Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bound By Contract

I'm beginning to suspect that Sheldon Cooper wasn't all wrong when it came to having a roommate agreement. I think all relationships should have a written contract. In marriages, the pre-nup is becoming quite the norm, but what about boyfriends and living-together-ness? In India, more than anywhere else, where the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing is still quite nascent, given the background noise of "arranged marriages', it becomes of even greater import. Also, I'm sure it would be easier to navigate a relationship if there's a clearly set down roster of needs and expectations.

This entire thing has come to the forefront of my thoughts because I currently find myself in an un-relationship. The truth is while there's nothing really going on, this un-relationship is showing all the markings of something that could possibly strangle it.

Take for example the idea of space. In my life, space plays a very important role in my well-being. As a writer, I need a certain amount of space to think, stare at my ceiling in contemplative silence, listen to my fan as it turns creakily, watch mindless TV shows, etc. But mostly I need solitude.

Now insert into this picture, a boy apparently with a lot of time on his hands. To this time, he brings an almost continuous conversational chatter, the demands of "what do we eat / drink / watch / play / do?", the sweet yet cloying amorous advances. Add to this the demands of my regular day of meetings and deadlines and friends... I don't have a moment to myself!

Don't get me wrong, it's all very sweet and incredibly flattering. But I do have moments of supreme irritation. Like today, when he told me that he was going to meet some friends in another suburb, I found myself changing my going-out plans because i'd finally have the house to myself! I won't even talk about the number of times I've stepped out of my home simply because he was there, and I needed to get away. And I'll never breathe a word about the amount of that getaway time I've spent driving and making phonecalls. What a train-wreck!

Which brings me here. If having a relationship is about adding value to your life, and not just about driving you up the wall, then one needs to look at things which make your life full of value. In my case, it's my work.

I love writing. And reading. I like to watch films in the comfort of my home. I like to eat when I'm hungry and not so much otherwise. I like my glass of wine. Sometimes I have a lot of it. I love to hang out with biggish groups of friends. I like having independent and complicated relationships with people. I like giving all the people in my life one-on-one time. I like the fact that I'm not accountable to anyone. I enjoy sex but some days I'd rather read a book before i sleep. I like the freedom to not do something including opening the door or wearing clothes if it's that kind of day. I don't love having to keep the contents of my life a secret from my friends, even though it often works out that way.

(Yes, I can see why I've been single for so long.)

Notice the absence of "I love the way a man looks at me when he loves me" and other such lines? I realize it could be a result of having been single or in complicated scenarios for the last five years, but I find myself anti-mush. And in the spirit of Anti-Mushness, I feel there should be certain guidelines for every relationship to follow.

*Replace what you finish, fix what you break.
*Stay over only ____ number of days a week, and only ______ number of days back-to-back.
*If you're living together, make his-only and hers-only inviolate spaces in the house.
*Spend atleast 6 continuous hours away from each other during the day. This does not include sleep time.
*Spend time together outdoors.
*Make time to meet your pre-relationship friends as a single person. Don't hide away your partner, but don't be surgically attached either.

This is clearly a work in progress. While I work out the other details, maybe I should just have quoted Kahlil Gibran.


Anuja P. said...

Oh dear lord, it's like a page from my diary! I totally get the importance of 'space', I don't understand this constant need to be around your boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever. I mean, we want two separate individuals, right? Not one giant mush!

Searcher said...

Glad you connected with it :)

Internally Disharmonious said...

As a HUGE fan of Dr. Cooper ;)...

I "Get it". The problem with space, of course, is getting the other person to "get it". It's been my experience that people who do not "get it" have major problems with self-esteem and fears of rejection. This doesn't seem to brood well with such people when you feel a need to re-connect with yourself and maintain a little of your self-identity.

Nice post, though, because I can relate.

Roy said...

I should go buy a lottery ticket. I clicked on "next blog" and was actually sent to one that is written by someone who writes really, really well.

That's all. In case you haven't gotten any positive feedback lately.

It should be noted that in successful marriages, eventually the list forms, if you're lucky, but it is unwritten and usually unspoken and takes, like, thirty years, and also has weird stuff in it like, "you kill the bugs."

Searcher said...

Roy: Thank you for the compliment. If you win the lottery, you know you have to split it with me right? :)

DI: Glad you get it :)