Professional growth often translates into rise in income and April is the much-awaited month, when employees are acknowledged for the work they do around the year. However, there are times when a good increment or promotion might not bring as much joy in your life as expected. This is what Arpita Bagchi and Varun Nair (names changed on request) experienced. They tell us their stories.
'I was a coward'
I married my boyfriend in May, 2012. We started dating while working at an ad agency. He was part of the creative team; and I was responsible for managing clients. Though issues related to money never bothered us when we were dating, things started changing after marriage. When I got my first bonus after marriage, I threw a party, and bought furniture for the house. He seemed happy with the gesture. But after a while, I realised he was avoiding talking about work. Whether it was my professional achievement or any problem in office, he seemed completely disinterested in the topic. He even refused to go out with me, citing reasons such as fatigue or work that needed immediate attention. As a result, he started spending more time at work and would often come home drunk. I spoke to his sister and parents about his indifference towards me. He told them there was nothing to worry about. I tried to convince myself that things would be fine soon.
In May 2013, on our first wedding anniversary, I wanted to do something special to cheer him up. That was also my appraisal month. While I got a good increment and promotion, he didn't bother to tell me about his. One day, when I was talking to him about going on a holiday, he exploded in anger and accused me of trying to get an upper hand in our relationship. He revealed that his hike was not up to the mark only because of my presence in his life. He said that planning a trip during a crisis was my way of humiliating him. He apologised after a couple of weeks, but things were not the same. I was not able to concentrate on my work and my performance levels dipped. I couldn't deal with this conflict, and felt stressed at work. I ultimately quit my job because I wanted to put an end to this inferiority complex that my husband was going through. We are still together. I am currently working from home. I didn't give up my career only because I loved my husband, but because I was a coward and didn't want to go through a divorce.
- Arpita Bagchi, writer
'She thought of me as an under-achiever'
After five years of marriage, my wife left me. Both of us are software engineers. In 2013, she got a job offer from Australia. She asked me to shift with her. I told her that I was content with my position here and asked her to reject the offer as she was already doing well at her present organisation. Though she reluctantly let go of the offer, she got a good increment in her company here. However, after this episode, we started drifting apart. She got busy with work and we hardly spent time together. She even started getting annoyed while talking to me and would find faults in whatever I did. She would say my lackadaisical attitude was getting on her nerves. She also did not like being seen with me at social gatherings. When she had a party to celebrate her appraisal, she did not invite me. She thought of me as an under-achiever and felt humiliated to introduce me to her friends. I started suffering from depression. I tried switching jobs to match her level. But she was earning twice as much as me. After a while, she told me how miserable she felt being with me, and filed for a divorce. I was depressed. I got rid of this trauma only after taking a counsellor's help.
- Varun Nair, software engineer- As told to Sonashree Basu
Dos and don'ts
* Couples should see themselves as a team. Rather than comparing their income individually, they should consider it as a boost for family growth.
* Don't let ego come in your way. Focus on taking up a few activities that you both like to do together to strengthen the relationship.
* If you know your partner is financially weak, don't try to undermine him or her.
* If the problem is not dealt with the right attitude and at the right time, it can manifest into something big. So, make sure you communicate.
* The best way to deal with this is either to take up jobs in different profiles or communicate with empathy.
* If the situation gets out of hand, take professional help.
- Kinjal Pandya, relationship counselor