A tradition, a compulsion or a mere societal conformity?…… whatever the interpretation, the ‘M’ word has maintained its presence, at least on the face of it, and here, i write about its presence in the Indian society. The term ‘society’ has been used and overused to conform people to live in a certain periphery that has been erected as a part of ‘Indian culture’, and the ‘M’ word entails a very large chunk of this culture. Now, before you begin to wonder what ‘M’ word i am referring to here is….. it is Marriage!
Not surprising ,is it, that I am here writing about something so mundane, run of the mill? A spate of articles, movies, magazines and books…over done with this cliche topic, you would think there is nothing more left to add to it….well, you’re not completely wrong! But there is one corner of this big word that has always raised eyebrows owing to it being shrouded with the shadows of contempt and lack of ethics….seeking outside of marriage, better known as Extra-marital Affairs.
I have never really understood…well, nor liked the term ”Extra-Marital affair”. It always had a controversial connotation to it…the ‘extra’ word which i have a problem with. No, this isn’t an attempt on my part to make a controversy or give any ‘juicy’ gossip here…..just one to put it in a slightly different light….more neutral and a little less judgemental.
A certain woman i know, had the grit enough to speak to me about her reasons for stepping out of marriage and having a relationship with a married man. Her husband of almost 8 years, a well educated, well-earning, handsome man, who any woman could fall for, fell short when it came to his marriage. With two toddlers at hand, Sinking into the everyday new age stresses of life that overshadowed his attention towards the wife, the emotional connect had a breakdown. The wife met a much younger married man, a breathe of fresh air, an escape from the usual stressful conversations with her husband, a renewed physical attraction, Feeling the excitement of new found love, the adrenaline pumping jump of recieving attention, the serenading…….the experience was too tempting to be pushed over. Though she claimed to still love the husband, the affair played a catalyst in venting out her emotional void. .Surprisingly, My survey condoned the wife’s actions!
Lack of emotional connect, Dying physical attraction, poor sexual performance, financial issues and ‘trying something new’ were some of the top rating replies to my anonymously conducted survey…what caught my interest was the last of the reasons….’Trying something new’, and you’d be surprised that about 30 percent of this reply was sourced out of women. The increase in Extra Marital affairs can be attributed, partly to the fact that it is not the onus of the male species anymore, women are more so vulnerable to infidelity too! Is it wrong to look for happiness and contentment? Are you marrying for the right reasons?
My interest in the topic arose from the spate of instances I have been bombarded with lately. Is cheating only ‘physical’? Isn’t emotional dependency cheating? isn’t fantasizing about another cheating?
I attribute infidelity to the stressful, dissatisfied lives we lead, we are perpetually searching for something more…the MORE never ceases to get satiated. Seeking happiness or exploring outside of marriage is mostly an escape route to fill in the blanks created in Marriage. The seven year itch has now shot its way up the number ladder… Is it not the prerogative of every human being to define their own happy space?
Indian society maintains sanctity of marriages….or so we think. With the staggering number of couples opting for open marriages, wherein both spouses are ”allowed” to expel their hormonal desires with another, most of you would see it as the most ideal circumstance, i’m sure, but would you be brave enough to accept it? Is The ‘M’ word merely an overrated concept that has lost its sheen?
Justified or not, I will leave the topic open for discussion.