From Poland, With Love (Part 1)

I always believed there’ll be just one guy in my life. Just The Perfect One who I’d fall in love and spend my life with. When I met Karthik on an online dating site 6 years back, I had no doubts that he was that guy. Like all romantic stories, ours started with a juvenile infatuation. But gradually we came to a point where we couldn’t live without video-chatting with each other every day. Like all couples we had fights, we had misunderstandings and “break-ups”. But every time we “broke up” we realized anew that it was impossible for us to live without each other and we’d patch up again.

There was just one glitch. Karthik is from Bangalore, India and I’m from Bobowa, Poland.

We didn’t meet face to face until 2008, when he came to Germany on a project. It was pure bliss. Meeting each other after being in love over the long distance for such a long time made us realize that it was all real. That we actually had the passion for each other that we always thought we had. That our love was of the purest, truest and deepest kind.

from Poland with lovePhoto by Graphiweb

We knew there would be serious resistance to our relationship from his parents’. But we decided we’ll find a way.

In 2009 he had an accident which had him bed-ridden for 6 months. It was at this point that the first signs of real trouble arose. He started lying to me and we started moving away from each other. For example, he gained back his ability to walk within 6 months of the accident (as I later discovered) but at the time for 1.5 years he’d told me that he was not able to walk. I think he just wanted to postpone coming to a decision about me. He wanted me, yet he didn’t know how to be with me.

Cut to 2013. He came to Netherlands for another project and we met for a second time. I felt he’d finally realized that we’d meant for each other and seemed really happy with the prospect of staying with me forever. We realized we still had the same passion, same love, same affection for each other even though 6 years had passed by. Finally – yes, after 6 long years of knowing each other – we had sex. It was the first time for both of us. (Yes, the fact that I’m European doesn’t mean I have to have slept with twenty guys.)

We shopped together, travelled together and did household chores together. Everything seemed perfect. “I’d be crazy to throw so much happiness away. I want to be with you and I’ll find a way,” he said.

But then he went back to India.

As I should probably have known – things weren’t quite the same anymore. I felt he was starting to avoid me once again. I can’t tell you how, but I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what to do. So I decided to give ourselves a break for a week. I stopped contacting him. He mailed me saying, “Does your silence mean you want to break up? If yes tell me, so that I can take a decision on what to do next. My parents, like always, are pressurizing me to have an arranged marriage here.”

I was crazy with anger and pain. I told him to go ahead and marry whoever he wanted.

He broke down. “I’ve never wanted anyone but you Daniela. It’s just that my eldest cousin is getting married. So the pressure on my parents to have me married off is that much more now. Please Dan, find a way for me to get a job there.”

I was already researching potential employers for him here in Poland. I threw all my strength behind that project now.

My efforts finally paid off. I could hardly breathe as I spoke into the phone, “Karthik I’ve found a great opportunity for you at XYZ. A friend of a friend works there. They’re interested in your profile and would like to talk to you!”

What happened next would probably remain the most shocking experience of my life.

“I can never thank you enough for all the selfless effort you’ve put in Dan. But I’m afraid we’ll have to take things a bit slow now. I have too many things to sort out at the moment. I need some time to take the decisions that are best for all of us.”

“All of us? You mean… your parents? Karthik I don’t understand anything.” I was shaking with anger, pain, panic, confusion … I don’t know what else.

I don’t remember much of the words we exchanged over the next few minutes. I just remember telling him again and again that we were each other’s first love. I felt it was impossible for either of us to forget the other over our lifetimes. He apologized and told me he’d let me know his decision.

from Poland with lovePhoto by gjhdrenth

I don’t know how I managed to hobble through the next few days, until an email arrived.

“I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m sorry Dan, I don’t think we can be together in this life. I’m helping my parents repay a housing loan they’ve taken for a new house. It’ll take 4 more years for the repayments to finish. it’d be a long time before I can even think of moving out of Bangalore. You’re entitled to a husband, children and a happy life. I can’t keep you waiting forever, especially given that you’re not getting any younger. I guess we’re just not destined to be together, and we’ll have to accept it. But I miss you a lot Dan. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. You’ll always be my best friend.”

