Vibha is a 26-year-old interior designer from Pune.
Shaan and I were joined at the hip since the day we met. From lunch boxes to homework to our first crushes – we shared everything. Our families are super close too and we’ve all taken vacations together as well.
Shaan was 19 when he confessed to me that he is gay. I wasn’t surprised. Call it sixth sense or instinct or whatever, I just knew. He was teary-eyed and practically shivering when he came out to me and then so happy and calm when I hugged him and said, “We’re even closer now. I’ll always be there for you.”
It took him five more years to gather the courage to come out to his parents. They refused to believe that their six-foot-tall, handsome, intelligent and athletic son could be anything but heterosexual.
After that things went downward for Shaan. From pujas to making him watch porn to setting him up with all kinds of girls, his parents did everything to make him “manly”. Some trusted relatives were also involved for advice, and their counsel was horrifying to say the least. One of them recommended shock therapy to “stop these bad ideas” in Shaan’s head. Another uncle suggested, “America bhej do. Yahan pe toh jail jayega! (Send him to America, he will get jailed here!)”
A “crazy” idea?
Even after a year, the homophobia surrounding Shaan was as strong as ever. And my dear friend was slowly but surely slipping into depression. He broke down and admitted to contemplating suicide! He didn’t want to leave the country and he didn’t want to marry a stranger, what could he do?!
That’s when I decided that Shaan and I should get married. This is the only way he’d be left alone and more importantly, alive. At first Shaan said, “No way! Are you crazy? I could never spoil your life!”
However, eventually he felt this was the only way he’d get some peace. His parents were ecstatic beyond words. My folks had no idea about Shaan being gay, so they were as happy. A few quick ceremonies and we were married!
A year after the wedding, life has been interesting to say the least. We mostly live this dual life – in front of our family and friends we are a loving couple, showering a lot of PDA on each other (probably compensating for the lack of sex in our lives) and at night we’re back to being best friends who share a platonic relationship.
While it was all good to start out with, the pressure of a sexless marriage is starting to show now. Mood swings, snappy tempers and a lot of periodic crying, we are going through it all! We did talk about having an open marriage where we could sleep with others but we both haven’t acted on it. Some misguided sense of loyalty, I guess?
One night we got pretty hammered at a party and later at home we had sex. It was a little messy and awkward but we really needed it! We’ve had sex a few times after that but it’s pretty mechanical, no passion whatsoever.
I wish Shaan had had a supportive family when he came out. His and my life would have been so different and perhaps happier. I feel that sooner or later, we will need to face reality and broach difficult decisions such as having a baby or getting divorced. For now we’re taking each day as it comes till one of us musters up the courage to make those tough calls.
The people in the photograph are just models and not the actual subjects of this story.
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