Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why Relationships are breaking up so fast!

“We broke up.”
The one line that everyone has said in their life or has heard at least once in their lifetime. A couple breaking up is no longer a shocking incident. What is shocking is the rate at which it is happening. Divorce rates are high. Couples in the 25-35 age group accounted for 70 per cent of the cases, and 85 per cent of them were filed in the first three years of marriage.
So what goes wrong? Why do things start to crumble? I have one theory.
Suppose all relationships are the same, love or arranged, long distance or living together, etc. Suppose it’s been the same since the cave man came home with the food and presumed his wife would cook it for him. Suppose I say that the relationship from the time of the 50s when the man was supposed to go to work and the woman was supposed to be at home looking after the house and the children is the presumption that is still prevalent today. A basic primitive state still exists. There has been no evolution in relationships at all!!
The basic state of a relationship is that of a Provider and Nurturer.
A provider is one who is economically stronger. He or she (and I will continue with the `he’ for now since it is predominant in our society but not absolute) is the one who is giving the money in the house for the food, clothes, education and shelter. Basics. He feels these are the major part of life and he has done his “duty” to the woman. A modern woman however needs more. She needs love, understanding, and intellectual stimulation and wants to feel she is growing as an individual in the relationship as well. If a woman is working, she is able to provide the basics for herself. Therefore, what she needs from the man is the “nurturing.”
Why was it simpler in the earlier times? It was because there was no dichotomy of this provider- nurturer equation. Men gave money. Women went to other women to gossip, sew sweaters, and exchange their feelings. Also by being the Provider, the man did not need to “fulfill” the roles of the nurturer. He had done his job. He didn’t need to give any more. He didn’t need to understand the emotions of a woman, why she was upset, or why she needed to sit and talk for hours about no problem but life in general. These things were just not done between men and women. Each had their role and they had the authority to make those decisions on that – Women with a house. Man with his job. This can be seen in many shows of the times. Wonder Years comes to mind.
Today, a few working women are happy to have a man who can give them a big sea facing house in a posh locality and have less of the nurturing required. It becomes an 80-20 ratio. And that man can give that 20% and the relationship is stable. Some require a man to give less of the nicer things of life and require more of the other aspects. This can also have a happy relationship if the two people find a balance of the give and take. Each couple needs to find the balance in this state. How much each wants and how much one is willing to give.
Men will say that they cannot understand what women want. However, they do understand it. They understand it so perfectly that they have displayed their skill in it in the wooing phase. When the “hunting” phase is on, their charm is turned on from not only sitting and talking for hours with a woman but getting her so completely that she feels that he is the “one” who gives her both the provider-nurturer that she’s been looking for. He can charm her with his knowledge, of TV, books, music, films, or whatever she is interested in. Hence, he has shown that he can be the nurturer. Eventually he decides how much of that he wants to continue with since he has also slipped into the role of the provider for her.
Many relationships have seen this in different disguises. Rich men, ambitious women. Powerful bosses, young female corporate climbers, wealthy industrialists – young actresses. The provider- nurturer relationship continues.
I see many women having insecurity about money. Somewhere it has been ingrained in most women that more money is always good. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, how much you will need will never be known. In addition, what if one day you have a child, and don’t want to work, if the money dwindles from your account then at least you have the man’s. If something happens to you, you have a person looking after your financial needs.
The problem comes when the women not only want the funds to run a house, enjoy a lifestyle and feel independent; they suddenly want the nurturing quality from the men as well. The man then says, “But I give you whatever you need. What more do you want?”
Woman, “You don’t understand. I don’t want all this. I just want you.”
Man, “You have me. Now leave me alone!”
Woman goes off fretting and fuming about how the man has changed from what she thought he was and the man sits and sulks about how she is continuously needy.
Is there a solution. Yes. You can communicate the percentage of the providing – nurturing you need, that you’re willing to give and then figure out how to manage the rest on your own. Expectations will then need to find a balance.
One way is if a woman clearly defines that she DOES NOT need a man to give her any of the provider elements but only the nurturer elements it could make it easier to understand it. This is difficult sometimes for a man to comprehend because he presumes in the end she will want the “same thing as all other women” – marriage, house, children, and dinners. Everything that costs money for which he will have to pay. Therefore, a woman might need to continuously say that it’s not the case and mean it.
The second alternative is for the woman to realize that the Provider –Nurturer relationship is here to stay. If you want the fine things that money can buy, maybe you’ll have a hard working man who can give that to you. Then he will need space and won’t have as much time or bandwidth to discuss your needs and quote Shakespeare. Make peace with it. Women are the ones who have started initiating divorces. They feel unfulfilled. They feel that there could be better out there. I am sure there can be. First look at the current relationship and see if you can change the percentage to become more of the provider and then ask him to be more of a nurturer.
It is easy to give up on love. Men throw up your hands and say, “Well if I don’t make you happy I think you should seek love somewhere else.” That is not the answer. Communication of that provider-nurturer percentage is the answer. And putting the conversation to work is the solution.
Give until you can. Understand each other. Never give up easily. Get out of the relationship only when you know the equation is not working anymore despite trying everything you have.

