January 10, 2009

Commitment freaks

Disclaimer: This blog was written at one stretch... If somethings don't make sense, it's okay because they probably aren't meant to. This is just me thinking aloud and as parallel thoughts explode, so does the breadth of the topic.

Recently I've been hearing about soo many of my friends stuck in 'dead-end relationships'. And I used to think "commitment issues" was a thing of the west. And restricted to men. But evidently in the Indian community there are no such restrictions. It seems to work both ways. And it bugs both sexes just the same. When I used to see Chandler on "Friends" or heard Niles tell Frasier to "commit to commitment", I found myself shaking my head disbelievingly. I used to think that it was funny that in the Western world that people dated all over the place, even had a physical relationship and still found saying the words "I love you" as a big step in the relationship. We Indians were different I thought. Needless to say, I don't agree with how the Indian marriages worked in the past where the parents alone met up and decided everything while the ones getting married had the least-valued opinions. Things have changed these days... a lot of them for the better. Even in the quintessential "arranged marriage", the girl and guy these days have a perfectly good acquaintance period before they decide on tying the knot. Of course, the concept of "arranged marriage" is unheard of outside India and a few of it's neighbours. And every new day seems to bring out horrific stories that I don't want to talk about. The only thing I'd like to say is that while "arranging" these marriages, people had better be pretty thorough researching personal backgrounds. However now, with a whole bunch of kids from the country now settled abroad and with India advancing the western way, a lot of youngsters these days find themselves in romantic relationships at a much younger age than ever before by Indian standards. I do not wish to talk about the romance of people under 21.. the typical college romance... the out-of-sight-out-of-mind variety. But this is about the more mature romance that comes a bit later in life.. when you have your career goals in sight, when you know what you want for your future and when you meet the 'right' person where everything clicks... or so you think. What if one side wants marriage while the other is just playing the field? Catastrophe. In most cases, these discussions come up sooner than later through the 'dating phase'. And all's well when both persons are on the same page... and is obviously not when they're not. And really, there do exist storybook romances where all's well that ends well. But this isn't about them or those Shakespearan romances... where the families reigned supreme and where movies got most of their plots. These days the issue lies with one of the 2 involved in the romance... for the want of different things. What then? The easier said than done thing to do would be to break it off and look for someone who wants the same things as you do. But very few people do it at the right time and healthily so that the 'friendship' if there was one can be salvaged. More often than not, a 'rejection' comes with tears, a broken heart and a lost friendship. And some other times, it's not even worth saving the friendship because of the fact that the basis was very flimsy... and in such cases the smartest thing to do would be to sever all ties and never look back and look ahead with no regrets whatsoever. Once again, easier said than done. What is it about a potential 'marriage' that seems to knock the brains off a normally very sane person? The changes involved? The lifetime clause? What?

Having been married for year now, I can proudly say that my life has undergone the minimal possible change that is associated with marriage. Yes, I did move continents.. but that was it. Yes, I had to leave behind a lot of near n dear friends... but I am in touch with them just the same. Otherwise, I find that living with my husband is like living with my best friend. And I mean that in the nicest way possible and yes of course there are added perks. But the bottom line is that we love spending time together, with friends or by ourselves, which is the basic reason that our lives have melded together and there is no big "lifetime" clause that haunts anything around us. Which is the reason we got married in the first place.

I think that though 'marriage' in itself projects a vast change on the upfront, the actual changes that happen in one's life are very gradual. They ease in and they are because of the choices that one makes by him/herself. And while many people seem to assume that they can't have 'fun' after marriage, I just think it shows their fear of commitment. They can smell that something is becoming big and they are afraid that they are going to lose their individuality... Like many of my numbered 'single' friends have the complaint that couples "we" things. There's not much of a "I'd love to come even though my husband's ill" or a "He's going bowling but I'd rather sit and chat with you". Rather it's more like "We'll join you all for hiking" or a "We have plans for Valentine's Day". Well, duh... That's sort of the concept. And while I think all couples should do their own non-coupley things once in a while, it is not out of the ordinary that more often than not they do a common thing. And the complaints are from the ones who are single alone, right? Once they get married, they start "we"-ing things too.

So what's the bottom line? Marriage isn't scary, especially if you've known the person for a while and like most things that you've seen thus far... It's like embarking on anything big in life... like deciding to go abroad to do your Masters... No one knows how these things turn out.. You just hope for the best and but your best foot forward. As with all big things, take the plunge and don't look back. Of course, make sure while taking the plunge, you are as sure as you can be that it's the right person. How do you know that? It's probably what got you thinking about marriage in the first place when you associated it with that person. And as Niles would say, commit to commitment. Period.


