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Relationship Patterns March 1, 2007

Filed under: Reflections — togetherwebond @ 7:26 am

After much soul searching and unnecessary heartache I think I might have finally come an understanding of the pattern and MO of my past relationships. I have a stadium sized ego cushioned for comfort with a several layers of pride. With that combination, I had for the longest time imagined that my life’s purpose was to take on a man who looked and acted like a train-wreck and “decorate” his life as beautifully as possible. No lesser challenge was good enough for my larger than life sense of my own greatness. I had no interest in any man who wasn’t desperately in need of being saved. I am sure there is an official nomenclature for my condition but whatever it is, sure as hell it is painful to live with.

Like they say, if you want something bad enough in life you end up getting it. I was blessed with the kind of man I sought not once, not twice but thrice. That is what it took for me to understand the fatal flaw of my ways. One marriage and two significant relationships repeated the self same pattern. The first two times, I at least had the discernment to know that I was dealing with men who were completely out of the “normal” range in all respects most notably in raw intelligence.

They managed to awe me with their brains to the point where the train wreck started to look like a thing of unsurpassable beauty. So, there I was head over heels in “love” or more accurately in high alert mode to stage the rescue that would free these very deserving men from their constricting circumstances and propel them to the heights they belonged.

R was in my mind C-level exec material languishing in a low end IT drone job that insulted his intelligence every day. It was my mission to set him on the right career track so he could make CXO before 35. I set to work in sober earnest while our marriage was still in honeymoon mode – its a whole different thing that R wanted that to be the permanent state of our marriage “no staleness, no boredom, no sameness” was his mantra. But I digress. I am glad to report he is almost there, just a year behind schedule with every chance of making the grade in short order. I am vain enough to imagine that he could not meet the before 35 timeline because we are no longer together.
Malhar, my first significant relationship after calling it quits with R, was doing almost as well as he should have career wise so there was not much I could bring to the table. What a crushing disappointment that had been ! Being that he managed mergers, acquisitions and such other arcana for a living, there was precious little I knew that could further the cause of his career. But there was a role for me in his life. He was a rescue-worthy project beyond the shadow of a doubt.

His two adorable little boys need a mother just like me because their own mom was too self absorbed to be there for them. Apparently it would be love at first sight between me and the pint sized brats and J would fit right in the mix. In a matter of weeks he had proselytized me to accepting the blended family as the ultimate Utopia. Up until then, my position had been “it will be a cold day in hell before I get into a his kids, my kids and their kids situation”. Apparently with Malhar coming into my life, hell had frozen over quite nicely.

Then there was “the great Indian novel” he was working on. It had been a work in progress for a few years at the time of our meeting. His passion for it was akin to mine for J when I was pregnant with her. I could easily relate. I knew at once that I could help push it out the door and God willing with cryptic a dedication like “To the beautiful sea shell that washed up to my shore one summer” on its flyleaf a Putlizer might have “washed up” as well. I thought he had what it took. In other words, I was suffering from fantastic illusions of grandeur.
We parted ways too soon for any of that to happen but he persisted with me via anonymous phone calls for a whole year after he was officially “with someone else”. Our breakup had been nothing short of hysterical as can be imagined. What with my life’s grand design being taken away and handed over to someone who was my exact opposite in every way. How did that make any sense ?

What did that giggly cow in Wal-Mart couture know about uses of iambic pentameter in expressing feelings of love and loss. In hindsight there was significant jealousy in pronouncing that verdict upon the over-endowed but bland looking new woman in Malhar’s life. Now here was a man who had shown impeccable taste in marrying who he had the first time around. She was smart, charming, stylish, sophisticated and had versatile interests. The fact that she was doing great professionally was only an interesting side note. Did I mention she was quite a looker ? The man had everything going for him.

Post ex, he may have done better than the Wal-Mart coutured cow he choose to be his lawful wedded second wife. To his defense Malhar would say as he often did to me “You are like Jolt cola. I want to be with a woman around whom I can relax and just be myself. I don’t always need cerebral stimulation and I don’t want to keep up with someone like you and worry about what might happen if you got bored”

So with cow firmly tethered to the post he threw little baits my way to see if I would bite. After a year he gave up and just settled into what I imagine must be perfectly bovine domesticity. I imagine a placid couple sitting on the couch, chewing cud and watching Hindi soaps on cable TV. While I can’t see myself in that frame of reference neither can I picture Malhar in it – he just wasn’t the type. I felt a great sense of solidarity with his ex who like me lacked in “bovinity” that Malhar sought in a wife.

