Delaying the inevitable

Mar 6, 2018-

Dear Aunt,

I am a grade 12 student and my girlfriend recently broke up with me. We were in a relationship for three months until there was a disaster. She comes from a very sophisticated but conservative family; her parents still do not allow her to carry a phone. When we talked on phone, she either called me from her parents’ number or the landline. One unfortunate day our call apparently got recorded, and her mother got hold of it. We were talking about things that are considered sinful in her family. Her mother confronted her and she felt guilty about bruising her parents’ trust. She single-handedly made the decision that our relationship can no longer continue and this is over. I was hurt. She tried to convince me to move on, but I was not ready. I even begged her to stay. I tried to convince her that instead of ending it here and now, we could instead wait it out. We will graduate +2 in a couple of months, which means she’ll have more freedom to do whatever she wants to. She will even get her phone. It is hard for me, but I am holding on because there is consolation that we will get back soon. There’s one thing that’s bothering me though. After all I have been through, I have realised that I am horrible at coping with heartbreaks. And honestly, I have my doubts. I feel like she is going to break my heart again. I am devastated now, and I’ll be devastated again. How do I avoid getting so hurt?

—Sean 

Dear Sean,

If you have mutually decided to wait for couple more months, wait it out without over thinking situations that are yet to happen. Yes, heart breaks are difficult and more so when you are very much invested in the other person. But taking stress about another heartbreak that is yet to happen does nothing but harm you. You are wasting a lot of time and energy focusing on your future at the moment. It is understandable that you want to be equipped when and if the next heartbreak happens, but you also need to understand that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dealing with one. Every person has their own way of coping with heartaches. There are a couple of things you can try though. To begin with, work on your inner strength and confidence. To be not miserable when a relationship falls apart, you need to be in a position where you can love and accept yourself for who you are. You need to be in a position where you do not feel incomplete without the other person. You need to be in a position where you are enough. If you want to avoid, or minimise, the pain and agony that accompanies heartbreak, it is important that you are not dependent on the other person. It is one thing to want to share your life with somebody; it is a different thing altogether to let her define who you are or what you can be. Use these few months to become a person that is confident and independent. Some relationships work, others don’t, but there’s one relationship that is everlasting and it is the relationship with self. Invest all your time and energy in being the person you aspire to be. That should do the trick.

 

Suffocating in a marriage 

Dear Aunt,

I am a 30-year-old married woman with one daughter. Mine is a ‘love’ marriage that happened against all odds—we don’t belong to the same caste and we also have 10 years age gap. There were hurdles from the very beginning. Because we come from different backgrounds, his family first refused to accept me, but now we live with the same family. I thought it was going to be fine. We were in love, but things changed after marriage. He is a different man. He has no time for me. He was always an introverted person, but after marriage he also grew boring and distant. I decided to have a baby in hopes that things would warm up between us. I thought the baby would bring us back together. But, if things have changed at all, it has only changed for worse. I am the least important person in his life. First comes his work and parents, then our daughter, and then me at last. He doesn’t care about how I feel or what I am going through. He doesn’t love me anymore. When I reflect on my marriage, I regret it. He might be a good man, but he’s not a good husband or a life partner. If it was not for my baby, I would have filed for divorce, but now I feel stranded. I am not financially independent to raise my daughter on my own and I know it’s wiser to make a compromise and stay in the marriage. But, sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. What should I do? 

—Sny Sth 

Dear Sny, 

You seem to have gone through a lot to be with the man you love. It is so admirable that you have stuck around and done everything in your capacity to make this marriage work. Unfortunately, the thing about any relationship is that you do not know when it might fall apart. You can never tell when a person falls in or falls out of love. Both these processes often take place very swiftly and before you even realise the situation and its consequences are already more amplified than you’d expect it to be. Given that your husband is not much of a communicator it is difficult to tell whether he is just occupied or really not in love anymore. Sometimes you wish people came with huge signboards that read out exactly how they feel; unfortunately that’s never the case. Before you make any harsh decision, you might want to take the time to sit him down and talk things through. He owes it to you. It is natural for the spark to fizzle out over the years. But if you are feeling lonely and deprived of the warmth that you would expect from a marriage it is high time that you communicate. If he agrees to talk and is willing to solve the problem, remember to be receptive. Pay close attention to what he is saying. Listen and try to understand where he is coming from in order to work out the differences. And remember to be utterly honest about how you have been feeling. However, if he refuses to talk, to listen to what you are saying, or to address the agony you are going through, it might be time to move on. It is a sign that what lies ahead is just many, many years of unhappiness. Yes, financial independence is a factor. If you want to file for a divorce and know that you need 

to be in a position to raise your daughter as a single mother, start hunting for jobs. If possible find a job where you can apply your skills, if not find at least something that pays and keeps you occupied. Give it a year so that you are in a stable place with minimum savings required to start over. And then move on. Remember, it’s never too late to spread your wings.

Published: 06-03-2018 08:13

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