My husband doesn't love me, what choices do I have left?
The story of Mansi Deshmukh (Name changed)
Based in New Delhi
Based in New Delhi
Written by Mansi Deshmukh
Edited by Mallika Bhatia
Well, I was not even close to being happy a few months back. I got married in 2010 with a dream of a 'happily ever after' kind of life. I had always believed that marriages are made in heaven and full of romance. Within a few months of being married I learnt that it is not so. Me and my husband could not connect emotionally at all. We had different priorities and different expectations out of our relationship. He wanted to continue living his independent life where as I wanted us to do things together. He wanted to be browsing on his phone when I wanted to watch a movie with him. He hated going out and I loved to. I would initiate plans and he would keep cancelling them. Emotionally as well, we did not match. We had major differences at all levels. We were just two very different people living together in the same flat.
Coming from the expectation of having a companion in my partner, I wanted to try harder. I wanted to make it work and what better way than communicating everything, I had thought. I spoke to him several times about how lonely I felt in our marriage and he simply kept telling me that I overthink things. My emotional needs were labelled high expectations and I was just too demanding for wanting any of his time and attention.
He was busy in his life and I kept trying to make my place in it. At home I kept myself busy with everyday chores; cooking, keeping his parents/relatives happy, shopping for him, giving him all my attention and ignoring my own happiness and my side of the family in the process. Yet, never once did he acknowledge my efforts. I really wanted to have children of my own but I knew that bringing a child in these circumstances wasn't a good idea. I wanted to try something else to maybe light a spark so I decided to move abroad for work to see if the distance rings any bells in his heart. I had taken the assignment with his consent.
|Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash|
Sadly, my being away for a year did not have any effect on our relationship at all. I had come back after a year, still hoping that with time things could get better. As soon as I got back, I conceived our first child. It was all still confusing for me; we had issues amongst ourselves and even with his family who had extremely high expectations from me and now there was going to be a baby in the picture. I was happy about the baby but also very scared. I couldn't stop my fears or being angry, sad and negative. Our relationship was as bad as ever. I always valued love and family more than anything else. Yet I was deprived of both. Inspite having all these stressful feelings to deal with, it was the first time that I was not feeling lonely. I had my baby who was with me all the time, a companion for life I had thought.
In the 4th month of my pregnancy, 26th Sep. 2015, a Saturday morning I started getting labor pains. We went to hospital and were told that baby had not survived. I delivered my first baby boy that day. I became mother but had no child to hold. I couldn't see my first born because my husband, without consulting me, asked the hospital staff to take care of the body. I couldn't even say goodbye to my child. With so much shock, grief and anger I spent countless nights crying to myself. There was obviously no support of any kind from my husband or his family. I only had the support of my mother and a friend of mine.
It was easy to blame myself and I strongly felt that may be I didn't love my child enough so he left me. Maybe there was a lesson for me here but I didn't know what yet.
I tried to go back to my routine life; Office, home, husband, family and now also constantly missing my baby. I got pregnant again in April 2016. This time I conceived in desperation. After loosing my first baby, I just wanted to be mother as soon as possible. As if I was trying to prove something to myself, his family or even the society. This time too, in the 5th month of my pregnancy I got to know there were growth issues with the baby. I was put on daily injection to improve the blood flow to the baby. But I guess we were late with finding out the issues and within another month, I lost my second son too. His heartbeat had stopped. I was composed this time. I was strong yet I wanted answers. I wanted to know WHY this was happening with me again. Yet again I had no emotional support from my husband, and his family. But this time I got to say bye to my son. I saw him, thanked him for being a part of me, felt sorry for not able to bring him to life and kissed him goodbye.
Now I felt more strongly than ever that God wanted me to learn something before blessing me with a baby. This time as well, just after few days I was back to the same routine life, emotional drama of my in-laws and a busy husband. I decided to take a challenging project and kept myself busy. The only emotional support I had was my side of the family and my friends.
It was during this time, after all these years that I finally I realised my husband truly didn't love me. Marriage was a obligation for him that he had to fulfil. It took too many years for me to see this but finally I did. I guess I was too blind with my expectation of a companion earlier to see his side, I was so busy loving him that I refused to believed that I would not be loved back. All this while, I had consoled myself by telling myself that he was not as mature as I was, or maybe because he is man so lacked a way of expressing his feelings. I told myself he was busy and stressed about his start up or he was forgetful and what not. But what I was scared to accept earlier, was very clear to me now. He did his best to make it clear that we were in a marriage where there was no love but I had refused to see it.
This new reality was killing me. It must sound silly that after losing 2 babies, dedicating 10 years to this relationship, ignoring my career, leaving assignments and losing my self confidence, I was still longing for my husband's love. As painful as it was, yet it was clear that a person can be this ignorant about his partners needs only if he is has no feelings for her. It took me a few weeks to accept this bitter truth but once I did, I stopped complaining.
