Let’s be friends…. with ‘benefits’

Because last week was Valentine’s day and there were memes circulated that were trashing people who choose to have premarital sex because they like each other. From that, I thought talking about ‘Friends with benefits’ would cover all the related and interlinked taboos.
In India, by all appearances, a perfect life is to get married and have kids – either you fall in love with the person is not a concern, though.
When our biological clock hit the alarming age of 16, one of our ‘wants’ was to just fall in love. It takes a roller coaster of a few years to understand that there’s much more to life. We all give in to the pull of natural attraction and forget that life always – ALWAYS has other plans. Swallowed by the magical madness, consumed by the three-dimensional monster called boyfriend/girlfriend, drowning helplessly down into the vortex, when the wave of emotions walk the red carpet, after all the hot tears that blur your vision – you just decided, not to fall in love, ever again!
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Life has its ways to throw people in and out of our lives, and even when you are sure that you don’t want to fall in love – you eventually would ‘like’ or be ‘interested’ in a person whose mind is attractive and who fits in your life so perfectly. You don’t want to shatter your heart again like a little glass figurine that fell by mistake and so, you both decide to stay together with the realities of life and with-less-to-struggle.
I really don’t believe in getting the ‘certificate’ to have sex (IYKWIM), and I believe takes some emotional-mental-physical attraction and connect for it. You know it is not just because you’re desperate for a relationship, but yet, you’re unwilling to go to the distance that it might take.
Whenever one hears a person saying ‘we are friends with benefits,’ they only focus on the ‘benefits,’ and that means only ‘sex’ to them. Apparently, the focus for those in the relationship is being ‘friends’ by all means. If it was only about ‘sex’ – it is either a one-night-stand or a fling but not FWB.
Being ‘friends with benefits’ is about being mindful of one’s wants and needs. The focus is being ‘right there’ for the other without any boundaries or force. Staying strong, and moving forward in life without any ties and strings. It makes life easier for self and the other. You work things out without cognitive dissonance which makes life beautiful for the brief period.
When married, you’ll have to forgive the other no matter what and you’re forced to, for the sake of life. How many of them in this big world live for the sake-of-being-married? Umpteen. You’re obliged to stay with a person in a marriage even if things go wrong unless it is ultimately wrong, to take the next big step. When you’re ‘friends with benefits’ you get to forgive the other person if you want to, you protect the other person wholeheartedly.
To me, ‘Friends with Benefits’ is about two individuals signing up for staying in each other’s life for a brief period and helping the other to grow as a better person. No ties, no strings and no force to stay but still choosing to, isn’t that a beautiful thing?
P.S — Not endorsing it in any way. But, I really want to convey that ‘Friends with Benefits’ is not just about alcohol in tall glasses, chocolate pralines, and shriveled condoms.

Broke-up, but still in love!

All of us had to leave behind a relationship for some reason or the other. I know of friends who had to break-up because one wanted to study further, and I know of families that forced their son/daughter to break-up and get married to a person of their choice, religion or caste issues, misunderstandings, etc…, etc.. Okay, yes! Officially you broke up but. A big BUT.. how do you stop loving the person, though? How do you move on? Let’s talk about it.

Though not ‘Love’ I am indeed nursing myself from parting ways from a friend who misunderstood me recently. No amount of explanation could mend things, Though an author with umpteen friends online, I have a very few to count on. I tried my level best but he was stubborn and continued to accuse, it was polemical. From being the person I talk with every single day, from the one who comes to rescue, from the one whom I cry-out-loud, now,  though connected online, we don’t talk anymore. It was hard-hitting, and I went inside-my-shell mode. I was not normal for days.

Most of us deal the ‘breaking-up even when in love for unavoidable reasons’ emotionally. Don’t we all? Especially when we are below 25 years. Though age is just a number, at least the majority is.

First, tell yourself “People leave,” – the number of people who left us either by choice, or because ‘way of life’ right from our childhood is countless. We’ve gone through it all; we can never be in terms with every single person we know. Few are matured enough to strike a balance and respect the differences, but a few are not. She/He might be the haunting dark nights of your soul, and you will experience short-circuit in your brain. And, that’s okay! Don’t throw yourself into the reverberating thoughts and go offbeat, do something different from usual. Make new friends, or indulge in something new or something you are good at. It can as simple as a morning walk or a small leap like learning a new language. That person will always be a precious fragrant flower – don’t force yourself to hate the person, let the person go and hold on to the love. Even if you act like you hate the person, your deepest heart’s truth is that you-love-the-person.

Stop trying to clear the cobwebs in your mind, don’t search for answers in haunting silence. The thoughts of the person would stay there bright like fire in the night sky. Cushion your thoughts and heart. A few disconnected days would prove that the suffering was not worth it, you will be fine, fucking fine. Embrace the memories, let it stay but don’t leave ways to haunt you. It’s okay to have their footprints like a tattoo on your mind. Try not falling into the quicksand called self-hatred, forgive yourself for the attachment you developed.

