It is a painful emotion that can either devour you, or be turned around to take you to divine heights
Amid reports and speculation that they are heading for a divorce, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has announced that she and her husband are continuing with “our union”.
In a statement issued by her office, the Lembah Pantah MP said: “Our family is our priority, as is our time together.
“We are deeply saddened by the undignified intrusion into our private lives and will do our utmost to work out our continuing union.
Why is it that so many men feel they “own” their women? They tell them what to wear, who to be friends with, what their timings should be, how much cleavage they can show, fly into fits of rage if their woman should talk to another man, spy on their women and think it is their right to keep checking their phones and computer. Strangely, many women actually feel flattered by this attention; do things to actually provoke it further and get on some absurd high, thinking that “this is love”.
There is a big difference between ‘possessive’ and ‘protective’. Possessiveness stems from distrust, insecurities, control issues and nothing about it, in any form, is healthy or desirable. Like a man calling and messaging his woman incessantly to find out where she is and what time she is returning. Protective behaviour, on the other hand, is a sign of caring. It’s when the man respects his woman’s personal freedom to go out alone with her friends or work colleagues and calls or messages perhaps just once simply to say “I love you, hope you’re having a super time” or to check if she’s okay for transport if it’s getting to be a late night.
Protective is when a man loves his woman to look her best and to wear what she feels most expressive in, and only guides her as to a dress protocol if it be a visit to the in-laws, a place of worship, or travel in crowded public transport so as to not be uncomfortable or chased by rogue elements. Protective is when you make sure there’s money in your woman’s wallet to get through the day, and possessive is when you want to control her finances and figure her daily movements through it. Protective is when you respect your woman, and possessive is when you distrust her. Which kind of “love” do you prefer?
In a freewheeling discussion on love and life over dinner at the residence of the charismatic Gudmundur Eiriksson, Ambassador of Iceland, at least three women categorically stated that they believed in onesided love that could carry on forever, with no hope of being loved back.
Along with most of the men present, I too was surprised, because one-sided love sounds more like a punishment than a happy state of being. To love someone who does not love you back seems like an exercise in disaster. I can understand such a love when there is some hope of it being returned in some measure some day, as happens in the movies. Or when you are, at least, admired in return. I can even understand a yearning for something you have shared and lost. But a love that continues with no possibility of return?
What good is a love that cannot be indulged in, celebrated, danced and sung to, a love that cannot enfold you securely with your loved one? A lonely love that finds no outer response is bound to feed on itself, resulting in frustration and emptiness. The Ambassador’s wife, the lovelyThorey Vigdis Olafsdottir, a psychologist and active participant in the discussion, agreed with me that a one-sided love is a sure path to frustration and obsession. It must surely be a very painful emotion, she said. She agrees with experts who opine that the pain is actually both ways – for the one who loves and for the object of that love. For the one who receives such a love, it is often very difficult to let the lover know that his/her feelings are not reciprocated. If the one loving you is someone close or someone you care for, it is not easy to hurt them by declaring your lack of love. Who doesn’t like to be loved or admired? So, more often than not, the receiver allows the situation to continue, giving the lover hope, thus making things worse.
At Ambassador Gudmundur’s dinner were three young, successful women — a poet, an advertising professional and a lawyer, who spoke of their belief in undying, unrequited love.
Shadan Ahmad, poet & theatre artiste… “I can relate to unrequited love. Sometimes you may glimpse your ideal in someone but the situation may not allow you to do anything about this feeling. I cherish such an emotion. It is enough for me if I have found someone worth loving. It may result in something at some point or maybe nothing ever, but the existence of that ideal in my heart is enough for me. For creative people like me, our own sense of self and purpose encourages us to seek divinity in love, and divine love is not likely to be actualised in this life. So it is good enough for me that I am able to live with my kind of love on my own terms, without having to pay the price for it. There was a time when I could not relate to Meera’s one-sided love for Krishna, but today I understand that she lived a divine life. It is better this way…”
Divya Shante (name changed), advertising professional: “Even after a break-up that I brought about, I continue to love this guy because that feeling of love stays with me just as strongly. It was a clean break; I do not even know where he is now. So it’s more about a continued love without the labels and bonds that define the relationship. I live with it without the hope that it will be returned because when things reach such an emotional stalemate that you love and yet are not able to resolve some stuff, then your feelings don’t die; you are just forced to stifle them. I go through phases when I feel sad looking at another couple; another time I feel blessed for living with such a divine love. I wish him well and pray for him. Yes, it does hold me back from loving someone else, but that cannot be helped.”
Shreela Sen (name changed), lawyer: “Once you love someone, the emotion doesn’t die just because some day the other person stops loving you. It can be a very painful emotion to be the only one to love, but I believe that it does exist; how can the chemistry of all that you have shared with a loved one, become nothing?”
What comes through strongly is three women who, having taken risks and made their choices, are unwilling to compromise with their idea of love. Women with strong personalities and a clear idea of the kind of love they seek, who prefer to enshrine the ideal within their hearts when reality or circumstances, as they call it, do not allow them to reach out and indulge. And somewhere, these women do realise that it is only here, in a realm removed from reality that love will not deplete into mundane emotion, where it will thrive, to never fade away. And the fact that they need do nothing about it — there will be no expectations either way — may actually be the best thing about it.