It was yet another shock to me. I just couldn’t accept it. I kept pleading with him to rethink. In the meantime his sister found out about us from his computer and told his parents. His mother promptly started threatening suicide if he doesn’t cut off all contacts with me immediately. She apparently even took up a knife and attempted to cut herself in front of the rest of the family.

I don’t know what’s going on. I’m thinking of going to Bangalore and make him and his family understand how deeply I love him. If required I’m ready to stay back in Bangalore with him for the rest of my life.

Please guide me Sulagna.


Bobowa, Poland

Q&A. Has He Married Me Just to Obtain a Green Card?

Q. I’m an Indian-born US citizen. I’m physically challenged (paraplegic), currently living in India with my mother on an OCI visa for my treatment. My dad still works in the US – we couldn’t have borne the costs of my treatment otherwise. My husband is from India but living in Canada on a work permit.

We met online and hit it off almost instantly. He started with treating me with all the love and attention I could ask for – talking to me every day, even during work. He’d sleep late to talk to me, he’d wake up early to talk to me, he’d text me during work, we’d Skype every day for 2-3 hours and even if we didn’t have anything to talk about, we’d talk or just sit there looking at each other.

I asked him about his goals, ambitions, likes and dislikes. It’s crazy how similar we seemed in every respect. It made me feel as though we’re meant for each other.

Finally after about talking to each other for about two months, he dropped the “L” bomb. At this point the feeling was mutual. We started a long distance relationship. Everything was going great.

After we’d been in a relationship for about a month, it was time for me and my mum to visit my dad in the US. During my stay there we started talking about a green card for him so he could fulfil his dreams of starting his career in the US. He was fiercely against it at first, saying “I don’t want to use you like that”.

Married for greeen cardPhoto by naturalhomecures34

After a while, he agreed and said it was okay if we got married and filed for a green card for him. After a couple more days, I spent $400.00 on a ticket to see him in Canada (my mom came with me). Everything was perfect till then. 

It was in Canada that the first signs of trouble started to appear. For instance, there was this incident of him getting furious with me quite unexpectedly when I told him I wanted to visit the hookah bar with him (a place he frequented for smoking hookah, which I thought would be fun). He was very rude. I was so shocked that I couldn’t say anything. Later I forgave him as I assumed he’d reacted because he couldn’t afford it. (A couple of days after I left, he bought a hookah so that he could smoke at home with his friends).

We went back to the States. A felt he was starting to change. He stopped Skyping me as much, we would fight more, and he stopped giving me time. After a month, my mom and I made another trip to Canada to meet him. It wasn’t any better this time. His treatment of me became even more rude, unpredictable, most alarmingly – unexplainable.

He would even insult my mom or avoid her quite obviously. I thought that he might be frustrated because of work so I didn’t bother him too much.

His friends, he, my mom and I had planned a trip to Vegas to celebrate Christmas and New Year together. We got married in Vegas so I could file for his green card. Things weren’t that great in Vegas. He bought a really expensive DSLR camera. Whenever we’d pass by something cool my mom or I would tell him to come and take photos. He’d rudely tell us something like, “I don’t like all this, why do we have to take pictures?” But whenever his friends would tell him to take a picture, he wouldn’t say a word and would start to pose for them.

Later we came back to India and he went back to Canada. Recently I asked him to take photos of himself for his birthday and share. Bizarrely, he became furious and seemed incapable of appreciating my desire to feel included.

I’ve asked him to set his profile picture on FaceBook to something with him and I in it. He doesn’t want to do that. Neither does he want to change his WhatsApp picture to something with both of us together. 

When he came on Christmas, I gifted him a beautiful watch from Skagen. It was a silver netted band with a black dial. Not too big, not too small. He didn’t appreciate it and started saying that I should have consulted him before buying. My dad was there and he was really upset. He didn’t even thank me verbally. His friends gifted him a cheap watch from WalMart with a big dial and he loved it! I felt so hurt.

