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Technoference and Trade-offs
You know what makes me insanely happy?
When old clients reach out with “good news” (relationship news, wedding invite, doing cool things with their singledom, etc.). In that sense, it’s been a fantastic month - lots of people I’ve known for years have reached out with happy news. I feel fortunate to share this joy so many times over in my life.
I recently wrote about relationship transitions. We’re going through one such. I recently quit my day job. Personally, it’s a change and collectively, it can be a catastrophe, if not managed well.
My partner and I discussed this decision several times (because he was also a colleague) over many months to grapple with what it would mean for me, personally, as well as for us, collectively. It was a long negotiation on several things before I quit. But given that we’ve been through this a couple of times before, I hope we have the tools to deal with any hiccups, as they arise.
What kind of hiccups, you ask?
Time: I have time for things I want to do. But this can be misinterpreted as having time for everything. But no, I am in control of what I spend my time on. This may put my partner off, he may think I’m inflexible. So, it’s important to establish clear boundaries so they don’t confuse you for a freedom fighter in your relationship.
Money: I have been fortunate to be financially independent through my breaks, but this may not be the case with everyone. Your lifestyle may have to evolve either as an individual/ family when your income reduces. So, discussing finances is important to ensure you’re not battling the basics without consideration as a couple or a family.
Identity: I grew up in a society that conditioned me to believe that my identity hinges on how I earn a living as an adult. Navigating social circumstances can be challenging, sometimes leaving me confused, upset, angry or unapproachable. It’s important that you don’t distance yourself from your closest confidante - your partner.
We may not ace this, but some preparation always helps us ensure that we don’t fail.
With the recent mass layoffs in tech, I am aware that not everyone has a choice or the time to mull over such decisions. To the ones recently affected by these layoffs, I just want to say - discussing these three things can be life changing, so please take the time out to discuss them openly with your partner. I am happy to help.
For the uninitiated, technoference is the interruption in interpersonal communication by attention paid to personal technological devices. But did you know that it is one of the biggest challenges that plague modern day marriages?
You are at dinner with your partner, but all it takes is a useless notification to lose them. You’re in bed with your partner, but there are really several others in bed with the two of you. You’re never alone. We’re all always busy with technology. We’ve all simply lost the ability to observe, be idle and just exist, on our own or with anyone else. We have no concept of the now, and here, anymore.
You’re probably reading this on your phone as your partner is trying very hard to get your attention to something important (to them). If they persist, you may put this down, and never come back (and that’s okay). If they’re doing this for the second time in the last half an hour, you may get annoyed. It may turn into a massive blow up about how you don’t respect each others’ space anymore. No?
I’d say sneak a few minutes away from your devices, and see what life feels like (after you finish reading this of course ;)). If you like it, keep at it. If not, go back to your device.
May be some of us need these pacifiers to keep calm and get through life?
There were several hundred memes about a couple of years ago on “compromise”, especially in the context of it being the secret sauce to successful matching and marriages. Half the world said, exactly, you can’t have it all, look at us. The other half said, what BS, I will/ already have it all.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the word. I find it lopsided. I prefer calling it a trade off, because there’s no point giving up something without the promise of getting something else. Now this exchange may have the expected pay off, or not. That’s a different matter. However, it’s a choice you are making.
In a marriage, the choice isn’t always an obvious one. I often hear from people that what they looked for in a partner isn’t what they appreciate the most about their partners now that they’re together.
In fact, marriage is like insurance - you’ve someone in sickness, poverty and all the worst times of your life. Now it’s not because you need them to take care of you, pay your bills or support you emotionally. But imagine the horror of having to impress someone while you aren’t at your best in all other aspects of your life?!
Married people may never confess this to a single person, but most married people are mostly relieved, if not happy to be married. These are people who’ve practiced making trade-offs several times, both at their best and their worst.
So, choose who you trade with wisely.
What I am listening to/ watching/ reading:
Angela Merkel: This biography by Kati Marton is my first ever biography, and I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading biographies before this. I like the format of this book because the chapters are broken down my Angela Merkel’s relationships with various other world leaders. The diversity in relationship dynamics is really interesting to see.
Jay Shetty & Relationship: This is where I picked up the word technoference.
Love is Blind: This lovely review of love is blind is inspiring me to review every trashy show I ever watch (and I watch plenty of them). And yes, the man-child syndrome needs a whole new edition of this newsletter in itself. Someday.
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