cheating on you as many often do. I wished for your happiness and your growth within that marriage.
Last year, I realized you’d had none of those things. When I saw his tweets and threats to kill himself, alarm bells started ringing in my head. Unfortunately, threats to commit suicide are often tools for abusers and manipulators. Everything shifts from his issues to you. After all, what sort of woman would drive her man to commit suicide? Na witch be dat abi? I was not fooled. That was when I thought, this man is dangerous and she needs to get away. When I saw your interview and it was filled with tales of emotional abuse, I was not surprised. It only confirmed my suspicions.
I was happy when you told your story in your interview as it took a lot of strength to do so. We need more women to speak out on abuse – especially the emotional and financial kind. We have too many men thinking that because they haven’t hit a woman they’re not “that bad”. I thought after that interview you’d make like Beyoncé in Irreplaceable and put everything he owned in a box to the left. But you didn’t and I don’t blame you. Statistically, abuse victims often return to their abusers multiple times before leaving.
He probably begged and promised to go to therapy to work on his issues. Maybe he even convinced you some of his behavior was really all your fault. And because you have grace and probably a forgiving nature you were sympathetic. After all, no one is perfect right? When I heard you were back together, again I hoped. I hoped he would be one of the few abusive men that change. I hear that this time he has initiated the divorce. You see Tiwa, showing an abuser grace is often a mistake. They see grace and forgiveness as weakness. If he could treat you poorly and have you stick around then his behavior is not a deal breaker for you. The question then becomes
“What else can I get away with?”
That’s why his behavior just seemed to escalate and you couldn’t understand why. He was grooming you for more abuse. Tiwa, you may not want to hear this but he has done you a favor by initiating this divorce. Let him go. Let him go before you lose it and become a shadow of yourself. Let him go and set a fantastic example to your son. Show him that women are not collateral damage in a man’s quest to find himself. Show him that women are to be valued and respected. Teach him not only with your words but with your actions.
Let’s leave no room for Kele Kele Love.
And to the women and young girls reading this, learn from Tiwa’s story. You do not personally have to go through something to learn from it. If a man puts you down, he doesn’t deserve you. If he steals from you, dump him. If he threatens to kill himself, please call the police or tell his family. Let him work with a professional. Educate yourself on abuse so that you have a chance at recognizing some of the signs early on. Many women fall victims to a man’s unresolved issues and fragile ideas of masculinity.
Save your grace for the remorseful and deserving.
P.S. I heard you may have a hot, young new man. I like that news a lot.