He named our kid after girlfriend

Dear BMW,

I have been married for over a decade and in that time we have been blessed with three beautiful children—a girl and two boys. My husband and I belong to different ethnic groups and from different regions. Curiously, though, our kids’ given names are synonymous with another tribe from a totally different region. All three were named by my husband and when I queried him about his fascination with that tribe, he explained that his life was shaped by a teacher from that tribe and the greatest appreciation he could make was to name his children after him. I believed him.

My world came crashing down, however, when I discovered that our daughter was named after his former girlfriend whom he almost married, but that plan came to nought after protests from both sets of parents. The two boys were named after his ex-girlfriend’s brothers.

I consider this an unconscionable act. When I confronted him about it, he flatly denied knowing the girl despite the voluminous amount of evidence I presented to him. He accused me of being paranoid and feeling insecure.

I let sleeping dogs lie but something tags at my conscience and I just feel I should act on it. Biggie, should I change my kids’ names to something that won’t remind him of his lost love and spare me of the heartache?

Kate by e-mail

Dearest Kate,

What is done cannot be undone. You lost your man even before you said ‘I do’. You are his living regret and changing the names will not harness his wandering mind in the wilderness where he is searching for meaning to the loveless life he shares with you.

Soon after marrying one of my many wives, she recommended to me a certain brand of perfume. And it was good. Imagine my shock when years later I discovered that the perfume had been her former boyfriend’s favourite brand. Did I switch brands? No.

Then, there is this fool of a man who used to bootlick his female boss. He was so engrossed to please his patron that he named his daughter after the boss. Then, guess what, a few months down the line, the fool was fired from his job. Like you, he found himself in the quandary of trying to change the kid’s name!

Changing names hardly guarantees that other people will embrace them. Some people change their names after baptism, but the larger society still calls them by the names they were given at birth. First impressions last.

A friend was named Tsokalagalu at birth; at baptism he was given an English name. We still call him by his first name Tsokalagalu. Prince, the musician, tried to change his name to a symbol (what madness!), but the wider world refused to go along with him and they still called him Prince. Puff Daddy, born Sean Combs, remains Puff Daddy despite his repeated attempts to rebrand himself as P. Diddy, Puff, Puffy Diddy, Brother Love, the Dud, Chiphwafu, Puff Granddaddy etc.

Imagine having to change all your kids’ names, you would have to explain to them, the entire world and even to your Maker why you went to such extremes. Besides, you risk exposing your husband as a moron (which he is anyway, but some of these matters are better kept indoors).

You also run the risk of unwittingly inviting ridicule on yourself. Imagine your kids having to explain to their friends why all their names have been changed: “You see, our dad doesn’t love our mum that much, so he named us after his old flame as a reminder of how he let a good woman slip through his fingers!”

While we are at it, would you resist the temptation to name the kids after your own boyfriends and their sisters? I can smell that mischief in you.

Allow me a bit of mischief. The greatest revenge on your man would be to conceive again and name the child after an ex-boyfriend whom your husband knows so well. That would be giving him a dose of his own medicine.

Asiyeni ana sizikuwakhudza!

Big Man WamkuluNOTE: You can now send your problems to BMW via WhatsApp number: +265 998-110-975. No calls please!

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