For me, being ‘unfaithful,’ as I would be inevitably branded by society was a sort of necessity. I was in an abusive marriage for almost five years, where I had to earn, take care of the child and also put up a show in front of the whole world that I was happily married. At first, I wished to make my marriage work despite knowing that I was married to a man addicted to drugs, who could hardly stick to any job.
So for almost five years, I struggled to plug the holes that were threatening my own existence and kept up the show. And for all these years I had another man in my life, who was once upon a time my classmate too. And I know for sure, this relationship actually helped me to survive through the worst years of my life and also helped my son to grow. Without Avishek*, it would have been impossible to raise a young boy who always felt the absence of a proper father figure in his life.
Related reading: Why did I need so many emotional connections outside marriage?
My dad died when I was a kid. I had no brothers. My mother tried her level best to support me through my tumultuous marriage, taking care of my son when I was in office. I was in a high profile job in the IT sector and my earnings were a necessity to raise my son. And Avishek was a necessity for my physical and mental needs.
I know this society would tag a woman like me as unfaithful and accuse her of infidelity but I don’t mind saying that I don’t regret this. I didn’t mind talking for hours at night with Avishek when he was travelling, I have no regret for the lovely time we spent together when I was touring and he joined me. I deserved those moments. I was just a little over 30 at that time and why should I have had to bury my desires? Just because I was unknowingly married to a man who was not even in control of himself? Many said I could always buy sex, but what about the emotional quotient in bed? I needed to be held, loved and felt belonged to, instead of just satisfying a physical urge.
As an educated, financially independent woman I couldn’t have sex with a husband who would do it as a routine, half the time under the influence of drugs, at times shout and abuse me after sex in front of our son, who would come crying from the other room. I had to separate from him after he tried to beat me up in front of my mother and son and I also had to abort twice because I didn’t want to have another baby with him.
All these years of separation and with a court case (pertaining to our divorce) going on, I needed a friend, an occasional bed partner and a person who was a good influence on my son. Every time he is in town, he makes it a point to take my son out. Ishaan* shares his little troubles with Avishek. Like, how he was bullied at school or the way the girl stared at him…I love these interactions and rejoice at their special bond.
To me, Avishek is a friend with whom I can cry for hours over the phone. When in school, he had once told me how much he loves me and that one day he would marry me. But well, that was more of a juvenile crush. We went our ways during higher studies and parted, got married to our respective partners, relocated to different cities. But it is said love never dies. Maybe that’s why I called up Avishek when my marriage was tumultuous.
I will not deny that there have been lows too; there have been times when I needed him badly but knew that he was with his family and hence I could not contact him. There have been times when Ishaan has been unwell and wanted Avishek to come down and stay with him at nights.
I know he has a son (as well) and hence I would never do anything that would lead to his son being neglected. And I have no desire to break up his home. So infidelity was the only answer to our needs and however negatively it is seen in our society, I can say it’s an answer to many men and women who are going through rough patches in their marriages. It has a sense of positivity as long as one knows how to strike a balance and not become too possessive.
Avishek has undoubtedly helped me to move forward in life by burying my negativities. Without him, I don’t think I would have been able to raise Ishaan the way I am doing today. We both needed a man in our lives. I have full trust in Avishek; so much so that in case of my death, my will states he will be the guardian to my son and ensure that my property is passed on to him.
*Names have been changed on request due to a pending court case
(As Told To Saheli Mitra)