Are online chats harmless?
My friend Veeru was in an intense relationship with a girl who he found desirable in every way. When he proposed her he was sure she would be his happily ever after.
Well there came a twist in a fairy-tale that insidiously crept in. The loving lady showed a flattering interest in knowing where he was ever so often. He even liked it! But over time her interest turned into a possessive strident invasion into what he was doing, who he was with, was he lying (an insulting allegation, as he thought of it) and why is he was glancing at his phone. One day on a date when he got up to go to the washroom, she demanded that he should leave his phone behind!
An obsessively possessive person? Maybe a control freak? Jealousy-stricken female as he describes her to me now, a year after his ‘release’ from the ‘imprisonment’ as he puts it. But I am caught up in the other consideration that has brought about this break-up. She was in a relationship earlier where she had trustingly gone on believing the man’s vows of eternal love while he had been indulging in all sorts of dalliances encouraged by Facebook chats and the high of meeting exciting strangers on the Internet.
I am stumbling into more relationships that dismantle due to Facebook dalliances and the break ups with the advent of WhatsApp ‘friendships’.
This is not about relationships going wrong. If a couple is compatible. All is well. And yet the increasing trend of over bonding with new acquaintances on social media, which offers excitement, dopamine spikes and change, is more alluring than working at and retaining a sustaining long term relationship.
Often, men or women feel chats and ‘friendships’ on Internet are not intrusive, and not at all akin to infidelity, “after all it’s a harmless chat, not something permanent. How can a virtual relationship, a few heart emoticons and some light flirtation hurt my relationship? I’m devoted to her and ‘she knows it’. In fact these chats make me feel more excited and brings in some ‘fresh air’,” says my cousin who feels his heart is in the right place and he’d never take these ‘chats’ further than what they are — harmless, flirtatious conversations.
I have another acquaintance — a gentleman into his second marriage to a lovely lady also into her second marriage.
She is inconsolable over the fact that he indulges in friendships on the net — WhatsApp communications that sound suspicious. As a widowed bachelor he had tried to fill his loneliness with what he described to his daughters as a respite.
Now he says he loves his wife, and this habit is not an aspersion on his true love for her. He too asserts that it is ‘harmless time-pass’. She terms it unfaithfulness, especially as he refuses to let her see what he writes. “I feel marriage is about transparency and secrets that harm the fabric of a relationship. If he is really conducting harmless conversations and these ‘chats’ are really so harmless why is he hiding his phone?”
To be continued...
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@ gmail.com