The third time was not nearly as dramatic as R or Malhar. H was smart enough but not nearly in the same league as R or even Malhar. He looked as train-wrecked as a man might look like if after five years of marriage the wife on the pretext of going home for a vacation, just flies the coop. But other than that he was reasonably if not somewhat dangerously normal.
But then what I find normal would intimidate most people. So a couple of months into this “vacation” that was happening back in India, H tries to find out when she may be returning home to which she responds “Never”. Any other woman in my shoes would have panicked enough by this point to consider running as fast and as far away from H as she could. Not I. I soldiered along knowing in my bones, that I had landed myself a mega-project truly worthy of my greatness.

So what if R and Malhar could not recognize my potential, our friend H would surely not miss the obvious when it stared at him in the face. I liked the quirky sense of humor, the passion for all things dangerous, the vigorous work ethic not so much the fact that dinner was often two slices of bread with “Kannadiga gun powder” for spread accompanied by Kamchatka Vodka or Rum and Pepsi.

Just for the record, I am health freak and one major bone of contention between R and me was our dietary preferences. For those who ask “Then why ?” I would answer that a worthy cause is worth the supreme sacrifice. With me in his life, H would magically be weaned off his drinks and gravitate of his own free will to Odwalla carrot juice. I just know these things to be self evident despite all evidences to the contrary from past experience.

There was so much work ahead that I could not wait to get started. H needed to be rescued from the ghosts of the past, the closet full of his wife’s clothes that he held on to for close to two years saying all the time “The purge will need to happen”. That was aptly dramatic for me. It came as no surprise that he dated this woman long distance when they were both in India and his phone bill ran to forty five thousand Indian rupees in a month. On their first date, he drove 20 kilometers to the nearest pharmacy to buy condoms because she said she had gotten in the mood. I was as impressed as I needed to be. It did not bother me that the same woman lost interest in sex even before the ink on the marriage certificate had dried.

This was clearly a go as far as I was concerned. Before I forget to mention, his divorce was not yet granted when we met. It was in the works in India pending the seal of the judge on papers they had signed and the Domestic Violence laws had just been passed. This was getting to be more challenging by the minute and all the way up my alley. Neither R or Malhar had come with some many challenges. Every once in a while H would send me links to articles on mental health and its relationship to marital happiness. I would read them out of curiosity and wonder about their relevance to our situation. Surely, he did not think my mental health was lacking.

According to him, his wife suffered from chronic depression and he did everything in his power to help her. Even after she locked herself up in their bedroom with the biggest kitchen knife threatening to kill herself he persisted with her. Loyalty and grace under pressure scores big with me ergo H was a keeper without a question.
Breaking up with H was a long drawn out and tedious process not in the least because I was loathe to see a life time opportunity of being a man’s savior go to hell in a handbasket. To his credit he maintained dignified silence to the end but I felt drained emotionally because he just was not letting go in the mind. While we had reached logical closure in the relationship, it had to end in a symbolic way for us to be fully freed of each other.

Thanks to H, I have come to realize that a man suggesting we could meet inside Victoria’s Secret while quaint and quirky may be not necessarily signal a chance of life long marital bliss. Offering to buy me a toy of choice so the waiting for “the one” was not so onerous may be more than a friendly gesture of concern and perhaps needs to be viewed as such.

By Heartcrossings-http://www.heartcrossings.blogspot.com/

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18 Responses to “Relationship Patterns”

  1. Prakruti Says:

    Hi.. Loved the read.. Very honest approach. Humor makes lifes facts more palatable!!

    Prakruti

  2. Kartik Says:

    I love the post. It is very beautiful.

    Thanks,
    Kartik

  3. PurpleA Says:

    Hi HC

    After a long time, this post has been a pure delight to read. Yes we all have our unique relationship patterns and I can totally identify with what you have penned down.

    What really got to me and stayed with me almost the entire last night was “I want to be with a woman around whom I can relax and just be myself. I don’t always need cerebral stimulation and I don’t want to keep up with someone like you and worry about what might happen if you got bored”

    No, my estranged husband never told me that but he wanted the above. But in due course of time as our marriage passed, knowing him, I knew this is what he ideally and secretly desired sometime down the line. He was always in awe of his SIL(brothers wife) who was a mere 10th grade passout (I think so). Those kind of women were beginning to appeal him.

