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True Love And Contemporary Relationships: Trends, Problems And Way Forward

Posted on February 17, 2012 in Specials

By Ashish Kumar:

The prime reason of humans evolving as masters of all life-forms has much to do with the existence of a prominent heart and its influence over superior intellect. My point is that humans have achieved mastery in the art of making love in addition to just dousing the carnal desire and reproducing in hordes. The timeline of humanity is flooded with innumerable accounts of legendary lovers who sacrificed their lives for the safety of their beloved, erected monumental edifices in memory of their lover, wrote tons of romantic literature and even waged wars and killed millions vying for their partner. India, in particular, is known for its anecdotal love-strories of Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha, Salim-Anarkali and Shahjahan-Mumtajmahal. The Indian romance has been famous for its tenderness, shyness and vocally unexpressed but expressed-through-eyes love. It used language of eyes and emotions used to transmit from heart to heart. The sacrifice and wait were the golden words. They could wait till eternity to meet in havens! What they sought was spiritual and emotional unison and not the momentary pleasure of physical touch.

Today, the love-making and dynamics of relationship between the two sexes have undergone a sea change compared to that in the past. In general, love is losing its transcendental and eternal sheen in a blow to our theory of seven-incarnation bonds and longevity of relationships is shortening. The ephemeral, promiscuous and opportunistic relationships are prevalent. The unexpressed, innocent, selfless, serene love is a blast from the past. The longevity of marriages has come down to few years, months, weeks and days. Divorces are mounting and ideas of soul-mates and seven-incarnation-bonds sound crazy. But, the situation is not that grim too. The IT revolution has made it easy for people across the globe to connect and the message-propagation has become flash-quick. The demographics of relationship are changing. We still have love-stories that match Heer-Ranjha and Laila-Majnu in stature. There are still people who make selfless love to their beloved, speak the language of the eyes, control their hormones when they see someone more attractive than their partner and sacrifice petty tantrums and even careers to be with their soul-mate. Love stories of Sachin-Anjali, Amit-Jaya, Ajay-Kajol etc. are the modern benchmarks of love for the simple fact that in all these pairs, one of them has sacrificed his/her career and helped their partner in becoming the best of their profession.

Following are some of the common trends of contemporary relationships:

Cell phones, Social networking and emergence of long-distance relationships- The social networking sites have made it possible to locate childhood-sweethearts while creating the option of finding a brand new lover, online. The online chatting, phone-calls and messages have replaced pigeons and horses who were deployed in past for delivering the maiden-love’s maiden-love-letter. Modern-day couples spend 2-3 hours talking on the phone in the comfort of bed and quilt inquiring each other about minutest details of the day- ranging from what one ate for lunch to what one wore that day. This in addition to every-hour-call and every-ten-minute-text to know the whereabouts and well-being as if nature is going to spill its fury any moment and you need to check for your partner’s well-being every ten minutes! An hour is also reserved for Skype as you can’t believe unless you see it. Does someone love you or have you been shackled in their obsession? Compare this with the yesteryears when there was no luxury of phones and video-chatting and people used to wait for years to hear the voice of and have a look at their beloved. Thanks to science, modern generation would be devoid of this sweet fruit of wait and patience. The frequent calls and resulting verbose manifests in paucity of topics to discuss and unknowingly someone transgresses into a territory which he/she doesn’t want to be inhabited. Then the yearning for space creeps in which is a pretty legitimate demand. A must for a healthy relationship. What’s the solution? Reduce the frequency of calls, let telecom companies bear some more losses (in addition to what they are making in light of Supreme Court’s verdict in 2G case) and all would be well-your partner, your relationship. Eat the sweet fruit of wait and patience!

