Saturday, October 24, 2009

he could never love me, just as I could never love him


johanna wallin

I was emailed this very touching story.
I appreciate her willingness to share this with us and appreciate her trust.
I still can't wrap my mind around it:


I thought I wanted to share a story of my own, if nothing, just to get it off my chest. I never told anyone, but maybe I can simply tell everyone.

I have never been the type for love. I’ve never had any serious relationship, which is quite okay I think, I’m 18 by now, so that might be my excuse. I never fell in love, because I could never actually care about somebody that much. Nobody could ever touch me this deeply to evoke feelings even close to love. I would shrug any sympathy displayed for me off and go on in this arrogant and narcissistic way, just like I always do, at all times. I am not this kind of person. I am not as full of myself as I seem to be, but this is the only way I can avoid hurting people’s feelings. I don’t want to hurt anyone really, but the only way to prevent this seems to be hurting them. Hah.

Eventually, shortly after my 17th birthday, my father would call me to him and tell me a story I just couldn’t believe was true. Even though he only has a very small sense of humour, I thought he was kidding me. I never could have imagined I was supposed to marry somebody my father chooses for me. I had never heard of this family tradition. As I look at it now, it makes sense; I always knew we were a very old and very large family, even a founding family in the city we lived in. I knew my father cared much about the family, but since we are living abroad, I never really experienced his traditional feelings. And, evidently, my grandfather and my grandmother live in different houses, although they are still legally married, because they can’t be with each other. My own parents are separated, but married, and I’ve heard my great-grandparents lived in the same way. It hit me then; those were all arranged marriages. Just, nobody had ever told me.

I don’t want to blame him. I feel my father didn’t want to do this against my will, he asked me if I could imagine doing it. Was it a possible option for me? I couldn’t really answer, I know absolutely nothing of love, not even of family love, I never experienced it in our cold and harsh family relationships, let alone being in love with someone and wanting to marry him. But one thing I knew; I always felt responsible for my father’s misery, for the hard job he had to do to send me to good schools, the difficult time he had with my mother, who can’t stand me, for him getting old far too early, his financial ruin and his emotional troubles. As a child already, I cried in my bed when my dad had to leave for work Sunday at 10pm and only came back Saturday afternoon.

I saw all of this and then I knew I was supposed to agree. I never could have said no. This was the one thing, besides good marks at school or playing the lead violin at grand concerts, I could do for him. I hated all those things, and I also hated the thought of being forced into this and probably ending up like my parents, but what could I do? This is how things were supposed to be. And I agreed.

In December, when we went home, to Russia this is, like we do usually on holidays, I was introduced to my fiancé; a man of 26 years, who finished the University of St. Petersburg with a Summa Cum Laude and as valedictorian, who did his Master in Yale and quite recently his PhD at Oxford University and who now worked as the CEO’s right hand in Russia’s biggest gas company. He was very tall, much taller than I, wore a dark suit and had a very dismissive and apathetic expression on his face. It was a very formal occasion, namely our engagement party, and both families were present, even at a larger scale. I had to wear a satin dress and was told to behave well. Slowly I understood how they had chosen an extremely prestigious and, sadly, I realised, extraordinary wealthy family. It was a horrible farce. As we greeted, my fiancé and I, we shook hands, and his hand was cold. During the whole evening, I didn’t talk to him once. His younger sister Natalia, who is 22, and his brother Gavriel, 23, addressed me immediately and I couldn’t help but wonder on how different a character they were; both his younger siblings were talkative and warm, especially Natalia, who is one of the loveliest and kindest people I ever met. Gavriel entertained me the whole evening and half of the night, making me laugh all the time. Only from the corner of my eyes I dared to cast a glance at my fiancé, who seemed unmoved by all of this, and mostly talked to our fathers and grandfathers at the other end of the table. The next day I officially received an old ring, a family heirloom, which was brought to me by his father.

After this, I didn’t see him for almost a year. We went for a dinner once in April, when I was in Russia for holidays. It was the weirdest thing I ever experienced. It was only us two, and I couldn’t help but feel insanely stupid. From all my friends I am considered the silliest and most childish. I play videogames and watch children’s cartoons and skip lessons at school and get drunk with my friends on weekends. I often get tickets for speeding and I sleep until 2pm in the afternoon. Sitting in front of me was a man, who, at 26 years old, had already lived a whole life. He had spent most of his childhood in boarding schools, lost his mother at the age of four, lived years of his life abroad, completed a superior education, built an immense career on his own, and went to war. He never told me any of this, I learnt most of it in the very recent past from his siblings. He was intimidating. I felt like a child around him. It felt like he was my older brother, especially with our waitress flirting with him the whole evening. I couldn’t help but notice how handsome he was, it was almost too much to take, with his tall and lean figure, the pale skin and lantern jaw, the piercing blue eyes, the jet black hair – it only made it even worse.

