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‘You Could Do Better!’

‘You Could Do Better!’

December 08, 2012

Does the pressure of having to land up with the perfect man or woman kill your relationship?

The best thing about being single is that others are more concerned about your singledom than you are. ‘Others’, in this case, being well-meaning family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers – in other words, the entire universe that conspires together to ensure you don’t stay happily single. There is nothing wrong with it and like every single woman on the wrong side of 30, I know there is no choice but to grin and suffer these conspiracies. Yet, as I get more and more enlightened about relationship fundas, I have come to one conclusion – ‘others’ are not concerned so much about your inability to find a partner as they are skeptical about your skill in finding the ‘right’ man or woman! 

The challenge first begins with that irritating question - ‘Found someone?’ Two words that are constantly thrown at me each time I chat with a friend or acquaintance back home!

I want to scream, “No! I went to shop for ‘someone’ in The Dubai Mall but dropped the idea because he wasn’t available on discount.” Since I can’t say that, I simply say, ’no’ and add a smiley. Then the conversation turns into a familiar lament-cum-advice session – about how hard it is to find good guys (as if they have collectively gone missing!), how I am not “looking” in the right places, how I have built a wall around myself blah, blah and more blah…

The next challenge is to fob off matchmaking attempts – not the ones brought on by relatives but by concerned friends that are more difficult to refuse. From offering to put up my profile on to introducing me to prospective candidates, my friends have tried everything to get me hitched. Their attempts are really sweet but how do I explain that I am seriously not interested?

However, over the years I have realised that it’s when you try to find Mr Right yourself that you face the biggest challenge – of sub-consciously having to convince others that your choice is good as per their definition of good. You know that your friends (who are more than family to a singleton) mean well, they want you to be happy and want the best for you – but their hidden disapproval if your boyfriend is not ‘up to the mark’ can often sow seeds of doubt in your own mind.

Two years ago I met a guy who… let’s say, was not Brad Pitt’s twin. He was average-looking and not a ‘prize catch’ by general girl-standards. He wouldn’t turn heads if he entered a room and though he was very successful in his work, he wasn’t a millionaire. Somehow we clicked even though I wasn’t sure if he was ‘the’ one. He was a fun guy, we enjoyed each other’s company and slowly but steadily were heading to a proper relationship.

I decided to open up about him to my friends.

“H-I-M’?” one of them said incredulously when I showed her a Facebook picture. “Gawd, you can do so much better!” Another friend’s immediate response: “H-I-M? He’s ok but are you sure? You have been single for so long, don’t compromise now.”

I tried explaining that I wasn’t compromising. I was genuinely fond of him, had a great comfort level and shared good chemistry but they were not convinced. So, from basically outing our relationship, I clammed up and claimed this was not serious at all. And my friends were happy I wasn’t about to do anything “foolish”. Unfortunately, other factors eventually took its toll and we split up but I can’t help but wonder if others’ opinion had indeed clouded my own. Did the lack of universal endorsement of my choice play a part in not giving the relationship my all? Did their first response make me unknowingly judgmental? Did I let others’ perspective mask my own indecisiveness and commitment phobia? Did I not try hard enough to make it work? Or was it genuinely not meant to be? Two years on, I have still not got the answers.

May be sub-consciously singles do try to live up to society’s exacting standards. So while they laud your independence and appreciate your life choices, they also expect you to land up with a trophy boyfriend or girlfriend. After all, you have been doing splendidly well in other aspects of life – career, living alone etc. So there is little room for mistake in this arena too.

Over the years, I have often found myself making excuses for the men I have dated or even considered to date, primarily because of the reactions to my choices.

‘HIM? Isn’t he too old for you? Can’t you find someone your age?’

‘HIM? Isn’t he younger than you?’

‘HIM? He is so bad-looking. You can do better!’

‘HIM? Couldn’t you think of anyone else but a divorcee? What’s wrong with you? He must be having so many liabilities!’

‘HIM? He is so average. Go for someone more intellectual!’

‘HIM? But his job is hardly stable. Be practical, you need someone ambitious with growth prospects!’

The number of ‘HIMs’ I have received have not only made me doubt my choices but have actually made me wary of admitting to my relationships.

However, the hard reality is: in a relationship, no one can say what works and what doesn’t. Chemistry can work in the unlikeliest of situations with the unlikeliest person. So all you can do is follow your heart, hope for the best and be ready to accept the worst.

Perhaps it’s time to stop looking at marriage as the ultimate goal of relationships. Perhaps it’s time to stop tagging relationships as right and wrong. The right relationship is the one that makes you happy. The one that makes you miserable is wrong. Period. You can share a wonderful bond with a man or woman without him or her having to fit into pre-set boxes. If the checklist – others and your own – is met, good for you! If not, it’s no big deal.

So what if the person you are attracted to at a certain point of time is short/fat/average-looking/divorced/older/younger/not so rich? And so what, just like your friends warned you, it doesn’t work out? The heart and mind have their own mysterious ways and at times, the journey is much better and more enriching than the destination.

Relationships can never be perfect but perhaps our responses to it, can. 


  • Jyoti Agarwal
    Jyoti Agarwal
    09.12.12 07:17 PM
    Don't worry dear, it is not about finding the perfect one but finding someone who you feel is Perfect for you..
  • Rajpriya
    09.12.12 08:35 AM
    Looks more like you are looking for a Guy who is perfect in the eyes of your friends and relations. If you care to find out: Are all those friends and relations hitched to perfect guys or dolls themselves? If they do, then you are the odd unlucky one.

    All men and women do want the Perfect Dolls or Guys as their life’s’ partner. For you it largely seems to depend on what could mean Perfect in the eyes of your friends.

    If you are the perfect woman then you should take on a man who is acceptable to you in your opinion and use your good character to influence his imperfections and turn them into perfection. It’s like turning a bankrupt business into a lucrative and attractive one. It could bring out the best problem solving qualities in you.

    After all it’s your life that you have to manage and not that your friends are going to manage it for you.
  • Sneha
    08.12.12 05:58 PM
    Probably, its time to tell these "friends" to fuck off.

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