The society and the people around us invariably expect just one thing to happen in everyone’s life: Settle down. For men, this means landing up with a well-paying job and for women, this happens when she ties a knot. Sometimes, even progressive people define women by this very yardstick. So how would the same people react to a woman who got divorced merely two years after “settling down”. To top it all, she has a son to look after whose responsibility his father refuses to take.
I went through all this around six years ago. The day my divorce got finalized, I felt like celebrating the freedom from the trauma of marriage. That was, ironically though, also the same day when search for the second ideal man on matrimonial sites started afresh. To be fair to my parents they were not pushing me into anything I didn’t want, but yes I had heard enough “Think about S” speeches to grudgingly agree to this process. Mentally and emotionally I was not ready – at all.
I wanted to first deal with the idea of being a single mom, readjust my life goals and learn who I was. I wanted to stand up again, and be independent of everyone and everything. A relationship was the last thing on my mind, let alone marriage. So if anything at that point I was confused. My attention was cluttered and there were so many different things happening. I was told, “Now is the right time, S is small and he will adjust quickly”. That statement itself made me feel, time is of the essence.
Amidst all this there was a person who showed interest on one of the matrimonial sites. My parents vetted this person and eventually we began speaking. I was so reluctant at first, but eventually we warmed up t each other. He always knew I had S, and was willing to accept it or so it seemed. One day I was told I cannot have your son, you leave him for adoption. He will be a problem in my life”. How could a two year old be a problem for anyone, especially someone he didn’t even know?
Before that I was not sure that I could be broken anymore, but that day with every one of my fears coming true, I realised how broke, broken can be; all and any hope lost.
Of course that match ended there and then, but my parents never lost hope and other probable matches were seen. Though I was trying to move on and put on a brave face for the sake of my parents, but every moment I wanted to scream to the world, “My child is not a liability”.
That was the time when my focus shifted from me in a future relationship solely to how S would figure in it. Everyone I spoke to was given one pre-condition for the relationship, “You have to accept my child.”
I spoke to a lot of men who expected me to accept their children like my own while at the same time, they insisted that I give up my son. The brutally honest deal came from a man who said, “Let me get one thing clear, I won’t spend a single penny on your son. He is not my responsibility.”
And I took it all, because honestly this is exactly what I had expected this process to be and yet I was disappointed to have been proved right.
I finally lost focus and gave up. I asked my parents to give me more time to figure out who I was and what exactly I wanted to be able to refocus and figure out what I wanted from life and whether I wanted to marry at all or not. And then one day, I had an epiphany: I realised that I should not get married for S at all but for myself. I am doing a pretty awesome job of being his parent, so I do not need help with that. I am not incomplete or have a space that needs to be filled. Our life is full, complete and perfect.
Getting married for the wrong reasons is also a kind of torture you inflict on the person you marry; I was not going to go through that again.
I am not looking to fill a hole in my life or complete a puzzle, nor am I a puzzle piece that will fit in someone’s puzzle. I am not looking for a father for my son or a person to raise him (We are good on that front), but the person who becomes a part of my life also becomes his father, the only one he will ever know.
A version of this post first appeared on bonobology.com