People are destined to walk into your life and leave when it’s time. Every single thing counts in the cosmos, don’t question “why” it happened. Answer ‘It is over!’ And that you’ve learned your lessons and march forward. Don’t close yourself from the next person who might walk in; you don’t pour all the water you had in your bottle if some spill away. Life is short to experience and learn lessons, sometimes, it comes through people or is people.

Nurse your heart optimistically and just love, wildly! Right now, I picked a book to escape into a new world, what’s your escape plan?

Is Loyalty = “Not Having Sex with another”

I’ve grown as a better person in the last four years. 2013 – that’s when I first fell in love or rather, a serious relationship kick-started. Like all relationships, it was all good and sweet. Movies and popcorn, stolen kisses and quick hugs at the elevator, and what not? Almost 8 months into the relationship and I found that he’s been cheating on me with someone else – devastating, yes it was. From then on, I’ve not been into any serious relationships at all because I’m afraid that I would be cheated. Until recently, because, the solution to my ‘insecurity’ came via a good friend of mine who is in an open relationship. If I think about it, I feel that I could have handled my reaction and the relationship better.
When it comes to defining a relationship, we stick to ‘monogamy’ that is, to not to have a sexual relationship with any other person. There were times where one was supposed to maintain ‘virginity’ but times have changed, though. ‘Sex’ is no more about bearing the ‘license’ required to sleep with another, it is more of ‘you feel like it? Do it.’ Because, back then, the gap between a person attaining puberty and having sex was short. Women were getting married as early as 12 or 14 yrs and men when they are hardly 16. Now that we have better exposure to everything, passion to explore, ambitions to become rich and a lot more, we are not confined within the walls of not wanting to explore one’s sexual desires until THE person enters the life.
Having worked abroad, I had the opportunities to work with other nationals and understand their lifestyle. I had a set of friends who had to move from their respective countries to work abroad, they stay away from their families for long, but that didn’t stop them from having sex. They had their own sexual partners that the family(husband/wife) is aware of. When I first heard of it, I was thrown aback. But, that’s when I got to know that the same applies to Indians as well, they also had sexual relationships but just that, they didn’t inform their spouse. (This attitude made me more cautious, and I had then decided not to get into any relationship/get married because I was(am) hurt enough from the first betrayal)
My friend simplified the whole concept – “A relationship is about making the other person happy. It is about the other person being the ‘priority’ in one’s life through all thicks and thins. In India, we seldom get the chance to explore how sexually compatible the couple is before the wedding(Things have changed a lot now, though). So, there comes a problem when they really are incompatible. Compartmentalize ‘love’ and ‘sex’ – throw them each in different boxes. You’re not going to have sex for the whole of your life (Mostly) – it takes a back seat after a few years, so why define the term ‘loyalty’ with ‘sex,’ why not define it differently? It can just be the friendship between the two, being right there for each other, understanding and staying through issues. A relationship can be beautiful if two individuals want to raise a family just by standing with each other through the good and bad.
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You become jealous or possessive when ‘insecurity’ creeps in when you’re afraid if the other would leave you. We don’t feel the same with family right? You are not possessive about your mom or dad (mostly) and so, how about establishing a relationship that is as good as the trust factor within the families?
I am writing this because I see many who are not in a good relationship but still sticking with each other for the sake of it, a few who are sexually not compatible or happy but still are in the relationship for the society, and most importantly, I see people breaking up because the other had a fling with someone else – How about thinking again? What if we don’t hold ‘not having sex with another’ as a strong component in a relationship?
I asked the same question to Preeti Shenoy and Ravinder Singh at the Chennai Lit Fest as they write about infidelity and extramarital affairs, one word that Preeti told still lingers in my mind – “Having an affair doesn’t define a person, one who has an affair can relatively be a nice person than the one who is not having an extramarital affair,” she said, and that’s so true.
I wouldn’t endorse an affair, but I just want to convey that it is not as bad as we think it is. These relationships might probably wither away with time, polygamy was always a part of Indian traditions, and it was taken easily. Maybe, if we give ‘sex’ a backseat and don’t chew at the skin around the nail – our thumb might not bleed. How about not pondering about one-not-sleeping-with-anyone-else with fingerprint dust? Let’s not anchor a relationship’s hold to ‘sex’ but commitment and being there for one another.
I definitely know how it feels to be cheated on (first-hand experience) and I’ve been through depressing times for months together, it is a sharp pang of pain that goes through the gut and leaves us with a terrible hollow feeling. But, if we could change our mindset and focus, and if we don’t bank on ‘sex’ for ‘loyalty’ life might turn better, ain’t it? I have shifted what ‘loyalty’ means to me.
I’ve just echoed the persistent thoughts that are on my mind, and am pushing aside topics like – feminism, misogyny, sexism, moral authority, etc.. from this blog post. I am just leaving it here with a mere thought that it can be considered a possibility instead of breaking up from a relationship – because, breakup from a marital relationship is still expensive (I don’t mean the money here – if you know what I mean)
I repeat I don’t endorse the concept or anything. I just wrote how my mindset has changed, and I guess this might help someone who is in a confusing relationship. Life is much better and bigger if we ensure to push aside petty things that don’t matter in the long term – it can also be a person in one’s life.