17. August 2022

Being Single: “I was sexually and emotionally abused by my first love”


Shivani Iyer (name changed), 37, a dentist, decided to be single after being sexually and emotionally abused in a relationship with her first love. 14 years on, Iyer today seems to be happy being single.

Does it annoy you when people ask you why you are single?

No, it does not annoy me. I am simply not bothered by these petty things. I just say, I should much rather adopt a baby than have a full-grown brat.

Why do you think singlehood is questioned so much?
That’s just society and how it works. People are inquisitive and nosey and they can be overwhelming if you give them crumbs. So it is best to just smile if you do not want to say anything.

What are some of the weirdest, funniest questions you have been asked about being single?
See, I am a woman, so I am expected to have babies, add to the population and have a husband controlling me maybe. People cannot accept a single woman or even a man these days. All questions I have been asked are about me not wanting to have children. Once, I was even asked by a relative if I wanted to die a virgin?!

Did past relationship experiences play a role in you choosing singlehood? What made you realise or decide that you no longer want a partner?

Not many know that I was sexually abused by a man I was in love with and I had just started working at the time. He was my first love, my first and the last stupid mistake… I know all men are not alike but he certainly ruined the concept of relationships for me. We were together for a year but in the last half of our relationship, it was forced sex. Consent was rarely there. I did not want to approach the police because it was harrowing… I was in an emotional turmoil. I had to muster courage and get out of the relationship. I, in fact, left the country on the pretext of studying further, just to run away from the life I was living back home. It took me some years to heal and be able to look at myself with confidence in the mirror. But I vowed to be single and independent and here I am. My parents advice me to not say no upfront and give love a chance but I am 37 now and I love the life that I have today. So why should I put myself through that pain again?

Any piece of advice for women and men out there who are contemplating singlehood…

You cannot be vulnerable and gullible if you want to live a happy single life. But with time you learn your lessons. So it is okay if this is what you want. You do not have to have a partner and seek anyone’s validation to be happy.



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