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The 'It's Complicated' Relationship

Facebook brought it into popular parlance. The first time I saw it on someone’s profile, I thought,

That’s such a guy thing to say.

All the women I know (self included) were always perfectly clear how we felt about a relationship. We always had completely solid, sure answers to “Do you like the guy?”, “Love him?”, “Is it just attraction?”, “Could it grown into something more?”, “Do you want it to?”. We were not always right but at least we thought we knew, the key words being ‘we thought’. Yes, I think that certainty came from having explored each eventuality in our heads.

Contrast that with,

“It’s complicated.”

Can’t you just picture a guy shrugging his shoulders, looking away and taking a swig of his coffee/beer/whatever before moving onto another topic of conversation? I can. Those diabolical words would strike a chill in the heart of any commitment-seeking woman because they sound like a multitude of other things to her.

“I don’t know.”
“I haven’t thought about it.”
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”

The thing is, ever so curiously, lately…I’ve caught myself using the very same phrase. It startled me the first time I did. Was I turning into a man? Was I discovering latent commitment-phobia? Mercifully not.

It is just that the relationship, the whole jing-bang, with a balloon-festooned ‘happily ever after’ at the end of it, seems to need so much. What’s more, the chances of finding it seem no better than the cynics tell me. Even if I ignore them and go with my own flow, there is jut too much happening for me to be able to invest that much emotion in one person.

I don’t mean that we’ve all become multiple-daters. But our lives are full of so much to see and do, that a relationship just becomes another small part of our universe. Hell, I feel like ‘It’s complicated’ applies even to my career. We are after all, a generation of options and I am nothing, if not a hard-nosed seeker of the best there available to me.

A friend of mine is in love. They’ve known each other several months. He wooed her well and strong, she reciprocated and they were the hottest couple in their crowd. They even took a vacation together, a rare occurance even in the most liberal of Indian circles. Now they’re at an uncategorizable impasse. They don’t live together as each of them has a place of their own. They go out sometimes but not as much as before; the need to impress each other with scintillating social lives is redundant now. They meet and talk and share some part of their busy lives with each other. He travels worldwide, on work and pleasure. She runs a successful enterprise on her own and pursues her many interests with her friends. Are they a couple? Well….it’s complicated.
It seems to me that there is more commitment and desire to be together in these two than in most other modern couples who opt for the very strange ‘open relationship’ or break up (amicably, of course) when it comes to a point of choosing each other over the other things in their lives.

And yet, these two spend most of their lives, emotionally and physically apart. They don’t depend on each other, they don’t share a space or family or even a common set of friends. A relationship is finally about building something together, isn’t it? And what these two have is…so intangible. There is caring of course, I can see that. But it is sort of like having a sack of cement, unmixed and a pile of bricks. The house is yet to be built as is the relationship.

It certainly is complicated.

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