Ex With Benefits: Sex on My Mind
These days I am working over time on my bucket list. Yeh, I know Atiya says, it’s too early but I ain’t taking no more chances. The one of the items is to watch Hindi black & white, parallel cinema and few good movies that were different. Recently I watched Kaash and Paa, the end of both the movies was similar, estranged couple looses a kid and realize they want to give it a second shot. In almost all bollywood movies (I am not aware of any other than Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna) the couple lives it through even if they part they come back together. I guess in real life things are little different.
In every day life we desi divorced thirty some-thing women are confronted with many conflicting ideas about moving past the failed happily ever after. Some of those who are single are trying both conventional and unconventional means of meeting “that” someone second time around. Sometimes its their parents and relatives trying to arrange a match and other times they rely on desi match making websites like shaadi.com, bharatmatrimony.com etc. Amu is on one of these high tech match making sites so I keep getting the latest. Some days she withdraws her consent to share the details with reader and other days she is fine with it. Those with children are usually over whelmed with custody battles so finding a partner is last on their priority list. If they happen to get a good settlement then they too get into the game.
I also run an in-person support group and online help for those who are abandoned by spouses in a foreign country. So basically I come across a lot of desi abused or divorced thirty some-thing women and their dilemmas. Towards the end of first session usually women ask me hereafter “what about sex?” The high premium placed on being and remaining married for women is bothersome if the marriage breaks due to what ever reasons. It is still difficult for desi women especially those with children to even imagine they can have a life with someone not the father of their kids.
From last two weeks we have been playing around with this idea of ex with benefits. Is it possible? Will it work? I guess the familiarity, the comfort of knowing the person could help for short term benefits part of it, as the bottom line will remain the reasons couple parted ways are still standing tall. When it is hard to find someone who’ll respect you for a woman with a mind of her own and have a presentable personality I guess the idea of ex with benefits may seem entertaining to some. Amu was brought abroad after a drive through marriage by a spouse who was on rebound after a break up. As soon as he patched up with his girlfriend (she is his current wife) he walked out on Amu. I was in the hospital when my spouse filed for divorce. Atiya has finally filed for divorce because they are two very good but different people so there is no chance of going back. More over we were childless so we do not have reasons to run into our exes. I guess it is really difficult for women with shared custody of children.
The initial period of separation is very tumultuous, anger, hurt; betrayal and love all play havoc. Once the reality of break up sets in person looks at the socially available options (the stories I hear from Amu and other women about men they meet on these marriage websites are pretty annoying as if these men are frozen in time and have never heard of 2010). It usually begins with loneliness and isolation. When nothing else comes forth person tries to seek the familiar. Physical intimacy is also a way of experiencing one self. The stigma ridden existence plays on the mind of the person and she starts questioning if she really exists. Then begins the honeymoon phase where the couple may try to patch up and sex initially acts as binding glue. Followed by usual stuff that was always annoying and cause of rift; the sex that seemed like main dish now appears to be butter less dinner role on the side. Ex with benefits works only on the condition that the ex goes back to his/her home and not pitch a tent in your yard.
Some people may argue that people do change but I believe change is questionable as most people replace one bad habit with another. If they were violent they may turn in to passive aggressive sort and if they were passive aggressive they may chose to be manipulative in other ways. Unless they address the root cause of their behavior (that usually rests in their childhood and family of origin) they’ll keep repeating what ever is easy and works for them. No wait, may be you really want to try it… Go ahead at least then you’ll never ever think if it could have worked out… Again, the ex with benefits rips you not only of time and energy you could invest in exploring your needs and also meeting new people. Unless you let go off the old how do you think you’ll receive the new… Let it go, make room for a new life…
These people asked DG to share their stories:
Recently, Ambi (28) a mother of two under five years of age accused me of acting “white.” We met a year ago just after her second child turned one. Her husband left her twelve hours before she went into labor with his second child. He was cheating and he moved out at the best ever time. He was kind enough to leave enough money in the account for her to pay the rent and buy some food. In last two years he had come to see the children couple of times, though she had to file divorce to get some child support from him but she refuses to entertain the idea of parting ways (divorce is pending). She reasons the stigma attached to desi divorcee and her children’s need to have a father in their life. Few months back he was back in the town for good as his love interest had dumped him now he wanted Ambi back. His reasoning is pretty solid, he said, “I see a lot of change in you. You have matured I guess we can work it out.” Ambi was awestruck; she said “I am mother of two fending all by myself so I ought to be mature.” She was in doubts and she came to ask me if it will be a good idea to give it a try more than that she was reasoning where she’ll find someone who’ll accept her, a mother of two. I could clearly see it was not out of choice but out of lack of choices Ambi wanted to try this out.
We went over probable pros and cons. I do not tell people what to do as nobody likes to hear that. I repeated my pet slogan “We make choices and face consequences. What ever you decide I’ll support you. But ‘you’ have to make the decision.” In our hearts we all know what we want or need and what is right for us but we still ask others because we want someone to validate what we are thinking. He kept visiting her every week and gradually after a month he moved back in because it was expensive to maintain two apartments. Things were great and in six months things were back to where he walked out. This is when Ambi confronted me. She marched in tagging her toddler, she said, “You knew it all along that it won’t work. I was silent. She continued, “Why didn’t you ask me not to do that?” All I could say was “I insinuated you but you made a choice.” She was quite upset that I did not act like a friend where I should have forced her to make a right choice. She said in India friends and families ask you to choose between them and the bad choice and people are forced to make a right decision. I was wondering why are people so afraid of taking responsibility for their actions. I recalled parents asking children to break up their relationship with X or loose right to their property or they’ll commit suicide etc. Are we so threatened by choices we make or that others make? Does my refusal to force Ambi to choose between me and her ex makes me a less of a friend? All I could say was, “You tried now you know it won’t work. Be happy at least you’ll never wonder if it could have worked had you not tried it…”
Coincidently I ran into Arun this week. He was in a bad shape. A year back he moved out and shared the custody of children. He even started seeing El, my Costa Rican friend. They introduced their children to each others and had been out on a family vacation too. But three months ago the mother of his kids insisted they try it one more time. He moved back in bag and baggage and it was messier than ever. Now he is living with his parents and has even lost the stuff he had managed to gather in last one year. I am disappointed as two of my good friends Arun and El are hurting and have no scope of getting back together as Arun messed up in taking a chance with ex with benefits.
 Parents pick some pictures of prospective brides and young men from abroad visit Des for few weeks to meet these women get engaged and married on rush.