Monday, February 20, 2012

Relationships, Broken Hearts, Men, Women & Love

I have not had regular access to the internet and have been unable to post.  However,  I have been writing a lot and have three new entries to share. I will be putting them up in the next couple of weeks.  Enjoy

No matter where you live or what culture you were raised in, the majority of human beings deal with relationships, heartbreaks and love.  Being here and having the opportunity to live in a local community and date a host national has given me a different perspective on relationships, standards, gender roles, and love.  It has also brought to awareness a particular sense of gratitude for my own upbringing and freedom.  I want to apologize for writing so much about the oppression of women. I never planned to revolve my blog around this subject, but lately the stories I feel most inspired to share are just that. 

The words relationship, boyfriend, and girlfriend have a very different connotation here than they do in America.  Most will agree that in America when you are in a relationship it means that you are dating one person unless agreed upon otherwise. Communication is essential and trust is even a bigger. Cheating is looked down upon by society and is a likely cause to end a relationship.   Here it is very much the opposite. Cheating is a common practice and though people do not necessarily like it, they accept it.  I have spent a lot of time talking about this subject to both men and women (teenagers and adults).   The chance that your Senegalese boyfriend (muslim or catholic) is having or has had sex with another person while dating you in pretty darn high.  

Some of my male volunteer friends have had some interesting conversations with Senegalese men.  One friend told me that his tailor asked him why the volunteers (male) do not want to  “play” with the women here.  His quote “the women of village “A” want to play. You just tell me whom you want and I will help you.:  When explained to this person that he was in a relationship and was not interested, the man did not understand.  He explained how he was also in a relationship. This type of thinking is not uncommon.

In trying to understand why this is so accepted I talked with a good friend of mine.  She was born and raised in Sierra Leone, yet had the opportunity to live in America for much of her adult life. She explained that African men love their girlfriends and want to marry them however they commonly sleep with other people. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their girlfriends but before marriage they don’t see the necessity to remain loyal to one woman even if they have not had sex with her.  It is something she told me that she has learned to accept.  She also talked about the lack of effort made by a man once he has your commitment (sexual or not) And romantic gestures such as giving flowers or love letters are very unlikely.  Love here is reflected in action rather than emotions.  If you are a man and you love a woman and want to marry her you work hard to have money so you are able to support her and your future family.  Women show their love by working hard, being obedient, and domestic.    

 So you would think once people get married the sleeping around would stop.  Unfortunately, it does not.  In a polygamous society, such here, men use the excuse that they are looking for another wife as a means to justify their sleeping around. For Catholics this excuse is not accepted thus men who choose to have affairs do so much more discreetly. Either way the consequences for these types of actions mostly affect the women.

I have seen girlfriends and wives act out against this and the results have been discouraging.  My host sister went crazy when she found out her husband was talking to another women and tried to hit him. The result was that he beat her. My friend found out her husband was taking a second wife and spoke out to him only to be hit. A girlfriend found out her boyfriend was sleeping with other women, called him out but stayed with him anyways.
 In America a woman has the right to leave her husband if he is unfaithful to her.  Unfortunately women do not have the resources to pack up leave. They are dependent on their spouse for financial support.  Also women who do choose to leave and return to their father’s house are often times looked down upon.  Being a woman in this culture means putting up with whatever your husband does and if you don’t like it then you must find a way to deal with it. 

I can’t help but to admire a woman who has an unfaithful husband and is stuck in the situation.  She has really no choice but to carry on, take care of her children, and find a way to cope.  Emotions are not expressed here! Besides children, the only time you will see someone cry is at a funeral when they are mourning for the deceased.  They are taught from a very young age that repressing how you feel is the way you live.  The result is that women have very little self-esteem, refuse to stand up and talk, and do not complain.  I know from my conversations that there is not a lack of feeling. The women here do feel and they do get hurt and upset when someone wrongs them. They choose to ignore it, let it go and move on.  You may think this is healthy, but in my observations I have seem many women who turn all this hurt into anger.  They let it out on their children.  A good friend of mine is a perfect example of this.

She was the youngest daughter of 7 girls. Her father died when she was 13 and was then married off to someone twice her age. She is an extremely intelligent person and loved to study. This change ruined her life and after being married to this older man and having a child, he died. She was 19 when she moved back with her mother who had recently re-married.  Now with a child and no financial support and her mother’s new husband was quick to marry her again.  She had three more children and is treated poorly by her new mother and law. She does all the laundry, cooks all the meals, milks the cows, pounds the rice and every other task women do here. The difference is that no one helps, her husband gives her no money and spends most of his time taking his motorcycle to watch soccer games or to parties.  She never complains but after several conversations with her, my heart is full of sadness for her and her situation. I recently wrote a poem thanks to her inspiration. 

I will post the poem in my next post...stay tuned! 


