To Blame or Not To

When a relationship fails, a zillion theories float about what transpired. Relatives and friends do a mini post-mortem. The moment spouses or partners part ways, judgments are passed, and the famous blame game begins. What, Why, When, and How are the favourite questions asked in turns? Ideally, what happened at the time must remain between the duo. But rarely is privacy maintained thanks to the “concerns” of families and friends.

There are myriad reasons for the disintegration of relationships, breakups, separation, and divorces. Once the honeymoon phase ends, the next stage is crucial. It is when the foundation of trust and mutual respect is built. The second phase of the relationship is where people start showing a side of themselves they never revealed during the initial days of dating or courtship. The feeling of being unwanted, taken advantage of, and abused by the partner mostly begins in this stage. Next, a lack of trust and misunderstandings make their way. Where there is abuse, the first instinct is often to forgive the first occurrence. The power play also spoils relationships. A sense of feeling superior overpowers the equality between partners. Then there are well-meaning friends, families, and relatives who decide who is right and wrong the moment they know a relationship is going awry. Finally, unwanted, unsolicited advice affects the couple’s ability to reason. As a result, it is a crazy mess of a beautiful bond that could have been saved if there had been clear communication.  

Recently, reading about the reasons behind marital discords and divorces in India provided some insights. Money ranked as the top cause of divorce. The other reasons were intimacy, deviant peers/buddies, poor division of labour at the house, parental ideological differences, addiction, and lack of communication. 

But I am sure the list is variable. It can differ in all relationships, including dating, marriages, and live-ins. But unions and live-ins are the only relationships that come under society’s scanner since they are the only ones legal in India now. Society generally perceives relationships other than marriage as casual; hence, they should not be taken seriously! 

While old-timers will blame an unmarried couple for having relationship issues because they aren’t married, ironically, married people are also accused of not treating their partners appropriately or doing “enough” for the relationship to be stable. In other words, no matter the relationship status, society is bound to blame them. Often, couples are judged and labeled unceremoniously when the relationship isn’t taking the route “it should be taking.” Then, instead of allowing the couple to sort their differences out, the connection gets further messy, with people interfering, offering unsolicited advice and pities.

As they say, “it takes two hands to clap” it does take two people in any relationship to put in equal effort to make it work. So if I were to rearrange the order and add some more to the reasons for marital or relationship discords/divorces, these would be my order:  

Intimacy –

When there is a lack of physical and emotional intimacy, especially physical, the relationship does suffer. The lack of connection between partners causes a rift between them. 

Poor communication – 

Relationships take a hit when communication breakdown and invisible walls are built between couples. No transparency and honesty remain in the relationship.

Lack of mutual trust – 

Walls between couples become a perfect recipe for a breakdown in faith.

Division of labour at home – 

When the responsibility of household chores and children falls on one person, the partner in question buckles under pressure. Frictions arise, and conflicts spiral into daily fights.

Parental ideological differences – 

There are inter-generational clashes, and more often than not, it affects relationships. Couples come under the pressure of family expectations to behave or live a certain way, much against their interests. As a result, more often than not, partners don’t see eye to eye and end up going their separate ways.

Substance abuse & addictions –

In almost every family, the following habits are commonly seen: gadgets, liquor, drugs, and even social media. Couples are getting distanced because of these addictions.

Poor peer influences – 

They say bad companies can destroy people and ruin good relationships. It is one reason most couples who parted ways on bad terms quoted. Interference by such “friends” can spoil everything around.

Out of all these mentioned above, I would say parental ideological differences and peer influence can be held as least responsible for a crumbling relationship. However, substance abuse (liquor and drugs) contributes significantly to deteriorating relationships. More often than not, people abusing substances get violent and abuse their partners. 

Domestic violence increased a lot because of this during the pandemic, and it was sad to see people remaining trapped in relationships thinking their partners would overcome the addictions and tolerate abuse. The recent cold-blooded murder of a girl by her live-in partner sent chills down the spine and shook the nation. It is a shocking example of one of the many cases where substance abuse proved fatal to the partner. She kept giving the benefit of the doubt to her live-in partner, a drug addict, thinking he would change. Sadly, her friends are now slowly opening up, saying they saw the red flags in the relationship but failed to stop her. She had rebelled against her family to live with her boyfriend. Following this, her family cut her off, and when she started suffering abuse, she couldn’t return to her own family, which was her safety net. This isn’t to say that live-in relationships are wrong but to make people aware that they need to see red flags when they enter a relationship.

After this horrific incident, more cases of abusive partners are reported, and people are opening up about the abuse they suffered in their relationships.

A healthy relationship entails open communication, trust, honesty, mutual respect, and unconditional support. Of course, love remains on top for a good relationship but with healthy boundaries and space set by each other at the beginning.   

Divorce/breakups must be the last option, but if it breaks you from within, it is excellent to walk away from it. Toxic relationships only scar you, so please do not blame yourself for it and walk off immediately. 

Signing off with a recipe for a happy Sunday. Take a big pot. Add a scoop of communication, respect, acceptance, empathy, unity, boundaries, choice (yes, u do have), efforts, honesty, and garnish with love. If you have the above ingredients in your relationship, ask yourself: “To be or Not to be” with your partner.

Follow Priya Rajendran

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