Popularly known as “small house”, it appears women engaged in such relationships as mistresses of married men are not as happy as they seem to be.
Report by Rebecca Manhovo
I took some time out to interact with some of these women and surprisingly, though they might have various reasons why they had been involved with these men, they all expressed dissatisfaction with these relationships.
The desire to write this came after I met a woman I shall call Vimbai, who had eavesdropped my conversation with my mother-in-law. The woman asked me how it felt to be called someone’s wife as she had always been referred to as someone’s girlfriend or “small house”.
I was taken aback because this was a young 24-year-old woman who was attractive and ready to meet Mr Right. But she had settled for second best.
She took me five years backwards when she met up her married boyfriend whom I shall call Tatenda.
They met at some local food outlet in the city and as usual, the man could not resist the temptation of making a move. The two started dating, but little did the young woman know that the man was married with two children.
“I had just finished my ‘A’ Levels at that time and was full of college excitement, hoping to study and prepare for the future. We dated for a year before I found out that he was married and had two children. When we met, he had told me his girlfriend had left for New Zealand so there was no way he was going to be involved in such a long-distance relationship. Besides, he was now looking for a person to settle down with.
“I had no reason to doubt him as we would communicate at any time of the day, be it midnight or early hours of the morning. At that time, I felt like he had given me reason to believe in him. However, it all turned sour one morning when I received a call from his wife, who at that time claimed to be his sister until I confronted him, leading to his confession. That is when all the drama started and I realised that I had been taken for a ride, that I had been cheated.”
Vimbai was two months pregnant when this happened and thought she had no other option, but to stay in this relationship as she thought Tatenda was her only way out. She said as soon as this secret was let out, Tatenda stopped buying her all the fancy clothes and groceries, and all the fun the two had experienced just fizzled out.
Tatenda then told Vimbai that she should not call when he is at his home with his wife. She followed what she was told because she did not want to anger him.
He would send messages, but she could not reply instantly unless if the message came with these words “reply now”.
The story goes on with much detail, but after all was said and done, Vimbai said she somehow found a way to work round the situation by taking advantage of other factors that the wife overlooked or her weaknesses, but all that would never match to being called Tatenda’s wife.
“It’s not all rosy as it seems. Yes, he may come and pass by my house first before he goes to his place, but the truth is he will still go to his wife and children. We may go shopping to all the pricy places, but he will always keep his wife in mind and gets her something with or without me knowing. We may go to all the hang-out places and have fun with his friends or relatives who know about me, but the truth is I will never be his first choice when it comes to real family gatherings and values.
“What really hurts is that in the midst of all this, the best you can ever be in trying to be his wife is second best, of which that is not good enough. And though all women in such relationships seem content with that, the truth is that hard work to keep the man happy and making him comfortable will never be enough.
“I feel sad, angry and hurt. It’s disgusting, but I quickly cover our actions by justifying with statements like: ‘It’s not my fault the wife is not good enough or perhaps he loves me more, that’s why he chose me’,” she said.
Another woman, Tendai, mentions a very interesting point of how the wives do not continuously fight the girlfriend after they find out about the affair.
“The wife fights you the first few days, weeks or months and then eventually gives up as she realises that the confrontation drives the spouse further into our arms. However, the pain begins to kick in when she stops the fights. The husband begins to feel neglected and begins to spend less time with me.
“When we meet as women (small houses), the men usually hang out at the same places, as these are not the places they would take their wives — not only do we talk about how it hurts to know that there are no fights taking place at their homes, but we also how we wish to be with someone who will love us without divided attention.
I repeated this conversation with many other women, including widows and divorcees, who expressed the same views.
“We all want to be loved without limitations. But when a man wakes up and dashes to his wife, he leaves this hollow void in you. Contrary to what married women think, we are the most miserable people around.
“Having a permanent relationship is every woman’s dream and desire but there are many reasons that land us in such situations.”
I am yet to speak to men who have “small houses” to give their views.
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