“…but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship?”
Sharing an email.
I have a question here.
Reading through posts after posts, I see women fighting it out in bad marriages. Quitting doesn’t seem to be an option, at least not an immediate one. And every post from such a troubled woman invariably has an attempt to bring out the positives too – “….but my husband is otherwise very caring and loving” or “….there is no other problem but the in-laws” etc etc. Essentially, these women are consoling themselves and justifying to themselves why they shouldn’t leave such marriages. The attitude seems to be: “Marriages are sacrosanct. You can’t break them.” Then why is it that pre-marriage relationships are not as sacrosanct?
Let me give some examples before I ask the question that has been bothering me.
7 years old relationship. It was well understood and discussed that the two will marry. Families were aware and were supportive. The guy was 3 years older to the girl and so he was settled in his career while the girl was still studying. It was agreed that they would wait till the girl’s education was over and would marry thereafter. 6 months before the education was over, her mind changed and she dumped him. Her reason – “She wasn’t happy with him”. She could never point a finger at what exactly was making her unhappy. She wasn’t willing to meet and talk and sort out the mess. She just wanted an out. She knew very well how much planning of a joint life had been done. She knew all the marriage proposals that would come to the guy’s parents who would politely turn them down saying our son had decided whom he wanted to marry. The guy had even bought a flat keeping her wishes in mind. She had suggested what kind of a house she would like to live in and the guy bought that, even though financially it was a stretch for him. Now of course, none of this should create an obligation for anyone to stay in the relationship but it only showed how deeply intertwined the two lives were for a long period of time. That there was total faith and trust and a patient waiting for commencement of a new joint life. But within a span of a month the trust of 7 years was shattered to pieces, she dumped him and got married to someone else within next 9 months. The guy is still unmarried today, grappling with the hurt and the inability to trust anyone. A 7 years old relationship destroyed by her based on reasons which even she couldn’t articulate. Not a thought spared on what a mess was being created of the guy’s life.
Girl and guy keen. Girl’s father not so keen. Caste, culture, financial background – everything similar. On paper, there couldn’t have been a better match. And in reality, the couple was as compatible as one could get. Every single person – the girl’s siblings, friends, extended family – all extremely supportive of the relationship. But the girl’s father had a problem with the predictions made by his astrologer. And so he kept on resisting the relationship for a year and made it a huge ego battle, during which several times the girl gave up and dumped the guy saying “I can’t hurt my parents”. The guy stayed patient every single time and supported the girl in her battles at home. After a break-up that lasted 3 months, she wanted one more chance, to which the guy agreed because he did love her and felt the relationship was beautiful enough to be fought one more time for. This time it worked. Engagement date was agreed. A month before the due date, the father threw a tantrum again and she withdrew saying “I can’t do this to my parents. I would rather suffer myself than make them suffer”. So, here was an adult needing daddy’s permission to fall in love and when that permission was denied, she dumped the guy unceremoniously even after the engagement was fixed. Is it that simple to walk in and walk out of a relationship as if it was a revolving door? Is your word / commitment of no value? The girl above, if she now gets as husband a “mama’s boy” who puts his mother before his wife, should she ever complain? After all, she did become a “daddy’s girl” and broke a relationship without sparing a thought on how it would shatter her partner.
I know a few more such instances. Someone wanted to walk out a month before the wedding date (6 years old beautiful committed relationship which involved a very rich guy and a middle class girl) saying “The guy’s family is too rich. I think I want a middle class life” (good sense prevailed and she came back in time. Happily married now, comfortably leading a lavish life, and does admit “what was I thinking then”). Someone else walked out of a 4 years old relationship (great relationship, guy deeply in love with the girl, was a constant pillar of strength and support when the girl’s father passed away abruptly) realizing suddenly that she wanted to be with a more dominating guy (more manly?) and is now in a marriage where she is completely dominated by the husband.
Therefore, IHM, my question is: What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, few perambulations round a fire, a legal certificate, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the “marriage”, however bad it may be, but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship? After all, no one is perfect and once you spend years with a person, and a rocky patch comes in a relationship (it invariably does), one must at least make sincere attempts to make things work again rather than running out of the door at the first hint of trouble. Shouldn’t commitment be a virtue even in relationships?
Now, of course, both men and women walk out of relationships. At times unfairly. But I am surrounded by so many instances where the woman dumped the guy and I do know both sides of the stories to be able to feel it wasn’t right on part of the woman to not give the relationship a chance.
To be completely fair, I do know of strongly committed women too – the ones who fought their families for years but never gave up the side of the guy. I am attending one such wedding next week – girl’s father resisted for 5 years just because the guy is a Christian and the girl a Hindu. The girl didn’t budge and eventually they are getting married. But so many broken relationships around me have the woman packing her bags and leaving. And I wonder, women are capable of caring only for what they want in their relationships, are capable of walking out unilaterally from a very long term relationship when something is not to their liking without acknowledging the good parts which made them be in the relationship for so long in the first place, then post marriage why do women try so hard to “see the positives as well”, why do they try so hard to “make it work”? What’s in a marriage ceremony that instills so much of commitment in these women? Is it all the fear of society that makes women so sticky in marriages? Of course, I understand those women who do it for the sake of kids or who do it because they are not financially independent. But others, I fail to understand. My own exes, sisters, cousins, friends have walked out of long term relationships for a fraction of what they are now tolerating in their marriages.
Yes this is a feminist blog and so I will perhaps be roasted here for this post of mine. But I really admire the maturity and intelligence of commentators here and so I guess even though I will face brickbats, there will be a decent debate on this matter. For I really need to understand – what is it with women and marriages? Won’t give up easily on marriages but will give up on relationships easily without giving a thought on the impact it would have on their partner?
Closing that chapter – just as if nothing happened – Careless Chronicles