Sometimes he called on Sunday afternoons, and we would talk some minutes, about school and work, and then hang up soon enough not to let the awkward silence take over. Sure enough, I developed an aversion to his phone calls, and I knew for sure it was an annoying thing for him he only did because he felt it was his duty. At times, I feel a stitch when my friends talk about boyfriend issues. I imagine them cuddling in bed on a rainy afternoon in November and I know I will never experience this kind of thing. When in summer he asked me if I wanted to go on a short trip with him, for three days or so, I knew our fathers came up with this. I knew he didn’t want to, but we both had to. The mere thought of being in the presence of this cold man made me cringe and I was sure he felt the same way. Also, I was sure this was the time we were supposed to get closer. I thought, we were going to sleep together. I was terrified when I was sitting next to him in his car, noticing I was sweating in my dress and on the beige leather seats although the air conditioning was on. He was a man, and I was nothing but a silly girl, and I was a virgin, too.

It happened I got an upset stomach, I don’t know how it happened, but the same night I found myself sick over the toilet after I had slept for less than an hour alone in the huge marital bed, as he had lain down on the couch. And eventually, as I continued throwing up for minutes, he showed up and held back my hair the whole time I was vomiting. I asked him to leave, I was horribly embarrassed, but he wouldn’t. He’d just kneel beside me and hold back this awfully long dark messy hair of mine, silent. When I was done, he’d helped me up, brought me back to bed and order tea, additional blankets and a hot-water bottle while I was trembling in bed. For the next few days, I was delirious with fever, but the whole time he didn’t leave the suite. Whenever I woke up, he was there. And one thing he said I will never forget is, “I will look after you.”

This is when I thought, we can make this work. Maybe, in the end, we will work it out. Although we have nothing in common, although we don’t know anything about each other, we can manage this. This was, until I found out he had a girlfriend for a year and a half and he broke up with her in order to obey the family traditions and be with me. When I decided I could live like this, the day my father asked me, I only considered myself. I thought I had enough to be fine with this, but I forgot to mind I wouldn’t marry a thing, but a human being. I never thought of his feelings. I have destroyed these people’s lives without even noticing it.

I always knew he could never love me, just as I could never love him, but now I know he hates me.

I have done my A-levels and am about to start University in Vienna in fall. This September I am going to marry Aleksandr.

Still, I have never been in love. My close friends asked me, ‘What if you find someone and fall in love?’ I don’t know the answer. I think I wouldn’t even notice it. I know Aleksandr suppressed his own feelings when it came to it, and so will I, in case it happens. I also don’t know exactly what I want to say with all this ... it took me a while to write this down, and I think, maybe it could help someone on something one day? Maybe people will shake their heads on the absurdity of this? Maybe it lets us see how precious real feelings are. You can’t fake them, even if you want to. There are no lovely photos of us. In fact, I don’t own a single picture of him. There is no happy ending, too.

-lara

118 comments:

  1. Does this still happen in developed countries? Seriously?

    I feel that she simply didn't have enough strength to disobey. Her whole family did. And thus, they have forced themselves to live in misery. So sad.

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  2. I'm sure that you helped someone by writing this down. I Hope you find true love, I have never experienced it, but I've heard that it's extraordinary. and that's the thing that gets me up in the morning, that maybe I'll find true love today. So i really hope you get too. And if you fin it run like hell and get all the things you can't get now.

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  3. I think she should give him a shot of getting to know him more as a person rather than "someone I am about to marry soon because I am obeying my family". How sure is she that he is not the love of his life? Out of the billions ppl in this earth, they manage to meet each other, I guess you gotta give that some credit. Life works in mysterious ways. Even it works in a "traditional" ways, it doesn't mean its "wrong and untrue".
    I am wishing her all the best~ Hug*

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  4. this story was absolutely breathtaking. you have written it so beautifully. i can't imagine there not being a reason for you having to go through this. i am positive that it will affect many people, me being one of them. thank you so much for your courage. if i could wish one thing for you, it would be to have courage with your family and fiance...sometimes it only takes one person being strong and standing up for what they believe in to affect change in others. just because it is tradition doesn't mean it must last forever. start a new tradition in your family...marry someone for love. they will be grateful you did.

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  5. Riveting story. She is so young . . . way too young to give up on romantic love (well, we are all too young to give up on romantic love). But it is clear that she is capable of love. She clearly loves her Dad.

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  6. I called off my January 2010 wedding last week Wednesday. My ex-fiance never once said "I will look after you" or anything to that effect. He expressed that he didn't want to, that's why I called off the wedding. More crap about this in my blog.

    <3

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  7. This is so sad!
    And Yes, it's sad that she didn't say no, but i understand it. I understand both answers, saying yes or saying no. By saying yes, it's just what's expected and makes most everyone happy. By saying no, she possibly loses her family.

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  8. wow
    heartbreaking and sad...

    i think u shouldnt give up on love baby...

    =\

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  9. Lara, if you read this you are a remarkably strong person. To write this down and go through it all. I feel so terribly sorry for you and your situation, though I understand family and tradition and how its frowned upon to go against it all.
    But sometimes you have to put your own happiness before others.
    I wish you all the best and all the luck in the world :)

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  10. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this, it provided so much insight to me, and my heart breaks for you. This must have been so difficult to type, and I wish the best for you. You're a very strong person to share this. Wow.

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  11. can you try to love him? look for the good things. he was in love once before, so maybe he can love you. just because you two are different doesn't mean it can't work. for his sake and yours, please try! if it fails, then atleast you gave it your best. i wish you all the love and happiness in the world.

    i will never forget your story...

