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#DeepVeer give us #CoupleGoals, but what about the responsibility they have to their fans to give them a more realistic view of relationships?
#CoupleGoals that celebrity couples portray via photos and interviews are carefully curated to maintain an image, and may lead young couples to have unrealistic ideas about relationships. While one hopes that celebrities will be socially responsible and present a more honest picture it is important to remember that we don’t take such #couplegoals too seriously.
#DeepVeer are one of India’s most aspirational “brands” when it comes to celebrity couples. The media and entertainment pages are often filled with news about their holidays, their Instagram posts in which they tag each other, and cutesy stories about their life as a married couple. And not just Ranveer-Deepika. The same goes for Priyanka and Nick, Anushka and Virat etc. All of these carefully curated tidbits are what go on to create what is termed as #couplegoals or #relationshipgoals, which many young people take quite seriously.
In a recent interview in which Ranveer Singh spoke about his life after marriage and his relationship with Deepika, he claimed that they don’t fight at all. The statement struck me as odd, and led to my making a Facebook post about the same, which led to an active and insightful discussion with other Women’s Web authors on my friends list.
I wrote, “In a recent interview, when asked who gives in first after a fight, Ranveer Singh says that he and Deepika Padukone don’t fight at all. Because they are “cocooned in love” and there is “no space for doubts and misgivings” in the relationship.
While this sounds good, I wish he hadn’t said that. I wish he had said that they work together to fix whatever disagreements they may have. That no one has to “give in” because it is not a question of winning or losing, but about working together.
There is this misleading idea that “good couples don’t fight.” That there is no discord and perfect agreement on all issues. To be very clear, I am not in favour of verbal/physical abuse or violence. That is unquestionably wrong, irrespective of who does it.
When I say fighting, I mean differences of opinions.
And while fairy tale couples have a conflict free “happily ever after,” couples in real life disagree. To different levels. Some couples more, some less. The difference between relationships that thrive and relationships that don’t, lies in how the conflicts are handled.
That is why I love Michelle Obama’s honest accounts in Becoming, about her disagreements with Barack Obama, and her admission that they underwent couples therapy.
Because when we don’t accept that even the couples who are #couplegoals argue, we feed into a harmful idea about love. We let people believe that they have failed in a relationship, when all they are having is a human experience.”
Sonia Chatterjee was quick to point out that, “they are married for a few months now. The initial phase is always lovey dovey with very little space for disagreements. Let’s get back to him after a couple of years. I am sure that the story would be very different then.”
Rashmi Raj reiterated that, adding, “maybe they do have fights and maybe they don’t… but knowing Ranveer Singh and his louder-than-thou personality, maybe we should just take this with a pinch of salt”
Others like Seema Taneja and Kalpana Mannivannan agreed that while the couple was in their honeymoon phase, and they probably don’t have too many serious arguments, they still have a social responsibility because they are public figures. “Being a celebrity, these words can get misconstrued by people as a standard for successful happy marriages. It’s important that people in public eye keep things real because their words reach and affect many,” wrote Kalpana. Seema agreed, “Such words could affect young couples who are just starting their married life together and as you say, celebrities should choose their words more carefully.”
Akshata Ramesh noted that, “it sounds just like a fairytale with mushy love and stuff which we all know is not true. Feeding such unrealistic ideas about love is really dangerous. I certainly cannot relate to it,” and Surbhi Rastogi wittily pointed out that, “If they don’t fight, it’s probably coz they never talk! That’s just a juvenile statement.”
Parvadavardini opined that “it’s these disagreements which help us grow in a relationship and also understand the other person better.”
Ashvini Naik and Rachana Gupta had some wise words to add.
“No two people on earth can stand all of each other’s traits & habits. There’s always room for entropy in a marriage. But your actual #couplegoals are about winning over those turbulent moments & letting ego wear off to get stronger & fonder with time,” said Ashvini.
Rachana Gupta echoed these sentiments, “Honestly what are these #couplegoals. Every relationship makes its own goals and why should the world decide how good or bad it is. It is up to the two individuals to be living that human experience every day and that itself is enough.”
All of us are careful about what image we present to the outside world. We choose to present only those things that we think make us or our lives look good. Clinical psychologist Gemille Cribb, of Sydney’s Equilibrium Psychology calls this the “filtering process.” For celebrities, who have a “brand image” to maintain, this picking and choosing is even more important.
However, Ranveer-Deepika are among the more open and honest couples. Priyanka Chopra-Jonas too, in her recent interview to Elle shared how marriage was a different experience compared to dating. “I’d never realised having a husband and a boyfriend are such different things. When you say your vows, it’s like, this person is my family, and it’s the family I chose. There’s a weird responsibility to them. And a safety that comes from it. We are learning about each other every day,” she said.
While we can always hope that celebrities will be socially responsible, it is ultimately up to us to remember and realize that there is much more to a successful relationship than picture-perfect #couplegoals.
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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a
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