I met my ex-boyfriend when I was 18, fresh out of school and ready to experience 'adult life'. He gave the quintessential leather jacket bad boy vibe and I fell for him instantly. He seemed to like me enough to give us the 'dating' tag and so it began. We started doing everything together - from travelling to stay-in dates. All in all, there was not one #RelationshipGoal we had not conquered. In the couple's zone, he and I were pretty much a force to reckon with.
We had 365 days of bliss until we reached the one day that I had been waiting for - Valentine's Day. Since I was living the ideal love life, I wanted our first valentine's day to be grand and not just good. But just one night before valentine's, he stopped talking to me - not answering my texts or picking up my phone calls. I was worried and found this strange but decided to sleep it off expecting a fantastic surprise the next morning.
I still remember the sinking feeling in my heart when I woke up at 9:09 AM on 14th February 2016 to a text message that said, "Hi babe, I don't know what has gotten into me but I am taking a solo trip to the northeast. To figure some stuff out. I don't expect you to wait for me, might not come back as the same person. I will always love you." I read his words, again and again, hoping for them to be a joke. I called him 15 times only to find his phone switched off.
After I told all my friends, they took me out to my favourite nightclub. My phone was taken away and the words, "You are 19, young, wild and free" were repeated till they were ingrained into my head. Way too many shots later, I found myself dancing.
When I walked up to the bar to get a glass of water, I ended up spotting the most good looking boy downing a drink all by himself. He turned around and said to me, "Hi, can I get you something?" and my entire body screamed YES. Once we started talking, there was no stopping the conversation that night. I told him everything about my amazing relationship and how my heart was broken after, and he listened obediently. Eventually, he added me on Facebook, sent me a text and just one day later, I found myself on a coffee date with him.
His name was Vinit and our relationship quickly took a serious turn. He was 27 and wanted to marry me the second I graduated college. I met his entire family just 45 days after that Valentine's night at the club, only to find out that my ex-boyfriend is his younger first cousin! For a second, I couldn't believe it! My heart sank and I couldn't believe this was happening to me.
I genuinely liked Vinit and wanted to be with him. But one thing I was certain of was - there was no way I could start my new life based on a lie or any secrets from the past. I told Vinit about my relationship with his younger brother, albeit cousin. I don't know what I was expecting, but, Vinit did not take this well. He told me he wanted his space and asked me not to contact him. I found myself alone, yet again. I had been planning to go abroad for further studies and in this moment, it seemed like the right way to heal myself. I decided to visit my younger sister and also get some research done.
3 months later, at around 2:00 AM in New York, I woke up to 12 missed calls, all from Vinit. I called him back and he told me to open the door, I raced to the door of my sister's apartment only to find him down on one knee with a gorgeous engagement ring in his hand. I hugged and kissed him because I couldn't believe he was actually there, at my door.
My ex-boyfriend - Vinit's cousin - and I might not be on talking terms; but, we are soon-to-be family and I have made my peace with that. As long as I've got Vinit by my side.
*Names changed to protect privacy