Thursday, 8 February 2007

The Fools we are in LOVE!

A rather lengthy article I chanced upon in a magazine and could not help taking it personally. Though the headline was 'The roller coaster called Unequal Love', I thought i'll give it my won spin. Hehehe:


You're lonely, under societal pressure or just plain bored. And a man who you know is totally smitten with you, asks you out. You say yes because there's nothing else going on in your life. Sounds good? Nidhi Vyas begs to differ: 

It's flattering. Plain and simple. To be pursued single-mindedly, relentlessly - well, it IS a high. Of course, the fact that I am going out with him purely because of how HE feels and not so much because of how I do, should set off a few warning bells.
And of course, the fact that I have gone down this path with someone else with disastrous results just a few months ago should set off a few more. And, the fact that a part of me, if I am completely honest, knows that I am going out with him because the other options are not too appealing should actually set off warmng gongs.

But I am not a cautious person.

And, it appears, I do not learn from my mistakes.
If I have established myself as a dysfunctional romantic, let me hasten to add that the relationships that I have been in for all the right reasons have been healthy, even deliriously happy. And the ones that I have gotten into for, well, reasons that I have been unsure of, have been catastrophes just waiting to happen. As this one probably is.


Dirk Stroeve from 'The Moon and Sixpence' 
By W. Somerset Maugham

When you're single, and you get to know someone well enough, some part of you puts them into one of these two slots: 'Dateable' and 'Nahh, wouldn't really'. The trouble begins when you try and force someone from slot no 2 to slot no 1. I have done that. And now, everything is suddenly unnecessarily difficult. I am perched somewhat uncomfortably on a pedestal of somebody's else's making. The scales in this relationship are horribly imbalanced. He trusts me with a faith that I don't think I have yet earned. He certainly hasn't earned mine. He is infinitely more curious about me than I will ever be about him. I don't care about whether my hair is washed or not when I meet him - even though I have only just started dating him. He treats me like a queen (no exaggeration). When there's even the hint of a disagreement, he apologises before I have even taken offence. Where there should be the rush of a new relationship, there is an overw'helming guilt. Guilt for not loving him the way he loves me. Guilt for not wanting to call him as many times that he would like (and understandably so). Guilt for not matching his eagerness to meet up. Guilt for being unable to encourage the subtle advances he makes towards intimacy. Guilt about the fact that he's a great guy and should be going out with someone who wants to be with him just as badly. Guilt for exploring this at my own sweet pace, knowing that each moment I prolong this, he will become
deeper involved.

I hear what you're saying. You can fall for someone very gradually ... if you spend enough time with him or her.You don't always need to have lightning strike you. That's the stuff fluffy romances are made of. Proximity leads to comfort, which can easily escalate into romance. Isn't that one of the main things that make arranged marriages so very successful? The gradual togetherness that stems from mutual understanding?

I completely agree. But even then, how many times have you heard couples saying, we just' clicked'. I hear it till my ears ache. Ask them what was it that 'clicked' and they're unable to tell you. They dissolve into happy grins and helpless shrugs. But I know what it is.

It's something in the way the other person has reached out and grabbed us.

It can be the way they looked, something they said, the way they laughed. Click!
And that 'something' was enough for them to know. It is that 'something' that most singles look for, hope for wildly, even if the prospects of it emerging are dim especially when you are going out with someone only because they're besotted with you. What you have to decide is, if you find that they don't have what it takes to sustain your uncertain interest, can you let them go and wait for someone
else, who mayor may not come into your life?

The truth is, I believe in love. Not the kind that books and movies talk about (though I know couples who are lucky enough to have that too), but real strong love that is simple enough to live with. If you're dating someone, ask yourself this, as cliched as it may seem: Can I see myself with this guy after 10 years? The vision that builds itself up when you think about it is the clincher.It should be someone you just KNOW you want to be with for life. I am looking for that 'something'. If he doesn't have it, I hope someone else will.