Long story short, I feel I’ve dropped completely out of his priority list. He doesn’t call/Skype/communicate much (in spite of ours being a long distance relationship), doesn’t appreciate me for who I am (doesn’t encourage me on my efforts to improve my physical condition, forced me to get myself a makeover) and doesn’t even appreciate my efforts to make it work in spite of all this.

I haven’t been happy these days, all I’ve been doing is feeling lonely and crying a lot because I feel I ruined my life. He doesn’t please me sexually either. He finishes before I do and doesn’t have the courtesy to help me finish.

He expects everything to be done his way and is really arrogant, insensitive and stubborn. He curses, fights, and screams like a baby! I don’t know if I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life.

Is he acting this way just for his green card? Should I divorce him? He’s coming to US in July and I’m also going there. What should I do?


A. A few red flags according to me:

#1. You’ve married too early      and without knowing each other closely enough. I understand you married      early to give him the advantage of the green card. But in general it’s not      a good idea to be married at a time when your relationship is going to      remain long distance for an indefinite period.

Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 1) 
Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 2).
“When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 1
“When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 2 

Married for greeen cardPhoto by Kitty Allison

#2. You’ve said he’d sometimes      insult your mother or not talk to her. I think you’re making a mistake by      involving your mother too much in your relationship. (That’s what it seems      from the limited amount of information that I have. Pardon me if I’m      mistaken.) For example, your mother accompanied you to Canada when you      went to meet him. Your mother was present throughout your honeymoon in Las      Vegas even after your wedding. This is definitely not acceptable from any      spouse’s point of view. I understand that she needs to take care of you      because of your condition. Hence ask your husband openly whether your      mother’s presence is disturbing to him. If you want honest answers, don’t      make this sound like a threat. In your situation, ideally your spouse should be either willing (and able) to take care of you all by themselves, or at peace with the constant presence of your mother. He can’t eat the cake and have it too. Encourage him to choose one of the two options.

My reading of the situation: 

Your guy is taking you for granted. And you’re blind in love, even if you don’t want to admit it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have tried to change you completely and you wouldn’t have obliged by making over your wardrobe etc.

This may or may not mean that he doesn’t love you. It might just be that he really wasn’t mentally ready for marriage but did it early because of the green card and now feels trapped. It may be that he feels that he can trust you and hence feels it’s OK to treat you the way he wants (which is not a valid assumption). 

You can choose to give this relationship another chance, or you can end it. All I can tell you is that it’s not certain that he doesn’t care for you. Not yet. 

If you choose to try again, the first step is to talk. Have an open but mature & non-threatening discussion about your needs. Tell him openly which of his behaviours hurt you. Ask him directly if there’s anything he needs from the relationship that he’s not getting. Emphasize that you’re willing to work for keeping the two of you together. 

At a marriage stage as early as yours, communication is a huge challenge. The experience of my own marriage tells me this. You’re interpreting his actions in certain ways, which may be entirely off target. The same might be happening in his head. The fact that you’re based in different continents doesn’t help matters either. In this situation, instead of drawing conclusions about intentions from each other’s behaviours, open up and ask. 

In this regard, the importance of remaining calm cannot be stressed enough. This will become another meaningless, exhausting fight unless you promise yourself never to lose temper even if he does. If he gets defensive your responsibility is to re-clarify the objective of the discussion, emphasizing the fact that this is not a blame game. 

No one is perfect. All couples achieve peace and happiness through finding middle grounds and you can do the same. If you can resolve your misunderstandings – all my prayers for your undying love! :) If you can’t, you’d at least know you did everything you could before giving up. And make no mistake – giving up is an option (if you don’t get satisfactory responses from him within a reasonable period of time, for example), and it’s as good an option as staying back. Do not go down the lane of self-loathing thinking breaking up is a morally wrong or selfish choice. Remember: 

Life is too short to chase anything but happiness.

We remain in relationships as long as they give us peace, happiness and overall fulfilment, and not when they start having a generally negative effect on our lives.

