Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Irony of Being I

The woman I have been married to for ten years, shows concern for me when I look depressed, not knowing I am brooding over the break-up of an affair I have just had.

My ex-girlfriend now claims "she loves and adores" a guy over who we fought a lot when we were seeing each other, because she spent a lot of time with him back then saying "I know he loves me, but he's just a friend to me".

My wife has come to know about my ex-girlfriend but doesn't know how far we'd gone in our relationship. So she simply wants me to cut her out of my life (no friendship, no working together) and believes we'll figure out our marriage eventually.

My ex-girlfriend refuses to admit my troubled marriage hit rock bottom, because I changed my relationship with my wife when I started seeing my girlfriend, as a simple act of loyalty to her.

My wife thinks my girlfriend is a screwed up individual, but blames me for the relationship because she thinks the girl herself is pure and I am the bastard taking advantage of her weaknesses.

My girlfriend thinks my wife is right in being upset with me, and that I should work to make my marriage work, and that I am being unfair to her (girlfriend) by expecting that now my marriage is finally over, she should come back to me.

My wife admits she may have been very tough on me these past few years, and is still willing to make amends with me.

My girlfriend refuses to accept that she's at fault anywhere, simply saying we have different ways of looking at things and that we're both right in our own way.

My wife says I my feelings and relationship with her changed from the time I got close to my girl "friend".

My girlfriend says she never asked me to change my relationship with my wife, or make changes in my life for her. Because she never made any such changes in her life for me.

My wife says I took my eyes off the ball and ruined our marriage and home because I've been involved with this other woman at work.

My girlfriend says I took my eyes off the ball and ruined our work and relationship, because I brought my marriage issues and stress with me to work.

My wife doesn't realize I have become apathetic toward her.

My girlfriend doesn't realize that I am angry with her.

Both don't realize I have nothing now.

Nobody knows how screwed up I feel.
(except those of you reading this post. only you don't know who I am. well, neither do I anymore)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Truth About Scarlett

Original Post Removed

Hi, I am sorry, but I have removed this post. I wrote a lot about Scarlett in a particularly emotional moment. When I was writing it, I thought perhaps I was being unfair on her, and judgemental, without taking a look at my own behavior.

Then a comment from Me (still appears below) made me realize my folly, and got me thinking about myself and the role I play in Scarlett's behavior (thank you Me). I have removed the post. For those of you who came here looking for the original, I am sorry, its been removed.

However feel free to read the rest of my thoughts and let me have your thoughts in return. I really appreciate the advice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Being Parallel Processed

One of the big issues between Scarlett and I, is the way we look at love. In fact, I’ve mentioned it in passing in a previous post of mine.

Scarlett talks of freedom and romantic love. I want passionate obsessive love. And we’ve clashed big time on this matter.

If me being married and having a wife and kids to go back to wasn’t enough for her to contend with, Scarlett has a bunch of really close “guy” friends I have to deal with. Add to this the fact that I am more of a homebody, and she’s more of the go-out-and-party type. The result: our constant debate about freedom, trust, and space to breathe.

I am a very trusting, giving person. So is Scarlett. But while she never complained or showed signs of jealousy when I’d go home every night, I would go completely crazy when she’d hang out with her “boy” friends! And this in turn, drove her nuts!!

I made changes in my life and stopped doing all the ‘rituals’ of being ‘a couple’ with Rachel, and I also stopped talking about Rachel, or with Rachel, in front of Scarlett, so that she didn’t ‘feel bad’. But Scarlett continued to meet her male friends, even alone (some of whom she admits want to marry her), and wouldn’t hesitate to chat with them, and call them ‘honey’ on the phone in front of me!

I talked about how I am withdrawing and closing my chapter with Rachel. Scarlett constantly told me how important these guys including her ex-boyfriend were, and that they’d always be a part of her life as friends.

When I chatted with Scarlett on BBM late in the night, I would be chatting with her alone. When she chatted with me, the delays in her response indicated (and she often stated) she was chatting with others as well.

And then when we’d be out or alone together, I would still find her chatting with these others on BBM – because she said, she spent so much time with me, she could never find time to chat with her other friends.

I wondered whether our ten year age gap, was actually a generation gap (!?!) and that these things are acceptable and a part of life with women in their 30s today. 40s is old school, so I won’t get it?

I found her friends and her approach to them intrusive. She found my telling her this claustrophobic.

The simultaneous, constant BBM chatting was clearly symbolic of things in my mind. Begging me to ask the question: Am I being parallel processed?

Scarlett would constantly tell me “You have to recognise I am an individual and I need my space, my friends and other things to do besides the things I do with you”.

So yes, I was being parallel processed. And I never got the sense that I was more processed than others. Being together at work doesn’t count, because at work we work and work very hard.

