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Emotional Disconnect Between Gender and Role

Not so long ago, I had a fling with a man, ten years younger. A fling that lasted 3 days for reasons, I’ll just describe below.

It was a late-night chatter at 2 A.M. when the young man became desperate to seek physical intimacy. ‘Come now’, he said. His flat was thirteen kms away from the place I stayed. I turned down his offer stating its not too safe to travel at this hour of the night. ‘Oh! You are so old-fashioned, there are so many female friends of mine, who easily come and go at this time. Cabs are safe these days and I’ll be on the call with you’. ‘No! I retorted. The altercation went on for half an hour, with him giving ten reasons on why I should not panic and me protesting it with a single reason ‘I don’t feel safe’. His arguments came to a halt, when I shared that my mother is elderly, and she will panic if her daughter leaves so late in the night. To my bafflement, the man accepted the reason this time, stating his mother too thinks likewise. ‘I always board a cab in late night whenever I go to home, so I reach home around 2:00 AM. My mother stays awake all night waiting for me, calling me a dozen times to check if I’m safe’.

I was surprised, the man understood when the reason involved his mother but not when I protested, repeatedly. What could be the reason for the emotional disconnect on the same area of concern, involving the same gender, but a different role? He was convinced with the concern of his mother, a female in a certain ‘role’ but not with me, a female again, but in a ‘different role’.

It has to do with emotional upbringing of a person. Since fathers played the remote role of a provider, the son is made dependent on his mother for emotional comfort and decision making. A dependence, Indian mothers thrive on. Secondly, the emotional development of such a person is so narrow that such men don’t have the faculties to extend respect to other human beings. There’s no genuine, intelligent appreciation of who you are, who she is and what it means to be human. They fall back upon the “morals” prevalent in the society to guide them and, we all know what society prescribes for women.

So, is there a light at the end of tunnel? In words of a friend –

My marriage is arranged so I entered the equation knowing the fact that my husband should have a bias towards the lady he knows for 32 years of his life vs someone he got to know in one year. I always knew it, but it tormented me when my MIL would use that as her leverage over me. For e.g. influencing her beliefs upon him etc.

I have seen several real-life examples, where some men are biased towards their wives; some are biased towards their mother; some are biased towards themselves and give two hoots to either females. I won’t be surprised to see the majority taking their mom side.

In my example, I have felt the plight of my husband wherein he is cornered from both sides. Mother is blackmailing him, saying” I kept you in my tummy for 9 months, sacrificed so much while raising you to witness this day when your wife is doing me wrong” and I am saying “Just because I married I didn’t sign up to get dominated by your parents. “Also, the classic when MILs say “oh, in our time we used to be so aagyakaari and even if we are in pain we’d never utter a word.”

To all those moms I say, “so why you expect us to do the same?”

My takeaway from my suffering is that I have stopped obsessing about either of them (I get carried away though! So, I consciously try to get back to my self-oriented avatar). I don’t let his mom bully me, I am nice in general, but I give back when I feel I am being bullied. I don’t wait for husband to take the side of the right (not necessarily my side or her side). I have stopped attaching too much importance.

Intimacy is a skill.

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