When speaking about the deterioration of Saeed and Nadia’s relationship, Mohsin Hamid states “They had not been very romantic of late, each still perceiving the grating of their presence on the other, and they put this down to being too long in too close proximity, a state of unnatural nearness in which any relationship would suffer”(140).
This passage brings into question: Does a relationship tend to suffer due to an unnatural closeness or excessive time spent together?
First of all, couples vary in how much time is spent together. To some couples, hanging out everyday is natural, but to others, once a week is just enough. Therefore, spending an excessive amount of time together varies with each relationship.
The problem comes into the picture when the amount of spent time together leads to arguments and a sense of distress when the pair is separated from one another. These signs often suggest codependency.
A codependent relationship is one where a person is needy or dependent upon another person. Upon first glace, this may not sound like Saeed and Nadia’s relationship. Both are very strong characters, especially the independent Nadia who moves out of her house at a young age, without marrying. However, there is far more to a codependent relationship.
A codependent person’s goal often becomes fixing things, helping others, or pleasing people. This is evident within Saeed and Nadia’s relationship because at various points in the story, although they were experiencing tension within their relationship, they mentioned that all they wanted was to help one another. Saeed wished that he could please and help Nadia but he couldn’t and it filled him with sorrow. This is a sign of codependency because over time he slowly began losing his original identity and started caring solely about helping Nadia.
A codependent person also leans on someone else for support or solutions. Nadia and Saeed relied a whole lot on each other to make decisions. If one did not agree with the other there would be a lot of tension and they always made sure to come to a final decision together. There was no way that they were going to make independent decisions at such a point in their relationship.
Therefore, spending too much time with another person can often lead to toxicity because of the development of codependency.
The line on page 140 struck me as foreshadowing of Saeed and Nadia’s relationship. Similar to a lot of psychological issues, there is a sense of awareness of one’s problem but confessing it is difficult. In this case, Nadia started becoming aware of the toxicity of the codependency but she did not do much to fix it. Instead, they looked towards giving each other space, until ultimately they grew apart completely.