Is it abnormal for me to feel this way? Am I being unfair?

Yes, Scarlett will not be seen in nightclubs alone with me. We cannot go out for too many late dinners alone together. I cannot be the one who naturally gets invited with her to her friends’ parties. So if it is not me she hangs out with socially, should it be no one, even if they’re just friends? Is it unfair for me to expect her to hang out with me and no one else?

If I expect her to live with the fact that she’s seeing a married man, does it mean I have to lump it and be part of her parallel processing?

I don’t know if this post makes any sense. Somebody hit me. Please.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of Birthdays and Rebirths

Birthdays have always been a very emotional time for me. Some years I have really looked forward to them, some years they have just passed me by, and left me shaken and stirred in their wake.

As a kid, birthdays were wonderful. Living in what would be called an underprivileged home, birthdays were one of the three times a year I got new clothes and toys from my parents and relatives. As I grew older, I looked forward to them because this was the one day other kids would be really nice to me, especially the girls :)

When I went to college and had money to spare (I had started earning decent spending money doing odd jobs by then) birthdays were a time I started taking friends out for a soda and pizza. That was really cool.

And for many years, every year, for my birthday, I would have a new girlfriend! Umm, I know that’s not supposed to sound right, but hey, it was a trend I noticed over many years – just around summertime I would become more than just friends with a girl, and then as my birthday would come closer, so would we. Our relationship would really blossom around my birthday, take us through to a terrific new year celebration, and then suddenly “wham” every year, something would happen around February and our relationship would be all over by March or April!

Then when I started working, and earning – birthdays just started getting better and better in terms of stuff we did, and the kind of parties I could throw for my friends. Until, I got “Sue”d!

My first wife Sue, really messed up some of my birthdays with fights about how “uncool our parties were”, and how she didn’t have enough money to throw a good party (huh!??). So I stopped having them... the parties, that is. And would find ways of being out of town, or the country around my birthday – for a very important meeting, or a film shoot (I used to be in advertising back then).

This was a time when my secret tradition really became very important for me.
Yep, somewhere along the line, I had started a little secret tradition of my own: On the night before my birthday, I would “arrange to be alone” for an hour or two... and during this time, I would write – to myself!

I would write to myself summarising stuff that I would have reflected upon in the days preceding my birthday. I would question myself, my issues, relationships, and set myself resolutions and goals. The letter to myself was about deep soul searching, about uncomfortable questions, it was a catharsis, and it was almost always inspiring and uplifting toward the end of it. With me figuring out my positives and strengths, including people good for me. And it would be my roadmap for the year ahead; a roadmap that led to a better me; a roadmap to my reinvention and rebirth every year!

Last month (I am a Libran) I turned 42. And I had one of the worst birthdays of my life. But now in retrospect, I think it was one of the best birthdays of my life.

It was one of the worst, because I had the worst fights in my life - first with Scarlett, and then with Rachel. I said and did some insensitive things that morning, and as a result of that, the two most important women in my life told me what they really think of me!

The issues were not new, but something was in the air that day, which made them angry, acidic and acerbic like never before! Back to back, they pointed out how I was being unfair to them, how wrong I was in believing and doing certain things, and how I really have to figure out what I want out of life for myself, before I figure out what I want from them!

Well, these conversations with my significant other(s), more than compensated for my not writing the letter to myself the night before! They did exactly what I usually do for myself – take a deep look within my heart, head and soul. Understand who I am and what I want out of relationships and life. And then plan a course of action for the future.

Of course, I didn’t realise this back then when it was all happening. But throughout the rest of my birthday, I went over each and every word of both the conversations in my head.

I must admit, I have never seen myself like the way I did that Sunday. And I must admit further, that I didn’t like what I saw.

But I must add, I know this “me” is an aberration, and not the real me. Somewhere both Rachel and Scarlett acknowledged the belief too. Which gives me a lot of hope, that I will find my better self again. And bring back the smiles and happiness in our lives.

The only question is – smiles and happiness in which lives? Rachel and me? Or Scarlett and me?

And that is a big question. Hopefully, I will have the answer by my 43rd.

Nevertheless, belated happy birthday to me!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


When you lose love, one of the many things you also lose, is sleep. But not too many people talk about it, except in passing reference.

So here I am, writing this piece at an unearthly hour, having been up like this three days in a row with maybe around 6 hours sleep in installments of 2 hours each :-}

I stay awake at night thinking of Scarlett and the many reasons for which she broke up with me. (No, my being married was a big reason, but not the only reason). Then when sleep finally hits me between 5 and 6 in the morning, Rachel whose alarm goes off at 6.30am every morning, forces me out of bed with her questions about random stuff around the house, and questions about the kids and wanting to discuss what’s happening with them! And of course, the usual ironic question - "with so much crap happening in our lives, how can you sleep!?!?"  (Rachel goes to bed at 11 every night, and obviously, her insomnia [?] kicks in at 6.30am)

The result, I resemble your friendly neighbourhood racoon – dark circles around the eyes, et al!

