Three more weeks, I gasped! As the nation’s prime minister announced that we were to go into a total lockdown at midnight, in an attempt to control the spread of deadly coronavirus. My mind went numb. We were already two weeks in as a family into social distancing. The addition of three more weeks to this ordeal may not seem much to a lot of people. I agree, at least we are together. At least we have supplies. At least the husband and I have to work from home, which will keep us distracted for a fair amount of time. But social distancing and too much proximity takes a toll on a relationship. One-missing-item on-the-grocery-list is all it takes to have a full-blown fight. Some marriages may recover from this ordeal, while some may develop battle scars and some will get completely undone. There will be those where a partner may seek fulfillment outside of the relationship, even if it is for this limited period of time. But is digital adultery just a respite? Or is there more to it?
- Extramarital dating app Gleeden has seen a rise of 70 percent in its subscription in India amidst lockdown.
- Has lockdown turned Indian couples into adulterers?
- Or it is that adultery has moved indoors, since outside world stands cancelled.
- Social distancing can take a toll on relationships, since none of us has been in such a situation before.
Could the rise in these subscriptions just be a visible symptom of marriages that are already deep in trouble? Of partners who have moved out of their marriage, but have to live under the same roof under this quarantine?
According to a TOI report, Gleeden, an extramarital dating app, has seen a rise of 70 percent in its subscription in India amidst lockdown. But does this data mean that the lockdown has turned Indians into adulterers? Or it is just that adultery has moved indoors since there is no outside world to escape to? No coffee shops to meet up at, no hotels to have a getaway, no work commitments to use as an excuse. Could the rise in these subscriptions just be a visible symptom of marriages that are already deep in trouble? Of partners who have moved out of their marriage, but have to live under the same roof under this quarantine?
Having said that, social distancing as a couple isn’t easy. Whether or not you have family around you, relationships aren’t fit for too much proximity, especially when both of you are tensed, wound up, and constantly worrying. You just have different reasons to trigger you off. Why did you leave that coffee mug there? Why are you not helping out with any household chores? Do you really have to talk so loudly during a conference call? Did you seriously finish our week’s worth of snacks in two days? You are spending too much time on social media. You forgot to bring milk from the grocery shop. Will you ever take a bath in this decade?
Every relationship has its set of struggles and challenges. While some couples manage to overcome them, it simply doesn’t happen for others.
However, it takes more than three weeks of forced proximity in most relationships to break them, doesn’t it? If you are already in a dysfunctional marriage, this lockdown can be a test of your patience and endurance. Does that mean adultery is justified? I think that is a very loaded question, even under normal circumstances. Morality is subjective to individual gaze, and while taking a higher ground may boost your ego a bit, the truth is, every marriage is different. Every relationship has its set of struggles and challenges. While some couples manage to overcome them, it simply doesn’t happen for others. What right do we have to judge another person when we haven’t lived their life or experienced their relationship? So while you and I may label adultery as immoral, we can only speak for ourselves.
But despite having a healthy marriage, your relationship does stand a risk suffering the consequences of a lockdown. And if adultery is not the solution you are looking for, then the following steps could prove helpful:
Give each other some space: Don’t expect your partner’s constant attention. At home, we work out of separate rooms and that has indeed helped in maintaining harmony to an extent.
Change the rules: Don’t like certain habits of your partner? Hate it when they fail to make the bed or fail to turn on the mosquito repellent in the evening. Cut them some slack. It is okay if they do not do some chores, and instead of getting angry at them, why not trade your chores to keep things from getting mundane?
Keep your frustration in check: I think this is the most difficult of all. It comes easily to most of to vent our frustration on our spouse. We pick unnecessary fights, escalate small issues, perhaps unknowingly, to just have that release. Everybody is going through a difficult phase. Don’t make a punching bag out of your partner. And more importantly refuse to be theirs.
Lower your expectations: Your partner is going to be watching more Netflix than you may like. They may drink so much tea that it will give you acidity to just see them do that. But again, each one of us has different coping mechanisms. So just let them be and focus on what makes you happy, then obsessing over their behaviour.
One day at a time: All of the above-mentioned things are easier said than done. Tell me about it. But the truth is this is an unusual situation for most couples to be in. So let us take it one day at a time. Every night that you go to bed without tearing each other’s hair out is a victory in my opinion.
The views expressed are the author’s own.