Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Relationships & Obligations - What are they all about?

I have been thinking about this one for a while now. I also jotted down some points but I guess I am just going to type away! I doubt if you can actually plan or strategize what to write on a topic like Relationships.

What are relationships all about? I mean, we have so many different relationships. I equate it to PR (but another post on that one). Which relationship is more important? How do we prioritise them? Does it depend on how one is related through birth / marriage? Or the number of years one knows another person? Or is it based on the simple factor of how one connects with another?

This post is my personal view and I am sure many, if not all, might not agree with it. What's good for one is not necessarily good for the other. And I am not forcing my view on anyone here. I'm not one to judge either. Why should I judge anyway?

For me, relationships are of utmost importance. Whatever they maybe! My relationships are based on how I connect with people. Simple! They are for life. I may not be in regular contact with people but my relationships have stood the test of time and do not diminish.

They say we are born in bondages, and I agree! When we take birth, we are in relationships we did not choose or opt for. They are like automatic transitions. They are thrust upon us. Not that this makes them insignificant but they usually have their own set of pre-set expectations that we have to keep up to. Like it or not! Absolutely unfair! Because we live for ourselves not others. Why must we sacrifice ourselves for others or society? And get sacrificed by others for no fault of ours?

Then as we grow – at school, college, university, workplace – we choose most of the relationships we want to keep. Of course, marriage is one of the most crucial choices you make for yourself. Though even in marriage, some relationships you choose, and some come along with. And most of the times, they go hand-in-hand. We choose one and then another or many others are just added on to our sleeves. For e.g. we make a friend and they get a companion, or at work a new person comes in. Or for that matter when we get married. New relationships are formed, to our liking or not, with the ones we choose.

At times, we can’t just wish the new relationship away or avoid it. Or, do we cut old relationships for new ones? E.g one gets married and then stops communicating with friends for whatever reasons, isn't it mind-boggling? If a spouse/partner specifically asks us to cut contact, are we obligated to them?

I’ll give you another example: You want to marry a person but the family is not accepting it? What do you do? How do you prioritize? Now imagine, if one or both were married or involved. What would you think? Immoral, wrong, selfish etc. But do we know the truth of the matter to decide or judge? Definitely not! It's not as simple as A is cheating on B. Or that C came in between A & B. Have we bothered digging deeper or are we going by what we read or hear? Until and unless we are not in that person’s shoes, we will never understand it so we should not judge. Period!

Or, if a person is divorced and marries again, doesn't he/she still have a relationship with his/her ex or their family? What if they have kids? Well, these relationships just don't go away. We are not obligated but we do still have some responsibility towards them, don’t we?

Why are humans so complicated? Why do we have to judge others without knowing or being in the position what the other is in?

I know someone who recently was, how do I put it nicely, left to his/her own devices by another. We can judge the other by saying they didn't do the right thing or call them names. But we should also think from the other person’s perspective. What could possibly be the reason? On the surface it may look like that it’s all their fault and it’s terrible to do something like that with a person, but if we try to understand the person it may just change our perception about the person. O.K., I could be partial as I know one side of the story pretty well and my heart goes out to them and I strongly feel it was heart-breaking. But then, I have understood or tried to understand the other person’s perspective too. I may not be happy with the situation but I'm O.K. with it. Yes, I feel deeply for the affected person and at times that has clouded my judgment. Relationships change our perception of others.

What happens to a relationship between two people in love and one for whatever reason, family or society, one gets married to another person altogether? Where does that leave the other party? Does it means that there is no more relationship between them? Does it all just disappear into thin air?

A husband/wife will never accept the past relationship of their spouse even if the spouse has made a huge sacrifice for them. They will never truly accept the truth and appreciate the sacrifice.

Some say that the husband-wife bond is the most important. Some say parent-child bond is most important. So where does that leave our other relationships? Does it make them any less important?

For me, no! They all are equally important. Well it actually differs from situation to situation. Factors like which relationship needs you the most or you need the most. O.K., this does not mean that all you married people go and start an affair or anything and blame it on me! It just means that at different times different relationships are more important than the others. I'd give my life for some of my friends. I'd go out of the way for them even if I have to suffer. But that does not mean I will neglect my family. I have some responsibility towards them but am not obligated to them.

I was dating my wife for almost 8 years before we got married. Though of a different religion that of mine, had my parents asked me not to marry her and marry someone from the community, I don't think I would have done that. I do not have to live with my parents for the rest of my life. Or care 2 hoots about what society says. We all know they all have skeletons in their closets. But yes, I do have some responsibility towards them but no obligation and does it mean I have to sacrifice my happiness for them? Definitely not! I'm not obligated to them for having taken care of me while I grew up. But hey, they had to! It is their responsibility like how now I have mine! And likewise, when they grow old, taking care of them will be my responsibility. I'm not going to desert them.

Or if tomorrow my wife and I are not together that does not imply I have no relationship with her or my in-laws. Or if I get married again, it does not mean the other person was responsible for what went wrong between us!

My most important relationship is with MYSELF. If I cannot have a truthful relationship with myself then all other relationships do not matter. For no matter what, we cannot break off the relationship with our own selves. Maybe in the past I have not given enough importance to myself but now I do. If I'm unhappy then everyone around me will also be unhappy. If I feel something is not working out for me, I will first try to change myself but if I'm not comfortable with it then I have to do something about the situation.

My FIRST and FOREMOST relationship is with MYSELF. And will always think about myself first. But that does not make me selfish. Or maybe it does. But I couldn’t care less!

Here’s to Relationships – all sorts, sizes and stories!

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