All the best. :)

Long Distance Relationships: Top 10 Creative Ideas

A long distance relationship. That bitter-sweet pleasure of missing someone. That anger of not having them by your side when you need them. The joy of not having to tolerate each other all the time. OK, I’m just kidding.

Or maybe not. :P

The first step of making a long distance relationship work is to understand that it takes special efforts. Yes, beyond the daily call and weekly webcam session.

I once got talking about the 5 Basic Principles of a Long Distance Relationship. Today I thought I’d share some unique, creative, off-the-wall ways in which you can connect over the long distance.  

Long distance relationship idea #1. Send a Hoochymail

Hoochymail is a cool little app that automatically generates love stories about the two of you when you input your name, a few details about yourselves like cities, specific physical features etc. You can then set the type of story (funny, sexy or really sexy ;)), choose from six different story titles and lo! Your custom Bollywood romantic comedy is ready for sharing with your long distance loved one.

Long distance relationship idea #2. Share an online journal

Start a personal blog together. Make it a private blog so that only the two of you can read it. Use it like an online journal. Both of you can have separate logins. Record your everyday experiences here in the form of short blog posts. I’m sure you can imagine the thrill of flipping through your “common diary” a few years down the line when you’re hopefully your relationship is not long distance any more. J

Long distance relationship ideasPhoto by benchilada

Long distance relationship idea #3. Declaration of romantic intent

Send a legal notice to your partner, requesting immediate reply. Before you panic – I’m talking about a declaration of romantic intent. It’s a serious-sounding, menacingly formal-looking virtual “legal notice” for declaring your head-over-heels romantic intent for your partner. Nothing like spicing up your love story with a healthy smattering of humour.

Long distance relationship idea #4. Become parents

Oh well not really, of course. But here’s MorphThing, where you can upload photos (headshots) of both of you, do some work on them (as per site instructions) and they’ll morph the two pictures together to create a picture of your future baby. J When your significant other receives the baby delivered over the morning mail, I’m sure they’ll get the happiest shock of their lives (other than the news of real one coming by, that is. ;))

Long distance relationship idea #5. Your shared bulletin board

How cool would it be if you could have a private bulletin board which only the two of you could see and post messages to each other on? That’s what Listhings brings to you – a perfect plywood board background for the board to post your red/blue/yellow/pink sticky notes to. You can choose their sizes, positioning and of course – colours. One you’re done with your first sticky note, just click the “Share” button on top right corner and you’re on your way to creating your most memorable bulletin board. ;)

Long distance relationship idea #6. Love letters

Ah the good old snail-mailed love letters. In this age of emails and instant messages, the only thing you receive via snail mail is probably you utility bills. Imagine their delight when they receive a handwritten love letter from you instead.

Long distance relationship idea #7. You are your words

Done with writing that letter? Great. If you want to become a poet as well as an artist to your special someone sitting a long distance away, don’t stop yet. Head straight to You Are Your Words, which allows you to upload something you’ve written and your photos together so as to create a portrait of your face from your words. Your face, with your crazy feelings for your partner literally writ large on it – what more could he/she have asked for as a romantic surprise?

Long distance relationship ideasPhoto by valordictus

Long distance relationship idea #8. Do something in-sync

What’s your favourite TV show? Find one that you both like and start watching it together. Call each other during the breaks to discuss your predictions on, “What happens next?” It’s as if you’re sitting side by side and enjoying an episode of your favourite sitcom together.

Long distance relationship idea #9.Take a free course together

You can try the same idea with taking free online courses together on fun topics like Spanish, animal behaviour, soap operas, street fighting etc. (if you’re bored with the “serious” topics like fundamentals of Physics, introduction to Philosophy etc., which are also available).

Long distance relationship idea #10. Send a Smilebox

Sharing your photos on Facebook is what everyone does. Simlebox lets you choose your own whacky, romantic, creative ways to share your photos with your special someone. You can upload your photos and create cool scrapbooks, slideshows, cards, collages, albums etc. out of them. There are hundreds of themes and design templates to choose from.   

What your special whacky ways of making your long distance relationship fun and exciting? Share with us in the comments.