Information parity and loss of loyalty

Shapely Gal is a weekly-ish newsletter that discusses love, relationships, marriage and the various markets these are traded on. This newsletter is a concoction of observations, theories, ideas, real stories, figments of imagination and sometimes just rants on romantic relationships.

This week’s newsletter is inspired by a conversation with an ex-colleague about why loyalty ain’t a hallmark virtue of this generation’s employees, unlike the previous. I’m going to extend this argument in the context of relationships.

Like many women in the world, I’ve a history of dating men who suffered from incessant commitment phobia - Men who went out of their ways to jeopardise potentially long-term relationships. This was not just with me, but was the case with all women they were ever with. These men didn’t know how to suck it up and make it work. The irrational teenager, the crazy critic inside me thought I wasn’t worth sticking out for, but I eventually realised it wasnt me. It was them. To be brutally honest, I aways knew it was them. I just refused to see it because it somehow felt like it was about me too. 

Don’t you sometimes look at a friend and think - Why is he/ she hung up on someone who so obviously isn’t into him/ her? Have you ever wondered what it is about some people who struggle to let go of relationships that aren’t worth preserving? Are they such believers? Do they suffer from low self esteem? Are they not confident of finding someone else? I think the problem is that some people are such passionate problem solvers, that they take fixing the relationship upon themselves even if that’s not the problem to be solved.

I bet you’ve seen this happen with a lot of “normal” people around you, who are pretty sorted on their own, yet, lose all sense of rationale when in love. They are committed to making dysfunctional relationships work, and are blind to the fact that the other person may not love them anymore. Let me tell you that this happens more often with people who have fairly sorted lives, outside of their love lives. It is their need for control that keeps them more sorted. It’s the same need for control that makes them take responsibility for fixing problems in a relationship, even when it’s not worth their time.

What if they knew right at the start of every relationship it wouldn’t last? Would they be just as invested in making relationships work? No, they wouldn’t. That’s when they would disengage a little, and that’s when the balance tips over onto their side. When disengaged, they don’t pay attention, they’re distracted and start looking elsewhere. The awareness of possibilities outside of this relationship further reduces loyalty.

Today, people aren’t invested in relationships to begin with, thanks to the generation of casual swiping. The cost of entering a relationship is at an all time low, thanks to the illusion of infinite swipes. But this also means loyalty is at an all time low as information parity prevents you from really committing to any relationship. That’s also one of the many reasons why polyamory is on the rise.

If I knew that I’d meet my husband on the next swipe, I’d probably not bother wasting my time with exes. But thankfully, given that I am from the pre-swiping generation, I had no such luxury. I lived every relationship like it were my last. But this is exactly the opposite of what lots of people do today - they live relationships as if their best relationship is waiting on the next swipe. The awareness of the next swipe makes it impossible to commit to the current one and stay invested. I mean, I would do this too if I weren’t already this highly leveraged, so I’m not pointing any fingers. This is just how it is.

This illusion isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s here to stay, it’s here to grow. Just so you know.


More from Shapely Gal

I’ve been doing too many things to keep track anymore. It may not really be a good thing though. Anyway, here’s a little sneak peak into the many projects I’ve been working on:

  1. Singularity - Dating/ matrimonial apps have made us zombies reducing us to a few bullet points or data attributes. Its’ re-enforcing templates that we’ve wanted to break away from. While attributes make discovery easier, the question is do we ever find out who someone really is? If there weren’t a template, what would we tell people about ourselves? How would people respond if they heard something unexpected? That’s what I am trying to test through a new project called singularity in which I want to record people talking about themselves and about dating when they don’t have to fit into a template.

  2. The Ghosting fund - You aren’t the only one who gets ghosted. I get ghosted too. People sign up with me, and sometimes leave without saying goodbye. They don’t even want their money back. So, what I’ve decided to do is use this money for a good cause. I will be subsidising Quickies by 20% for people who are dealing with the bruises of ghosting for the rest of this year.

  3. UNBOXED - Rahul and I had yet another conversation last weekend. This time we spoke about dating’s changed over the last decade. Hopefully, I’ll put out snippets over the week.

  4. Arrange your own marriage - This week, I put out a video on the process of identifying the right channels for partner search. I am starting to lose a bit of laptop camera fear, although it’s a shame the quality of videos haven’t necessarily kept up.

  5. Marriage Market FAQ - Lots of people asked me about how to get around the COVID small talk on a date, so I decided to make a video to address the issue.


Sneak peak into …

What I’m reading:

  1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - This is an interesting book that follows the stories of several generations of a Ghanan family separated at birth. Although this is just one story, one narrative, surely, I am learning lots about slave trade, apartheid and racism that is deeply rooted within and across cultures. I think this reading is especially relevant for me to better understand the death of the George Floyd and the emotions its triggered amongst so many.

  2. I’ve also been reading lots of terrible bios. Here’s a link to one such.

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