Which Relationship Choices For You?
They say you can’t live without love. It’s a basic human need. There’s the tethering love of parents and siblings. The joyous love of friendships. The protective love for your kids. The fizzing, romantic love for a partner. Every story, real or fictional, that I’ve ever been interested in has love at the heart of it and relationship choices go hand in hand.
What is left without connection? No man is an island, said John Donne. The relationships around us form the very fabric of how we live, and one of the most important decisions you make as an adult, is the partner you choose. It might sound too Jane Austen (then, I am a Brit), but this choice can multiply your happiness or cause you misery.
Romeo and Juliet (or a variation thereof)
How many of us were brought up to believe the story of the prince and princess meeting, falling in love, and living happily ever after? I know I was. I’m a second generation immigrant, born in the UK to Indian parents. In that sense my cultural influences are varied, and made even more colourful by the fact I married a German man.
Can you be both idealist and realist, romantic and cynic, traditionalist and rebel? The little girl wars with the feminist in me. I both like and loathe the thought of a prince on horseback (or elephant, in Indian culture!). I don’t need a partner to protect me and open doors, but I appreciate having someone to lean on when I need it.
There’s something so beautiful about the chemistry in a relationship, the companionship, support and shared memories. I love the magic of silent teamwork, building a home together, sharing the load, each partner playing his or her part without the need for words. There’s a natural beat that underlies a partnership, the sun and the moon working in tandem, an ease born of mutual respect and intimacy.
It’s not all poetry. Science suggests that those in committed relationships tend to have healthier responses to depression, stress and anxiety. How comforting to sit next to your love at the end of a long day, even if the two of you are too exhausted to talk. I might relish the opportunity to spread-eagle on our bed when my husband is away, but I soon miss the feel of his feet on mine.
Check out Nillu’s Book: All The Tommorrows
Still, what if you aren’t allowed to choose your own partner? The vast majority of marriages that take place in India are arranged. They are also common in Pakistan, China, Japan and Israel. It’s important to note that an arranged marriage is different from a forced marriage, as it takes place between two consenting adults.
While taking away individual relationship choices for the greater good of the family raises concerns about exploitation, research tells us not to dismiss arranged marriages out of hand. In fact, they can be stronger than a love matches.
Couples are less likely to have a clash of values. There’s less room for illusions when those involved consider the pros and cons of a match, without the instinct-driven blinding nature of love. That isn’t to say love can’t grow over time.
Families are more invested in the outcomes of an arranged marriage, since it is they who have played a pivotal role in bringing the couple together. Think of it as an age old Tinder. Often, the couple will have a say in the matter, but will be guided by their relatives.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I was twenty when a friend told me that she and her partner had split up their three room flat. There was a communal living area, her bedroom, and his bedroom. They each got to express themselves creatively in how they decorated their own spaces, and they inevitably ended up spending most nights together, but one of them would invite the other into their room.There’s something so beautiful about the chemistry in a relationshipClick To Tweet
Back then, this idea seemed ridiculous to me. Now, it seems romantic. That’s the thing about love and Relationship Choices – They come in all shapes. Besides, if unconventional living arrangements were good enough for Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, they must be worth considering.
Nillu Nasser is a writer of literary fiction novels. All the Tomorrows was published by Evolved Publishing in 2017, and is due to be followed by Hidden Colours in late 2018. Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature, and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love: writing. She lives in London with her husband and three children. If you fly into Gatwick and look hard enough, you will see her furiously scribbling in her garden office, where she is working on her next story. To find out more about Nillu or to say hello, visit www.nillunasser.com. Connect with Nillu on Facebook and Twitter