Not too long ago, I was writing about love and break ups and here I am today, writing about marriage. I feel so grown up.
A few days back, someone on twitter wrote that they didn’t like the fact that married people were on Tinder. This tweet started a discussion about “Do/Should married people date?” I said yes. A few said no. Someone also said that married people swing and cheat but can’t date. Dating is something that you do only when you are single (and ready to mingle?). I was asked why would married people date? My answer was why not? Some comments about how people would rather not be in a relationship than be in a relationship and have look outward for sex (I am assuming). So, that got me thinking and voila, we have this post.
I realised that there are assumptions that are made when one is married or in a committed relationship. One of those assumptions is that both people are able to satisfy each other in every way possible. When I say every way possible, I include emotional, physical, financial, sexual, and if necessary, spiritual. I remember when I had quit my job and had to wait to get my full and final, I asked my dad to lend me some money. When I mentioned this to someone, they were shocked. Why would you ask your dad, especially after you are married? Erm, because I want money, he has money. I am his child. Independent (kinda), mature (maybe), married (definitely) but his child. I realise that it is assumed that my partner should be able to provide me financially and thus, fulfill my need. But what about sex? Is it okay for me to go out and look at sex outside my marriage? Is it okay for me to be attracted to someone other than my partner? Apparently, that is not the ideal kind of marriage.
Can you believe in a marriage where both people say to each other that I am secure enough for you to be your person with your sexual needs, desires but I know you love me and want to be with me? Oh the horror!
So if my partner is to completely and totally satisfy me, the assumptions are that:
- My partner and I must have the same interests. Getting my emotional or intellectual stimulation from someone else is a big no-no. (Are married people allowed to watch movies or must we just look at each other?)
- My partner and I must be BFF (here, I blame KKHH.) I must not want to share something with my friends before I share it with my husband. (Wait, are married people allowed to have friends?)
- My partner and I have the same sex drive. Not lesser and not more.
- My partner and I must give up masturbation and anything else that one might want to do alone.
- My partner and I must have the same sexual orientation. Dear Lord, can you imagine one or both of us being bi.
Please tell me I am not the only one who finds this incredibly stupid? For me, the basis of any interaction is consent. I understand that if you find a married man on tinder, 80% of the time, he is there without the consent of his wife and therein lies the problem. The assumption that men are allowed to do something because he is a man. And there, most definitely needs to be an outrage about that.
It is prudent that one have a conversation with one’s partner with what one wants out of the partnership. It isn’t an equal relationship if one partner thinks that it is okay to have relationships, emotional, sexual or otherwise with another person without the knowledge of the partner. Similarly, the person that one is getting involved with (for the lack of a better word) needs to be aware of your life situation, as well. In simple words, full disclosure and a lot of awkward conversations.
For me, marriage/ partnership is that safe port that one returns to day in and day out. It liberates you, makes you grow, makes you flourish. It pushes you to explore casting a safety net beneath you.
Yes, it is complicated. It expects one to be a better human being than one can even imagine. It makes a lot of difficult conversations essential. It renders one’s socialisation and definitions of “slut”, “whore” useless and quite rightly so.
It isn’t easy to challenge everything you have dreamed of. A perfect partner. One that understands you. One that fills every void (pun intended) that you have ever felt. One that is yours and yours alone, never to be shared. One that loves you and you love.