Dance with me FOREVER

I have dated six and half men, three of whom proposed marriage but the wedding never came off.

Wondering who the half could be? He was a handsome hunk,I saw him just five times during the duration of our one and half year relationship. On all ocassions I literally dragged him out of his self absorbed world.

He proposed after the first year, which came as a pleasant surprise. I had genuine concerns but I still agreed to be his wife. There were glaring red flags and a few yellow ones, I was 34 going on 35, family and friends will not let me hear the last of “when are we attending your wedding “, “you will make a beautiful bride” among other insensitive comments.

I never set eyes on my fiancé after the proposal, and the loan of $2,000 i gave him. He was never home, always on a business trip, rarely picked his calls and always complained he was just not the texting type. The last text I got from Mr “half man” was the last time I ever heard from him. It was after one of his numerous disappearing acts, he explained it was an emergency trip to Spain to close a lucrative business deal.

My worst fear all along was confirmed, he was living a lie. He preyed on lonely rich widows. The last time I heard he was cohabitating with one of them, a rich widow in Airport Hills, an affluent suburb in Accra. Pardon my manners, my friends call me MO my full name is Monalise Chinoso Okonkwo, the second of four siblings and of Nigerian-Ghanaian parentage.

I have decided to share in generous details my struggles and pain on my journey to what society perceives as “complete” for women.

I have a successful career in Public Relations and strategic Communication and blessed with supportive parents. They are clearly unhappy,four months to my 35th birthday there is no sign of a prospective son in law.

My mum was convinced the matter had to be dealt with spiritually as my older sister, at 37 was still very single. Three nights ago i over heard my mum from the drive way,praying quiet loudly

“All potential suitors who have been spiritually blindfolded and can not see my beautiful daughters, I bind and loose the work of my enemies who don’t want my daughters to move into their matrimonial homes”.

As I sat in the car I wondered when this will all be over. I envied my older sister who had temporarily escaped the “baptism of fire”. She was away in England pursuing her PhD in aeronautic Engineering. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to get married too, but doing it right was not negotiable.

I have made enough mistakes to know i was better off single than drowning in an unhappy and toxic marriage. When I don’t have late meetings, I found something interesting to while away the evening till late.

I needed to avoid my parents incessant nagging about marriage and the subtle reminder I was not getting younger. I accompanied my younger brother’s girlfriend to her dance class one evening. I am not much of a dancer so I watched them dance away.

One of the instructors boldly walked to me and asked to dance with him. His persistence got me on the dance floor for 40 minutes and he taught me a few steps. I never thought i would enjoy dancing that much. I decided to enroll in the dance class but unfortunately I was assigned another instructor. Keith was helping out with another branch for a few months.

I was dancing at the retirement send off party for one of the partners of the company I worked for when a deep baritone voice whispered from behind “dance with me” with all pleasure Keith, i responded. When Keith got back to Accra I saw him three times a week at the dance class.We got along, became great friends and over time I got fond of him.

I discarded the idea of anything serious when I realized the feeling was mutual. He was five years younger, I was more educated (so I thought) and had a better paying job. My first serious boyfriend was very insecure and complained about everything. He was four years younger, i was more educated and earned more. I couldn’t even share my success and wins with him.

Keith asked me to help out with the planning of his best friend’s wedding, who was also a dance instructor. I asked why he couldn’t do the planning with his fiancée. “I am only helping Keith explained, I was very involved with the wedding planning of my two older siblings so I have a bit of experience”.

“Mo dance with me forever”

Keith whispered twice into my ears during one of our dance classes. I asked exactly what he meant as he walked me to my car. He insisted he will explain further in the evening after court. Keith what is happening in court I asked anxiously. Well,it has not come up but I am a managing partner in a law firm i co-founded. My jaw dropped, “ Keith you mean you have a full time job”?

I do MO,no more surprises, i own the Dance school too and I run a couple of family businesses with my siblings. In the ensuing weeks I got to know Keith better, our visions aligned, we shared the same core values, we had frank and difficult conversations about everything including our age difference, assisted fertility options if we had to use that route etc.

We had our fair share of arguments and disagreements,but we were both intentional about winning as a team ALWAYS and never as individuals.

We decided to take our friendship to another level, he did the asking, i am very old school

Keith proposed marriage 9 months later,it was everything I wanted….small and intimate.He knew all the people I wanted to witness our special day and he made sure that happened.

We saved ourselves the stress of planning our wedding. Keith tricked me into doing that a ago when he asked me to help out with his friend’s.

Six months into our marriage we decided to start a support group with other couples.

It is a non-judgmental safe space for young people of marriageable age to share their fears and concerns .

Couples with similar experiences and trained counsellors share their experiences

and when needed they get professional help. A few have actually connected and dating…. there is a silver linning in every cloud. Marriage is a blessing and ultimately MUST add meaningful value to your life and NOT a yardstick to determine success especially for women.

PS: My older sister Mabel, is finally dating an amazing young widower with a son. She will be in town with him in a week to meet the family. My parents are not excited he has been married before,white and has a child. I am hopeful when they get to see how he adores their daughter,they will accept him with open arms.


  • Vikki A.O-A

    Storytelling is a powerful tool for positive impact and influence and that is what inspires Vikki to write the next story. She is the author of RIPPLES Original Stories.

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