It seemed like a perfect story, boy meets girl, they fall in love and they live happily ever after. Only the happily-ever-after wasn’t meant to be. Just when I thought I had finally found everything in life, things began to unravel.
I met him while I was still in college. Unlike my friends, I wasn’t too big on dating, and the fact that I had very high expectations from a potential romantic partner didn’t help my case. While everyone in my gang was busy enjoying the myriad shades of love, I had my nose buried in my books and my evenings were spent with my trusty companion – Netflix. This was my life and I was content with it, though sometimes I would feel a twinge of jealousy looking at those relationship posts on Instagram. And then, he came into my life.
When “He” Came Into My Life
We met during the annual college fest. He was the in-charge of the organizing committee and I was on that committee. We would often stay back after classes to take care of the arrangements of the fest. These late-afternoon sessions soon began to be the highlight of my days. In the beginning, there was nothing romantic about them. I just enjoyed the fact that there was someone with whom I could converse on all the topics that my friends found boring. It just happened that one day, I found myself looking at him as he was making an impassioned argument in favor of men’s paternity leave.
I suddenly had an epiphany, here’s a guy who is not only good looking but also has an intellect to match. For the first time ever I became interested in a guy, romantically. It was such a rarity that I thought I couldn’t afford to lose this opportunity. I began to look for opportunities to spend time with him alone. From happening to bump into him in the canteen to attending seminars where his presence was guaranteed, I did it all. Soon, he also noticed this and started paying extra attention to me. This was it for me. There were no grand declarations of love, neither were there any shy acknowledgments but I had found the “one”. I knew it and he knew it. Or so I thought.
But…Things Fell Apart
He and I were perfect on paper. He was handsome, intelligent and a feminist to boot. He read Shakespeare in his free time and could recite the poetry of Mir Taki Mir on a whim. I was a literature lover, and a cinephile, always looking to review the latest cinematic offerings to anyone who would care to listen. In short, we were perfect. The trouble started when I took it upon myself to make him a better version of himself. It was the small things at first. I would often tell him to wear a particular shirt while going out with my friends. Or I would implore him to hang out with my gang at the popular club that had just opened. He must’ve definitely felt something for me because he went along with these silly requests. I had no idea if he felt controlled or offended. I was too busy picturing my future with him to care about what was happening in the present. I was more concentrated on showing him off to my friends, turning up my nose at their respective choices as if to say, “ See, I did so much better than you.”
I am sure it didn’t come off as stifling then. I am sure he must’ve thought that by indulging my whims he is just showing his affection towards me. I never realized that I became so focused on appearances that I never paid any attention to the actual relationship. I was on the outside of this relationship looking in, preening it and embellishing it. That the relationship lacked substance was a fact that was lost on me. By now, I was too focused on setting the ideal roadmap of our relationship. I wanted us to be the “it” couple, so it was no surprise that I went off the rails when I learned that he had taken up a job in an NGO to teach the underprivileged kids. “Why would you take up that job? Didn’t you do an internship with a leading newspaper? I am sure they would give you a job.” I asked him. He looked at me for a minute before asking me the question that would shatter all my dreams and hopes. “The job is for me. I want to teach those kids. Does what I want even matter to you?”, and with that, he sealed the fate of our relationship.
It was then that I finally saw the light. I wasn’t in love with him, I was in love with the idea of him. He never transcended the plane of imagination for the duration of our relationship. In my bid to find the perfect partner, I forgot to live in reality. I was so obsessed with appearances that I never gave our relationship a chance and this is a regret that I will take with me to the grave.
Have you also had similar experiences with romantic relationships? Let us know in the comments section.
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