This post is not about arranged marriages, or the dynamics of love marriage. In fact, it’s not about marriage at all. Not even close. I am going to tell you a story that maybe mine but I bet it feels like yours too. I have told and re-told this story so many times in my own head that it might not be so real anymore. So, all the characters in this story are purely fictional and if they resemble someone you know, it’s purely coincidental.
When I was 19 , I saw a boy who was smart, well-educated, handsome, much older, charming, friendly and everything I had ever dreamt of in a guy I wanted to be with. Silly me, I fell in love (you know, the when you’re 19 kind of love). And quite naturally, I wanted him to feel the same way about me, because I ain’t like Shah Rukh Khan in Kal Ho Na Ho being happy to see my love with someone else. Being a part of the same social circle meant that it was easy to get introduced and be acquainted with each other.
Like always, I found a way (thanks to the era of 100 free SMS) to engage him in conversation because I was determined to make him fall in love with me. Maybe I was inspired by watching Hitch. But secretly, I hated myself for desiring this boy before he desired me. Why did it matter, you ask? Because, every movie you watch (including Hitch) or every book you read, tells you that men chase women and not the other way around. So, I always felt guilty being in love.
In the beginning, I spent most of my waking hours mindlessly chatting with him. Every time I saw him (which would be in large public gatherings), I felt like we exchanged secret flirty glances with each other, which would lead to more interesting private conversations over text. I could feel a lot of tension grow in the air. It felt like I was almost succeeding in my mission to make him like me back, because I could tell from how increasingly desperate I grew to see an “I love you” text from him (because that’s the sign of love when you are 19 no?).
I woke up every morning with this incredible urge to talk to him, but my guilt would convince my silly mind to wait till evening after he got back from work so I don’t seem like I didn’t have a life. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I initiated most conversations, but his responses were always encouraging. Being older and having had a higher RQ helped him enjoy the attention he got without being compelled to return my favour. I was naive enough to misread this enjoyment as reciprocation.
Sometimes, I would spend hours thinking about how I could initiate a conversation in such a way that he’d be inspired to take the lead on the next one. Sometimes, I double texted him (you know when you text someone before they can respond to your previous text) because I refused to read the signs when I was ignored. I mean, he could probably just be busy right? Like why wouldn’t he text me if he were free, very low opportunity cost and all. But you know what, it was exhausting.
It even made me wonder if I was a disgrace to womenkind for wanting to try so hard. I would long for him to make me stop. Why couldn’t he just say he loved me? or not. I had gotten to a point where all I wanted was a verdict for my efforts – good or bad, I didn’t care. Finally, I did get a sign. He asked me out on a date!!! He’s got to be in love too right? I mean, why else would someone spend 300 bucks on someone else (Yeah, I was that naive). He took me to this charming restaurant and he was so chivalrous. While I didn’t want the date to end, I couldn’t wait to get home so we could confess our undying love for each other over text (somehow our text conversations were bolder and more suggestive).
The date just added a 100 pounds to the growing sexual tension between us. Every time I saw a notification from him on my phone, I’d desperately hope for it to be “I love you”. But it never happened. He continued to lead me on. Or in his defence, let’s just say he didn’t stop me because I never told him how I felt about him. So, I decided to take matters into my own hand and just tell him how I felt. And I did. He thought it was so sweet but he was not ready to be in a relationship just as yet since he had just gotten out of a serious relationship.
Game over you’d think right? No, I was so naive that I didn’t get it all. All I thought about was how to make him not only love me back but love me more than this ex girlfriend who had managed to be in a two year relationship with him. I couldn’t just be myself anymore. I had to be much more than this ex-girlfriend, but the problem was I knew nothing about her. I constantly oscillated from being curious (read, jealous) about this ex-girlfriend to acting nonchalant, only re-assuring him that I was definitely not a crazy woman.
Although he didn’t say anything, I was constantly judging myself. Since there was no Facebook to secretly stalk the living hell out of her, I had to start asking him all sorts of awkward questions about his past and this ex girlfriend, only making him never fall in love with me. Why couldn’t I just be like every other girl I knew who’d rather have men lining up for them than having to do all this work? Why was I so different? Maybe I had too much testosterone (the hormone that makes you chase) in me? Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be born a girl at all?
Since I wouldn’t stop trying, he continued to play along as well. We had spent a year of my life at this when I decided to end my misery and ask him if time was going to make him love me. I think I already knew what he was going to say but I needed him to say it. But he didn’t. Yet again, he said he really liked me but he needed more time. By then, I had known him quite well to figure out that he didn’t actually need more time.
I don’t know if he didn’t have the courage to break my heart or he was just too much of a coward to make any sort of commitment. I knew he wasn’t being completely honest with me. It broke my heart to know that even after a year, I couldn’t even get him to be honest with me, forget falling in love. A little part of me died that day somewhere in the middle of that conversation. I had exhausted my guilt ridden will to ride the one way of love. I hung up and never looked back. Not even once. And just like that, from being love sick, I had grown exhaustingly sick of it.
P.S – Does this sound all too familiar? Are you love sick? It’s okay. The good news is, you are not alone. We’ve all (yes, all!) been there. If you want to talk about your story over a cup of coffee, write to me.