I regret my marriage because it destroyed me. I got married in an arranged marriage setup.
I was always the shy, studious, & rule abiding girl. I had never dated or had a boyfriend.
1 year after graduation, my parents had me meet with a guy from a nice, respectable family. He was educated, soft spoken, & respectful. We met 3 times & the engagement was made official. The wedding date was set for 4 months later & we had a charming courtship period. We would pamper each other with affection, gifts, & romantic gestures.
We got married & were living happily. Some issues were there. Like he used to get angry frequently, my mother-in-law would try to make decisions regarding me without consulting with me, that I felt I’m subtly being pressured to quit my job, etc. I discussed them with my mother & she would always ask me to adjust. She said such small issues always come up in new marriages & I would eventually learn how to deal with every family member in a loving way. She also asked me not to reveal too many household details. A wife should uphold the dignity of her new home & not get her parents too involved because my new family might feel that my parents are interfering. I adjusted & life was normal.
1 year into our marriage, I felt the most safe & comfortable with my husband. I had no doubt that he was the life partner God had made for me. His love for me gave me the courage to reveal my darkest secret to him. One night when my parents-in-law weren’t home, I sat him down & told him everything. When I was 14-years-old, I was sexually molested many times by a family relative. The minute he heard that, he froze. He leaned back, said nothing for several minutes, & eventually walked out of the house. I had expected that. I understood it might take him sometime to process the information. It wouldn’t be easy to know that the woman he loved so much had been through such trauma. But I decided to be vulnerable with my husband because I knew that he would become my strength.
He came back after some time. He asked me all the details. This was the first time I had even mentioned about the abuse to anyone, so talking about the details was even more difficult & painful. But I did. If my husband asked it, there must be a reason. He deserved to know. I told him all the ways I was touched, rubbed & penetrated.
He went to bed & immediately slept. I respected his reaction & gave him the time to process. Weeks went by & he was still in the same mood. All those weeks, he didn’t talk to me directly, didn’t even hold my hand once.
I pleaded him to talk to me. To at least communicate. After some days he finally said something.
“I want a divorce”
That’s it. No reason.
I broke down into tears. I didn’t know what had I done. I begged him to resolve any problems that he might have with me. He finally opened up after hours of my begging. He said I had cheated him into marrying me. That I lied to him when I said I had never had a relationship before him. That I spoiled his life. I was a cheat, a liar.
I tried to make him understand that I hadn’t cheated him. I hadn’t even had the courage to reveal all this to my parents or best friends. I wasn’t waiting for us to get married & then reveal it to him. I never even thought I would share it with someone. But it was his love & care that made me trust him with my life. I finally felt safe enough with a person to share my biggest burden with, and that I was so lucky that my husband was the person. But I had no reply to what he said next.
He said he had been a virgin before marriage so he deserved a girl who was just as pious as him, and I wasn’t that. He said he felt disgusted that he ever slept with me. That I was an immoral girl, a used & discarded woman. He said that 14-year-old girls aren’t children. They are sexually mature. He knew some 14-year-old girls when he was young who even had boyfriends & made out with them. He said I must have lured my rapist into having sex with me, I enjoyed it while it lasted, & now that he’s dead I’m blaming him to seem innocent.
That 10 minute rant shattered me, my confidence, and my belief in love & humanity. I couldn’t even cry anymore. I was dead inside.
For the next few months, I still tried to be the good wife he loved before. But he grew more distant, disrespectful, & aggressive everyday. Eventually even our families started noticing it. They asked me, but what could I say? It stemmed from something I never had the courage to talk about. I was craving for his love & affection. Once, I put my hand on his face & leaned in to give him a peck on his cheek. He pushed me back & I bumped into a door a few feet way. I tore a muscle in my back but he didn’t even flinch. He shouted at me not to put my dirty lips on him & walked off. I had to call my best friend because I was in unbearable pain. I didn’t tell her anything but she understood what had happened.
She took me to a doctor, but refused to take me home afterwards. She made me call my parents & I went to their home with them. Our parents had a meeting to resolve. My father-in-law said that such things keep happening between a couple. It’s not like he had hit me. My mother-in-law guaranteed that she will make sure I’m safe. She even persuaded my husband to come over & apologize. But he refused to do so & declared that I was an immoral woman & he didn’t trust my character. That I wasn’t fit to bear his children. Just that, & even his parents didn’t want me back anymore.
A month later, divorce was filed. When my parents tried to fight back by demanding maintenance & alimony, they charged me with many more cases. According to them, I had destroyed their peace, been cruel to them, threatened & physically harmed my mother-in-law, maligned their reputation in the society, stole from them & what not. They obviously couldn’t prove that I was characterless. But I had to talk about my childhood abuse first in front of my parents & lawyer, and then the whole court. Towards the end of our case even the judge asked me why didn’t I file for divorce from such a man on my own & why didn’t I charge him for all the abuse.
I am divorced today. The case was settled quickly according to Indian standards because my ex’s family wanted the divorce to get finalized soon so that he could remarry a ‘pious’ and ‘moral’ woman. But in our society, that isn’t an option for me. I’m officially damaged goods, after all.
I recently went to my best friend’s wedding. I’m very happy for her, but I often think what if? What if I was never abused? What if my ex-husband’s match had never come for me? What if I had never trusted him enough to share it with him? What if I too would have dated, and after some hit & trial found love like my best friend did? Breaking up is certainly better that getting divorced, after all. What if I had said yes to that popular guy in college? He ended up marrying another classmate of ours he asked out after I turned him down, & they seem so happy. What if I was in her place today?
I wish I could redo my life. But I can’t. I have resigned to this life now.