Opportunism and profit-driven relationships- A lot of people wouldn’t agree to it being the case and others would argue nothing being wrong in it but the selection of partner today is driven by stature, money and associated benefits of the candidate. The people, creating virtual sensation of relationship to those who actually love them, exist and such people use someone’s infatuation with them to get their work done. Such opportunistic people are the reason for the evanescence of modern relationship as they trash their partner once they are done using them-sexually, financially or emotionally. Well, the history is also not less tainted in this regard. But, the conscience dictates that true-love can’t be profit-driven, it should be selfless. The relationship seeking the betterment of just one is not sustainable; both should benefit simultaneously and work for benefit of each other.

Absence of sacrifice, tolerance and shortening lifespan of relationships- In the aftermath of rampant commercialisation, every individual has started valuing the physical comfort and pleasure far ahead of divine and spiritual comfort derived from true love. Everyone wants a lover because everyone else has one. These relations thrive on profuse exchange of gifts, goodies and lavish spending rather than vows of sacrificing all the physical knots for the sake of love. People have started loving their hobbies and obsession more than their relationship and this has become major source of break-ups. Lovers of today want love at their terms and conditions but they don’t understand these are not the rules of the game. The relationship is not an individual’s copyright; it’s a Memorandum of Understanding. If you can’t start or at-least try eating Chinese because your partner relishes it, despite your taste-bud rejecting to savour a bit of it, you are not in true love. If you can’t quit smoking and drinking because your partner wants you to live a bit longer, you better come out of the illusion that you are in love. If you don’t even want to try changing your ways a tad bit to adjust with your partner’s family members or won’t consider shuffling attire or two from your wardrobe to please your partner, you be certain that the relationship is going nowhere. The sense of sacrificing doesn’t always mean giving-up or jeopardising one’s career just to be with the beloved, that takes super-human effort to do that and that is too much to ask for, but there are ample ways of making your partner feel special even if you are sitting at a distance of seven seas. Sacrificing a few habits, obsessions and tantrums would change one for better and longevity of relationship would increase. Capitulating to your beloved’s whims and fancy once in a while doesn’t amount to defeat; you eventually win.

In this button-age, when everything happens in flash of second, patience and tolerance has become rare commodity. People find it tough to let go. People can’t tolerate silly mistakes and serious yearning for space coming from their partner. How can one expect that his/her partner shouldn’t interact or have fun with peers because it infringes upon one’s possession?Everyone has a social life, for god’s sake! Your partner is not your prisoner, not your copyright. There should be time and tolerance for his/her hobbies and passion. There is no doubt it being difficult to digest the fact that your girlfriend shares laughter with another boy, but the sooner you develop tolerance for this the better. There is nothing to worry, if your love is potent enough, she will be possession of your embrace forever.

Living-in relationships and institution of marriage- In big cosmopolitan cities of India there has been a surge in living-in relationships were boy and girl live under the same roof without getting approval from society. There should be no objection because it is a consensual decision of two adults who can think for themselves. The argument of denigration of Indian society by such practices is nothing but a sham. We Indians do the dirtiest of the things behind the curtain but in front of it argue against the same. Only problem with such relationship is that they don’t sustain. In most cases, they are the result of sexual, financial and room-sharing needs. The institution of marriage imposes a societal and legal binding not to quit the relationship. And this has worked very well in our context for years. The challenge to this social contract comes from the fact that both partners work nowadays and who does the household chores is a major concern. Answer-divide equally. If you want equality to prevail, why not start from your home. Once in a while, one can take the extra responsibility and make one’s partner feel special. And what about yearning of Indian parents to be served by their daughter-in-laws? That can come, occasionally, when she wants her husband to feel special. Isn’t her earning money for the family enough?

Conclusion: The whole purpose of being in a relationship is that you derive happiness from it. For some it fetches the inspiration to do well in life. For some it is their lifeline. True love demands a lot of dedication, sacrifice, tolerance and negotiation for sustenance. But, the buoyancy, the fact that someone loves you more than everything and that someone is there for you come what may, is immense. So much so that you easily manage to hover over cloud nine. Our mythology deems it powerful enough to make a death-bed-ridden man all hunky-dory and make geniuses out of stupid. So, be in love, seek love, yearn for it but what about giving a bit back?