We have conquered space, biology, technology, art and almost everything. Is it not strange that most of us are yet decrepit about the most basic thing in life- ‘Love’? More wars are being fought inside homes and inside relationships than on the border. Joint Families were in fashion just a few decades back. Over time, it came down to husband-wife-kids. Now, even the husbands- wives want to live separately. Our intellects & arrogances might have grown because of our exposures to the world; but our so called high intellects are slowly becoming divisive (for our own good). Slowly they are turning schizophrenic too. Most relationships are failing these days. Scary!
For most relationships today; thrills, excitements, zing, adventure are paramount than the mundane of long term love. Where is the time to love? Where is the space rather? We so busy chasing our worldly dreams that our relationships have just come to become sheer conveniences in our lives. If a relationships does not make me ALIVE; it might as well be DEAD.
Tracing intimacy in millions of today’s relationships is as uncommon as finding just a few good Godmen or Gurus today. Intimacy does not mean sexuality. It means an absence of resistance. The best stories & examples of true love that we hear inside today’s difficult marriages are those of fulfilled household responsibilities & reproductive needs. Wow! How Romantic 🙂
My 17 years of experience as a Motivational Speaker, talking and writing about relationships with teenagers and adults tells me that – most of the complications in relationships and love stories are created by our own naivety. We keep committing the same mistakes again and again, and expect different results from life. Let me delve into what I believe are the reasons why relationships are failing and how we can fix them a little.
We are relationship Addicts (in majority of the cases that I know)
I have met so many people – both men and women, who are just addicted to being with someone. If they are currently not with anyone, they just keep craving the presence of a boyfriend or a girlfriend in their life. And then they complain that dating is hard. This unfortunately happens for some even after marriage.
And there is no problem in wanting to have someone in your life. The issue – is that most of these men and women appear to be mentally wrought with a lot of confusion about themselves, what they want in life, what they like and dislike etc.
I am talking about their lives, not their shopping carts / restaurant orders. That kind of analysis requires solitude, fortitude of emotions and deep introspection. Cannot happen when you are too busy trying to impress someone and putting your energy into something with uncertain ROI.
Imagine what happens when you jump from one guy or girl to the next – not knowing what you want & simply hoping that the next one will be the right one. The answer is simple isn’t it? You will also not know what you want from them.
Soon, they start feeling unhappy because it means too much compromise on their parts. As they start realizing that this is not what they wanted in their lives, it is often too late, or too far into the relationship. And since it is too far, people wonder if it would be a good idea to just hang on to the failing relationship. Because they are addicts they usually get out of this one & find a new one and the cycle continues.
See the problem with being an addict is – you get no time to realize what you truly want. By the time your hurt and pain from one broken relationship subsides, you are already in a new one and there is no buffer to think – what went wrong and what could have been done right.
Buddy! Your next partner is not a Volini Pain Relief. He/ She cannot be responsible for healing your past. Maybe you need to wash your own ass & the hurts there-in before you commit to him/her.
Having the Courage to be Genuine
I recently wrote about Fear and how it prevents us from living a 100% life. Fear & complexes are also one of the reasons why we end up complicating our relationships and then end up ending them altogether.
People are afraid to be their true selves – and they pretend to be who they think their partner wants them to be because – a) they are afraid of rejection and b) They have probably not given their previous broken ones much thought or realized that – love can never exist in a place where there is a façade, a veil, a show they put up for their partners.
‘Flirting with a mask’ is a very dangerous business. 9 out of 10 times- you are likely to get committed to a wrong person. And – sooner or later, the show will want to end. And then you will get tired of pretending. Your mind will want something else, and your heart will want a completely opposite thing. And in this tussle, your minds just end up suffering to an irrecoverable level (Chronic Depressions or hardened, unpleasant personality traits).
Have you ever noticed? Those who are fearless enough to be themselves have fewer complications and happier relationships. Why? Because they know what they want; they have spent time coming to that realization and they are ready to wait for someone who understands this about them – to come along.
