Familiarity breeds contempt while rarity wins admiration.

These lines written by Roman Philosopher Lucius Apuleius hold true in today’s times too especially when it comes to relationships. Familiarity alone may not breed contempt but yes too much familiarity does breed arguments, ultimately leading to hatred. When we meet a person for the first few times, we always show our best side, to make that lasting impression. 

We are curious to know the person, his/her likings, dislikings, interests etc and try to mould ourselves accordingly. Especially in matters of friendship and love, we start doing things according to their interests but the question is for how long would you be able to make these so-called sacrifices, for how long would you keep on trying to be what you are not? 

During the beginning, you are not friendly with the person, you are not frank in your views but with familiarity comes frankness and in this process, you start taking him or her for granted. When a few things about your partner start bothering you, that is the time when you start realizing ‘What you thought and what you got?’

While in the beginning, you were weighing each word before you spoke but with more familiarity you didn’t even bother about what you were saying and how the other person would take it. And that is where differences come, that is where you start giving the relationship another thought, that is the time when a question comes to your mind ‘Is the relationship worth’? 

So, does it mean that you need to maintain a distance even with the person you are in love with? You cannot take anyone for granted not even the one who loves you and whom you love more than anyone else in this world. You do not have a right to know the love of your life, completely? Not exactly but to an extent yes.

You surely need to draw a line, you need to work on your relationship, you need to understand not just your viewpoint but your partner’s viewpoint too and you need to respect his/her privacy to an extent you can, you should have clarity on your relationship status. Love, no doubt is blind but then lovers are not!

We all are human beings and when we are in love with someone we, on the basis of our familiarity and communication, develop a certain level of expectations.  And the relationship loses its charm if the person doesn’t come up to our expectations because too much familiarity might make him or her complete stranger making us think ‘Am I in a relationship with the same person?

Bandana Bhalla, a visual designer in Chandigarh says ‘We cannot expect a love story without hiccups. There are times when you feel that the other person isn’t the same anymore and at that time instead of fighting we must discuss it with our partner to clear all the doubts.’ 

Our expectations in a relationship are usually based on our initial days’ commitments and the behaviour of our partner.  After a certain period of time or should we say after a bit of familiarity with the nature of a person, we start comparing the present actions of a person with his/her past actions. And when we find a difference, we get disappointed.

Although we love changes at this vulnerable moment, we are not ready to understand the changing behaviour of a person we are in love with. We are not ready to accept the fact that the person has changed.  In such cases, sometimes, the person changes and sometimes, the circumstances. But whether a person changes or circumstances, a person only would always be blamed for having changed. This is the most common thing that causes break-ups to happen. 

Vaishali Khurana, a resident of Mohali who got married to the love of her life 29 years ago feels that “Partner doesn’t change because behaviour and habits of a person do not change very easily. It’s just that circumstances don’t remain the same. Boys have a habit of pampering girls during their initial days but once the girl enters their life, they get relaxed and don’t feel the need to pamper the girl in the same way anymore and start concentrating on other things while on the other side girls do not expect much in the beginning but when a relationship reaches a certain stage, their expectations soar high and they feel disappointed and that’s where difference creeps in.”

 A Delhi-based Software Engineer Arpit Aggarwal who married her long-time girlfriend says “I don’t think love changes… love increases for all I know. But yes, as time passes by two things change for sure, one is the expectation level and the other is the comfort level…and sometimes these two changes create this perception that a person has changed.”

So, does this bring us to the conclusion that changes in circumstances are sometimes (or should we say most of the time) misunderstood by lovers? Love may not have changed but then the expression of love changes with time. 

What is available in abundance in today’s time is modes of communication between a girl and a boy. In the beginning, the situation is…’The more they communicate, the more they understand each other.’ But after getting familiar, the situation is just the opposite, ‘The more they communicate, the more they misunderstand each other.’ Till a few years back, there were very few means of communication and before that fewer but now there are so many channels of communication available that it often leads to miscommunication in couples.

These channels of communication are responsible for the beginning of so many relationships and they also become the reason for so many more breakups too. What we don’t understand is that it’s very important for the sustenance of a relationship that you keep some space for yourself and your partner too. But where the question of space arises when these channels are available to you 24 by 7. This is the reason that sometimes, the relationship that we nurture with so much care and love starts suffocating our lives. 

Anjali Katoch, working in a Mohali-based company, who doesn’t make too much use of these channels of communication feels that ‘break-ups are definitely increasing nowadays because of more communication. Mobile apps have given rise to doubts between couples. Checking the last online status of a partner, matching their time with common friends, not having received a message for a long time… all these have become topics of argument among today’s mobile app users be it a student, married couples or single ones.’ 

There was a time when lovers used to write letters to express their love but nowadays love letters are written in the form of e-mails, SMSes and chatting apps which have more sarcasm and hatred than love. There is no comparison between writing letters and writing an email or typing messages. One reason could be that when lovers used to write letters with their hands by holding a pen, these were written in leisure with calmness, with each word being weighed so that it doesn’t hurt anyone but we have these emails and apps available with us all the time.

Now sometimes we are angry, sometimes we are busy, and sometimes we are in a bad mood and type without much thinking. So, in this case, you are more likely to spit anger which you later might regret. In today’s time of e-mails and mobile apps, communication has become easy, and distances have shortened but still, people are going away from each other, and they are having much more arguments than they ever had or could have.

The reason is, if earlier they were communicating twice or thrice a day, today, because of these 24-hour available apps and channels of communication, they are in touch 24 by 7. They become too much familiar with each other which gives birth to anger, annoyance and contempt for them, in one way or the other. 

Mani Uppal, residing in Phagwara, Punjab, who writes poetry in his leisure time says that he prefers writing poetry with pen and paper rather than on a laptop. According to him, ‘Writing a letter by holding a pen gives you a feel, it has got something to do with your emotions but when you are chatting on the mobile app the reaction is instant, sometimes you react without even understanding other person’s thoughts completely. So many times while communicating, you don’t even connect emotionally. Weaving a thought matter which is not possible in these instant messages.’  

Now in this case, for how long a relationship will go if there’s no emotional connection between the couple? It happens with all of us while communicating through SMS, email and Mobile Apps, we do not respond, but react and that makes the whole conversation meaningless and often leads to misunderstanding, making the relationship worse. 

There might be few exceptions but generally speaking, there is no doubt in the fact that Familiarity brings contempt while rarity brings admiration… So, we need to think about what to communicate, when to communicate, how to communicate and to what extent we should communicate. Otherwise, our relationships are going to suffer, for sure.