I quote again from this article.
The second love is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.
We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons—but we hang on. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this storyline, because it’s the emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.
With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.
It’s the love that we wished was right.
After the end of my first relationship, I was sad and looking for comfort. In film school I met someone who offered it. He was an acting student and as a script would have it we met while shooting for a short film. The director wanted me to be the ‘actress’ as he didn’t find anyone else suitable so unwillingly I agreed. I was to play the dead lover of this boy, who he reminisces about and eventually who drives him mad. Take note here.
So we met, got talking and became friends. He told me about his life. He was from a small town, had studied in a traditional school and grown up in an orthodox family. Women in the family didn’t really have a say and were shy and soft spoken. He spoke about his father, a local politician and leader who he looked up to and his mother who cooked the best food and loved him dearly. College brought him to the city and exposed him to the world of theatre and acting. He loved being on stage and that’s what eventually got him to film school. He had never had a girlfriend. There was a girl he liked in college and she liked him to but it never went beyond short conversations and smiles.
I told him about my life so far. Being brought up by a single mother, a brother with a disability and school that was very unlike his. The thing about my previous relationship was that we were from a similar background that’s what brought us together in the first place. Here I was talking to someone so different. He opened my world to place beyond South Delhi and socializing. Money also made a difference. My family was more well to do than his and I began to understand the importance and value of money through him.
We’d meet in a group at first and talk about our lives all through the night sipping on mint tea under the stars. Then we started texting each other. I knew it was rebound but I liked it. We once went on a walk and it started raining. I had the only umbrella so we opened it up, stood under it and talked until it stopped raining. Once we went for a play, he stood beside me and kept stealing glances at me. I could tell he liked me. One night he leaned over and kissed me. It felt good but I don’t know why I said ‘Why didn’t you ask me before doing that?’ He was puzzled but got over it.
After that we became a popular couple on campus. Most guys said he’s lucky me that me managed to get me. People asked me what I saw in him. He wasn’t the most good looking, or charming guy. For me it was something new and yes, I had a thing for performers.
Another important aspect in relationships is sex. I had not experienced it yet. I was curious but also scared to try it. In my head I was a traditionalist. I thought I’d have sex with the man I marry.
So in this relationship we’d have physical intimacy but no sex. He was okay with that too. He was also a poet. He’d read verses to me at night and I’d fall in love him and his voice each time. He said he loved letters, and when I was away I’d write to him. He would be thrilled but never write back. When he’d visit home we’d not talk because he didn’t want his family to know he was involved with anyone. I was okay with it. They were orthodox and would probably throw a fit if they found out.
My course was ending and he had another year to complete so it was now time to think about our lives ahead. I felt this was a strong relationship and could last despite our varied backgrounds. So I moved to Bombay to work. I was living alone, working with a television network and I’d find happiness only in talking to him in the evenings. My friends were there but not around to meet or talk to. Then one day when he was heading back home, we had a stupid argument and he said he wanted to end this. I cried my eyes out trying to stop him but he was stubborn and hung up. I didn’t know what to do, alone in a city I hated with no friends or family to go to for comfort.
Another guy friend from campus happened to call me the next day and said he was going to campus. I thought a change of scene might be good so I accompanied him back. We reached late night so he offered me his hostel bed to sleep in. I agreed. Nothing happened that night. I slept on the bed and he slept on the mattress on the floor. The next morning I went to one of my teachers rooms and hung out. I texted my boyfriend in the hope that he would give us another chance.
The boyfriend called and apologized and said he wanted to break things up because it was getting serious and he wasn’t ready for it yet. I said it’s okay, we’ll take it as comes together and we were back together.
Long distance continued for another 2 years. I moved back to Delhi and he moved to Bombay. My job kept me busy for most of the day so I’d talk to him in the evenings and he’d tell me about the struggle with auditions and meetings. Clearly, he had more free time than me but soon he couldn’t deal with it. I would visit Bombay as often as I could. Send letters and gifts to surprise him. Fights began. It was becoming a routine.
Then the drama began. He’d pick fights for me for stupid reasons. Why I couldn’t pick him up from a bus stop. Why I didn’t visit Bombay often.Why I spent more time with my friends than with him. I was an emotionless cold-hearted bitch. I never expressed myself properly. According to him this was a relationship of convenience for me. In my head I still wanted to be with him. I don’t know why.
Once two common friends came to me and said ‘he’s cheated on you’. They had heard that he was at party with another woman. I confronted him, he said nothing of the sort had happened and that I should trust him. I did.
I told him one day that I’d like to get serious. Maybe we should think about marriage. I knew his career wasn’t stable. He had briefly met my family and I had met his. But not as hs girlfriend. His family background was completely different but I loved him. He didn’t want to get serious.
One night I never forget. He was drunk he called me and began to abuse me verbally. He called me a slut for ‘sleeping with’ my friend who gave me a ride to campus, he said he’d tell my mother everything we had done together and what he thought I’d done with this other guy. I cried and begged him not to. But he just went on and on. I didn’t sleep that night. I wanted to get out.
He then said he wanted a break, I took it as a sign and agreed. He said we won’t talk for a month and I agreed. I was finally happy to be alone. A couple of months later he called saying it was a mistake to break up but this time I said I didn’t want to get back together. But it ended in a way where there was no closure.
A few months later I met someone else, I started a new relationship. Things were moving fast there. We got engaged and I moved to Bombay. I met the now ex at a friends place one night. We talked and I felt I finally had closure.
I met him again for a film, we talked and he came clean that he had cheated on me. I did feel bad but it was over now so didn’t want to hold a grudge. Then he changed back. Like the story of the film we acted in together when we met, reality was getting similar.
He’d text and call me in the middle of the night telling me he still loved me. He wanted us to be back together. I told him I’d moved on and he should too but it didn’t register. I had to block his number but the messages wouldn’t stop. He said he’d written songs about me. He sent me photos of my letters and gifts torn up but I just ignored them. I got a friend involved and told him that this had been happening and he should speak to the ex. He did but nothing came of it.
Then came an email. Asking me to meet him, time had changed him as a person. He said he was stable now and we should talk about getting back together. I replied in a harsh manner saying I was done and didn’t want this.
The messages continued and I felt this was not normal. Maybe I gave him a place to be open and expressive
5 months after the last message (so far) I heard he was getting married. It was a surprise. I think family pressure had got to him and he did it. He’s got a wife now and I hope he’s happy.
I came across another interesting article that captures the reason why we do this.
“We can become addicted to the highs and lows of dangerous romantic relationships in a way that makes a break-up from a toxic person similar to rehab from a destructive drug addiction.”
This relationship hurt me emotionally. I began fearing the unpredictability of people’s behavior. I gave him my best years and he gave me stress and sleepless nights. Maybe it was because I didn’t have sex with him. Maybe he craved intimacy that he didn’t get with casual hook-ups.
I’ll never know.