I always thought 27 will be the perfect age to get married. I’d be complete almost 8 years of work and I’d be with someone long enough to start this next phase of life with. But life had other plans.
I was recovering from ‘the one that hurt’ when I met someone new. He wasn’t that new as he’d been the ex of one of my closest friends. We had chatted of and on. He was in Bombay and I was in Delhi and one day we chatted longer than usual. That turned to chatting everyday, which turned to phone calls. I had a good feeling about him. He was a few years older to me. A young entrepreneur with an inspiring story, a musician and someone with a very positive vibe. I was attracted to him but didn’t know how to tell him.
He once visited Delhi and we spent the day together, looking at books and just walking around. He didn’t say anything about the obvious attraction. That night I wrote him a letter about how I was feeling and thought I’d hand it to him before he took his flight the next morning. I did and he left. But to my surprise he came back saying he missed his flight. I was nervous about what he’s going to say about the letter when he comes back but he didn’t say anything. He left again to catch an evening flight.
He sent me a letter the old fashioned way a couple of days later. He said he’s attracted to me too. It was a very special feeling. I couldn’t stop smiling.
We met in a different city afterwards for a short trip. We held hands and kissed. It was sweet but never spoke about our feelings. My friend whose ex he was also approved of this. She felt I’d fix him and his impulsive ways, which had broken them apart. We went on short trips but were dealing with the pains of a long distance relationship. I was happy again.
A year later I was 27 and asked him about marriage. He took off the ring he wore and slipped it on my finger. I didn’t need an answer after that. It was decided that I’d quit my job in Delhi, we’d get engaged formally, I’d move to Bombay, we’d find our own place to live in, I’d find a new job and then we’d get married. Everything was going according to plan.
Except, I had a few doubts. One, he was an extremely busy man running his business and travelling constantly for work. I was okay with it as long as I knew he was around and I could at least speak with him once a day. Two, my family wasn’t too happy about this decision. In my head I felt it was right and I tried to convince them, they eventually gave in and agreed. They were happy as long as I was. Three, I noticed that his family wasn’t very communicative. This was very unlike the environment I’d grown up in. They would talk to each other but I never saw an expression of love or affection. No hugging each other, no smiling at times, very short bits on conversation. It was a bit odd for me but I felt I’d adjust. Despite these three issues I still felt this would work.
I left my job and moved to Bombay. He’d found the perfect house. It was huge but empty and I was looking forward to making it a home along with my fiance. We had got engaged and I was excited.
Then life threw its curve balls.
First, I searched for months, went for a dozen interviews, made calls and met people but I just couldn’t find a job. This was frustrating. I was qualified and had potential but probably just bad luck when it came to finding suitable work. I missed my financial freedom of earning my own money and being able to spend it where I wanted to.
Second, My fiance got very busy. So much so that we barely saw each other. He’d leave in the mornings and be back very late at night. Most of the time he had to travel internationally which meant he’d not be home for days at a stretch.
Third, I was alone in a huge empty house. I would clean it all day. Wash clothes, utensils, water plants, watch television and then sit online all day long. I’ve never enjoyed cooking so making myself lunch or dinner was a task. So I’d mostly order in and I’d begun to feel sad.
I had friends in the city but everyone was busy with their lives and jobs. I couldn’t expect them to come spend days with me because I was lonely. I’d go meet them whenever an opportunity presented itself but this was not frequent.
This is when I realized I needed love and comfort. I looked for this in my fiance. But things began to change. He said he didn’t feel well, when it came to sex. He didn’t want to hug or kiss me. Our conversation reduced to what’s for dinner, did you pay the rent or why he’s running late because of work.
Most people love the monsoons in Bombay but I hate them. They came pouring and I was trapped in this house, alone, with no work, no partner, no money to go out and just no life. I began to cry. I wanted to go back home.
I did try and visit Delhi as often as I could, either doing freelance work for my old employers or to visit my family but I never let anyone know how I was hating life in Bombay.
Then he surprised me one day. He said we were going to go on a holiday together to Egypt. But my mind was playing tricks. I wasn’t excited about going but showed otherwise. We did go with another couple who were friends of his but I just hated being there. We were running around the country, trying to check as many places of our list rather than spending quality time together or relaxing. This wasn’t a holiday. At least not for me. I had even splurged my savings to go on this trip and yet I just wasn’t happy.
Then I came to Delhi and thought things through. Was this what I wanted my life to be? Mrs CEO crying alone at home, waiting for work in a city where everyone’s in a rat race? I had begun feeling depressed. I began opening up to some friends and since my fiance was so busy I wrote him an email about how I was feeling.
“I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with you but everyday it’s getting increasingly difficult for me to communicate with you. I find it difficult to express myself so I’m writing it down. I’m uncomfortable and I’m upset. You might think that this is happening because I have too much time on my hands and nothing to do, but even so you still need to know how I feel. I came to Bombay to start a life with you and to have a relationship with you. I know you are a busy man but I feel you don’t want to make time for me. You say you made a big move for me by moving out of your parents’ house. I also left my job, my family for a new city and a new life. I know you have had to travel and so have I, but do you call or message me even once during the day especially when you know I’m all alone with nothing to do. I used to but I stopped because I felt it was one sided. Even if I start working and I would want to come home to someone who I can spend alone time with, someone I can unwind with and not just mechanically eat and sleep. You need your space I understand, but I really don’t think I intrude that in any way. I want a companion who knows how I feel, who wants to spend time with me. Why do you think I don’t feel like cooking or dressing up or doing anything because I have no one who appreciates or acknowledges it. I feel what’s the point. What is there to feel positive about? In any relationship people spend time together, there is romance and intimacy. I don’t feel anything. This is a basic need and right now I feel unattractive and very irritated and bitter. I never came here to just be a social figure for you. In front of people I’m your wife or fiancé but when we are alone its nothing. I don’t see or feel any love. There is no communication or want to be together. If this is what life ahead is going to be like I don’t know if I want it. I think you also need to figure out what you want from this relationship, before we step into marriage. We can put in on hold. If you feel we need to distance ourselves for some time lets do that. “
He replied saying I was in an extremely negative frame of mind. I didn’t motivate or inspire him and I taunted him. He said I was disillusioned and that maybe I should be with someone else.
I decided to come back home. I explained to my family that I didn’t want to get married. They had to deal with a lot of questions and I’m sure he and his family had to as well. After thinking it through I feel, he was a great guy, a great friend but not a great companion for me. We’re still friends and talk once in a while. Mostly about his work. But he lacks the communication and expression needed in a relationship. This was probably like a business partnership or deal. For me I was looking for something, rushed into the ‘almost perfect’ thinking it was perfect and got hurt in the bargain.
But again, life had other plans.