    Though during our courtship days he found my intelligence and education complimenting his intelligence and education and that is exactly how he had expressed to me and was very contented about this fact.

    But alasssss……

    Soon after our wedding, he prefred his SIL anytime over me. Though I must also say, the kinds of her may not have an education degree but she won him over instantly and managed to create utter chaos in my life very very tactfuly. Like they say in hindi “us gawar ne kab mera game baja diya, mujhe patte bhi nahi chala”. That was her smartness!! She was good.

    She and women like her can be great great Indian politicians since most of our politicians don’t have any degree and score high on diplomacy and pretenses.

  4. PurpleA Says:

    “I want to be with a woman around whom I can relax and just be myself. I don’t always need cerebral stimulation and I don’t want to keep up with someone like you and worry about what might happen if you got bored”

    This sub conscious desire of his and I must say of most men as well, lead to the end of my relationship. Beginning

    My mentor taught me one thing after I got of the mess. A very important lesson: “ Portray and do as your husband or inlaws say/want, but as a real smart wife do what you want to do and show as if you have obeyed you husband and inlaws and thus everything is as per their desire.” … ya ya ya …the fine Art of Pretenses.

    So these kind of women are not dumb but pretend to be dumb. And in that lies their smartness that they manage to get the most successful men and successful marriages et al.

  5. PurpleA Says:

    “I imagine a placid couple sitting on the couch, chewing cud and watching Hindi soaps on cable TV.

    Ya even I imagine my estranged husband with one of those kinds. The unfortunate irony is that he use to find me interesting, intelligent during our early marriage days used to take great pride in introducing me to his colleagues.

    Though in sometime I preferred to be a housewife and even became one, cooked, cleaned, ironed and served him 24/7 but… my brains were always thinking and I expressed what I had in my mind and was upfront. Probably made him feel stupid. I guess so!!

    I should have shut up and watched the saas-bahu serials. Who knows I could have learnt some tips from those famous Tulsi kinda bahus?

  6. HC Says:

    Prakruti and Kartik – Thanks !

    Purple A – I have a theory that men have two concepts of the ideal wife. One is theoretical and the other is practical. In theory they want a woman who can think for herself and speaks her mind.

    In practice they want the cud chewing cow who the can vegetate with for the rest of their lives. They can always have an affair on the side with a smart woman, the cow would be none the wiser.

    Often, they end up marrying the theoretical ideal and live to regret it because all they have capacity for is the cow. You can overextend yourself only so much 🙂

  7. Mallika Says:

    HC,
    You have said great truth. My two cents for you !!

    PurpleA, come out of the gawar thot. You are right, it happens sometimes we find such situation but its only temporary, its again your husband than your SIL who is in the game. He cannot act like a baby. One fine day he will soon realize what he got.

    Mallika

  8. Kiran Says:

    Most part of my college life I traveled long distance in Mumbai trains. During those travels I closely observed women clad in saris, mangalsura and adorned with decorative sindoors in all sizes—inspired from some famous saas-bahu serials.

    Now this is what we call the practical-desired wives as called by HC. They look very homely and unharmful, but this is where our conclusions about them should stop. They are super duper smart and astute.

    They know how to keep their husbands in place. Eavesdropping on their tête-à-têtes (rather plans) and their schemes was an eye opener. As Purple A has stated, they give the impression that they are doing as their in-laws desire but the fact of the matter is they actually get done what they want. This is not easy for a person like me who very easily falls in the theoretical- desired wife. Upfront, open and blunt.

    Call it diplomacy or sounding politically correct they have those skills in abundance. An the added advantage is that they are calm, composed and their boring appearance definitely makes things very easy for them. And again they are happy, very happy to stay in these situations, which according to me is nothing but charades.

    One would think that after all those observations and tips I would have had a successful marriage. Heck no. I was cleaned bowled by my elder SIL(husbands sister) in 10 months flat. The blow hit me so hard so hard so suddenly that for weeks I had no clue what was happening.

    My reaction : To cut it short, now they don’t know what hit them, thanks to the wonderful system of my country – India.

  9. Kiran Says:

    And for my husband…..the practical – wife is going to be only a dream for him that he will never achieve.

