It is hilarious how a lot of us don’t see our parents as a couple, until we are grown-ups. The strict norms of our society that frown upon public display of affection and sees marriage more as a backbone to the structure of a family, rather than a bond forged with love and companionship, affect every couple’s behaviour. Well at least in the spaces outside of their bedroom. They are parents, sons and daughters-in-law first, and a couple later. This is exactly why it is equally unimaginable for many Indian children to see their parents’ dysfunctional marriage for what it is. What would be your reaction if you find out that your parents do not get along? That your mother has decided to walk out of an unhappy marriage?
- How many children will be okay if their mother decides to walk out of her marriage?
- How many of us do see our moms as women who are entitled to seek individual fulfilment and happiness?
- Must a woman stay in an unhappy marriage because she is duty-bound to do what society thinks is best for her children?
- If divorces are traumatic for children, does the onus of that trauma solely fall on her?
- Toxic marriages or divorced parents – What’s better?
Apart from our perception of our parents’ relationship Indian children also tend to put their mothers on a pedestal. She is the one who sacrifices her needs and necessities, and puts her family first. She adjusts and complies with everyone’s demands. How many of us can wrap our heads around the fact that our moms may also have desires, sexual, emotional or otherwise? That they may be going unfulfilled in their marriage? Empty relationships and dysfunctional marriages are a truth that exists across generations in our society. The problem is, while we see a way out for ourselves, a justified one for that, a lot of do not do so for our mothers.
How many of us can wrap our heads around the fact that our moms may also have desires, sexual or emotional? That they may be going unfulfilled in their marriage?
How could she leave her marriage? Doesn’t her marriage stand for more than just her relationship with her husband? What about us? Doesn’t she care about how her leaving her marriage would impact us, our future? As one Instagram user wrote, when SheThePeople asked this question on social media, “I don’t really get this feminist shit…I mean why do u think she will be happier alone rather than in a company… without considering how the divorce will affect their kids and how they r gonna be raised…”
We cannot be the barriers that keep our moms from walking away from lifelong unhappiness. Instead, we have to be the catalyst that motivate them to take this difficult decision with much confidence.
However, those who oppose this idea need to understand that every person has the right to chase individual happiness and fulfilment. Women spend a major part of their life abiding by social norms and sidelining their happiness for “the greater good”. But there comes a time in every woman’s life when she may begin questioning why doesn’t she get to reclaim her happiness and desires like others do? Why is she expected to endure an unhappy marriage because the divorce will have ill consequences for her and her children? Besides, is she the one to blame if life after divorce is so tough for women? Did she burden the tag of a divorcee with all the stigmas that we witness? Is she the one to blame if women face an uncertain financial future after divorce? Who kept her from joining the workforce after she became a mother? Why did she have to put work aside and prioritise household chores? Even if she is a housewife, why does all the labour that she put into her household go unpaid and unrecognised?
Having said that, as another social media user pointed out, the same thing goes for dads too. “No one. Not a single person deserves to be in an unhealthy n abusive relationship.” Plainly put, if you expect, rather, feel entitled to, support from your parents during hardships in your life, personal or professional, then you are obliged to provide the same. We cannot be the barriers that keep our moms from walking away from lifelong unhappiness. Instead, we have to be the catalyst that motivate them to take this difficult decision with much confidence.
India is far from being a society where a divorced woman will never have to face social stigma, but as children, we can surely be the family that ensures this transition is easier for any mom seeking a way out of her marriage.
The views expressed are the author’s own.