How Do You Date A Man You Call ‘Brother?’
When I was initially told to buy a university form, I thought it was a joke. I explained that I couldn’t afford it, and my parents, who are retired, couldn’t assist financially. Despite this, I was encouraged to buy the forms and was even provided with money and assistance to complete them. Several months later, I received an admission offer. Although I shared the news with gratitude, I couldn’t truly be happy because I knew I couldn’t afford a university education. When questioned about my lack of happiness, I expressed my financial concerns and asked what I should do.
He reassured me, stating that he knew what he was doing when he asked me to buy the forms. He acknowledged that it would be challenging for both of us, but if I made sacrifices and avoided unnecessary expenses, he would support me through school. He emphasized his sincerity.
He was thirty-four years old, while I was only twenty-one. I realized that something had to give, and I was aware that favors were not given freely. Curious about his intentions, I asked him why he was helping me. He explained that as an only child, he had always yearned for a sister. If he had a sister, he would have done the same for her without hesitation. He considered me as the sister he never had.
Suddenly, happiness overwhelmed me, but I suppressed it, expressing only gratitude and promising to repay his kindness someday.
When I shared this with my father, he laughed and advised me not to accept his offer if I didn’t see him as a potential husband. He warned me that men often expect something in return for their actions. My mother echoed similar sentiments, cautioning me to be mindful of future expectations.
Despite my parents’ concerns, I approached Jeff and conveyed my fears. I informed him that my parents held the same apprehensions. He assured me that our situation would not be like those cautionary tales. He mentioned having a girlfriend and promised to introduce me to her. He assured me that she was aware of our arrangement and the support he provided.
I accepted the offer and began my studies. Jeff paid my fees while my parents worked hard to provide me with pocket money. One of my uncles attempted to pay for my hostel fees but eventually stopped. Jeff stepped in to cover those expenses. Whenever I felt hopeless and drained, it was Jeff who offered support. Our communication remained consistent, and when he visited, I introduced him to my friends as a brother. Some expressed interest in dating him, but I made it clear that he was in a committed relationship.
During vacations, I would go to his place and assist with household chores since his girlfriend lived in another city. I cooked, cleaned, and did his laundry. During these periods, I attempted to test his intentions, but he never made any advances. I felt safe and developed a brotherly bond with him. When he met my parents, they treated him like a son.
However, in my third year of university, Jeff began to distance himself. I called and messaged him for a week, but he didn’t respond. Worried, I went to his house and found him sleeping, smelling of alcohol and appearing exhausted. His girlfriend had left him. I stayed with him for three days, fearing what might happen if I left him alone. On the third day, before leaving, I contacted his cousin and shared the situation. Jeff was upset that I confided in his cousin, but ultimately, his cousin’s intervention helped.
Things eventually returned to normal. Jeff resumed contacting me, visiting me, and most importantly, providing financial assistance whenever I needed it. On my graduation day, he proposed, suggesting that I was now a mature woman who knew him better than anyone else. He asked me to be his girlfriend and eventually marry him