Know what’s worse than being unhappily single? Being unhappily single in a relationship. It’s terrible to be with someone with whom every single connection, bond and love is broken. The edges aren’t frayed, they are neatly sliced off leaving cold disconnections and a yawning space between two people who once promised to be together, forever.
At least, when you are unhappily single, there is the promise, the hope of meeting someone. Or even better, the sudden discovery of the absolute charm and incredible convenience of being happily single. You have to be there to get this.
In my case, after the proverbial bodily waste hit the ceiling, I spent a million deaths being single in a marriage. We’d eat dinners silently. Two people sitting across a table and the only sound you can hear is the sad chewing of really bad food as neither of us felt like dealing with the cook. We had more important things to do, like sulk.
An anniversary dinner in a restaurant. A feeble attempt at normalcy. There, unable to talk or laugh, we listened to the grating laughter and conversation around, paralysed by what had happened and like lost children, we desperately prayed to be rescued. The next year, on that day, he stayed back late at ‘work’ neither of us acknowledged the immense relief of not going through this charade once more.
A family friend’s party, where everybody was making fun of my new haircut and his slow, painful realization, that I had actually got one. That goofy smile, the muttered half compliment, the first hint to our friends that everything was not fine in the garden of beer and books.
Any act of celebration was sheer torture for we couldn’t really fake the happiness. Perhaps, both of us were too honest to ourselves and unblinking realists, to play this game of everything-is-okay-with-our-marriage. The only time we’d attempt it, and I must say very badly, was when other people come into our world. Otherwise, for a period of time, we were okay in our own disjointed worlds and we could have even lived a life like that. The problem was that one of us was hungry for happiness.
In a sense, it’s possible to be with someone, when both of you have jobs, to live a life together with zero connection. Think about it, 6 hours of sleep, 12 hours of work, 3 hours for food, ablution, choosing what to wear, restraining from killing people in a traffic jam, etc. and you are left with three hours to pretend to be in love, to play-act that the marriage is still alive, to not upset this cart of rotting apples.
However, some of us are romantics and in spite of reality trying its level best to coat it with callus, we still yearn and seek to find that elusive soulmate. For we know, once we have that, we really don’t want anything more from life. Except maybe that job, which doesn’t feel like work, that holiday, which reminds you what a great world we live in, that gym, which helps you lose your paunch the minute you walk in. Well, you get the general idea.
Dancing Divorcee is a weekly happy, sad, funny, obnoxious blog on the misadventure called divorce. It will appear every Thursday. Arathi Menon is a dancing divorcee who also blogs, writes, tweets and repairs brands.