Supporting Young Love - Deccan Chronicle 21st March 2014
On the latest episode of Koffee With Karan, when Kajol was quizzed about her sister Tanisha’s relationship with Armaan Kohli (which seemingly began when the two featured in the reality show Bigg Boss), she diplomatically shrugged out of answering the question. Reportedly, Tanisha’s family did not initially approve of the new man in her life, and have maintained a studied silence on the issue, only recently accepting it.
It’s a situation you might find yourself in even if you’re not a celebrity. What do you do when a loved one is in a relationship with someone you dislike? How do you walk the line between expressing your reservations, but also giving this new entrant to the family a fair chance? In such situations, it’s important to respect the individual’s choice, as Tanisha’s family has done — no matter how contrary it may be to your own wishes, the experts we spoke to said.
“First, acknowledge the relationship, accepting can happen later. Then the person will share what’s on their mind with you,” says renowned psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. “And it’s important that you come to a conclusion about the relationship only after you listen to what they have to say. It could be that you saw the relationship with preconceived ideas.”
Dr Shetty says that families need to realise that they cannot control the individual’s life, only guide him/her. And that it is “important to be an anchor in the person’s life, if the relationship goes wrong”.
Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, Mumbai-based counsellor, says elders in a family must be very careful to not preach, even if they feel their experience entitles them to do so. “Doing so might mar the relationship,” she cautions, and adds, “At the end of the day, you need to nurture your relationship with the person. Be supportive, that’s the best you can do, and give the person a chance to express their sentiments. You have to give the individual the freedom to make his/her own decisions.”
Actress Vidushi Mehra, who’s been seen in films like Aisha and is married to the designer Nikhil Mehra (of Shantanu-Nikhil fame), points out that it is painful to see your loved one in a relationship that you feel is not best for them. However, you need to be careful in how you make your concern evident.
“The person’s decision has to be respected, and you must hope that everything works out for the best,” she says. “You can definitely express your concerns and let your loved one know that you care for them and are worried. But the individual’s opinion has to be valued.”