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  12. So sad and heartbreaking. I really hope that she will be happy and find love one day

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  13. I read through the comments and I don't believe it's terrible thing. I found out today that my parents were in an arranged marriage. In some non-western cultures, it is very common, even in this day and age. Regardless of how people feel about arranged marriages, sometimes family and tradition are important. Some people may have the willpower to go against the system, but others obey out of love for their family and for their culture. Many of us choose romantic love, others choose the love they have for their family. Arranged marriages CAN work. I've seen them with my own eyes.

    I do wish Lara good luck with her life and to fall in love, although it may not have to be romantic love. My heart goes out to you, as I truly understand. Try not to dwell on it in a negative light, but look at it in a positive sense. :) You still have your life ahead of you, keep your head held high and look forward to your goals and to what matters most in your heart :)

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  14. aleksandr....the meerkat?

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  15. This is quite a story. I was offered an arranged marriage, as well. Not out of my families tradition , but out of his. My parents allowed me to make my own decision and I said no. I was not willing to marry a stranger on the other side of the world.So, I absolutely sympathize with you. I can imagine how very hard this is. Though, it is not done yet, you do have still have a choice. However, if you do decide to go through with this I say to keep the hope alive - he showed compassion and that is something. He probably doesn't hate you. He probably understands how strange this is for you. I know quite a few Russians and from my experience it just takes them a long time to warm up to people and trust them. If you marry him and you two do have children learn from your experience and be the best parent that you can be - share the love you should have been given.
    Whatever you choose I ( and probably everyone here ) send you lots of love and hope for your happiness. Good luck.

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  16. Life is too short. if you want to make the most out of it, you will have to find the strength to own it, and live it.

    nesh.

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  17. I've been raised around many norms: timeless nonconventional Western marriages solely for love and the freedom to devote entire lives to another, arranged traditional marriages, as well as loveless non-arranged marriages. They are all respectable, in their own ways and how they go all depend on the two people involved. They are still relationships and they still take work.

    You are so strong and so brave. Don't give up on love. There should be, and always will be, infinite love for yourself, and if you ever need reminders of this, there are so many people here, including myself, who've read your story and who will share our blind faithful love with you. I hope you and Aleksandr will work together to create some future happiness for yourselves. That you learn more about each other, that maybe there is hope for the both of you whether or not the hope lies with the other. You don't have to end up alone. There is always love for you out there. You and this man are choosing to tie yourselves to each other for life - I hope you two look after each other. There is love for you both out there. Maybe you will help each other find it by simply growing together and providing friendship.

    Don't give up hope, love.

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  18. Don't give up on love, yourself, or what is in front of you. You may be able to combine these things and make something truly beautiful you never expected. <3

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  19. Wow that is intense. That is why when you have get the chance to love someone love them like your life depends on it

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  20. this makes me heart ache so much. i'm only 15 and i've fallen in love (and unfortunately out of love now) and even though it hurts now, i miss it so much. i couldn't possibly imagine a life without love. i hope you eventually find it, even in this situation. you are brave and i hope you're okay.

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  21. Oh my gosh. While i was reading this i had goosebumps all over, they are still very visible. i'm sure this has affected alot of people, as it has affected me greatly. I agree with what Delaney had written "just because it is tradition doesn't mean it must last forever. start a new tradition in your family...marry someone for love. they will be grateful you did." Best of luck, from a stranger across the world =)

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  22. Know your friends and family love you. and you love yourself. it may not be the kind of love that you have given up on, but you are so very young. i am so sorry to hear this. i hope you do not give up the idea of being happy with him, it can work out.

    if you need someone to talk to, i am here for you.

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  23. oh my god. i've never heard an arranged marriage story directly from someone before. goodness lara, you are strong! I have no idea what I would have done in your situation, and i have no real advice...other than keep on trekking and find your own ways to enjoy life than marrying a man you love. you have tons of support here, and thank you for reminding me how lucky i am to be free to find true love without any obligations! ♥

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  24. If you want it.
    Somewhere, somehow, you will find it.
    Our cultures aren't so different, so I understand.
    Everything is relative, everyone's comments are relative to their own experiences - so you can't judge based on what "everyone feels is right".

    Follow where your gut + heart lead.

    xxK

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  25. This is just tearing my heart to pieces. Wonderfully written. It captured my attention and my emotions in one blinding chasm.

    You are a brave woman Lara. And don't give up on love. =)

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  26. I am so sorry, Lara...

    I think both you and Aleksandr are both so brave.

    I hope things work out.

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  27. i agree - both lara and aleksandr and brave, and she was brave to share. my grandparents (who have since passed on)on my father's side were the product of an arranged marriage; they were also cousins, some number removed. i don't know whether or not they loved each other the way my parents love each other (they met organically), but i do know they were good friends, and did care for and take care of each other. i get the feeling aleksandr a good man, and lara seems intuitive and sweet; both of them are certainly intelligent and sensitive. if nothing else, i wish that you both truly discover and understand each other, and find joy and comfort in a deep, genuine, lifelong friendship.

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  28. please don't marry him. and free the both of you.

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  29. This story makes me realize how lucky I am to have found my amazing girlfriend. We have rough patches and hard times but we love each other deeply and completely. There is no faking that kind of love, I hope she is able to feel that one day. Life won't ever be amazing without it. Even if it doesn't last at least you felt it and know it exists... <3

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  30. I wish you all the best. She is so brave for sending you this to post, and I expcet that it did help writing it down, that she will read all our comments and they will run through her mind each day.

