Is love worth it all?

Humans, being social animals, rely greatly on relationships for their existence and survival, and intimate relationships play a significant role in that. Finding the right partner is something we all dream about, but how much is Mr. right or MS right actually right. Well, Gabby Petito certainly thought that she found her Mr. Right but was this a wise decision?

Dreaming to become a travel influencer on social media Gabrielle Petito started her adventure across the US with her fiancé Brian Laundrie who was also her high school mate. Later, Brian returned alone with no sign of Gabby. Only after an extensive search over a 24-acre national park was Gabby found, dead by strangulation. The murderer was Brian who had committed suicide before the police found him. Despite knowing each other for several years and Brian having no previous records of violence, Gabby was killed by someone who she had trusted and loved greatly. This is just one example of violence in intimate relationships. By the way, if you think that the perpetrators are always men, you're to be proved wrong by Lulu.

Ramon Sosa had a seemingly perfect life with a beautiful wife who was actually planning his death by hiring a hitman. Sosa, who was thankfully informed of this conspiracy by a well-wisher, had to fake his own death with the help of the FBI to catch his wife red-handed. Being married for over 7 years didn't deter Lulu from prioritizing her materialistic wants over her husband's life. Most such cases are indeed reported from western countries, but it, unfortunately, doesn't eliminate the danger around you.

In 2017, alone 30,000 women were murdered by their previous or current partners globally. According to Psych Central, domestic abuse, also known as intimate partner abuse, describes any situation where a romantic or intimate partner or spouse uses dominating or violent behaviour to exert control over a partner, physically, sexually, or psychologically.

Almost everyone in their early 20's actively engages in a romantic relationship and finding the right partner. And university students are certainly not an exception. That being said, it's important to know the red flags in a relationship and what constitutes intimate partner abuse. One common misconception is domestic abuse is sexual or physical only. While in reality, this is not true as domestic abuse takes many other forms as well. Such as;

  • Forbidding the partner from meeting up with friends and family or from going out to socialize.
  • Obstructing independent decision-making and always dictating and having a say in what you want to do.
  • Manipulating the victim to lower their self-esteem by targeting the victim’s weaknesses.
  • Threatening, screaming or, scolding verbally, very harshly.
  • Portraying chauvinist and misogynist behaviour.
  • Financially controlling the victim.

 

Based on the findings of Professor Jane Monckton Smith, domestic homicide is hardly the result of a spontaneous, emotional decision. In most cases, it's a gradual, deliberate development that leaves many warning signs in its wake. When we further analyse the Gabby Petito case mentioned earlier, the perpetrator's behaviour suggests that something's wrong. When a passerby called the police after seeing Brian manhandling Gabby, the police were seen questioning him in a video provided by the cops. Brian's behaviour in that video which was considered to be pretty normal by the cops present at the scene was said to be a "murder in slow motion" by a criminal profiler who analysed the video afterwards. She mentions how Brian was manipulative not only towards Gabby but also the cops. Based on Gabby's defensive behaviour towards Brian it was evident that serious psychological manipulation was underway.

The problem which led to the cops questioning Brian was that he thought Gabby could not achieve her dream of being a travel influencer, which is an obvious warning sign as he could have handled this problem more gently or at least supported her opinions without being harsh. This indicates his need to stump her self-esteem and use it to gain the upper hand in the relationship. The other issue we could see in this case is how Brian’s parents were not supportive towards the cops which shows that either they knew Brain had done something wrong or chose to believe their son ignorantly which is a perfect example of irresponsible parenting. This depicts the importance that family background and childhood have on shaping an individual’s personality. 

This does not just limit to dating, married couples face this issue even more as they live together and this causes domestic abuse cases to escalate. Lulu was one such woman who prioritized materialistic wants above love and trust. Mr. Sosa could have avoided this tragedy if he had been more vigilant and noticed the poor relationship between his wife and children who were from his ex. It was so bad that the children were not even informed about their wedding. This is a clear indication of Lulu's mindset where she wanted to isolate her husband from his loved ones.

Victims don’t know that they are victims until it’s too late. This tragedy can be prevented by being vigilant and by not rushing into a serious relationship. To properly identify the warning signs, you should be equipped with a clear sense of morality, and what's acceptable and what's not. Identifying what's acceptable and what's not can be a problem as social media, movies, and books have blurred the lines of morality and what to expect in a partner. Stalking, possessive behaviour is seen as the real love while, in reality, this is just disturbing and creepy. Also, when a person says 'NO' it means no, not maybe. So if someone is not interested in you, don’t keep pestering. It does not cause love as movies suggest but may cause fear and stress to that person. In mainstream media,  it is portrayed how love conquers all but this is not realistic. A relationship is only successful if there is respect, trust, honesty and genuine care for the wellbeing of the partner, not on “love” which is based on materialistic aspects and physical intimacy.

So, the ones who are in a relationship, do you really know the person you think you know? And the ones who are yet to be in a relationship, do you have what it takes to be in a relationship and be the right one?

And finally, Is love worth it all?

Written By:-
Rtr. Hikma Imam
(Member 2021-22)

Written By:-
Rtr. Hasna Imtikhab
(Member 2021-22)

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