I was a bright and confident student, and always did well at school. I wasn’t the kind to make too many friends, but the ones that I did make are the best ones anyone can have. Once I completed my post graduation, my parents decided to look for a boy for me and get me married. And it happened exactly that way.
Two days before my engagement, my fiance-to-be asked me to go along with him for some shopping that he needed to do. As I got there, he told me that something had been bothering him and that he wanted to share that concern with me. ‘I think your teeth are too large and they look awful sometimes. You should get orthodontic treatment done,’ he said, adding that I shouldn’t take this the wrong way and that this was for my own good. He continued to say, ‘I cannot help it – whenever I look at your teeth, my love for you vanishes instantly.’
I was taken aback by this ‘concern’ of his and once I got home, I told him over the phone that I was hurt by what he had said. I explained to him that ideally, his love for me shouldn’t be based on how I looked. I also went on to tell him that if this was the case then I could talk to my parents and call off the engagement saying that we aren’t quite ready for it yet. To this, he immediately responded saying, ‘It isn’t a big deal,’ and added, ‘It’s just that I want you to feel better about yourself. It’s okay if you are not ready for any treatment right now, we can discuss it later. It has nothing to do with our love and relationship. Please forgive me if I hurt you. And please don’t discuss it with your parents - they might take this the wrong way.’ I forgave him after this conversation, and within the next 2 days, we were engaged.
Our courtship saw him comment on many more things that I did or didn’t do. ‘Why don’t you interact with the salesmen in English when we go out for shopping’, ‘Please don’t show your teeth while smiling. Try smiling with your lips closed’, ‘Please join a gym and lose some weight’, ‘Please dress up properly when we go out with my friends - they all get dressed up so perfectly! Why can’t you?’ – it was something new every day. Eventually, I started losing all my self-confidence. And as he said all this to me, he always added that he did this for my own good, so that I became a better version of myself.
I still hoped that things would get better after marriage, once we started living together. So I went ahead with the wedding, which took place 8 months after the engagement. Sadly, nothing changed post marriage. The argument over me getting braces happened during our honeymoon as well, and umpteen times after that too.
In fact, things only got worse from here on. He would make fun of me in front of his friends and family all the time and his excuse was that he wanted me to ‘be a better person’. I confronted him four months after our wedding and gathered all my courage to tell him that I didn’t want to live with him anymore. ‘Please don’t do this to me. I love you a lot. My ways could be wrong but my intentions are pure. Please give me one last chance. I won’t hurt you ever again,’ he said, as he cried profusely. Once again, I decided to give our relationship a chance.
Not much changed after this either. He stopped talking about my teeth but now he had found different issues that I was supposed to work upon! I shared my concern with his parents, but all in vain. My mother-in-law always defended her son, and said things like, ‘It’s the girl who has to learn how to adjust.’
Now, it’s been 10 months since I got married. He is still busy looking for things I need to improve upon, but I have moved to a different city and started with my PhD in Computer Science. I have also made up my mind that I have to stop giving him any more chances.
Recently, it was my first Karwachauth. I was alone all day, fasting and waiting for my husband to at least call and wish me because he couldn’t manage to take a day off to come to see me. Instead, I just got a ‘Happy Karwachauth’ text in the day, and he called me at night saying, ‘The moon is out. You may eat now.’
The way he treated me on my first Karwachauth was the last straw and this is when I asked for a divorce. This conversation finally made me realize that I deserved much better and that it’s time for me to move on. I replied, ‘I want a divorce, and nothing less than that.’