    I do think, Lara... if you are reading this that is.. That your father would still love you and stick by you if you changed your mind. I also wanted to know if you had spoke to the boy about this? Maybe you could... maybe he needs to talk about it too..

    :)
    x

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  31. This is so sad and so heartbreaking. I've only watched this arrange marriages in soaps/movies.. Is this kind of things, for real? Really?
    You guys are so brave.. I wish you both could be FREE and be with someone that you'll LOVE for REAL...

    I'm still wishing for you guys to have a happy, strong lifelong relationship..

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  32. Such a touching story, heartbreaking. I can't imagine being in that situation and really hope things work out for the best for both of you.

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  33. I just think that one day,Lara, you will woke up next to your husband, a man, you never loved the way one should love the love of her life, and think, all these years have gone buy for what? Just to please your father and respect family traditions? When your parents will be gone (cause eventually that will happen) for what was it worth? You should think about your children.. if you decide to have them, the most wonderful thing there is for a woman in this life, I think that is THE REASON why you shouldn't go through it.. A child must be raised in LOVE!

    Lara think about it.
    And don't go through it.
    IT IS YOUR CHOICE

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  34. This... I don't know what to say.

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  35. Thank you for sharing this story with us, Lara. I'm from Russia too, and sadly,i know these kind of marriages are still existing here. Just last year, my friend, who was 18 at that time, got married to the man she didn't love. But somehow they made it work. Maybe they will never love each other, but they surely do care for eath other, and try to have the best time they can have in this situation. In May they welcomed a babygirl.
    I'm just saying...if you have agreed on this...try to see positive things in this, since every marriage in your family isn't based on love, and you don't have much choice.

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  36. are you sure this story is true? because my country is near russia(estonia) and i´ve never ever heard of arrange marriages in russia!!

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  37. I just hope that one day, they learn to love each other. Many families I know.. (Albeit traditional Indian ones) Marriages are arranged but they're actually pretty happy. It definitely doesn't happen to most, but I think they gave each other a chance. They may not be in love, but they do love and care for each other. I wish you the best dear.

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  38. You seem an extremely brave girl to me.
    I hope everything does work out between you both... Believe me, it can.
    I'm glad for you that you will end up okay, I mean, your fiance seem to want this to work out. Whenever it's for the family's sake or not, if his love and duty for his family is big enough, than his motivation will be also.
    You'll end up better then one of my best friends. She ended up in a arranged marriage where her husband still sees his ex-girlfriend, she's not aloud to see her friends of the past and she doesn't like her family in law.
    I hope you can have a strong relationship with your siblings in law, they seem nice persons to me :)
    I wish you all the best in the world,
    and please never give up your hope.

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  39. my heart broke.
    you're the bravest person I've ever heard about. I wish you all the best, and I hope that even though you don't love this man now, you will find a way to do that. I'm horrified with the fact that those things still happen, 'cause love is so.. you can't force it, you know. Maybe you could get to know your siblings in love, because they seem like really nice persons to me.
    Don't give up,
    with love (and excuses for my terrible gramma) from sweden.

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  40. Wow I really think this an intriguing story and if you would ever write a book lara Id be the first to buy it.

    I feel sad when I read this story and also a bit shocked but I think no mather how long or short life is, all of us will encounter love at one point in our lives. Even if it is only for a split second or for the rest of a life. Rather it will be love for your partner or love for a child, for your friends or for whatever. I dont believe that some people cant love because beeing a human beeing is love in itself.

    I have no idea if you read this an although I dont know you I wish you many good thing for in the future to come and ofcourse a happy ending.

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  41. That is a remarkably mature decision you were able to make at 18, to put the feelings of you father before your own. That's so brave of you and I wish you the best

    This makes me so thankful for the love I've experienced, as difficult and painful it is at times, I'm so lucky to have been able to have those feelings and I wouldn't give it up for anything

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  42. Watch this film!:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqGFcc7Ki_0&feature=player_embedded

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    ReplyDelete
  44. Lara, you've broken a lot of hearts here. And mended some too - you're a wonderful writer. I hope you keep writing and thinking and having the courage to know your reality, to be able to face the choices you made.
    Sending loads of best wishes & love!

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  45. I got chills after reading this.

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  46. I feel bad for everyone in this situation really. Imagine the pain the girlfriend of 1.5 years went though?

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  47. If you allow yourself to love, you can find love in anyone. Whether it be the love you feel for a friend, a father, a lover or a complete stranger, you can find it.

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  48. My philosophy professor has many stories of arranged marriages that ended in love. You never know.

    Not that I would ever like to be put in this position, or that I'm claiming it'll end up like a romantic comedy-- but you never know what the future holds.

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  49. your story is overwhelming, lara!
    i hope you can still have faith about true love.

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  50. Interesting, what part of Russia is she from because I am Russian and upper class, wealthy families almost never practice arranges marriages there, non the less really sad story!!

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  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. This is so sad.

    Arranged marriage is not the end of the world - if it's done right.

    In this case, i don't think it's done right. First of all you say you didn't know of it as your tradition until the day your dad said he had found a guy for you, so i don't think it has ever been in your future.

