Build healthy relationships

Anjali Jhangiani
Wednesday, 24 April 2019

City-based counsellor Reena Nair talks about the problems that millennial couples are facing today, and how counselling can help them overcome those

Millennials are struggling with relationships. While feminism is a good thing, it has created a paradigm shift in the way relationships used to function, giving way to a whole new world where gender roles are fluid. For some, this is liberty, and for others, it is xenophobia. Reena Nair, counsellor at The Counselling Center, says, “Heterosexual couples nowadays are facing the issue of not having enough time with each other or for each other. All are at crossroads — of a new order of things with regards to relationships and expectations. Men are also finding it difficult to change as they feel a bit unsure about what is expected of them in this ever changing equation between couples. Women are becoming more independent and this creates a confusion in their minds regarding their individual roles in a relationship. So communication gaps, no open expression of feelings and thoughts, etc are some of the most common issues.”

Social media, that usually brings us together, tends to add fuel to the fire when it comes to friction in the relationship. “We all have access to the world at our finger tips and this definitely helps in making our lives easier and this is something we cannot run away from. However, taking your gadgets more seriously than the partner next to you, is a major hazard in any relationship. Nowadays, people are more careful to keep their gadgets well maintained but fail to see the distance created due to it in a relationship. People consider the mobile or laptop to be their life and fail to take out ‘us time’ with their partners,” says she. 

Work-life balance
Both partners in a relationship must understand that their job and career is as important as their partner’s. While it seems like quite a simple concept to follow through, it is a complicated deal to make in real life. So how does one work on meeting new world expectations, while keeping old world traditions alive? Or more importantly, what are the expectations you should set for your relationships, and which traditions should you dismiss as obsolete? 

“Women today have more expectations from their own selves as opposed to the earlier generation. They are trying to work on their careers, manage their own jobs, families and in-laws, and juggle their relaxation routines in between. At times, they tend to overdo their bit and have early burnouts. Men are somewhere changing, albeit a bit hesitantly, as they are afraid to give up the privileges of their sex and thus find themselves confused as to which option to take. They have traditionally been raised by moms who expect them to be the breadwinner for their families, but haven’t guided them on how to live in a relationship where the partner is also working and would probably expect equal responsibility in terms of house work, child care, and financial planning,” says Nair, adding, “Women are also undervaluing their natural feminine instincts and becoming emotionally stronger. They are trying to imitate masculine stereotypes as they feel that is the measure of their success in the outer world. For this, I blame the society which values name, fame and success more than the intrinsic qualities in a person.” 

Societal pressures
After nagging singles to get married, the moment they actually do tie the knot, society expects them to jump to the next level and have a baby. But millennials are shaking it off, just like Taylor Swift. 

“Nowadays, couples are not falling much for the pressures of having a child immediately. They are waiting till they feel they are ready for it financially and mentally. This is a nice thing. Having said that, a couple does feel the need to have a baby when they see others around them having kids of their own. This sort of pressure to fit-in with society can have adverse effects on a couple. They must know that they have to be emotionally, and also psycho-educated, about the pros and cons of having another member in the family, and how this can change the equation between the couple. It would definitely help if they go in for preparatory classes to brace themselves for this big change,” says Nair. All in good time, is the mantra for millennial as it should be.
 
How does counselling help?

While counselling is a good thing and must be done when your relationship is in trouble, there are certain things that don’t fall in the category of grey any more and are just plain wrong and unacceptable. “Never ever think that you can make someone happy if you do not take care of your happiness. A healthy relationship is one in which both partners grow and allow the other person to meet his or her own needs. It’s like a mutual growth for each and not stifling the other,” says Nair who hosts counselling workshops for couples to facilitate beautiful sharing experiences where they learn from each other. 

“The workshops deal with how to bond in a deeper and more genuine way, learning effective communications in non-verbal ways where each partner understands the other and the couple works on being connected, and learning the difference between adjustment and compromise,” she says, adding, “We usually hold these workshops during the holidays when parents, and couples in general, are more relaxed and can take out the time for spending on this beautiful bonding and couple activity. We have another workshop on the last weekend of April and then we will resume the workshops in June when everyone is back after their summer break.”

ST Reader Service 
Enhancing Relationships Workshop will be hosted by counsellor Reena Nair at The Counselling Center, Aundh, on April 26 and 27, 3-6 pm

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