Category Archives: Lifestyle

Is Interpersonal communication necessary?

Every human needs to interact to each other and that needs some kind of skills for better conversation and to know the things in a better way. The necessity is of having the strong interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are defined as the communication between two individuals or in a group. It helps us in understanding that how and why people behave to each other in different ways so constructs and negotiate a social reality. Interpersonal communication comes from the different kind of backgrounds. The people talk in different ways because of their culture, their gender and how they learned to perceive the world.  Through engaging with each other, interpersonal communication skills help to get knowledge about other individual. Every culture is different in number of ways as well as in verbal or non-verbal languages and consequently cultural diversity can strain the organizational communication.

It is important to have discussion among the society and group of individuals to understand their feelings, emotions, and their culture because the society grow of and increase the relationship to each other because of the good interpersonal skills. Interpersonal communication skills not only help in the societies but also help for the organizations to understand their customers’ requirement and to know them better. It has been found in the organizations that if the employee of the company does not know about the diverse cultural background and don’t experience and understand the perspectives of his co-workers then the effective communication between the team is Jeopardized. Interpersonal communication skills differ at some levels such as while talking with the family members, while talking in the society, and while talking in the organization. For every aspects of life interpersonal skills are very important and this analysis below also describes the same with the example of an organization, and impacts of the interpersonal communication skills on the team members and overall to the organizations. The important aspects are to analyse the different culture and different languages in case of the interpersonal communication skills.

For interpersonal communication there have been a number of researches for its effectiveness and importance to the people, society and organizations. According to Beavin states in his research for a cultural diversity and interpersonal communication in Toronto’s major hotels, as language barriers made it very difficult to the hotel managers to understand the non-English employees and to give feedback to them so that they can improve their jobs and can understand the basic environment of the hotel. There have been few theories studied for the interpersonal communication skills such as assimilation theory, dichotomous theory, or discourse theory or analysis. According to discourse theory, it asks how certain sort of talk and writing can accomplish the particular goals such as exclusions, blaming and justifications.  Studying the language we talk about diversities in identities is important because as Parker points out that language is so much structured for the mirror power relations that often we can see no other way of being, and the ideology towards it become very difficult to speak both in and against it.

The anthropologist E.T Hall  also developed a theory for the interpersonal communication to understand the implications of culture. Hall stated about the two different aspects of the interpersonal communication as high context and low context. High contexts emphasized on the collaboration and personal relationships as important aspects of doing business but on the other hand the low context culture, explicit writing and  verbal messages that mostly happens in western countries like Unites States of America, Germany, Canada and Switzerland. Not only this there have been lot of research in this areas as according to Floyd and Kory that in organizations interpersonal communication is very important and it has been found that the big global organizations get issues if not properly cared about the interpersonal skills development and training.

According to Taya R,  there are some inherent dielectrics in interpersonal communication are the important key for the healthy conversations in the organizations and understanding among the people. He states that the human who are in relationship tries to find equilibrium among the people to balance their life with the interpersonal communication so that they can open to each other and understand to each other easily. If there is not much perfect communication between them it may lead to consequences. Therefore, all depends on the interpersonal communication skills.

Interpersonal communication is always necessary and important for any organization or in society.  For an example, in Information technology sector while moving from region in to another for the global expansion of business many organizations focuses on the information technology expertise and its future impacts but overlook for the team communication skills and interpersonal communication ability. It has been found that many IT professionals are good in their domain but are not good enough in the soft skills which lead to the problem to the organization at global scale because the team need to understand the diverse culture to make strong presence and to reach to the customers as well as to make relationship among different team members in the organization that they belong to the diverse culture and language too.  To sort out this issue, in the organization the executive member of the organization held a training session for the employees so that the interpersonal communication problem can be resolved and the environment and employees and customer relations can be made strong.

Interpersonal communication is the core requirement for the humans to get in touch with the other individuals and to know them better. It depends on the culture, family and the present environment around you. As based on the earlier research it has been found that the biggest problem for the big global organizations is of the team communication among them and because of that the organizations get in to trouble. The final conclusion is that interpersonal skills are always important in the human’s life forever because no one can live his life alone.

