Every time someone spoke to me about marriage, I would get anxious and start sweating.
I’m a woman in my late twenties with a somewhat stable and flourishing career. I have a loving family and a very caring group of friends.
While everything in my life was seemingly perfect, there was one thing that terrified me. It’s not uncommon in the Indian society to pressurize a person of my age to get married. Maybe the word ‘pressurize’ is a bit of a hyperbole, but that’s exactly how I felt about it.
From family functions to people at my workplace, whenever someone talked about marriage or the prospect of me getting married, it made my heart beat faster, and not in a good way. There had been uncountable times my mother had tried to make me meet potential grooms for myself, but each time I would find an excuse – excessive work, an important meeting with a client, coming down with the flu, etc.
Once, my parents caught me off guard when I was going to visit them. They had already invited the guy and his family, which I didn’t know of. Until then, I used to think it was just a minor issue I had with respect to marriage, like every other millennial does. But that day, facing my fears heads on, I realized that it was something way deeper than that.
The whole evening I felt extremely anxious. The family was seemingly a very sweet and pleasant one, and their son (my potential husband) seemed like a decent person. But I just couldn’t bring my heart back to its normal pace, nor could I utter more than a few syllables as my mouth just got so dry. I kept drinking water but I still felt dehydrated. I was sweating excessively. The concept of getting married was absolutely disturbing for me, and I just couldn’t figure out why. When I stood up to bring the tea cups from the kitchen, I felt so dizzy that I was scared I might faint. Later, that night, my mother was extremely cross with me. My parents failed to understand my anxiety in spite of explaining them about it multiple times. They actually misunderstood me to such an extent that they thought I already had another partner I didn’t tell them about. And that’s where I gave up.
I was not against companionship. In fact, I found the idea of having somebody to love and care about, very appealing. I had had long-term relationships with some wonderful people. But each time one of them mentioned marriage or even talked about it jokingly, it seemed like I needed to run for the hills. Whenever I talked about this with my friends, they laughed it off by saying I was just commitment-phobic or that I was against monogamy. I started feeling guilty because of all the pressure and the fact that I was not being able to make my parents happy. I could see my anxiety affecting my work. I honestly did not know what was going on with me.
I had to move from Delhi to Chennai for a few months due to work. It was there that I got into a serious relationship. But my anxiety about marriage used to create some distance between us often. When I told him about my concerns with the thought of marriage, he suggested me to see a counsellor. I instantly thought, why hadn’t I explored that option before. I clearly needed help.
The counsellor made me feel really comfortable. I instantly opened up about the difficulties I was experiencing in regard to marriage. We first tried to explore the reasons why I was so fearful of getting married. She also addressed the feeling of guilt that was killing me inside. She made me understand that there was nothing to feel guilty about. The best part was that she didn’t decide for me and helped me understand myself better. I have still not decided whether it’s for me or not, but whatever it is, I’d be really happy to just accept myself for who I am. I am so thankful that I reached out for help.