Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Of friends and complicated situations

S and A broke up after four years of marriage. And even though I've always known that they were not right for each other and that they had made a mistake in tying the knot in the first place, the news still shocked me. I guess I am still the conservative kind. To me marriage is an institution that two people build over the years. And to see it fall apart just shakes up the very foundation of my beliefs. But the fact remains we had known all along that S and A had a very shaky relationship. They were two entirely different people who had very little in common. We've known S for a very long time and he is one of the most sensitive and affectionate individuals I've known. He is funny and he can make anyone smile and he is always a joy to have around. When S fell in love with A we were all a little taken aback because A was very different from any of us. I do not know whether it was because she was from a different background and culture, or it was the way she was brought up, but she was dominating, materialistic and demanding. We never thought S would end up marrying A but when he announced that he was getting married, none of us had the courage to dispel his cloud of happiness by telling him how wrong they were for each other. Right after they got married A told S that she did not like interacting with his friends and she was not happy when he chatted with them in Bengali because she was unable to follow the conversation. So S stopped calling his friends. We hoped with time A would feel more secure in her marriage and things would change. But they got worse. A hated the life as a graduate student. She was accustomed to a life of luxury in India and could not adjust to having to compromise and scrimp to make ends meet. They fought all the time. I guess it boils down to having two very different people who had very different expectations out of life, being thrown together in a relation that neither of them were prepared for. So after four years of bitterness and bickering and following the birth of their son, S and A decided to call it quits. I guess what has me most disturbed about the matter is that this could have been prevented if S had realized before he got married that A was not the right girl for him. But he was blinded with passion at that time and nobody helped him see through the haze. Now, they have not only messed up their own lives, they have brought a little child into the world who will grow up not knowing a proper family. I think it is tragic.

And now I see another close friend P going around with the wrong girl. Everytime I see P and A together (this is a different A), I see tragic consequences written all over. P is a nice guy, very friendly, outgoing and honest. And although A could be a very nice person in her own right, she just doesn't seem to be of the same framework as P. Granted that I have never seen P and A fight openly the way S and A did. But S and A's relation went downhill at breakneck speed only after they got married. I really care about my friends and I hate seeing them getting hurt. I spent sleepless nights after S and A broke off just feeling guilty about not having been there to prevent this from happening. And now once again I am at the same crossroad, pondering whether someone should talk to P, tell him that as a friend we are concerned about his relation with A. And then I hesitate. I think when people are in love they fail to see anything beyond what their heart is telling them. And may be P will hate me for saying these things. And may be things will never be the same for us again. And may be P and A will eventually get married and A will always resent me for not having wanted them to be together. And who knows....may be P and A will be happy together. I really hope so, because P deserves some happiness in his life. And I am confused. I don't want P to get hurt either way.

Why is it that we find it so difficult to tell the people we care about that we want the very best for them and that they would be better off not getting involved with the wrong person? Probably because it is none of my business or anyone else's for that matter. Perhaps it is the fear of hurting the person and losing the friendship. May be it is the apprehension that the truth will not be acceptable to my friend and he will reject it and hate me for telling him such "untruths". What does one do under these circumstances? I wish I knew............



Blogger Sagnik Nandy said...

this post was very touching coz i faced something very similar a few years back. it's funny that none of my friends or the girl's friends told us anything while we were dating but six years down the line when we finally called it quits everyone told us that they had always known - if only people had told us earlier we could have (i) either worked on isues (ii) called it quits much earlier - hmmmm!

yanyway, the Kolkata post, the one abt your daddy and now this - somehow i find it amazingly easy to relate to your posts - thanks :)

7:14 PM  
Blogger A Hairy Snail said...

Oh my. Sorrowful, ain't it?

11:12 PM  
Blogger Bidi-K said...

Yes its so hard to know what to do in such a case. On one side, a person has to live his own life, make his own mistakes, learn from them and so on, and also you never know about personal compatibility... sometimes the face people show in public can be more self-conscious and less comfortable than in private. But yes on the other hand, as a good friend you never want to see your friend unhappy. If only there is some discreet way to better understand the situation?
On another note, its my first time on your blog, read through all the posts and liked them so much, very heart-warmingly honest.


