Note: As a part of Love Matters and Youth Ki Awaaz’s ongoing #BearNoMore campaign on raising awareness about Intimate Partner Violence, we carried out a blogathon inviting you to share your experiences and opinions. The tremendous number of responses only show how important it is to discuss the issue. This post is one of the contributions made to the blogathon.
Due to a lack of knowledge, my conceptualization of love was unhealthy. I had an over-romantic idea of love: the “I will tolerate anything for love” kind. I was told by others that people never forget their “first love“, but I would rather forget mine.
I was 17 when I first met him. He was 10 years older than me, and I unwittingly assumed that he would be the mature type of man that I was seeking. He appeared to be polite, caring, and reflective. He introduced himself as a student and a car businessman. Within three months of knowing each other, we were dating.
From the very first days of dating him, the changes were noticeable. Our conversations stopped. Although I enjoyed being physically intimate with him, I also wanted us to connect on an emotional and intellectual level. I strongly believe that a relationship is not just sexual; there are many more facets to it. But whenever we met, he would be more interested in engaging in physical intimacy rather than talking or visiting places together. One incident I vividly remember is the time I was running a high fever and he was forcing me to be physically intimate with him, despite my repeated refusal. I had to scream and cry before he took my refusal seriously.
But his lies were worse. It unfolded that he did not have any business and that he was only enrolled in an institute. When I asked for an explanation, he snapped at me and blamed me for “distracting” him from his studies and business. Whenever I tried to protest or even make sense of what was going on in our relationship, he would dismiss all my concerns.
Gradually, he began objecting to my social life. Once he quarreled with me because I attended a wedding. He told me that loyal women did not “put themselves on display” at weddings or any other event where lots of men would be present. On my 18th birthday, he scolded me for celebrating my birthday with family and friends, and not giving him the only attention.
Matters took an uglier turn when he started to pick on my education, especially study tours. Every time I went abroad, he would become unusually quiet. He would also say: “If you love me then you will not go to that study tour,” or “If you go abroad for higher studies, I will cheat on you.”
The more I was acquiescing, the more his demands kept rising. Finally, when I went to break up with him, he threatened to halt my studies and to malign me. He shouted “All women are my shoes.” His immense disrespect for women became apparent. But I was too scared to move away, so I remained in the relationship. I stopped voicing any opinion because I knew that doing so will lead to more negativity.
This drama continued for a few more years. One day, he came up to me and happily told me of his infidelity.
Although I put up with all his idiosyncrasies, he was unfaithful. That was the last straw. I was exhausted, so I parted amicably. I did go into depression for three months, but today I feel that our break-up and a few months of sadness are far better than years of being taunted and controlled. And now I am doing great without him.