Trigger warning: This article contains mention of suicide.
I met him in college and we dated for eight long years. We were a popular couple on campus, and were envied for the strong and unbreakable bond we shared in the age of left and right swipes. I was an outspoken all-rounder and he was a cute, shy guy who never initiated a conversation. I was the one who proposed to him and his joy knew no bounds. Six long hours spent with him would feel like just six minutes. He was ambitious, and comparatively more well-off than me and would get me everything I wanted before my wish would even reach my lips.
He had been sexually abused as a child, so it took a lot for him to open up and get physically close to me. He was the only person I have had sex with, and sex with him wasn’t a mere rubbing of skins against each other; it was a coming together of our spiritual and emotional energies, resulting in the merging of our hearts. He always asked for my opinion before doing even the smallest of things. He used to tell me that in me, he found his mom, sister, best friend, teacher and wife, and that all he wanted was to be with me forever.
But things changed when I mistakenly hooked up with another guy under the influence of alcohol. He was completely devastated. He started cutting himself and got addicted to drugs. I knew that I had made a mistake but I was reluctant to go back to him because he wasn’t the same person I loved, and was an addict who had lost all self respect.
It took him seven months to recover. I went back to him, and he not only forgave me but also took me back with grace. But my previous actions had scarred him. He would be on edge when I would hang out with other guys, and things would get worse if I ever went out drinking without him. It was difficult for me initially, but the love he gave after everything I had put him through was far more precious to me than anything else in this world.
I’m not someone who can be classified as a beauty. But he found beauty in my dark skin, my fat body and my stretch marks. He found beauty in every part of me that made me feel self conscious.
However, things changed again when we got into long distance relationship and started working in different countries. He was working in Kuala Lumpur while I was based in Hyderabad. I was planning to give him a surprise by moving to Kuala Lumpur and was looking to find a job. My interview was scheduled over Skype and I was being coached by a male colleague.
I couldn’t hide it anymore and told him that I would soon be seeing him in Malaysia. While talking, I also mentioned that the colleague helping me out was going to be crashing at my place. That’s when he completely lost his cool. He called me several names and said that he didn’t want to be with me anymore as I didn’t respect his insecurities.
Not only did I fail the interview, but I also lost my existing job as I had already put in my papers.
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He expected me to call and reconcile things, but I didn’t. Deep down, I really wanted to call him. But my cousins and peer pressure didn’t let it happen.
After several weeks, he apologised to me and asked me to give us another chance. I was angry and though I still loved him, I didn’t say it. Instead, I told him that our chapter had closed.
He left his well-paying job and began living in some shady place in Delhi. He once again became an addict who begged me day and night for my love. He used to send me pictures of self harming his chest and back. He used to tell me that he couldn’t live without me. I eventually stopped picking up his calls and finally blocked him on WhatsApp. Slowly but surely, support from his friends also evaporated as he continued on his downward spiral.
I still loved him, I wanted to work on building a life together. But I wasn’t sure if I was ready to say this to him.
After sorting out my professional life, I started to miss him. It had been months since I had last heard from him or our mutual friends.
I became numb when I found out he was no longer with us in this world. He had died by suicide. He didn’t leave a note.
It’s sad that it took his death for me to realise that telling him things like where I was, who I was with and not going out with people whom he didn’t like wasn’t what I had thought he had been: controlling. Instead, it was a simple thing for me have shown respect to a man who loved me so much.
Walking away from him had been one of the hardest decisions of my life, and I still regret not forgiving him. He too deserved a second chance like me. I realise that when he used to tell me that he couldn’t live without me, he wasn’t blackmailing me or forcing me into a relationship. He was the guy from Stevie Smith’s ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ who was asking me for help. And I, along with his friends, failed to save him.
I still repeat the beautiful things he said to me in my head. Sometimes I miss him so bad, I wish I had call recordings to listen to on loop. His parents still love me as their daughter and think that their son took the step he did out of depression.
I can’t seek his forgiveness, neither do I deserve it. I’m just here to tell that if you really love someone and even if there’s a million reasons to leave, you should still look for that one reason to stay. He found that reason every time and I failed every time. I made promises, but failed to fulfil them all. He didn’t need to make a “promise” to stand by his words. His loyalty and compromises were always greater than mine. People like him who have so much love to give are very rare to find. If you find such a person, don’t let them go. Talk it out and find a resolution.
I still get nightmares of him crying and begging for another chance. If someone tells you that they can’t live without you then don’t assume it to be a threat, but a cry for help.
Not a day passes when I don’t miss him and regret not telling him how much I loved him. Everyone who advised me to break up and move on is now happily married, while I’m still hooked to his memories. I’m still in love with him and will always be. If you love someone, tell them before it’s too late – else you could be saddled with lifelong guilt, much like me.
If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers (www.spif.in/seek-help/) they can call to speak in confidence. You could also accompany them to the nearest hospital.