I realised that both our family set up was as such that we could not think of a divorce and yet I did not want my life to go wasted. I started making changes in the way I was. I stopped tagging myself around him when he was home, stopped being over-attentive to his needs, instead I started doing things which give me happiness. He was least bothered by this change in me. I am not sure he even noticed it.
It was April 2018, when for the first time and without any fear I stood up for myself in front of him and his family. I started saying NO to the things which challenged my peace of mind. I was changing what I had done in the past 10 years. It was shock for him and his family. Now is when he changed his attitude. He wanted us to go back to the functional relationship that worked for him and his parents. He wanted me to be the same submissive girl that I was for all these years. He tried his best to pacify me so that I went back to my 'normal' self. He tried be the soft guy, the tough guy, the ignorant guy and other tactics until I broke down for the crying guy. I decided that maybe I could give him a chance but I would stick to my ground, with my new rules. This was when I conceived my 3rd baby. Soon after, things were back to usual from his side.
This time I had resolved to give birth to this baby. I did research and found new doctors who specialised in difficult cases. I had decided to take the reins of my life back in my hands. I went to the doctors with all my past history and was put on blood thinners from day one of my pregnancy. I had to take injections everyday, which was very scary for me because I was petrified of injections. Yet this time I was prepared to do it on my own. It was subcutaneous injection; to be either given in stomach or thigh. I am so proud that I did it everyday without any fear.
I stepped up and said NO to anything that did not work for me or my baby. I took care of myself, my profession and my baby. I chose to shut down negativity and create positivity around me. For the first time I was actually busy thinking about how to bring joy into my life. I started thinking of things that will make me happy. I went to movies alone, I shopped on my own, painted, went out with friends and made my independent plans. I even invited my mother to stay with me for few days. I would dress up for office everyday showing off my little bump. I worked hard at not get affected by the sulking and indifferent faces that my husband made. My pregnancy was smooth this time. I was due in just a month when my doctor found out that the blood flow to the baby was getting compromised again. She asked me to get admitted to monitor my condition. The next morning she suggested a C-section to deliver the baby. She made us understand that it would be easier for the baby to cope when he was outside. The environment inside the womb was now hostile with the limited blood flow. She knew best and I trusted her completely.
I remember my son crying as soon as he was born. The doctor's first words to me were “your baby is vigorous, just like his mother”. Since he was premature, they rushed him to NICU for respiratory support and care. In the evening my husband told me that he met our baby and he looked fine. Next morning I went to see him in the NICU. At first I was devastated to see him with all needles and tubes. He was so tiny to have so many things poked into him. I couldn't stand there for more than a few minutes before breaking down. By the afternoon I was asked to express milk and send it for my baby.
Next day when the doctor in the NICU saw me all teary and scared, he told me 'You are the mother, your touch will heal him and soon he will be all fine'. These words gave me strength and hope. For the next 20 days I went to the NICU everyday to express milk and give him KMC (kangaroo mother connect, in which the baby rests on mother's bare chest). Slowly I started changing his diapers and giving him massages. Each activity was a milestone in itself. His responses were my best reward. I made sure there was enough milk expressed for each of his meals at night.
He got better each day and by the twentieth day, we were allowed to take him home. Finally I had my baby in my arms, my child who refused to come into my life till I started making myself my first priority. I now knew what my lesson was, the one I had refused to learn earlier. It isn't about someone else loving me, it is about me loving myself. I had to learn to make myself a priority, I had to stop looking for approval from others around me. I had learn to stand up for myself and almost seize the respect that my husband and my in-laws had refused to give me.
It has been a beautiful journey so far. My son is almost six months old now and time seems to be flying with him. I want to capture each moment and enjoy every second with my child. I have not felt this happy and content in past 10 years.
While growing up my mother always told me that if I study well, I may get a good husband. Well I studied decently and it did not result in a good husband at all. Yet it helped me grow as a person, it empowered me to have my own dreams, It gave me the confidence to realise that my happiness shouldn't be dependent on someone else actions, I should be able to make choices on my own. In the past 10 years I always thought about raising a baby girl. I wanted to show the society how to raise strong, humble and independent girl. Someone who is not bogged down by societal pressures. Now that I have a son, I am equally happy as I hopefully be able to raise a boy who may grow up to respect his partner for who she is. No doubt our society is progressing and not discriminating against their daughters, but we need to also concentrate on our sons and make sure they don't grow up to feel entitled. I am still in the process of unlearning things which the society taught me while growing up. This slow transformation is helping me towards my happiness, regardless of my surroundings. I hope my story helps you too. I hope it helps you find a direction, an inspiration or just a push into loving and respecting yourself.
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