Do we really weigh the pros and cons at the beginning, or are we more instinctive and impulsive about romancing someone? Do we have a set of criteria to meet, or do we take the plunge headlong even when none are met?
Do we fall for the lowest hanging fruit for fear of not finding someone else, fear of loneliness? Are we in relationships that are not fulfilling but we stick around on the hopes that one fine day he might come around? Of course, there are no definite answers, and it is subject to our different perspectives.
However, these questions sometimes become my quest, like now.
The idea is not to compartmentalize the myriad colors of these laws of attraction into a sociological phenomenon or suggest a set of rules. But to raise a few questions that have stumped me time and again.
We all have these instant reactions when we see couples. We most definitely know of at least one couple who seems awkward together, making you wonder how they could be in a happy relationship. At other times, we swoon over a pair who seems perfect for each other. However, there is always more than what meets the eye.
The next thing you know, you are at a friend’s party and the perfect pair, to your romantic heart’s disappointment, has fallen out of love and moved on while the other couple you could not believe are together are still head over heels in love.
These realities are sometimes a little beyond comprehension. Who defines who is wrong for us?
It got me thinking about the very source of a romantic relationship. I am not talking about marriages yet, that is a completely different ball game altogether, but young relationships.
Those born out of one or more of these: attraction, habit, persistence, naivety, ingenuity, comfort, convenience, or just the idea of being in love. As I write this, in my mind I am scanning through the relationships I have had and know of – bracketing them into these broad varieties.
A great guy I know – charming, intelligent, sensitive and decent looking – fell hard for my best friend and pursued her for almost a year.
She was defiant in the beginning because after all the years of being frivolous, she was scared and wanted a serious relationship but did not think of him to be the right guy though secretly she waited for him. Two years down, and now they are talking about wedding bells. Persistence.
Contrast that against being in a committed relationship for seven years, from school right through college. And one day, after a lot of contemplation, she decided she had grown out of it and did not feel the same way anymore.
Fair enough – they started out naively, were attracted to each other, cocooned in their comfort zone, and then it frizzled out. Who’s to blame?
In the times we live in, online dating cannot be skipped in a discussion like this. She started chatting with someone and felt an unusual comfort that she enjoyed.
Essentially, she made that a habit and her daily routine was governed by the timings and convenience of this virtual person. He is very much real, but equally ephemeral.
His peculiar ingenuity, his great story telling ability and intellect, a crazy sense of humor have her smitten. She tells him she is falling for him, only to realize her love is unrequited. Was she in love with him or with the idea of being in love?
He loved her; she was attracted to him, too. They were fine until she cheated on him. Does not matter if the other guy was his best friend; he would not trust again. She is now happily married. He is still recovering from his immense loss.
They are still friends, but should they be? Is it fair to the next girl he is with if he can never move on? Or will he meet someone like him, torn by time to be healed in their similarities.
She accidentally fell for a married man. She worked with this guy on a project, met him after for dinner and drinks and the next thing she knows he has asked her out for a party.
She is oblivious about the fact that he is married or seeking separation, and by the time she finds out, she has given all of herself to him. Would she not have fallen for him had she known better?
This list is not exhaustive and I am only playing with some thoughts. It is not cynical to believe that love is not the sole basis of a relationship. Or is it? I just feel it comes much after, if at all!
So what is it that we want from these relationships? I am keeping commitment out of the picture for now. Looks? Passion? Honesty? Companionship? Common Interests? Or just someone to complete your personality – Is that not why opposites attract? Do not answer it.
That is the thing about standards: they do not allow you to think for yourself. Rather, inadvertently, they have you ticking off from a certain ‘list,’ like the one above. Such rhetoric will persist but is passé. What you need to find an answer to though is this – What do you really want?
The writer is in equal measure her mamma’s and destiny’s child, in search of her white picket fence while hanging by a bungee rope.