Sirisena [Abstract]

A love letter [Full text]

Mihirini Sirisena [1]

AbstractThis letter tells the story of a young woman and a man I met during fieldwork with some university students in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2007/08. Here, Hiranthi – the narrator – writes a letter to her boyfriend of nine months Anish, interpreting the twists and turns of their relationship and highlights the ways in which the relationship fails to meet her expectations. Describing her expectations of romantic relationships and the efforts exerted in the making of it, this letter highlights that my interlocutors aspired towards a particular kind of romantic relationship – a ‘serious’ relationship. In this piece of writing, I use authorial and creative license to contextualise and interpret Hiranthi’s and Anish’s story within a frame of contemporary life in Sri Lanka, which I put together with the stories of others I met during fieldwork. I use the letter to highlight that romantic relationships of my interlocutors are embedded within particular discourses about the normative conjugal unit, which is essentially heterosexual. It illustrates that romantic relationships consist of a process of investment, a way of embedding one’s sense of self. The article highlights the relational aspect of self, pointing out that one’s life’s worthiness could be tied to the people who are around them.

Keywords: Romantic relationships, Sri Lanka, University students, relational self, life cycles

[1] Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, United Kingdom,