11:30 PM  
Blogger DD said...

very personal beliefs.

about the question you posed in your last paragraph : we should not express strongly about our apprehension at all. probably just throw hints when things are incipient. it is selfish but why destroy one's relationship with either of them?

again - it's very confusing. things like this happen all around us in relationships. and friends can of course express views when things start.

but marriage? i feel one should be judicious enough before 'marrying' someone. passion - it is it reason enough? people separating from such mistakes suffer - but don't deserve sympathies because of bringing an innocent life who'd have no childhood. sad.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I've been on both sides you know. Told a friend once that I didnt think her boyfriend was right for her and ended up losing her friendship. Maybe I was too honest, I could have been more diplomatic. Also depends on how well you know the person. This girl I knew, told me that she didnt think my relationship with Rahul would work because of the cultural differences and the differences in our backgrounds. Considering she was just about better than being a mere acquaintance, I was pissed off and have't really made an effort to keep in touch with her.

Whether you should discuss this with your friends really depends on how well you know them and how diplomatically you can put it. At the end of the day whether two people make a relationship work inspite of the differences or call it quits really depends on them, not much anyone else can do about it.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Priya said...

Been there, seen it happen and even cried over it(Tho' my friend doesn't know abt this till date). Yes, it happened to my 'bestest' friend and even though I have always been dead honest with her, never had the guts to tell her anything abt her relationship,even tho I didn't like the guy on first impression. May be more because we wern't in touch for some time and I thought I had lost the right to honesty with her. Most importantly, she was too dear to me and I could never dream of disappointing her or breaking her heart.
It's all over and done with and we even joke about it now, but somewhere at the back of my mind, I still wish I had it in me to tell her and save her the ordeal.
Friends, especially close and good ones, and their relationships are like crystal. Always to be handled with care.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

its hard. in my personal experience and opinion, u should speak out ur mind - for the record. i always do. but dont expect it to work. it probably wont. people wont listen. cz u gotto learn from ur onw experience. it just works that way. its hard to learn from others. its silly but thats the way it is. i've learned this the hard way from having a ten yr younger and almost identical sister

once i almost put one of my dearest friendships on the line, to stop her going out with someone. she didnt listen. obviously. later he turned out to be a total dog. but, i couldnt convince her of that before

perhaps there are somethings in life that are hard to understand theoretically

7:46 AM  
Blogger sinusoidally said...

I wouldn't. I would trust all my friends with a certain level of intelligence though it may be influenced by love potion # 9 at that time. I once told a friend what I really thought of her boyfriend a day after she broke up with him. Of course 3 days later they were back together. I couldn't look him in the eye and it all came back to bite me in the butt.

What you ask is a very interesting rather delicate question. But I am of the belief that there is a point beyond which some suggestions should not be offered no matter how convincing the picture is or how good our interests are towards our friends. Because in the end if I told someone that their better half is not good for them and their marriage rocks, I would lose that friendship. And if it falls apart, amongst all the other reasons that could have possibly led to that outcome, in the corner of my heart I will hold myself guilty for contributing to at least one.

8:38 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@sagnik I'm glad you like my posts. About this current one and what you say it is something you feel in retrospect. May be you would feel differently had someone said something to you while you were dating. Usually people are defensive. I tried telling my best friend once when her boyfriend hit on me. They broke off for two days only to get back together. And it has always remained a very uncomfortable situation for all of us. I would hate for that to happen. And worst of all I would hate myself if I destroyed my friend's happiness.
@ arindam it is, isn't it?
@ bidisha thanks for stopping by. And I agree with you that may be this girl may not be that awful after all. she may be very different, materialistic, demanding, domainating but may be in the long run she does love the guy and may be she is good for him. What I hate is the demeaning way she talks about him in public and the fact she never hesitates to insult him. That pisses me off. if you do not have respect in a relation, I do not think there is much meaning left in it anyways.
@ dd I agree marriage and having a baby should be judicious decisions, which is what threw me off completely about this couple. I couldn't be more angry at a totally immature, senseless couple who you would think have better judgement to fix their problems first before getting carried away and having a child who's life is completely screwed up even before he turns one. Terrible!
@ ron I feel this is a no win situation. I would hate to lose my friends trust because even if I know him well enough he would still be a little pissed at my wanting to destroy his relation. I could tell himn all the things that I think are wrong and still cannot expect him to fall out of love or stop seeing her. Ultimately I think it is his life and he needs to learn through his own mistakes.
@ priya I loved the crystal analogy. I really think friendships need to be handled with care because even if they don't break, the scratch or the crack remains and that can be very very ugly.
@ prerona like you say don't expect it to work....I don't. But I do not want to risk ruining my friendship in that case.
@ sines I completely agree with you. I would hope people can see through the hypocrisy themselves but usually love is blind. And I had a similar situation like the one you describe myself and I am not treading that path a second time. May be I will just stand back and watch and just be there when or if something does happen. Another friend who shares the same views as me has decided to tell P at the next opportune moment. May be he has more guts than me. May be he will succeed. I just pray that P realizes what is best for him and takes the right decision.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

