Desmond* was the love of my life – or at least I thought he was. We were childhood sweethearts who started dating less than a month after meeting during orientation week at our secondary school. We were each other’s first loves and that made it even more special, as we discovered the highs and lows of being in a relationship together.
After five years of being a lovey-dovey couple, it was time for Desmond to serve his country. Even though my family and friends approved of him, most of them were sceptical that we’d survive this trying period, but we proved them wrong by coming out the other side of National Service even stronger than before.
While it was hard to deal with my boyfriend being away for long periods of time – and that he was always so tired when we met – I found comfort by putting myself in his shoes and imagining how much more difficult it must be for him.
My fun university days were the total opposite of the physical stress and exhaustion that Desmond was going through during his army days. This made me determined to stick by him and support him in any way I could. So even though some of our friends in the same situation broke up during this time, Desmond and I survived it and lived to tell the tale.
We faced our next obstacle when Desmond went to university and I entered the working world. Although we got to spend more time together, it sometimes seemed to me like we were living in two different worlds and were not on the same chapter in terms of life experiences.
Desmond was going through a phase that I had already completed (ie. university) and even though it was exciting for him – and I was obviously glad for him – it was boring for me to have to listen to his stories that were so similar to what I had been through myself. But he was my boyfriend so I had to humour him and act interested in these ‘new’ adventures that he was going through.
So I never realised what a slob Desmond could be, and that he had no domestic skills whatsoever. He never pitched in to do any housework and, every weekend, I was faced with a barrage of chores like vacuuming, mopping, laundry…and lots more
Never Been Happier
I also felt more grown-up as I was earning an income and dealing with more ‘professional’ stresses, as opposed to his ‘student’ ones. But I loved Desmond so any doubts I had concerning our relationship were pushed aside as I told myself it was more important that we cared for each other and made each other happy. Besides, I felt that things would be much better once we were both working, as we will be on a level playing field then.
And I was right. Once Desmond graduated and got a job too, we were the happiest we had ever been. While we had never ever broken up before, there were a number of times when we argued a fair bit and asked each other if we really should stay together. So I was glad that we persevered and our relationship was going swimmingly at this point.
Then Desmond proposed. We had been dating for nine years and had never even thought about being with anyone else so why wouldn’t we want to get married? I said yes (of course!) and we soon started making our wedding plans.
We were both earning a good income so we decided to rent a small apartment as our marital home as we didn’t want to live with our parents while we waited to save enough to buy a flat. Things were looking great and there was so much to look forward to for our future lives together.
I enjoyed having sex with my husband and felt it brought us closer but I didn’t want to do it so often. After a few months, this became a sore point in our marriage as Desmond felt I didn’t ‘love him enough’ to want to have more sex with him.
Life after marriage
However, after we got married, things started to fall apart and it was hard to believe that we were so happy before. First, it was the fact that we had never lived together before, even though we had been on holiday and stayed in hotels but those were just a few nights at a time and it wasn’t ‘real life’.
So I never realised what a slob Desmond could be, and that he had no domestic skills whatsoever. He never pitched in to do any housework and, every weekend, I was faced with a barrage of chores like vacuuming, mopping, laundry…and lots more.
We ate out a lot as I wasn’t a great cook either but we still needed to stock our fridge and pantry with basic food items and Desmond seemed incapable of even doing grocery shopping. I asked him a few times to do it but he often forgot or bought the wrong stuff that I gave up and decided it was easier (and less stressful) to do it myself.
More Sex, Please
Then there was the issue of sex – we never had sex until we got married. We did fool around a lot but never went the whole way. So when we did start doing it, Desmond wanted it a lot more than me. I enjoyed having sex with my husband and felt it brought us closer but I didn’t want to do it so often. After a few months, this became a sore point in our marriage as Desmond felt I didn’t ‘love him enough’ to want to have more sex with him.
We also found it hard to share our lives 24/7. Spending a lot of time together while dating was easy but living together and spending every spare moment in each other’s company was another ballgame altogether. We often found ourselves in each other’s way and had to ‘fight’ to get some time and space to ourselves.
So, after a year of marriage, we decided to call it quits. And, because it was a mutual decision, the divorce was a quick process and things were settled easily. Desmond and I are still friends and although we don’t see each other very often, we know that the other person is always there should one of us need a listening ear.
It’s been two years since our divorce was finalised and Desmond now has a new girlfriend. I haven’t dated anyone seriously since our split and I’m in no hurry to get married again. My experience hasn’t put me off marriage but I now know what aspects of a relationship I need to be very sure of before taking the plunge again.
*Names have been changed
Text: Balvinder Sandhu/Her World