Finding love second time round

 Five real-life couples share stories of how they found true love the second time round. Read the first story and get inspired.

Dreams are made of these
A relationship is like a boat in the ocean - you need to row for it to move forward, says 32-year-old Priyanka Contractor. Self-assured and charming, Mumbai based Priyanka oozes confidence, a far cry from the bruised and battered girl who walked out on her marriage a mere seven months after tying the knot. In hindsight, I think it was the best thing that happened to me, she says.

Priyanka met her ex-husband in 1999 - her final year of college. We were engaged in 2003 and married in 2005 I was 26 years old. I guess I should have seen the signs when his behaviour changed just before marriage. He cut off all communication with me. I thought it was just pre-wedding jitters, she says. He did not have the guts to say he didn't want to get married. I think he feared what society would say.

The first time

Married life from the very beginning was tense and lonely. He worked long hours while I waited till past midnight for him to return. When he distanced himself physically too, I knew there was something wrong, says Priyanka. And things were no better on the kitchen front. His mother had taken an instant dislike to me. It was a saas bahu serial kind of situation. She would put extra salt or chilli powder in the food that I had cooked to create problems. She didn't like the fact that I had a mind of my own.

My then husband chose not to support me. We fought constantly. When it became too much for me to bear, I left him - in March, 2006. After a short separation, I decided to give my marriage another chance. But things only got worse. There were two episodes of violence. I remember I was sitting in a corner, beaten black and blue, shaking and shivering. My mother-in-law came in and said, If you don't do what I want, you will get this every day! Priyanka is surprisingly calm as she narrates this. The last straw came when I found out that he was having an affair with a friend of his - she'd attended our wedding, and we met frequently socially. The sense of betrayal was unimaginable, and after a final row, she packed her bags and left for good.

Building myself

Post her breakup, Priyanka had a total physical and mental breakdown. I quit my job. Though the authorities at the school I taught in were understanding, the gossip about my failed marriage was getting to me. I didn't know where my life was headed, nor did I care. But my mother told me, Destroy yourself, build yourself, the choice is yours. It was an uphill task, but Priyanka slowly began to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. When you hit rock bottom, there is only one way, and that is up. So I got up and began to build my life again. Priyanka went through a gamut of therapies. I tried healing, cleansing of chakras, semi-hypnosis, becoming one with my aura But it was the series of sessions on forgiveness that helped her let go.

For Priyanka, it was important that she be able to think about her past without letting it affect her future. It took me a year to heal completely. My divorce released me. I felt free. I was able to turn my life around. And today when I talk about it, I feel no rancor. She then focused all her energy into setting up a new business. My friends said I was mad to chuck a comfortable job as a teacher and start on a venture that could lead to failure. But I had to prove to myself that I could do anything I set my heart on. Today I am happy to say I am doing well! And I owe it all to the person who told me I didn't have it in me to survive the corporate world and that all I was good for was a cushy teacher's job - my ex-husband. She is now busy conceptualising and manufacturing children's teaching aids.

The right partner

How did she meet Amit, her husband-to-be? I had gone to see a play at Prithvi Theatre with friends when I first met him. Initially, it was more of a hi-and-bye situation. We met regularly after that, and we connected. His proposal was almost like a fairytale. We were at a friend's place for a sleepover. It was well after midnight when I felt someone touch my hand. It was Amit. He slipped a ring on my finger and whispered, My commitment to you. Priyanka knew he was right for her.

With Amit, I started to understand what a man should be like. I needed a life partner in the true sense - a person who understands that marriage goes beyond the husband-wife relationship, they also need to be friends. And Amit is that man. We courted for two-and-a-half years. I have realised that Amit and I are two sides of the same coin. We are each other's strength and confidants. She strongly feels women who're faced by such challenges should not lose hope. See the brighter side of life. Every day is a challenge. It's also important to know when to quit. Fear of the unknown only succeeds in bogging you down. As for her ex-husband, says Priyanka, He's got married again. I just hope he is a better husband to his new wife than he was to me. Amit and Priyanka would have tied the knot by the time you read this article.
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