  1. I met my ex Senegal husband on AOL I was 48 yrs old. We corresponded for 6mths before we met. During our talks I asked if he was looking for a green card & he told me he had one. When I met him at the airport He was 24!! I had fallen in love with him. He spent a week with me. The night before he left he said he wanted to marry me. I accepted. He went back to NJ & finished the semester. We married January 2000. After we married he said we had to fill the forms out for his green card!! I said "you told me you had one" he goes "I told you I had a student Visa" I just thought "whatever". My friends & family said he was using me. Little did I know until I read your blog that after marriage they still cheat. My first marriage of 23 yrs was like that I stayed because we had 2 kids. After we married in 2000 I wound up supporting him for 9 mths. He didn't want to find a job until he had a work permit . During that 9mth he signed a membership to the porn shop, volunteered for the Chamber of Commerce & exchanged e-mails with women he met from cruise ships. All bills were split down the middle. I never knew how much he got paid or the balance in his checking account. Then he said he would be sending his family $600/mth to help them. I didn't know he liked porn, if I knew that I never would of married him, if I knew his age I wouldn't of talked to him.He was very flirty & a cheater. I was married to a man like that for 23 yrs, why would I want to go thru that again? He said he would never do anything to hurt me. I left him after 2 yrs. He was sleeping w/ the girl who worked NEXT to my sister's husband, the chair right next to him! My sister's husband knew everything & told my sister & mom. They didn't know how to tell me. They had a 4 mth affair. I left his butt, but before I did I cussed him out & I pushed him down on the floor, handed him the phone & said "here's the phone so you can call the cops" & I walked out. I took off 3 days of work & moved all my stuff out. The apt was empty. When he said he didn't have any pics? He had a box that weighed about 10lbs with photo albums of HIS pics, all of him. I tried to find a lawyer to represent me for the divorce. They said no because he was a soccer coach & all of the lawyers either knew him or had kids on his team. I never felt so used. Even tho I left him after 2 yrs I didn't file for divorce until after the 3rd year. He received his MBA, I typed all his homework until the wee hours of the morning, use my car to get back & forth to school. He needed to write an essay to perform in his class. I was telling him about my best friend who got breast cancer & had to resort to smoking pot in her last days. What did he do? He said it was HIS friend!! I was so angry at him. He was never home between working at the gym, school & coaching soccer, stopped giving me affection, attention, was unhappy with my cooking, so he cooked. When I was in the hospital for 10 days as soon as we got home our phone rang. It was my friend asking him if he could come work because the person that was supposed to be working called in sick. He had the nerve to tell her he would be over there in 1/2 hr!! I couldn't believe he was going to leave me all doped up on pain medication hardly able to take care of myself for 8 hrs!! Anyway, just thought I would share my experience meeting & marrying a man from Senegal.

    1. I'm in a relationship with a Senegalese man too. He's 30 and I'm 43. Im about to break up with him though otherwise I'm going to get even more hurt then I already am. He's already been married in the UK so has indefinite leave to remain. We've only been together for 4 months but he too is using me for a cheap roof over his head as rents are very expensive here in London and he doesn't earn a great deal of money. He always tells me he loves me and we've so far had a passionate sex life. Being a daft cow, if someone gives me good sex, I often mistake it for being loved.
      Some of the things he has done to me has been real low life behaviour. At first o thought he was just a bit cheeky but now I realise he just takes the piss in whatever way he can. He moved himself in without us ever having the conversation. He goes out with his senagolse friends at least 5 nights a week. I know for a fact his two main friends have loads of women on the go, yet he swore on his mums life as he always does that he wasn't like them and he didn't agree with the way they carry on. He never invites me along, infact he's never taken me anywhere since we've been together . He has stolen money off me on a few occasions and when he gets paid on a Friday he's usually skint again by Sunday and then ponces tobacco off me, expects me to feed him and lend him money to get to work. He even cashed in my travel card to get back the five pounds deposit.
      As yet I don't think he's cheated on me but it's definitely in the post. He doesn't have the obvious charisma his friends have but I know if the opportunity comes he will take it. Infact I think that very recently he may have started to cheat. Last week he came home at 5 am on a wed night. He told me he was at a staff party but I checked the travel history on his travel card and he was lying . When his lies are found out by me and I produce the evidence of his lie, he still sticks to his lie and never comes clean. Last week I spent a few nights away from home. He brought a girl round , they cooked and he washed all the bedding which is something he never does. My lodger told me the girl was there and still he denied it . He has seen me break down in tears many times because of the way he treats me and he just carries on without a thought of my feelings. I have never seen him express any emotion. What hurts most is he has loads of friends and they always come before me and I feel very lonely . I ended the relationship last night and he didn't show any sign of being upset . He's still staying with me until he finds somewhere else and it's now 2.30 am on a Thursday and still he's not back. I feel so hurt and lonely and it has made me feel worthless . The biggest lie of all is saying he loves me when it's not true.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

      Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

      Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

      Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

      And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

      Insert subject line here and link it to: Your ex won’t be able to resist?

      Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

      It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

      And even begging to be with you.

      Here’s what I’m talking about:

      Insert subject line here and link it to: Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

      Thanks again.


