Discussing topical issues for women in cross-cultural and inter-continental relationships

In defense of the African man.

So my husband is Ghanaian and I am Australian.  He is from a tribe which is only now developing its written culture; so we tell stories to get our message across. Over the years of our relationship there is one story that I hear far too often. Every time it gets me to the core.

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There is a generation of broken men in Ghana being created by western women. Far too often I have seen mates of my husband, and friends of mine, become desolate because their western girlfriend has returned home to find out she is pregnant. After a year or two in which they’ve not been able to come together she has discarded him. He is never to be her husband; never to be his child’s father; they are never to be a family. The man is left alone, adrift in a sea of friends he no longer wants to be a part of, forever longing for the life that was meant to be his. I have seen too many these friends become broken-hearted because of the west’s idealism of love and the immediacy and physicality of it.

These guys are hustlers day-to-day, they have no steady jobs, they fight for what little they have and they can’t offer a girl material wealth. Young western girls come to Ghana enamoured by these ‘cool dudes’ who pervade strength and security with their strong arms and their soothing voices. Disillusionment comes fast or slow, either way it comes, and for most couples separation is inevitable. Remaining together is hard work. The short-sightedness of a fairytale love, and the bump at the end of the honeymoon period, leave many women pregnant to a man they assumed could be their rock forever.  Pregnancy suddenly makes them feel vulnerable, insecure and unsure of the decision they’ve made. The woman suddenly realises her fantasy becoming a reality is such hard work. She feels her family may not be as welcoming of him as they were to her exploring the world and gaining new experiences.

In the men’s defense, I say to these women, ‘These men are extremely sensitive souls.’ Being raised in large families that at first seem endearing to the woman, and soon become very complex, means these men are loyal to the core to any woman who can give them the family they see as their birth-rite. And so they should. Women often take the ability to become pregnant, give birth and have a family as their inane human right. So it is for these men. When you become pregnant to one of them it’s a big deal. The fact that most, if not all, of them would unquestioningly leave their country to live with you and your family so he can be with his wife and child is bigger than the step you took when you began your adventure. My experience is that most women don’t even contemplate that when they make the decision to end their long-distance heartache.

It is a difficult situation for both parties in whatever country they may be in. I am not negating anyone’s difficulties but I feel to often these men get the raw end of the stick, left with nothing and no hope.

I have been in the same situation, finding myself pregnant and back in Australia, and I have successfully crossed the minefield of indecision and confusion to build a bridge across both sides of my husbands and my family. So I’d like to share the wisdom I have gained from it in the hope that no more of our friends will end up with red eyes, staring into their Star beer, completely lost and broken because he has lost his wife and child to impatience.

  • Put aside your fear and look at where the two of you could be in 10 years time.
  • Focus on that point far in the distance because, believe me, any relationship takes that long to truly blossom.
  • If you or your family cannot financially support him to come, such that he takes three years to come to you, know that it’s not because he’s wasting his time. His trying…hard, it’s just there is far more against him than there is helping him to get to you.
  • I beg, don’t break up with him over Facebook!!! He is human and deserves your understanding and respect.
  • Keep the faith. If you fear that he is philandering, know that it is your fear. You will never know otherwise so best not worry about it now. Focus on that point in the future.
  • If you maintain your strength, keep him connected to his child and let him know how you are raising his child well, trust me, he is yours forever.

Persistence and Perseverance breeds love.

 

These men are extremely loyal to their family, to their children and to you.  It just takes time. Forget the fairytale and remember we live in the real world.

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