They have that courage to say a ‘NO’. A dozen or more ‘NO statements’ till they are fully ready for a relationship. The emotionally weak ones on the other hand are ready with their YES even before the person comes. Relationships are failing, and becoming more complicated day by day. But one of the best ways to fix these falling relationships is to not settle for less!
A relationship built on the blocks of fear, egos and lies will always have a rocky foundation. These three are the not strongest materials out there you know. I see the complicated relationships of my married friends & realize that the most pivotal thing missing in their relationship is ‘Standards’.
At least one of the two (in a relationship) needs to set HIGHER standards by example and then see how things turn around. But they would not. They treat the entire relationship game like soccer. They just want to score against each other and that’s it. They wish for a fairy tale relationship but are just so unwilling to give up their single ways. And then they ask, Why is Love so Scary and Complicated!
It is about YOU. Not about your Partner.
A relationship can never ever give you what you are capable of giving to your own self. After being married for 12+ years; if there is one thing which I have learned, it is- ‘Happiness in your marriage can not come from one another. It HAS to come from inside you’. (Do give this a read: Why most marriages are failing and how you can fix yours)
Most people appear sleep walking in their relationships. Acting out of moods & not understandings about each other- precisely the reason why relationships start failing. You need to first get rid of your puppet like excited-ness when inside the relationship. If you do not- you’ll soon start feeling a puppet of life.
In the early years of my marriage; I wanted my wife Ritika to change. I shouted, I doubted, I almost walked out on a few occasions. Reason – I was wrong & feverish to a very high extent. She stayed put with her maturity about things. Her maturity only melted me with time. And I learnt- ‘Marriage is a Partnership firm. Till the time I was thinking ‘What can I get out of Ritika’; my relationship was sulking. When I started thinking, ‘How can I add to her life’, it all changed 🙂 .
Today, even if I were to bring the earth, the moon, the stars to her; I will still believe that it is small.
See – it is simple- ‘Love takes a lot of time to happen. But till the time it finally happens; you need to stay married (or committed). The initial years of our marriage were like situation on the border of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir :). A lot of couples might choose to not be at the LOC & just walk out.
One needs to stick it out in THOSE years. With time; you’ll become a ‘Loving Couple’; just the way you become a Dad or a Mom or a Senior Manager in your organization. But you need to STICK IT OUT. You will then become extremely forgiving of each other’s little oddities; for you shall know that love & intentions are a zillion times more beautiful than small irritations. You will always and always find your happiness inside that marriage. You can never find it outside (even if you were a superman).
Friendship & Common Goals
I have sometimes kept friendship on a higher pedestal than love, in a relationship. See, you can’t feel love for a person 24×7. It is a little exhausting to always be crazy about someone; not to mention tiring.
The best way to combat this is – to also look for a best friend (or at least a very good friend) in your partner. That friendship and trust will help you bounce back to the equilibrium stage faster. Because when it comes to love, expectations might be very high; complicating the already complicated things. But in friendship, people realize that they do not have to be perfect, that they are allowed mistakes. There is freedom to breathe, to be ourselves. That’s how love grows.
Please try to remember this –
The most difficult relationships are the ones where the two people are so much into each other (love, fights, egos and more), they leave no space for life itself – their goals, dreams, passions. It isn’t about “Do Jism ek jaan” anymore. There should be a teesri jaan – your common goals in life. There are fewer complications when you have more things to focus on other than your own imperfections and incompatibilities.
If parenting Atharv (our first child) was the cement then having Arya (our daughter) was the interior decoration of the building of our marriage. We shifted our focus from Egos, fights & crap to the needs of our kids and seeing them grow. Love automatically happened. If not kids, it could be a common Goal, a common hobby (e.g. Learning Salsa together) for you. Not Karate together but 🙂
Ask yourself first but ‘Do you love him/her because she/he gives you what you want?. If yes then you don’t love him/her. You only know attention, pampering & ego massage. You do not Love. Rather you simply love getting what you want’. That is why your relationship is a sinking ship. Loving someone is a heroic job. Do not be a comedian in here. Be that HERO ! It is the most beautiful character in this movie of life.