I was 25 and Slindile* was 40 when we started dating. We met in November 2013 in Langa at a casual meet-up with mutual friends, none of whom told me that Slindile was in a committed eight year relationship with another woman.
Slindile had a demanding job and travelled a lot, as did I. As an entertainer, I’m always out of town or in Europe performing. However, when we were both in Cape Town, spending time together was top priority.
We went out with his friends and he even introduced me to his family. I felt really special and safe. He called and texted a couple of times a day. For about eight months I was content and in love. He paid for my clothing accounts, rent and bought some furniture, too. I considered him my soulmate.
But then I started seeing changes. He was calling less and we didn’t go out as much. At first I thought it was his job. But, like many women, I’m guided by my sixth sense.
The truth did not set me free
Slindile was cancelling on me, running late for dates. His time management sucked and his attention drifted.
He started saying, “Babe, I can’t stay long.” Or if he picked me up to go to his place he’d leave and return so late I’d be asleep.
What made me more suspicious was his tendency of rejecting calls and switching off his phone when it rang in my company. One night while he slept, I looked through his phone and found conversations and pictures with another woman. Texts such as “I love you”; “I’ll be waiting for you”; and “What should I cook for supper?”.
I finally confronted him and he kept apologising. He said he wanted to open up, but didn’t want to break his main chick’s heart because she was loyal. The reason Slindile could maintain this secret, he revealed, was because his girlfriend, Dudu*, had been out of Cape Town for some months. Now she was back.
“I didn’t want you to find out this way and I was protecting you because I respect you,” he said. Respect?
But I didn’t leave. I loved him, and if I’m honest, I hoped he would end things with Dudu. When I stayed over at his place, I couldn’t sleep right through the night, fearing that Dudu could walk in. It was during those sleepless nights that I wondered if this was really what I wanted.
Letting go of our love
It took another nine months before I left Slindile. I felt guilty about the situation with Dudu and was anxious of us having a confrontation. I did not know how much she knew, but my friends had pointed her out and I now knew that we lived in the same neighbourhood.
I knew I had to end it when Slindile, in an attempt to reassure me, told me he would make sure I never felt there was another woman. I decided that it was not worth my dignity. To keep me, Slindile tried to bribe me, by reminding me of the material things I would lose, like rent.
I had to pull myself together. I couldn’t stick around and wait for the other woman to slip up so that I can take her position. I’m now in a happy relationship my new man.
Slindile and Dudu got married last year and have twins.
As told to Babalwa Quma. Follow her on Twitter: @BabalwaBubblezQ
Names have been changed
Photography by Bulumko Gana