Arav, not his real name, was waking up to an unwelcome fact: He hardly knew the woman he had married just a few years ago.
Arav had lived nearly all of his life in Dubai. He was in his late 20s.
She was from a small village back home in India — a land that Arav had only seen on brief trips to see family.
Shortly before his wedding, he received a few warnings.
“They were like, look, you’re bringing a girl who’s literally been living in a village in India,” Arav recalled being told.
“She has no idea what Dubai is like,” he remembered them saying. “Your lifestyle and what you’re used to is considered an extreme for her.”
Filled with youthful confidence, Arav ignored the advice.
“I never paid heed to that,” he said. “I lived life the way I wanted, the way I always did.” And the way he lived was, by his own reckoning, lavish.
Once married, with his bride settled in Dubai, the two soon started to settle into comfortable — and costly — habits.
“We’d go party a lot, travel a lot, have new experiences, buy something new,” he recalled. Backed with a good salary from his job at a western multinational, spending wasn’t hard.
After a couple of years, things started to sour.
At times, when they would bump into Arav’s women college friends around town, his wife would be bitten by jealousy. Threats rolled in.
“I can find a thousand guys here who want me,” she would warn.
Having a child together seemed only to make things worse. One day, his wife upped sticks and moved back to India. He hasn’t heard from her since.
Looking back, Arav believes that his marriage suffered from plenty of other issues that many couples have to work out — or split up.
But one thought — or doubt — continues to stick in his mind: Did his generous lifestyle and the glamour of his job become an obstacle in their marriage?