Growing up in Pakistan, I watched women stay in unhappy marriages for the sake of their families. And then, there were also those that dealt with “the other woman”. But what do you do when the problem in your marriage is not another woman but another man? Does the sense of betrayal intensify or lessen when you come to the realization that your husband likes men and not women? Is the sense of loss not as intense and heartbreaking as it would have been had he left you for another perky, younger girl? Here’s Iman’s story on how she found out her husband was not a heterosexual man.
“I am a 28 year old girl – one of 3 siblings. I grew up in a loving family and my parents had always been my biggest support system. And then came the time when my parents decided it was time for me to “settle down” and start my own family. They got me married to a man who seemed fairly decent – was very loving from the first day and I thought I had been lucky by accident. All of that changed before I knew it.
It was only after the 1st month that I realised I had skipped my period and upon testing it, I confirmed my fears that I was, in fact, pregnant. Oh, all the mocking I received from my friends for being “that girl” that would now have a child before her first anniversary, haha. I had not planned for this child or for starting a family but it had happened and my husband and I decided to keep it.
It was only after that that I started to notice that my husband instantly became withdrawn. I initially chalked it up to the fears of becoming a father so soon and for having to shoulder such a big responsibility with no prior planning or notice. But, the baby comes with a 9 month notice, which to me, was plenty time for my husband to get his finances in order for the newest addition to the family. But unfortunately, this wasn’t it.
He was no longer interested in sex. I had started putting on a lot of baby weight and started becoming insecure with my own growing body. I figured he doesn’t want to be intimate with me because I’m no longer attractive for him. And this was only a few months into the marriage, that I noticed he would maintain a safe distance for me. For a “naye naweli dulhan” this is probably the most difficult thing to endure, and probably more so because the initial few months of intimacy help build the foundation of the relationship.
I then started getting the feeling that maybe, since this was an arranged marriage, he was probably interested in another woman and maybe, his parents didn’t let him marry her, something that happens more often in our country than not. And so, I started snooping for evidence. First came his laptop – I went through folder after folder, and couldn’t find anything. And then, I found a folder titled “PRIVATE” and I thought – I had struck gold. But what I found, I could not believe my eyes. It was full of porn – which for me, a Pakistani Muslim girl, was a shock in itself. And when I read the titled of each video, it was all about men pleasuring men. I felt the ground beneath my feet shift. And then, I sat in disbelief with graphic content on the laptop playing on repeat. And then I knew, I had to find out more and the only way I could, was through his phone.
The next morning, when he hopped into the shower, I took his phone in my hands and went straight to his messages and a message popped up. It said “I have dealt with the fact that you married someone. And I have been plenty patient but you have not visited me in days. Come over tonight, baby?”. The number had been saved under “Private” again. My first thought was “Is he having an affair? Is he cheating on me with another woman? I wish it had been that – because I mustered up enough courage to call on that number from my own phone. And when I did, a husky sounding man picked up.
So many thoughts began rushing through my head. I did not know how to come to terms with the fact that my husband had a….boyfriend. Was my husband gay? Did I not please him enough for him to want to turn to men? Where did I go wrong? I knew then that I had to confront my husband. But how? As soon as he stepped out of the shower, I asked him if he loved me. And he said of course he did. And that’s when I opened up the private folder on his laptop and showed him. I could see him turning pale. I could see his hand trembling. And in that split second, I knew it. It was all true. He was, in fact, gay.
The only question I had to ask was – Did he know he was gay before we got married? Did he intentionally bring me, an unsuspecting woman, into a marriage where my husband could not love me? Did he leave me with a child so that the world would not wonder about his sexuality? The truth is – he had known since the age of 10 – since the day he had a crush on his best friend. He genuinely thought that a loving woman and a wife would change his sexuality. He thought “shaadi ker lo, sub theek ho jaye ga”. I filed for divorce the next morning. I now sit here, with a 2 month old suckling baby, watching my ex husband have the time of his life with his lover in Bali.
I am Iman. This is my story“