Eight months ago, my life was as close to perfect as anyone could ever hope for. I had a superb job working remotely as a computer programmer and I was dating a wonderful girl, Ifeoma, who worked at a government ministry in Umuahia.

I have always been the cerebral kind and used most of my spare time, which was spent at Ifeoma’s flat at the outskirts of Umuahia, reading and updating my IT skills.

I’d never really seen the need to get my own place because as an only son, I thought it better to stay with my parents at their duplex close to the GRA in Umuahia. That was until Ifeoma and I got serious.

Since I was practically living with Ifeoma,* I contributed to her household expenses but did little else. This was in line with how I was brought up. My parents always had hired help to do the house chores, compound maintenance – in fact, pretty much everything. As a result, I neither knew how nor did I have the desire to do anything around the house.

For instance, there was no running water in Ifeoma’s flat. Water was bought from commercial water tankers and stored in her tank in the compound. The options were to use her surface water pump to send the water to her second story flat or haul the stuff upstairs in plastic jerrycans. She once complained that she found it hard to do the pumping, especially when a generator was needed due to power outage from the public utility company. I told her to hire help.

Then I saw one guy doing the task the next day when I looked down from her master bedroom window. I assumed she’d taken my advice. Even when the pump developed a fault, the same guy used the jerrycans to fill the drums in her flat with water.

I often read or worked on my laptop far into the night and woke up late but Ifeoma was an early riser. She would clean the flat and have breakfast ready before 7 a.m. when she left for work.

However, anytime I woke up early or on weekends, the ‘water lifter’ guy was around – taking out the gas cylinder for a refill; fixing faulty electrical stuff; doing carpentry jobs like repairing the screen door in the living room, changing locks and replacing cracked table tops.

Ifeoma’s handyman was dedicated and knew his stuff, I thought. A regular jack of all trades, he was! However, I kept well out of his way. I mostly worked in the bedroom to avoid interruptions by her guests, so that wasn’t hard to accomplish.

Due to the amount of time I spent sleeping during the day, Ifeoma often prodded me to get up and “stop lying around like a pregnant woman.” I ignored her. She said she loved me because I was easy going but wished I could be more active.

“What is it with women and men who do manual work?” I thought, shaking my head.

The first time I wondered if something was wrong was the day I saw Ifeoma and her handyman cooking. I came to take water from the fridge and the guy was chopping some vegetables. They were clearly having fun working together. I grabbed the bottle of water and dashed out of there. But I didn’t bring the matter up with Ifeoma. There could be nothing between them, I reasoned. It was too ridiculous to contemplate.

As an IT guy, when I’m working on a project, I get so caught up in it that I hardly pay attention to what’s happening around me. So basically, I wasn’t much fun to be around when I had a deadline to meet and for long, Ifeoma respected that.

But she was not just sitting and waiting for me to be free and give her attention. She was going over to her neighbour in the flat opposite hers to watch movies, listen to songs and relax. She told me this herself but I wasn’t keen on meeting her neighbours or joining in their ‘fun,’ so we didn’t discuss the subject further.

Then one day, for no real reason, Ifeoma demanded that I should be waking up early to take her to work in my car. I offered to give her a transport allowance but she refused.

Next, she insisted that we should eat dinner together every day. Due to my heavy work schedule, I grab a bite when I can but I don’t set aside time specially for meals.

“We hardly do anything together,” Ifeoma complained. “We’re living together but are we really together in our hearts?”

“Hey, you know I work very hard and my job pays extremely well.”

“But money is not everything,” she moaned. “I prefer someone like Chuks who can spare time for me and do the things a man should do for a woman.”

“Chuks, the handyman?” I asked incredulously. “How can you compare him to me? And what does he do for you but menial jobs around the house?”

“What you call menial jobs are the things that show the presence of a man in a house. And you don’t know how sexy it is to see a man busy, doing physical and strenuous work.”

That was it! I’d had it with Ifeoma! Our people have a proverb that says, “Mma nwoke bu ego,” meaning the beauty of a man is money. But in spite of all the money I gave her, Ifeoma was talking rubbish. She wasn’t happy that I wasn’t working up a sweat lugging stuff up the stairs for her, preparing condiments for her cooking and using hammer and nail around the house.

