Affection, Love, Commitment,Loneliness.....

April 7, 2009

It’s all very well to say, profoundly, “alone I came into this world and alone I will go” (even the first part of that sentence would be untrue if one was a twin or a triplet…)but…we do need people. No man is an island (except the Isle of Man.)We thrive, and grow, and shape ourselves only by our interactions with others…the people whom we like, love, hate, tolerate…

The process by which some bonds are much deeper than others is a mysterious one. Yes, one’s family is always much closer to one’s heart than anyone else, but why should it be so? There is really no “right” answer to that, it is just so…and it’s a stronger rule for having the odd exception…I have certainly seen brothers and sisters who are barely on speaking terms with each other.

The bond of mutual trust, loyalty, and affection that grows between two people who share what is euphemistically called a “relationship” always amazes me, though. Here are two people who have spent their formative years in very different circumstances; but yet, once they have met, a bond grows that is more important to them than all the others they have. A and B become the people who matter most to each other; and they present a united front to, and often against, the world. The room where I sit with my spouse at the end of the day is OUR space, inviolate; no matter that he is reading something and I am typing this. This is us, and everyone else is one level further away. So too do all “couples” feel…and whatever the arguments and disagreements they have, this feeling of oneness is what defines a relationship.

But sometimes, that relationship doesn’t develop at all. Is the human being who is not in such a relationship somehow incomplete? The debate rages about this. Many people (including myself) are of the opinion that the feeling of completeness or incompleteness depends upon the person, and hes need for having someone else in hes life.

For many such people, close friendships take over the space of The Relationship; such people thrive upon their closeness to some of their friends, and lead happy, full lives.

And yet, sometimes loneliness pull apart the veil and looks through the eyes of “single” people; they want the ties of love that, for that brief moment, at least, they feel that they lack.

What is even more complicated to me, is when loving relationships break down. The breaking up of relationship is as difficult to understand as the building up of it was. Why do two people, who have been so comfortable with each other, begin to feel discomfort? It’s as tough to understand as the sudden yellowing and withering of a leaf upon the branch of a tree. No, the analogy is not correct, because there are many relationships that do not wither at all. Some…just do.

Human relationships are mysterious complex entities, but none more mysterious and impossible to analyse or grasp than the relationship between two adults that makes each one say of the other, “That’s the Special One”. The bonds of parenthood, which alone (in my opinion) cause stronger ties of affection, can be explained by genetics; but the bond between two people often defies all rational logic.

Is one, then, lucky to have such a relationship even if it is to break later and cause unutterable pain? Or is the one who has never had the experience either of such joy, or such pain, the luckier, because life has been far more even-tenured?

These thoughts have been churning in my mind because three couples I know are in various stages of breaking up, much as I feel miserable about what is happening, I realize that I must accept things as they are. One of them is a gay relationship, and the breakup has even more ramifications than usual.

One young heterosexual couple, who were initially very worried about how their parents would accept their relationship, have just sent me the invitation to their wedding.

Four…yes, four….single women have talked to me in the recent past; one is very content with her present life, and is glad that she did not go through with the marriage (she broke off the engagement amidst huge consternation in her family); another envies me the approaching grandchild, though she, too, appears content with her life the way it is; one is dealing with loss and the bereavement of her loved one, and does not feel that any other relationship could even begin to happen; and the fourth has confided that she loves another woman, but there is neither any reciprocation that she is aware of, nor will the society she lives in sanction such a relationship. She has, therefore, avoided getting married as she says that will be unfair to both herself and her spouse; she has opted to live a fairly difficult life, being just an aunt living with her sister’s family.

Musing on all this, the only conclusion I can come to is….that if one is in a steady, caring relationship, whether within the marital framework or not, whether a different-sex relationship or not…one must be thankful for the affection that one gives, and receives.