Once beaten twice shy doesn’t necessarily ring true in relationships. The fact that you got your fingers burnt doesn’t dissuade you from dancing close to the fire. Segi, now in her early fifties first got married when she was just 21, but that lasted barely a few years.
According to her, “I’d been with my second husband, Samson for six years when he left me for one of my younger friends. At still under 30, I suddenly found myself a single parent looking after a young son and struggling to make ends meet. I am a Fat Lady. Here’s What you ought to realize Dating Me
“I moved from Epe to Lagos to be near my family, but I was so lonely I wondered if I’d ever meet another man to share my life with. Six months later, I got myself a job in a big manufacturing company where I ran into Paul in the office canteen.
He’d come to visit a close colleague of mine and we somehow clicked. He was a couple of years younger than me and very handsome! He worked in computer software and bowled me over with his generosity and high-flying lifestyle.
He was so charming and easy-going that when he asked me to move in with him, I jumped at the chance of finding happiness again. I couldn’t wait for him to come home in the evenings so we could relax and enjoy each other’s company.
“When I discovered I was expecting a baby, I felt my life was complete. I was four months pregnant when Paul suggested we get married. My joy knew no bounds. We decided the wedding would take place after our baby was born.
As soon as our son was born, we spent every free moment planning the wedding. Paul kept telling me he wanted the best party money could buy. I was so busy trying on dresses and conferring with the wedding planner I hardly noticed when he first lost interest.
Then I realised I was making all the decisions on my own. When I asked him for his opinion, he’d say he had a lot of work to do and leave me to it. He began spending more time away in Ibadan where their head office was located, but I just thought he needed a breather from the stress of work and wedding plans.
As the wedding drew closer, he became increasingly reserved. He said he was worried we’d spent too much money on the wedding and we were a bit short of money, but I put it down to nerves. I was so in love with him I couldn’t face the idea that he was having second thoughts.
“Every last detail had been finished with a month to go. I’d just picked up my wedding dress when Paul and I had another row about our finances. When I asked him why there was nothing left in the joint account we created for the wedding, he accused me of not trusting him and stormed off to his trip to Ibadan.
He was due back the next day but when I didn’t hear from him for a couple of days I was worried. His mobile went straight to voice mail. I left messages he never acknowledged. Finally in desperation, I called his mother.
We’d always got on well, but she told me blunt that Paul had rang to say he wasn’t coming back. I was stunned. I sat and cried for hours. Days passed with still no word from him. When the kids asked when he was coming home, I could only sit and weep.
“After we split up, Paul’s family cut all contact with me. My own parents tried to comfort me the best way they knew how. We hadn’t always been that close, but they said I was better off without him. They thought he’d taken advantage of me, but nothing they said seemed to help.
I did rely on them for support though. They were all I had really. A lot of our friends obviously found it difficult to speak to us both, so in the end, even some of my close friends deserted me.
“I stayed in the house for weeks and refused to go out. I just couldn’t bear the thought of facing everyone. I felt like such a fool and I was convinced everyone was laughing at me. I’d left it up to Paul and his family to tell everyone the wedding was off. I couldn’t face the humiliation.
Also, I had the children to think of and I couldn’t let them down. I felt so bitter and angry inside, but I knew I had to sort myself out if I was ever going to get through this dark period of my life.
“In the end, my survival mode kicked in. I made a five-year survival plan for my life. The first step was to find a better job now my mother’s agreed to help with the kids. I also did some petty trading on the side.
I started saving a bit of money and eventually bought a shop in a government-owned market which I used as a food canteen. Shortly after, I ran into Mabel, a childhood friend and we picked up our friendship where we left off.
She was a single parent like me whose last relationship had been as disastrous as mine. We hit it off and when we saw a big ice-making shop for sale, complete with a functioning generating set, we jumped at the chance of buying it. We were determined to prove we could be a success without men.
Two years later, we diversified into setting up a big fast-food restaurant. We had to convince two bank managers to lend us the money, but now we are the proud owners of a thriving business and it’s us who are giving the orders!”.
And her advice to those suffering from their partners’ betrayal!? “Never give up”, she said firmly. “And always be the best at everything you do. If someone lets you down, you have to keep going to prove you can do without them. The first few weeks after Paul left were devastating, but if I had just carried on feeling sorry for myself, where would I be now?
“I’d still love to find someone to share my life with. I do think there’s someone special out there – I just have to find him. I now have two businesses to take care of and my life has meaning again. You have to stay positive because you never know what’s around the corner!”