The good thing about my insomnia is that I get more hours to do stuff – I do more work, I write more, and I think more. And I totally freak out my employees and clients, whose Blackberrys vibrate with new email at unearthly hours, or alternately wake up to find email from me sent at 2.21, 3.39 and 4.03  am almost every single night, including the weekends!

Hmm. Perhaps I will go crazy. Perhaps I will survive this. But now I know for sure what the saying “Dreams die with love” means – obviously, if you ain’t sleepin, you ain’t dreamin!

Good night, good morning, whatever... catch you later!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Money Can’t Buy Love, But It Can Certainly Make Loving Easy

It is true. I think money has a HUGE role to play in matters of attraction, love, and relationships.

Having money does make a person more attractive. You are more likely to smile and say 'hi' to the woman in a Cavalli dress and the guy with the Ferragamo tie, than you would with someone turned out in cheap attire. You are probably more likely to agree to go out on a date with a beautiful stranger who steps out of a Mercedes, than one who steps out of a Hyundai hatchback.

Superficial examples aside, the truth is, money makes people comfortable. And people with money are more comforting than those without. And as we dig deeper, even in close personal relationships, we look up to the richer relative, we are more respectful of our more-well-to-do neighbors, and we’re very proud of a husband or wife who makes loads of money.

Having money or not having money plays a huge role in how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about our significant other. Having money is comforting. And not having money tests even the best of relationships.

I remember a conversation Rachel and I once had. We were on holiday and staying in a really expensive suite at an iconic five star hotel in the Far East. Rachel was talking about ‘how lucky we were to be there, and how happy we were being together – and that she was sure we will be deliriously happy together for the rest of our lives’. (Both Rachel and I come from very humble beginnings – her single-parent mom lived off boyfriends and low-stakes gambling, while my parents were always struggling to make ends meet.)

And then I said the strangest thing in response to her happiness “We’re here and happy because we have money. If we didn’t have money we wouldn’t be here, and we’d probably be fighting back home over some bill or the other. Money is what allows us to be happy”.

Rachel got very upset with me, that I should undermine our love and attribute its existence to money!

To push my point (I don’t know why I did back then), I suddenly talked about my first wife Sue.

The biggest issue my first wife had with me, revolved around money – and the fact that I wasn’t making enough of it. That was funny, considering I was probably being paid more money than anyone else at my level in my entire industry at that time, and I was 25. But that wasn’t enough for Sue. She thought that just because I was acknowledged as very talented and a ‘star’ by my company, I should demand more. To add to that, she thought I should moonlight – a lot of people in my profession do freelance projects on the side, even though it was not only unethical, but also went against the contracts we signed with the companies we worked for!

All I could think of was being honest and doing a good job during the day, and then spending my free time with Sue and our friends, enjoying the “little” money I worked so hard to get.

So I didn’t ask for more, and I didn’t moonlight. And this became a huge bone of contention between Sue and I. And every time we had to think twice about spending some money, or going somewhere, or doing something, the subject of money would come up. Eventually, she went on to have a series of affairs with guys with expense accounts, bigger cars, and so called “wealth”.

Of course, Sue was an aberration. The problem with her was ‘greed’, not really about money coming between two normal people – which is what happened between Rachel and I.

Given Rachel’s poverty stricken background and her need for financial security, my quitting my well-paying job way back in 2005 to start my own series of business ventures, was a frightening prospect for her. Even though I had saved up enough for us to last a couple of years without external help, Rachel quickly came out of her “homemaker” mode which she’d happily gotten into when we had our first child. She insisted on getting back to work and bring home a regular salary as “a back-up” – until my business got us back to the levels of income we were used to, when I was the head of a large multinational company.

Not surprisingly, given her incredible energy and ability to do anything she set her mind to, Rachel picked up from where she left off before her “sabbatical” and rose quickly, to become the country head of a large European corporation 2 years ago – with a decent pay packet.

But this wasn’t enough – while Rachel’s salary covered all our bills, it frightened the daylights out of her that I was investing our savings in my new ventures, and that since I started big, rather than small, the returns would take a while to show up.

And somewhere along the way began the stress and the little fights over money. Me buying a new SUV, me making several trips to Dubai to start something there (before the bust), me buying the kids a Wii and PS3 and new computers when their old ones were still good, me not wanting to (and not being able to) buy another condo right now (so our kids inherits one each)...

Admittedly, while we have huge expenses and live a seemingly lavish lifestyle, much more than many people in the country, our bank balances constantly run low, and we now do something we haven’t done in years – think twice before spending even on the smallest things.

