As soon as the dating phase heads down a more serious route, the conversation of exclusivity props up. Apart from the magical connection that binds a couple, exclusivity is an over emphasised, and often reiterated, concept of a relationship. So what can people do when they come across someone who makes their heads turn, even when they are in a relationship?
“Well, I still check out girls. I’m a guy,” said Shiv Sharma, a committed boyfriend. “It’s not I have turned hostile against beautiful creatures, but I appreciate them from a distance.” Sometimes, for people in love, checking out other hot people adds an element of fun to the relationship. It’s harmless and is often regarded as a joke.
“We were sitting at the Carter Road promenade when this girl walked by in her teeniest of shorts, with her dog. Both my partner and I were gaping her as if an angel fell down from the sky,” said Zara Khan, a programmer by profession. “You have to be normal, be yourself, even if you are in a relationship.” Most couples interviewed for this article thought it was harmless to check out other people; in fact, they did it together, too.
But how do people treat this distraction? Abhi Dhusia says, “Ah! I’m taken, but if a hot girl comes into my life, I pass. It’s a like a bright Sunday: it comes and goes. I won’t make too much out of it.” What if the girl wants more? “Umm, I guess I’ll tell her that I am seeing someone and chuckle in joy that I still have it in me.”
But, is this how all couples feel when they are in a relationship? Sharma says, “My girlfriend’s colleague is quite attractive and she seems to get along with him. She often talks about him and I feel they have a flirtatious vibe. It makes me a little insecure sometimes.” It is not unnatural to feel jealous or threatened by a friend or a colleague but if that jealousy turns into suspicion, that’s when the relationship can turn ugly.
Sometimes, it’s better not to duck these uncomfortable questions, but rather to talk it out. Khan recounts, “My boyfriend hung out with this girl he barely knew till late at night, and I was uncomfortable with that. But when I confronted him, he empathised with my situation and apologised.”
It is a mature way of dealing with and weeding out problems, says Christopher Mendes, who experienced a similar situation. His girlfriend went out to a club with her friend’s cousin who had come to India on a vacation. “We had our arguments but in the end, we decided it was best for us to not put ourselves in a situation where we can drunkenly kiss other strangers,” he says.
Since all couples will go through situations like this, what’s the best way to avoid embarrassing moments? “In my profession, I meet lots of new people every day,” says Karthik Raman, a fashion photographer. “There are tempting moments, but I love my girlfriend and don’t want to cheat on her, so I casually mention her if I know the other person is getting too interested in me.”
Temptation can be too difficult to resist for some, so what do they do? Dino Wadhwani says, “I cave in. A one night stand is all right. It doesn’t alter my feelings for my girlfriend, but it’s something that keeps me going.” Cases of occasional offenders are abundant; for most, it is a momentary lapse caused by lust, alcohol or just plain desire, and they don’t think too much of it. “This guy I met in a club convinced me to kiss him and I thought what’s in a kiss. But we went all the way. He told me I will forget this incident in a few days and I really did,” narrates Mandira Sharma.
Some even romanticise it and call it summer love. “I was travelling for work in Europe and I bumped into Sally, a Hungarian girl. We met later for coffee and things took a different turn,” says John Francis. Was it just a holiday fling? “Yes! and I have never cheated on my girlfriend again.” But is there any guilt? “There is; I sometimes do have the urge to come clean. But some secrets better be taken to the grave.”
It is a difficult dialogue and can scar the relationship forever. “I cheated on my girlfriend and I told her. We hadn’t had sex for three months and I just couldn’t handle it. The relationship broke up but I think it was for the best,” says Jameel Sayed. In situations where the couples have drifted apart, it doesn’t take long to drift physically, and break ups are a blessing in disguise.
Yet perfectly happy people also err, and sometimes, deliberately err. “We were together for seven years and about to get married. I had never had sex with another man. I just wanted to experience someone else,” says Niharika Hariharan, who decided to ditch the exclusivity agreement for an experience right before her marriage. “For me, it was just a one-time thing I had to do.”
Megha Somaiya, a relationship expert, says it is not uncommon for people to develop cold feet before marriage and to do something crazy. But guilt and betrayal, more often than not, paves the road to misery and eventually, causes relationships to fail.
Of course, there are times when you’re both completely smitten by a third person. What then? As Johnny Depp says, “If you love two people at the same time, choose the second one, because if you really loved the first one you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.” Love, like other drugs, has a shelf life.
Volume 1 Issue 10