"Imagine this: All your friends are couples,
there is immense social pressure on you to
find someone, and there is this single guy,
who doesn't repel you and seems interested.
So you think, why not? The problem starts
when one of you wants to take this casual,
hanging out together type of relationship
to another level and the other one doesn't.
The rules change, the dynamics shift. And
that's when everything starts going downhill."



Loving someone with all you have while he is oblivious about you isn't exactly a party. But Prabha Kumari Sinha finds that being a romantic fool
actually built her character:

Falling in love with a much older man is difficult enough but when he does not return your love, worse, uses your undying devotion to feed his ego, your belief in the purity of this emotion cannot but be severely damaged. The feeling of utter dejection, the willingness to destroy one's essence in pursuit of a love unrequited, the helplessness of not being able to win over the object of your affection - oh yes! I can feel that torment keenly even today. The sheer fi'ustrarion of not being able to reach out to the one person who means more to you than the whole world is a terrible feeling. It brings wirh it doubts, and questions that have no answers, apart from a sheer drop in one's self-esteenl. Even today, if I were to meet him, my first question would be: Why? Why could you not respond to my feelings? And whatever he says, will never make me understand why the one I picked, chose to ignore me. But after 13 years of having loved and lost many times over, I can say that his lack of response has been a great lesson. And I am definitely not alone when I say that this kind of rejection is good for the soul.

"Oh God. This situation is painful. I wanted to
go out with this guy really badly. But
unfortunately, he didn't feel the same way for me.
I was the friend that he came to talk to
about his hot girlfriends. It was souldestroying.
The problem occurs when you tell the
guy how you feel. Then instantly, everything changes.
Awkwardness creeps in. He doesn't know
how to behave with you anymore and you don't know
what the hell to do about your feelings.
What did I do? I behaved like an adult. I shoved my
pain away and moved on. Try it"


Authors, poets and playwrighrs have put unrequited love on a higher plane than other kinds of love, and like most people, I too am conditioned to think thar this is the acme of real, heart-felt emotion, that it is the toughest form of devotion. And this is terrain that we have visired at some time or other in our lives - whether as crushprone reenagers or even later in our ostensibly more adult years.
Most of us romantic fools have, at some point or other, hankered after a man who doesn't even know we live: your best friend's handsome brother who thought you nothing more than a pest; that guy in high school who did not know you were alive even though your heart was beating only for him; or that heartless ex who nlOved to another girlfriend even while you were pining for him. It is often felt that the person who does not respond is somewhat in a more advantageous position, but I beg to differ. This kind of emotion proves to be a fantastic teacher. And whether you like to admit it or not, this unacknowledged love plays a huge role in how you will approach love in your life again. Some of us learn to be more open-hearted and positive about loving and losing, others know that keeping some part of the soul detached is what keeps their world sane. For me, it meant learning how to move on without bitterness.

Sure it was tough, tears were a constant companion as were excruciating self-doubts about my IQ, my looks, my sanity ... but in all of this, the lesson I will never forget is that love is all about giving not receiving. The minute I sit down to count how much I have got back in return for what I give, I cease to be a lover. I become a book-keeper. In love, equality of emotion is really not the objective.
Unreciprocated love offers you an opportunity to win the person you want. Where is the excitement if the man you love immediately returns the feeling? The thrill of the chase vanishes. Languishing in love has its own romance and is a very potent character-building tool. Even though it brings numerous pangs of pain, it is one emotion that is closely linked to a very basic human instinct: The will to survive.

My learning? Don't be afraid to love the one you want. Whether he loves you back or not is a matter of chance. If he does, then life is smooth but if he doesn't then
in all likelihood you have an opportunity to discover the
lengths you are willing to go to get what you want and the strengths you have when your best efforts yield no results. After all, love is a gamble.


Savita Sharma has rebounded with the intensity oj a squash ball. She knows the drill well enough to have some answers for us:

I have made a career out of relationships on the rebound.