Ive been in exactly the same situation but I went on to tell my best friend that I didnt think her boyfriend was righ for her and my frankness cost me a twelve year old friendship. It broke my heart, but really I dont know whether I made a greivious mistake and should have kept my mouth shut.
If someone close to me does not tell me that they think I am making a mistake, then who will??

12:32 PM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

I guess its a simple case of you weighing in your friendship against the happiness of a dear friend in the longer scheme of things. If you feel you can put your friendship on the line then you should go ahead and tell P abt your feelings. There is a good chance that P might take offence to your feelings and might severe his ties with you but if he manages to see any amount of logic by seperating himself from the situation and thinking from your perspective he might come around from makng a life long mistake. Another thing often absolute opposites attract and do go on to live happily there after so all this thinking on your part might just be a hunch that may be wrong too.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Ratna said...

I guess one has to sit and wait and be there for your friend in all times. I witnessed some of these situations in relatives, it is no use trying to change/influence people.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

I guess however much we care for our friends, we cant lead their lives for them, can we? All we can do is be there for them when things dont work out, and tell them we'll always be there.... and NOT tell them that oh-I-always-knew-it-was-doomed.

My 2 cents...

10:42 PM  
Blogger Priya said...

Casablanca's soooo damned right. No, we can't lead the lives for other people, nor do we really need to risk our friendships for such sensitive issues. But surely, we can always be there for them when things go wrong, and may be find ways to bring the invaluable smile back on their faces. And I think, if u play safe at first, you always end up being closer.

12:23 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@dreamcatcher that is what I used to think too.....
@rohan that is the problem. I don't know for sure and in that case I don't want to ruin his happiness by being such a thorn and yet.....life is hard at times.
@ ratna, casa and priya I believe that too. You cannot change a person's mind esp in matters of the heart....so may be it is best for them to learn from their own mistakes. And as a friend you be there. Always.

9:06 AM  
Blogger babelfish said...

My two cents worth...
I've faced someone who despite the certain knowledge that her boyfriend had just about ten-timed her still stuck to him. She alienated all her friends by sticking to him while he continued treating her like dirt. It wasn't just passion and blind love, it was an emotional dependence which is almost paralytic.
On the other hand I've made mistakes and been pulled out of scrapes by gentle hints from friends *well often it wasn't gentle, they just sat on me*.

I think when we think something and then consciously keep it from our friends we build a little barrier. The trust level goes down just a little. The question actually is as Robert Frost says, do "good fences make good neighbours"?

This comment is getting way too precocious...umm, basically I wanted to say I hope whatever you do turns out for the best.

And I've linked you because I think you write beautifully *but you know that already* :)

10:33 AM  
Blogger satchisgod said...

Women are weird. Sometimes you feel you know them, then you feel, naah, probably that's an impossibility. Whatever...I've known a couple of females who've changed the very way I look at life (in a good sense, ie)...but still, dunno, it's all so vague, where they went wrong.
So now I just let her be...coz despite everything, I have this weird feeling, she knows and understands me waaay much more than I'll ever know her. So I've stopped thinking and judging...
Am babbling too much, but you raise a very murky question, you know that right?

