We have been married for 11 years now and have a five-year-old daughter. Ours was an arranged marriage, arranged by common family friends. We were engaged on the very next day after we met and married within 6 months.
Those 6 months of our courtship were heavenly where he showered me with sweet messages, straight out of a Mills and Boons romance.
I couldn't wait to start our happy life together. We got married and moved into his parents’ house. Life was as good as I had imagined it would be. He was a good husband who gave me my space and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. So I pursued my higher studies.
The only thing that irritated me about him was his alcohol intake.
I also realized that his family was a little strange. My father-in-law and mother-in-law did as they pleased without consulting each other. There was a huge communication gap in the family.
If my in-laws wanted anything from my husband, it was conveyed through me and vice versa.
This created a lot of misunderstandings in the house. While his dad was a nice, non-interfering person, I shared a typical mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship with his mom. But it didn’t bother me much because I was busy with my studies and my career. After 5 years of our happily married life, I became pregnant.
During my pregnancy, my husband took good care of me, but our physical relationship took a back seat.
He had been promoted and I reasoned that work kept him busy. He started returning late from office and worked after coming home too. This took a toll on our physical relationship. Whenever I approached him about this, he said it was in the best interest of our unborn child and me. I was on cloud nine.
I was so lucky to have such a wonderful husband who truly loved me for me, not for my body.
Soon after, I went to my hometown for my delivery and stayed there until my daughter turned 6 months old. My husband was with me for the delivery and visited us every month.
It was when I came back to his house that I realized things were different. He continued working late nights and traveled frequently for work.
He would drink every night and would lock himself in the study as soon he came home, barely giving any time to my daughter or me.
I was stuck at home with my in-laws, as I had to leave my job to take care of my child. My mother-in-law had made it clear that she wouldn’t be able to take care of the child at all.
Even if my father-in-law offered to take care of my daughter for some time, she would scold him.
My efforts to hire a nanny, so that I could go back to my job, were worn as my mother-in-law made life a living hell for all of us by picking silly fights with the nanny. The nanny didn’t even last a month. I didn’t want my child to be put in daycare as she was a sick child and would catch a cold very frequently. So I chose to stay at home.
Though I had a husband and in-laws, I always felt lonely and single-handedly brought up my child.
To add to it, my mother-in-law left no stone unturned to make my life miserable by pointing out silly mistakes. My husband would be out of station most of the time and when he was home, he would sleep in the study. His excuse was that he wanted an undisturbed sleep. Over the weekends, he would go out with his friends without even asking if I was interested in going out.
When I raised these issues with my in-laws, they told me that I should adjust because he was working to give us a comfortable life.
Even if I tried to leave our daughter with my hubby to help them bond, he would hand her over to his mother and disappear with his friends. I would return home to find my mother-in-law waiting outside the house, all ready to give me an earful about how bad a wife and mother I was. When I confronted him, all he said was that since he had a hectic work schedule, he needed to unwind over the weekend.
Life had become miserable for me with a dependent child, overbearing in-laws and a workaholic husband who had no time for me.
I was going into severe depression. One day, after a heated argument with my mother-in-law, I decided enough was enough. I decided to move out. Initially, my husband was not ready for it but when I gave him the ultimatum, he agreed. So after 10 long years of marriage, we moved out.
I expected things between us to improve but they just got worse.
His alcoholism worsened. Within two months of moving to the new house, I realized I was living with a stranger. Whenever I asked him anything, his standard answer was 'Do whatever you want, just leave me alone'. That's when I realized that he had changed a lot. We had not had any physical relationship in almost 3 years.
I was so busy focusing my energies on my daughter and fighting my mother-in-law that I didn’t realize when my husband moved away from me.
He was no longer the loving husband I remembered him to be. This realization made me check his mobile. And that day, my world came apart. He was in a relationship with not 1, not 2, but 6 girls.
He was sexting them and I saw him using the same words that he had said to me during our courtship.
He told them how I was mentally abusing his parents and him, thus victimizing himself and gaining their sympathy and attention. I was shattered. I gathered all my courage and confronted him.
He didn’t have anything to say except that he was sorry. I learned that he had been in such relationships for the past four years but thankfully, nothing was permanent or long-lasting.
When I discussed the situation with our families, my in-laws were quick to point out that this problem arose because we moved out of their house.
The fact that these relationships had been going on for 4 years didn’t matter to them. They blamed me for his affairs. My family also supported my in-laws and suggested that I move back in with them.
Totally heartbroken and confused, I withdrew into my shell. I felt suffocated and ended up confiding in my cousin sister and best friend whom I could trust. Thankfully, they stood by me. They encouraged me to fight for my daughter’s sake.
It was my daughter's face that kept me sane during those tough times.
I decided that no matter what anyone said, I wouldn’t move back in with my in-laws. After almost a week of cold war, I asked my hubby what he had to say. He said that he would stop everything because he wanted both (my daughter and me) of us in his life.
I decided to forgive and forget and start afresh.
That was the mistake I made. I was so desperate for things to become normal again that I didn’t realize that he'd take me for granted. He started becoming very attentive, came back home in time and also messaged me "I love you" every day. I reciprocated hoping that things would get better. But his alcohol problem persisted.
My heart told me to relax but my mind was always alert for any warning signs.
A few months went by and slowly, he went back to his old ways. When he started returning late from work, I decided to check his mobile again. I found him sexting one of the ladies again. I was devastated. I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to pack my bags but I thought of my innocent daughter.
I had a very happy childhood. My mom and dad were the best and I wanted my child to experience the same.
I realized that it’s easy to run away from problems but very difficult to face them. So, I took it upon myself to reform my husband. He had a bad childhood where his parents barely communicated with each other. He had a brother who lived in the same city but they had no contact with each other.
Maybe he never really understood how to maintain relationships.
I confronted him again. He apologized again and I decided to give him one more chance provided he went by my rules. He agreed. He confessed that alcoholism was ruining him and he was willing to restrict his intake. He decided to change his habits.
I told him that he would not get my forgiveness or trust until he changed himself.
He has now taken over my daughter's morning responsibilities, which means that he needs to get up early, which in turn makes him sleep in time. He has restricted his alcohol intake to weekends only and plans to give up completely. He comes home early and comes directly to bed. If he has to work late, I make sure I sit with him. I regularly check his mobile and have also installed the GPS tracker app on his mobile, with his knowledge of course.
He has changed. Now he tells me where he goes and with whom; he keeps me informed at all times. Our communication and relationship have become better.
Though he tells me “I love you” every day, I don't think I’ll be able to say that to him ever again.
However, I want my daughter to know that running away is not the solution to any problem. I want her to learn from me and face any situation that comes her way with confidence.
She should know that her mother is rock solid and will be there for her, no matter what.
The father-daughter bond has also become better. My daughter who once said that she didn't need a dad now tells me how much she loves him. He has also become very caring towards her. And it shows.
I know that everyone says, “once a cheater, always a cheater”.
But it’s not easy to give up everything and just leave. Moreover, it is not right to give up on something beautiful that we shared at some point in time, especially when the proof, my daughter, is around me all the time.
I am patiently waiting for that loving husband to resurface from this guy who is trying every bit to prove that he is the same person I fell in love with.