In India, divorce is a taboo and a social burden that the divorcee is forced to carry the brunt of all through their life. The pressure is definitely higher on women. As a consequence many couples would rather suffer together, living lives with constant fights, bickering, and ill health than opt for separation. This also affects the way their children’s lives are shaped.
Most relationship issues can be resolved through a committed effort and a short course of therapy. But in some cases, the solution lies in separation. The couple’s core values are clashing and none of them is happy to give them up. These usually are values that were inculcated into them as kids – like religion, morality, ethics, gender bias, etc. In some other cases, the expectations about their partners are not met and neither is willing to give them up too.
In some of these cases what really keeps them going is not their commitment to each other or any tiny bit of affection they have left for one another, rather, it is guilt, social pressure, insecurity.
As a therapist, my goal is not to keep them together; my goal is to heal each of them. And in the process of healing the couples either bond closer or choose their separate paths. But in any case, healing would have been done. It is not surprising that in some cases healing happens only by couples moving away from each other.
It is not an easy decision to make for either of the couple. The usual major reasons (as I mentioned earlier) that keeps them wavering is guilt, social pressure, and insecurity.
I have seen, in some cases, separation helps them heal tremendously and move on in life. It is however, very important that during the early weeks or months of separation each of them receives healing and proper advice from a good therapist because the social setup of our country is such that divorcees are mostly disapproved of. Of course, family support is of paramount importance but divorcees often tend to disregard motivation from family and friends.
Guilt is the first issue that needs to be addressed. And the second is sensitivity to social opinion. One needs to understand that as humans we always look forward to pronounce judgements about others’ lives and feel better about ourselves. So society always talks. We are a part of that society and have spoken hastily in the past too. A divorcee needs to understand that the world is not the judge of her/his issues.
I need to emphasize that it is only in some cases that separation is the solution for a relationship issue. In most cases, it is simple behavioural changes, understanding of personality types and expectations, and correction of communication issues that are enough to resolve relationship issues. A decision as huge as separation must only be made with sound judgement and due consideration.