So I gave her an ultimatum.

“I demand that you fire that your handyman. I will not be your houseboy. Tell me how much you need to hire all the help needed around here and I will provide it.”

Ifeoma did not respond. To show her I wasn’t joking, I moved back to my parents’, confident she would come to her senses.

But days turned into weeks and I didn’t hear from her but I held my ground. I didn’t consider the quarrel serious though. I felt we could get back together anytime. As a result, I did not hesitate to travel to the UK for a six-month course funded by my employers. My plan was to surprise Ifeoma upon my return with expensive gifts from my trip abroad and an engagement ring.

When I eventually got back, I realised that it would be unwise to show up at her place after a 7-month separation. We had not contacted each other the whole time. In the first month I could have reached out to her except that my pride wouldn’t let me. But once I started the course abroad, my schedule was too overloaded to try. I also didn’t want the distraction our reconciliation might bring.

I, therefore, decided to first call at Ifeoma’s office. She wasn’t there. One of her colleagues disclosed that she’d been unwell in the past few months and might be home. I thanked her and sped off to Ifeoma’s compound.

When I knocked on her door, a teenage girl I’d never seen answered. When I said I’d come to see Ifeoma who lived there, the girl pointed to the opposite door and asked me to knock there.

It took me some seconds to process what that meant. Maybe she had switched flats, I thought.

But the scene that met my eyes when that opposite door was opened knocked the breath out of me. Ifeoma was wearing a Lycra gown with a clear baby bump underneath.

“Hi” she said with a smile, as though she had not stabbed my heart with a knife.

“You certainly don’t waste time,” I remarked wryly, after a moment of speechlessness.

Her smile broadened. “Please, come in!”

I declined the invitation and stormed off.

Later, I learnt from a mutual acquaintance that Ifeoma married Chuks, the guy I thought was her handyman, one month after our separation. Whether that means they were romantically involved while I was still in the picture I do not know.

I also learnt that Chuks was a graduate of Biochemistry with his own soap making business.

Furthermore, I learnt that Chuks had been Ifeoma’s neighbour all along and was helping her for free. He was the neighbour she visited while I worked and she gave up her flat to move into his after they were married.

What a sneaky guy! If I had known we were in competition over Ifeoma, I would have been more invested in the fight. And let no one tell me I opened the door for him by leaving. I am convinced he knew what he was after all along. He was worming his way into Ifeoma’s heart with his too much availability and “helping for free” ‘cause, let’s face it, no one does anything for free these days!

-The end-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja

*Writing this story should not be taken as an endorsement of cohabitation by yours truly. I only support godly dating and living together after marriage.

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  • Chikwado Uzoh

    The answer has always been in the small details. Sadly, we often neglect them. Thank you for this message that has subtly called us back to the novelty of small things. Your caveat on cohabitation is duly noted!

    • You truly have a way with words. Permit me to share this beautifully crafted comment.

      • Odoabuchi Joy Ngozika

        Thank you,ma.

        I’ve learnt from your story telling style.

        I was writing a story when I saw the link to read this story.

        I’ve learned that a time comes in the life of a man when he begins to take responsibility for himself so he can live better than the training he received from home.

        Adults are responsible for their every action.

        • In my opinion, not every woman would bother about his not doing chores. But not giving the woman attention most of the time, that will be an issue.

          • Okeke Ifechukwu Ethel

            Money is not everything in a relationship , but it is essential. If he’d given her the little attention she needed, things would have been in a better proportion. I’ll say he definitely learnt his lessons.

      • Ugwuanyi Perpetua Chidimma

        Let it be known unto men that money doesn’t keep every woman. He had his opportunities, but pride didn’t let him. God blesses🙏

  • Reliance Ezimora

    Such an interesting piece with the first person pov in use.
    An important lesson I’ve learnt is making sure that there is a balance in all aspects of my life. It ensures that no part is cheating the other.
    That way I’m sure to get more from all than just one.

  • Jackie Amasike

    An otherwise very good didactic story but for the cohabitation. It is wrong. God hates it.

  • Osamor Emmanuel

    What an interesting, educating and lesson-filled story. Render the required assistance to your loved one when needed. Never allow pride take a better side of you in achieving your goal. Lastly, have a listening ear.

