I met Sipho in 2017, at the time I was a cleaner and he an engineer. Once I got to know him, I thought to myself, this is the one. But I had a seven month old baby girl and a boyfriend, Lihle, who was abusive, a cheater and liar. Lihle and I got married two years later.
Sipho and I were good friends, he always encouraged me to go back to school, but I had a lot going on at the time. I so desperately wanted to be his type; smart, intelligent, humble and honest just like he was. He made me want to be successful and respected. He had no idea I had feelings for him and at times he didn’t even notice me. I managed to get his number from one of his colleagues and started talking to him through messages. He didn’t know that it was me who he had been communicating with.
I finally came clean and told who he was talking to and how I felt about him, that I was in love with him. To my surprise he didn’t reject me. We then arranged to get together one day after work. He invited me to his house where he asked me to stay the night. The entire evening he behaved like a gentleman; he didn’t take advantage of me. After chatting over dinner he showed me to the guest bedroom and told me that he wasn’t ready to go to sleep yet. We sat there on opposite sides of the bed talking about my future, his work and the things that we had in common.
I enjoyed talking to him; he made me feel like I was just as smart and intelligent as he was. I wanted to kiss him so badly, but it seemed like he wasn’t interested in me that way. He seemed like a decent human being. I then told him that it was getting late and that both of us had an early morning the next day. He got up and surprised me by kissing me. I was taken aback but kissed him back and before I knew it we were in bed together. After that night, we made a habit of at least sleeping together three times a week.
As time went on and we saw each other regularly, I told Sipho that I was a married woman and had a child at home. He was disappointed that I had lied to him and told me that I had to work things out between my Lihle and me. I told him that I would try, for the sake of my daughter, but we still continued the affair. I enjoyed being with him and he helped me study while I studied towards my diploma. The following year, I quit my work as a cleaner and started working as an engineer assistant.
I fell out of love with my Lihle and hoped that Sipho would finally tell me that he loved me now that I had made something of myself, but he never did. Then the unexpected happened. Sipho resigned from the company where both of us were employed and left town. I then went down a road of depression and couldn’t cope with work and to add more on top of that, my manager and I argued constantly. My life wasn’t the same without him anymore. I lost focus and dropped out of my third year of studies. A few weeks after that I resigned from work as well.
Things were no better at home, Lihle and I fought constantly and his abuse only got worse. I was so depressed to the point where I tried committing suicide, but my attempt failed and I ended up in hospital. I recuperated and picked myself up again because I knew that my life had to go on. Just when I had settled in my married life again, I received a call from Sipho. At the time I was pregnant with my third child. He expected us to pick up where we left off and I was willing. My pregnancy wasn’t showing yet so, I decided to keep it secret from him. I didn’t want to risk the chance of losing him again.
I found out that it was no need for me to have done that because he disappeared soon after we made up. Lihle knew that something was going on with me but didn’t know what exactly that was. I was disappointed and heartbroken that Sipho had deserted me again. After the birth of my third child the following year he came and disappeared again. By that time I had had enough of men. I filed for divorce because I couldn’t take Lihle’s abuse any more. I was a mother of three and had to start thinking about my children.
Now, I am a single parent who is dependent on the love of a man who refuses to commit to me and ignores me once he has what he came for. I’m angry, I feel like killing him for playing with my feelings all these years. He used me and gave me false hope knowing that he would never truly be with me. I blame myself more than I blame him. The signs were there, I just refused to see them. I had convinced myself that he would learn to love me as much as I did him, which was foolish of me. It’s my own fault that he played me for a fool.
I’m angry because two men played me at the same time. I’m angry because I wasted so many years of my life with men who didn’t love me, respect me or cared about me. They are both selfish. I wasted 20 years of my life with my Lihle. I wasted 6 years of my life with Sipho. I still love him, I don’t know what I love about him anymore, but I still do. I’m much angrier at Lihle; he abused me and made me feel worthless after I supported him and his family financially for 20 years. I gave him four children, bought him a car and gave him the best years of my life. Yet, here I am with nothing to show for the love I bore those two men. I didn’t want money or materialistic things all I ever wanted was true and honest love.
Tell us: What advice would you give the narrator? Have you experienced unrequited love?