    Second, it's written between the lines that it's a marriage for your dad - so he can have some money. Your dads economy is NOT your job.

    Third - and most important, it doesn't seem to be in the future of your fiancè either.

    And for your own happiness, i just hope you will talk to him about your future together. Listen to what he has to say. Is this something he want to do? Because if both of you think the other one hates this life - you both will hate the situation.

    It's amazing how much good that comes out of talking with the right person. I wish you all the best for your future. You have only this life. <3

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  53. Get to know him,properly.
    Maybe email him, don't give up so easily only because you're convinced things won't work out.

    Arranged marriages aren't a foreign concept to me as my parents& grandparents were married by this tradition & amazingly enough, they've worked out. My parents are so beautifully in love as they realised that often enough, similarities don't always bind us together- it's the little key differences &varied character traits which often surprise us into loving our other half.

    Don't give up yet, parental disappointment aside, give him a chance- look at how he's feeling& try to find some common ground from the situation you're both in.

    It goes without saying- if you need a shoulder/words of comfort- I'm here.

    x

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  54. your a brave girl lara, im 18 and ive yet to find love because im too closed off to let anyone in your story makes me realize that I should be open to love because at the end of the day, its better to have loved and lost than to not love at all. My heart goes out to you and I hope and pray that you and Aleksandr will hopefully find love and comfort with each other, I would tell you to break it off and go find love but I understand that sometimes family obligations are the hardest things to break off. A year ago on this very same day one of my best friends passed away after being in a comma from a car accident. While we where all rooting for him to come back we knew he couldn't when we decided to pull the plug on the machine that was keeping him alive, his family, his friends we where all there, sad that we were about to lose such a great person but happy that even in his short 19 years God had blessed him with love, he had fallen deeply and passionately in love with a hindu girl, a girl he could never have because her family didn't allow it and they shipped her off to England so they would stop seeing each other. He was supposed to die the night of the crash, according to the doctors, it was a miracle he was alive, and when we were all there around him saying our final goodbye's, she rushed in weary, exhausted with no luggage she had taken the soonest flight out of heathrow to try and save him, so our dear friend died in the arms of the only girl he ever loved, a forbidden love but still a love brighter and stronger than any I had ever known. Until this day she regrets giving up love to satisfy her parents, because her parents arent living her life she is, and now its a life without the love she found, the love everyone looks for and she was lucky enough to have found. I'll never forget your story and even though we're strangers I hope that if your ever need someone to talk to Im here for you, because the love of friendships and family can always help you through this ordeal

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  55. I really hope happiness and love finds you Lara, you are so brave for doing what you're doing.


    www.loveandlifeinpictures.blogspot.com

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  56. wow.. I'm sorry but that's just the first word that popped into my head. I hope this all does somehow get better.. just remember that you always have Le Love blog to somehow get your feelings out. Bottling inside doesnt always help.

    I really hope you're okay.
    *hugs*

    xoxo
    <3 NAT~

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  57. my goodness, i am truly at a loss for words. Your story is remarkably heartbreaking, but even with all you have exposed i wish you a turning point. a turning point that will consume a second of your time and continue on for the rest of your living days. be optimistic, for someone so honest and giving as you will find happiness. i do not know how exactly but i wish it to be very soon.
    love, Emma

    p.s. you are truly brave and i admire your dedication to your father. you shall find your way, one day and feel as though this all was just a dream.

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  58. Lara,
    you are clearly a smart, good person. You are wise yet only 18 and therefore so young.
    The most important lesson you can learn in life is how to love yourself, how to know how to treat yourself and recognize what feels right, what feel wrong. Trust your feelings and instincts.
    You're fiance is clearly and intelligent man, and likely reasonable. Do not assume or tell yourself he hates you because I'm sure that's not true. I'm sure it will just put up unnecessary walls between you and make you more afraid of him. This is not your fault, this was his decision. He is also taking away your chance of growing up on your own and falling in love. Yet you do not hate him.
    Going to university in Vienna, there will be many resources available to you, I hope you use them. Some of the best advice I was ever given, was being told that I was going through a grieving process. Not the traditional grieving a death process, but you are grieving a loss. Grieving growing up with a happy family, grieving the loss of a future you had expected. Talking to people can help. thats why they are there for.
    I wish you the best.
    I hope you take care of yourself.

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  59. You are a very strong person, even thou you had this situation, you carried on, not thinking about yourself, but your father,, i really hope this all works out

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  60. This almost feels like a made-up story or something like it. It hard to grasp that stuff like this happen in reality.
    I think you are incredibly strong and stupid at the same time. You are far too young to make this big decision, and I find it strange that your father thinks you are old enough to understand the width of it all.
    You seem very mature to me, though. You should give your fiancé a chance and see if maybe you can get to know eachother.
    And if you some day find love outside of your marriage, try to figure who's happiness is more important to you-- your fathers or your own.

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  61. Oh, I forgot to mention it was really beautifully written.

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  62. I don't see anything wrong with arranged marriages. Love is in actions, not in fleeting emotions. If you both decide to commit to love each other...not "love" each other as most people (including this blog) defines it as some type of fantasy of infatuation and lust, but real love ... hard-earned love...then your marriage can be more successful than most.

