In the South Asian community, divorce is a taboo subject. The belief is that your marriage lasts till your last breath and if you have issues with your partner, you are expected to work them out. More often than not, women are expected to submit to the demands of their husbands, without question. Thankfully, things are changing for the better. As our community becomes more educated, with the aid of the opportunities available to us abroad, important discussions are being had and changes are being made.
If you are at a crossroads in your relationship, and cannot figure out whether you should save your marriage or end it, take some time to think about some very important things. First, recognize that your happiness is at stake. Many people in our community end up living a life that is a lie, for the sake of their parents; to protect their reputation, and out of fear of “what other people will say.” Some people may argue that happiness is not the end-all-be-all factor. To be honest, happiness is connected to your mental health. If you live unhappily, you are essentially ruining your life – this precious gift that has been offered to you. Recognize that confining yourself to an unhappy marriage is like sending yourself to jail – albeit a mental prison instead. “What people will say” should not take priority over your happiness and your peace of mind. “Other people” are not going to be the ones walking in your shoes, passing the time and living through the days. They are not going to pay your bills, and protect your children. They are simply an audience, and they will talk about you, no matter what you do – good or bad. People will talk about you whether you “walk a straight line” or you don’t. Many of us confine ourselves to toxic relationships because we don’t want to disappoint our parents. If your parents truly care about your wellbeing, they will want you to be happy, and they will understand your decision.
If you are truly miserable in your marriage, prior to finalizing a divorce, consider couples therapy or independent sessions with a psychologist or counsellor. Sometimes, we have unresolved issues from our childhood that we are accidentally carrying into our adult relationships. It is often difficult for a person to see what they are doing wrong in a situation. By opening up to a third party in confidence, we are able to obtain an unbiased perspective from a knowledgeable professional. Studies have shown that all forms of psychotherapy lead to individual growth in one way or another. Talking out loud leads to insight, which leads to understanding, and enables us to make changes in our day to day lives. More often than not, counselling will improve your relationships and your mental state. Try hard to fix your relationship, especially if you truly care about the person you are with, and have invested a lot of time and energy into it. Every marriage has hurdles – that is the reality. Everyone will annoy you or irritate you in one way or another. You just have to decide who’s worth the long-term commitment. If you try your best to salvage the relationship, but you are still utterly unhappy, be aware that it is never too late to leave, even though “divorce is not an option” in our community.