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Sorry for the long post. Please read it and help me out.

How do I deal with missing just one person even when I have good company? Touchwood, I have always had good friends in my life. But I keep missing this particular guy, I have known him for close to 9 years now and we have been in a relationship (long distance relationship) for close to 5 years. Even when I’m supposed to be enjoying good company I keep missing him.

We met during college became close friends, then best friends(he called me his best friend in person but when he wrote an article saying who all made his year meaningful for the literary society, he named another girl his best friend and gave me an acknowledgement for a WhatsApp group he and I were part of) and at the end of final year we realised we liked each other. The both of us hail from extremely orthodox family and knew it would be hard to make a relationship work. He told me he didn’t want to give me his word and go back on it, other than that he loved me. I told him I wanted no man other than him in my life. We got very intimate over the last two months of college.

We had joined work in two different cities. He told me he had a hard time making friends and constructed a narrative that I was his only remaining friend. This he used as his reason to keep me in the relationship when things were not working out. We constantly fought because he had very little time for me and the very little time we had, he spent it complaining about his colleagues. But he would rather physically spend time with them(whom he claimed he dint like) rather than spending it virtually with me. The few times we met, he’d constantly make me miss work to stay an extra night with him while he left for work in the day and made me waste all the day. He once made me miss my train and left me stranded in a city to catch his flight; he claimed he couldn’t explain the route to where we stayed to my cab driver but he directed his cab driver to where we were staying in the city he worked. He kept taking me for granted throughout the duration, but he always apologized, made some sob story as to why he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to treat me right and kept saying I was the only good thing in his life.

I had met with an accident and my mental and physical health were down. He would still dedicate minimal time and efforts to spend with me. His workplace was close to one hour away from my hometown and my workplace was one hour away from his hometown. He made me visit him everytime I came home. I would invite him home and had many fights with my parents to establish that he is a part of my life and they should accept it. But he never visited me when he went home. Once he was taking a vacation at his home for a week and incidentally something really bad happened at work. I had a mental breakdown and badly needed someone to help me. I begged him to come and he declined.

Soon the pressure to get married started at my home and he replied sincerely that he had plans for higher education and he couldn’t tell his parents until he completed his MBA and received a job offer. He coldly declared that I should wait if I can or else get married to someone of my parents choice. Luckily I got an admit in the third round for PG too. But he had left for his course by April and mine started only by July. Between April to July, while my health was in a bad state and I had extreme pressure for marriage and admissions on me, he would call me rarely and tell me his course work was extremely hard and he dint have a minute to breathe. I stopped fighting with him and tried to be supportive, by listening to him bitch about his study group mates.

My PG college and his MBA colleges were in two different cities which were 3 hours apart. Me met a few times and he would constantly keep telling me about how he had no friends and there were two people with whom he had formed study group but they were just using him to get the work done. October 2019, he had a break for one week where he was supposed to prepare for his placements and do a project. But he told me he was going on a trip with his study group people the night before he left for the trip. When I’d casually called him a girl screamed from behind saying you should come with us next time. He had told me it was close to 5 people who were going on the trip. When I confronted him the next time I met him face to face he came clean that he had gone with a girl and that she was his best friend at college (he constantly complained to me that this person was using him for assignments during our weekly calls). I was quite shocked and we had a fight, which we made up later. I even met with his new best friend and had a good time with the two of them, she kept telling me stories after stories of how close they’ve got (stories I have no problem with if only I’d known it from him).

But two days later when I had wished his new friend on her bday she cried to me asking if I thought very low of her and how I shouldn’t have ended my relationship because of their trip and how their friendship was platonic. I was completely shocked learning that he had told her that, we fought, he apologized, me made up. Then I began spending more time in his college and quad at the point of missing out making friends at my college and having meaningful experiences. I would focus only on my academics and run off to his college at every given opportunity to try and bridge the communication gap and work on healing our relationship. He said he wanted to work on the relationship after his placements are done and I stopped fighting/discussing about this completely. I tried helping him de-stress and focus during his placement cycle. He finally got placed last December. Things were still amiss between us but he never discussed the elephant in the room willingly.

Things were still getting by barely, my parents had slowly started the topic of marriage again and I wanted him to tell his parents first before I told mine, because I was sure that I can convince my parents but unsure if he would be able to. He told his mom who had told him that they have other financial commitments and she is fine with his choice of me, but marriage plans cannot be made for atleast another 3-4 years.

When we met for Valentine’s day plans during February, I told him that my mom was okay with him but they wanted the timeline to be little closer as they are almost being humiliated by all our relatives and family friends for not having me married (remember I hail from an extremely orthodox family, where girls are expected to be married off by 21. My parents respected my wishes and let me be single until 26, but now they were facing extreme social and societal pressure to get me married). I also brought up the topic about how it was hard for me to trust him because of his trip and new best friends at college that he had kept from me. He suggested I take all his social media passwords and check it if it would help me realise he wasn’t hiding anything anymore.

I said no then but two days later out of sheer curiosity and the fact that he had given me access to his social media, I opened his phone and checked his Whatsapp and Instagram. I had opened a Pandora’s box. There were many revelations that actually tore me apart:

1. He was flirting with a lot of girls (from his previous work place and college)
2. There was this particular girl from his work he used to complain about for hours. He had asked her to send him her nudes with white background.
3. He kept forwarding this and other such conversations with other girls between eachother to create narratives of how he was cool and women coveted him.
4. He was addicted to porn and masturbation. (I am very non-judgemental about these topics, my only reservation is hiding these from me. He had specifically told me that he doesn’t use porn anymore while I remarked it was okay to).
5. He used instagram model’s pictures to Masturbate and he sent them messages as he came.
6. He had a whole bunch of friends at work with whom he constantly hung out and partied with (again, my problem is not with him having friends but not telling me he had friends)
7. He wanted to go on couple trips with another girl.
8. He had told people about intimate details of my life (including my mental health issues) without my knowledge/consent.

