Facebook brought it into popular parlance. The first time I saw it on someone’s profile, I thought,

That’s such a guy thing to say.

All the women I know (self included) were always perfectly clear how we felt about a relationship. We always had completely solid, sure answers to “Do you like the guy?”, “Love him?”, “Is it just attraction?”, “Could it grown into something more?”, “Do you want it to?”. We were not always right but at least we thought we knew, the key words being ‘we thought’. Yes, I think that certainty came from having explored each eventuality in our heads.

Contrast that with,

“It’s complicated.”

Can’t you just picture a guy shrugging his shoulders, looking away and taking a swig of his coffee/beer/whatever before moving onto another topic of conversation? I can. Those diabolical words would strike a chill in the heart of any commitment-seeking woman because they sound like a multitude of other things to her.

“I don’t know.”
“I haven’t thought about it.”
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”

The thing is, ever so curiously, lately…I’ve caught myself using the very same phrase. It startled me the first time I did. Was I turning into a man? Was I discovering latent commitment-phobia? Mercifully not.

It is just that the relationship, the whole jing-bang, with a balloon-festooned ‘happily ever after’ at the end of it, seems to need so much. What’s more, the chances of finding it seem no better than the cynics tell me. Even if I ignore them and go with my own flow, there is jut too much happening for me to be able to invest that much emotion in one person.

I don’t mean that we’ve all become multiple-daters. But our lives are full of so much to see and do, that a relationship just becomes another small part of our universe. Hell, I feel like ‘It’s complicated’ applies even to my career. We are after all, a generation of options and I am nothing, if not a hard-nosed seeker of the best there available to me.

A friend of mine is in love. They’ve known each other several months. He wooed her well and strong, she reciprocated and they were the hottest couple in their crowd. They even took a vacation together, a rare occurance even in the most liberal of Indian circles. Now they’re at an uncategorizable impasse. They don’t live together as each of them has a place of their own. They go out sometimes but not as much as before; the need to impress each other with scintillating social lives is redundant now. They meet and talk and share some part of their busy lives with each other. He travels worldwide, on work and pleasure. She runs a successful enterprise on her own and pursues her many interests with her friends. Are they a couple? Well….it’s complicated.
It seems to me that there is more commitment and desire to be together in these two than in most other modern couples who opt for the very strange ‘open relationship’ or break up (amicably, of course) when it comes to a point of choosing each other over the other things in their lives.

And yet, these two spend most of their lives, emotionally and physically apart. They don’t depend on each other, they don’t share a space or family or even a common set of friends. A relationship is finally about building something together, isn’t it? And what these two have is…so intangible. There is caring of course, I can see that. But it is sort of like having a sack of cement, unmixed and a pile of bricks. The house is yet to be built as is the relationship.

It certainly is complicated.

5 thoughts on “The ‘It’s Complicated’ Relationship”
  1. It really is complicated!! The two people you are talking about….only they can tell you if they are couple or not. But, sometimes, we need to keep that emotional distance with people in our lives to stay sane. Too much proximity, both physical and emotional, leads to problems, ego clashes and whatnot! Am I making sense?
    .-= Amrutha´s last blog ..Perfection… =-.

  2. I’d say the couple you mention is a kind I’d love to be in with a man who willingly gives me the space I need for my own growth. I’m so glad to know that such examples do exist in this world.

  3. hm – I always pictured a relationship as a bond that you form with someone that you put effort into. Dependency, common interests, friends, proximity…they all are manifestations and catalysts of that bond, but not a measure. It gets complicated when you cannot put apply known social labels to the bond 🙂 Your friends definitely sound like they are casually dating.

    plus, expecting it a guy thing to say is a very old fashioned 🙂 Almost all my FB friends who have that status on are women! (all 19 of them)

  4. If we were to use our intuition well it will be easy for us to understand if we love someone. If we have faith and confidence in ourselves we will be able to have a clearer direciton in life. Through will power we can choose to make our relationships fulfilling and wholesome. Just as women are intuitive, expressive and faithful in love, there are many men today who are strong enough to create joy, intimacy and security in their relaitonships. If the man does not work hard at making a relationship successful while the woman is clearly trying, she will surely move on sooner or later to find someone else. It takes a two way effort to make things work.

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