Yes, there was a time, when romance was a must in my life!
One connection led to the other. If a liaison got over, I made sure that there was another one in queue. "What's wrong with you? Why can't you live without a guy in your life?" asked a friend.Was that true? I had NO rational explanation for my behaviour! Probably, it was because I was scared to be single. Or probably, it was because I kept hunting for that 'perfect man' in every man I met.

The result: I had three broken relationships in four years. I was in denial after every break-up. And I was perennially 'soaked' in grief.

By now, you must have created an image of me being flirtatious and frivolous. I am nowhere close to it. I don't flirt. I never dated for the heck of it. And I never had many close guy friends. So, why was I walking in and out of relationships at this rapid pace?

I had no answers. It took me another harrowing (but final) relationship to find the answer. The bottom line: I had never healed. Every time a bond crashed, because I realised he wasn't my ex, I gave myself no time to grieve. I shoved the hurt and dejection into the remote corners of my heart and inunediately opened my heart to another man. The emotional baggage just kept piling on, getting heavier and weighing me down. And since I didn't have the guts to go to a counsellor, I 'googled' myself some solace on the Internet. An advice column on by Hara Estroff Marano, says, "What makes 'rebound' relationships so unstable is that they're often rushed into for the wrong reason - someone looking either for proof that they are lovable after a failed relationship or for the sheer comfort of deep intimacy, or distraction of being with someone rather than alone." Another valid point she makes is, "People choosing a mate the second time around often look for traits exactly opposite to those of their first partner. Mistake!"

The last man I dated was a 'ready-for-commitment' type. He was tall, dark and pleasant looking. Unlike the 'boy' - non-committal, charming, humorous and carefree - I was dating two months before this relationship, for nearly two years. Opposites attracted and I accepted his proposal in exactly less than a month of meeting him!

The next two months zoomed past in a courtship that was any woman's dream. When I was upset, he would walk into my house with a bunch of roses and a box of chocolates (I hated both from the core of my heart, yet accepted with false delight). When I was angry, he would pacify me with sweet nothings and fancy dinners. I do admit his concern and want to be with Ine was flattering! He was unlike the other 'insensitive' and 'unconcerned' men in my life! At least, that's what I chose to believe. I forced myself to 'love' him. He took eight steps forward just to see me take a single step towards him. I wobbled horribly. But I balanced the ilnbalance marvellously. Were my experiences helping me walk through it? I didn't know!

Yet with time, a resentment of his extreme sweetness and possessiveness surfaced. And a fear psychosis - of him knowing that I was unintentionally healing via him - topped it all. I hated kissing him. The thought of being alone with him put me off. And all this worried me.

Then, he took off on a six-month official tour. Shockingly, instead of feeling sad I felt elated! Wasn't I supposed to be unhappy? Wasn't I supposed to miss him? Wasn't I 'in love' with him? I wasn't. And this time, I didn't offer any explanations to others (or to myself) to kill the guilt of not loving him or missing him. I enjoyed the 'being alone' state. I lived in self-inflicted ostracism going to art exhibitions alone, eating out, sitting and reading in parks, and even watching a movie in a theatre ... ALONE! I realised, at last that the state - alone but not lonely - was pure bliss!

I had given myself a chance to heal. And guess what? I WAS healing miraculously. I literally felt all the pain and insecurity of the previous relationships dissipating.
My love on the rebound was fading and he was slowly becoming a memory. I confessed how I felt and ended things with him. Yes! I hurt him. Do I hear a murmer of disapproval from you? Gosh! I was tired faking it! We fought for weeks over the telephone. But it ended. But this end taught me to how to live with myself and respect love.

This end taught me to celebrate my 'singledom'.

So, here we are, getting our hearts broken, looking for love, all generally climbing on and off the merry roller coaster of love. You'd rather have the perfect world, wouldn't you? So would we, honey, so would we. But think about it. When you're on a roller coaster, you scream, you cry, you throw up, but when you're off it, admit it, it was an exhilarating ride. You learn something new each time. And so it is with love. You'll still scream, you'll still cry and well, sometimes, you'll even get sick (preferably on him if he's a jerk). But it'll always be one hell of a ride.

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