11:08 PM  
Blogger Ashmi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Ashmi said...

hey,don't sound so confused and sad.i know its sad to see your friend hurt,but can one prevent it?there are times when you know your hand might burn if you bring it near the flame yet one can't resist...coz perhaps he believes there's pleasure in that pain...anyways,too many advices have come your way and little would it matter to repeat all that many of your blogger friends said...all i would suggest is that listen to your heart and follow it,trust me one's heart never lies.though initially people may misread your intentions and hate you but with time all fall into place and true friends do understand.so just go ahead and do what you feel is the best...as far as i'm concerned i've truly started having high regards for you after reading this poignant article of yours.it must be a real pleasure to have you as a friend,so caring:-)

7:00 AM  
Blogger Rimi said...

you know, i didn't comment earlier 'cause i there comes a point when you SO totally agree, it's pointless commenting just to say "you're so right, i'm with you there"

but i've faced this several times in my life too. once, ONCE, i made the mistake of telling my friend that perhaps she and her current weren't right for each other. she promptly told her boyfriend that, and...well, things got a little unpleasant.

now, i can see how he's manipulating her and draining her finances, but he's so effusive and charming that she can't see i; so well, i've resigned them to live their own lives. can't be helped, can it?

12:13 AM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

when people fall in love, they do become quite biased and see only the positives in their partners ...
as a friend and well-wisher, I guess you have the right to express your views even thought it might sound unpleasant ...

a close friend of one time had decided to get married to a girl after getting to know her for just 2 months, probably becoz she was the only bong girl he knew in Bombay. I never had the gall to tell him that. The result: divorced before the 4th anniversary.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Priya said...

Post, post...long overdue...khali comment likhle hobey?

12:09 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

okay I had a comment in there which seems to have disappeared.....so I will thank you guys again!
@ babelfish thanks for the link and your two cents too....I hope for the best too.
@ biplab murky question indeed and I don't think there is any straight forward answer. Unfortunately. But "women are weird"....what was that?
@ ashmi linked you and thanks.
@ rimi sometimes people have to do things that they wish they could avoid and sometimes things go sour inspite of best intentions. The fact is I am confused. And I don't know what to do. I am hoping for the best but am scared to give it a shot.
@ bonatellis thanks for visiting. I am wondering if my honest expression will cost me my friendship.
@ priya :)) shoburey mewa pholey....
Kind of in the dumps lately which has been a big cause of the lack of posts. My life is such a rollercoaster ride. Just riding the downside at the moment.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Priya said...

Awww, I hate downhill rides...they make the stomach churn. Whatever it is that's pulled you down, M, I hope u can shake it off and get back on the tough but sunny uphill path, soon. Eagerly awaiting a post...mewa to pholofy:))

1:08 AM  
Blogger Ashmi said...

thanks a lot for linking me :-) and let me tell you,reading your site is the best i can think of when i'm too stressed out.its like a tonic driving away all weariness.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Lancelot said...

well been there on both sides... and strangely we were very good friends in both cases, so nothing went wrong in the long run... as of now
tell me, though, in my case, told a friend he was going out with the wrong girl, he looked at me andsaid that he knew tht, but he had smhow grown to care for her, at least as a friend, and dint want to hurt her... not that they had fights or nething, just tht the stuff they wanted frm each other and life was so different. And he couldnt just tell her it should be over. i had nothing to say to that. And i guess sometimes it might actually be the reason ppl carry on.

5:17 AM  
Blogger Grafxgurl said...

this is frightening me.. every time i think about it.. i am going into an arranged marriage.. whos to say that the guy wont change after we get married..i know that to me... marriage is final.. nothing and no one will ever make me change my mind and get out of it and i know that problems in a marriage are to be dealt with and solved as one would do with ones own self...because that person is the other half of me...but what if he decides not...this is so scary...

9:22 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ priya well I hope so too :)))
@ ashmi that is so sweet of you and thanks again!
@lancelot not wanting to hurt someone is fine and may be going around can be justified too in some strange way. But getting married and having a kid and then ending it....don't you think that would be a worse way of hurting someone than ending it prematurely? Esp if you know that it is not the right one.
@ grafxgurl I know what you mean but there are million people who have arranged marriages and live happily. These people I am talking about are people who fell in love and there was nothing arranged about it. I know it is scary when you are getting married primarily because of the lifelong commitment. But if the two people involved get along well, are willing to make compromises and get along with each other things are not that rough. Marriage is something both parties have to work on. You build it everyday with love, understanding and trust. I am sure you will be very happy.

9:31 AM  
Blogger satchisgod said...

"...marriage is punishment for shoplifting in some countries"...
picked up from Wayne's World.
Say what now, huh? :D

1:29 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

So now we are quoting movies?
Marriage could be a punishment in any country....depends who you are getting married to :)

3:27 PM  
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11:39 PM  

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