Our families were friends since before we were born, but we first met in 2006, during a road trip.
I would turn 35 that year and was excited about my first road trip and he was a 31-year-old happy-go-lucky guy in his own world.
I actually disliked him and we had a fair share of fights during the 13-day journey. But by the end of it he had proposed. I had nothing to say. We were back in our hometowns which were really far apart.
But he kept calling incessantly until three months later I said yes. That was to be the beginning of a long torturous journey. The families were told immediately. He believed there wouldn’t be a problem from his side, though I wasn’t sure. After all I was older than him by four years!
And how apt my fears were! His mother would not relent. He said, “We will marry with everyone’s consent or else not marry at all and yet remain together all our lives.” An extremely reassuring statement. I believed him.
Related reading: My mother is my best friend even after my marriage
One thing about him I especially loved – he never lied; because I’m extremely honest myself. And he always made me laugh. I was happy when he was with me. We rarely fought, only when he did not take my calls or reply to my messages (because his family did not want him to).
In ten years we did not meet even ten times! It wasn’t essential. We had planned our lives.
We would get married, have children or not marry at all and be together for life.
He would stop talking to me completely for months or even a year. He would simply not take my calls. This became a pattern. The first time this happened, I was devastated. I cried for days, tried every way to contact him and failed miserably. And then suddenly he would appear from nowhere and I would forget all the past hurt and we’d be like before – laughing, talking, arguing, and planning. This went on for ten years. Gradually, I began to realise that he was only trying to persuade his family through various means. His friends would often assure me of all that he was doing to make this marriage happen. I began to feel very strongly that this man loved me more than I loved him.
And then after eight long years, with pressure from his extended family, his mother agreed. His family wanted to speak with my folks to finalise things. But I wanted to talk to him first about a couple of issues that his mother had raised in the last few years, including my job. But he didn’t want to listen. He said, “We wanted to be married. So now we just get married. Anything else, we solve later.” But I wasn’t prepared to proceed without assurance on this and many other things.
In the last eight years, my life had changed drastically. From being a free bird, I had to suddenly take over the responsibility of my family. I had gone through problems and he had never bothered to be around during my traumatic times. My mother’s grave illness, the years of caregiving, her recovery that was never assured, had left me a changed person. I had told him so many times.
But he put his foot down.
I realised that his expectations from marriage were no longer the same as mine. There was not a speck of the dreams we had painted together.
He refused to even come over to meet me before we finalised the marriage so that we could talk and clear our differences. We parted ways.
A year later, he was back in my hometown and wanted to meet me. We met and talked our hearts out. It was like before. We even kept in touch when he went back.
Until he went ahead and got married this year…. Without telling me.
I tried calling him several times the day I found out about his engagement but like always he didn’t take my calls, or respond to my messages. Something died inside me.
What went wrong? I do not have the answers. And yet I question myself each day. Was it because I decided to talk about my fears of going into his family? Was it his ego that since his mother had said yes after so many years, I had to agree, not question her demands or desires and expectations? Was he not selfish and egoistic to ask me to not question anything? Why did this happen when both of us were fully committed to one another for life?
(As told to Deepa Gupta)