Dear Mahogany, How Do I Forgive Myself?

Dear Mahogany,

I was married for 11 months to a loving and kind man. We started dating in 2015 and got married in 2017 but our marriage was over a long distance. He worked in Kano and we lived in Lagos, so he was only home a total of 4 times in 11 months of marriage.

It was hard for me and we fought a lot. Not once did he invite me to Kano to visit and I guess couldn’t cope with not knowing what my husband was up to , where he slept and who was feeding him over there. This January when he came home, we got into a fight over somethings on his phone and I acted out of rage and injured him.

Since then, he hasn’t spoken to me. He left Lagos as soon as he could and went back to Kano. All my attempts to reach him has failed and his lawyer friend keeps calling me to talk about divorce.

How do I forgive myself if he leaves me?

– Tonia

Dear Tonia,

You must forgive yourself. It may be hard and it will probably get harder during divorce processes but you’ll have to learn to forgive yourself.

The first step to doing that would be to understand the reasons behind your behavior. Ask yourself, why did I react the way I did? 

A long distance relationship can put a strain on mental health, intimacy and communication between a couple. Not everyone is cut out for it. You need to accept the fact that you weren’t cut out for it. That strain is one of the reasons you acted out.

Another likely reason is you acted out of suspicion. If your husband didn’t give you any reasons to question his loyalty to you, then you may also need to check that. Could it be you acted out on past experience in a previous relationship? If yes, you need to resolve that to forgive yourself.

The second step to moving forward is to recognize your own faults and your role in the whole thing, so ask yourself, did i act out of character?

When people fight, arguing with angry words is expected, even though it doesn’t usually resolve the problem. Fighting that resorts to violence however is inexcusable and abusive. Your husband is right to keep his distance because physical abuse is known to repeat.

What this means, Tonia, is that you need to examine your violent reaction. Have you always been violent? Was this your first act of violence? Do you agree that violence is toxic and you need to work on yourself?


When you can accept your role and face yourself, then you can move on to the next stage of asking him for forgiveness.

A lot of people apologize for bad behavior wrongly. You must have heard the line “I’m sorry I did “xxxx” but you caused it”? That’s an accusation not an apology. When you apologize, do  it sober, admitting your wrong and how it affected your relationship with him.

When you have completed these steps, start working on forgiving yourself. We all screw up. How we learn from it and make amends is what matters. 



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