When I got married, like a typical small-town middle-class girl, I knew it was forever. And trust me, when you read every bit of this story, you will know I tried so so hard to make it last. But that’s the catch, I was the only one trying and why try so hard in the first place?
He cheated during courtship, post engagement, and did not stop after marriage. I have been married to this man for 10 years and known him for 19. 19 years and 1 kid later, what I got was the responsibility of running a house, some social relationships and raising a kid alone. Is that what I signed up for?
But do you know what I was told? That he was supportive of my career. “Why don’t you look at the entire picture instead of just thinking about how I cheated on you?”
“I respect your parents, don't I?”
“Yes, I slept with Mansi and Pooja (names changed), but it didn’t mean anything”
“I don’t tell you things because you then have questions”
So basically, I had to pay a price for a supportive husband and a husband who respected my parents. I had to adjust living with a cheating husband because he 'let me' work. Not to mention, he failed to share responsibilities: physically, emotionally, and financially.
How can I forget the flack I faced from the fraternity he was a part of... men and women alike. A lot of women refused to look me in the eye and talk to me or acknowledge my presence. They would conduct sessions and lectures on how a career should be secondary for a woman and 'Husband' should be primary. This happened right from the point that I was a newlywed up to the point when he was holding an appointment. According to them, you could only be a full-time mother and wife, unless of course, your dad was someone influential. Your dad and husband’s position in the fraternity would ensure respect.
In a regular story, I wouldn’t care a damn. But in a situation where your husband can’t stop sleeping around with women, you tend to question your own self-worth and all these things start to affect you. They all assumed that I was a 'career-oriented' woman. As if having a career/passion is a question on your character!
Irrespective of my side of the story, they had no business treating me like that.
I was expected to go back to work immediately after my daughter was born. I was always told how good I was at my work and how the money I brought was so important. All this while, I kept wanting to take a break, take a step back and just be.
I know you are thinking if I was educated, financially independent and self-sustaining, why would I stay put for 10 years? Right?
I asked myself that question over and over again. My parents are extremely supportive, my friends are the most amazing bunch of women who do everything in their power to support me in every way possible. Yet, I could not bring myself to that point where I stepped up and made a decision. It was FEAR at some level. I cannot define that fear since it was internal, not coming externally from “what will people say and think”.
I lost my best friend, I lost the man who made me laugh all the time and I wasn’t ready to accept it. It took me 10 years to realise that he never belonged to us. It took 10 years of my life to realise I was living a lie every minute of every day while working so hard.
I chose not to file an official complaint or ask him for a large sum of money because my life here on, has to have nothing that needs me to interact with him.
He took away pieces of me over these years and I am a very different person now than what I was 19 years ago. But what he couldn’t take away is my love for life, my hope, my sincerity and my kindness. I don’t walk around angry or disappointed. I walk tall because I lived every day with the utmost dignity and respect. I do fall apart and have my share of bad days but I have the most amazing group of women who lift me up.
A chapter closed forever, but nothing erases the memory because I lived it, I loved, I lost, I forgave, and I learnt so much.