The Liberating Force

Afifa Zaheer
4 min readApr 25, 2020
Art by Robella Arham

We reside in a world that is constantly shifting, not just geographically but politically, economically and socially as well. Yet, some things seem to remain stagnant. Growing up, I witnessed the turmoils various relationships go through. I was exposed to the vulnerability of romance. But what struck me the most was the compassion of a man towards a woman and vice versa.

The thought haunted me for the longest time, it faded during my struggles but knocked on the door the minute I had the liberty to think. “Is it possible to be with someone and still not love them?” I stayed up for nights, hoping to find a rational answer but never reached a conclusion. It seemed to be like a “dead-end” road.

Things in nature are capable of co-existing but not always belonging together. A cactus or a rose with thorns will not scratch anyone or anything until it comes in contact with. Human beings are no different either. Everybody has a disposition that reveals itself under specific circumstances. And so, today, I would like to discuss something that has been brushed under the rug for the longest time. And somewhere, somebody, may be looking for these words.

Marriage or companionship is like a support system; money and children are secondary things that are dependent on the foundation of that relationship. Then why is it that people in marriages are not always in “love” with their partner? The answer is simple, its the affect of the “touch” that matters. A woman and a man show love in different manners and touch here has various connotations. So, let’s begin with the basic one.

We enter this world with needs and whether we healthy and successful in our lives is attached to the fulfillment of those needs. As much as it depends on the individual to express his or her needs, it is significant to to understand that sometimes, some needs demand bodily understanding. Comprehending someone’s resistance or acceptance to touch formulates the path to a healthy relationship.

That gentle touch of a hand entangling fingers with you, a soft kiss on the forehead, an embrace that melts the worries away or a kiss that ensures you of never their ending love; all these acts of compassion make the bond stronger. I have witnessed people spending 25 years together, raising four kids but opposing to hold hands or hug because they don’t feel the connection. Why is that so? It’s because they didn’t pay attention to those not-so-obvious needs. It’s because that one time the wife did not think much of her husband’s drowning business, or the husband did not make time for the wife amongst his ambitions. Trust your instincts, if your partner seems displeased, don’t shy away from asking, because as much as they demand space, they desire to be asked about their troubles. Be gentle with them, communicate rather than letting time do its healing. Time doesn’t heal, it only teaches you how to deal with the pain, whereas the wound is still there.

Our culture puts a lot of pressure on men and women after they tie the knot. But are those two individuals ready themselves to handle the consequences of society nagging? Is the woman willing to quit her job and have a child? Is the man ready to give up his idea of starting a business because he has a family to take care of? The human brain performs differently, it fools itself into believing that it is capable of handling everything alone. But in reality it is screaming to be heard. Then how do you deduce what someone requires?

Ask! It is that simple. Assumptions has to be nothing but a means to destruction. If I had a penny for every time I assumed somebody to be angry with me, or not willing to talk to me, I would be a billionaire. But that is just how our brain works. It pulls us farther and farther from confrontation because its one of the hardest things to do. But what we don’t know is the other side of that confrontation. Our assumptions are based on our deductions of someone’s emotions but in reality those emotions might mean otherwise. Be transparent, as transparent as you can possibly be. Try to touch that person’s thought process by asking them. Try to comprehend their lives by listening to them rather than assuming it.

Because at the end, all we need is…”touch”.



Afifa Zaheer

Writer | Poetess | Financial Consultant. A South-Asian Woman Mastering the Art of Metamorphosis as an Immigrant.