Why do relationships fail?

Till Death Do Us Part

We have read in books, seen in movies and generally believed it to be true. The words ‘ Till Death Do Us Part” signify the coming together of two people, and then their staying together forever, till the time they are alive. They only part ways in the event of death. How beautiful it sounds!! What a warm, cosy feeling it leaves one with. The feeling of being loved, cherished, protected forever and forever. So incredibly special. But does this always happen? Do the two people always stay together? Or is it that when reality sets in, when life starts happening, a number of these promises fly out of the window? Let’s explore.

If we look around us, then what we find is that more than ever before marriages are breaking up, relationships are crumbling, associations are dying. We seem to be living in times when men and women are stepping away from supposedly life long unions to go in for new ones or none at all. Why is this on the rise? Or was it always there but was not so visible.

Was it hidden under the garb of family prestige, societal pressure, fear or a sense of inertia or a mix of all?

I feel that in earlier times, people and especially women took things lying down because they had no option. They were dependent on men for practically everything and could not afford to dream of living without them. And so it went on. And in any case, breaking a marriage was pretty unheard of, and so even the men who were not happy continued to live the way they had always done.

But now, in today’s day and age, things have changed. Somewhere people have shed the age-old hesitation, fear and the desire to look good and acceptable and want to lead lives which are happy and meaningful.

No longer are people wanting to remain suppressed or subjugated. They want to get out of relationships that are stifling and lead happy lives.

This article is not about what people are doing now via a vis what they were doing earlier. It is about why these cracks develop? Why do seemingly life long relationships die down?

Why is that people who were once in love with each other, were there for each other, after a few years no longer wish to do that?

There could be innumerable reasons for that.

To begin with, there could be an intrinsic incompatibility from day one. As it is life was a struggle, and after years of pulling along, now the couple no longer wishes to carry on.

The other reason which, to my mind, is more damaging and destructive to the relationship and the people concerned is the complete subjugation of one person by the other one. It is pretty common to come across couples where one of them is dominating and controlling by nature and so completely takes over or tries to take over every aspect of the other one’s life. It is as though even the amount of air the other one breathes in is tightly monitored. And when the other one happens to be an adjusting, compromising person and totally in love, the controller has a field day running their lives. The controlled is initially too much in love to notice or bother about the controlling ways of the other one, which is a mistake. Their love is so deep that they are willing to not only walk a mile for the other one but miles on end. And this imbalance is what leads to disaster.

The controller starts taking all the adjustment, the compromise for granted, actually it becomes more like a birthright.

This situation has far-reaching consequences for both of them. The controller becomes totally dependent on the other one and cannot function without them. What I understand is that there is more to this than what is apparent. The controllers are actually insecure, complexed and under-confident people who need the other one desperately to live life. But they are smart enough never to let their dependence become apparent. It is always hidden. And since they always need to hold on to the other one, they use their controlling nature to do that. They feel that by running the other one’s life, they will be able to keep them close to them and so with time and age, they become even more overbearing to the extent of becoming intolerable.

It is so ironical that it is the very tactic that they have been using to hold on to the other one now starts backfiring. They end up pushing the other one away. By now the partner has begun to understand how all the adjustment and love has made their lives unbearable. It is as though being in love has been perceived as being stupid, which is clearly not the case.

They see the price that they have had to pay for being the way they were. They are being expected to sacrifice their very existence, and that is, of course, unacceptable. And so they start pushing back by now refusing to yield to every demand, every wish.

This change though noticed by the subjugator is trivialised and largely ignored. And where it becomes difficult to ignore it is attributed to mood swings, hormonal issues or something as idiotic as the person becoming egoistic. In a nutshell, the change is brushed under the carpet.

But the thing is that it cannot be brushed under the carpet for too long. The subjugated have woken up from their slumber and now are not willing to take anything lying down, and so now they continue to push back. As a result, a certain amount of strain starts to seep into the relationship and in the extreme situation may lead to the collapse of the relationship.

To the outside world, the break up may come as a shock, but then they are not privy to what’s been going on in the lives of the couple. Even for the subjugator, the break up may not only come as a shock but as a huge betrayal, a breaking of promises and vows.

But my question is…

If the decision to break away and finding another chance to happiness is betrayal then wasn’t the complete subjugation, the annihilation of the other one for such a long time also not a form of betrayal?

What do you think?

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10 Comments
  • Harkaran Singh
    June 3, 2020

    Another brilliant story which reflects the insights into the disturbed relationships and pin points the very reasons for it. Why do such relationship/marriages fail is articulated extremely well

    • Sangeeta Relan
      June 3, 2020

      🙏🙏

  • Deepa Nicodemus
    June 3, 2020

    Good one ! Reality that we see all around us…

    • Sangeeta Relan
      June 3, 2020

      🙏🙏

  • Ceemul
    June 3, 2020

    Very relatable!

    • Sangeeta Relan
      June 3, 2020

      😊😊

  • Vandana Singhee
    June 7, 2020

    Hey Sangeeta loved the way you summarised and put your question forward.In my view it depends on person to person how she/ he can bear and continue in that relationship.Also as they say after you leave; the person may understand your value & importance.If not, then their should be no guilt &expectations tagging with it.

    • Sangeeta Relan
      June 7, 2020

      Thank you so much! Yes of course it varies from person to person. And someone who is in that situation would know the best way to deal with it.

  • Yadhav Mehra
    June 21, 2020

    So happy….yet again
    ….to see a gender agnostic reflection…to see balanced musings. Glad you zoomed in on the oppresor and the oppressed reason for relationships falling apart quickly. It is about the intent and not about the two persons being different. As long as the intent is “collaborative enjoyable growt”h …..the relationship will blossom and be movie like.. once again very well delivered Sangeeta….a message everyone must reflect on. The oppressed must thank you for raising their cause in a non-threatening way!

    • Sangeeta Relan
      June 21, 2020

      🙏🙏