(As told to Irewati Nag)
Sometimes life throws situations at us which, if we accept, we know are going to make a fool of us. Despite all this, we go ahead, hoping that we won’t be fooled. I’ve lived this life. I had all the warning signs. I jumped into an affair which had no basis, was continuously made felt unwanted and unimportant, only required for moral and financial support and nothing else. Now I feel as if I was just a necessary distraction in an otherwise non-eventful marriage of my girlfriend who belonged to a different nationality.
She seemed successful and independent
I worked over a decade as a successful engineer in Malaysia. I met Chen at a business conference in Kuala Lumpur. We soon started talking and I realised she was quite successful for her age, an independent woman managing her two kids with some help from her aunt, while her husband lived in her home country in some town which I can’t spell, like a typical Indian. She had been in KL for over 7 years and had risen on the corporate ladder very soon and had reached the senior management level pretty early on. She made me believe that it was because of her hard work, but now I feel otherwise.
When I met her, although I was in awe of her, I was not attracted or in love. I was married to another woman then. I had compatibility issues with my wife; despite all my efforts I realised that marriage was not going anywhere. My wife went back to India as she felt neglected and lonely in KL. I tried stopping my wife, but in vain. I eventually gave in, sent her home.
Initially I felt hurt and lonely, but soon started enjoying my freedom.
Related reading: I wish I knew why my wife left me for another married man….
We first kept the affair hidden
I started talking more and more to Chen. We got really close. I started enjoying her company and wanted more out of our relationship. We started going on holidays together. She told lies at home, as she had a few guests most of the time who could communicate things to her husband. She wanted to hide me from her world. At that stage even I wanted to hide her from my world. I was still married.
My trips with her were the times I made some of the most blissful memories. My wife soon got to know about it. She smartly collected all the evidence she needed to collect a heavy alimony from me. To protect Chen from any kind of legal or social embarrassment, I parted with everything I had to stop my wife making our affair public. I convinced my wife for a mutual consent divorce, because I wanted to be free as soon as possible to make sure my dream to be with Chen comes true. I soon signed my separation papers and ran to Chen, only to discover that she was non-committal about her separation from her husband.
I got my divorce, but…
Whenever I spoke about our future, I never got a straight answer. I soon started discovering that she was hiding my affair from everyone in her world. She never gave me a straight answer when I confronted her. My father, who was upset over my divorce, had finally begun accepting my relationship with Chen. But he wanted me to go ahead and seal this relationship. It is a little difficult for a middle-class Indian father to accept the fact that his only son was in love with a woman of a different nationality who was a mother of two children from her earlier marriage. But he came around, only that he wanted me to be doubly sure that this would work.
I was confident of my future with Chen at the time of my divorce, but slowly that confidence began fading. As we moved ahead in time, I realised she started making more frequent trips to her husband who had done nothing to support her or her children. I never understood why. My father started suspecting her intentions and started building pressure on me to marry Chen.
She says I demand too much
I waited patiently. I also started discovering some romantic messages from her boss, a colleague and former classmate who had moved to Malaysia along with her. She never gave me a straight answer when I confronted her. I was only made to feel miserable for being suspicious. At one stage, we were soul mates. In the recent past, I have become someone she has to run away from because it is ‘stressful’ to be with me, because I ask too many questions and I demand too much time.
I fell in love with her despite being married (I must confess that it was a loveless marriage). There was no need for me to divorce my wife. She was any way living separately. Divorce came into play just because I wanted to be legally eligible to marry Chen. For that, I paid a heavy price. None of it matters to her now. Recently, she happily went on a family vacation with her husband and flashed all romantic photos on Facebook, but she wants to hide me from her world and claims to me that I am her soul mate too.
Now I have nothing left except my job
I am not naive to believe this. I was raised in a traditional family. We believed in monogamy. She made me feel that she believed the same too. My love for her grew beyond what I could imagine. But now I am left penniless. All that I have to hold on to is my job. I hope God keeps me sane enough to at least perform my job well.