And yet, does it not seem like playing in the shallow waters of the beach, not allowing the waves of life to throw you up to the heavens before you land on ground – only to be thrown up again?
This then would depend on the strength of your personality. Are you strong enough to use the one-sided emotion to your benefit, to allow it to energise you and to feed your creative instincts? Or, do you let it enervate you and leave you to regret and fade away like Devdas? Will you allow the emotion to leave you forlorn or thrilled? That depends on how you allow it to play out in your heart — a lonely love away from love — or a divine love that is beyond all love.
Men find it difficult to deal with strong, capable women colleagues! But is this really a gender issue?
Is it true that men constantly try to pull down women at the workplace? Why? Perhaps they do so because they consider the office, and in particular, the corridors of power, their original territory! And a woman walking down the same corridor is something they still haven’t got used to. Or, maybe men are convinced that women are inferior, and so give them short shrift. Or, is it because knowing the weakness of their own sex, men fear that susceptible. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that a woman with a strong personality and even average looks can strike terror in the hearts of male colleagues for no fault of hers. If a woman has a mind of her own and dares to question a decision or make a point strongly, she is instantly labelled “enemy” for she has violated the traditional code of conduct between the sexes! And so as a protective response, men label her “difficult to work with”, “hard to get along”, “tough to handle” or “not willing to listen”. This is the global mantra of guys who find it difficult to accept a woman on an equal footing, intellectually or professionally.
Most women professionals realise early on that in order to be heard and taken seriously, they will have to adopt a somewhat serious mien and a nononsense approach. It is only strong women who make it to the top, others fall by the wayside. A softie just will not do, she will be an easy doormat for men to walk over. They will take her lightly and try to fix her in the slot they are most comfortable with — a biddable or sexy type who can be controlled through manipulation. But give men a stern, nononsense approach and they will stand at a distance and wonder what to make of you.
But reflect upon the issue a bit, and you realise that the situation is not as simple as a male-female gender face-off. Certainly, the gender edge aggravates it, but the issue is more about fields of control rather than men not able to accept women at work. And so, as a male colleague puts it, “Men don’t get along even with each other in office situations, except when their work relationships are sharply defined as junior and senior. And when it comes to women, you have to be mature if you are not to feel challenged and diminished. The fact is that women at the top are all the strong ones, who have grown against a lot of opposition from colleagues.”
The competition between women at the same level is equally intense and dirty. And probably that’s how the top bosses like it to remain. Jagged edges, unrealised dreams, unfulfilled desires, and circles just short of completion, all make for edgy people who will give it their last shot to move ahead, rather than sit back in sated glory.
Says Meenakshi Lekhi, advocate and national spokesperson, BJP, and one of the strongest women I know, “Fearing and pulling down people is not gender-specific. This is more to do with the psychology of a person. People who lack confidence and are greedy to gain power by hook or by crook, will attack and pull others down. The fact is that it is a competitive world and when people cannot pull you down on merit, they indulge in attacks based on extraneous issues. Men and women get affected equally. I have come across many very decent men, and also very indecent women.”
And so insecure people all pull down each other, but when it comes to men and women, the situation takes a dramatic turn because at stake here is not just a promotion or hike, but the entire power play between the sexes. Traditionally, a man’s superiority and masculine image has come from the protector-provider role he has played towards women. The role a woman plays in evolution and the cycle of life is enough to make men feel inadequate in any case, and psychiatrists also talk about a man’s deep-seated fear of being rendered unnecessary and redundant. And so a strong woman who can step out and take him on at office as well, makes an insecure man feel emasculated and inadequate. In order to validate his own worth, a man may prefer women to lead lives of dependence and incompetence.
However, let us not ignore the fact that there is an increasing tribe of men who are more evolved and able to accept a woman as an equal being without seriously harming their own psyche. They treat women well, try to understand them, accept their thinking and go along with their ideas as much as with those of other men.
Here is to that increasing tribe of non-challenged men!
“We appeal to all to accord us privacy.”
Earlier today, Nurul Izzah, 33, in replying a question on Twitter, on whether she had filed for divorce from her husband of 10 years, simply answered: “Nope.”
The question was fielded by a member of the public following rumours in cyberspace that she had petitioned for a Fasakh (annulment of marriage) at the Syariah Court in December.
Her husband, Raja Ahmad Shahrir Iskandar Raja Salim, 35, was said to have received the notice on January 16. He was also said to have requested on Monday for a two-week postponement of the divorce trial.
This morning, when approached at Asli’s 16th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference, Nurul Izzah declined to comment on the issue.
"I'm leaving now. Thank you for respecting my privacy," she said, before leaving the premises after her panel discussion ended.
Meanwhile, the Lower Syariah Court in Kuala Lumpur today confirmed that Nurul had filed for a divorce from her husband.
According to Bernama, a check of the court's records showed that Nurul, who is the eldest child of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had filed the application early this month.
It was filed under the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 which provides for the annulment of a marriage by "talaq" or court order.
The case was first mentioned before Syariah Judge Ab Malek Awang two days ago with remention scheduled for February 18, Bernama reported.
The couple were married in May 2003 and have a seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.