Hellen believed in supporting her man through the rough patches. After all, they were engaged and would be wed in a couple of months. Joe was the man she would spend the rest of her life with, so she decided to start honouring the vow to be with him for better or worse. Joe was a business person, and the economy was rocky. It made sense when he told Hellen that his business was struggling.
Hellen was salaried and had just gotten a promotion. She felt it was divinely planned that she had gotten a salary increment when Joe needed financial help for his business. At first, he didn’t need too much, just enough to cover rent as he restrategized. Hellen did not hesitate to help him out.
Away from work, Hellen also took up more responsibilities in the house. Joe would refill the gas cylinder, but it became Hellen’s duty since he wasn’t making much. They also reduced the times they would go out for dates because Joe requested Hellen to bear with him.
“Babe, I know you’re helping me with some of the essentials but it doesn’t sit right with me that you have to pay for dates too. Could we please shelf dates for now before I get back on my feet?” Joe asked Hellen.
“You know I don’t mind paying for dates. You also deserve a break from the stress every so often,” Hellen argued.
“I know and I appreciate it but it makes me feel like I am failing you even further,” Joe responded.
Hellen agreed, imagining how much it weighed on him, especially as a man. For about four months, they compromised the quality of their lives, or at least Hellen thought they were doing it together. At this point, Hellen carried the financial expenses in their house and even took out a loan for Joe to boost the business. Shortly after sending him the money after the loan disbursement, she noticed some changes.
Joe was in the shower and had left his phone charging when a message came in. Hellen was next to the phone, so she saw the message. A girl named Nancy thanked him for the money he had sent her. She explained that without him, her business would have stalled. Hellen’s gut feeling told her something was amiss, but she quickly tried to convince herself that it was business-related.
She didn’t say anything to Joe.
In the following days, Joe picked a habit of going home late. He’d lie that he was meeting prospective investors and clients. It went on for a while until things escalated, and he stopped answering calls or messages. He would show up late at night or not at all. It strained their relationship.
“Joe, what is going on with you?” Hellen asked on a day he came home early.
“I’m trying to salvage my business,” Joe said defensively.
“Does that include drinking till late, not coming home and ignoring me?” Hellen asked.
“Do you want me to report every move I make?” He asked sarcastically.
“I worry when I can’t reach you,” said Hellen, ignoring his tone.
“I’m a man, don’t mother me because you’re giving me money,” Joe said and went to the bedroom.
Hellen cried and wondered whether she was pushing him away with the questions. She decided that maybe their financial situation was making him feel emasculated. “But, I have never made him feel any less and was only worried about his change in behaviour,” she told herself.
A week later, Joe asked for another loan. Hellen was astonished because she had given him considerable money the last time. When she appeared hesitant, Joe hurled insults at her. She couldn’t ask him why he needed more money when he was in that mood, so she explained that if she took out another loan, her payslip wouldn’t support their household expenses. Joe wasn’t having any of that, and he left.
Hellen tried texting him, but he ignored her. She spent the rest of the day figuring out how to handle their financial situation to ensure they could still meet their recurrent expenses and help Joe’s business. She had found a way by the time she got home.
As usual, Joe wasn’t home yet. He didn’t pick up the call, so Hellen stopped trying to reach him. She decided to wait for him. He wasn’t home by midnight, so she went to bed. At around 4 A.M., the phone rang. Joe’s friend told her he had been in an accident and was at the hospital.
Overcome by worry, she hurried to the hospital. That was when things started unfolding. When she got there, Joe was in the ward. The doctors had attended to him, and he was resting. Hellen found the doctor explaining to Joe’s friend, the one who had called her, and a female companion how lucky Joe had been. “The first aid, you administered saved him,” the doctor told the lady.
Hellen noted that Joe had been with the lady. She, however, decided to first inquire about Joe’s condition. His friend explained the situation. She then asked how the lady was involved and who she was. Joe’s friend mumbled as he struggled to give Hellen an answer. It would later emerge that he had ‘wrongfully’ informed Hellen about the accident without knowing that Joe was cheating on her. He had panicked once he learned about Joe’s accident, and it was too late by the time he understood the situation since he had already told Hellen. He couldn’t tell her not to come to the hospital.
Joe was later discharged from the hospital, but during his stay there, Hellen discovered the truth. Initially, Joe’s company was in trouble, but her financial contribution had helped the situation. Joe had been lying about his financial position because he was having an affair with Nancy, the woman in the hospital. She had been asking him for a lot of money to start a business and maintain a particular lifestyle. Joe couldn’t provide for Hellen and Nancy, so he took advantage of Hellen’s understanding nature.
The truth crushed Hellen. She had invested in Joe because she thought they were building a future together. She broke up with him but carried the shame of the disrespect and betrayal and had a loan to continue servicing.
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