The lack of digital privacy and not respecting boundaries therein, led to the downfall of our relationship.
Part 1 - The Meeting
I have been in a live-in relationship for two years. And now I’m mentally prepping myself for a two year long distance one. Sigh! Before I fret about the physical distance, let me flashback to the summer of 2016, the first time I met my boyfriend Sammy. I had moved to Bangalore in March 2016. It took us less than 7 days to meet and start living together. At first, we didn’t even label it live-in. It happened organically.
In the first few weeks, we were just too busy falling in love to care about anything else. Our first conversation was on WhatsApp and it was just a whole lot of small trying-to-test-the-waters talk. But from there on, we went into details about our individual professions, favourite musicians, raves, college life in Bombay, drugs, likes, dislikes, food, travel destinations, how we had possibly been at the same rave in 2011 and so on. We had been texting for 72 hours straight. This even included him giving me a wake up call.
He lived at the other end of the city, two hours away at his parents place, but his office was about 15 minutes away from me. He wanted to meet me after work. I decided to play difficult and claimed to be busy, while I was secretly lounging on my bed, listening to Glass Animals in my underwear.
I was mentally freaking out, but still super excited about this extremely random, addictive, new found connection. Maybe he was my twin flame. Freakishly enough, our relationship defined a lot of characteristics associated with a twin flame experience. At least according to the internet:
Twin Flame - Unlike soul mates, twin flames are mirrors of ourselves. Twin flames experience intense passion, an instantaneous bond, a certain amount of intense pain looking into the eyes of your better (or other?) half and experiencing feelings of viewing them as a family member or your own child.
Whatever the label may be, this was a human connection I had never experienced before. Similar to a fantastic LSD trip.
Anyway we met. Dinner and drinks the night before a techno gig.
I told him he could stay at my place and he ought to carry some clothes with him. Sammy spent the next few hours on the phone with his best friend, debating whether I could be a serial killer or if this was just a one-off situation.
I walked into the restaurant wearing black tights, a black ganji, a multi-coloured tye-dye crop top pullover, paired with white Adidas sneakers. I had a tinge of lipstick on and my curls were let loose. I was ridiculously nervous. When I walked into the restaurant, Soum (Sammy) who had been waiting for 15 minutes, got up from the table. We grinned and gave each other an awkward, but enthusiastic half-hug.
As a journalist at a leading business daily, I tracked startups and technology companies out of Bangalore. But suddenly I found myself unable to accurately describe what I do, and all the characteristics that defined a startup versus any other company. We went from talking about startups to blowjobs, pork ribs, whiskey and dancing. Before I knew it, we were getting drinks, dancing to some techno and calling an Uber, planning to head home to my place. We smoked a doob and called it a night. Snuggling led to sex, after which he fell asleep.
Everything was happening too quickly.
I lay awake, staring at his face and then at the ceiling. I was petrified by all the emotions I was feeling. Was this a one night stand? Well, we still had the rave to go to the next day and he had no spare clothes.
Getting addicted. Image source: potentmedia.com
Everything was going unbelievably well. We were holding hands and acting like best friends who were falling in love. Later that night, our LSD trip ended with the music abruptly stopping in my room and us experiencing continuous “mindgasms” for three hours. Yes, no physical touching was required but it felt like our minds were fucking. It was overwhelming and more exhausting than physical fucking. We never experienced it again.
By the third day, we were farting and burping in front of each other, like it was no big deal. He went home, hung with his parents, picked up his clothes and returned a day later. We were inseparable and addicted to spending time with each other. We were officially in a live-in relationship without realising it. Both of us yearned for office hours to end, so that we could be in the same room again. Hours went by where we just stared at each other or remained lost in conversation.
One month flew by and we were gushing to our friends about how beautiful our significant others were. We were madly in love, but there was one enormous problem lurking around the corner. We were in a relationship without actually really knowing each other!
The end? Image source: fax.al
Part 2 - The Dark Side of Love
I lied about several tiny details from my past because of my own insecurities. The tiny details turned into a mountain of lies. However, I was honest with him about the fact that I had never been interested in relationships and flings usually worked for me. His entrance into my life was highly unexpected, but greatly appreciated. Sammy had been cheated on by his first lover during a long distance relationship. My lies only reinforced a strong level of distrust in him towards me.
While we lived together, I learnt more about myself than I ever had before. I realised that I didn't quite understand the concept of boundaries in a relationship. Boys whom I had slept with in the past were still very much a part of my life. Being in touch with exes did not seem to be a problem, till Sammy saw flirtatious messages being sent my way, which I often laughed off or ignored. Our relationship completely lacked digital privacy. Some of my lies were discovered when he was browsing through chats on my Whatsapp and Facebook account. I made it a point to read old messages between him and his ex lover and other women he had been flirtatious with. We were slowly killing the present with stories of our promiscuous past.
Digital privacy was one factor, but the first cracks in our relationship emerged because of my lies. There were days when it felt like Sammy’s trust in me was completely broken. Our relationship had transitioned from constant affection to days filled with screaming, angry rants, binge drinking, excessive smoking, blocking each other’s phone numbers during office hours, verbally abusing each other and so on. Sometimes our fights were so loud that the landlord and flat mates had to intervene. And Sammy being extremely short tempered scared the shit out of me.
