My abusive ex made me believe that no one else would want a woman who uses a wheelchair

A man and woman are sitting in the back of a car. The man is looking straight ahead so that we only see the back of his head, and one eye reflected in the rearview mirror, but the woman is turned towards the man.

No one deserves to be abused.

‘You’re beautiful,’ he said to me, and flicked a strand of hair away from my face. I blushed. This was the first time anyone had been so close to me, that I felt so loved and wanted. He inched closer until our lips met. I could smell the alcohol on his breath, which was intoxicating to me.

He kept kissing me until the taxi reached my street. I pushed him away, worried that someone would see us. He held my face and looked at me with such desire. ‘You know I love you,’ he said.

This was six years ago, and he was my boyfriend at the time. I felt safe with him. That day, he took me upstairs to drop me home, and to meet my mother. But when we went upstairs, the door was locked. I called my mother to ask her where she was.

‘I’ll be late, just go home and tell Nayan* to shift you to the bed. Kavita*, strictly no goofy stuff, okay?’ she said.

Embarrassed, I said, ‘I know mom.’

‘What did aunty say?’ asked Nayan.

I told him she’d be late and asked him to shift me to the bed.

There was a look in his eyes – they were alluring and seductive. ‘Of course, babe,’ he said. Without warning, he closed the door, lifted me into his arms and kissed me sweetly, while he laid me on the bed. I liked it and didn’t want it to stop. He climbed on top of me and kissed me intensely, his hands roaming on my body and touching me like no one had before. Instinctively, my hands reached down to his jeans, lower and lower. He moaned and he unbuttoned his jeans, freeing himself. I was surprised, because this was only our third date.

‘Suck me,’ he said, a little aggressively.

I was confused. It’s not like I hadn’t watched porn. I knew what he wanted me to do, but I thought that something like that would happen instinctively, that it wouldn’t have to be said out loud.

‘Did you not hear what I said? I said, suck me,’ he said with more aggression. I wanted him to love me, so I did the deed, while he grabbed my head and directed me. When he was finished, he got up to leave. I quickly fixed my clothes.

‘Wait! You should return the favour,’ I desperately asked.

‘Ew, are you crazy? You have a fucking catheter. I’m not putting my mouth near that thing!’ he shouted. I was left aghast. In retrospect, I should have broken up with him then, but I thought I was in love.

This continued for many months. I was forced to kick my mom out of the house, so he could come over for a couple of hours. I would perform oral sex on him – sometimes he forced me to, even if I didn’t want to – and then he would leave, without ever touching me down there.

I was scared to say anything after our first confrontation because I desperately wanted someone to be with me.

We were lying in bed one day when he said, ‘You’re so lucky you have me.’

‘Why would you say that?’ I asked.

‘Look at yourself, you’re beautiful no doubt, but who would do what I do for you? Lifting you, folding your wheelchair, picking you up from your house. Who would do all that?’ he said with a smirk on his face.

‘You’re right, let’s get married then,’ I said with a smile on my face.

‘You have to meet my mom first, then we can talk about it,’ he responded. I was extremely happy! Even though he made me feel helpless and unwanted, he wanted to marry me – or so I thought.

I was scared to say anything after our first confrontation because I desperately wanted someone to be with me.

On the day that I was going to meet his mother, I wore traditional Indian clothes and groomed myself to perfection. Nayan seemed to notice. He complimented me throughout the ride to his flat. Still, I was a nervous wreck.

We finally reached his flat, and I saw his mom for the first time. I touched her feet and she welcomed me in with a smile. We made small talk and she seemed to like me.

Finally, Nayan said, ‘Mom, Kavita wanted to ask you something.’ I looked at him and he motioned for me to go ahead.

‘Aunty, I want to marry Nayan,’ I said bluntly. There was silence. The smile on his mom’s face vanished and she looked at me, and then at Nayan, for what seemed like ages.

‘Are you serious? Look at yourself, Kavita. You’re on a wheelchair. Do you think that I want a daughter-in-law that cannot do things by herself and that I have to help her, when she should be taking care of me? When Nayan told me that he’s dating someone on a wheelchair, I told him to do whatever he wants, but just don’t escalate this to marriage. I do not want a daughter-in-law on a wheelchair!’

I was beyond shocked when she finished speaking. I had tears in my eyes. I had never felt this hurt and insulted in my life. I looked at Nayan, who didn’t say anything. I apologised to his mom and then we left.

‘If you knew she wasn’t going to say anything positive about this marriage idea, why did you take me here to be humiliated?’ I shouted in the taxi.

‘You would’ve kept begging me to take you to meet her, that’s why. There’s no fucking reasoning with you, you stupid whore,’ he replied.

With tears running down my face, I asked, ‘Whore? Why am I a whore?’

‘Well, what do you call someone who sucks dick without a problem. You call them a whore, right?’ he said nonchalantly. I was devastated.

We ended things there, but got back together because I had started to believe that no one else would want me. I started to accept my life with him because he would take me out to parties with his friends. I believed that I was worthless because I was trading blow jobs for a social life.

I went out of town, and when I returned I found out that he had cheated on me on my birthday. That’s when I finally ended my relationship with him. It took me a couple of months to be back to myself, to being the happy person that I was. That’s when more men started flirting with me, and talking to me. I realised that Nayan was wrong, and my so-called love for him was fog that was blocking me from seeing the other men who wanted me, whether I had a disability or not.

Nayan made me feel as if no one would want me. He made me feel caged and doubted. Our whole relationship was abusive: he emotionally abused me into staying with him and sexually abused me by forcing me to do things I never wanted to do. After it was over, I realised that I should never have to feel this way. He kicked me down, but I got back up and made sure that I never let anyone treat me that way ever again, because I don’t deserve it. No one does.

*Names changed

Note: This post is told from the point of view of one of the writer’s friends, who wishes to remain anonymous. 

Featured image credit: Upasana Agarwal