(As told to Gita Negi)
Our first night after marriage was quite odd. Not the kind that they show in the movies or the ones we read about in romantic novels. It was quite procedural – he was over as quickly as he had started. While I lay there on the flowery bed thinking, “Is this how it is supposed to be in real life? Without any frills or compliments or not even a conversation?”
Later I was to discover that married couples actually made love, which meant an exchange of sweet nothings and a whole lot of warming up, both physical and emotional, before they indulge in THE act.
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And that is when my own situation became clear to me.
I was not to have any of the things that my friends told me about as they blushed and gushed over their intimate encounters.
Of course, over the years I got accustomed to this business-like approach that my husband followed. But what gnawed at my soul was that even outside the four walls of our bedroom, we hardly bonded emotionally. He never bothered to ask about how I felt, what I thought and what I wanted out of life. This complete disregard for my emotional needs made me colder to his touch and I grew lifeless under his heavy body.
And then it only grew worse from there.
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His incessant demands for physical intimacy and my issues with his behaviour which now also included mistreatment and obsessive control over my life, affected our marital life, both in and outside our bedroom. I could not give myself cheerfully to the man who disrespected me and had no trust in my judgement.
Once our life between the sheets became miserable, it began reflecting on other aspects of our lives too. Frequent quarrels, both verbal and physical, became a constant part of our family life. Even if there was peace for a few weeks, the undercurrent of unresolved issues would soon rear their ugly head. I feel his behaviour had a lot to do with his sexual frustration and his expectations out of me as his sexual partner, while my inability to respond was a direct result of the emotional void that had filled me completely. So in a way, we were in a snake-chasing-after-its-own-tail kind of situation where passing the buck never stopped and each time we tried talking we would come back to square one.
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He would attribute his anger to my incapability to satisfy him while I attributed my lack of responsiveness to his cold behaviour. And the issues just kept piling on.
During those days, I happened to speak with a friend who was experiencing a similar situation. Her husband had an insatiable appetite for physical intimacy which my poor friend could not match up to. The sexual incompatibility led her husband astray. The worst thing was that my friend knew about it but decided to do nothing.
When I asked her how she managed to remain unaffected by an extramarital affair, she indifferently said that as long as her husband came back to her, it didn’t matter where he spent a few hours. But was I ready for such a compromise? Probably not. I had always been the All-of-it or none-of-it kind of girl.
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And now after two children and over eight years of marriage with multiple abortions in between, we are like what we were before. Except that I decided to move out of his home after the physical assaults became unbearable and the scars difficult to hide. I got a restraining order passed against him which ensured that I could safely stay away from him.
Of course, I sometimes think of reconciliation, since I feel the kids need a father but when I think of our lives as husband and wife and how our chaotic relationship may harm their young minds, I take a step back.
My kids would rather have a sorted single parent than two quarreling ones.
I’m a medical professional and I live alone with my two children in Australia, happy.