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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Relationships: Are they one of life's jokes?

Relationships are funny things - you can't live without them and sometimes, you can't live in some of them either. When relationships are ascribed ones and not acquired ones - like the one we share with our parents or siblings - then if your not happy with any one of these people for any reason, it's difficult to deal with. You know you'll never be able to get out of being around them, and everyone will want you to keep making an effort till the end of time, to sort things out.

Acquired relationships are more transient and flexible. You don't like someone, then you don't have to put up with that person. Since marriage is an acquired relationship, you should be able to walk away if you don't want to be with a person anymore. Not because I think marriage is a cheap institution, which in a way it is! It's really about two people exchanging vows to provide services to each other free of cost. (I have coined a nice term for marriage that I use around some friends: Socially sanctioned sex.) But if both parties agree to it (and keep their end of the deal faithfully), then it works. I think marriage is an expensive proposition - especially for women, and ironically, they are the ones who hanker for it, almost as badly as men.

Until things are too late, and so many of them end up with regrets. I should know because any number of women in my family are unhappily married to men who totally didn't deserve them. Whenever I bring this up, in context to the question of when am I getting married, then people joke it off by saying "You were not there to give us advice." or "We should have consulted you, even though you were just a child then." Actually, I wish they had! I was a worldly-wise child before my time, and I was anyway living in my parents bad marriage for years, while my aunts were just getting into their marriages with stars in their eyes.

And more than consulting me, they should just have been more observant and see what married life entails for women because there is always plenty of evidence around. I know a friend of mine who is 9 years younger than me, and she's feeling the pressure from her family to get married. I told her to wait till she was 30 and enjoy her freedom because married people never talk about how much they envy that about us. They only look at us with pity, like we don't understand how suffocated they may be in their relationships, but they have to put a nice face to it! She laughed and didn't feel weird for wanting to delay marriage by a few years.

I think any relationship works if both parties know they haven't been exploited. It's not the case though. A lot of women have ended up feeling trapped and exploited. Here's an example. If you asked my mum, which religion she belongs to now, she won't have a proper answer to give. That's because having been born a Catholic, she married a Hindu. My Hindu father went about changing her identity so completely (and she allowed it), that not many people know she was born Joyce Margaret Serrao, but everyone knows she's Jayshree now. So having made compromises of such huge proportions, mum regrets it now and therefore, doesn't know which religion she belongs to. Dad did it all his way, including getting her to sign a stamp paper renouncing her religion (which she conveniently doesn't recall doing), but I've seen that document.

So you see what happens when women act starry eyed and dumb (or is it too trusting?) when getting married - you get taken advantage of big time. Marriage is supposed to be sacred but that hasn't stopped people from treating it like a joke. And treating women's identities, dreams and hopes like disposable commodities. And obviously, such men only end up in bad marriages. A sad farce. A socially acceptable flop drama...until the woman wants a divorce. I'm glad women are asking for divorce. After all, there is more to life than the idiots they ended up marrying! Besides, I feel it's better to be happily single than unhappily married.

I've not seen trust, fidelity and a lifetime's service being repaid with anything but ingratitude and a sense of entitlement. So, men feel they are entitled to all of our good behaviour and good natures, and we don't get any of that in return. Not as if we are entitled to it. We get it, only if we are lucky to be married to men, who give it to us as our right, out of their own free will. They give off their best to their significant other, whom they want to keep happy. My dream man falls in this category obviously. But how many of them are out there anyway? 

And while I don't condone married people having affairs, this kind of thinking has not bothered married people at all. I get leched at more by husbands, often when they are with their wives. Some of my married male friends tell me, they still have feelings for me. (And I never dated any of them, we were just friends.) I'm so happy to know this because it just shows what I anyway think, that people marry for the wrong reasons..and often the wrong people. If you are going to do more research over which car brand you want to buy, than what kind of person you are marrying, then you deserve the mess you get into. 

And anyway, I prefer to keep men pining. Not out of cruelty and selfishness. More out of a sense of self preservation. I know just how sweetly men can talk to you and make you feel like you are the only one for them, when all the time, they are scanning other women and thinking of keeping their options open. Women are now doing it too...and why shouldn't we? Men should be repaid in their own coin. Besides, if it keeps me safe from alligators masquerading as men, then I'd stick with this strategy.

So, if there are any male delinquents reading this, and looking to convince a particular woman that she's the one they truly want, then first take a look at your own motives carefully and completely honestly. And tell the woman upfront what you want out of her, and let her decide if she wants to meet you halfway, and on what terms. Don't con her into marrying you, and then become great white sharks overnight. (And no, the sex you offer isn't all that great. So, don't hold that out as a promise. Since a lot of my married friends are not happy with their sex lives, and they have told me so. Two of them, in fact, told me not to get married for sex because it was overrated! So, unless you know for sure, from a woman, that you are so wonderful in this department, don't assume you are.)

Which is why I had decided as a 13 year old (when most other teens were still dealing with their hormones and crushes), that any long term relationship I acquire or get into, will be on fair, generous and equal terms for me. And not, what the world thinks is right for me. I let other people make relationship mistakes, while I watch and learn....and have a good laugh at their expense. After all, someone has to applaud at the drama.

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