WHY WOMEN DON’T SHARE PERSONAL LIFE WITH GIRLFRIENDS
Which one of you b*****s is my mother?” The answer to young film star Lily’s question has, since 1982, led 30 lakh readers worldwide through the intertwining lives of four girlfriends in Shriley Conran’s novel Lace. Put the words ‘girlfriends’ and ‘secrets’ together and you can’t help but think of it. If ever there was a reason to zip one’s lips, you’ll find it in Lace: abortions, one-night stands, family secrets, affairs or high-society hypocrisy — you name it. But at the core, the story is about friendship and loyalty; a bond that endures…it’s also fiction!
In real life, women aren’t big sharers. It’s true. We love gossip, but when it comes to baring our hearts to our girlfriends about what’s really going on in our love lives, we’d just rather not. Homemaker Puja Sahi, 31, admits she doesn’t talk to her friends about her relationship with her husband and never would. “It’s not Indian culture,” says Puja. “My mother always said, what happens in your home, stays in your home.”
Why we shut up
Bangalore-based counsellor Shabari Bhattacharyya explains that some secrets are born from the perception that sharing certain facts may diminish the family’s reputation. Mumbai-based psychiatrist Pawan Sonar, however, attributes the need to be secretive, at least partly, to a lack of proper sex education. “There’s also a fear of being judged,” he says. Even women in violent relationships rarely admit to their plight. “They may suffer from an inferiority complex and believe that people may think there’s something wrong with them, or they’ve done something to deserve the treatment.”
According to The Secrets Women Keep: What Women Hide And The Truth That Brings Them Freedom by Dr Jill Hubbard, some of the common things women don’t share with their friends are family problems, depression, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and suicidal thoughts. She writes, “Women have a keen sense of needing to live up to expectations. We tend to have unrealistic expectations about what we should be able to accomplish. But our experience of reality doesn’t match with what we’ve been led to believe our reality should be. So we hide our reality from those close to us.”
Hospitality management trainee Shuchi Pandya from Jamshedpur, however, doesn’t believe in holding back. Single, 21-year-old Shuchi says that when it comes to her relationship, she relies heavily on the advice of her girlfriends. “How can they give me the right advice if they don’t know all the facts?”
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