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Bookish Advice

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pearl Mathias notes down some brilliant relationship advice. But wait! It doesn’t come from your best friend or a shrink, but from our favourite books

Books are our soul mates. They have the power to touch us and speak to us in a way that no one can explain. But sometimes, they can offer sage advice as well, especially when it comes to relationships. (And no, we’re not talking about the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ scene, although, no judgements there!) We’re referring to those lines that are so powerful that they grip our heart and make us feel like someone out there gets what we’re going through. Read about a couple of our favourite romantic classics that have taught us a thing or two about being in a relationship.

Don’t let the differences matter
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

One of our favourite lines from this much-loved tear-jerker sets our hearts aflutter every time we read it: “They didn't agree on much. In fact, they rarely agreed on anything. They fought all the time — and they challenged each other every day. But despite their differences, they had one important thing in common: They were crazy about each other.” A relationship between individuals who are poles apart is definitely not easy. But, as fate would have it, opposites do attract! And so, if you find yourself in such a relationship, loving someone with totally different likes and hobbies, don’t worry about it not working out, as long as you can find common ground, appreciate one another, encourage each other and never let the spark die out. After all, there are so many mediocre things in life. And, love shouldn’t be one of them, right?

There’s also hate at first sight
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Much like love, hate is also a strong feeling that gets our blood pumping and heart racing. There is something deliciously romantic about reading about two people falling in love despite their best efforts towards the contrary. And, haven’t we all been there? Struggling not to fall for that one person whom we’ve sworn we could kill. But these lines come as an emphatic reminder to those who find themselves caught up in the trepidation that we can control most things, but love isn’t one of them: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

Never take people for granted
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

The beginning of a relationship is a fun and memorable phase — the chasing after, waiting for them to reply to a message, taking a little extra effort to dress up. All these things ultimately lead to spending so much time with the person that you somehow get used to having them around. But, fate can be a cruel mistress. No, we’re not trying to scare you. Although it’s easy to stop noticing the little things your partner does for you over time, these were the very things that made you go weak in the knees at the beginning. And, if you’ve read ‘PS, I Love You’, the line “What a luxury it was for people to hold their loved ones whenever they wanted”, resonates with the flurry of emotions that Holly goes through on realising how quickly she went from being in a happy marriage to being widowed. So, don’t save all your loving for a better time and place; if you’ve found someone you love and who loves you back, the time to show it is now!

Anyone can love, and no love is big or small
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

When you’re in a relationship and everything seems to be going either right or wrong, it’s quite natural to look at someone else’s situation and draw comparisons. And sometimes, we wrongfully compare our present partners to our past ones. No two people are the same, and similarly, no two relationships can ever be the same. This line from ‘Anna Karenina’ sums it up brilliantly: “If there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” Drawing comparisons when it comes to relationships and people will do little for your happiness. Try not to dwell too much on what has passed, no matter how likely you are to miss them from time to time and even if you secretly hope that you could find some of your ex’s favourite features in your current partner. And, as for the present, here’s another one of Leo Tolstoy’s famous lines: “If you love someone, love the whole person, just as they are and not as you would like them to be.”

It’s alright to be lonely
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s quite difficult to feel lonely, at least on the outside. There are so many people out there you can connect to, who are themselves waiting to be connected with. And, very often, this is misused when we’re suffering from heartbreak. It’s impossible, much less a taboo, for us to keep to ourselves when we’ve been hurt. We can’t wait to tell whoever is willing to listen about everything that the good-for-nothing person, whom we were so in love with minutes ago, did this time. We want to feel less horrible about ourselves, but we do it by diverting our attention to someone or something else, without giving ourselves the time to heal privately. And so, we jump from one relationship to the next, not bothering to find out what we are doing wrong. Gilbert lends some sage advice, and these are some of the most beautiful words we’ve come across: “When you get lonely these days, think: So BE lonely. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.” Being on the receiving end of heartbreak is not the end of the world. As she says, “It is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”


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I am a married man with three children. Now days
Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
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Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)You will strike a good bargain getting you immediate benefits. Concentrate on your routine work, which is now, poised for a major growth. Personal relationships are disappointing. Don’t let it bother you. You can’t please everybody. At times you can feel alone and despondent.
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