Emotional shitstorm. Image source: videoblocks.com
I began undoing my lies, but he was too angry by now. Everything was up and down. We spent nights crying and hating each other, despite still having days where we fucked four times a day. It was emotional chaos. I realised that my initial commitment phobia, along with the fear of him losing interest in the “real me” had led me to lie about the little things that I hated about myself. We broke up a million times and were constantly at each other’s throats. But we never left each other. Our relationship had all the signs of a classic abusive relationship.
Oddly enough, while my relationship hit rock bottom, my career was at an all time peak. I was breaking important news stories every week and the editors at my workplace were really starting to take notice of my work. Luckily for me, my absence from work was regarded as a young journalist being extremely busy with breaking news stories, developing secret sources and attending high profile meetings. In reality, I was most likely crying under my blanket after a terrible fight or getting high as a kite while smoking a bong.
Our lives together often felt like a recurring nightmare. The only peace and quiet we ever got was when we slept. Consciously or unconsciously we hugged each other tightly and slept through the night. Prior to meeting each other, neither of us were inclined towards any kind of body hugging while asleep. But somehow, sleeping in each other’s arms every night was something that happened automatically. Sometimes we would suddenly wake up in the morning, finding ourselves in each other’s arms. Then, one of us would snarl at the other and push away the individual, while remembering a fight from the previous night.
Then one day, I decided I had had enough. I packed my bags without informing Sammy and caught the first flight to Bombay, while he was in office. I sent him a long text before I boarded the flight, informing him that I was terribly hurt and had to go home and be around people I missed and loved. Before I knew it, he was going crazy. All he could keep saying was, “How could she leave me?” while he bawled on the phone to my best friend, pleading for me to return to Bangalore, promising that we would start afresh.
Alone again. Image source: YouTube.com
Part 3 – The Breakup
I returned home to my friends in Bombay and I was a complete mess. At first, I kept my phone switched off so he couldn’t reach me, but at the same time I ached to be back with him and make things work. After all, neither of us had fallen this madly in love with another person. Despite having run away, I knew I loved him and I longed to return to him. The day I left Bombay, was the day he flew to be with his best friend in Delhi. He claimed he did not know how to be in the same city without me. I understood that perfectly. I spent some time in Bombay with my closest friends. Over what felt like a hundred conversations in ten days and four flights back and forth between Bombay and Bangalore, we finally figured it out.
Acceptance and forgiveness was key, besides letting go of our past. Never again was I going to lie about stupid shit that made me insecure. If there was one thing we knew was real, it was the love we had for each other.
I came back to Bangalore and slowly learnt the importance of self love. He learnt how to control his temper and be calm. Every time we neared a disagreement about something irrelevant, one of us would laugh it off and hug the other or would walk into a separate room for a few minutes and cool off. We knew our arguments were not worth it. We were better than that. We had to be. The next four months we saw our fights go down dramatically. We went from fighting once a day to once a week, soon it was once a month, then suddenly there were no more fights. The fights were slowly replaced with laughs, giggles, hugs, kisses and sex a couple times a week, while we focused on our personal goals and ambitions.
Moving in. Image source: bymovers.com
Part 4 - A Long Distance Relationship
We went from living in a 3BHK with two other flatmates for over a year to renting out our first home together. That was no easy task. We met several brokers, most of whom told us to lie to the landlords, telling them we were engaged or married, otherwise we were not going to get a home. At first, we decided we wanted to be honest and tell them we were an unmarried couple, living together. That didn’t work out too well. We saw far too many rejections and eventually decided we would tell people we were engaged and would be married in one year. That worked.
We moved into a new home. After having spent one year obsessing over each other, it was time to go back to focusing on honing our individual skills and pursuing things we were passionate about, while being supportive of each other. The only kind of arguments we had were about the dirty dishes in the kitchen on a Sunday evening, clothes from the washing machine not being hung out to dry, serving dinner after work – all of the bickering typically associated with a married couple. We were truly at peace with each other.
I started taking yoga seriously and began working out. We made time for our girl and guy friends, having a girls or boys night out. There were long weekends when we took a trip together or just stayed in bed all day having a movie marathon, eating junk, smoking and having incredible sex. We no longer obsessively checked each others cellphones. Communicating with friends or acquaintances of the opposite sex was not equivalent to cheating on each other.
At peace. Image source: YouTube.com
Everything was perfect. We would dream of a future settling down in Bangalore. I loved travelling and having a father who had grown up in five different countries and travelled across the world, I yearned to live in different countries at some point too. Once Sammy realised I was serious about it, he decided to contact international recruiters. I was thrilled! In the last few weeks, a highly lucrative job offer came up from Singapore, which included being based out of Singapore and travelling across Southeast Asia on work, accompanied with a six figure annual salary. This meant he would have to leave before I had any solid plans of studying. After a lot of urging on my part, he finally accepted the offer.
Transitioning from a live-in to a long distance relationship is no easy task. The one way I plan to cope with it is through embracing the new experiences and learnings that come my way and by constantly keeping myself occupied reading, writing, learning different subjects, exercising and exploring new music. We have made a pact to meet once in four months so we have something to look forward to, besides weekly FaceTime video calls and texting, sharing photos through the day whenever we get the chance to do so.
We have convinced each other that this is only temporary and that we will get married in the next two years. For now I am going to be optimistic about the new, independent adventures that lie ahead of us, before we come together again. I promise to return with an update on our relationship status in 2020!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101india.com
By Sasha Klaatu
Cover photo credit: collegetimes.com