(As told to Dr Sanjeev Trivedi)
My name is Shubanker. My marriage to Shruti was an arranged one and my parents liked her and her family. I was neither keen nor reluctant for the marriage because work had become a habit and was always my priority. The initial few years passed off peacefully but for minor differences over my ability to give her my attention and time. Not that I was ignoring her, but working hard and succeeding in my profession kept me awfully busy.
I thought as a provider to the family, my way of showering love and affection was to do well in life. After all, I was working hard for her and our little son.
All the men I was close to or friendly with, used to tell me not to bother much about the wife, otherwise career would take a beating. It was much later in life I realised that apart from growing prosperity, women all the time need verbal reassurance that their man loves them.
With time, Shruti’s nagging kept increasing. Her favourite pastime seemed to be finding fault with me and my job. A cheerfully welcoming wife on husband’s coming back home seemed to be a movie concept. In my case, it was the sullen face of a wife complaining of neglect, without saying anything. All she would ask was what I would have for dinner. Many times I used to delay reaching home, only imagining the lack of warmth. I would sit at a pub or at a friend’s place and only after having couple of drinks would have the strength to head towards home.
Quite naturally, I started liking alcohol more than Shruti because it used to provide me the numb head to face her. In fact I found that after a couple of drinks I was more tolerant of her and was able to behave the way she wanted me to. Though she would object to my drinking, her complaints were different. What other husbands in her circle of friends and relatives did for their families was her favourite topic. I never used to get affected by who has acquired what and this serenity also used to go against me. According to her, I was only hard working but not an achiever.
Never that idea of women
I was focused on my work and achievements and was never keen to make friends. Female fancy never appeared in my thoughts. I used to see a bit of my wife in each of them. So when I was to deal with Shyamoli who was representing her firm, which had an interest in my company, I never looked at her as a woman. Her ability to look at details impressed me. Certain things used to flash across her mind and her ideas were mostly fresh. Over coffee, we used to sort out issues, make presentations and give shape to the project we were working on.
During an outstation work related trip, after an extremely challenging day, on coming to my hotel room, I poured myself a drink. I was struggling with the plan to ensure my company’s interest was protected, at the important meeting the next day. From plan A to B to C, I kept shuffling all options and was unaware that I had drunk a bit more than I could handle. It was a routine call from Shruti and I don’t remember clearly when the conversation turned into conflict mode, but when she said that Shyamoli’s company was spoiling me, I lost my cool.
Shruti knew her and also knew that she was a decent girl who knew how to manage herself, but this statement angered me so much that I told her the difference between them was huge. I told her, “While you have been on my nerves all the time, her company is a soothing relief and you are not only being jealous of her but also abusive towards me.” This conversation was sufficient for our life to become further miserable.
Whose fault is it anyway
To be honest, I was bearing the flaws in my married life reasonably well. Not that I was happy but I wasn’t really complaining; but one sudden outburst dimmed the last bulb of hope in my marriage. Shruti already had many weaknesses but suspicion and taunting got added to the list. I understand that as a wife Shruti isn’t as bad as some wives are. I also don’t find myself at fault anywhere. There is no question of Shyamoli being wrong at any point. I feel foolish because I can’t decide what I should be doing to take corrective action to bring back the ‘relatively’ peaceful days of my marriage.
Related reading: Why Chachi became jealous, and how Chacha responded
Readers are invited to express the flaws they find in each individual’s handling of their lives:
- Who do you think is responsible for the situation, Shubhanker and Shruti have ended up in?
- What is your advice to Shubhanker?
- Do you find Shyamoli responsible in any way for the deterioration in relationship between Shubhanker and Shruti?