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Do you avoid intimacy in your relationships, either emotional or physical? Working long hours? Investing more time in activities outside your relationship? Actively seeking distractions?
Every relationship I know of has one or both partners distracting themselves from their relationship. Yes, all partners do this at some time or the other. Some start early some start much later. And there is no real reason why we do that. Some do it to avoid the physical intimacy, some to avoid the emotional intimacy and in some cases they do it to avoid the relationship itself.
Over the years, I have watched people deal with relationships and it has always struck me that at least 90% of them are better off without that relationship. So why do we get into such relationships and why do we then seek distractions?
To answer the second question first, we seek distractions not only in the form of another partner or an illicit relationship, if you want to call it that! No. Distractions are easy and don’t necessarily involve another person from the opposite sex. They can come in the form of jobs that make you spend hours, days and sometimes weeks away from your partner. It sounds hard to understand, and in this generation of people who work on cross cultural jobs, they often have to do it to keep their jobs.
But I would suggest that before you launch into the hows and whys of keeping a job that requires so much travel, ask yourself, why am I running away from this relationship?
The same holds good for people who reach out to fitness to stay away from their partners. When people tell me they run marathons and that they spend x number of hours at the gym, I ask them, what are you running from? Which aspect of the relationship you are in, makes you run so much?
People who devote their entire lives to their children have the same problem. They are distracting themselves from the core relationship that brought them the kids. They are seeking to stay away from the discomfort of their relationship.
Workaholics, alcoholics, any addicts, helicopter parents, fitness freaks, even phone addicts, what is it that you are avoiding? And why do you choose to avoid these relationships around you?
To start with, look closely at the relationship you are in.
If it’s a marriage, let me tell you this, all marriages are stifling. Yes, that’s the nature of marriage. It stifles you from day one. Think about it. What does a marriage say? To be together for better or worse, with your body mind and soul. Now, while it sounds perfect, do you realise what a large burden it places on you? This in essence is saying, Buddy, you are here for always, no matter what the circumstances and no matter what the situation!
With such a strong statement attached to a marriage, there is very little breathing space. Add in laws and kids and it’s a whirlpool. Constantly churning you and constantly pushing you.
Now, if the marriage vows were to sound like, we are here together to support each other, when we can, in the ways we can, to the best of our abilities, and we won’t promise that I’ll always be there in sickness and health but I’ll always keep you in my mind and I’ll make sure we have fun all through this, we will ride this rollercoaster called life holding our hands and screaming as loud as we can and we will, when we have children, drop all judgements and make sure these creatures we produce behave like good people, we will win at life!
Marriage is overrated and over dramatised. It has to get simpler and with a lot less boundaries. We must stop taking marriage so seriously and we must look to have fun at all times. If on some days I choose to not do the household chores, can my partner let me be? If on some days I’m tired of parenting, can the partner pitch in? If on some days, I don’t want to be a good daughter/ daughter in law, can my partner do that for me?
In marriages, most often, the unwritten rule is that both of us have to be wholly present, wholly into each other and absolutely not think of anything other than each other. Which we do in the early stages of marriage but this same condition becomes a drag after two years into the same relationship. Think about it, what makes your job interesting? There is something new to do every day, week, month and year. You don’t enjoy your job when it starts to stagnate. Then how can you expect that the relationship you are in will be fulfilling if there is no fun and everything is duty-bound?
And this is where the distractions come into play. They break the monotony of the relationship and give us the break from each other. We are renewed by this new found ‘distraction’ and sometimes we seek comfort in them. They become our calling cards soon and we have then started to drift away from one another.
Most of us come back to the relationship eventually when we lose the job, when the kids leave home, and when either of us goes through a major illness.
My question here is, why do we wait for something like this to bring us together? If I’m invested fully in this relationship, I wouldn’t need a distraction. If this relationship makes me feel complete, why would I need to stay away from my partner? What’s the point in being in a relationship if I need a distraction to stay in it? Can’t we just quit being in it and move on to some other relationship that fulfils us?
Here, I find it very amusing that as human beings we continue to let ourselves be conditioned on the ‘One-Love-Theory’! All along our growing years we are taught that we will meet this one man/ woman who will sweep us off our feet and we will live happily ever after!
Today, I challenge this theory and say no! Your needs as an individual change every few years. Do you still wear the same perfume you used to use as an adolescent? Do you still wear the same clothes you used to three years ago? Then why do you struggle through a relationship that doesn’t allow you to grow?
Relationships between a man and a woman are very sacred, and they are sent to us to help us grow as individuals and help each other evolve into whole and complete beings. After we cross each spiritual milestone, there is nothing much we can do for each other except just drag along this wagon called ‘relationship’. We cease to grow and we cease to enjoy what life offers us. We then go down a spiral that takes us lower than where we were before. I would also like to point out abusive relationships here. Why do we hate ourselves so much that we allow anyone to take advantage of us? When do we take control of our lives and stand up for ourselves?
When there is no growth in a relationship, we must be able to step back, take stock and move on. There is no need to seek distractions to make my marriage complete or make my relationship whole. I must be in a relationship that makes sure I don’t need distractions at all! A relationship that allows someone to do their jobs/ parenting/ care-giving with respect, wholehearted support and love, that I believe will ensure that distractions are at bay.
Relationships, like I mentioned earlier, must not be stifling. They have to allow a lot of personal growth without the need to cling onto each other. They have to allow each other to be who they are without imposing themselves, or projecting themselves on to their partners.
Marriages/ relationships are meant to give you moral, emotional, spiritual support. Not break you down and make you someone who you are not. Relationships are meant to help you grow while you have fun. They are meant to make us stronger, better individuals. And they are meant to be so wholesome that you do not need to check your phones often or check on your kids often! They are meant to pull you back from work early so that you can spend it in building your happiness bank balance!
I wish you a relationship that is devoid of distractions, and wish you find not the ‘one’, but may you find your happiness in the ones who will give their love freely and wholly.
Image source: movie promos for Badhaai Ho
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