LGBTQ+ Nigerians benefit from the support provided by volunteer counselors via the Qtalk app, which is supported by this site and by the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation.
Richard, a 36-year-old gay man who succumbed to the pressure from his family to marry said he is exhausted with pretending to be heterosexual and wishes to divorce his wife and live his truth.
In his support request, he wrote:
“At this point, I wish that I can just disappear from the surface of this earth. I am damn tired. For the past 6 years now, I have been pretending to be a straight man. I was pressured by my family, especially my dad who had a huge influence on me, to marry as I finished university. I got engaged to a girl and I married her not too long after. Now I am tired. I don’t love her and I want to leave her. I want to live my truth. Is this just too hard to achieve?”
In a response to his support request, the counselor responded that there are many people in a similar situation and that it was common for gay people to feel the need to please their families and society by marrying a woman even though they have no romantic feelings towards her.
The counselor also stated that getting divorced is usually a very complex and time-consuming process and can even be depressing for most people, especially when the other party is still in love and believes that the marriage can be saved. However, the counselor also stated that living authentically as gay also wasn’t an easy option, especially in a place like Nigeria, where homosexuality is frowned upon and even criminalized.
The counselor went forward to explain that it was a dicey situation that requires deep thought.
After a series of back-and-forth sessions with the counselor, Richard decided that it would be best that he pushes for a divorce as continuing with the sham marriage and living with the secret about his sexual orientation was almost driving him crazy.
The counselor also stated that nothing was sufficient to prepare him for that journey that it is usually a unique process and that nothing can be predicted, as every individual reacts differently in various situations. However, the counselor stated that he should keep an open mind, knowing that people in his life are going to feel disappointed, used, and betrayed.
In addition to the support that he was receiving via Qtalk, the counselor suggested that it would also be a good thing if he has friends from within the gay community that he can stay in touch with during the process for emotional and mental support as he navigates through this phase of his life.
Richard has also remained in an active session with the counselor and is providing periodic updates about his journey as he makes the attempt and takes bold steps to be free again.