Love May Lack Permanence; Honesty Shouldn’t Have An Expiry Date

Love May Lack Permanence; Honesty Shouldn’t Have An Expiry Date

Saturdays With Shivani

I am a part of a few all-women groups on Facebook and I can see a lot of anonymous posts there. The veil of anonymity gives women the confidence and safe space to pour their hearts out. While it is sad that even in this age and time one feels the need to conceal one’s identity, given the fear of judgement it is understandable too.

Among other issues that women share, there is a recurring subject to these posts- partner’s infidelity or the suspicion of it. When I first came across such posts, I’ll be honest I was a little surprised. While I know that infidelity is a thing, I was ignorant of the extent.

So many women, day after day write posts on how they suspect their partners of having affair(s). Their insecurity and fears are palpable through their words. These are urban women (going by the location of the FB groups) who appear to be fairly educated and quite a few claim to be financially independent too. If it is just suspicions then it’s understandable that they want to be sure before they take a call but what about those who know for sure that their partners are two timing them?

What advice would you give to such women?

I have never commented on these threads because I find it tough to advise strangers on situations as grave and critical like these where I don’t know the persons involved but if you follow the thread, there is a plethora of comments that can be roughly divided into three groups; let’s call them white, black and grey.

The whites are very clear in dissing the cheating partner. Considering my own moral compass that holds infidelity as one of the worst things one can do to one’s partner, my spinal reflex is to agree with those who advise these women to get up and leave (or better still kick out the partner). Some are helpful enough in providing practical advice, others stand in support and solidarity; both much needed.

The black ones make me cringe, hence the nomenclature. They reek of misogyny as they pontificate on how any relationship has its ups and downs and how one needs to rise up and be the bigger person to forgive and move on. The victim shaming and blaming ones are the worst; you can imagine the rest. The tone of these comments is an instant put off which makes it easier for me to reject them outright.

The greys are what are increasingly getting my attention. These are compassionate notes acknowledging the pain and hurt. They understand her insecurities and how it’s not easy to leave the comfort zone. They tell her it’s perfectly normal to feel cheated. The sense of loss from an investment, of time and emotions, gone wrong can weaken the strongest of women. I often imagine that these comments must give her the much-needed succour and courage that a woman needs in such distressing times.

I scroll through and wonder if it was one of my friends posting this or worse, what if it was I in those shoes? The feeling of not being enough for the person who once loved you can be devastating. I am no longer innocent enough to believe that there is no such thing as falling out of love. People change and so do their choices. What I do wish is that people who want to move out of a relationship should have the courage to come out clean and not try to sneak past it. Love may lack permanence; honesty shouldn’t have an expiry date. That would spare everyone the agony but going by the number of posts, this seems like too big an ask.

Dr. Shivani Salil