Love towards fashion of Eugenie de Montijo

A famous painter named as Franz Winter Halter create a painting that visualise the garden at the Versailles , women dressing in a old eighteenth century that is made of gold taffeta and the hair of the women is made of the white powder.   This painting is quite awesome in many ways, as the dress is of the gold of the women; hair is with the white powder, opulent design of garment, visualization of the garden, fashionable style of the skirt, and ribbon. All these things are very eye catching. The next things that come to the mind is that what is this painting all about? Who is she? And why the painter made this painting of her with gold fashion dress and in royal garden? What is the story behind this?  So the answer is very simple to all the questions in one line as the last empress of French named as Eugenie de Montijo. Eugenie de Montijo was the last empress of the French and was a Spanish countess. She was born in 5 May, 1826 and died in 11 July 1920. She married to Napoleon – III that’s why she was the last empress of French.  It is known about her that she was very charming, beautiful, sensitive and polite. She was the last women to reign over France during the second empire. She came to France to educate but soon after some time she married to Napoleon and became the very powerful and public figure in Europe. If you thoroughly go in to the details of the profile of the Eugenie de Montijo, you will call her as feminist today.

She followed the footsteps of the great queens who were the good female leader during their time such as Queen Elizabeth, Maria Theresa,   Catherine, and Marie Antoinette.    She was much practiced to the Catholic and soon grounded in the faith there and became very devout of the Church.  She first time met to Lois Napoleon Bonaparte when he was at the President of the French Second Republic and soon became the attraction for Louis and the Spanish beauty was taken by him.  She had already the reputation as the women leader but after marrying with Louis the position became very strong. She was considered as the object of Louis desire but she mentioned to everyone that except her husband no one can have her. These things perhaps have knocked the mind of Louis but instead of it he was fallen in his desire for her deeply like a forbidden fruit for him. By this title of Louis the family of the Louis were extremely amused. It was assumed that Louis was marrying to the women who is below his station and doesn’t suit to the family. The major reason for the Louis to marry with Spanish women Eugenie de Montijo was so that after becoming the emperor he will have legitimate son and heir. During year, 1856 she born a child named as Prince Imperial Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte and he was the only child of her. This gave the future empire of the French and it seemed as the stability in the empire of the Bonaparte. She also served the public a lot and made number of public relations as being a part of the New France Government. As being a charming, pleasant, polite and simple behaviour, people of the France supported her. She attracted number of people around the world through her politeness and beauty.  People started to give the example of her that because of her the Napoleon family will rule again on France.

She was very much found of the fashion and current trending in dresses, she wore the cage crinolines first time in year 1855 and after some time the large bell like skirt. This showed that she was very fond of the fashion and garments.  She almost tried all types of France fashion garments. The western culture started to follow her in fashion and garments. Even though as it seems that her life must be glamorous and splendid but in reality it was not like that. Her life was full of the danger and political problems. As in her personal life Napoleon was not a faithful husband to her, he used the advice of her, because of her smartness, intelligent and wisdom but not supported on many events for his own sake. Sometimes she ruled over the France with her own decisions and then there will be some political and social problems which caused her in great trouble as few of the social and political people became the enemy of her.  The best example can be seen from the great work that she did and influenced to the public through the good policies and decisions but many times came under attacked by the Italian emperor so the public of the France thought it like a conspiracy for them.  This created a danger for her life as she was called as the France ruined and helping to the Italian improper because these Italians were, for them sometime Napoleon was a member. Anti-Catholic officials in the area had closed the grotto, but Eugenie was a believer and when the Prince Imperial was cured by water from Lourdes which Eugenie had sent for, the Empress used her influence to have the grotto. She fought a lot in her life and faced every kind of danger as being an empress of France. But during the same time some other emperor became stronger and the problem became terrible to secure the providence from them.

