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I CONFESS: Dream marriage crumbled once I improved self


Barbados Nation

I CONFESS: Dream marriage crumbled once I improved self

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FOR OVER FIVE years I lived a lie and my experiences were such that I would never like anyone to have to go through what I endured.

I have come to realise that you should live your life to please you and not anyone else, including your parents or your children.

My horror story started in the 1970s as a young woman when I met a man from another island who had been studying in Barbados. Our relationship grew from attraction to love, or so I felt, and then deteriorated into a terror, with me getting all the nightmares.

My relatives became very fond of this man who was to become my husband and encouraged me to follow him back home. His family was

of good standing, and so when I got married it was a time of celebration, not just for me entering a union, but it obviously brought a lot of pride to my family.

We quickly settled and a family was on the way  within 15 months of the marriage. My husband settled into a relatively good job and I was able to get a job there as well. We were able to redevelop a house we had bought for a token from one of his elderly relatives just before she passed away.

Our family gradually grew as I gave birth to three lovely children. Ours seemed to have been a marriage made in heaven and the type of family anyone would want.

Indeed, my siblings, whenever they visited, were full of praise for what I had achieved.

I tried to maintain those Bajan traditions I knew so my children would be familiar with my roots. I sent them to Barbados during their vacation from school even if only for two weeks.

Improved my education

I also tried to improve my education by doing a correspondence course in my area of interest, accounts. I surprised myself and did better than anticipated.  I had to go off to England to complete my professional certification and was determined to so do, as I would have been one of few people with that designation in that island at the time; this was in the early 1990s.

I was in my late 30s at the time and the three children were big enough to get along without my presence for the year.

My husband was a little reluctant about my going at first, finding all types of reasons why the family would suffer. My eldest child, a girl, was absolutely thrilled that I was going and got behind her father every evening at dinner time to make her position known. I did go off and I was successful in my studies.

On my return to the island I was made an offer for a new position even before the results were known. I did not accept the offer which was actually made by my husband’s close relative. I did not realise how disappointed the relative was and  indeed my husband because I did not accept.

Too restrictive

I felt it was too restrictive and would not offer me the type of opportunity I required. I stayed with the job I had before going off to further my studies since I wanted to honour my commitments. I worked there for another four years, gaining two promotions and instituting a number of new initiatives.

Well, the break I was waiting for finally came. I was offered the job of financial manager for a big business there and within two years was elevated to the position of deputy general manager.  I was not overly ambitious but really delighted at my good fortune.

Our family would benefit from my new position and the financial benefits it brought. The children would certainly be able to go off to college overseas if they so desired. Indeed all three of them did.

 I worked for a better salary than my husband, perhaps for three times what he earned in his public sector job, but it did not matter to me. We were all the beneficiaries.

The job necessitated me going to a number of events, including speaking engagements. I encouraged my spouse to accompany me whenever he could.  He soon got the feeling that I had overshadowed him and he started implying that he was not a man.

Dismissed idea

At first I dismissed the idea until he started doing some really strange things. He would destroy the clothing which I would have to wear to work or out to functions; he would hide mail sent to me and he started locking the entrances with a chain and then placing a padlock or two for which I had no key.

With the children all overseas studying, including one at the Cave Hill Campus, my husband went from bad to worse. He would tell people when they called that I was not interested in whatever they were calling about or even from.

This situation went on for a while, so much so we stopped travelling overseas together as he said I only humiliated him. I tolerated the foolishness until I had to tell my parents and siblings.

My mother made it clear that I was married and should stick it out especially since “he had taken my hand when I was a nobody”.  This comment hurt me  as my mother had only one thing on her mind: herself.

 One of my sisters indicated that this was only a phase and I would get over it.  All the while my husband and his relatives started making some of the most dirty comments about me. They were all unjustified and downright lies.

I had redeveloped the house and made it a very modern facility and felt I had an interest. But I decided the material things in life were insufficient to hold on to while my emotional well-being suffered.

As fate would have it, a job in a regional organisation back in my homeland came up and I was approached. I readily accepted. When I told him I accepted the offer, he indicated that I should go on the condition that I should not expect to return.

Well I have never returned, not even for a visit. My children responded as I never felt they would by giving me full support.

My family has gotten over the initial  shame and whatever else they feared. I am now happier than ever with one of my children living with me, and the other two outside of the Caribbean.

I am happy and consider myself very fortunate. 

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