Two years ago, I read an interesting article on Flare that valiantly spoke on ‘Self-Marriage’ or ‘Sologamy’. An ideology that many women, primarily in the West, are holding tight while, not very surprisingly, the social fabric of India is still grappling with its acceptance. As soon as the emotive ‘Fairytale without a prince’ caught my eye, I got curious. It started with an appeal that said, ‘I view the commitment to one’s self as a commitment to listening to one’s mind, one’s needs to be happy and comfortable.’
While I understood the ideology perfectly and even its grounds rules. I was keener to know where is this originating from? According to Vogue featured life coach, author and a self-married woman Sasha Cagen – ‘Self-marriage was a really deep act of self-acceptance. To marry myself was to say I accept myself; all of me, even the parts that don’t look pretty’. She further confesses that ‘it does not mean I have to stay single or celibate all my life.’ Super Model Adriana Lima took to Instagram to announce ‘self-commitment’ in 2017 with a large diamond ring. She wrote “I am committed to myself and my own happiness. I am married with me. Love yourself, ladies!”
I thought to myself – Wait! I have been married for six years and have been practising ‘self-commitment’ all this while. Does it seem incomprehensible that its bylaws are crystal clear to my partner and me? I mean, why does one need to be single to ‘love oneself’? Should we label us as ‘Outliers’? So, I dug further and found – This may not be the case for a majority of couples in India or even in other geographies. Finding Self-commitment or Me Space in Marriage is a notion accepted by narrow margins.
Honestly, I could not discard the thought that the above ideology could be triggering from fear. The fear of ‘losing ourselves or our wholeness, our independence, our identity to somebody else’ in a committed relationship.
My husband and I got married on November 29th. It was an arranged setup. I remember when the discussions were underway, my father walked up to me and said, “Take a year at least to know him. There is no hurry.” That moment, my space as a woman to decide whether I want to spend my life with ‘this man’ was respected. This was not the first time, though. We started going out during our courtship and one day, I told my, now husband, who was then posted in Haridwar, that, “I love going to work, having a routine to follow, being productive and financially independent. I am not sure if there would be enough opportunities for me in Haridwar. I won’t mind joining you but at first, can you also try to move to Delhi?” He heard me and for very long, we did not touch base on this.
On 16th February, after our engagement ceremony was over, he took me to a little corner and whispered, “I have got transferred to Delhi.” It was much later I got to know he had accepted an offer that probably did not even match his caliber. In fact, he had denied a promotion just so that we can be together. Two years later, it was my turn to call the shots. My husband got transferred to Pune and I did not think twice before moving along with him.
No, I am not offering you a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream with fries. I am telling you – how as partners, we have been able to preserve our space, our identity? I am a writer, there are days when I do nothing but write or simply commit myself to an idea. My husband is a production & manufacturing guy, there are times when he doesn’t see me for two days in a row. I prefer things to be in order. He doesn’t. He is well planned. I am not.
But despite our idiosyncrasies, both of us haven’t rooted for any change in each other. What we definitely have tried and still do is – TALK. We talk about everything. Even the things that, as a wife, sometimes I feel I should keep to myself. But blame it on my stomach, I can’t!
My theory is – If I need my space, I simply say it. No drama, no fight. He obliges. And, vice-versa. Marriage does not mean that you stop loving yourself, or doing things that you used to do. We did not, we still do what we love and with elan. And, a lot of it comes from the fact – despite being married for six years as partners, we never lost track of what we believe in as individuals.
Does that mean we have a perfect marriage? NO, please! There is nothing perfect on this whole planet. We have made our fair share of mistakes. Who says you won’t make mistakes if you practice ‘Sologamy’? That which is a part of human nature will never change. Will it?