I felt so broken and confronted him about all of this. He cried, begged, apologized. He kept saying he hid things from me because he was ashamed of it. And he did the things he was ashamed of because of self image issues. He came and stayed with me for the rest of Feb and we met with a relationship counsellor. The counsellor asked me to take my time to process what had happened and he promised to work on himself and to never repeat the mistake, to be more open with me .

By March we had to move back home because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Things went back to how it was before all of this happened. He returned to his usual practice of neglecting me and not taking time out for me. He had completely stopped calling and sends texts very sparsely. We usually fight because sometimes I get triggered by random things which reminds me of what happened, he would simply say a sorry and move out of the conversation. I still don’t completely understand what has happened and why it happened. I still struggle with a lot of questions and doubts.

By April and May, my mental health had taken a turn for the worse and I wasn’t able to perform well academically which was the only thing going for me in my life. At one point I wasn’t thinking straight that I tired to cut my hands.

By June, my parents have started searching alliances for marriage for me, when I told him about this, his response is constantly a do you want this. He hasn’t said anything about him being available. When I told him his parents condition of marriage after 3 years - staying apart for 3 years might not help us to work on our relationship and will cause further harm, he just agreed with me and repeated what I had said. I dont know what to make of it.

I constantly feel very low, tired and confused about things.

1. I feel very sad that I missed out on the opportunity to make new friends and have meaningful experiences at my college because I kept chasing him to protect and work on our relationship.
2. I feel confused about why he behaved the way he did. It has somehow worked it’s way into a self image issue for me and I constantly keep feeling that my efforts and I don’t matter to anyone in the large scheme of things.
3. I am extremely confused about my future. My parents really want me to get married, I don’t know what I want. I have to get a job but I feel extremely under-confident right now.

Working through all these, I mostly feel like I should get away from him and protect myself. But I have been colossally unsuccessful in getting him out of my life. I keep blocking and unblocking him. During a fight about how he used social media to gawk at other women, he blocked me across social media. I feel extremely bad about this. I have told this to him repeatedly, he ignores it silently. Why am I incapable of blocking him and moving on the way he has been able to?! Why do I still keep expecting him to make things right and for things to become better? Why does it hurt me that he has reduced his already sparse texts?

How do I heal and not feel as crappy as I consistently do these days?

2 replies

Hey, I couldn’t help myself to respond to your story.

I haven’t been in your position but I can empathize with you. You seem like someone who knows the difference between right and wrong and strives to be right while being held back for being too kind.

I read recently that there are 4 types of people if which one is the obliger and the other is the questioner. The obliged kind of does whatever is required of him/her to keep people around him/her happy despite knowing that certain things are working against him/her. You seem to be like the obliger type.

What do you need to do to come out of the emotional mess that you are in? ( Why do I say it’s an emotional mess? Coz you’re so lucid in your explanation that you need to realize that it is a temporary phase but for you to get out of it, you need to put effort. Small steps a day.)

Practice self-love. Don’t confuse it with self-pity. Only when you respect yourself will you be able to love yourself. You are feeling underconfident. That’s understandable. But realising the same and asking for help to overcome it is a sign of your strength. It is what shows that you want to get better and you’re already making progress. Congrats.

There’s always a societal pressure in India (and most of Asian countries) to get married and settle down in life. I am in my late 20s, I am single. I understand what you and your parents must be going through as I’m from a traditional family too. What can you do about it? One of the best advices I’ve received when choosing between a career and a partner is that once you’re steady with a job, economically independent and able to live a life on your own, you’ll realize your worth. And you can accept no less than what you deserve. To get there will require some effort.

There is a book called ‘The highly sensitive person’ by Elaine Aron. I think you could benefit from it.

Regarding the mental health, if someone mocks/tries to bring you down with that as an excuse, I don’t think the person is even worth your time or thoughts. Imagine if you had a daughter who was going through the same crisis, what would you suggest her to do? And then apply the same principles to heal yourself.

You are your best friend. Don’t worry about not making friends/having fun during your PG. It’s not the quantity that matters but the quality and such people are rare to come by. Once you come across them, make sure you build a strong friendship with them. Be selective in what and with whom you want to spend your time with. It’s better to stay by yourself than to be among the wrong tribe.

If being alone sounds scary, find something that can keep you happy. It can be a walk around your neighbourhood/watching a series/talking to your friends/reading a book/working out/spending time on a hobby. Basically, invest in yourself. Your present self may not like it but your future self will be thankful.

Imagine the future you from 5 years ahead coming back to meet you. How would you want her to be? A sad agonizing woman who has no courage to face her life or someone who you’d embrace with happiness and confidence. Someone who can lit up the room that she walks into and is a bossbabe of sorts. It’s not a movie. It’s your life. You can be who you want to be. You can be pathetic about yourself or go on with a confidence that puts the mockers to shame. That brings us to a change in attitude. It doesn’t happen over night. If it does, it doesn’t stay for long.

You may have the support of your friends and family and the advice of a few strangers but at the end of the day, your only companion is you. You are the one you sleep with and wake up with. So make this person someone you would love to spend your time with.

I may have been haphazard in my answer but should you want to talk more, I am here to listen to you. You can be a better person than you are now and you deserve to be. Look within and you’ll find the answer. Have faith in God (if you believe or in some super power of the universe) that things happen for a reason that you may not make out right now, but one day you’ll be able to connect the dots.

Here is a stranger who wishes that you get better. Fighting!

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