Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pati,patni aur woe

-By Swetha Amit
That three is a crowd, has always been a popular belief. This well known fact is applicable to just mere acquaintances, friendships and more importantly to the contemporary situation of the marriage scene.

Several complexities have entered this sacred zone of a cozy twosome depicting a “happily married couple”. This chemistry equation is being threatened by a third variable, occurring in many forms. One of the ironical twists exists in the gender factor itself.

The availability of equal opportunities has prodded both men and women to take the career pathway. Tasting success quite early, with admirable achievements, propels some of these individuals to look to climbing the occupational ladder and quickly. With undue work demands, both genders are thrown more together in the professional environments, requiring a large amount of interaction and long hours of togetherness. Frequent travel and deadlines tend to drive the family bound personalities, further away from home, leaving minimal time with spouses.

Frustrations can start creeping in, as quarrels begin to break out with their respective partners for the lack of time spent. As they are already stressed out with occupational hazards, it gives rise to mounting stress levels. Almost everyone needs a shoulder to cry on, to narrate the woes, and lo, there is a ready -to -hear counselor and in a moment of weakness, confide in the opposite sex colleague, sometimes with a purpose of attaining a third person’s perspective. Empathy and sympathy is generated in abundance and sometimes taken advantage of by the latter, who secretly nurture a soft corner for the former. The grass always seems greener on the other side, when partners experience the lack of understanding in their own spouses and feel the need to seek another emotional support.

The charming act leads to both genders getting a little too close for comfort to the other committed souls. Apparently, their ‘married’ status doesn’t make a difference to them, not even realizing for a moment before threading on this dangerous path.

Friendship, developed between the two sexes over a span of time is quite normal when within limits. However such rapport is not taken in too kindly by the respective spouses, who tend to feel threatened and insecure. They are usually wary of these single or otherwise career-oriented rivals who tend to go overboard in their expectations out of their opposite gender ‘friend’.

Frequent calls, flirty or naughty text messages, long emails, unwarranted gifts, often send warning signals to the perturbed life partner. Confrontation of these, result in the husband/wife dismissing it as ‘nothing to worry about’. Matters are worsened when the third party displays a rather overt behavior at social gatherings. A prolonged hug, a flick of hair or unnecessary physical gestures can infuriate the significant other which is completely understandable.

This awkward situation puts the affected party in a ‘fix’. Wanting to avoid a public show down compels them to resort to reticence. Subtle hints like stepping back or avoiding reciprocal of such overtones are exhibited, which unfortunately fails to reach the menace. This continues to occur despite of partners’ manifestation of displeasure conveyed by sending out strong signals. Continuation of this inappropriate behavior can result in bringing the roof down on a literal basis.

Partners drown in perplexity on finding a solution to tackle such problematic situations. One hand they are dealing with a frantic, yet justified spouse and another side requiring tact which would otherwise ruin their professional image. However, it should be realized that being firm is of immense importance here. Such overbearing companionships are not worth risking for an otherwise perfect marriage.

Maintaining a fair amount of distance and restricting talks strictly to a professional content will work wonders. Making time for the family would prevent further tiffs which will not drive them to confide in anyone else. Domestic matters should be solved within closed confidential quarters and never to be disclosed to outsiders. Asserting themselves when necessary isn’t going to hurt, in order to protect their rights and that of their partners’.

Husbands/wives on the other hand, have every right to voice their stand. After all it’s a question of their life. Being in the ‘superior legalized position’ gives them the added advantage of enabling them the appropriate support system in ticking off such perceived ‘threats’. Being a sensitive issue, it must be handled with utmost care and tact. Overreaction can also have a negative impact and not reacting at all can cause further damage, as there is a very thin line that separates the threshold.

Several studies are done by expert researchers to explore deeper into this mysterious phenomenon. Some reveal that women seeking contacts with married men can love a man only when his value is estimated by some other woman, his wife. While others say that women who are generally more vulnerable psychologically are devoid of husband's support, engage in such acts.

On retrospect, it’s a strange fact that such people cause pain and misery to their own clan, by feuding over a man/woman who’s ‘taken’. Don’t they for a moment realize that a healthy distance maintained could prevent other further complications? Such inexplicable mannerisms would end up making them look like a fool, giving rise for the grapevine gossip, jeopardizing theirs and work place reputation.

Stepping back and avoiding entering into the forbidden territory would save a lot of trouble. Such humans need to steer clear from unacceptable behavior towards the married. This would cause the society to view them with a diseased eye, labeling them a ‘home wrecker’ or ‘characterless’. Is it really fair to come in between a blissful union causing nothing but misery, anger and pain? Should it really lead to a situation of pati, patni aur woe???

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