After reading a blog written by a single woman in her early 30s, about her love for space, my mind started ticking. More so coz she compared the right to have space to the institution of marriage.
Do married women (and men) have no right to space? Is the institution of marriage like a prison where a basic right called freedom is so utterly denied?
Since I have lived in both in Europe and in India as a very observant adult, I have been observing keenly some behavioral patterns and norms laid out by society about this institution we call marriage.
There are certain expectations from the 2 people that are married.....can’t pinpoint if they come from the partners themselves or from society, or if partners just accept this as “normal” coz that is the way things have been done for ages.
The married couples are supposed to do certain things together. No one calls them “rules” but they can be equally rigid when it comes to their structure and implementations. I’ll name some:
Although the rigidity of points 2-7 can be debated upon, there’s absolutely no space for debate with point number 1.
Ok ok, exceptions are made usually for the man if he lives in a different city or country owing to his job. People aren’t as understanding with a woman and somehow for both, the need to do it as a financial duty towards the family has to be justified. This brings to my mind a conversation I had with a friend. When I told him I was living in a different country coz I was exploring some things in life, there was clear disbelief in his words, “You aren’t really the vice-president of Morgan Stanley to be doing this.” Meaning, my reasoning wasn’t good enough to justify my living alone. Since then I have stopped telling people why I chose to be on my own in a different country for some time. I realized that certain things clearly don’t fall under the “normal” category and that’s that.
Now if I lay the claim that a married man or a woman can have the same desire or urge for his/her own space from time to time, would it be looked upon as sacrilege? I really wonder at times why some people have a craving for their own space and time just like some have the need to be together with the family all the time. We are all different human beings with different individual needs and desires. How can we then label only one need as “normal” and others as not?
We all know of couples who live in different cities or even countries because of their jobs, ease of raising kids, being closer to parents etc. The financial reason is till date the most valid one that people use.
I personally even know a few couples who have chosen to have two separate households once the kids left home. This is called LAT (Living alone together).
I am one who has a huge need for space and “me time”. I have communicated with my family about my needs and take off on my own at least twice a year for one to two weeks. And I have lived on my own in a different country than where my family lives on account of starting my own little entrepreneurial venture.
Yes, I have been subjected to all sorts of questions ranging from the general “Are you guys breaking up? Do you have an open marriage?” to some rather personal and brazen ones. (Even got an offer for buying our house coz our neighbors thought that we had separated and my husband wouldn’t need a big house anymore)
All coz of my need and demand for space in spite of being a married woman.
Marriage to me, is a bond of mutual respect where the parameters are defined by two people and that is exactly what we have done. I have absolutely no urge to justify and I tackle these uncomfortable questions in my way.
It would be worth mentioning an eloquent friend’s words at this point.
“Space, I feel…. irrespective of genders is a need. The space between matters…for the other to grow. Growth needs space, right? And if the two do not grow and evolve…. how can the relationship?”
So for all those ladies (and gentlemen) out there who feel like they could do with a bit of personal space from time to time, my suggestion would be, discuss it with your partners, find a solution. And just don’t be bothered about justifying yourself to anyone.
We can proudly claim our space just like a single woman can. Period.
P.S. A 75-year-old woman in the family who used to question my need for space by asking questions like “Don’t you feel like coming home to someone?” before, wrote to me the other day: “Being alone is not being lonely. How glorious it is to be able to be lazy. To be able to read/paint without interruptions, to be able to do things according to your own routine.”
- Certified fitness Trainer