Friday, July 1

You, Me and Stress (Part 2)

For those needing introduction on this series revolving around Why Mars and Venus Collide by John Gray, pls click here:

The others, let’s dive straight into the discussion…

Excerpt - People are more tolerant and positive at the beginning of a relationship. After sometime, routine sets in and men focus on work and other activities to stimulate themselves. Women feel their expectations will not be met, so they lose optimism, hope and trust in the relation. She tries to bring the magic back, but when her efforts are not reciprocated, she loses her glow and motivation. His detachment and her increased attention to their loss of connection builds tension in the relation and they drift further apart.

I bet many of us have been through this phase, the time when a partner (usually the woman) says “nothing’s like it used to be, things were so much merrier and better, and now, the magic is gone…”

It’s nothing but the dullness of routine. Once the partners have been wooed and introduced to each other’s personalities and preferences, it’s BAU (Business As Usual) and the spark goes away. As the movie “Saathiya” accurately portrays: the woman wants a hug and the man says people are watching, the woman complains that he doesn’t charm her and consider her important as he used to, and he states that they’re past the dating stage and there are other more significant things to do as they’re now man and wife and responsible for each other…

Why talk about Bollywood illustrations, this is something all of us have seen and felt. In a new relation, be it a friend or lover, we’re so accommodating. We’re still getting to know the person so most things he or she does are taken with respectful patience and maybe curiosity about the individual and his lifestyle or coping techniques. But as time passes, you think you know it all, and you start predicting a person and becoming irritable and uncomfortable with almost everything that is typical of him or her.

Thankfully for men, they can ignore a woman and live without cribbing too much. A woman isn’t capable of this. Most women will be very verbose and expressive about the fact that something is irking them. When they complain, they are expecting the man to understand how they feel and what they expect. But a man can’t do that. He takes it as nagging, going by the words and gestures used by the woman. If only the men would catch the subtle signals and the underlying message, then women will feel their concern and love, and watch how the conversation and their relation turns around.

Another glaring evidence is that earlier the man loves spending all his time with the woman. He snatches time out for her whenever possible and cancels all other appointments to be with her on critical occasions or to make the simple occasions memorable. However, with time, most things related to the woman become trivial, and the man finds it “necessary” to “oblige” others with his company and attention. Notice the increase in “guy time” after the relation gets a little stale? Women think about the previous times when they were number one priority and fume inside as the guy calmly gets ready to go and party the night away with the gang, unaware how restless his wife is with this plan. She’d rather have him stay and re-create their old magic together.

So many articles, magazines and counselling avenues talk about how to keep the partner interested through sex, conversation, adventure and quality time. Very few of them say that both the partners need to be ready to accept that things will never be “perfect”. There will be angry moments and frustrating occasions, and one can do little but give their partner space and unconditional empathy and thoughtful compassion (for lack of a better term).

You need to stimulate each other and keep the relation alive. Difficult, maybe. But nothing that you haven’t done before. Just because you’ve got used to each other does not mean you stop appreciating each other’s personalities and presence in your life. If you really want the partner to be with you forever (and happily together), then it’s worth the effort. Once your mind is made up, it’s not an effort anymore. It just happens naturally. And brings the passion back in both your lives. After all, isn’t it better to enjoy old wine in the comfort of your favourite armchair at home than to run to the supermarket to buy a tiny pint of flat beer?

(Okay, I’m not really talking about alcohol preferences, I’m just trying to make a point here about how the old and permanent is better than the new and transient.)

Give it a shot yaa. There’s nothing worse than seeing a lovely and mature relationship hit the rocks and disintegrate because of lack of understanding, patience and ardour. Call me biased, but I know women will always try their best to make a relation work and continue, if they see it as worthwhile. A man will just hang around and wait, too lazy to take any action to either make it or break it. So, if you see the girl trying, be fair and help her keep the relation alive and ticking.

I’ve been through this. Several times. Losing a friend coz the problems seem unassailable and the partner too adamant to change. I agree it’s not about changing your partner but learning to live with him/her. But it is also a concern when your partner does not find it meaningful to do (or not do) a few things to convenience or please (or not upset) you. Then there’s a need for serious discussion and deliberation…

Enough deliberation there, here’s the next snippet: A true gem from Mr. Gray… Very relevant, and very very essential…

- Men are not equipped to be the domestic/communicative/romantic partners women fantasize about. Sometimes, men attempt to fulfil that fantasy, he may try for years, but eventually, he gives up. A man may suddenly lose interest and not even know why. He finds himself unable to fulfil his partner’s expectations, and both get frustrated and disappointed. The clue is: a woman should have a realistic vision of what is possible rather than the Hollywood fantasy of a man who fulfils her every wish. She should not take for granted the things her partner does for her.

I think our movies are to blame for this delusion among women. We see all the handsome, successful, caring, charming, perfect men on screen and start believing that our “prince” will arrive. Doesn’t happen.

By the time this bubble bursts, a woman completely loses her chirpiness and ability to feel love. Things become transactional, and a woman starts grousing. The more mature and independent she gets, the more expectations she has from her partner. I guess this is why most Indians get their daughters married at young ages. This ensures that they do not have any rigid dreams and desires, and are still open to tackle whatever challenges life throws their way. Sane idea.

As someone told me once, don’t look for things you want in a guy. Instead, look for things you DON’T want. This will give you a better chance at finding a suitable partner for life. Sane advice. (Thanks, Anu!)

And be ready to not be satisfied 100% by your partner. Think of it this way, he or she wasn’t sent on earth to make you happy. He’s got other things to do. That is obviously no excuse for you both to ignore and take each other for granted. But then, don’t cultivate grandiose and false hopes either. Have a mature and understanding relation where expectations and challenges in meeting them are out in the open and you trust your partner and his/her good intentions. Appreciate what is, and hope for what is not, but don’t get depressed envisaging your partner as Mr. Superman or Superwoman who can read your mind and do what your heart wants.

Wow… quite some insights there, huh?

Enough for today. See ya later, alligator!

Cheerio and good luck with the spouse!


Vishal Bheeroo said...

Hey Anuja
Great post and wow! On most part, what you said it's true..the main thing is communication in a relationship..speak speak and speak, even if its rubbish...Well, some men are expressive and it really help the relationship.
I like the party you said: look for things you DON’T want.


Princess said...

Thanks Vishal :-)

I agree it's important to talk... But sometimes knowing when to hold your tongue is more essential. Tough for us, chatty folks!! But extremely crucial to relationships - both personal and professional.

Good luck!

- Princess

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