Together We Bond

You are not alone We are there and therefore Together we Bond

Low Standards November 18, 2006

Filed under: Reflections — togetherwebond @ 6:43 am
The author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler writes in the introduction of her book Insecure At Last :

“My dreams were limited, simple. All I wanted was to grow up not be hit or molested. I lived as a survivor. Happy every day not to be screamed at, ridiculed, beaten, terrorized, or thrown out. I did not care about a career. I did not think what kind of person might be right for me. It was all about what was not happening, all about the pain stopping, all about safety, security. I wanted a man or woman who would not hit me. This, as you can imagine, is not the greatest prerequisite for a relationship. Not a very high standard. And, it’s broad. And, to be honest, until you have gone back and purged and transformed that initial violation, it is impossible not to keep being attracted to what you were trying to escape”

While she says this in context of her affluent childhood and a physically violent father, it translates fairly easily to any abusive relationship that leaves deep scars in its wake. When men I date ask me what I am looking for in a relationship my most immediate and heartfelt response is “A decent, honest and normal man”.

The best compliment I can pay a man is “I like you as much as I do because you are decent and normal” The response I get to that most often is “And that is all ?” I understand their incredulity and disappointment in that I could not recognize anything else they may have had to offer, that I was reducing their multifaceted entity to such basics. This parallels Ensler’s idea that for a man or woman to not hit her once defined relationship nirvana – it is all about context.

Some have argued those are very broad categories and highly subjective qualities. To me there is nothing ambiguous about the three key things I seek – they are as fundamental as the air I need to breathe. It also reflects what I missed most in my marriage and the abortive pseudo-relationships since. When what most people would take for granted has been impossible to come by in your own life, you set yourself to an abnormally and alarmingly low standard, expect too little from a relationship.

It is so much sadder if you once hoped and desired for more and if you are still capable of offering to your partner a million times more than you want from them. If you do indeed get into an unequal relationship because the scars from the past had not healed to where you were able to articulate your real needs, somewhere down the road the inequity will start to hurt – maybe even more than the wounds that drove you there.

By Heartcrossings –


7 Responses to “Low Standards”

  1. SriPriya Says:

    Dear HC,
    Your collection of thoughts are very beautiful. You have a great art in you. Regarding the above low standards of reflections, its very limited to tell when all that we need is a simple honest personal relationship.


  2. Neha Says:

    That is so well pointed out. You put my feelings in the perfect words. what happens to ‘give and not expect’? Inquity hurts and it stays there forever. What you ask for is simple but so uncommon.

  3. Kunjal Says:

    Oh…your word selection and putting things to perspective are just so awesome.
    No matter what no one deserves to be in a violent situation.

  4. Kunjal Says:


    Don’t you think this post should have been named ‘High Thinking’??

  5. Prakruti Says:

    Enjoyed reading that one… I think inequality in relationships is a clear recipe for failure but each person is somewhat more vulnerable at some point or the other…and if we can love and comfort the other when they need it most..then you could strike a balance..

    You are right with expectations though.. I came to expect less and less from more and more these days too…

  6. HC Says:

    Sripriya – Thanks !

    Neha – I would say most desi women who have decided to divorce have most likely done their utmost to salvage the marriage before giving up. We have had to act against generations of cultural condition to reach that point. We have given too much and asked too little. It sets the stage for being in an abusive relationship. We will be doing gross injustice to ourselves if we continue to repeat that pattern in future relationships. We have to believe that a good marriage is possible and be based on equitable give and take.

    Kunjal – Thanks ! I would add emotionally abuse relationships in addition to violent ones. I will at some point write about the heavy toll that non-violent abuse takes on women. Yes, I do believe that we should think high and not settle for less that we deserve.

    Prakuti – I hope you will expect more from yourself and from your future relationships. Please don’t give up on either.

  7. PurpleA Says:


    Very well pointed out!!
    Quality is essential. If we thrive for quality in our relationships, it makes a distinction.
    When there is a misbalance of quality input from both sides, there begins the differences.

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