A while back, I read a post about a bride who dumped her groom at the mandap itself right after tying the knot. The reason was that she came to know only then about a very serious condition he had with his leg and the number of major surgeries he had undergone for that. Let’s not forget that this was an arranged marriage. The comments section was filled with support for the groom. The most repeated comments were these:

“Consider yourself lucky that you escaped from such a cruel woman.”

“Tomorrow she might also face a health issue like this and then she will understand how wrong she was.”

“What if he faced a health issue after getting married? This kind of a woman would leave her husband even then.”

I would have come to the conclusion that the world has gone crazy without any chance of redemption had it not been for a handful of comments from people who said that she made a sensible decision.

I cannot understand the level of idiocy of these sentimental and philosophical preachers who think that it is okay to blame a woman (or man, for that matter) for taking a stand against being lied to and kept in the dark about something as important as a physical condition, by the person she chose to marry. And I don’t understand how this decision makes her cruel in any way. If she was in a relationship with this guy and left him only because of a health issue that came up later, I would feel bad for the guy. It’s a different story that even then, I wouldn’t comment such trash, being an outsider who knows nothing about these people.

Reading this story, I kept thinking of why people thought it was a good idea to lie to someone they were about to start a life with. And I remembered a talk I had had with one of my close friends a few years ago. He was about to get married in a few weeks and we were talking about how he got the proposal (it was an arranged marriage as well) and how he had talked to the girl a few times before deciding to go ahead with it because she seemed pretty cool. Somewhere during our conversation when we were casually talking about how he was a social drinker, he told me that he hadn’t told the girl that he drinks. I asked him why and he kept stuttering about how he would tell her later, and he didn’t want to give her a bad impression in the beginning etc. That made me wonder in general about this tendency of people to go ahead and do things that they like, and then hide it from others – sometimes parents, sometimes partners, sometimes even a person they have simply got matched with on a matrimonial site. They feel that it could tarnish their ‘good guy/girl’ image, ruin a relationship or sometimes not give them a chance to start a relationship in the first place, like with my friend.

Out of all the things that people hide like this, the most common ones I have seen are social drinking and hanging out with friends, especially those from the opposite gender. I don’t know to what extent these truths can ruin a relationship that is strong, or if the relationship was strong at all in the first place if it was based on stupid lies. But I keep wondering what could be the outcome of such “secrets” coming out someday, whether they would indeed ruin the relationship, and why. Could the base for such an issue be the act in itself or the lies?

I have known many people – friends, colleagues – who would hang out in mixed company and later send awkward messages like ‘Hey, don’t post photos of any of the guys having their arms around me, okay?’, or ‘Hey, when you see my wife, don’t tell her I was with you all.’ It pissed me off every time to think of why the hell they had to do it if they were so frigging scared of doing it? I don’t think I can put these people into airtight compartments. But mostly I have seen them belonging to either of the two categories – 1) ones whose intentions aren’t really right, and they know themselves that they aren’t innocent 2) ones who do not have the bare minimum individuality that any human being requires.

I’m sure people will immediately retaliate to this with ‘It’s not as easy as you make it sound.’ And I would still ask, ‘Why not?’ If you think you aren’t doing anything wrong by having a drink occasionally and not being an alcoholic, or choosing not to dump your harmless friends for absolutely no reason, then why lie about it? Isn’t it better to clear your stance upfront before committing to a relationship, instead of making up unnecessary lies at the risk of getting caught someday and stirring up a hornet’s nest for going behind your partner’s back? As for those who as grown adults still find the need to hide their friends or likes from their parents, it’s yet another mystery to me. This whole charade of being the ‘good guy/girl’ fitting the mould of another person is not in any way an act of keeping a relationship safe, it is exactly the opposite of that.

I don’t mean to say that I am a saint who has never lied in my life. But the lies I did resort to, even the ones which I believed to be for the right reasons at the time, have ended up making a total mess out of a situation that might have been less pathetic, if not for my attempt at hiding the truth. I have thoroughly regretted my choice in such cases, primarily because it didn’t go with the principles that I have held close to my heart, but more so because it made me lose face in my own eyes. I guess that mattered more to me than anyone else’s opinion. I have also regretted the choice because, while I made things better with the people involved in those incidents, I know that there would always be a part of them that might not trust me completely, understandably so.

Maybe because of that, I would never understand why someone would voluntarily and unnecessarily run the risk of making themselves untrustworthy in the eyes of someone who is or could be very important to them. Above all, I don’t understand why someone would make themselves untrustworthy in their own eyes, by not choosing to be themselves and embrace life as they like it. If someone doesn’t want to be with you for who you are, don’t force them to be, with a bunch of lies. I mean, if someone is totally against alcohol and wants a partner who never takes even a sip of it, and you do not plan to leave the occasional drinking that you enjoy, find someone else who feels the same way as you do. If someone is too possessive and does not like you having friends, or spending time with friends from the other gender, find someone else who trusts you… AND ensure that you do not break their trust. See? Simple solutions! Why make life complicated with unnecessary lies?

Also published on Medium.