During year 1873, the emperor died and her son died in year 1879 in South Africa while fighting with the Zulus. She avoided all political issues and returned to her old villa in Hampshire alone. She made good relations with British and in year 1887 she was honoured with the position of the Godmother. While visiting her own country Spain at the age of 94, she was buried in Imperial Crypt where her husband and son buried already. This shows the life of her with passion, charm and wisdom that also includes the fashion and garments too her life. Fashion was the passion of Europe that time as most of the western countries followed her. She favoured the Rocco style instead of the renaissance style of Europe. She also created her own styles and designs too. The Tuileries was a place where the grand balls were full of dance, music, fashion and art. But the fashion became the central model there during the time of Eugenie where she changed the fashion style as in fresh and beautiful way. The Tuileries would also hold the two types of masquerade such as mask and dresses. In 1854 there was huge influence of her on the public and to the many emperors which suggest that how the fashion got changed based on her thoughts and style so the Tuileries place was full of the beautiful fashions and style.

The court in The Tuileries, were influenced and every person over there was dressing like the style of her. She dressed herself in different ways for the same day as in day time she wore the woollen, poplin or silk dresses, which was rainbow colors, plain or painted too. She was very much fond of the pastel shades like dove gray, cream, or buttercup yellow. This indicates that how she changed the mindset of the people in regard to the fashion and style.   Charles Frederick worth was an English born fabric sales man as of her dream. He was inspired by the designs and fashion and emphasized to restructuring his own design. First time Eugenie de Montijo found the dress by him at an exhibition and slowly she became his one of the most important client. Soon after some time he only designed for her and was called as the engineer of the structure of fashion design. She was one of the first women to wear the cage crinoline of his design and this was much lighter than the earlier traditional designs. She also pioneered the shortening of the skirts to feel more comfortable. Worth introduced the shoulder hung court train in fashion for her, and so she was one of the models that time with the latest fashion and dresses. Sometime later, Worth also introduced back swept skirt.

As the painting of Franz Winter Halter describes that she loved the dark fashion dresses as well. This second empire was a trend of changing the fashion for a time being in future. The second empire wanted to bring the prosperity and wellness in France. So for this time The Tuileries place was seen as the royalty will come to this place from the world. The designs were really good that time and every lady there was not supposed to wear the design twice like that.

Cause-and-effect relationships in a personal, public, or campus

Relationships are the only thing people learn after birth because they have relationships of mother, father, brother, sister and friend soon once they know the world. So it can be said that relationships is not only the life of the people but also the way to move ahead in the life and to learn on the life new things. There are many kinds of relationships exists or happens during the whole life. Sometime relationships are good and sometime are bad. In personal life relationships are far important than the other public or campus life because if personal life get disturb because of the relationships you will not be able to grow or think about something else because without relationship you will feel your life like a living -dead human beings, who will live his life but not like a happy human as it should live. The effect of bad relationship is too bad as seen from the past happenings surrounding me. For example there was a family where the family head got relationship with other person and thus caused the divorce in the older family and because of that divorce the children and earlier wife suffered a lot, there situation became very bad, the children were unable to get food and education as it was earlier.

So all this happened because of the bad relationship among the husband and wife. Not only this the relationship with the other family persons are also important and to know their feeling and emotions so have long live relationships because everything depends on the relationship. The distance between the family and other loved ones increases because of the bad personal relationships. It affects the family and to the related person badly and effects the family and to the person too in number of ways such that the happy life ends, tension and stress comes to the way, life will be without aim and there will be nothing in life like before so there are many effects because of the bad relationships. The relationships in public are also important to live social life better. But still there are many causes by which the relationships creates issue in the human life, such as not interacting with the people, behave with them like nothing, don’t help others and don’t respect to the people outside the home or personal life. It causes effect such as people will not help you, they will not allow you to participate in ant events, will not allow you to go with them, you will not be able to live your social life perfectly. In the campus relationship too if you don’t have good relationships with your friend they will not help you in any ways. The causes of issue of relationships in campus include such as not helping to your friends, creating trouble for them, hating to them and not sharing your though with them, not respecting their feelings and emotions. This effects in many ways, as inside and outside the campus, you will not be able to live your life perfectly like as your friends, you can not go in groups, discussion etc.


A fashion designer that was radical in his approach!

