There was nothing gravely, obviously wrong with my marriage, but something was ‘simply not right’. All my energy was being sapped and left me searching for my confidence as well as my identity. It took a severance of ties to find myself!
I am Urmi Chowdhuri and this is my story.
Two decades ago, I had gotten attracted to this personable young man. We fell in love while working at a premium 5-star hotel. We were good friends who got married; it was a dream!
The cracks, though, began appearing quite early. As young parents, we were busy balancing work and life and many a strife was brushed under the carpet. We moved wherever his work took us – Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, the Philippines. He was growing in his profession. I chose not to grow in mine. We had a daughter and I wanted to care for her. He worked hard, and then harder; spent more hours away from home. Our family time together was typically at a mall or a restaurant. We had less and less to say to each other, except when we picked a fight.
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They began over inconsequential things and the reasons pretty much remained the same to the end. Only the altercations got more frequent. And more acrimonious. We could have handled this well, I am sure, if there had been other things that we shared.
But the fact is that we had simply stopped communicating and had grown apart. There had been no major upheaval, no violence or abuse, but something far subtler and insidious. Maybe we lost interest in each other, or just were two opposite ends of a magnet, and all this crept upon us so slowly that we barely realised what was happening. My workaholic husband could do little to salve my ‘stay-at-home insecurities’. It became a very conventional marriage – he provided, I handled the home front.
He was very generous, not mean or anything. I could spend whatever I liked, but I felt incomplete without a career. If you have been a career woman, you are not very happy doing lunches and shopping.
And the fights continued! Got worse, in fact. Naturally, these vibes took their toll on our emotional and physical intimacy. We were both now seriously unhappy. We even visited a counsellor twice. It didn’t help. We could not communicate with each other. We drifted further apart.
My husband was my best friend too. I was totally in love with him and always believed that it was a fairy-tale marriage. Even today when people hear that we aren’t together any more, they are surprised, or should I say, shocked. In all honesty, I don’t think he ever thought anything was wrong with our marriage.
In fact, even I can’t figure out what really went wrong. Maybe I am too much of a free spirit to be chained up like that; maybe I stopped growing while he was soaring. I never resented his success even for a moment, not back then, not now. But I knew I just couldn’t live with him anymore. The fights had eaten away at my core.
This is not how I imagined my marriage would be. You have invested in a relationship; you expect to grow old together.
But suddenly, after nearly two decades of matrimony, you have to start afresh. The cons are too many. There is anxiety; you wonder if there’s anyone you can fall back on.
If ever you sense there is something not quite right with your marriage, do everything you can to fix it. Don’t delude yourself that things will get better. You need to work on those issues pretty much the same as you need to fix faulty plumbing, so get at it at the first sign itself!
Perhaps our marriage could have been fixed. Perhaps we had left it until it was too late. Or maybe it was Karmic and we had worked out our ‘woes’. Who knows? I am in a much better space now and can only pray that he finds his peace as well.
(As told to Madhuri Maitra)