Once we got back to the states and Pittsburgh, we moved to a small apartment closer to my school. I was stunned for several years in college, at a school I had not expected to be at. I stayed away from the Indian crowd and focused on my roles of student and wife. I felt like a robot, going to school where I knew no one and then cooking once I got home. I felt no connection between my life and that of my working husband. Soon after school started, my in-laws came to visit for about 6 months. It may not have been that long, but it seemed forever. We gave them our bedroom and slept on the floor in the living room.
I was able to make my marriage last 5 years before its demise. There was some friendship and connection, but it seemed the union was to obtain a green card through me as I am a US citizen. The whole family seemed to be in on it. It does not feel good to be used that way and have given five years of my life to the cause. My husband stayed more connected to his ex-girlfriend, who I believe he had an affair with. There were unaccounted for times when he was gone overnight without any explanation. He stayed in communication with her and discussed our fights with her. There was a present from her when I got back from a study-abroad trip to India. As our divorce approached, my husband expressed his desire to unite with her, despite learning that she had cheated on him with all his classmates while they were in graduate school.
I met my next husband soon after the end of my marriage. Inexperienced with my wants and needs or the dating world, I ended up staying in that relationship 11 years, despite a lack of compatibility. It was obvious to anyone it could have been a brief fling at most. However, this is not within the realm of a South Asian girl, particularly a conservative Indian Brahmin girl. It did not help that there was no parental guidance or other family involvement as I tried to navigate a messy divorce and life in a city where all social involvements were through my husband and his colleagues. My social life had mostly consisted of hosting his colleagues and their spouses. All of this disappeared and it was as if the 5 years vanished.