They say date or marry someone who loves and takes care of his mother, a mama's boy. Very good advice but....

The problem, however, arises when you are the third party on your own because your man is conjoined at the hip with mama dearest and now you are the outer part of the relationship.

As they smother each other with love, affection, and goodies, you are on the sideline wondering what your main role in this situation is.

Otoyo and I met through mutual friends. Ladies, the love of your life is always in your elder brother’s circle, be it the extended one or the close ones. He is there, you just need to dig deeper. That is how I met my Otoyo. He was a friend of a friend of my elder brother.

The boy was too good looking, tall as if aiming for the stars, and of course proper ebony black (I have a profound attachment to the colour black).

When we exchanged numbers, like the good human being he was, he tried to learn everything I loved. Thus, on our first date, when he bought me a book I was charmed. “The purple hibiscus” that is what he got me. I was sold.

We went to News Cafe at Sarit Center in Nairobi. I had cocktails and he had beer. He put on a suit that day. Brother was looking okay. We talked about everything and nothing, but love was in the horizon I could smell it. He was in no rush, so we conversed for a week more and on the 14/09 we began dating.


Otoyo picked me up from work, got me flowers (he never quite got it through all those years we dated that I am allergic to pollen!), chocolates and took me for a walk at Arboretum to express his love and to ask me to be his girlfriend. Of course, I said YES!

We dated smoothly or as smoothly as it gets. He was perfect in my eyes that I did not notice when I started losing friends and only having him, his family, and his friends. I was too engrossed. Even when he moved into my house, not the other way round as it is supposed to be traditionally, I was okay with it.

Later when I continued paying all the bills, I did not mind since I was a strong and independent young Kenyan lady. But who cursed us with this need to show independence I have a fight with you!

I am a baby girl but with the characteristics of a lone independent city girl and I am not okay. It was all love.

Then after a lot of insistence we moved to a bigger house. A two-bedroom house. He had undertaken to pay the rent and I was to handle everything else. I was okay with it. I was a “Yes-Man” at that point. He was my end-goal, and I was ready to settle down.

Our weekends were for his friends and family. We used to play hosts a lot and all the people we hosted hated me because they did not feel I was good enough for Otoyo, besides I had made him stop drinking and I was hoarding his money, according to the rumour mills.


Four incidents stand out in our entire relationship, when I overhauled his entire wardrobe because one of our friends made fun of his corduroy outfits. The boy used to dress like a hobo with ill-fitting suits and weird style, save for Saturdays.

On Saturday, Ja Adwen (Adventist) used to unleash his favourite suits and bowties for church. He loved the church. But not on my watch. I made sure he looked good and smelled better - it was my calling! A calling I wholly amassed myself into. I sponsored the endeavor (cue in chest pains).

Second incident, I threw huge parties for my Otoyo and his mother. But for my birthday, we had big plans even opened a joint account to save for the same. But my birthday cake came a day early and I wasted a whole week’s leave days just to stay at home because beloved had secretly used the money to fix his car, a car I was barely carried in since he used to have excuses on why we could never go places together.

Then he got mad when my girlfriends decided to finally take me for a holiday to unwind from my stress. He actually strongly forbade me from going and when I came back, he had moved to the extra bedroom because he could not stand a committed woman who would go out of her way to go misbehave in another town as he politely put it.

Third incident, we got engaged. Happiest day of my life, or maybe not. He got me flowers as always. A shoddy ring (I knew him, so I knew no effort was put in it.) and we were having candle-lit githeri in the middle of our almost empty house. So romantic!

I should have seen the signs early enough to say no like when he moved into my place with his clothes only. Or that time we moved to a bigger house and he refused to bring his stuff since he had given them to his best friend, our first born. He he he.

Maybe it was during that time that he lied his salary had been deducted due to a work misconduct and I had to cater for most of the bills only to find out later that it was a lie, and he was earning three times my salary!


It definitely was that time when I had to work two jobs to help him pay for a lawyer for a court case he had. But no, I was in love. His mother tolerated me even when she used to call every day to check if I fed his precious son, if I ironed his clothes and to caution me against stressing his son.

But I was in too deep and too desperate for marriage since it was the next piece of my life’s puzzle. I had finished university and had a good job, so, automatically marriage came next. Right? Right!

The final incident was, on all the days he refused to drop me to work. I knew he had gone to south B to see his side chic, but I did not put up a fight. All men cheat, we are wired to believe. He will eventually get bored and come back. My African marriage beliefs and myths of embracing suffering and disrespect in marriage were hard at work.

What I did not understand is why he always got mad when our neighbours dropped me off to work. It hit me one day when he told me that I grew up without a car and cannot drive and asked me what my obsession is with being picked and dropped. I am still devastated when I remember this. Pure pain!

Arguing couple. PHOTO/COURTESY

But we still dated after that, even after he tapped my phone. Disappeared on me for months on end. Let me begin planning our “ruracio” without him. Let his family and friends openly disrespect me and accuse me of cheating. I still stayed. Poor in love me!

Then I met a man who reminded me how amazing I was. He called me Lily, like the flower. I have never understood why but he stood by me till I finally moved out and moved on. My guardian angel came, helped, and disappeared as soon as I moved out and started getting my life together.

Otoyo and I broke up over totally unrelated circumstances. He called me over after I had moved out, offered me ice cream (I am lactose intolerant). I knew it was time to let go. I did.

Now I face bigger demons and that mama’s boy of a man is just but a scab that I should not have gotten in the first place. But that’s life. You live. You experience. You learn. You move on.