Dear Men, Learn to Respect Your Women, Not Just “Love” Them.

An angry title. Yes, angry me is back. But this time, not for an intellectual cause to further my political thoughts. This time, I am back to make a very important point.

A couple of months ago, I met a friend who had gotten out of a very messy relationship. I asked her what went wrong. She said, and I quote her exact words, “films and popular culture teach us to completely give into our desires and make our entire life and its existence revolve around our partner. I realized that wasn’t the case, and this was a lie, so we broke up.”

Back then, I was in la-la land. New job, new people, new city, close to a guy I loved. My friend made sense,  but unfortunately those golden words weren’t passed on as common sense.

I was told by a guy very curtly, roughly 6 months back, that he doesn’t respect me. As a woman in India, you grow up with two things – patriarchy and male egos. You are made to believe that family comes first for a woman, career comes second. Male egos need to be satisfied, right from that instance when your father doesn’t let you wear a particular outfit to when your boyfriend expects you to move for him. In my case, the importance of the word ‘respect’ arose once I lost it.

Women are emotional creatures. A lot of us nowadays suppress our emotions, because once it got the better of us. It happened with me too. Women are not taught this, but it is something that is part and parcel of being a woman. You love unconditionally. Yes there are fights, arguments, ego clashes, but the woman is still willing to lay her life for you. You aren’t related to her by blood, nor the father of her children, yet she unconditionally loves you, as long as she is with you.

Many may disagree, and they are free to, after all it’s a democratic space. But I am speaking about the emotions I harbored in my personal space and I would like to believe that many women out there are like me, so that this helps me.

My story was one of pain. I fell in love with a guy I thought was ‘awesome’, because he saw the potential in me that even my parents had missed. He made me feel special. But, somewhere down the line, the respect evaporated into control, and it became a scenario of right vs. wrong. My perspective became the wrong, his the right. Because, he was awesome. I wasn’t. I was still ‘struggling’ professionally, he was running a race to the finish line. And I didn’t figure there, in fact anywhere except the margin, where I was marginalized for a reason even I didn’t understand.

I remember him mentioning other men/women as ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’, ‘capable’, ‘talented’, ‘rare’. I didn’t figure in these descriptions even once. Yes, once or twice he mentioned that he loved me and my work was good, but apart from solitary mentions, it was always about how I should improve, how I should change, for my own betterment. Once or twice, when I got angry, he would say things to please me. It never felt like it came from the heart, and that scared me.

I am a very outspoken person, who likes voicing my opinions. Yes, it leads to disagreement with others, but that is my personal issue with them. Living with him became a constant fear of how he will always take me to a corner and chide me for saying something in an authoritative tone, because he was worried about what others will say to me. So, I should change. Because it’s better I do. I started ingraining these thoughts, as I thought he would leave me, if I didn’t. Never for once did it strike me, that if he does, the break up won’t affect him one bit.

There were days when I retaliated. But I didn’t stop loving him. My heart still wept when I saw him ill, when I saw him upset for a code he couldn’t write. However, my tears made no difference to him. It was always about how I couldn’t get my shit together, and how I needed to change.

I saw dreams with him, you know. Dreams that we will build a family together, lead a life as equals. For me, equality never meant within the professional space. It meant being given equal treatment when we were together. It meant telling me, ‘you’re special’, ‘you’re precious’ and ‘you’re beautiful’.

This may sound like vanity, but isn’t this what we dream of? A person who makes us feel special every single day for who and what we are. If I was willing to put in that effort, why was he being heartless? Was I with the wrong guy?

My heart kept telling me he will turn a new leaf. He will one day see my guileless love, hug me, and say, “I can’t imagine my life without you.” But, no. The only place he seemed interested in was getting physical, and for me, love meant a connection.

It’s easy to prioritize other people over your family. Because parents are such people who never can leave you, because you are theirs, and theirs completely. But what about your partners? You can choose your partners, right? Isn’t it necessary to prioritize that partner on her special day, instead of putting 10 other people ahead of her?

On my birthday, he faced a problem in his office, so he chose to ruin my dinner. When I reprimanded him, it became a case of how I am insensitive towards his problems. When he dumped me because he didn’t respect me, I had to keep quiet about it. When he came back into my life, he was willing to say certain things to keep me happy for some time, but I didn’t have the right to shout at him when I got upset at his wrong-doing.

Women love unconditionally, and then they get abused for it. Men choose to ignore the women they love, but these women refuse to forget them.

You refuse to understand my love, that a woman’s broken heart are pieces of her past she is picking up for her survival. Don’t trample on them too, believing you have the right to do so.

I want to heal, but is it a crime if I am asking to be loved and cared for at a trying time, when I am mending my broken heart, that is yet to stop weeping? Is it a crime if I ask him to give me that importance he refused to show me for so long? And is it a crime if I ask him to love me and understand me, instead of getting angry?

He won’t and he can’t change. And I can’t imagine living my life like this. I can’t live without him, yet I can’t live with him. For two days, he apologizes when I cry about the past, then on the third day, he feels I am the one who locked myself up in the room, so I am the one who needs to get over that.

I can’t write anymore, this man has blocked my system. I choke, I feel under-confident. I want to love myself, and respect my work, but he destroyed it all, walked away in the fire and then came back thinking everything will work, exactly the way he wanted it.

No, my love. This time I won’t burn alone. I will kill what is left of both of us, and till you don’t die from inside the way I did, I won’t rest in peace.

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