You wonder who was this fashion designer? None but ALEXANDER MCQUEEN which changed the definition of fashion design. In year 1992, he started fashion designing as it was very different from others. His fashion was of Avant grade design. He always used to arrange his fashion design show in empty buildings, bus stations, with the high end shocking touch. He used to say the fashion designing as the savage beauty. He made fashion design romantic and seductive for the fashion world. He always thought about the uniqueness of the design and shocked to the fashion designers for the world. The main approach that he stated was as the techno look with the design. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN designed many dresses even the famous wedding dresses of the Prince William in year 2011. He presented many fashion designs in the number of shows during his 40 years of age. His each design was original and not copied from anyone else and this made the fashion design a revolution to all.

He made lots of unbelievable fashion design and shocked to the world. Every fashion is radical if not matched to the traditional fashion designs in the world of fashion design. This fashion designer also designed the low rise fashion for the jeans. He is also considered as the beginner of the drama and the extravagance at the catwalk. He always used to do such fashion activities with innovation that has never been introduced anywhere yet. He altered the human’s point of view towards the fashion design experts. He often shocked to the audiences and make surprised to them by the different twist to the fashion dimensions. He was also first design person to introduced to the Indian model in London fashion show.

Cupid goes to Geekville as techies search online for ‘true love’

Since 1951, the hallowed corridors of IIT Kharagpur (IIT-K) and its sister institutes across India, have produced a crop of the best brains in the country — with intelligence that can rival the Jobs and Gates of the world and armed with pay packages that can give our Jatt boyz a run for their dowry. But behind the success stories of these nerds, geeks and techies, have lingered dark secrets — of long days wasted caressing machines, of lonely nights spent recalling how a real-woman-without-myopia looked like, and of hours exhausted devising mathematical formulae on ‘how to make eye-contact with the cute girl who visits the grocery store?’

If popular stories emanating from some of the best educational institutes in India like the IITs, IIMs and NITs are anything to go by, it won’t be too hard to believe that the skewed boy-to-girl ratio in these institutions has led to many a Devdas-in-the-making. “Even with your high profile IIT degree and your sky-high value in the marriage market, you are still stuck with one of the few girls from IIT, who in no way can be a 10-pointer on looks. That is seriously unfair,” Deepjyoti Deka, a B-tech from IIT Guwahati, sighs.

But now, three IIT-K graduates have taken upon themselves the task of alleviating the dire straits of their forlorn mates. In January this year, 22-year-olds Layak Singh, Kinshuk Bairagi and Nikhil Kaushik launched a social dating website called DateIITians that encourages IITians (primarily, and also those from IIMs, NITs, med schools and other geek-producing institutes) to explore ‘meaningful relationship’ opportunities among, well, lesser mortals.

The website was conceived three years ago, when the trio, still in the second year of their engineering, opted for an internship with an education consultancy company in Kolkata. “While mentoring IIT and IIM aspirants on how to crack the entrances, we came across many interesting (and interested) girls who we otherwise had no chance of meeting,” says Singh. A vision dawned on them — of a world where geeks and nerds can mingle freely, without hesitation and sans prescribed scientific dos and don’ts, with people from the opposite sex. Thus was born DateIITians.

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Three 22-year olds have launched a dating website called DateIITians that encourages IITians (primarily, and also med schools and other geek-producing institutes) to explore ‘meaningful relationship’ opportunities among, well, lesser mortals.

After a registration process, followed by a three-step verification to limit fake profiles, a member can get access to network among peers, flirt with interested candidates, develop a crush and make a proposal. “Requests have to be sent on each step. A buddy request can be followed by a flirt request which can be a personal message or a gift,” Singh says. Gifts can be bought on the site itself through e-commerce and when flirting takes you to the stage where your heart starts fluttering, you can then send a crush request and take it further with a proposal. Singh says, “We are very strict about the content and hence filter all slangs and lewd comments by tracking messages with key-words.”

The website is currently in its alpha stage and new features are being planned for updates, including a 3D chat. “For a guy in a place like Kharagpur, to take a beautiful girl out on a date would mean travelling three hours to Kolkata,” Singh laughs. “So with 3D chat, people will have the option to go on virtual dates.” This means your online avatar can take your partner’s avatar to a cafe, watch a movie or play a game and if, science allows, part with a goodnight kiss.

