My “wedding” day.
I dreamed, like most little girls did, of one day getting married, having a beautiful reception, and living happily ever after. And, as a desi girl, I understood the importance of a wedding (whether or not I agree with the extremes some people go to in an effort to impress others is entirely besides the point), inviting people you know AND like, documenting the day with photographs, eating cake or gulab jamun… just making memories and celebrating happiness. That being said, I wanted, and still want to participate in this tradition.
My soon to be ex husband, however, did everything in his power to kill my dream. About 5 years into our relationship, he became engaged to another woman. Not just some random person, but a girl he had grown up with, a family friend, someone who I thought was obsessively infatuated with “my man.” The truth behind this event is still a mystery to me, I’ve heard many different stories, and the one told to me by my husband assigns the blame to blackmail, obsession, and his parents’ need to control him and keep him away from me. Sure, I was naïve, but love is blind and that’s my best excuse.
Regardless of the fact that his previous engagement was celebrated with all the festivity of a small wedding, he was adamant about not having a big celebration, we went back and forth, I wanted to stand up for my dream, but it was proving to be more difficult than I had imagined, I felt avoided, ignored, and dismissed. I tried to involve my future in-laws, but experienced the same reception of rejection and disinterest. His father left the country just days before we had planned to marry, in a passive aggressive attempt to show his disapproval. My brother was coming from overseas to join us in the celebration, which eventually just became a religious ceremony only attended by my immediate family, my cousin, my husband & a friend who photographed the occasion. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, so I ignored my feelings of disappointment and just tried to pretend it was what we wanted. Through extensive reading and self-help I’ve realized the extent of his control over me. Not just my actions, but my opinions, desires, feelings; all were adapted to his comfort and acceptability.
That morning, the day of our wedding, he told me he had gambled away $400 the night before. Disappointment. It was to be the theme of our life together.