  • Chibuife Deborah

    This piece is beautiful and is also didactic not just to the men but also to the women. We should balance all aspects of our lives.

  • Chiamaka Ogbodo

    When I saw the title I felt the story would be a cliche one but I found it interesting and such an eye opener which I agree with. Money isn’t everything, a sad truth that needs to be taught to my generation which applauds men not being men.

  • Rejoice Obioha

    How can a full grown man decide to live in his girlfriend’s apartment? 😂

    Interesting story. Kudos!

  • Blessing Ofordile

    A sneaky guy indeed 😂 Well, he knew what he wanted, went for it and it worked out well for him. But seriously, why will a man stay with a woman without knowing what he wants? Always know what you want and set goals before engaging in anything.

  • Chinenye oguanya

    Wow! It was worth reading.
    While reading, I couldn’t wait to know how the story ends.
    One should always make out time for loved ones no matter how busy one is. And all those little things we think don’t matter are the actual things that matter.

  • Anyanwu Geraldine Ngozi

    Oh my! Why did the story end, Ma’am? It was so interesting that I forgot that it has ended when I got to the last paragraph. It is really sad that people don’t pay attention to little things that matter. I really feel Ifeoma knew what she wanted either way.Thank you, ma, for the note of warning against cohabitation, it is really important.

    • I take it that the story was very interesting if you were longing for more at the end. But I had to stop. It was already 1,500 words and I wanted it to be on the short end of the short story spectrum.

      Glad you saw the warning against cohabitation.

  • Adeeyo Stephen

    Hahaha, my guy no wise.
    It is important to note that money cannot do every thing, but she was too fast.

    • Probably, the ‘handyman’ speedily utilised the window created by the other guy’s absence.

      • Onah Celestine kenechukwu

        “Money is not everything’ they say.

        Sometimes what is just needed is that sense of belonging; that act that we care.

        Even if the man wasn’t much of a domestic person, he could have done better by getting those that would do the job by himself.

        Also, like they say, no relationahip is without hurdle. But if only we learn to know when to compromise our ego for the ones we love, we will always overcome any conflict that will arise.

  • Obinna Chiamaka

    Quite interesting ma… The story is an eye opener to all that money isn’t everything.
    He felt he had money and was reluctant to meet the needs of his girlfriend thereby giving room for the handyman to come in. He created the loopholes and the handyman was smart enough to make use of the opportunity.
    He wasn’t even right staying in his girlfriend’s place as a full grown man 🤦.


    Very interesting and educative story. Always have emotional check-in with your partner, and also practise active listening.

  • Gbatalibe uchenna Mildred

    This is an educative story. We don’t know what we have until we lose it. Thank you, ma. It was interesting.

  • Tom Teme

    You snooze you lose
    He lost her even before the argument
    One thing money can not buy is time, if only he wasn’t “too busy”
    Thank you ma’am for this piece

  • Edoriawhe Faith Avwerusuoghene

    Im pleased with the story… definitely takes two to tango. True relationship means commitment and respect for each other. Thank you for this, ma’am!

  • Esogwa Jubilate A.


    I wish all men learn from this! No matter how busy you are, always make out time for your spouse.

    Thanks a lot, ma’am

  • Heiyaa… I’m so sorry for the heartbreak and depression you must be dealing with now. But truth is, you have to deal with it.

    I mean, you should know the little but important things you should look out for in relationship. Being able to define one’s relationship is really essential as it will go a long way in making the both parties focused.

    Second, ladies are attention seeking beings. All the times Ifeoma asked for help around the house from her boyfriend should have sparked a fire in his heart. But no! He was only concerned about work. No wonder Ifeoma had to ditch him for her handyman. She wanted a playmate; one who she would be able to interact with, in and around the house.

    Finally ma, it will do no good to comment on the story without highlighting the proficiency with which you skilfully showed mastery over this piece. It is really engaging and entertaining at the same time. Thank you ma!

  • Chidiebele Ojuanu O.

    One of the ways to show love to someone is by supporting them and helping out in doing things rather than making assumptions. I believe his foolishness made him lose her to the handy man. I love the sequence in the narration.

  • Kalu Victory

    Love is about deeper connections, not just material things. Emotional intelligence goes a long way in every relationship. This story is both insightful and thought-provoking. Thank you, ma.