Anonymous said...

Intresting topic and perspectives.. but I think not everyone thinks lucidly to make cut and right decisions to eliminate people from their lives. often that is a mistake. But how many people realize that eventually also? But i have seen examples from my peers of the very situation u r talking about. so i can relate to it. well put n very engaging.

Jaya said...

Anon -> Thanks for your views... I donno if what I wrote was coherent at all.. it was a purely unpausing thought typing, if you know what I mean. I sure hope people figure out what they want in life.. It helps them and everyone around them. Keep visiting!

SilasRam said...

Well..... This is an interesting coincidence that I ran into this post at this moment of time. As my parents are in the lookout for girls and planning out an "arranged" marriage, I’m literally freaked out here. I don’t wanna give up few things in my life and I’m damn sure that my future wifey would not like those things for sure. I have been reaching out to my friends who did “arranged” marriages and living happily. All I hear from them is ‘sacrifices’. I have been reading books and web articles to find the things I might have to give up. It does look bad lol.

Fortunately you have put everything in a positive perspective. Thank you – this was very very helpful! I’m kinda breathing some air of relief. I think, it’s the non-coupley stuff which would help things out. Whenever I think about marriage, it does feel like “end of the world” for me. Lol. I believe I could get through this……….

Really good post…….. It does help me a lot!

Jaya said...

SilasRam-> Glad I could help in whatever non-consequential manner! Surely you can find a like-minded girl who wants to do non-coupley things once in a while too.. But believe me, when you do get married, you'll start looking for coupley things to do as well. Everything falls into perspective when you are in it. Good luck with the bride hunt!

Vidhya said...

Good post di..Many times the we-ing is the initial phase when you are trying to do as many things as possible to get to know each other. And I think you do it willingly. At some stage you get comfortable enuf with each other to say " u do ur thing, I do mine and then we meet for dinner types". Also there is always the great chance of your significant other introducing you to something new which you wouldn't try on your own but once you try it you like it (for me it was biking).

SilasRam-> I don't know you but I just wanted to mention that sacrifices ( that word sounds so end of life kind..gosh..I wud like to use the word "giving in") come as a part of any marriage be it arranged or love. And there is no saying what your wife would like or not like. Just give her a chance and she might surprise you by joining you in your "few things which you don't want to give up".
Best of luck in your search..

Jaya said...

Vidhya-> I completely agree... With both of us certified 'married women' calling marriage as a good option, I hope the many people who are afraid of losing their individuality calm down and take the step that they will eventually anyways. And SilasRam, hope her answer helped you as well.. she's married too! Good luck!

Sachin said...

The flow of thoughts do make good sense Jaya. I totally agree with you that the thought of getting married to a specific person itself proves that the person fits into the "right for me" place. You do need to evaluate some other things too before you go for the plunge, but I think those are just extra precautions like - if the guy snores while sleeping sorts. A girl will surely weigh other things and make the sacrifice. And even if the guy doesn't snore, he might start later after marriage. So, as I said, these are additional things. I feel the girl has to think and sacrifice/adjust a lot more if she is staying with her in-laws. So, guys shud seldom complain about commitment.

Vidu - As you said, for M the new thing I introduced was FRIENDS. She used to get a little cranky when I used to watch it, coz she couldn't catch up with the accent. But now, she has and she's loving it. And I am glad, coz earlier I had to "sacrifice" watching it.

Silasram - Sacrifice is the backbone of life. You do it everytime in life. We sacrifice our stay with family when we study abroad, we sacrifice our health, when we smoke and drink, we sacrifice play when we studied in school etc etc. But all the sacrifices has got us happiness (including smoking and drinking). So be sure that you will be happy after this sacrifice too. :D

Jaya said...

Sachin-> In the grand scheme of things where people are terrified of "sacrifices", I think stuff like snoring is something you'd gladly put up with as opposed to a creep! And I don't agree with you that it's all sacrifices (backbone of life statement). I think you mean compromises... and that's entirely different from a sacrifice :D
Anyhoo, thanks for taking time out to type a lengthy comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I was one who was stuck in what u termed as deadend relationship. and I finally managed to break free. i am now looking beyond this one guy and it has really helped my confidence in myself a lot. Thanks for this blog. It was very helpful.

Jaya said...

Anon -> Wow thanks.. Nothing makes someone happier than if the unsolicited advice that was given led to better things. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors in this aspect and otherwise.

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