Monthly Archives: September 2015

Prince Charming and the “M” word

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— By: Alexandra Kinias —

In Disney’s fairytales the handsome Prince fall in love with lumber jack’s daughter he meets in the forest. And after the Prince asks for her hand in marriage, they ride together into the sunset on his white horse. The birds chirp, the butterflies dance to the romantic song at the end of the movie, and the royal couple lives happily ever after. The fairytale romance leaves us with misty eyes and a happy heart filled with hope that our prince charming lives a few castles away.

We love happy endings even though they alter the perception of reality in young girls’ minds. And unlike fairytales, princes in real life fall out of love. Left with low self-esteem while battling pangs of rejection, the broken heart ex-princesses wonder what happened to the promises of the eternal love they heard on their rides into the sunsets.

Since it takes two to tango, men constitute half of the equation in any relationship. Rarely the innocent party, yet it’s unrealistic to throw the entire blame on their shoulders. Women share the responsibility for the failure of the relationship. In many cases, they misinterpret men’s behaviors and become victims of their own misconceptions. They cling to failed relationships to avoid or postpone confrontations that lead to the painful, yet, inevitable truth.

Most women fall in love with the intention to get married. Other than the obvious reasons to settle down and start a family; fear of loneliness, financial support or gain, or a change of status also plays a role in the decision making. In societies that glorify marriage, where girls grow up to believe that it is women’s ultimate dream, and where unmarried middle aged women are looked down on, staying single is not a choice. In these societies, women marry because of social, peer and family pressure.

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On the other hand, men seek relationships for different reasons. Both curious and confused, men on one hand want to learn more about the women they meet, but on the other, they have no idea what they want out of the relationship. An interest to know you better doesn’t automatically translate that your date is ready to commit. No one knows for sure what goes on in men’s minds. Most men avoid commitment for as long as they can get by with it. Who knows? They could be waiting for scientists to discover life in another galaxy to plan the honeymoon. The point is that it doesn’t matter because in the world we live in women are on the receiving end of the engagement ring. And because of that women invest more time and emotions into relationships.  And as their expectations are higher than men’s, they are more affected by the dynamics, outcomes and disappointments of the relationships.

In pursue for an engagement ring, women ignore the flaws in their partners in hope to win their hearts. But winning their heart is not always enough reason for men to propose. And if pressured to do so, while not yet emotionally or mentally ready to settle down, men’s reaction often backfires and they withdraw. It’s important for women to pay close attention to changes in men’s behavioral patterns. If a man is busy to call or answer your call, breaks promises, plays games, becomes discreet or simply unavailable, it is time to re-evaluate the relationship and not to defend or justify his behavior.  No one is busy, but it is a matter of priority. Men find time for whatever is important to them. But because love is addictive, women ignore the neon signs flashing in front of their eyes urging them to run away. Some waste years clinging to emotionally unfulfilling relationships in anticipation that the men will change. Unfortunately, they won’t.

The failure of Princess Diana’s marriage, the modern day fairytale, proved to the world that fairytales Princesses neither live in the real world nor fall in love with real men. But that doesn’t mean that princes no longer exist. They are out there living in the real world. They get caught in traffic; they have bad days at the office and agonize when their football team loses.

Once women realize that princes are humans and they don’t live in fairytales, it’s important to approach the relationship with more realistic expectations. And most important, they should not lower their standards.

If you want to meet a prince, then you better behave like a princess.

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Divorce in Egypt may actually be a healthy sign

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Photo copied from the Internet

— By: Alexandra Kinias — The concern by many over the soaring divorce rates between young couples in Egypt may be argued by others as a healthy phenomenon. Shocking as it sounds to some, but these rates suggest that young couples are rebelling against the obsolete rules and regulations that had once governed and shaped the fate of their parents and grandparents, and forced women to stay in dysfunctional marriages against their wishes. And with the increasing rate of divorce, marriage counselling, a novelty to the society, is thriving.  Marriage counseling is also a positive indication that marital problems that were once concealed and contained behind closed doors and endured in silence, mainly by women, are no longer accepted, nor viewed as shameful taboos, as once believed to be.

Seeking professional counseling as opposed to older family member’s intervention, to help young couples solve their problems, shows the rejection of these couples to the old rules, terms, conditions and band aid solutions.  Also marriage counselors act independently with no bias solutions that mostly put the blame, responsibility and the burden to salvage the marriage on the shoulders of women.

Many blame the young couples’ irresponsibility in dealing with life’s issues for the failure of  their marriages, quite an unfair accusation. Dysfunctional marriages existed since the beginning of times, but until recently women suffered in silence, unable to terminate their misery, and many still don’t for various reasons. Because of the belief that divorce may harm the kids, mothers choose to stay in abusive marriages, unaware of how the toxic atmosphere of an unhappy marriage negatively impacts their kids’ emotional balance.

Before the new divorce laws that granted women the right to divorce and keep the house, if the kids are underage, non working women with no source of income stayed married for financial reasons and in fear to end up homeless. And with the loose alimony and child support laws, not all families were ready for the extra expenses of a divorced daughter and grandkids. The irony, however, was that even women who could afford a divorce, still couldn’t get one. It was a right granted only to men.  And while some women couldn’t get a divorce, others divorced against their wishes.

Society stigmatized and alienated divorced women. Viewed by many as loose and unrespectable women, friends avoided them to protect their husbands and their own marriages. Parents restricted their freedoms to guard their tarnished reputation, in the eyes of the society.  The endless battles in courts over the alimonies, child support and custody dragged for years and costed fortunes. Divorced women were nothing but trouble, and families were happy to hand them over to another man to resume their responsibilities.

In today’s world, relations changed. Laws changed. Women work and are financially independent.  The reasons that their mothers and grandmothers stayed in dysfunctional marriages no longer apply to them. And with the social change, they can decide when to terminate a failed  marriage. And with no guilt or shame, they walk with their heads high, for they are setting new rules for how society perceives divorced women.

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Filed under Editorial, Women in Egypt, Women Rights in Egypt