“I love that I trust her with everything, including my heart. As cheesy as that sounds I believe that trust is actually held higher than love.”
Relationship Status: Engaged, been together for 7.5 years
What is love to you?
Tanisha: Love is home. After being with Matt, going back to my family’s home alone never felt the same anymore. Home is usually where you feel peace and comfort and I only really truly feel that way when I have Matt by my side. So when we did long distance it was definitely tough, because Matt wasn’t by my side, it was like something was missing, but once we were back together it was like I was at peace again.
So how did you and Matt meet?
T: We met at Western and lived in the same residence in our first year. I was complaining that I couldn’t use the Internet and I wanted to go on Tumblr and I was on the phone with you, and you suggested I ask the boy next door to help me. So because I was desperate, I walked over, knocked on his door and lo and behold Matt answered. We met on September 4 and on September 24 that’s when we started dating.
Matt: After the first time we met it was a lot of continual activity where we were able to see each other again and again. And then I guess it really accelerated our relationship in terms of being able to strengthen our relationship by seeing each other all the time, and from there we went through long distance during the summer after first year—it really felt like we were dating for more than one year after the first year—and we repeated that long distance a few times.
What was it like doing long distance and how did that affect your relationship?
M: The long distance really just helps you be yourself and know what you like to do by yourself…
T: And you grow individually. Because we both have our own friends and people that we hang out with, but all our friends hang out together too. It let us be independent at the same time. So if anything, you wouldn’t want the distance, but I’m not mad at it.
M: I think it strengthened our relationship. Long distance makes you fight a lot more at least for the first year and then it slowly got better. Our biggest fights were just that we weren’t Skyping enough and then it’s like a pointless fight and then for some reason you’re just fighting about it, but then at the end of the day the underlying point is that you just wanted to see each other.
You’re from two separate backgrounds, but did that ever put a strain on your relationship?
M: With me, my parents knew everything. Ultimately for me, [Tanisha] was upfront from the start that I wouldn’t able to see her parents, or talk to them, or have that presence in her family, until the time was right. And eventually I accepted that because I knew I was in it for [her]. But believe it or not Tanisha’s parents were very accepting. The timing was right, which I think helped, and now I think that’s led to a more positive relationship. And I think in the future too, we can incorporate little aspects of both cultures and we’d be better for it. The only downside, was having to lie to [Tanisha’s] parents—I’m not a big fan of lying.
T: Having the two different cultures was kind of just a positive and negative thing; positively because the different cultures obviously bring different views to the table and it allowed us to discuss different options available. But, I was born and brought up in Canada so I wouldn’t say that I’m heavily influenced by my culture like my parents would be, because they were born and brought up in India. The most I’d like to think that I bring from my culture is the great food and the clothing. I mean there are the negatives such as obviously with the strictness of my parents, they’ve definitely gotten more lax as I’ve gotten older and now that Matt’s joining the family they’re starting to open up a bit more. But the biggest negative factor was not being able to tell my parents about Matt.
But how hard was it to hide it from them?
T: In all honesty it wasn’t as bad as people may think it was. My parents were super overprotective, which means that hiding things from them was just a part of my life. It was just norm for me. And fortunately Matt was super understanding of my circumstances and also understood that for us to be able to continue seeing each other, I’d have to tell my parents when I believed that they were ready to hear the news.
It also helped that I was studying away from home for the majority of our relationship. Like out of seven and a half years of being together, seven of those years I was away for school. And then during the summers when I would go back home, he’d be in Calgary. So it’s not like I could see him even if I wanted to. So when we were apart, we just kept in touch through a lot of phone calls, texts and Skype.
M: The only thing was because we were hiding it so much, she couldn’t just come hang out. I’d say that started a little bit of fights on my end because I’d just want to see her.
T: Then they heard about you and now we’re engaged.
What was your perception of love growing up and how has that changed?
M: I got to see love in my household. I got to see different perspectives of love I guess. I know love during childhood through my parents. I didn’t really watch, like I’d watch TV, but I wouldn’t really base love off that because I knew that it had a sense of fakeness. But I got to also see sides where it didn’t really work.
T: My parents had an arranged marriage, so it’s not like what you imagined a marriage based on love to be. So the only influence I really had was what I heard on the media, but even then I knew it wasn’t the real thing. The media portrays it as super cheesy or dramatic, which it can be at times, but obviously not on a daily basis. So I went into this relationship with a blank canvas, just ’cause I didn’t have an idea of what to expect. But then things kind of just got comfortable in the most loving sense and I knew it was right.
Did they expect you to have an arranged marriage?
T: Yeah! In our culture it’s expected that once you finish with school the next step is marriage. And my dad heard from my mom that she thinks that I might be seeing someone. So I guess before he moved forward with trying to find a suitable boy for me, he wanted to confirm with me. And that’s how I ended up telling my dad.
So why Matt? What do you love about him? What do you love about each other?
T: It’s the fact he compliments me in the best ways and vice versa. Where I can be the pessimist, straight forward, or the realistic person at times, he’s the one that pulls me through and keeps me optimistic. He’s the spontaneous one who’s down to jump into anything at any time, whereas I’m the one who likes a detailed plan right to the very fine print kind of thing. But despite these differences, our morals and values are the same, so together we work on finding the perfect balance to achieve the same goal. And the fact that I can trust him with anything and know that no matter what, he’s always there for me, it just makes us the perfect team.
M: I love that I trust her with everything, including my heart. As cheesy as that sounds I believe that trust is actually held higher than love. Like you can love someone but not trust them. That includes both being able to just be yourself completely in your most vulnerable state and trust each other with everything you have emotionally, physically. And I have this with Tanisha.
So love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two.
M: I’ll just repeat what Tanisha said at the start: love is home. Basically whenever we are together it feels so natural it feels so great, it’s so comfortable. It’s perfect.
T: It’s like you’re just internally at peace.
M: But when you’re separated it’s like you’re missing something. Like even though you’re able to be by yourself and whatnot, you’re still missing a vital part it feels like.