Dear Aunt Dora,
I have been dating this rich white man I met at a club six months ago. He is 69 and I am 29.
Although we have developed a very close relationship we have only kissed and touched but not had physical sex. We have been talking about getting married and he has expressed a desire to visit my parents in Kenya.
We recently got very close and after a great dinner out and having a few drinks, we went to his place. I left him on the bed and dashed to the bathroom to pee. When I came back, he was struggling to remove his artificial leg.
I got the shock of my life and started screaming. I tried to run out of the room but swayed and banged my head since I was tipsy. He got so upset that we never got to do anything.
I feel very betrayed because I told him everything about myself but he never told me he had an artificial leg. I definitely was not prepared for what I saw.
Our relationship is on the rocks because he said I laughed at his leg. He has refused to see me and will not pick my calls.
I do have feelings for him but I do not feel comfortable sleeping with a person with one leg. How will I tell my family, especially my parents that I may marry a man with one leg? We don’t have such people in my family. I do not want my mother to have a heart attack.
How can I resolve this matter?
Leah, Vermont, USA.
You say you have been dating this man for the last six months? What have you been eyeing, his wallet or his heart? I am afraid that you sound very disrespectful and lack empathy for individuals with physical impairment challenges.
It is a fact that some people get married for money and you seem to fall in that category. That is fine as long as you treat your partner with dignity and respect.
From your letter you seem to come from a world where everybody is perfect and has never suffered a disease, had an accident or been born with an impairment. But in many ways, this shame is to be shared with our Kenyan society upbringing – how many times have we shunned loved friends, family and countrymen over our failure to understand, empathize and support our own with their differing abilities. Consider your words! It is true the adage says “Mcheka kilema hafi bila kumfika” – regard this as a visitation of mercy from the Almighty. Be humble – his wallet or his heart?
People suffer trauma because of their injuries or physical impairments and it may take them awhile to be comfortable enough to share with you such a private space in their lives. In some cases, talking about it may trigger memories he has spent years trying to forget. He may also be a very sensitive person.
Perhaps your man was getting ready to tell you about his prosthesis but may have noticed something in your attitude that delayed his disclosure.
You have hurt your man’s feelings more than you can imagine, especially at a time of great vulnerability and intimacy. You need to pull back and think through this. Give him time to calm down and explain what has and is going through his mind.
If you truly love him, you need to get off your high-horse and put yourself in his shoe. Would you expect your man to love you if you were the one with the prosthesis? You may not have been prepared for what you saw, but are you prepared to consider him?
If you love your mother more than you love the man and you fear she will get a heart attack, you should drop the relationship immediately.
Pick your priority and go with it. Is it the heart or the wallet?
Note: Aunt Dora has a Masters in Psychology from Villanova University, USA, and a PhD in the Language of Love.