Is there a formula to a successful relationship? Certain stereotypes claim to define what works and what doesn't. We attempt to bust some of them
1. Opposites attract: Yes, only if the opposites concern your choice of icecream flavour, favourite holiday destinations or music genre, not when your belief systems clash. Three months into a relationship, 26-year-old software engineer Tina Shah realised the need for a common ground. “Initially, we were attracted because of our opposite natures, I’m an extrovert while he is an introvert. But the huge difference in our value systems made us realise that things won’t work out.”
Expert: Opposite personalities usually have compatibility issues, especially when they are strong-headed. For such relationships to succeed, flexibility is needed
2. Men are rational while women are emotional/ irrational: “Just because women are more expressive doesn’t mean they don’t think objectively,” states 24-year-old Samira Sen, an NGO worker in a three-year relationship. “These generalisations only reveal how sexist our society is, where being emotional is equated to being irrational,” she adds.
Expert: It’s a myth that since men are the breadwinners, their thinking must be pragmatic and task-oriented. Women, on the other hand, are believed to be impulsive and often irrational in their approach to life. But it’s just gender stereotypes at work.
3.Men and women can’t be best friends: Best friends or more than that? This question has baffled humans forever, despite excellent examples of a man and a woman hitting it off with being just pals.
Expert: A platonic relationship between a man and a woman is rare. Often, there is an attractive pull at least from one of the parties, which may not be acknowledged. Many such friendships have high chances of blossoming into relationships.
4. Boys don’t gossip: Anyone who works in an office and socialises will know that this myth is baseless. In fact, most women consider men to be bigger gossipers. “When it comes to gossiping, my boyfriend and his friend can give any girl-gang a run for their money,” says 25-year-old photographer Shipra Chandra.
Expert: Of course boys love to gossip. In fact, it is one of the best ways for them to stay connected with their pals, especially female friends.
5. Boys don’t cry: Yes they do. And how! “Men may not succumb to emotional breakdowns such as crying. But I’ve seen several of my guy friends crying over break-ups or dissatisfaction with work,” says 34-year-old media professional Anuj Kumar, adding, “And yes, boys don’t like to show that they cry too.”
Expert: Boys are brought up with the belief that crying is a sign of weakness. Hence, as grown-ups, they tend to be less expressive, even though they may be emotional.
6. Women are more nurturing than men: “Traits like being compassionate caring and gentle are traditionally associated with females as they become mothers. Perhaps men didn’t want to be seen as nurturing becasue it meant possessing feminine qualities. But views have now changed,” says 29-year-old marketing executive Peter D’Costa.
Expert: It’s not as if men are not nurturing, but our conditioning makes us feel so. With women moving out of homes to earn a living, men are getting a chance to show their nurturing side.
7. Men aren’t vanity conscious: Traditionally, it was thought that men couldn’t care less about the way they look, but this has changed. “My boyfriend is extremely particular about everything from hair products to clothes ” says 27-year-old HR executive Sharbani Joshi. An increase in avenues for grooming have also lead to this.
Expert: Media influences and changing lifestyles have made boys more vanity conscious than ever.
The expert answers are by city-based clinical psychologist, Mansi Hasan.
All names have been changed on request.