  • Nwaneri chinenye Priscilla

    Money can’t buy love, friendship, commitment and dedication. He thought that his money would fill in the gap in their relationship and the handyman is quite a clever guy. He made good use of the opportunity that was presented to him.

  • Ogechukwu Joy Omeje

    “Had I known” always come as a regret when mistakes have already been made. Money only does not define love, there is so much more to it.

  • Obadike Praise Chiamaka

    “…you don’t know how sexy it is to see a man busy, doing physical and strenuous work.”…This line got me laughing hard😂😂😂…our Gender shaaaa😂😂

    what can I say. While there are a lot of lessons to be learnt for the guys in this story, I still feel that the lady too wasn’t straight about their relationship…i mean marrying someone thought to be just her handyman immediately ‘A MONTH’ after her boyfriend left should be looked into…I mean that’s strange!

    Well I feel she already made her choice long and early enough. she was just enjoying her ex’s presence around the house especially with the fact that he was providing for her a lot… let’s face the truth.😏

    Meanwhile that Guy’s pride is soooo out of this world abeggggg!😂😂😂

  • David ezinne queen

    Uncle didn’t know that money is not everything a woman wants. Time and attention also matter.

  • Chinodebem Madukaife

    Truly, this is an insight on the values of both love and money when put at each other’s sides. I believe that it’s extremely malignant to men who think that money buys their way through everything. This is indeed a lesson to men that balance is key and surely pride comes before every fall.

  • Ejiofor Valerian Obiageli

    Money is not everything. Leave pride and pay attention to details (little things that matter). God bless you ma for this piece, it was very captivating.

  • Angela Ogechukwu Odo

    A person in a relationship should know that money is not all that is important, at times, try to engage yourself in the household menial job even if you do not like it, especially when your partner have complained about it and is comparing you with another.

  • Okoewa favour

    It is not about communication, listening to and understanding your partner’s points is very important because if the lady hadn’t told him about her issue with his laziness, it would have been the lady’s fault but she has spoken up and the boy, with his pride, chose to ignore it.


    It was a pity for him to loose ifeoma, but he caused it because he did not have time for her and he supposed to know that money can’t be attention or the time she wanted from him.

  • Okegbe oluchi tonia

    Ifeoma’s boyfriend should have been careful and watchful and due to the fact they were not married he shouldn’t have neglected ifeoma,he should have shown her some love and affection.

  • Success Ogbonna

    Wow this story should be directed to men money is not all a woman needs , a woman needs you to show her your attention and also that you care about her. really enjoyed this story.

  • Ochije Favour Chinenye

    Ifeomaaa!! Now that was too fast😂. Just a month!! Anyway,sorry for the loss bro.
    The young man clearly didn’t put his relationship as one of his priorities and Chucks was indeed handy😂.
    One of Ifeoma’s love language was acts of service but Bro didn’t realize on time. Ifeoma should have ended things with him on time though because I can imagine the shock he would have gotten from the meeting with Ifeoma.
    Good work ma’am!


    He was carried away by other things,
    not knowing that a lady also needs attention,not just money and material things.

  • Nmesomachi Igwe

    Despite how clichéd its become, money is really not everything. Every relationship whether with man or God must be built by quality time and attention. Besides, Ifeoma’s patience must have really been stretched as she even spoke to her boyfriend about his lack of attention for her.

  • Odugu chioma Cynthia

    This story is trying to tell us that money is not everything, we should always try to make time for our love one’s. We can see what happened in the story, how Ifeoma was been taken away from the boy because he don’t have time for her.

  • Asadu Divinefavour somtochukwu

    Oh! What a sad story of miscommunication and missed opportunities, ifeoma’s boyfriend never knew that clear and honest communication was so important in a relationship.
    Moreover,it is also crucial to be open with your partner, give her the special attention she needs and make her feel like she’s living with a man and not an animal.
    More power to your elbow ma for being able to create such an interesting and intriguing piece of writing.

  • Ndidiamaka Ede

    Indeed! Pride goes before a fall. Nice one ma.

  • Mariam Irumekhai

    So interesting.
    It’s not all about money. Sharing some moments together and caring for each other, matter in a good relationship

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