This theory does not apply to marriages where there are alcoholics, drug users, wife beaters, dowry seekers, and general evilness that a woman should never be subjected to. Then she should immediately take external help and leave. There are better men who will give the women what they need.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Child Sexual Abuse : A video & 15 Tips for Parents

Child Sexual Abuse is a grave matter. Being a parent myself, I find that my one mission in life is to save my child from pedophiles. While all parents understand this, they may not know what to do about it. Aamir Khan the actor had an episode on his new show Satyamev Jayate on this subject. With this telecast many parents and children became aware of the dangers of child sexual abuse. Hopefully a law will come out to punish the perpetrators and parents will become more protective.
I can sincerely pray that no child is subjected to such torture ever. In the meantime, all I can do is make a video to support the cause, spread awareness and speak as much as I can to all parents about it. The link is given below. (It was done on skype so pl excuse any bad lighting.)

There is far more than I can comprehend about this subject but the basics are the following:
Things that parents can do:

1.       Be vigilant. Try not to leave kids alone with 1 person, no matter how close he or she is. Not at home, not on a vacation. Never.

2.       Do not insist that the kid hugs or kisses an elder even if the elder has given a present to the child. A simple “Thank you” from the child should suffice as good manners.

3.       Explain to the child that while it’s ok to respect elders, it needs to be earned. They don’t need to “obey” everyone or “be nice” to people.

4.       Explain the concept of strangers. They are not allowed to talk to or take candy from strangers. They are not allowed to go off without telling you.

5.       Trust the child. They came from you. They have your genes. You need to love them first.

6.       Explain to them about the bad touch and bad looks from people. Do this every few months. Teach the names of the body parts.

7.       Teach them to defend themselves. Scream if scared. Hit if angry. It’s ok to do so on an elder who has touched the body part.

8.       Create a bond. Be their friend. Tell them to tell you everything. Talk to them on a daily basis about people they like and don’t like. Ask them why.

9.       Check the school, play ground and day care regularly. Get to know the people interacting with your child. Don’t blindly trust anyone.

10.   If a child is in his pre-teens or teens, explain the concept of rape, date drugs, HIV, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Tell him not to be fooled by anyone’s advances.

11.   Do not post pictures on any social networking sites of your child with no clothes on. The internet is a dangerous place and the first place predators look. Do not put location next to the picture either!

12.   If such a thing has occurred, do not panic. Eliminate the person from both your lives immediately. Do this in front of the child if possible. Say to the person, “You are no longer welcome here. Come near my child again and I will file a report against you.” Then take the child to a counselor and go for collective sessions.

13.   Don’t leave the child alone to manage or handle it by herself/himself. Make sure you’re there most of the time for them.

14.   Give him time to heal. Give yourself time as well. Don’t beat yourself  as well. Be proactive in solving it.

15.   Make sure you give enough love to the child and not make them feel bad if anything has happened. Remind them that they’re “not bad people” and it’s not their fault. Be supportive.

