By Drum Digital
11 August 2014

As we enter wedding season, DRUM reader Linda Dlamini reflects on how her fiancé deserted her

It’s almost every girl’s dream to have the perfect wedding with the perfect man, especially if, like me, you’ve been raised in a close-knit Christian family. My middle-class family is somewhat traditional; we are members of a Chiefdom so Dad didn’t believe in a working wife and Mum was a housewife who raised two handsome boys and two gorgeous girls.

As the eldest daughter I was expected to live by these principles and wait for a stable man – one with a good job, good family/background, Christian values, and of course he should be loving.

My little secret

After completing high school I considered going to university and exploring other opportunities but my dad had wanted me to follow in his footsteps and study accounting. By then I had discovered my other passion, radiology, but this was put on hold while I respected my dad’s wishes and studied accounting. Even though I wasn’t fulfilling my own desire, I was employed while I studied and received a generous salary.

Amid all of this I had been in a secret relationship for seven years. There was no sex, no spending time behind closed doors and my guy was shy but loving – or so I thought. He was my high school sweetheart.

He had already introduced me to his parents and luckily they loved me. As time passed and our relationship grew stronger, he proposed and I finally introduced him to my family.

Lobola negotiations

In spite of me looking forward to a new journey with my fiancé, my siblings were not as supportive as I’d hoped they’d be but that was to be expected – his family was classified as low class, his “standards were lower than mine”, he did not have a good job and “I was too good for him” were some of the reasons they cited. In their eyes I deserved the best of the best.

I loved my man regardless – isn’t that what love is, caring for someone unconditionally?

Things were so bad that my older brother disappeared during our engagement party because he just couldn’t sit there and pretend to enjoy it. I was so stressed at the time that I failed my exams. I decided to take a break from school until I was settled. Little did I know that more drama was coming my way!

A few months later it was time for lobola payments. At the time my fiancé lived in Soweto while I was based in Swaziland full time. In spite of the distance we had planned how we wanted our lobola negotiations to go and everything was confirmed, including his arrival time in Swaziland.

This event usually lasts the whole weekend, from Friday to Sunday, but my family decided on a one-day event to be held on the Saturday. I spent my Friday on the phone checking where he was, worried that he wouldn’t make it on time as the border closed at 10 pm.

Everything was in place, he told me, and he had already left Johannesburg. At 10 pm sharp I called him but his phone just rang. Worried, I called his family’s home and I was told he had not arrived. I thought that perhaps he was delayed at the border so I gave him more time before I tried again. At 10:45 the call went unanswered again. By midnight his phone was switched off.

His family later confirmed that he had not arrived but was expected later that day.

That Saturday was sunny. Family members flooded our home with joy written all over their faces. I, on the other hand, had been waiting impatiently for one phone call to save me from the hell I was going through.

Hours passed and there was still no sign of umkhwenyana (the groom). Then it dawned on me that I had been deserted by the love of my life! His phone was off and he did not call his family to inform them of his whereabouts nor did he cancel the arrangements.

At around lunch time, I was forced to inform my family that I had been abandoned by the man I loved. I was in tears and couldn’t stand everyone’s pitiful looks. I couldn’t get over the fact that he made such a fool of me.

I felt like my entire community was laughing at me and I’d brought shame to the most respected household in my community. There was no way I could interact with the community so I closed myself in, stopped going to church and my health deteriorated.

Moving on

Now, seven years later, I still do not have an explanation for what really happened or an apology from him. His family apologised on his behalf but my heart and soul needed more. I needed him to explain why he left me with shame and unbearable pain.

Right now I can only assume that his self-esteem was low – perhaps he measured his life against mine and felt inferior and that he didn’t deserve me. I remember a debate we’d had some time ago during which he said he didn’t deserve me and wanted to know what I saw in him so perhaps he had bought into what my family had said. Sometimes listening to other people only leaves you with regrets.

Nevertheless, there was just no way I could take him back, no matter how much I may have loved him.

I’ve tried to move on and focus on myself and being happy. I’ve found new friends and a new purpose in life. I’ve also enrolled at school again but I’m not dating anyone because I have difficulty trusting people.

I must admit, though, my life is exciting and I’m doing well. I’m employed full time with a good salary and I’ve decided to become a career woman. I truly believe I will find my Superman one day.

A brief encounter

After all this drama, I eventually bumped into Mr Man in Swaziland’s capital two years after he deserted me. When he saw me he froze for a moment, “Wow, you look good,” he said. I wanted to reply with, “Of course I look good; what did you think would happen?” but all I did was walk on by.

In the end I’m comforted by this quote: “To love someone is to understand each other, to laugh together, to smile with your heart and to trust one another. One important thing is to let each other go if you can’t do this”.

By Linda Dlamini

Find Love!