DateIITians has drawn over 7,000 members in just over four months and has seen 1,100 flirt requests. But not every geek is excited about it. Bhargav, an MBA from XLRI says bitterly, “Sites like this won’t help. Women only like to live off us. Since, most of us are not well versed with the game of love, women leave us after they are done decorating themselves with our pay-cheques.” Deka has a simpler solution for it all, “Who needs a dating site? Take the help of your shining resume and the rich uncle in Bhatinda to find a girl along with some crores.”

This article was originally posted on http://www.sunday-guardian.com by SATARUPA PAUL  20th May

Human sexuality – the way of life !

While creating the humans nature has provided them with different characteristics and behaviour so that they can observe and feel the natural environment accordingly. The more specific creation of the nature is men and women, both are humans with specific characters and organisms which makes them sensible and to understand feelings of others. Both have natural attraction to each other because both have their necessities with each other. Men is only complete with women and women with men, single person without attracting to each other is incomplete. Even though some of them attract to the same sex because of the environment they have and their physical and mental characteristics. Human sexuality in men and women make them to attract to each other. This is defined as the ability of expressing erotic responses and erotic characteristics. There are some people in the world that attracts to the same sex means homosexual or some attract to the opposite sex it means heterosexual.

You can see good example of human sexuality around you as when teens cross age of 14 or 16 they naturally start attracting towards the opposite sex person either men to women or women to men. It may be for both sides. For example,  boy being attractive towards a girls but she did not like her and tried to avoid from him. So this is the case when you are attracting to someone but that person is not interested to you. In this age or earlier the parents need to explain to the children about the human sexuality and its effects and benefits. This will help them to understand the human sexuality and then they will be stopped to doing any wrong step towards human sexuality. At this age in the children, to know all things comes as the big problem and if they don’t find the right answer they move from here to there. They can also turn to the wrong path in absence of the correct knowledge.

Now days as observing the requirement of this, in many schools, colleges and in universities the courses related to human sexuality has been started so that the student can learn or have the right knowledge about the human sexuality or even can ask his/her doubts.  Generally it has been found from the earlier researches that the human sexuality is basically a genetics characteristics and it determines by the environment also. For better understanding of the human sexuality it has to be study the research and theory given by Mr. Sigmund Freud. But for learning or understanding the human sexuality , there is need of the huge complex literature or earlier research but as seen it comes by the age naturally as it is natural process that by age you will learn. As same case my parents didn’t teach me anything about the human sexuality.

When a boy or men attract to the girl or women then it is called as human sexuality because the men seek hi necessities in to the women and women in to the men. Certain characteristics are believed to be innate in humans, although they may be modified by interactions with the physical and social environment. Suppose you live in the forest, then there will be some animal characteristics inside you because environmental and behaviour around you also affects the human sexuality. After some time you might see yourself to love with animals because you live there and you learnt their characteristics. According to British philosopher John Locke, there is no innate difference between the human but they are always shaped because of the social environment present there. The human sexuality is also affected by the education that the human have. For example, in western countries where there is open education for sexuality and related things, the people who live or educate there know about it in more details and they can discuss in open eve their parents also teach them the same but in eastern countries like India, Pakistan, this kind of education is not available or not allowed so the people live here don’t talk much about the human sexuality and they have lack of knowledge of sexuality.

Human sexuality is the natural activity that comes in to the human naturally, but yes this is also affected by the society, culture, environment and education.

Who Wants To Date An IIT Boy?

MAY 17, 2012 9:02 AM BY FIRST POST

Back in 2008, Rashmi Bansal posed a tongue-in-cheek question on her blog: “Are IITians really inhabiting Girlfriendville right now, or only in their imagination?” The responses were more earnest, offering a variety of reasons why the once-disdained nerd was now A-grade boyfriend material.

“IITians are the best gals can EVER get,” wrote one avid fan, “Be it money,looks,intelligence or anything !!! And There’s nothing wrong in a gal being attracted towards such a ‘divine’ species.”

Divine indeed! Thanks to the combined efforts of Chetan Bhagat and Aamir Khan, surely Indian girls have finally been convinced that the average IIT-ian is—as another commenter put it—a “heroic combination of Peter Parker (the quintessential geek), Bruce Wayne (shits money) and The Incredible Hulk (‘Amma says make him angry just before bedtime’).”