Post the PS3 and new computers we haven’t exactly been able to buy the kids everything that they need, leave alone want. I know both Rachel and I need a lot of stuff – clothes, shoes, and most importantly a holiday together! We haven’t been out on a vacation in two years – a combination of no time off from work, and no money to spare.

Rachel remembered the conversation I mentioned above, a couple of weeks back and remarked that she didn’t realise what I was talking about, until now. And yes, she never imagined money, or lack of it, would become an issue that was chipping away at our relationship.

The arguments are “You should spend less, you should sell your company and work on an earn out, you should not take such risks with ours and our kids future, you are a professional not a businessman (ouch!)” on one hand, and “What high bills? These are the basics we’re now used to, and why are you worried when both you and me are capable of earning and taking care of all of us... I know things are bad right now, but they will improve, I promise!”

So quite simply from my perspective, if we spent the same time we did arguing about money, on love and being happy together; if issues around money wouldn’t cause such resentment between us; Rachel and I would certainly be in a much better place today.

Sure, money is not the only issue between us. But it is a big one. As I am sure it is, between countless others who have loved and lost love.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So What's The Problem

Most people who read my previous post introducing the two women in my life will probably think I am nuts, or think I am sick (Sick as in yuck, not siiicckkk!).

But correct me if I am wrong, but it will more likely be women who wonder why I am messing up with the two amazing women in my life, while men probably will not care as much...

People will also wonder why I worry about my business shutting down, and being down in the dumps financially when my wife makes so much money, my girlfriend is rich, and I seem to be pretty well established in my profession...

The mistakes I've made and the answers to my my questions may seem very obvious to most people reading my blog, which will make them wonder why I am spending time here writing all this, instead of spending time fixing my life...

The truth is, sometimes I feel I have lost perspective, don't know what to fix, and don't have the will to act either. Sometimes I feel like I know the problem, and will do whatever it takes to fix my life.

But all resolve and clarity goes out of the window if suddenly Rachel asks me something or points out something uncomfortable for me. I am perfectly normal and strong one moment, then suddenly I think of Scarlett and have visions of her with someone else and I go completely nuts!!

I am a grown up man, but I feel and behave like a child. I am smart, but I do the dumbest things. I have money, but I am at the risk of losing it all if I don't get a grip of myself at work.

I made a commitment for better or for worse to a beautiful woman, and have the responsibility of bringing up two tiny vulnerable children... but I want to be with another woman and break my wows to my wife, and break up the beautiful home and family my children have.

I love my best friend, and know she is right in not wanting to be involved with me and that she's amazing to push me to work out things with my wife... but I feel betrayed and let down by her for wanting to suddenly break up with me, and go crazy thinking she's not going to look back, and instead move on and find someone else to love and live with.

Thats the problem. And it is eating me up inside.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Loves Of My Life

This is a post about the most important people in my life - Rachel and Scarlett - whom I will talk about often here. In order for you to be objective, and for me not to come across as derisive or or unfair in various conversations and outbursts, I thought I might as well introduce you to them, and set the context up front.

Rachel, is my wife of ten years, and mother of our two beautiful children - Tori and Zack. Even though our relationship is totally f***ed up right now, I still think she is an amazing woman.

Scarlett, my best friend of five years, girlfriend for the past one year, and "ex" for the last four weeks. She makes my pulse race, heart beat faster, mind boggle, and she stirs parts of my body, heart and mind which I didn't know exist.

I won't tell you much about Tori and Zack, because they're kids. Except that I try my best to be a good father, and love both equally.

I will also tell you more about myself, but only when I think I can be objective, and not be either too self deprecating or alternately self righteous.

One Question, Different Answers

Life is full of questions. And in relationships, different answers to the same questions, often lead to disharmony, discord, and even divorce. While many people in various stages of relationships make the effort and work around these differences – many cannot, or simply will not make the effort.

The fact is, differences of opinion on various key issues or core values, if not acknowledged or resolved, will always threaten and chip away at the very bedrock of love, which the two partners share between them.

So unless we recognise this and work toward acknowledging the different answers, thinking them through, and then working toward getting on the same page, or alternately accepting the dissimilar stand, we are in for a stormy relationship.

So what happens when the question about love and what it means to each itself has different answers? Well there begins an avalanche of differences, and the end of hope, because I do believe if your love is strong, everything else falls into place.

So when evaluating a partner or relationship, when working to fix ones relationships, or while even working to ensure your relationship stays rock solid, to my mind the simple questions are –  is our value system the same, are the things we like to do the same, do we have the same approach to kids, do we have the same goals in life, do we have the same retirement plan in life – are our answers to the questions in our life similar?

Is it that simple... I don’t know. But it’s worked for me. Before, during, and unfortunately, often in retrospect :(