The video of me talking about a few of the pointers above:

Love Guru Advice: Bad Breakup Conflicts New Relationship

Dear Love Guru,
I am in love with a man but he says he can’t be in love with me just yet. He has been in a bad relationship and needs time to get over it. I wonder how much time? It's already been six months. Should I wait for him and help him through this difficult period of his?
Waiting Patiently,
Dear Dolores,
It seems as if this man is playing teen patti with his cards very close to his heart. He doesn’t want to do a “show” and have you walk away just yet. He might actually have been in a bad relationship and he is guessing that he might have a bad one with you as well. But you know what, that’s his baggage. You need to tell him that you will give him two weeks of alone time to figure out his old relationship and then come to you. After two weeks are over, you will stop waiting for him. That’s enough time for him to get over his past and learn from his mistakes. He's already taken 6 months. By doing this, It puts you in the driver’s seat since he knows you are serious about taking this relationship forward. Moreover, that you won’t be taken for granted but still have a soft spot for him. Remind him you’re not asking for a marriage. You just want a strong, stable man who can commit to being there for now. Later as things progress, you can move to another step. Speak to him face to face about this. Remember you don’t want a shadow of another person in the relationship. Play your cards too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why Mother's Day is Important!

If you haven’t been screamed at, hated, or blocked off from a child’s life, you haven’t really been a good mother! I learned that when I became a mother and vowed never to do the things my mom did with me. But then I did. And I began to behave like her as well.
After a point, all mothers begin to sound like each other. It begins with “Please don’t touch that.” and “Pick up your toys” and goes on to, “What are you wearing? You can’t go out of the house in that!” Later the tone becomes more anxious, “Who is that you’re friend-ing on facebook?” The preaching becoming more helpless with “How much money have you spent on that?” Finally when all else fails all mothers turn to the last resort with, “Fine, it’s your decision but just know I’m not happy with it” and the perennial hapless state, “Go ask your father. I don’t matter in this family at all!”

And for all those statements, your child will rebel with a ferocity that whips you as if you gave birth to a volcano with simmering molten lava waiting to explode at any given opportunity. You wonder what you did wrong in those nine months to bear this evil child in front of you. You might even spout out in venom, “I carried you for nine months, and look what you did to my body!” It won’t matter. Children will find ways not to listen, to shut you out, to lock their laptops, forget to respond to a late night sms and even scream back thinking that they know best. Even as adults we shout back at our mothers to stop correcting, stop pushing, and stop advising. Yet we do so ourselves with our children at every stage until they hate us and even threaten to stop talking to us.

We would love to sit with a glass of wine or a really good book if we ever got a chance to but we know that there is so much more to do with a child in the house. The thing that we gave birth to/adopted and raised will always be a child until she/he gets married. Then it becomes someone else’s responsibility. Till then the house must be cleaned, the food for the child must be made, the clothes must be bought, the fees paid, the birthday parties thrown, the light must be left on when they go out, the sms must be sent to be careful, the space must be given to not intrude and the endless night of worrying must be had to figure out if they will turn out alright and if you did enough. We never know if we did enough. We hope we raised our kid well enough to be a good person. To respect people and work hard. We pray that they succeed in all their endeavours and we never fail to mother them when we get a least bit of chance.

Mothers love being mothers most of the time. They dote on their children and would take a bullet for them. But sometimes, just sometimes they wish they could get some appreciation back in return for all the nappies they changed, the hours they stayed awake and the sacrifices they made to make sure that their children stayed safe and loved. That is why Mothers’ Day is so important. It is when people forget to appreciate their mothers on a daily basis they can do so with something loving and expensive on that one day.

Mothers should know that all that hate is a phase. We need to give our kids space to grow as individuals. Be less preachy. Even for infants, we must be tolerant and patient of the child and treat him as a person rather than a blank slate that needs to be filled with values and information to make him what we choose for him. He shall choose himself. We can only guide. And in the guidance must come many moments of silence to let him make his own mistakes and learn. They come back for advice when they need it. If they don’t we can only hope they will manage with the skills we provided.

I say to all mothers, take that time now to raise a glass to yourself and toast to being a great mom. You did what you needed to and were successful. You gave what you had and it shone. You loved like you believed so and it worked. Be proud of what you have done. Even if there are thousands of mothers being born every day, what you do is still unique and individual. Even if you are not appreciated, loved and wished by those you raised, you should know that there are mothers around the world who feel just the way you do and think of you on this special day. So from one mom to another Happy Mother’s Day!  

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...