Flash forward four years, and voila! We have DateIITians.com, a new social dating website premised on this much-vaunted desirability of the IIT/IIM suitor. “Many Girls think that they must have IITians, IIMites, Businessman, Industrialists as their life partner and they want to meet them where they get the chance, isn’t true? I think so it is true,” declares its founder Layak Singh, an IIT-Kharagpur grad.

True it may well be in a country infatuated with all things IIT—be it degrees, husbands, or sperm.

And yet…why then does the site that sells itself as “a new world of social dating” appear to be marketed by and for the boys.

The home page, for instance, is littered with photos of pretty young things—and many look like stock photos of models as opposed to real members. Some have been posed with flirty little lines, as in “Will you be my date?” and “What’s up buddy?” My favourite is a screen with photos of three girls with the caption, ‘Meet your soulmate’, and accompanied by this mysterious bit of insight: “You may admire a curvy girl on the first introduction, but the second meeting shows up some new angles.”

No less mystifying is the ‘About’ section which claims that DateIITians is “based on the philosophy of a beautiful relationship which begins with buddy-ship (friendship) and results in developing and maintaining a meaningful relation, of course with the modern world definitions”. But right after comes an inadvertent confession: “It is an endeavour to make it easier for the geeks out there in finding their perfect life partner.”

More demoralising—to any IIT guy—is the media coverage which reaffirms the age-old stereotype of the desperate dude:
So you are stuck attending your mechanical engineering lectures for the better half of the day and the girls in your class are more interested in quantum physics than you. You need to brush up on your pick-up lines and you are tired of hugging your pillow. If you ended up nodding in agreement while empathising with the situation, then dateIITians might be the brainchild that will rescue your love life from doom.

And then there is this damning (and charmingly self-deprecating) quote from Rachit Gupta, general secretary of the student council affairs at IIT Delhi: “I’m interested in it ’coz yahaan par IIT/IIM se baahar ki ladkiyaan bhi toh aa sakti hain, like those who’re interested in dating an engineer. Otherwise, in our normal life, people have this sad image of us, ki IIT ke ladkey super-geeks aur gadhey hote hain…only hooked on books. If this portal helps us shed that image, it would be great.”

Three years after Aamir Khan immortalised the sexy geek on the silver screen, a great number of IIT boys seem to be still desperately seeking the ladies. And it speaks volumes about how little has changed for a certain kind of Indian male in new India—the kind primed from day one to focus on academics to the exclusion of all else.

“The academic slog for them is long and disproportionate,” says ‘Malini’, a friend who dated a “perfectly nice” IIT guy. The result, she says, is a type of arrested development which expresses itself as a lingering discomfort in the company of the opposite sex. The lack of experience or “socialisation” with girls is exacerbated when they hit college. The IIT-bound boy remains—in the midst of changing sexual and social mores—mostly chained to his textbooks, only to end up in college campuses where women are a tiny minority.

A minority that is often disdained. “They call them ‘non-boys’,” she says, “They talk about them in a certain way, don’t treat them as equals.”

The greatest resistance to the site comes from men unwilling to date IIT girls, like ‘Dheeraj’, who says: “I’d rather not look for an IITian to date; she can be boring and unbearably geeky. Look, most of my friends in IIT have girlfriends from Delhi University, who are not into professional courses at all. That’s how the preferences vary.”

Okay, so IIT boys think their “unbearable” geekiness is no bar to their desirability, but is a big turn-off when it comes to their female peers? The double-standard aside, that kind of attitude is hardly going to endear any man, IIT or otherwise, to a woman.

The problem is not that these IIT boys don’t have girlfriends, but that they lack experience with girls as friends. This is why DatingIITians often reads like a socialisation manual: “Moreover, everybody knows that good relationships begin with friendship only, so when you first become friends and then gradually start liking each other, then only you can say that your relationship is developing and getting meaningful.”

