Defining Teenage Relationships

I got into my first ever romantic relationship at the ripe old age of twenty six. By then I had already got into the “settling down mode” (you might remember i was already in the arranged scissors market before that) and so essentially I was looking for a long-term settlement. I was essentially looking for “someone who’ll need me, someone who’ll feed me when i’m sixty four” and fortunately things have worked out well and I’m due to get married sometime later this year.

Looking at people around me – friends, cousins, friends’ cousins and cousins’ friends, I realize that people get into this “relationship industry” fairly young. You have people who are barely out of middle school who have “boyfriends” and “girlfriends”. Actually there’s nothing new in this phenomenon. I remember wanting to have a girlfriend when I was twelve years old. That it took fourteen years to find one is another matter. However, the point is I’ve forgotten. I’ve forgotten what I’d’ve imagined regarding my possible romantic life back then. I’ve grown so old now that I don’t remember at all why I wanted a girlfriend when I was younger.

Possible reasons I can think of:

  • It’s cool to be in a relationship. Its cool to have someone proclaim you as their significant other. It elevates your social status, makes you a more confident person and generally improves your outlook towards life.
  • It is good to have one person with whom you spend a lot of time. It is good to have one person with whom you share everything and who knows more about you than anyone else. It is good to have that one person who you know will always be there with you, beside you, through times happy and sad, and it helps that if you get addicted to each other you have the option of living together for life. Hence you want to get into a relationship.
  • You have a default partner for every activity that you want to do. There is one person with apprximately similar tastes whom you can bug to acccompany you in whatever you want to do. This way you never end up not doing something just because you couldn’t find someone to do it with
  • Economically it helps since in places such as clubs, discos, concerts, etc. couples get favoured treatment in terms of entry etc. I suppose this won’t be the major reason for getting into a relationship for anyone
  • It shows you as a responsible person who is able to think for himself/herself at a young age; who is able to make potentially life-changing decisions early

Anything else you can think of? On a related note, what do teenage couples do? How do they spend time with each other? If you get into a relationship in your twenties you can start planning for a shared future, etc. But what do you do when you’re still young?

Relationships and IIT

So the basic premise of this post is that being in a romantic relationship is like studying at IIT.

Everyone wants to get into IIT. They do thipparlaaga to try and get in. They join expensive coaching classes. Some of them even move cities. They wait for several years giving multiple attempts. People work extremely hard. Still, success is not guaranteed. There is that luck factor. There is the day’s performance that matters. Some days are important than others. Cracking the JEE is a “discrete” job.

While preparing for JEE, everyone thinks that if they clear the exam, their life is made. They come under the impression that after JEE, life will become smooth. That they won’t need to put any fight for the rest of their lives. That all that matters for their future is their cracking the JEE. And so forth.

It’s only after people come to IIT that they realize that life is not the cakewalk they assumed it to be. It is only after they get there that they realize that life after JEE is quite hard. That it is necessary to work hard. That if they don’t work hard, they will do very badly, and might flunk. It is only when they get to IIT that it hits them. Some learn quickly but others get disillusioned and give up in life. Several people do badly. Some even drop out.

So it’s similar with a romantic relationship. Everyone wants to get into a romantic relationship. Everyone looks only about the “entrance examination”. Everyone believes (before they get in) that life ban jaayegi after they get into a relationship. And getting into a relationship is a “discrete” job. It’s about how you “perform” during those blading sessions. It takes that bit of luck. It takes those set of fateful events to happen together in that precise coincidence.

And it is only when you get into a relationship that you realize how hard it is (provided you haven’t been there before). It is like being in IIT all over again. You know that you will need to work really hard to keep it going (applies to both parties). It is a continuous job, and you need to continuously “perform”. The randomness is much smaller than it is during the “relationship acquisition” phase.  However, you necessarily need to work hard. There is no “stud way out”. Some people give up when they find this out and break up (drop out). Others understand and put in the requisite effort and sustain the relationship. And continue to work hard.

The thing with arranged marriages is that you are typically forced to commit as soon as you’re done with “evaluating” the other person. You don’t get to test the counterparty on their ability to work hard and keep things going. It is like offering someone a job as soon as he has cleared the JEE.

And I wonder if one can draw an analogy between marriage and (academic) tenure.