Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton says an open relationship is the best thing to happen to her. iTALK asks whether this is the answer for commitment-phobic urban India
Life in a metro is chaotic. Most young professionals are too caught up chasing career dreams to get tied down through a personal commitment. Marriages, both love and arranged, are fading before our eyes, with some couples sticking it out in spite of being bogged down by boredom. Are open relationships then, the answer?
Relationship expert Ameeta Sanghavi Shah believes open relationships present a big challenge, since they demand adjustment. They may last in the short-term but are tough to sustain in the long run.
H'vovi Bhagwagar, Clinical Psychologist and Behaviour Consultant says open relationships are not common in India yet, though the concept is gaining consideration. Its a coping mechanism for unhappiness that individuals trapped in long-term relationships find themselves in. "In urban India, marriages are got into for convenience, done on an impulse or thanks to family pressure," says Bhagwagar.
Ground rules need to be set to avoid conflict. "Sundays will be exclusively reserved for family, is one example.
Decide on the allocation of money. Consider whether you are going to tell close ones about your decision, and whether your other partner will have access to your house," says Shah. Bhagwagar says those individuals who are unsure of commitment, should opt for a live-in relationship instead.
It's likely to become more complicated for Indian couples since we are still a traditional society at heart. We lay great stress on loyalty, and an arrangement of this kind is likely to create mental and physical stress. In case you have to financially support both your partners, you might find yourself exhausted. "Ask yourself which of the two you'd reach out to in troubled times. There is also the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, if you have more than one sexual partner," Bhagwagar suggests.
Open relationships involve sharing. Shah says that if you can give your partner the benefit of doubt, remain detached, be easygoing by nature, flexible, and aren't wary of comparisons, you stand a greater chance of making such a relationship work. Bhagwagar says practical individuals who look at an issue impersonally, are the ones who will succeed.
Experts say several married Indians rely on similar arrangements. "Long-term relationships are the trickiest as they require constant adjustment. Conflicts lead to frustration, and one partner often ends up cheating," says Shah.
Will Smith will take wife's permission to sleep with another
In 2007, Hollywood actor Will Smith spoke to UK magazine NOW, about the possibility that he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith will engage in an open marriage. He stated that one of the keys to his happy married life is complete transparency. "You don't avoid what's natural; you're going to be attracted to people," he stated. He added that if either of them wanted to sleep with someone else, they would seek the other's approval.
The concept is regressive
Prasoon Joshi, Lyricist and adman
You are fooling yourself, and using it as a pretence to get away from real issues. Fidelity is a pre-requisite for any relationship, and without it the relationship one of convenience. Such relationships are for the weak.
Men may opt for it
Lillette Dubey Actor- director
Few people can handle such relationships; they are way too complex. Men might opt for them but it is difficult for a woman to since she needs a strong emotional connection with one person.
Fidelity is a must
Pooja Bedi, TV Host
I am a hopeless romantic. I also want to be the only person in my partner's life and cannot stomach the fact that there is someone else. Fidelity is the most important component of a romance.