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Through the glass

At the end of the day the world ideally should only be a place for love, understanding and empathy, in addition to other virtues. To keep this sentiment going—beautiful and cherished relationships should also remain healthy—in spite of distances or encumbrances. In the current scenario, people have become very busy and their lives have become fast and keeping relationships healthy and meaningful, therefore, has begun requiring effort.

One such effort is communicating clearly, in spite of overloaded timetables. Electronic mediums as such have turned into an important means of communication. Communication that is enabled by interactive social networking websites, easy-to-make phone calls, quick phone messages, fast-moving emails—give people a chance to stay in touch with their friends and family.

What about couples?

Urban couples, mainly go through the day, doing innumerable things—from daily house chores in the mornings and evenings, spending most of their time at work and later on, sifting through leftover housework; or any socializing during weekends. As a result of this, these couples do not have sufficient personal time to spend with their partners, and this becomes more difficult to handle, when either of the two partners, or both work or have long work hours.

Under such circumstances, they too then use e-contacts, like cell phones, fast emails and networking facilities to interact and stay in touch. But is this kind of involvement, sufficient to build healthy relationships between partners?

A glass in between

To elaborate this technology benefited relationship further, an allusion in the form of a transparent glass wall between the couple can be emphasized. They are on either side of the glass; they are together, but not in person, because their responsibilities and careers only allow them a certain amount of time with each other.

Glass in this case is a reference. It relates to something that exists in between—indicating the absence of sometimes real personal involvement, but still allowing couples to communicate, even see each other and therefore, keep the love alive.

I queried two wonderful married urban couples from India, who shared their views on this proxy involvement—making it clear that even though sometimes there exists a glass wall between them—when they are away from each other, they still manage to keep their bond strong. They use e-mediums, phones and other electronic communication platforms to communicate and be together, in spirit.

Personal time together is healthy

“While I am working, we usually stay in touch through brief phone messages or a quick call and update each other about what is happening in our lives. We sometimes exchange loving messages, to pep ourselves up, when either of us is low. We generally do not use networking sites a lot, but yes, we are present on websites like Facebook, as it gives us the opportunity to share our personal pictures, or any important messages with our family and friends.

We do use online sites, to shop together, or purchase something important, or gift each other things. The cell phone is definitely a major source of contact for me, as it helps me convey any message to my husband, at any point in time. Apart from proxy contacts, one must sit with each other and talk, maybe for a short while. Personal time is healthy, as it helps one in understanding each other better and building a strong relationship.” –Payal Singla Ahuja, Finance Manager, Chandigarh

“Irrespective of being busy, we respect each other’s work and try to balance our personal and social life; and as I am a businessman, I do have a big social circle. With phones or networking devices, it is easy to communicate with my wife, especially when our moods coincide and it helps us understand each other better, and manage any programs for the evening. Proxy contacts allow us to give each other space. We, therefore, do not take each other for granted and fewer fights happen.

We generally do not use networking sites a lot, but we do keep our profiles up on Facebook, to keep in touch with close friends and relatives. Such websites also allow us to share our family pictures with everyone. We do spend personal time together on weekends, attend parties and this is the time, when we are really together, enjoying ourselves. I also prefer to go out for a drive, maybe meet over lunch or coffee, and share whatever happened during the day, good or bad—instead of just texting.” –Ankit Ahuja, Businessman, Chandigarh

Staying in touch through e-contacts

“In person, we spend only 3-4 hours together on weekdays, other than regular time after work every day. I stay in touch with my husband, mostly through messages. If urgent, I make a phone call or sometimes drop him an email, in case am feeling romantic or emotional or for some other reason. At present, I am not working, but when I was working, we used to update each other about our whereabouts via messages like, “going for lunch” or “reached office”. We are in each others’ friends list on Facebook but don’t communicate much through Facebook.

Such proxy contacts can definitely help one establish the kind of understanding one would truly like in a relationship! It adds spice to the relationship, and it’s easy to say “sorry”, or “I love you” through an SMS or PPT‘s or emails or sharing a message through Facebook. Words, when written down are powerful tools to express oneself. I also like to spend personal time with my husband, sipping coffee together, watching the rain from the balcony or by going on a vacation or watching a movie together.” –Anurita Anupam, Homemaker, Bangalore

“I do stay in touch with my wife through phone messages or phone calls. SMS’s like, “going for lunch”, were replaced by “coming home” because Anu wasn’t going out on her own earlier. My wife is on my friend’s list on Facebook. Normally, she is around when I am on Facebook, so I don’t need to go to Facebook or other networking sites to comment or place likes on her account. In fact, if something is worth watching on my account, I normally show it to her or tell her to go to my account and see it later.

She is more expressive when using various forms of media. I rely mostly on SMS’s and phone calls, besides personal interaction. Proxy contacts are important, but should definitely not be the only means. I am personally more comfortable and expressive during day-to-day activities, like during dinner and otherwise. I would more often want to watch television together and talk to each other, instead of just using all kinds of websites or e-contacts.” –Kumar Anupam, Management Professional, Bangalore

Maintaining a balance

Although the effect of personal time spent together is paramount, the above beautiful personal stories definitely clarify how e-contacts can help in strengthening a relationship somewhat. A balanced response from both the partners to any glass-in-between allows a relationship to remain stable. Therefore, the presence of a barrier does not assume significance because love still finds a way ‘through the glass’.

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