How does resentment seep into a healthy relationship?
They sat at a dining table, a man and a woman, slurping tomato soup while thinking about all those things that made their relationship complex.
Many a time, they had consulted their mutual friends, hoping, someone, someday, might come up with a genius idea that would help reignite the flame in their relationship.
However, their friends, whether for the lack of creativity or lack of interest, one can’t say which, stuck to the same narrative.
“Communication is the key!” they repeated all the darn times!
But, now, after six years of being together, every attempt at communication, no matter how willingly made, seemed to end in resentment.
Six years of marital life had taught her that there comes a phase in love, not always but sometimes, not in every marriage, but in most, when resentment begins to overpower intimacy.
Like a ghost, it’s present everywhere.
In the food kept on the plates, in the “Thank-You’’ notes pasted on the anniversary gifts, in the “good nights” exchanged in a hurry without a kiss….
It’s forever present! The RESENTMENT!
But when Richa looks at the photos from their marriage hung on the mango-coloured bedroom walls, she realises those are the only things in the house that aren’t in any way affected by the ills of resentment.
She remembered them as a couple during college time. They spent hours together talking about everything under the sun. In his modest one-room rented apartment, they would while away long wintery evenings, drinking rose-flavoured wine and chalking out random business plans for the future.
“You two think alike and that’s why you guys gel up so easily”
Their friends often made this remark about their relationship. She would nod and let it go at that, assuming people have opinions that they like to give freely, even when they know nothing about a situation.
Richa believed that while thinking alike played an important role in holding their relationship together, it was essentially their love for each other that helped set the basis for an easy & tight friendship.
But now, looking at how things were going, she was pressed to question her previous beliefs.
“Were they together because they shared a convenient relationship between them? Because it was easy to be with someone who thinks like you and therefore doesn’t ever challenge your ideology and beliefs? Or, was it because they really loved each other??”
“Would having an opposite mindset had helped them love each other more Organically?”
This question irked her so much that one day, Richa, who usually preferred to keep these kind of philosophical thoughts to herself, went ahead to take his husband’s opinion on it.
“Were we just friends when we got married or did we really love each other then?”
“I mean,”, she continued, “how does one know what is love and what’s just intimate friendship? Where does one draw the line?”
He merely shrugged his shoulders as a response!
“What”, she asked in a frustrated tone!
“Does it matter?” he was ready with a bitter response, “Isn’t it enough that we were close enough to have gotten married?”
“It does matter”, she answered, sounding hurt, “don’t you want to know if the person you’ve been married to for 6 years loves you or not? Aren’t you curious!”
“It’s not like finding a client with big money, is it?” He said, laughing.
“But don’t you think love is more important than money?”
“I think,” he said, switching on his iPad, “Love is more important than money when you have enough money. Love doesn’t pay bills!”
She didn’t press him any further. With experience had come the realisation that a happy relationship is one where you easily let go….sometimes to the point of indifference.
He worked in a pattern, she had found!
He diverted all her attempts at making emotional conversations towards the difficulties & practicalities of life. Living with him was like living with an emotionally handicapped person. If you wanted to be happy you better get rid of your emotional side.
His behaviour sometimes made her wonder what if she conjured similar excuses to keep him away in bed. Because he seemed to have completely forgotten the fact that to win over a woman’s body, you first have to win her mind and heart.
These days he only reached out for her body while her soul remained aloof, screaming for attention.
Maybe she should ask him if he loved her! But it would be really strange to ask such a basic question from a partner of 6 years. Also, let’s be honest, even if you did ask, do they have any other choice than to say a yes! And, god forbid, if they said no! Imagine living with that for the rest of your life!
Certain things, she thought, were better not asked!
Now, here is something interesting to note! There are 3 kinds of marriages!
The first one is a happy marriage, where both the man and woman are deeply involved, and can’t do without each other.
The second one is a bad marraige where the two of them highly detest each other and would happily walk out of it if given a chance.
And, the third one, the kind Richa had, is a stuck up marriage, where you don’t know if you should leave or stay. If you tried getting too deep into it, your partner would caution you to stay away, mind your own business. But if you dared taking one step out of the mess, they would come chasing after you, telling you how much they love you.
That’s when you know you are stuck in a marriage that you can’t live with or escape from!
While she was thinking all this, her phone beeped.
It was a message from a friend who had known them both from college times. It read, “Sometimes I feel, being single or being married doesn’t matter! Sometimes, I feel it would have been better had I made a relationship with a woman instead of a man! Because in Life, the only times I have felt heard & understood were when I was speaking with a woman”
“But you aren’t attracted to women, are you?” Richa texted back instantly.
“No, but don’t you think when you feel content at heart you can do without physical relationships? I mean, isn’t love possible without sex?”
Richa looked at the message. She hated these conversations! They had the potential to scrape her skin, expose her wounds, and cause deep hurt! She had learnt to ignore them; another way to keep her marriage alive!
So, instead of replying, she took a deep breath and laid down on the bed.
She had just closed her eyes when she remembered she could text her husband a good night like she used to do when they lived apart in different cities.
Honestly, it wasn’t much different now!
She saw the last conversation they had over WhatsApp. She had asked him to bring home some groceries while coming back from the office. He had replied with a plain “Okay”!
Technically, “Okay” wasn’t a dissatisfying reply to her message. What else could he have replied? “Okay, I will be there too. I love you!” Ouch, another twinge of pain!
“Good night!” She typed into her phone.
The phone beeped once more! She hurriedly looked at the screen anticipating her husband’s reply. But it was that friend again!
“Have you slept already? It is just 10pm!”
She switched off the phone and went off to sleep.
Nishant saw the message at 1 am. He was busy working on a tight deadline. He came to see her in the bedroom. She had already slept. He switched off the lights and went back to the drawing-room to work. When he was finally done, he felt too tired to even walk up to the bedroom. So, he slept off on the couch.
It was about 3 am in the morning!