And it also explains why its creators—two of whom are IIT students—offer these arrows to shoot at a romantic target: “I give my smile to everyone. But I think, to you, I give my heart”; “You are the first person who has been able to make my heart beat slower and faster at the same time”; “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I pass by again?”

Modern relationships between men and women are based on an ease and familiarity with the opposite sex. We no longer view each other as an alien species, to be courted with trite pickup lines, or appeased by giggling at the right moments. Perhaps this is why Malini argues IIT grads truly come into their own after they leave the monk-like confines of campus, after they’ve gone abroad for graduate school, worked in different environments, and grown more comfortable in their own skin.

“At 35, he is much more well rounded, where his geekiness is just one part of his life,” she says. Her message: date IITians, later.

This story by Lakshmi Chaudhry was originally published on Firstpost.com.

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‘He said he’d stopped having feelings for men’

Sarah Johns’ dream boyfriend gave every impression of being up for marriage, but his diary told a very different story …

I was 19 years old when my boyfriend proposed marriage and told me he was gay in the same breath. It was a beautiful day and Oliver had taken me sightseeing on one of his rare days off from his work as a lawyer. We were walking in Central Park in New York enjoying the sunshine, holding hands. A ring flashed in the sunlight. ‘Marry me,’ he said. I almost whooped with joy.

Oliver was everything I’d ever imagined I wanted in a man, and a lawyer! I was so carried away that I almost didn’t hear him talking. Almost. ‘You’re the only woman I’ve ever thought of that way,’ he said. As he pushed the ring on to my finger he smiled at me.

‘I used to think I might be gay. But I can stop.’ He went on to tell me that he’d had relationships with men, but that he’d never cheat on me, with anyone. He said he’d stopped having feelings for men. My 19-year-old self believed that was possible. I pushed all the fears into my stomach and locked them there.

We had met the year previously when I was 18 and had just started at university. I fell in love with him almost immediately. He became my boyfriend and my best friend and we quickly began spending all our time together. When Oliver was offered a job in New York I didn’t want him to leave. I begged him to look for something closer to home but he had a better idea.

When I returned from a class he was waving an American flag. ‘Come with me,’ he said. I didn’t think about my career, or the course I’d just started that I’d worked so hard for. I didn’t consider for a minute that things wouldn’t work out. I left my university, friends, family. I would have followed him anywhere.

In the weeks after Oliver proposed I walked around New York and all I could think about was being his wife. I looked at my flashy ring all day and he showed me off at parties and dinners, but he seemed distant. We didn’t mention what he had told me. I didn’t once ask him about it, as if I could ignore it away.

But Oliver stayed out late and didn’t answer his phone. He slept on the sofa. I told myself that he was busy at work, but when he stayed out all night, I began to worry. Could he be having an affair?

I searched his apartment and there it was in his top drawer, not well hidden at all, as if he almost wanted me to find it. His journal. As I opened the pages my stomach churned. Page after page described Oliver sleeping with men – strangers.

He’d meet them in clubs, parks, anywhere. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Then I noticed the dates. It had all happened since I’d been staying with him. In the last few weeks! And worse. He wrote about how he hadn’t used any protection.

I left New York without waiting for Oliver to explain. There was no explanation. He had cheated on me, but I was angry with myself. How could I be so stupid? It was New York and it was the 1990s, and he was having sex with strangers without using condoms. I was convinced that he’d given me HIV or another infection.

Going for an HIV test was one of the scariest times of my life. It was negative. I managed to get back into university. My friends were still my friends. I was very lucky. But I didn’t feel lucky. Despite everything I missed Oliver desperately.

Over the years I’ve realised that I was the one in denial. I wanted something so badly that I glossed over the fact that Oliver was gay. I’ll never understand why he felt that he had to pretend; I’m just glad I found his journal that day.

Now happily in a committed relationship, I’m no longer a silly girl who thinks being a lawyer’s wife will bring me happiness no matter what. There is no flashy ring. I have my own career. We have to work at our relationship and value trust above all things. As much as my heart was broken, it mended and grew stronger and much, much healthier.

I never heard from Oliver again and I never tried to contact him. I’ve made many mistakes over the years, but marrying Oliver would have been the biggest mistake of all, for both of us.

[Source: Telegraph.co.uk]