    I hope the best for you.

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  63. I held my breath for what seems like this entire passage. You are brave, and far more courageous than I can ever hope to be. I don't know how I would cope, or if I even could.
    you are a wonderful stranger; know this.

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  64. i suppose at least, one positive thing about arranged marriages is that the parties from the start know it's not going to be a fairytale and that it can't depend on feelings alone to work cos there weren't any feelings. it has to depend on pure choice - choosing to love somebody, which is actually what sustains marriages after the passion is gone. personally, i'd balk at an arranged marriage, but i'm just trying to look on the bright side here.

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  65. I feel sorry for you. I can't understand how people can force people into this. I could never married someone I didn't know. Or loved. I have a boyfriend, and he means the world to me. Everyone derserves to experience real love. So yeah, I really feel sorry for you...

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  66. Beautifully written, but "... a man of 26 years, who finished the University of St. Petersburg with a Summa Cum Laude and as valedictorian, who did his Master in Yale and quite recently his PhD at Oxford University and who now worked as the CEO’s right hand in Russia’s biggest gas company", all by the age of 26?? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

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  67. i think instead of grieving for what you may call irreversible situation, you may as well make the best out of it. he seems like a great guy from a decent family. why not try make it work then? he may have had a girlfriend in the past but that just shows that he's not a cold and heartless man. who knows, you may find your true love in him?

    you make the bed, you sleep in it.

    good luck!

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  68. i'm russian as well and honestly, i hear the first time about such a weird engagement...

    anyway, i think this girl is just still a child that believes in princes (which is not bad).but the point is that marriage isn't dating, isn't just fun or endless romance, it's much more.

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  69. I couldn't help but find this story incredibly romantic. Not because you have found yourself in an arranged marriage but because of the possibilities that lay here for you. Perhaps you will not have a chance to be swept up in romance by a complete stranger, but it is pretty cynical to assume that you will not be swept up in love with this man at all. He sounds like a decent guy and he may be currently obliging his family's wishes as well but there is still a person that you have yet to unearth and if his siblings are such wonderful people, I find it hard to believe that he would be the complete opposite of them.

    I actually thought it was really sweet that he held your hair back as you were sick and stuck around with you for days. That's something right there.

    Perhaps you shouldn't be seeing this as a negative but make do with what you have and try to make it work. As long as he isn't a serial killer, you could be very surprised with what you find :) People fall in love every day and there isn't just one way to fall in love (or maybe I've read one too many romance novels).

    And if it's any consolation, your portrayal of Aleksandr makes him sound like a truly great catch. Tall, handsome, brilliant, with great respect and love for his family... seriously, that's a good guy right there :)

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  70. we can't predict what will happen, some say love is built after the marriage... i just prefered that anyone could choose it freely. in many countries it doesn't work loke this, so sad.

    i just hope that you can fall in love someday and have the courage to live it.... for your husband, for someone else? i dunno. but love is something that people can't miss, it's the only one thing that matters in this crazy life

    hugs

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  71. I think she is a beautiful writer, but it sounds too much to be true.

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  72. Well, it does sound too good to be true. But in case it is, here it goes: you could potentially be a really truly lucky girl. This could be the love story of a life time, in which case it will spare you the absolute agony from going on and on in a single's life hoping that each man you meet will be the one, just to end up broken hearted again and again..... I wish I could be in your shoes right now, If only my parents have thought of that... Enjoy it, embrace it, and STOP complaining!!!!!

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  73. I really don't think he hates you. You know him more than anyone of us, but if he really is the kind of guy you described him to be, it seems like he would know that this isn't your fault. It's not your fault that he had to break things off with his girlfriend. And you never know, you might grow to love him, and he might grow to love you. Just because you don't click right away doesn't mean you can never love each other. Trust me on this one. And when he stood by your side and told you that he'll take care of you, that should tell you something, shouldn't it? I would give it some time; he sounds like a special guy, knight-in-shining-armor type if you know what I mean ;)

    Best wishes~
    C

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  74. I'm used to this. I understand where she's coming from. It's a typical story for my ethnicity. I know my parents were arranged...but they still live well together and sleep in the same bed. They're just miserable.

    For lara and alksandr, when you have children, just make sure you're great parents. It'll be worth it then.

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  75. wow, she wrote it so well, it so realistic, like this could be happening to me and yet its unbelievable.
    what a beautiful voice, she should really consider becoming an author

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  76. this is so heartbreaking! it was sort of a wake up-call to read, i realise how lucky i am to not ever having to be in a situation like this. i wish her all the best, and hope she will hav the strenght to do what she must to be happy.

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  77. dearest Lara,
    we probably only live once.love is the greatest gift we give to ourselves and it s the most essential one as well. the love of a man is an amazing thing that you have to live to be whole. and we have to be whole. a lifetime is a long time to spend in pieces.

    you re so young...if you go through with this there is a chance you ll end up hating yourself AND your family.

    don t marry someone you don t love. and when you eventually love someone wait until you know yourself and what you want out of life to take that step.

    this is just my opinion, i wish you the best of luck and lots of love in your life.

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  78. This is unbelievable... I just... Wow. I don't know what to say.

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  79. Love him. Love is more of a choice than anything. My favorite part in the story is when he held back your hair, and took care of you. By serving each other, and opening your heart, you really could not just 'make it work' but fall in love.

