“I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation, for being so vulnerable and so incredibly stupid to believe any of his bullshit.”

I wish there was more awareness that threats of any kind, including suicide and any kind of emotional blackmail were ‘warning signs’ and not ‘love’. 

Sharing an email. 

Hello Indianhomemaker,

Your blog touches many of our lives with its stories and I really must appreciate the thoughts that are evoked in many mind upon reading these stories.

I thought I was a staunch feminist, a strong and independent woman. Well, I still am. But I faltered. I let someone take advantage of me while I pretended to be a ‘liberated’ girl.

I don’t pretend to be chaste, but that doesn’t mean any of us deserve any kind of abuse.

Here is my story, if you deem it fit, I would like it to be read.

I, an urban, liberated, free spirited girl, from Bombay moved to Bangalore after graduation to work with a small architectural studio. A lovely city, a great office but I didn’t know a single person, being a social girl I was it was a bit daunting. Then comes along the boy, village born, small town, worked hard to be where he was, breaking social and financial norms and practicing the profession we love so much at the same studio. He was my first friend.

Like every dramatic story, I moved to Bangalore with a heavy heart of having broken up with my amazing college boyfriend. It took literally 3 days to like this and feel endeared by his stories (albeit, in terrible English) to fall for him. And thus began, you can call it – a relationship. He was always skeptical about my white linen shirts (without a slip inside), my wild partying days back in Bombay, the copious amounts of alcohol I would drink with friends and family, my sexual experience, my liberated life on my high horse of coming from a comfortable financial background.

The intention of the relationship was never marriage, or at least didn’t start that way, it was mostly companionship and talking, socializing. I, in my head, knew this was wasn’t going to last and the fear of being alone and vulnerable made me continue it, and in all honesty he was gentle, loving and caring. He decided to move to Germany to do his masters, which I thought would be a great excuse to end the ‘relationship’.

But it didn’t.

There comes the first threat – if you leave me I’ll leave my studies and come back because I can’t handle the emotional distress of being without you.

He came from a very humble background, struggled to get a loan and get to go to study, I couldn’t bear to be the reason he would leave all of that because I was selfish enough to not continue a ‘Skype’ relationship and I was naïve enough to think he’d actually do it.
Meanwhile I decided to study further, he very graciously agreed to help me with the admission processes since he had just done it and I took that help, some were useful pointers which did help me to get through almost all schools I applied to. This in hindsight, wasn’t because of him only, but also because I am fairly bright.

While I would be on Skype with him, sometimes in compromising ways, I lived my life on my own terms here and did what I liked.

Then came the second threat after attempted break up 2 – I’ll kill myself.

I’d be the evil bitch responsible for his death and his family’s financial doom because he was the only earning member. And after everything he did for me, how could I let him die.

Threat 3 – I have recorded all those ‘compromising’ times and I will publish them not only on websites but email them to your parents.

Yes. That is correct. Of course, I shouldn’t have ever put myself in that position, but I trusted him enough and secondly, never thought he would take screen shots (naïve bordering on stupid). My family liberal enough would be terribly upset seeing those images if it does get to them.

With all the threats, this has been going on for 4 years.

4 years! I am able to write about this now, only because he has stopped having the effect of a cold cold hand gripping my heart. I don’t care.

This is not all, I am constantly called a whore, slut, things far worse, my parents and sister and her family are called tons of names, I am threatened to pay him money for gifts he gave me (that I never asked for accepted), money for phone calls he made to me, everything bordering on extortion and blackmail.

I blamed myself 3.5/4 years of the emotional abuse he put me through, because I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation, for being so vulnerable and so incredibly stupid to believe any of his bullshit. But now, I stopped. The only person to blame is him.

I am older now, I am not 23 and alone and stupid, I have met a wonderful who I will marry, who has been my wall when ‘Crazy’ (let’s call him that) strikes. I am over the fear of being flung in public. Because he can do what he likes, I will not live in his fear.

I would appreciate if you kept my identity anonymous.
Thank you

Regards

Related Posts:

“I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points.”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

Boy friends are new parents

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

An email: He did not want me to be “more” educated than he was.

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.

 

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“I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points.”

Emotional Abuse would be easier to recognise and deal with, if lessons of Obedience and Adjustment were replaced with mutual respect and equal right to happiness, justice, self reliance and freedom for all. 