    He lost everything when he decided to have a change of mind.

    I say to him keep dreaming. Some other lifetime it may happen.

  10. Ash Says:

    Okay, if the man decides to marry a cow–the domesticated one, it is no fun for him. But fun for her. She cares 2 hoots about his lifestyle. On the other side he has this dire uncontrolable need(??) to find his dream girl and the dream girl is going to cost him. His fantasy is going to cost him. Once he is in this vicious cycle, his wallet is empty because a man’s tendency is that when he is guilty he spends unlimited on his wife so that she does not suspect and then on the other side spends more to fulfill his fantasies.

    The dork thinks his wife-the cow is not aware. But she is and she does not care as long as she is in the lap of luxory and at the receiving side. The cow (being the practical wife) cares a shit about him. On the other hand,the fantasy one is having the time of her life because she is at the receiving end as well.

    What happens to the man with greedy needs? he gets bald and suffers a weak heart all his life eventually at the mercy of his cow who by now is the lioness. 🙂

  11. Prakruti Says:

    Somehow.. none of the above sound like a marriage to me. Scheming and coniving and manupulative. I advice we keep these out of all relationships in life.. parents, siblings, friends, colleagues and spouces…

    Prakruti

  12. HC Says:

    How true about the cow variety being a whole lot smarter and marriage-savvy than the women who think they are smart (which they may very well be)

    While men desire honesty from their partners (in theory) they lack the manhood to accept the truth when they are told it bluntly. They would rather have a cow pretend to be one person before marriage and scheme and con her way along afterwards. As long as she has access to the credit cards and checking account, she is all set. Nothing else really matters.

    At the end of the day the cow wins in the desi matrimony sweepstakes and the smart women wonder what they did wrong.

  13. Madhu Says:

    Hi Gals,
    Love all your comments about the patterns of the relationships. Prakruti, yes good to be far off from cheat and deceitful relationships but you cannot keepout the relationship with parents, siblings, friends(good). We cannot be avoiding our colleagues too. And the last one is the spousal relationship. Better to work this peacefully by not manipulating and by respecting the other even if they disagree on many things.

    Madhu.

  14. Tannu Says:

    I am in sync with the cow-likes and theoretical- likes and the Dorky men. I also agree that the cow-likes wins in the desi matrimony sweepstakes—hands down.

    But there is a 3rd category of women as well.

    The ones who are smart in the exterior (the theoretical ones) but have a patriarchal mindset. Who want a family, desire to work, as well cook, clean, have children, feed them and still look beautiful and attractive. What about them?

    The dorks that have affairs with the other women(hot ones), it is fine with those other women as well coz they too don’t want to be tied down with a marriage. So it is a give –take relationship where all 3 are content. The Dork, the Cow and the Hot other one 🙂

    But what about the 3rd category of women—coz for them to find an ideal partner with the same mindset is very very rare.

    I mean how many Ajay Devgans, Arbaaz Khans, Big Bs, Mukesh Ambanis actually exist in our society?

    Lucky are the wives of these men- who are so rare and one of a kind.

    The rest of the men are out and out geeks, dorks who are intimidated by women who could possible challenge their cerebral state.

    I married one such IT genius from IIT who wanted an all-rounder wife(as per him). But as they say a geek will always be a geek no matter how hard he tries. He gets intimidated over petty things and cant stand if the attention needs to be shared.

  15. Jinesh-A indian husband Says:

    (deleted)

  16. Fine Ladies,

    Apologies for the nuisance. Have trashed all the rantings.

    So let us get back to the topic.

  17. HC Says:

    Tannu

    I agree that it takes the a rare kind of man who is not afraid to marry a woman of the 3rd category. The average desi male is clearly not in that league.

    I think there are plenty of women of the 3rd category specially among divorcees. The men they were married to could not deal with the unique challenge they presented. Now that they are back in the singles market, they discover that the men they are available are more like their ex husbands than unlike.

  18. SriPriya Says:

    Thankyou Administrator for removing the ranting comments. Was concerned of the women’s feeling with the rantings.

    HC, enjoyed your posting and mostly the comments. But I somehow disagree with you and Tannu in categorizing the divorce women in 3rd. In my personal experience is I made a silly mistake in my prior relationship and still I have nothing lost to say I am the best. I have accepted the truth and reality and will move on. Hope many of us here are doing the same.

    God bless you,
    SriPriya.


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