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  80. This is the most touching thing I've ever read. So sad :(

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  81. You blog is so refreshing. I am loving it. Hang in there girl.

    www.yourpocketstylist.blogspot.com

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  82. so u are russian but u dont live in russia....
    i'm not livin in the country i'm from as well....
    and i NEVER could find LOVE in here... i never found the boys from here interesting.... but i met this guy R, who lives here, but who is from my country too..just like me.. and we fell in love with each other...
    what i'm trying to say is... maybe u were looking for love in the wrong place..its crazy the way our CULTURE have influence in our lifes... and u'r too YOUNG to say u will never find love!! i met R when i was 19 :)
    and i am ABSOLUTELY sure u will find IT too... u just have to be pacient.. and never stop believing...

    (sorry my english)

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  83. OMG THIS IS LIKE A REALLY GOOD BOOK.
    TELL THIS GIRL TO KEEP UPDATING!!!

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  84. That was lovely in a bittersweet kind of way. I totally understand your loyalty to your family. Others might not understand why you have to do this but I do. For those leaving comments about her reasons for doing this, it has nothing to do with pleasing her family, It is about loyalty and respect for her family and their traditions. You will be in my prayers. I hope your marriage works out.

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  85. Lara,

    Coming from India i tell you this with respect. Arranged marriages DO work.

    How many guys (no offence here to the men) would say "I will look after you" to their going to be life partner who is their parents choice?

    I think the both of you will work this out and fall in love with each other over time. Choose him Lara if you have never been in love.

    Thanks for telling us really appreciate the honesty.

    xoxo

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  86. Wow. What a story. So sad, yet, I do feel like this can help some people appreciate their relationships more. Thank you for sharing, and I wish you happiness.

    God bless,

    knight

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  87. you two could make this thing work...I believe,
    maybe its fate that brought you together in the first place, maybe love would come when you get to know each other, from your post I understood that you barely communicate to bond.

    moreover you've to know that love doesn't always come at first sight which also could be mistaken with infatuation. true love comes after years of being together, love prospers when the two persons are right for each other in mind terms not only heart terms. how many relationships have been doomed and gone bad because they were only heart matters?!

    and marriage is not just love and good sex its a good mixture of compassion understanding appreciation and maturity, its partnership between you and him to build a family of your own together and that needs committing from the male side more, and I guess not all the boyfriends now has this trait-being committed to their spouses,

    you're just so young to acknowledge now, maybe its you who need to transcend with the noble profound meaning of marriage :)

    I just want to tell you, to get to know him, give yourself and him the chance to give and receive love. don't believe that he hates you,,,because I am sure, he doesn't. he will look after you...didn't he promise so? :)

    -because fate never brings us humans any harm. believe me everything is well calculated and fixed and nothing comes by mess...

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  88. I am Lara.
    I feel compelled to write this, for so many people took their time to write here.
    I want to thank you all so much. I haven’t visited LeLove for quite a while and when I scrolled through the entries this evening, my heart almost stopped when I saw my story. I figured it wouldn’t be posted, I thought so already when I’d sent it, it’s too unusual.
    I really needed to say thank you to you all. I didn’t shed a tear when I wrote it down, but when I read the comments I couldn’t stop crying. I’ve read each and every one of them, twice, even three times ... I am so amazed at how many read all of it and troubled themselves to write such wonderful words ... thank you so much, thank you.

    Alek is a wonderful man, I wouldn’t want anybody to question that, he really is. He tries so very hard, and I will never stop to appreciate that. We both try hard. As I said, in all my life I will never forget how he was there when I was sick, I don’t know this, nobody ever came when I was ill, this was so new. I do believe his words, that he will look after me and be there for me. I want to be there for him whenever he needs it. It is good, but it is not love, and somehow I feel it never will be. It is so difficult to describe. Everything is so tender and delicate, I see how he doesn’t want to hurt me, and it is wonderful, but at the same time it’s so surreal, or, not natural, although that sounds all too harsh. I don’t want to make him miserable, I’m so afraid of it to happen. I admire him for the person he is, yet I know I am not the one for him.

    Please don’t blame my father. I see how it seems so wrong of him, but he didn’t do anything really, he merely asked me and I agreed on it, I don’t blame him, and I never will. It is not his choice either, they all had to, everybody expected this of his daughter, and I think I would still say yes if I was faced by it now. My father is the best person I know, he did everything for me, this was the only time I could do something for him. If I can do anything that makes him happier, I’d do it, and I could do this because I trust him. There are so many people involved in this, lives and histories, it wasn’t only about me, or only about Alek, or the both of us, there is much more.

    And thank you for the compliments on my writing, this is so sweet of you. I only learned English at school and rarely use it, so it’s twice as nice to hear such praise, it’s so kind of you :) I always used to write, as a child I wrote down my thoughts and feelings when I was hurt or upset. Today I write often again, it’s like a journal, I write down everyday life, mostly things that are connected with Alek, what I feel and think, but also what he does and says, nice things, and I think, later, if times get hard, I will read it and remember how good it can be. It’s like a treasure, and it’s cathartic. Just as I saved all the comments here in my folder, for I know I’d want to read them again later, they’re so touching and beautiful and so considerate. I hope I could express how much they mean to me. Thank you LeLove and thank you wonderful people, you warmed my heart.

