From the Editor’s desk: India has a dating app for married people and I am glad it’s here

Last week, an interesting piece of news did the round on my twitters. Gleeden, a dating website for married people, had come to India. The really interesting bit? They’d already had 1.2 lakh subscribers. As someone who is conflicted about marriage all the time — I like the companionship, intimacy and emotional security that comes with marriage but heavily dislike politics of power and compromising on my time and space — I wondered about how this would pan out for scores of people around me.

I’ll tell you exactly why I wondered about people around me. Having been single for a long time, I regularly come across married men who are looking to “break the monotony” in small ways. I also regularly have women friends confiding in me about how marriage is not everything they were brought up to expect. These women had gotten married young, some straight out of college even, and have never had the chance to explore their own personalities, or to see what the world out there had to offer them in terms of men. (They’re not missing out on much is my constant refrain.) I also know many couples who have opened up their marriages, couples who have meaningful relationships outside their marriage without their spouse knowing — I hesitate in calling them affairs — and yet some more couples who are actively cheating on their spouses purely for physical excitement. In my experience, men and women are doing this in equal numbers.

Being single and in yours 30s gives you a certain perspective that being single in your 20s doesn’t. With two kids and a heavily-timed juggling act of a schedule, I have moments when I yearn for someone to take the load off me. Someone who I can trust to take care of my kids while I go out for a night on the town with friends or even have a spa day. But once that yearning passes, I look around me and see all the advantages of being single — the least of them being that I get to meet interesting men now and then — and I appreciate my life a little more. The rare time that I am in a relationship, I get the best of both worlds. And when it ends, my heart breaks. But life goes on.

And this space to view things from both sides has taught me that it is hard to maintain a long-term relationship and keep it constantly exciting. And for better or for worse, we are wired, as human beings, to constantly look for excitement — be that in our work, hobbies, friendships, partnerships, marriages — everywhere. Therefore, what a website like Gleeden does is allow you to explore parts of you that you cannot with your partner — those could be sexual, emotional, intellectual, physical. Just about any area that you cannot explore for whatever reason needs an outlet. Some people find it in friendships or in hobbies, yet others need human beings to fulfil those potentials.

In our current situations, in a world where marriage is touch and go and women are finding that they don’t need to remain in marriages just to remain secure or raise kids, the institution of marriage is sacred only because many of us believe so, because we have been made to believe so. Sure, there’s emotional and financial security. Sure, there’s the promise of a family and your life neatly arranged when you get back home. Sure, there’s someone to snuggle up to after a long day. But those aren’t reasons enough for marriages to sustain today.

A couple of friends of mine have been married for about 17 years and every five years, they have a little party and renew their vows. They pledge to love and cherish each other in different ways every year. It’s very touching. Very soulful. They’ve been through a lot together, like most long term marriages. I, however, put to you this suggestion. What if you were to talk to your spouse every five years and reset the boundaries of your marriage, or partnership? What if you were to accept that monogamy may not be natural to human beings? What if you were to work so hard on your marriage that trust levels were ridiculously high, so that you could step out of your marriage — within limits — and explore what’s out there for you? Would it stop people from cheating on their spouses? Would it make for happier marriages? (This article in the New York Times, recently, seems to think so.) Would it mean that you work harder on your marriage in order to make sure you don’t collapse the already existing structure? Would it mean that you understand that love is not quantifiable, that love doesn’t reduce because you share it?

I don’t have the answers but increasingly I feel we are all moving towards a society that sees marriage for the purely socially advantageous proposition it is. Increasingly, women see the burdens and restrictions marriage put on them. Increasingly, men find they don’t have to be married to be loving, caring, giving partners. What Gleeden then does is make an attempt at seeing if men and women will be able to handle mature decisions like sharing time, love and space with another person outside their marriage. Or at least that would be the ideal. What I suspect an app like that will do for a lot of people is give them easier access to meeting people who want to get involved while being married. I fear a dating app for married people will then encourage people to seek only sex elsewhere, leaving those at home possibly deprived. Are we ready in India for a Gleeden? I think so. Is it a good thing? I don’t know.

Keeping in theme with sex, in my weekly round up of our stories, here’s are some everyday foods that will totally get you in the mood for it. If you’ve been considering an overhaul of the way you wear salwar kameezes (I hate ‘em. I probably wear them thrice a year), you should keep Anuradha’s fantastic tips on how to go from behenji to babe in 6 easy salwar moves. Schools are open once more (maybe that’s what I should have written about instead of taking off on dating websites for married people, eh?) and we are all trying really hard not kill the next person who pisses us off: routines need to be brought back in place, shopping for new things, getting used to new bus routes and friends may be. So much to be done. Here’s our take on how to stay two steps ahead of the back to school grind. And finally, five amazing healing qualities that breast milk has and you didn’t know. Try them!

I’d be very keen to hear your thoughts on the sacredness of marriage, or the lack of it and how you feel about it. If you feel free enough to write — whether to tell me off or agree with me — do write in at editor@zenparent.in. Meanwhile, if you haven’t liked us on Facebook, do it here. Follow our Twitter here and catch up on our Instagram here.

Until next week.

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