“Nothing will ever prepare any woman for the shocking pain of having to learn that her husband lives a double life. My world is turned upside down. I feel worthless. I feel like I’m not woman enough, not sexy enough to a point that drives my husband into the arms of other men.”
Overwhelmed by emotion, Tshidi Tau* gazes towards the window and stares at the calming raindrops drizzling harmoniously outside the restaurant where Lifestyle Tabloids meets her for coffee. It is wet outside, the mood is cold, dark clouds have blanketed the entire sky, perhaps indicative of how this mother of three might be feeling deep inside.
She finally gathers the strength to look our way again. Slowly caressing the perfectly manicured zen-tree centre piecing our table, she continues with a sad tale of a life she chose to live.
Like many, Tshidi* left the bundus to seek employment in the huzz-and-buzz of Johannesburg. Ambitious, intelligent and a BA graduate from University of Fort Hare, she knew the stars were lined up for her. She briefly stayed in Soweto with her supportive aunt just so she could find her feet, and it wasn’t too long before she got a trainee post at a large employee benefits firm housed in Sandton.
“I knew the sky was the limit. I worked hard and was moved to another department on a permanent basis.”
There is a sudden glow on her face as she relates those early days as a small town girl now making it in the big city.
Endemic to success, she had a very healthy social life. Made many friends and fell in-and-out of relationships. Until one day at a friend’s bon-voyage dinner, she kissed a frog that turned into a prince. A loving man, a God fearing human, a dynamic businessman who smells of success from a mile away. This was the one, she thought to herself, and as destiny may have it, the feeling was mutual.
“The relationship was smooth sailing. I remember the excitement on Muzi’s* face when I broke the news of my first pregnancy,” she tells us. “He promptly send his uncles home to begin with lobola negotiations.” They got married. She gave birth to her first born, then her second, then her third. Life couldn’t be better.
As Muzi* rose to prominence in the business arena, so did his late night meetings and his frequent traveling, which only made sense now that he was a director of a blue chip financial.
“Because of the demands that came with our respective professions, our kids were inevitably neglected. As such, we decided that I rather become a stay a home mum,” a decision Tshidi* gladly accepted.
Years are progressing and her cute babies are getting a tad older. “Muzi* spoils us rotten. Whatever we want, we get. He got me a luxury SUV for my birthday, in addition to a nice car I already have. Money is never an issue. He is a sharp businessman, has various investments ranging from properties to equity.”
Admittedly, Tshidi* is the kind that smells of money herself. In tight black pants covered by expensive looking knee-length boots, her flawless yellow skin and long weave tells a story of a woman with no financial difficulties.
Her mood suddenly turns somber, like someone who just received news of the passing of a loved one.
“But all is not what it seems.” Looking down, she softly utters as she once again turns her attention on the small zen-tree.
Muzi* is a man who upholds Christian principles. An active member of Rhema Bible Church, it was only fitting that he would have issues with Tshidi’s* gay friends.
“He is a passionate homophobe. If my gay friends happen to drop by unannounced, he would immediately leave the house to visit his friends.”
She thought Muzi* was a straight man behaving like other straight men do towards this minority group. Little did she know that his hatred towards gay people was because he was gay himself, or at least, a bisexual man.
One day during one of his morning rush, Muzi* forgot his extra cellphone behind. This has happened many times before, and as with every woman, Tshidi* always felt the urge to go through her husband’s phone, the urge she simply couldn’t resist. And every time she did, she would find innocent content that made her love her hubby even more.
But that morning was different. That morning was the beginning of a painful revelation about her husband’s double life.
She scrolled and thought her eyes were deceiving her. “What is Muzi* doing with naked pictures of other men?” she asked herself as she scrutinised every single file on his phone. But the hard truth came when she scrolled to send items, only to find an MMS message he had send that very morning with a picture that looked like his manhood. The message read in part; “…I miss that tight *ss… let’s ‘meat’ tonight… I will tell her I have a late meeting…”
Shocked, numb, but mainly confused, she decided to call the number using Muzi’s* phone. A voice that sounded like a young man answered “Hi baby.” She hanged up, and immediately knew where there’s smoke, there’s definitely fire.
“But Muzi* can’t be gay, can he? I mean he hates gay people, plus our sex life is beyond amazing. There’s nothing soft about him. He likes soccer and does men stuff like fixing things around the house. Maybe there’s another explanation to this,” that was a conversation she had with herself as denial started to sink in.
Later that day, Muzi* came to collect his cellphone, kissed her and told her he will be late because of another late meeting. Like a good wife, she just nodded and smiled, and uttered no word about the shocking series of events that took place earlier on. He came back very late in the evening and it was business as usual, life continued…
Days, weeks and months passed by without confronting Muzi* about an issue that was eating her up inside. All she ever did was to dig even deeper, hoping her suspicions about her loving husband were wrong. But every time she did, Muzi* would emerge guilty as charged. The local hotel bills, the internet browsing history leading to gay websites, you name them, he did them.
“I mean we have a house in Johannesburg. Why would he then feel the need to book into a hotel in the area?” she asks, teary eyed.
She remembers having a conversation many moons ago with one of her gay friends about closeted gay men.
“This friend told me that in Johannesburg, a lot of prominent business men likes playing with boys. But many choose to get married and have families in order to hide their true sexuality. Some are gay, some are bisexual, others have occasional gay tendencies that comes and goes once or twice a year, while others are curious and just want to experiment. They call them try-sexuals, as they just want to ‘try’ it out. I laughed it off as it served no relevance in my life, or at least I thought,” she continued.
Now that this reality has knocked on her very own door, she can’t help but wonder which category does her husband fall in. It is now over a year since finding out about Muzi’s* secret life. And to date, she still hasn’t found the courage to confront him, secretly hoping it’s just a phase he’s going through, a phase that will disappear in time.
Why did she stay, many would ask.
“Muzi* is a loving man. He does everything for me, for our children. We live the life that many can only dream of. What will become of me if I leave him? I’m rusty, it has been years since I last worked. Where will I begin?”
She feels trapped, hopeless, but is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the opulent lifestyle that Muzi* provides. But most importantly, for the sake of her three children.
* Names have been changed to protect their identity
Facebook: Lifestyle Tabloids