    I am married.

    Love, Lara

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  89. This is so heartbreaking.
    Lara, I wished you kept a blog, or would write back to lelove with updates.

    I'm so curious how life will turn out of you and I'm hoping, it gets better with time.

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  90. Lara, I hope you find happiness.

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  91. I trully believe that you, Lara, read all the comments.
    He will look after you.Just like he promised.
    I am no one to judge this tradition, but if he loved his family this much[or just had to obey them] to do as they said and give up on his girlfriend who he really loved, and you love your dad so much to obey to, you will at least have someone to take care of you.
    Maybe you will love him one day and viceversa, or maybe not.But you will not go to the other extreme neither, with violence and depression.
    I know that sometimes God plays with us in a way we can not understand at the time being.But it's for our good.
    May your life turn out good.
    Be happy and enjoy what you have.I am sure the plan has a happy ending.

    Ruxandra

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  92. This just doesn't sound right. I'm at least the 3rd Russian person who's commenting on this being quite skeptical about the truthfulness of this story.
    Otherwise, it's a beautifully written piece.

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  93. I'm Russian too.
    NEVER heard of arranged marriages at home neither.

    But beautiful writing for sure.

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  94. so poetic and romantic yet really gut-wrenchingly sad. Have hope.

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  95. I must agree that this is utterly beautiful. Beautiful fiction.

    Sorry, but I don't think this is actually true. The events are implausible and as a former ESL teacher, I can't believe this is the writing of someone who rarely speaks English--these are highly stylized, complete sentences, full of complex vocabulary and north american vernacular.

    I could admire the resourcefulness of getting fiction noticed in this manner, but can't help but think it's a little cruel, given all the heart-felt feedback.

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  96. ^you do realize that even people from other countries can be raised in the UK or US with the same family tradition right?

    ppl arranged marriages still happen in russia. research it. especially when it comes to wealth.

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  97. fake. totally fake.

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  98. Fake or not- It sounds like you're just doing this to please your family because you're so caught up feeling guilty for all of your dad's harship in Life. You should NOT feel guilty about any of that stuff- especially your mom leaving. That's not your fault and if anyone ever told you that you should feel bad about it then they're the one who should feel guilty. Frankly, it sounds like you've just been manipulated and guilt-tripped by your family into doing a lot of things that made you miserable but them happy. If they really loved you, they wouldn't want you to be miserable.

    Don't do it. You have years ahead of you to enjoy your single life, and maybe even find love. Why submit yourself to clear misery so soon? He clearly hates you for not being the person he's actually in love with and I doubt that's going to change any time soon. I really don't understand why you're so willing to submit yourself to this. Or are you just that used to caving and being miserable?

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  99. People who think this is fake are sadly rather myopic when it comes to culture.

    -Michelle

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  100. ouchh... this is sad

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  101. I was in love with my first big true love that I met when I was 18 and we spent 4 years together. His family forced him to marry somebody else. Someone from the "same" race as him so I had no choice, I broke up with him since he wouldn't disobey them. Now he's married and has a kid with his wife. Still... it's been 10 years since we first met... and he still loves me. We both know what we feel each time we see eachother. I often wonder what would've become of us if his family wouldn't have interfered and I think we'd still be happily in love. Took me five years to get over the sadness of this. Now it feels better but every time I see him it strikes me that we could've been happy together this day. Life is such an asshole sometimes....

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  102. Love is action.
    Love is selflessness.
    Everyone is capable of loving anyone.

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  103. @ said.

    No he is the asshole for not sticking up and having the guts to choose for your love.

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  104. hi im 25 and i never met love yet
    my friends think im a freak
    what do u think?

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  105. arrange marriages make me throw up.
    i know 2 friends who have their lives totally planned out by their parents. one is about to jump up to the wagon, the other to the delivery room.. I just wish they had more courage to fight for happiness... and love.

    I don't know about you Lara, its different in your case because you've never been inlove. Just know that whatever your decision is, you have to be responsible for it. i just wish people would just stop this kind of tradition.. my chinese/islam friends wish it never exists too! i tell them never to do this to their own children. and they still talk about tradition...

    life is always a choice.

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  106. For those who said it's FAKE. Get a life please.

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  107. i wonder if i have ever met you at university by chance.
    i hope you are alright and everything works out for you, the words you chose and everything.. you should write. the whole of your life.

    liebe grüße und alles gute.

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  108. It's very sad, yet it's very beautiful.

    I believe there are only a few happy endings in this world, so you're not alone.

    PS: I believe this isn't fake.

    <3,
    Alessia

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  109. it's september... i wonder if they've married.

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  110. i hope everything works out for you. am sorry to hear about arranged marriages.
    may God bless you.
    stay strong. =)

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  111. this is so sad . i used to think my life was shit , but reading this just makes me realise , i'm pretty well off . it really hurts to think that this kind of stuff still happen nowadays

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  112. This story truly moved me, in every way possible.
    I kept holding onto each word, hoping that the closer i got to the end, there would be a happy ending.
    I wont forget the emotion and truth of this story,
    thank you for sharing it .
    I wish you all the happiness that you can possibly gain out of any other aspect of your life.
    :)

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