But how can we talk about abusive boyfriends when we (as a society) are so busy banning Choice Marriages and Valentine’s Day?
Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I have been following your blog regularly and now I am at a crucial stage in life where I need or rather want to take a decision and thus have turned to you and your readers. I am 23 and currently in my final year MBA. I have been in a relationship with a guy who is now 29 for the last 3 years.

I belong to a fairly liberal family with both my parents working. When I say liberal I mean that I was always allowed my freedom, my mother and I would discuss my crushes, my family has never till date told me what I need to wear, whom I should not talk to, has never advised me how to behave and has never advised me to stay away from boys. I was always allowed to go on college trips with boys and girls and was never monitored during those trips. Very rarely have my parents stopped me from doing what I wanted in my life till date.

My parents knew this guy as my friend but from the time I told them about my relationship with him, they are against it. They have not resorted to emotional blackmail, or threats but my father and mother have sat down with me and have discussed with me as to why they think this will not work for me and have told me that they are not willing to support me in this.

The guy comes from a very traditional family background where girls are not sent to college and are married off as soon as they turn 18 years. His own sister was married off at 19 when she was in second year of college and was given a hefty dowry and to this date her family still demands money and gifts and the girl also thinks that its her brothers duty to fulfill her needs.She lives in the same city but spends more than 15 days at her parents place and is always cribbing that her parents and brother are not taking care of her and her husband. Her husband does not work, has taken loans from a lot of people and in order to escape paying suddenly vanished from the scene. My BF was expected to pay all the money and bring him back. This is a recurring phenomenon and nobody questions.

My parents are just not comfortable with this. Also in the past there have been many instances where I have myself had doubts regarding his and his family behaviour like:

1. The guy lied to me about his sister’s family situation. In fact he told me that his sister is married to a very nice guy and that they make the perfect couple.

2. He also lied to me about his name: He has a very long name and so uses initials for it. So when I asked him what all the initials meant he lied to me by replacing his actual name with some other name and I did not know of this till his friend actually told me about it.

3. He lied to him that his father was a successful businessman, on the contrary his father does not work and shut his business many years ago. When I asked him this, he said that his father had serious health complications because of which they had to shut down and then on another occasion he told me that actually his father is incapable of handling business and hence shut it.

4. Everyone in his family knows about me but he never volunteered to introduce me to them. Finally, after a lot of persuasion from my end he took me to meet his family not to their home but to another town where his family had gone for a pilgrimage. There I found out that they had booked 2 rooms for 8 of us which included his sister’s family and his parents and us. In the night everyone except his father slept in 1 room and me, the guy and his father slept in another room with me and the guy on the floor and his father on the bed. I was very uncomfortable with this arrangement but just kept quite. It was the first time I was meeting them and I was very uncomfortable.

5. The next time he took me to his hometown where his parents and sister lived. Though his extended family knew about me, from the moment I entered their house there were instructions given to me very subtly about how I must not step out the house as nobody should see me. I did not understand why they wanted to hide the fact that I was visiting.

6. He has severe temper issues i.e. even if I am late by 5 mins when we are going for a movie he will start shouting and then he will stop talking to me. It takes immense efforts to make him normal. but on the contrary, he can come late and I must understand and not make an issue. I find this very wrong.

7. I also don’t understand another thing: he is always available as in he just steps out of work at any random time and insists that I meet him. I am then expected to bunk classes and come to meet him and even if I have exams the next day he will insist on going out and if I refuse he will say that since I did not come to meet him, I should not even talk to my friends on the phone or even step out to have dinner.

8. He has very bad work ethics and I feel he is not professional because he always skips important meetings at work and tells his colleagues to cover up for him which I hate absolutely. He even takes a lot of unscheduled leaves and gives his ID card to his colleagues and asks them to swipe on his behalf and log on to his system and reply to his mails. He tells me that he is very smart and so can manage all this at work which I find very disturbing.When I question him, he says he can do anything to spend time with me.

9. He always expects me to be dressed impeccably i.e. not a strand of hair should be out of place, clothes preferably only cotton salwars neatly ironed with a duppatta in place and if I am not neatly dressed even on one occasion he starts sulking and does not even talk to me properly. Is it really so important to be dressed up always even if its just for a casual outing to a coffee shop?

10. He has very strong views about homosexuality – one of my friends is homosexual and so he wants me to stop talking to my friend because he believes that its not our culture.

11. For some strange reason he hates my dad, even as a friend when I would call him home, he would never make any attempts to talk to my dad or even strike a conversation. He tells me that I should not trust my dad, I do not know why but he insists that my dad is bad.

