My name is Anisha Jain, I’m 23 years old, and I live in Bangalore. I’ve been in a relationship for about 2 years now, and there are certain things about this relationship that have been bothering me for the past 3 months.
My readers will probably find it tempting to judge me right away, and honestly, I don’t think I’ll be surprised. Having posted my problem on countless online forums, I have encountered comments of all sorts. There have been times when I have been called a ‘slut’ or an ‘ungrateful bitch’. Nevertheless, I feel like the least I deserve is some context.
A child from a privileged family, I went to a private school where the friends I made shaped my beliefs.
(As told to Sambuddha Acharya)
I’ve Always Been The Prettiest
My friends, who also came from privileged families, were very conscious about how they looked, and I was always regarded as the prettiest. Although I never found any logic in that, I should say that I did enjoy the compliments.
As teenagers, our discussions extensively featured crushes, boyfriends, and potential boyfriends. Although I’d never had a boyfriend in school, my friends did and these boys – their physical appearances in particular – would be evaluated in great detail. It even went to the point when they were shaming girls who didn’t exactly have ‘handsome’ boyfriends. I remember being very vocal about how it was shallow of them to stoop to such levels. I knew the kind of person that I wanted to become.
I met Siddharth, my present boyfriend, when I was in my third year of college.
As college life and parental pressure made life increasingly difficult, Siddharth became my pillar and my best friend.
Siddharth suffered from depression just as I did, but it was some time before we realised that we made each other happier than anyone before. Needless to say, in a few weeks, we started dating.
He is a good man inside
He had started smoking and drinking as a result of depression. That gave him a massive beer belly and stained teeth. The first few months of our relationship were mostly spent in each other’s bedrooms. We were sexually compatible, and comfortable with each other. Things were just perfect. I don’t remember a single instance when I thought he was anything short of gorgeous.
Three months ago, my batch mates were having a reunion party to which I decided to take Siddharth along. I introduced him to my friends, and they seemed more than happy meeting him. While Siddharth was chatting with a friend of mine, the girls asked me if they could talk to me in private. Once we were away from him, I was stared at with expressions of disbelief. They couldn’t believe that I would be with a guy like him.
I don’t know what happened to me at that moment, but I remember smiling and telling them that he was just someone I was fooling around with.
I was ashamed of the lie that I had told them. Siddharth wasn’t just a boyfriend. Without him, there would’ve been no one to talk me out of my innumerable attempts to kill myself out of depression.
My friends made me conscious of how my boyfriend looks
These three months, I have been inappropriately conscious of Siddharth’s image – his dark skin, his hairless face, the beer belly, and the unibrow. I know it’s disgusting, but I can’t help feeling that he looks so dirty. I can’t help feeling that I should be with someone much better – someone my friends will approve of.
This has reached a peak. I feel embarrassed to go out with him and try my best to invite him over. If I do go out, I make sure that I have shades on. I’ve tried to come up with excuses every time he’s wanted to take selfies. I fear his social media presence will taint mine.
Even sex feels disgusting with his belly rubbing against my stomach. But I find myself wanting to have sex with other men – sometimes the cuter boyfriends of my friends. And I cannot help imagining them on top of me instead of Siddharth.
I still love him but…
But I love him dearly, I swear! That day at the party, the friend Siddharth was talking to mentioned to me afterwards how she would totally sleep with him if she had found him first. Even though she was a close friend, I remember getting very offended and replying sarcastically.
I don’t want to lose him. Neither do I want to control and appropriate his image. But unless Siddharth magically finds a way to look how I’d rather have him look, I see myself investing in a farce of a relationship – a lie.
Most importantly, if I understand that this is problematic, why can’t I make my peace with the way things are?
Having noticed strange changes in my behaviour, Siddharth has become concerned. And even though I’ve tried to brush his questions off with smiles, I don’t know how long this can last.
Related reading: What love is NOT
(Names have been changed to protect identities)