“Aunty Bella” is our agony aunt column on BellaNaija. It was the first regular “feature” during our days as a blog and it has remained one of our favourites since then. It has been a while since our last Aunty Bella dilemma – this is because we often get submissions which are similar to issues covered in the past. A BN reader reached out to us, we have corresponded with her and here is her story. *Reader Discretion Advised*
Dear Aunty Bella,
This is the most difficult time of my life and there is really no one I can share this issue with. I cannot talk to my friends, my family and especially not my husband. I have confidentially spoken to my Pastor and his wife and as I narrate my story, I will share the advice they gave me.
My husband and I have been married for over a year and all has been blissful so far – until now. I know my husband and he knows me too, what I am trying to say is, we did not have an arranged marriage or a whirlwind romance. We met, developed our friendship, love and bond then got married. My husband is an attentive, caring and sexy guy. I had been in a few relationships before him and I know what GOOD looks and feels like. My Mr, works in a lucrative industry which forces him to be away off and on (Month home, Month off to work) all through the year. Due to that fact, we decided to hold up on having children until he secures a transfer permanently based at home.
Exactly 2 weeks ago, he arrived back home and I was so excited to see him. I had so many special treats planned for him when he got back. The next day, he went off to see family and I decided to use his laptop to reconfigure my ipad. I am not the most tech savvy person but in the course of trying to figure things out, I came across files on his computer which changed my life. I am still not 100% sure how I got to there but when I clicked a video popped up and to be straightforward, it was gay pornography. Believe me, despite the Nigerian views towards homosexuality, maybe because of my liberal and open upbringing, I am far from homophobic but as soon as I saw that video, I did not realize when I threw up on myself. My husband, watching this! No way! I went to the search box of his computer and typed in video. This led the way to a whole folder with similar videos. It was as if everything was happening in slow motion, I just started crying and walking around our room talking to myself. I did this for over an hour. After that, I went to take a shower to clean up, once again, I spent over an hour in there, crying and praying. When I came out of the shower, my husband wasn’t back so I went back to the computer, closed all the files and cleaned up the keys.
When he got back, I tried my best to pretend but just could not bring myself to speak to him. I lied that I had a migraine and just went to bed. I didn’t even make dinner. We have a very active sexual life so as usual, he tried when he got into bed. I just pretended to be in a deep sleep and didn’t move an inch. I was so grateful when he got a call the next day that there had been an accident at his work place so he had to fly over to replace the person who was injured. Before he left, I went back to his computer to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating before and found the files again. I also checked his computer history and saw that he had browsed the sites where he got the videos even during work hours!
After wallowing by myself for a few days, I went to talk to my pastor. My pastor is someone I have known for years even prior to my marriage. He and his wife have been great spiritual mentors. It was so painful talking about what happened. He listened without speaking or even showing any reaction. After I finished, he encouraged me not to confront my husband (yet), he said I should pray and fast for a specified number of days to clear my mind and get God’s direction. After that I spoke to his wife who advised that I go for a complete medical checkup including HIV and STDs. She also advised that if the tests came out clean, I should buy lingerie and condoms and ensure that I sleep with my husband (protected) when he gets back unless the intimacy will be destroyed forever.
I went for all the tests and by God’s grace, they were all clean. Though the doctor advised that I redo the HIV test after 3 months if I felt I had been exposed to the virus.
My husband will be back soon and I do not know what to say or do when he gets back. When we speak on the phone, I try to sound like my regular self but it is so hard. I keep asking myself, is he gay? Or is it just a fantasy? Is he cheating on me with another man? Is he unsatisfied with me?
So many questions.
Before anyone asks, forget the clichés about gay men. He is definitely not effeminate in any way, I have never seen him checking out another man or women, our sex life has always been very very very healthy and great. He is a great friend, provider and husband, I cannot imagine life without him. He stood by me through a couple of hard times especially when we were dating so it will be so difficult for me to turn around and say goodbye. Sometimes I wish I didn’t see what I saw, I pray that maybe a colleague used his computer or maybe he accidentally bought a used or refurbished laptop but I know this is unlikely.
I cannot talk to my mum (instant family meeting), I cannot talk to my friends (I do not want to become the latest gist) and my pastor and his wife’s advice seems good but I am not sure I have the grace to apply it. Please help!
**Minor details have been changed to protect the identity of Mrs. IHTITC