12. When we are out, he constantly comments about other women i.e. they are fat or thin or beautiful etc but if I look at a guy, then I am doomed.

13. These days he has also started telling me what dowry he would get if he would marry the arranged marriage way and asks me if my father will give anything at all to him. Also, whenever we are out and if his sister calls, he never tells her that he is with me, instead lies that he is with some other friend.

14. Also, I recently found out that he has two facebook profiles: one with his original name and details and his friends and another profile with the name he told me and a different date of birth and strangely only his and my common friends in the list. When I asked him he simply dodged the question and gave some vague random reply like he wants to keep me and our part of his life separate which I did not even understand. When I questioned about the name he said that since we first met with that as his name he wants to continue with that.. I am really surprised.

Now my mother and father do not know all the above details except about his family and sister issues and they are against our relationship for that reason, but ever since I have also started thinking about our relationship and after much thought I have realized that at 20 when I started dating him I never thought much but today I have issues with all the above points. I tried talking to him and from that day onwards he has started emotional blackmail – says that I am cheating him now and that he cannot live without me, his life has no meaning without me etc.Today he has even called my best friend and told her that I am behaving very rudely and that he will not be able to live if I continue behaving like this. I am really worried and stressed out and to top it all I have my final project submission next week. He just does not let me concentrate on my project and since I stopped answering his calls, he sends me messages saying he is sick, admitted to a hospital and has even told my friend the same and asked her to convince me to talk to him. I am really worried as I do not want to loose my degree and also I am unable to bear his emotional messages. I don’t know if I should ignore all the above issues or if I should just leave him. If I leave him, I am worried he might really do something and that my life will be ruined. Also, now that he knows my parents are against our relationship, he is pressurizing me to pack my bags and run away from home after my project submission and then lodge a complaint against my dad and seek protection. He says that if I love him I should leave my family and I am really not ready for it. Please help me..I have not told my parents all this as they will be worried and will really freak out and get tensed but at the same time I do not know how to handle it.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Related Posts:

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

Boy friends are new parents

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

An email: He did not want me to be “more” educated than he was.

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.

Response from Conflicted Banker and when Arranged Marriages are not really ‘arranged’.

What do you think of Arranged Marriages where there is no direct or indirect coercion, caste-matching, horoscope-matching or dowry negotiations; and where the parents do no more than introduce the Prospective Bride and the Prospective Bride Groom?

And when would you judge (or blame) a man or a woman for breaking an engagement in such ‘arranged marriages’?

IHM,

Thanks for publishing my E-Mail. I’ve read the comments over the weekend, and I am grateful to you and all of your readers for providing your viewpoints on the issue.
Almost everybody has expressed sentiments which are very much in line with my own thoughts. As I stated, I don’t have any intention of marrying someone who does not want to be married to me (or anyone else), and most readers have agreed that it is the right stance. This has given me much more confidence in my decision.
I am personally in no hurry to get married, and although I think we would have made a great couple under other circumstances, I’m prepared to accept that nothing can possibly come out of a relationship forged under pressure. I must look elsewhere to find a life-partner. It does hurt a bit, of course, but that is to be expected. I can get over it.
Some people have suggested that friendship without romantic expectations would be difficult. I agree with them, and rest assured, I have considered this. However, I feel that it would only be fair to offer some assistance if she needs it and asks for it. My future course of action will essentially be to go back to life without her, while staying available if she needs any material or moral help. I don’t plan to meet her or see her again on a regular basis under any circumstances, because this would probably just result in me holding unfair romantic expectations from her.
I would also specifically like to respond to Atul’s comment. While I agree that I must accept some of the blame, it is not in the same manner that he suggests. I did write ‘I finally gave in’, but this is a bit of a misrepresentation of what really happened. A better way to say it would be that I finally accepted the idea that it might be time to look for someone to get married to. During my time in the US, I have dated women quite independently; however, back then, I was just starting out and did not want anything long-term, so those relationships were intentionally short-lived (and both sides knew it). I’ve only recently felt the need for something much more serious, but since I arrived in India only a couple of years ago, I found it quite daunting to find and enter the local dating scene, specially because I spend a huge amount of my time at work and have very little opportunity to attend social occasions. Moreover, I did not want a much younger woman than myself, and it seems that most women in my circle, who are around my age, are already married or at least committed. Since my parents already had a few supposedly suitable women in mind, I decided to go with that, on the condition that they would not interfere too much beyond setting up the date (and they kept their promise). I don’t see anything wrong with this myself. The problem, of course, was that I was expecting my ‘date’ to have come by her own free will too. This was not the case here.
Thanks once again.
I am glad that I took all of these second opinions. 🙂

An email: “I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice.”

