Before I met my partner I was stuck in a rut. I had previously suffered a psychotic episode a few years earlier living in Melbourne and made the move to Brisbane, as I thought a change of scenery might help. I received a promotion working as a Business Banking Manager but alas I took on work too soon and suffered a depressive episode one year later. Who thought managing Bipolar would be so difficult? I decided to take on less responsibilities and worked in a role I was competent in. Only to find this exacerbated my condition with the lack of challenge and unprofessional colleagues. So I officially decided to take a career break - however mostly because there just wasn't any employment that was suitable for me whilst recovering. I made a conscious effort to be mindful - to be in the present moment. But the more mindful I was the more frustrated I was that others were so ignorant. I missed Melbourne and the lifestyle, along with my friends. I continued to try new things whilst living a relatively healthy lifestyle which was difficult on no income. There was one thing that had always been missing in my life and that was a partner. I was always so consumed with my career I never really took dating seriously. Now that I had all the free time in the world I was not the best version of myself - always feeling depressed although I knew that this wasn't me. It was like being trapped in my own body. Perhaps dating would help me to socialise again? So I created an online dating account for the umpteenth time.
My first date wasn't exactly inspiring to continue with online dating. We decided to meet in person on the waterfront for lunch one weekend. We both lived on opposite sides of town and there weren't any places to meet in between. So we decided he would drive to my side of town and the following date, should there be one I would drive to him. A little presumptuous I now realise. He was running late on the day and text me asking if I could order for him. I replied to him and said its okay I am happy to wait for you considering you are only 15 minutes away. Thinking I was being courteous. Apparently I was being rude by saying so as his reply was less than pleased. He threw a few cusses at me and told me that I should be able to pay for his lunch if he is driving so far to meet me. It was only a thirty minute drive mind you. I simply said to him I didn't want to presume what he ate and thought I was being polite by waiting 15 minutes. I didn't realise that I was expected to buy lunch not that I would have minded if he was a decent person. I politely told him not to worry about the date as I am no longer interested if this is how he treats all his dates. Naturally I received a few more cusses. Just so happens as I was driving home I drove past him. He wasn't even as late as he had made out to be, he obviously wanted a free lunch. I recognised him from his profile picture. He also recognised me as I received another text from him which I ignored. I am surprised I didn't give up after this but I continued to plough through the hundreds of date requests in my inbox the next day.
A few more dates later and I met my future husband to be. He was just so easy to talk to online it was as if we had always known each other. I had dated a couple of Indian men in the past so was a little skeptical that he might turn out to be the same as them. My past relationship had started the same way - he was easy to talk to and said all the right things. He had promised me that he would tell his parents he was dating a western girl and wouldn't go ahead with his arranged marriage. Turns out one day he simply left for India without telling me and married an Indian girl his parents chose for him. Reading a few blogs online it turns out this is a common occurrence which has given them that stereotype.
My future husband and I decided to go on a date one Saturday evening after he finished work. He picked me up and we went on a date to the cinemas. He sounded more Australian than I did with his accent and he certainly didn't speak like a typical Indian. Turned out the chemistry between us was mutual. He had come out of a long term relationship that ended badly and he didn't want to waste time dating the wrong person again. We were both at the stage of our lives where we wanted to settle down and start a family one day.
Our relationship from there on progressed naturally seeing each other every weekend and talking on the phone every other day. He would come over to my place, I would cook him dinner and we would get to know each other and enjoy each other's company. Sharing similar interests made it easy to connect. We soon then discovered that we also hold very similar values and ambitions in life which we both agreed was very important should a relationship work. With his heritage being Indian, family was an important part in his life which also happened to be a value I also held. Our affection for each other had grown quickly and weekends together became weeknights together and before long he moved in with me.
Life together felt like it was meant to be and the feeling was mutual. Therefore it was only natural that we discussed getting married. He did not arrange a lavish proposal as a man would in the western culture but rather it was simply a mutual discussion. Mostly because of the cultural aspect of arranged marriages in India. Of course I said yes there was nothing more I wanted than to spend my life with him. I didn't want to waste my time dating when I knew I had met my soul mate and he only felt the same way. He then told me he had brought me a ring but I thought at the time he was only joking. Then one night he pulls out a box with a ring in it. I had said I don't need a ring to prove your love as I realise we cannot afford frivolous things, thus why I was surprised. So when he bought me a ring it was the happiest moment of my life. Unfortunately we both don't have the same taste in jewellery and I swapped the ring for something more simple which he didn't mind me doing. I downgraded my ring so that I then could surprise him with his own ring. That way we both could have a ring to remind us of our love for each other.
Not long after it came the day that he received bad news that a close relative had cancer. So he took the next flight out to India. The moment he left, my boarder who rented the spare room, up and left me with a months rent to pay. Which left me no choice but to pack up my house and take a leap of faith accompanying my partner to India. It was the most stressful time packing up my house in a week and moving everything into a friends garage. I was left with all the rental expenses since my boarder bailed on me. My partners parents came to the rescue and bought my flights to India. They took just as much risk in me as I did in my partner. Turns out it was all worth it.
I still think back to the moment we were dating and can't get over just how lucky I was. I had been on so many online dates prior to that moment who would have thought he was the one when I accepted his request. Especially since he had just come out of a serious relationship. More particularly because of all the bad experiences I had with Indian men previously. So to all you single ladies out there - don't give up. If you are given the opportunity take a leap of faith.
Do you have a bi-cultural love story to share?