He called her 'paranoid'. But it wasn’t like she was imagining things. He did have a roving eye. She had been too much in love with him to notice it or accept it in the beginning. But the signs were beginning to show. She noticed how he became flirtatious in the company of good looking, slim women, trying to put his best foot forward. And she, had only been gaining weight ever since they got married. The weight of the new responsibilities, of the unrealistic expectations of his family, of his joblessness, of the days he spent watching porn and surfing the net at home while she toiled away at work.
She’d been quite in shape before they got married. An attractive girl in her 20s whom many boys wanted to date at the University. But things were different now. She found no time for self-care. Her priority was to rise up the career ladder so that she could set up a household with him away from his nagging parents. He was however, least bothered. He saw her toil but made little effort to find a job for himself. She was running the household after all. Where was the need for him to budge from his internet surfing?
With time she noticed that he had all the time in the world for trivia. He knew the names of all the female models and who they were dating. One night as she watched her favorite soap, he cheekily commented, 'I thought the TV had stopped hiring good-looking actresses, but look at her – she has a beautiful face'. There wasn’t anything wrong in that comment per se, but it pinched her since it had been ages since he appreciated her looks or hard-work.
'You have a shape, and it is called round!' he scoffed one day. An alarm bell rang loudly in her head. Wasn’t this the same tactic his dad had used to put his mom 'in her place'. His dad had made his mom believe that she was ugly and she too had deeply internalized the fact that she was good for nothing.
She’d always got shivers when she had looked at the old couple. She didn’t want her old-age to look like that! Not at all! The old man humiliated his wife whenever he wanted. She didn’t want to cut a miserable and sorry figure like her mom-in-law when she got old. She wanted to retire as a confident, respected woman.
But today her husband had made the beginning of doing what his dad had done for his entire lifetime. 'Like father, like son', she thought. She decided to be more careful to identify subtle signs of abuse. She knew that if she did not resist, these covert signs will turn into more overt forms of verbal and emotional abuse. People seldom change. A person who is not conscious about his duties in marriage, has never confronted his father about the way he treats his mother, ogles at good looking women in the neighborhood and doesn’t stand up for his wife will not prove to be a good life partner in the long-term she knew.
It was time for her to make some serious decisions about this relationship.