Sharing an email.
Hello, IHM.
Most of the people who write to you seem to be women, but I hope you will be able to offer some advice to me as well! (I’m male)
Okay, before I begin my story, some background. I am a 29 year old Delhiite, and an investment banker by profession. My family is a large one, and is fairly traditional, but I have spent several years abroad, and for good or worse, do consider myself a bit more liberal than the average Indian. I’ve done reasonably well in my career so far and currently hold what people would call a ‘plush’ job in the NCR.
As you may imagine, as I crossed 25, my family started hankering me (with increasing intensity) to think about marriage. I resisted all attempts for about three years. Last year, though, I finally gave in, and agreed to have a look at some of the eligible ‘matches’ my family had received.
After a couple of unsuccessful ‘dates’ (I’m not sure what I would call them, really), I hit the jackpot. This woman – I’ll call her Tara – was a fellow banker who also lived and worked in the NCR. We spent about five months getting to know each other. I was skeptical at first, but I was eventually bowled over not just by the fact that she was great looking, but also because she was the sort of confident, vivacious, smart and yet kind individual that I always wanted as a life partner. We shared many of the same goals, we shared similar values and we also had similar thoughts on things like religion and parenting. In short, I thought Tara was more or less my best shot at finding ‘the one’, and to the extent that anyone can do so in five months, I think I genuinely fell in love with her. Our parents were quite happy, and we arranged to have a June engagement.
That was the good part. Now comes the dilemma.They say love blinds you to many things. I was blinded too, but as time passed, it became more and more obvious to me that all was not well on her side. It manifested as small things which I initially chalked to the initial awkwardness (but which were more than that in actuality). She would seem extremely stressed, and even resentful at times. Her moods would change suddenly. One moment, we would be talking quite normally, the next, she would simply explode over some triviality (e.g me tipping the waiter too much).

On my first – and only – attempt at any kind of physical contact (just physical, not even sexual), she completely froze, and her body tensed up like a wound spring.

Of course, I immediately let go, and to my surprise, she began crying and left without a word. I did not talk about it later, thinking that it was obviously a sensitive subject, and hoping that she would come round to it when she felt comfortable. She never did.

She completely broke down on several occasions, for no apparent reason whatsoever and did not respond when I asked her what was wrong.
These things started happening with increasing regularity, and before long, I began suspecting that something was very wrong.
It was only in the last couple of weeks that — after much prodding and cajoling — she shared the truth with me. Her story was involved and complicated, but the long and short of it was that she was basically being emotionally blackmailed into this relationship by her own parents, in many ways. For example, her mother suffers from multiple health issues, and the ‘stress’ that Tara caused by not getting married according to her parents’ wishes was supposedly aggravating these issues. She also has a younger brother, who evidently cannot get married until she does. The parents have expressed a wish to see their grandkids before they die, and her father threatened to consume rat poison on at least one occasion.
The pressure was obviously incredible.
Many heart-to-heart discussions followed, but the bottom line which came out was that while she honestly did not want to get married at this point, she did like me, and would thus marry me as a sort of ‘best-compromise-available’ solution, if I was willing (basically a known devil v. the devil unknown scenario).
Faced with this situation, I unequivocally refused. I told her she needed to get out of the trap she was in, live her own life, and find her own speed. I reasoned that I couldn’t marry someone who didn’t want to be married at all, as doing so would make both our lives miserable. I made this argument in many ways, at many times, and told her we could be friends etc.She did not accept this, and told me that I wasn’t doing her any favors but in fact only making things worse, because she’d now have to marry some other guy that her parents chose for her, who might not be very suitable. She told me that I should take some time to think about it.

As you may have guessed, I am now double-guessing myself. I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice. Would we have been better off if I had chosen otherwise? Is she right in saying that I am actually leaving her worse off than before? I have been feeling a little guilty for having been part of this whole blackmail, and not seeing the signs earlier on. There is also a sense of betrayal — this was a woman I loved (I think) and I thought we had something great going on, but in the end, it all turned out to be a charade.
I am conflicted and confused.
Your perspective on this issue would be greatly appreciated. At the very least, it would help me clear my mind on the subject. Hopefully, I will also learn some valuable lessons for the future.
Awaiting your reply.

Conflicted Banker