The 10-Year Itch: Why men suddenly have to break their decade-old marriage. Surprisingly, it's less painful than what we thought
All mobility gives confidence. And men need that. And it's all about them. And no. It's not your fault.
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If you thought that only the likes of the Trumps and the Murdochs chased long-limbed and golden-haired trophy wives to strengthen their sagging libidos and comb-overs, then you are way out of touch.
The symbolism of having arrived, with a new, not-always-a-younger partner, is no longer restricted to those who are considered so rich that they do not care about anyone’s opinion.
People in our neighbourhood are walking out and into marriages — and no one bats an eyelid!
These are regular men and women, successful in their own right.
It's not just them: People in our neighbourhoods are walking out and into marriages and no one bats an eyelid. (Photo: Reuters)
I can bet that friends of ours have seen 20-year-old marriages falling apart all of a sudden — which left us wondering, of course, how it took 20 years to figure out that it wasn’t working.
Well, it was working all right, but the marriage may have outlived its utility and even functionality. You may live in a barsaati, drive a Maruti at the beginning of a career and it was lovely and cosy. Then you move into a marble-floored condominium and buy an SUV, and realise that it’s time to change... everything. From the furnishings to the people living in it.
We lusted after those hard-to-get botox and laser facials in the early 2000s, which made Eva Longoria look smooth and bronzed, but we couldn’t afford it, right?
Now, we all can.
Moving on: Yes, men have left women for ages. But it was never so mainstream like it is now. (Photo: India Today)
There is a trickle-down effect when the hitherto unavailable can be grasped by the masses — be it hand-cut pasta or a new relationship. It is no longer expensive.
Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada scoffs disdainfully at the unimpressive Anne Hathway, to explain how fashion’s multi-millions work to influence even downtrodden supermarket bargain decisions. Sure enough, the naïve Hathway is seduced by the brands, the silhouettes, the power and self-confidence a pretty little frock can give you.
Ditto for men and women and relationships.
They demonstrate new confidence and a new status.
Of course, none of this is new.
Men have left women for ages for anything at all, from boredom to bedroom blues.
But more and more men are changing partners because their life stage demands someone more in tune with their current position.
They look for a better fit. The man may agree and accept that he was more than in love with you, that he adored you actually, but it is just not there anymore.
He doesn’t see any value in staying on. He will avoid the phrase — lack of spark — since all marriages go through the boredom phase, but this would be all about him, about finding himself, about needing more, about having outgrown a current marriage and no, it is no one’s fault. It is just that he is in a different place in his life — and he forgot to bring his spouse along.
When that happens, the suits get sharper, the time spent at squash or golf increases as does the personal grooming. He travels a lot and doesn’t take the wife along to exotic destinations. He may not be cheating, not yet, but he is keen to be seen as a man about town.
The wife, in all probability, is a success in her own right but there are interests in her life. Children and family may be one, her own career may be the other.
They both take each other for granted too. Then a day comes when the man arrives home and sees, well — grey colours, and he refuses to throw the rest of his long life away. He would begin to think of exciting new dates when he is a newly-minted single man all over again! That he has been married with kids only adds to his dependability and is even unlikely to put a future partner off!
The new happily ever after? For a better togetherness — apart. (Photo: Instagram)
What has accelerated this decision — often mutual — to part ways is the lack of shock the word 'divorce' induces today. There are too many of them and a lot more women are no longer tied to a man financially. There is an understanding that children will be taken care of, the house which she may have contributed to may be sold for new abodes to suit the now we-are-apart families. This process is a lot more painless today than, say, two decades ago, when there would have been such a family outcry. Remember Biwi No 1? Even dadi went against her son. Characters would have been blemished, wars would have broken out.
The woman he now meets is no longer a financial burden because she is smart and independent, probably has her own investment portfolio. She is not insecure about the kids or that he has to go to the PTA with their mother.
There is no fear of looming bankruptcy — social or financial — hovering over anyone. He is also keen that the ex finds her own happiness and encourages it and is visibly not possessive. There are still bank loans and EMIs, but it is all being managed.
It makes the man feel less guilty and we know men and how they deal with guilt! They portray this wonderfully evolved persona — even drops in for the ex-spouse’s birthday, but he does bring a new girlfriend and he is rather serious about her too!
And no, I do not know his name, he could be anyone.