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  3. I am currently married to a man from Senegal. When we met, I thought I found my soul mate. We did everything together. I knew he didn't have a green card when I met him but married him anyway because I love him. Once we got married he totally change no more outing, no more flowers, no compliments, We are barely intimate, he said it is because I do not respect him. He feel because he pays the bills, I am to submit to his will. I am a Christian and he is Muslim, I believe in submission to your husband, but its obvious that Mohammed does not love the mosaic like Jesus the church because my husband corresponds with women on fb likes its ok. When I ask him about this he said friends are ok. I try to explain that men just don't just want that type of friendship and his behavior is like a single man and not a married one. Once I have helped him obtain gis citizenship, I plan to leave so he can find a woman from his culture to marry

    1. Omg, your story is just like mine.
      Married a guy from Senegal I met 3 years ago. Convinced I found my soul mate started a relation then he told me because of his Muslim religion we had to marry or end the relation. I didn't want to marry ever again after a bad 1st marriage but he kept assuring me that I was lucky to have met him and Not another senegal man who would just use me for money, for visa for everything. I met him in Africa and I travelled back and forth to Africa to be with him for 2 years spending copious amounts of money on flights, hotel, presents for him and money for his family. I did all this because sincerely I loved him and he was so loving to me.
      Then he said we cannot continue the long distance relationship so I should make him the visa travel documents which I did. He came to live in Europe, at first he couldn't find a job so Again I had to provide him with everything without moaning. Finally he got a job and the residence in Europe and suddenly his salary was his money and he would not contribute a dime to our living costs. He was just so greedy...horrible.. was not important anymore. He even had the cheek to tell me I didn't respect him when I was more than nice to him. My family kept telling me to get rid of him because his sole interest in living in Europe was to provide for his mother and family back in senegal while living with me scott free. When I asked him to leave he refused saying it was me who brought him to this country.....sorry no he basically didn't give me any choice and I believed he was sincere.
      My advise they don't lover us women...They only love our money and may I say use our finances to support their family back in senegal
      It's really sad and I'm still trying to come to terms with the deceit

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  5. Well geesh reading through these doesn't give to much hope does it? I met my husband now 5 years ago, we met when I was with a abusive man and he was with a gir who he thought liked him, cut to the chase we ended up dating after the girl stole all his money. We started dating and did everything together sound familiar? anyways now we are going on five years he as well asked me to marry him after a couple months of talking,ive never had reason to suspect him of cheating, simply because I work half the day and is home the rest of the night and he does the same when he gets off. So far everything is great the only thing I cant get past is he never wants to do anything fun!! Nothing , go fishing, swimming, an amusement park, nothing I can get this man to do Yet when I go out and do something fun with a friend he throws a fit, like I'm not gonna sit and waste the rest of my life sitting on the couch watching tv all the time, no , I'm a summer baby and at first he was to , now he don't like spnding any money on fun lol, its either save it for Africa trip or were not doing anything lol drives me nuts

  6. My story is long, and I won't bore everyone with the details. But I too was charmed by a Senegalese man. I had known him prior to our relationship, and in fact was not attracted to him. A few years passed and we ran into each other and exchanged phone numbers. He called the next night. It was my birthday and he offered to come by and bring some Senegalese food. We had a good time, and since then he was calling me every night. In one of those conversations he said he wanted to talk with me in person about something very serious. I invited him over. He told me that he had to leave where he was and needed a place to stay. I let him stay with me even though I had a really small place. A relationship ensued. We talked a lot, and when I asked the general questions about marriage, children to told me that he was separated from an American woman who he has a son with. And he also said he had a daughter from a past relationship with a Senegalese woman. Turned out that in total 6 children (she was married before marrying him and had 3 children through that marriage. The husband died and he took responsibility for all the children, plus he had a young one with her) The American woman was not an issue because they really didn't get along at all. I witnessed that myself. And his son was so sweet. The wife is now deceased since 2 years. This guy lived with me for one year before I was able to get him a job. When he started getting steady money I told him he had to help with the rent. I only asked $100. p. mo and every single month he gave me hell to give me that money. He claimed he had to send it home to his wife. When his wife got wind he was living with me, she started working roots to destroy me and split us up. In the interium, he won a case and stood to collect one-hundred thousand. But the lawyer had other plans. He was trying to get all the money by having him sign power of attorney. He was smart enough to get me involved and I made sure that he was given his money. As soon as he got it he made moves to go to Senegal. I asked for him to leave some money and he only gave me $2000. and said when he returned he would give me more. He promised to return in a few months. He didn't return until 8 mos later and he only called me once in all that while. He bought and furnished a beautiful home for his wife and children. I'm not mad about that at all. But he came back to NY penniless asking if he could live with me. After a few months of working on me I finally said yes, but let him know it was only temporary. After about 6 mos he got up enough money to go to Senegal again. He did the same. When he came back I didn't let him stay with me again. He has epilepsy and I was able to get him disability, medicaid, and still helped him with all his administrative needs. He went to Senegal again, and this time it's been 18 mos. I really don't care anymore what he does, but don't you know he had the gall to call and ask if he could stay with me, and I said NO! He even promised to pay rent. I don't want it. He's still in Senegal and still collecting disability. I really want to contact the disability office and let them know he is no longer in the country. I'm so angry. Yes, charming, selfish, liar, cheater, and user. All of the above.