Getting hurt is part of the process of learning and growing up – it’s how you deal with and react to hurt that determines the future of your relationship.

Actor Aamir Khan was happily married to Reena for 15 years, when he jumped the gun, dumped her and kids and set up home with Kiran. Saif Ali Khan seemed settled in blissful matrimony with unlikely Amrita Singh, when after 13 years, he bolted the stables and took up with Rosa.

Aishwarya dumped Salman and then Viviek in quick succession with an eye on a more viable match. Recently, the nation sighed as Kareena dumped chocolate boy Shahid. Rest of them have had their flings and been grudgingly accepted back.

Of course, Shahrukh Khan is a constant surprise – not the loveliest of ladies he works with are able to distract his loyalty from wife Gauri.

In an age where faith to your spouse is an aberration rather than the rule, how can one trust relationships? Little girl Aarushi gets killed and it’s alleged that her father’s extra-marital fling is responsible; actress Maria cheats on her fiance and the poor bloke she seduced gets cut up into 300 pieces. These of course are extreme crimes. But everyday around us we see the suffering of friends who expected absolute faith and found it lacking in a partner; who expected the total truth, and found it interspersed with lies; who expected to be loved and cared for and felt neglected. It hurts and it hurts terribly when expectations are belied, when emotions get trampled and you feel cheated and ignored. What is the solution to all this angst?

It’s the fear of emotional turmoil that is responsible for the growing trend to remain single or to at least put off matrimony as long as possible. Fear of ending up in a bad relationship puts people off relationships. All of us know couples who refuse to have kids – out of fear of responsibility . Surveys have found that the freedom of not being responsible to anyone dictates the phenomenon of late marriages and no kids amongst youngsters today.

Shahrukh and Gauri

A young colleague confessed she was scared of getting into a relationship, let alone marrying. What does she fear? Obviously ,emotional hurt. I gave her the usual spiel of testing the waters for herself rather than standing on the edge, wondering . Yes, she sighed. Worse comes to worse, there’s always a way out. Ouch, what a way to go! There can be nothing worse than going into a relationship with an eye on the way out if things don’t work. The only way to make a relationship work is a determination to ensure it works.

And though it may sound cynical, truth is that a certain clamping down on expectations is quite the order of the day today. Do not expect absolute faith because faith can never be absolute, just as there is no total truth and no pure heroes nor villains. Fear of getting hurt cannot put you off relationships . Getting hurt is part of the process of learning and growing up – it’s how you deal with and react to hurt that determines the future of your relationship.

In a relationship, it’s important our expectations are reasonable and we focus on and seek what we think we need from another without looking for absolute perfection. You need love, care, a secure home environ and a share of happiness and fun with a modicum of togetherness. And of course, you need to give the same to your partner as well. These are the bare essentials. While some relationships are able to build from here and become great companionships, most usually stay stuck here. That’s fine. It’s when you don’t give or get even these basics that a relationship rocks dangerously.

A friend who just about shares a home with his wife while most of their relationship is really in tatters, complained the other day that his wife doesn’t even bother about him if he is fairly unwell. Asked if he cares about her welfare, he said, “Not really.” Fair enough, but does he at least show some concern for her welfare? The answer was a no. Why then would she bother about him? Where there is no care, there has to be at least a semblance of care. If even the pretense isn’t there, there is nothing left in that relationship!And, sometimes just the pretense is enough to build on a relationship. If he just brought himself to pretend an interest and show a concern for his wife, surely she too would rouse herself to do the same for him? And, who knows where the relationship would go from there? Even pretense can be a basis to build a relationship on, because at least it proves your commitment to try and make things work!

To strike a balance between the subliminal desire for a relationship and the conscious fear of responsibility that turns you away from it, what’s important is to beat down that fear, focus on what you want from the relationship and determine to make it work.

PS : This article had a big impact on me. I believe in the author’s view about commitment and relationship.