We dated for a little less than a year and then got married. We complete ten years of marriage in a few months. Ten years where we’ve seen a lot of good things and bad – his almost fatal accident, my surgery, my father’s death, his father’s ill health, my mother’s insecurity, his mother’s possessiveness, work stress, job changes, his work travel, his all-consuming passion which became a second fulltime job, trips, birthdays, studies, exams, lifestyle related diseases, the stress which comes when you are otherwise healthy but just can’t conceive, all the ups and downs of life. Ten years during which his friends became mine and mine became his.
Our lives so entwined that I can’t even imagine how we never realised when it all fell apart. Probably the day when I had some good news at work and the first person I called was my best friend and not him. Or maybe when we realised that we hadn’t taken a vacation together in nearly 3 years. Or maybe when he called his friend to discuss something which was stressing him out and not me.
We are just two people living our own lives in the same house. When we go out, we have an unsaid understanding that we show the world all is well, we’re still the loving couple we used to be – the ones who set relationship goals for others.
Over the past year, we’ve fought like cats and dogs and sulked for days over tiny stupid things which would never have mattered earlier. We’ve stormed out of the house because the other person just refuses to understand. We broke the new wine glasses in anger. We’ve held each other and tried to make it all work, to get back to where we were. The world has no idea how we tiptoe around each other now at home.
Related reading: 10 reasons why Indian couples fight
We celebrated the penultimate day of 2016 by finally acknowledging the elephant in the room – that we hadn’t had ‘husband-wife relations’ (as my mother quaintly refers to it) in more than a year. And that maybe we need a trial separation. I said I’d move out. He said that the house is big enough for both of us to stay without getting in each other’s way. He’s travelling for work this week. We haven’t spoken on the phone or even exchanged a text. I’m looking at flats on ‘Flats & Flatmates’.
We’ve been together since June 2006. Never has a day gone by when we haven’t spoken or messaged or exchanged sweet stupid nothings. I’d hear a song and message him the lyrics. He’d text me a paragraph from my favourite poem. How do I today go a whole day (leave alone a week) without talking to him? It’s killing me. How do I live in the same house, share our chores and expenses while still living apart? Our things are all over. His towel carelessly abandoned. My belt. His books. My paintbrushes. It doesn’t make a difference at this point whether we sleep in the same bedroom or different ones, nothing’s happening there. That ship has sailed.
I’ve told my mom. She can’t understand why an allegedly much-in-love couple wants to separate.
She can comprehend infidelity and domestic abuse ending a marriage, but not this feeling of being lonely in a marriage.
He’s yet to tell his parents. They’re out of the country for a few weeks.
What do we tell our friends who sent us New Year greetings as a couple? How do I respond to a dinner invitation for both of us? Why should I share how my heart is falling apart with every random person on Facebook? In a trial separation, what happens if one person wants to get back and the other doesn’t? What if I cave in and call him just to tell him that his favourite movie is on Star Select Movies tonight? If we get back together as a couple, will we still have the same issues again in a few months or years down the line? Will I ultimately move out of our home, the one that we set up together with such love? I’m 33 and I don’t see myself sharing a flat with a young kid fresh out of B-school, but I can’t bear to come home to an empty flat either. How will we divide our stuff – our sofas, our books, our towels, our razais?
We’ve just started down this road. It’s not easy. There are going to be many more difficult days ahead. I just need to stay strong through it all. Alone. Without him. I need to do it.