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Love » After-marriage » Relationship-emotional-071008
 
Is Your Relationship Emotionally Dead?
 
Is Your Relationship Emotionally Dead? "In it, yet out of it" - Is that the state of your marriage? Are you two people living together, perhaps even sharing a physical relation, but with the emotional strings set loose?

"He's shut me out of his life, and I'm not even sure if and how I should complain," moaned Anita of Karan, her husband of two years. Poor Anita - it was a horrible state to be dangling in. It's not as thought she'd caught Karan having a roll in the hay, so to speak, with his secretary!

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Even so, something was seriously wrong with her marriage. Karan was suffering the pressures of balancing a high-flying job and his personal life. The pressure told on his nature - a naturally jovial, easy-going character, he had become snappy and short-tempered. He'd often start the day rowing for no 'real' reason with Anita.

As a result, he'd enter his office feeling keyed-up and emotionally drained. Naturally, eager to offload his heaviness, Karan ended up sharing his feelings with the next easily available and seemingly non-judgmental person - his secretary.

In time, this included his ranting about what he believed was Anita's unreasonable attitude. "She doesn't understand me, or the demands of my job," he'd whine. His secretary was only too happy to lap up his evident 'need' for her. Soon, such chitchats became a daily affair, and Karan's secretary became his 'best friend'.

In Karan's case, his seemingly innocent friendship - based on his need for a sounding board - didn't snowball into a full-blown affair. In fact, he felt great - he wasn't cheating on Anita (after all, he had no intention of sleeping with his secretary) and simultaneously, he'd found a way to cope with the pressures of work and home!

Although Karan was not being physically unfaithful to his wife, he was guilty of emotional betrayal.

Karan's (and of course Anita's) was a pitiable state of marital affairs - somewhat like being neither here nor there, married to one, buddies with another. Eminent psychologist-therapist Dr. M. Gary Neuman's believes that such scenarios more often than not arise from indulging yourself in a friendship outside of your marriage.

Shocked?

Dr. Neuman's contention is that "we can't fool ourselves into believing that we can have intimate relationships at work and still have a great relationship at home." He explains that you have to choose between your marriage and 'another' friendship.

Although Dr. Neuman's views seem far-fetched, even his critics agree that his key premise is correct - intense close friendships with a member of the opposite sex - even if 'platonic' - may harm your marriage.

In sharing yourself with your 'friend,' Dr Neuman points out you're putting "the majority of your emotions in the hands of someone other than your spouse." So though you may cultivate a great friendship outside your marriage, you also end up wholly or partially disconnecting yourself from your spouse, much like Karan - who was no longer able to open up to his wife. His new emotional outlet acted as a wall between him and Anita.

Now Karan would probably turn up his nose at the thought of bidding adieu to his confidant. He'd testify in favour of a married person needing a friend outside of marriage, and question, so what if my friend is of the opposite gender? The important thing for him would be - she's always there for me. Well, obviously, she's his secretary!

Simultaneously, he'd say Anita also has male friends from before her marriage. She still keeps in touch with them. Fact is - Anita had prioritised her life well, and knew where to draw the line. Her marriage always came first. Her friends were for when she had time for a cup of coffee with her old group, or to share greetings on festival days. They weren't the be all and end all of her existence.

So how do Karan and Anita set their marriage right again?
  • Should Karan disconnect with his secretary immediately - even if it means firing her?
  • Is the secretary the real problem? Or do Karan and Anita need to resolve deeper issues that led to the emotional death of their marriage?
  • What can Anita do to save her marriage?
  • Are all marriages like that after a few years and should they just accept this and look for emotional support outside their marriage?
Charu Bahri
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