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Knot wise!

 

Whether it were his debonair looks, enviable baritone, or his dalliance with flower power, drugs or sexuality, it was little wonder that Kabir Bedi, India’s first truly international star, usually had his way with women. TSI looks to the man, who entered an open marriage with wife Protima in the 70s, to reintroduce the concept of marriage and its latest versions
NEHA SARIN | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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Knot wise! Why do you think people get married? Do you believe in the institution of marriage?

People get married essentially to raise a family, to be with a companion you love. Traditionally, it represents security. Usually it ends up with the wrong person at the wrong time but it sure is here to stay. The problem is that it’s too easy to get married. A lot of people marry in a rush, in the fit of passion, a moment of jealousy, whatever. I think it should be made a little harder. Besides, all kinds of new social experiments are being tried. I was talking to this futurist in California, who told me about the trend of men and women, not necessarily related by blood, living together . . . As long as there is consent, it shouldn’t be anyone’s problem.

What are the important ingredients?

Love, companionship and children. I married for love each time, but loving one another is not the same as living together. You also discover that when in love, you may not be the most objective judge of what’s best for you. It’s that old saying, “Women marry men thinking they’ll change and they don’t; and men marry women thinking they won’t change and they do!”

Whose idea was open marriage – yours or Protima’s?

Neither of us bothered about conventions from the start . . . Both of us were popular models and we made a lot of news living together. Then we decided to get married and had children. As both of us were creative people, leading very different lives, there was infidelity and the marriage was near break-down. So in the final stages, we tried an open marriage. At least, let there be honesty and keep that as basis for a marriage. I’m not sure whose idea it was. We saw it as another way we could remain together and yet not intrude into the other’s space. But it’s the mind thing. One partner becomes insecure, jealous, which is only natural.

Knot wise! How does one handle jealousy and insecurity in such relationships?

These emotions are natural but whether you allow them to rule your life is another thing. What emotion is more important – is it the sense of being together no matter what, or jealous of seeing your partner with another – it is up to those involved to overcome that. Of course, in my experiment with open marriage, it didn’t work for the same reasons.

Is being honest the best policy?

That’s a difficult question. Sometimes, not discussing it is the best policy as many couples have found out. In many cases, it is not confronting the issue that’s the best policy.

Research says that open marriages are far more common than one night stands. Do you foresee it becoming a mainstream practice?

I don’t see it ever becoming the mainstream practice. There may be a minority that accepts it. Because the mainstream would be concerned primarily with issues of security and respectability. Actually, since times immemorial, it has usually been the case where men stray and women accept it out of necessity, circumstance, whatever. But now, more women are working and asserting themselves, instead of quietly accepting the infidelity of the husband. They think they is right and they go out. The only thing is that nobody talks about it. The husband knows, the wife knows, but it’s not an open thing – not openly discussed.

Can open marriages rekindle old flames?

I doubt it. But who knows! Maybe the distance works. In general, if you come to the point of an open marriage, it’s very hard to go back.

Would you recommend an open marriage to one who might be thinking about the same?

I wouldn’t recommend it. Still, if they want to go ahead and try it, they have to be extraordinary people to make it last.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017