'Mrs Chaddha is crying’. There was a time when my maid would say this and I would rush downstairs to comfort the better half of world’s most eccentric man, my neighbour Mr Chaddha. Now when she says this, I yawn, roll my eyes and silently pray for the doorbell not to ring. It does, each time. “I hate him. I can’t take this jealous behaviour anymore,” Mrs Chaddha marches in, wiping tears that never run out of supply. ‘Who was it this time? - Courier boy? Salesman?’ I ask, knowing how Chaddha ji has zero tolerance when it comes to his wife so much as smiling at another man. “Akshay Kumar,” she says. ‘You guys fought over Akshay Kumar?’ I ask and she gets into a long diatribe on how she commented on the actor’s physique on TV and that led to a war of words with the donkey she’s been married to, for donkeys’ years.
‘Over possessiveness’ is what the menace is called and theirs may be an extreme case but it bugs a hell lot of people of all ages — be it the boyfriend who sulks when you talk to other guys, the wife who eyes all your female colleagues with suspicion or even the ‘best friend’ in school who doesn’t want anyone else to get that title. And it’s very, very stressful to be at the other end of someone’s possessive nature. I remember how my friends and I used to be envious of a girl whose boyfriend was always found waiting outside the office at 6 pm sharp when the day ended. ‘How caring,’ everyone would remark. Till one day she burst out cribbing about how it was his way of ensuring that she doesn’t get any time to hang out with anyone else after work, and how she longed to have some much needed space. So here are some calmness tips for those dealing with ‘helicopter’ partners - always hovering over head and raking up loads of noise.
1. Understand that it’s okay — and perfectly human— to feel a little jealous, on occasions. It’s when your friend or partner goes overboard and tries to control your life by having an opinion on everyone you see or talk to, that it becomes a problem. Unless you are doing something that you yourself feel guilty about, don’t let anyone else put you on a perpetual guilt trip.
2. Don’t make the mistake of confusing possessiveness with love. The former stems from a deep-rooted insecurity and usually such people defend their behaviour by saying it shows they care too much about you. The over possessive boyfriend of my colleague always used to tell her that she’s her only friend, so it’s only fair that she reciprocates by having him as his ‘best and only friend’ in life. You say height of love? … I say height of manipulation. Don’t let anyone guilt you into making a relationship your entire life. Talk to your partner and explain gently that just as it’s okay for them to be feeling jealous sometimes, it’s okay for you to be wanting to be on your own sometimes, without them calling up every hour to track all your movements.
3. If the relationship matters to you, and you want to sustain it, introspect and see if you are not at fault by not giving it enough attention, leading to your partner feel unduly possessive. Men and women have different needs for an assurance that they are loved. It could be remembering special dates and giving personalised gifts for the women… and constant reassurance and ego-boosting compliments for the men. Whatever it is, find out what your partner needs to not feel over-possessive and insecure.
4. Finally, look out for telltale signs of extreme and unhealthy possessiveness - verbal or physical abuse, mental torture, endless sulking. You don’t have to wait till you bump into a detective on your trail to realise that things are out of hand. Be prepared to make the decision of calling the whole thing off if it gets too much.
Sonal Kalra doesn’t understand the logic behind jealousy. She wanted to discuss it with her husband but his phone is constantly busy. Wonder who could he be talking to, for so long?
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