[As told to Abigail Keate]
“There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment.” – Hunter S. Thomspon.
A saying that rings true for the story of Rahul and Natasha set in the bustling city of dreams – Mumbai, where perhaps more hopes are extinguished than fulfilled. This is a story of infidelity in a marriage, hurt, self-loathing and compromise. In the end, that is precisely what makes relationships work – compromises.
Rahul is a playwright – a creative, behind-the-scenes guy – while Natasha a chartered accountant working with one of the largest accounting firms in the world. Natasha’s work requires her to travel frequently. When she is not crunching numbers and closing deals, she is a devoted wife, an excellent cook, and a doting mother to one-year-old Samarra. Rahul and Natasha have been married for six years after a two-year-long courtship.
A Saga of Infidelity in a Marriage Unfolds
On a day which Natasha would have considered like any other, she received a strange call at work. The call was from a man named Vikram who claimed to be married to Priyanka, and was calling Natasha out of sheer desperation because he didn’t know what to do –he didn’t know how to put an end to Priyanka’s indiscretions – her infidelity and affair with Rahul.
Wait, indiscretions? That couldn’t be right, could it? Natasha wondered. Her Rahul? The strange man ranted for several more minutes narrating how Rahul and Priyanka had been on-again, off-again, for close to two years. She had labelled the first couple of times drunken mistakes but had not been able to sever ties with Rahul.
Vikram was at his wit’s end. Could Natasha not do something about it? He pleaded with her.
Natasha had removed herself from the reality that was unfolding before her and only felt pity for the man on the phone. She had to speak to Rahul – this had to be a misunderstanding, she kept telling herself.
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Struck by the lightning of cheating in a relationship
Rahul, on being confronted, did not bother denying what Natasha had hoped would be baseless allegations. To her utter dismay, he seemed almost relieved that the cat was out of the bag. He simply shrugged and mumbled something about having needed it, and that while Natasha had been pregnant and hormonal, Priyanka had been there for him. This left Natasha to wonder if what had hit her was among one of the most common causes of infidelity in a marriage. Or at least a common excuse.
Natasha was reeling in shock – this couldn’t be happening. And the excuse he gave her for this infidelity in marriage was ludicrous – while he was fooling around with this Priyanka behind her back, she was carrying his child!
She stared at her reflection in the full-length mirror of the bedroom she had shared with Rahul –she had never lost her pregnancy weight and had gone from an M to XL in a few months. She had always felt conscious of the extra inches, but now loathed the body that was so much larger than she was used to, and yet, couldn’t contain the emotional mayhem she was undergoing.
An attempt at surviving infidelity
This was ten months ago. Natasha had resolved to leave Rahul; she would never be able to trust the man again. Trust takes the hardest beating when there is unfaithfulness among married couples, and this was no exception.
She had confided in Rahul’s mother, who she had loved as her own for years, and who had been entirely supportive of her decision. She had wept with Natasha cursing her upbringing of Rahul, and repeating over and over again that Natasha deserved so much better.
And yet, after several months of indecision, what had stopped Natasha from leaving was what Rahul and Samarra shared. The father-daughter bond was unlike any she knew of. Her first words had been ‘dada’. She wouldn’t sleep unless Dada had read to her or sung her favourite lullaby. Even when Natasha fed her, she’d clutch Dada’s finger or look around for him. Natasha had been torn. She had ultimately decided to stay. Irrespective of the infidelity and affair, she couldn’t deny that he was a great father.
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Natasha believed in taking baby steps. She dealt with each day as it came, and was thankful for Samarra. She immersed herself in work so nothing else would occupy her mind. Rahul had tried assuring her repeatedly that he had ended things with Priyanka, but Natasha had felt nothing – not even a shred of hope at those assurances.
As the days went by, however, Natasha realised that she hated Rahul less and less each day and couldn’t help but glance at him fondly every time he played with Samarra, made silly faces at her, or went the extra mile helping around the house. While she’d never been able to forget what he’d done, she had slowly begun to forgive him. Nine years of love and companionship couldn’t disappear overnight, could it? She was human, after all.
The fall out of infidelity in marriage and relationships hits home
And yet, each time, he reached for her even if it was to hold her hand, she recoiled. She wasn’t there again. She’d begun to hate the body. Letting another person in her space was going to take her a while.
Rahul had jokingly called her a nympho in the formative years of her relationship; there was nothing she wasn’t willing to try. And now she was ill at ease in her skin. Someday, she hoped that she’d have her perfect life back, that she’d be able to love Rahul and more importantly, herself, wholeheartedly.
Related Reading: 15 Shocking Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
Cheating and marriage – old habits die hard
One day, she needed to make an urgent call from Rahul’s phone, as hers was switched off. She realised that her marriage had broken down irretrievably.
She discovered messages from an Anjali – who from the looks of it, had exchanged several booty calls with Rahul when Natasha had been away on work and was messaging him even now. She was replying to his message from earlier today, asking her to spend the weekend while Natasha would be away on her firm’s annual retreat.
Anjali replied, ‘Sure. Happy to, but so that you know, it’s that time of the month. So, can’t go all the way.’
Natasha saw red. She couldn’t think straight. As soon as Rahul came into the room and saw her clutching his phone, he knew something was wrong. From the corner of his eye, he saw Anjali’s name on the screen.
Natasha screamed and screamed, not caring if Samarra heard or the neighbours, asking Rahul for all the sordid details – how many times, which positions, how she liked it, and if she was adventurous and dirty enough for him… She wouldn’t stop.
All Rahul said was that he was a sex addict, and couldn’t help it. It was as integral to him as breathing, and if he weren’t getting it from Natasha, he’d have no choice but to look for it elsewhere. And with Anjali, it didn’t mean anything. She was looking for casual hookups too.
Natasha stared at Rahul in shock and disbelief. He had rationalised why men cheat to the extent of sounding sanctimonious. As if, he was the one who’d been wronged.
Natasha was dangerously close to having an emotional breakdown. Her life had been shattered before her eyes all over again, just as she’d begun to let her guard down. Would she be able to pick up the pieces again and start anew?
This has happened as recently as a week ago. While our team here gives Natasha all the help and support she needs, we want you, the readers to share your views on what you’d have done had you (God forbid) been in Natasha’s shoes.