I read Nimmy’s blog , “How easy is it to undergo a divorce?” With due respect to Nimmy, I have big problems with the title of the blog entry – divorce never is and never will be easy – any where in the world. It is hard, it is painful and it is lonely. Brittney Spears had a tough time getting one, Madonna paid wagonloads of money to get hers, and these are women of stature and substance. Men have it equally hard. It costs, in terms of emotion, in terms of loss, in terms of stability and also financially.
Let us be practical here. To get a divorce there are certain things I had to do:
- Admit that there is something wrong. The love has turned into ashes or that the relationship has become toxic. It hurts and shakes you up. My self confidence was down in the ditches
- Do something about it – try to rebuild the love, try to make the marriage work, use every avenue, every leverage – parents, in-laws, siblings, friends – yes even the kids to help kickstart the marriage. It worked for a while – but when the centre does not hold – peripherals dont work
- Admit defeat and go into depression – I did that. Hoo boy – was I drama queen or what? I wept, I moped, I wandered around like a Main Bechari.
- Do something about it – this involved divorce. I frankly did not have the guts. My marriage lasted eighteen long years. My life was in shambles and the price I paid in terms of self worth and the psychological impact it had on my elder son was very expensive.
Is it easy? No it is not. I never re-married. It was not for lack of choice. I simply can not and will not hand over the controls of my life and my happiness into some one else’s whimsical hands. I am too traumatised and scared to do that. That is the biggest price I have paid. I watched my son become a problem kid. I watched him get into fights and get into bad and violent company. His parents were too busy settling scores with each other. One day, he was just a kid, he came and asked me if I would protect him if he did something really wrong like sell drugs or kill someone. That got me out of my “self pity stupor” and forced me to act, if not for myself – at least for the sake of my children. I walked out of my marriage. It never was easy. I had to rebuild life – starting with roof over my head to gas connection to furniture etc etc.
The important thing here is that one has to accept that I am in this alone. Parents are old and do not want the added responsibility of a daughter with children and legal issues. They have married off their daughter and would prefer that she stays that way. Friends dont want to be involved, and if they are, they hate taking sides. So you lose your friends. Relatives would love to gossip and if they do talk to you, they are gathering masala to fuel the gossip fires.
This is a male dominated society with laws that are skewed totally to favour the woman. I know you are having a WTF moment here. Bear with me. All the laws are so designed that they give all the breaks to the woman. The entire neighbourhood, the cops, the lawyers are products of a society that would love to favour the man. It leads to total confusion. In my case, this led to years and years of legal procedures. We called it quits when one son was 10 and the other was two, were declared seperated when my elder son was 15 and younger son was 7. We were formally divorced when my elder one was 19 and younger one was 11.
My ex wanted the divorce but did not want to come to court or get caught in the alimony and compensation web. So he stayed out of it. Ultimately he was declared “absconding and untraceable’ and that is what is written on the divorce papers.
You know what we did that day? Me and the boys went out and celebrated. We got royally drunk and ate too much! It was such a relief. Then I rang up ex and told him it was over. He was relieved too. He had remarried six months after we had broken up – yeah, when the kids were 10 and 2 years old. His wife was giving him hell about the legal thingy. I dont grudge him that. I could have done the same – he could not have objected, since he was sailing in the same boat. The choice to remain single was mine.
It is not easy to get a divorce. It is not easy to live the life of a divorcee – where people think you are easy and available. It is not easy to raise kids as a single parent. But it is harder on a person to stay in a marriage which has ended. I dont put any value on legal papers so to say. Ex married six months after we seperated. That does not mean his marriage is not valid. It is more valid than ours was while the case was being fought.
Marriage is a partnership and I think it becomes null and void the day its basic tenets of love, trust and mutually shared goals is compromised. After that one is living a lie. The children living with such parents are also affected. I look at my kids today with pride. They are positive, responsible, well behaved and loving. We have lived a good life.
No one said life would be easy – especially after the divorce. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that “Why the hell should a 30 year old pay the price for a mistake she committed at age 17?” It has been one hell of a ride – but damn it, it has been eventful and totally worth it.