Sex and The City: Confused between 'good and the 'bad'

I get attracted to women who are either scarred irreparably with a bad past, or those who display personality disorders, or those who have dangerous vices, or those who engage in risky sexual behaviour, or those who are rebelling against all authority. The nice girls who have a stable life seem boring to me. I also clearly know that these girls that I hang out with are not the kind of mother I want for my kids. And yet, I am turning down all the decent girls that come my way. I fantasise about stability and family, and yet stability and family seems boring and claustrophobic. I am flip flopping about what I want and time is lapsing. I am almost 40. My parents and siblings are concerned about my confusion. Please help me with clarity and show me the way forward.

Ans: Indecision can curtail your progress towards a goal you set. Getting stalled in your progress is not something you may be comfortable with but you need to start being brutally honest with yourself. Your confusion will self-address itself as soon as you stop being indecisive about what you want from your life. Either we get to decide for ourselves or time and circumstance decides for us.

You’ve gone on to contrast ‘girls who have vices and issues’ against the so called ‘nice girls’ as if these categories are steadfast and all-encompassing classifications that completely describe a whole individual. By that logic, every great business leader would also be a model citizen or every athlete would also be great company. We are all made up of certain desirable and undesirable traits. As people grow older, they get better at playing to their strengths.

Sometimes these traits might not be fully known to us. Such oversimplifications and broad-strokes about people may contribute to your moral dilemmas. You could spend some time thinking about what works and what definitively doesn’t work for you as opposed to trying to shop your way through personality types.

You are not picking a jacket or pair of socks from a counter top, you're dealing with a human being. A human being with dreams, strange habits and memories that may bother her. You must also understand that boredom isn’t a moral problem, it’s a logistical one.

If our ancestors weren’t bored of living in caves, they wouldn’t have discovered agriculture and animal husbandry. They wouldn’t have gone to war over land, resources and wealth. Boredom is an inevitable part of all human evolution so instead of fighting it, there is a need to fully come to terms with it. People, events, locations and experiences can soon turn boring with repeated exposure as the familiarity begins to add up.

People are often bothered by the sedentary and when things and people start lacking any so called ‘surprise value’. However, the onus of having your needs met shouldn’t solely rest on your partner in a truly equal relationship. A stable life can be projected on social media and when you meet someone for dinner at a nice place. However, cultivating a stable life requires both partners in the relationship to show a great deal of resourcefulness and out-of-the-box thinking. This is well and truly the key. Cliched thoughts about ‘good versus bad’ girls feels like a tad generalized.

The kind of mother you want for your kids is not dependent on a well-researched shopping trip. People change with time and even a so called ‘nice’ girl whose met all your criteria may perhaps unravel and crack under new pressures. There are no certainties in this world. Compatibility isn’t about seeking or finally selecting - the right fit as much as its about finding renewed enthusiasm in tackling familiar and unfamiliar challenges as a team.

Stability and family is what you dream and yet you talk about it being boring. What are you really afraid of losing here? Whatever it is, you must be realistic and honest about it with yourself when you’re all by yourself. Marriage is a group effort and there are no exceptions to this. There is nothing you can do about time lapsing or about the worry that your family has shown.

What you can do though is speak to a psychotherapist who will help draw out any latent anxieties or reservations that you may be carrying that have got you stuck in this loop of ‘should I-versus-shouldn’t I’. How else will life progress for you? Finding a wife is completely unlike looking for a new branch manager, the job requirements always keep changing with the fluidity of circumstances.

A woman who understands how to be compassionate and who shows resilience, adaptability and superior control over her thoughts and words is quite possibly some who’ll inject stability into your life. However, clarity is not a one time pursuit. Life pelts us with the weight of so much that we are ill equipped to handle. Companionship is about learning to make choices as a team. Is there a part of you that wants to rebel against the institution of marriage? Does a part of you enjoy playing the lone cowboy down on his luck? Let me assure you that there is no glamour in self-pity or regret. To move forward in the desired direction you must figure out what you want and if meeting a trained psychotherapist helps you clarify things, I would strongly recommend it.

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