How tying the knot gave me a culture shock in my own culture

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I am from India. My family has always been among the most educated and progressive sections of society, with the highest exposure to different ideas and people. In the course of being exposed to said people, I developed close friendships with folks who were all from similar backgrounds. I even met my partner in these circles.

Then I entered the workforce. Again, I was part of the cream of society. I was in tech, where the culture was decades ahead of other industries. I had amazing colleagues who respected me. There were strong, smart women to learn from. My opinion…

We can learn a lot about relationships from the Obamas

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Every sitcom has that episode where the girlfriend wonders if her boyfriend is going to propose. And in parallel, the boyfriend is asking his friends whether she’s going to say yes. And then there’s a season finale where he gets down on one knee and she tears up and he puts a ring on her finger.

Now, I’m a die-hard romantic. I always enjoy these scenes, and I do tear up at some of them. I like cute gestures.

But why do we romanticize such poorly planned decisions?

The world has progressed over the past several decades. Relationships and their…

I used to think it was about income and housework, but I’m not so sure anymore

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Growing up, I obsessively noticed couples around me to understand their relationship dynamics. It’s something I’ve always been interested in.

As a kid, I was always disappointed by the fact that every adult couple I knew seemed so unequal. The man went to work and earned money. The woman took care of the house and children. On the rare occasion that women worked, it was not a particularly high-paying job. She was never an equal breadwinner. This was a standard template and I developed a deep dislike for it.

Back then, my idea of equality was simple and naive. Both…

An interesting mental model from the book “Attached”

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I love mental models and frameworks. They give me a fresh sense of perspective and a tool to understand the seemingly chaotic world around me. They also provide an opportunity for introspection and understanding ourselves better.

Mental models also guide your perception and behavior. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems. Learning a new mental model gives you a new way to see the world — like Richard Feynman learning a new math technique.

- James Clear

As someone who writes about relationships and (over)thinks about my own relationship quite a…

I’m finally learning to take life lightly

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I’ve always been an anxious person. I’m very particular about where things around the house are kept, how clean the kitchen surfaces are, how punctual I am to appointments.

On the outside, these sound like good qualities to have, right? I appear to be an organized and disciplined person.

However, it has always come at a cost. While it’s a good thing to keep the kitchen surfaces clean, I feel an inordinate level of stress and tension about any untidy spot. It affects my emotional equilibrium so much that it triggers breakdowns and petty fights with my partner.

A dirty…

The pandemic taught me to appreciate festivals and birthdays

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I have never been a big fan of festivals and holidays. I’m from India, and most of our festivals have rules and rituals to follow.

Everyone is expected to dress up, which is an activity I’ve always disliked. There are religious customs to be followed, which always make me uncomfortable. And these occasions always involve as many family members as possible, which can get very overwhelming for an introvert like me.

Growing up, these were the things I came to associate with celebrations, and I had firmly decided that I didn’t like them. …

If it’s you, you might want to demote yourself

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Couples who live together generally move towards equilibrium when it comes to household chores. There’s an unwritten and unspoken agreement that forms between them about who does what.

Sometimes a lot of the burden falls on one partner. Sometimes the couple gets it right, and the equilibrium works for a while. But life always throws new responsibilities into the mix and upsets this balance.

This article is about being intentional and flexible with your equilibrium so that you can keep adapting to the changes in life.

Mental load and the Chore Manager

I came across the concept of mental load when I read this viral post…

A controversial take on this epic series

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I first read the Lord of the Rings when I was in high school. I had been a fantasy nerd for a long time, and all my fellow nerds had devoured this series and repeatedly recommended it to me. Not to be left out, I borrowed the books from my cousin and started reading.

I found it tough to get through the first book. After the first hundred pages, I started making excuses whenever it was time to read. I was too busy, or I didn’t have the bandwidth to read, or I needed to use this time to study…

And read it to yourself before you show it to them.

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Anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than a few months is no stranger to nasty fights. The stakes are higher, and every little thing bothers us more than it should. Over the last ten years, I have realized a few things about these arguments.

Fighting with your partner is a skill. It is a delicate balance between having the liberty to say ridiculous stuff that you’d never say to a friend or coworker and saying something so hurtful that it haunts your conversations for a long time. Mastering this balance is the key to good conflict resolution.

Over…

You don’t need to have similar lives to be relatable

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Have you faced a problem in your life or at work that affected you very deeply, but your partner simply couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal? If yes, you’re not alone. And more importantly, it’s not a dead end.

Every individual has a unique life that keeps throwing challenges at them. When we face these challenges, we turn to our partner, family, or friends for comfort and advice.

But every once in a while, we face a problem that’s extremely personal to us and nobody seems to understand why it is even a problem at all.

For…

Aditi Balaji

Writing about relationships. feminism and books. I’m an introvert, a fantasy/sci-fi nerd, and a dog mom.

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