In our traditional Pakistani society, divorce is often synonymous with disgrace and shame. If a woman divorces her husband she is labelled as a pariah – a woman with bad character who couldn’t keep her family safe. The blame solely falls on her, as if she took a metaphorical bullet and shot her chances at having a happy family. It’s because we are taught at a young age that women have to compromise, be selfless and always put others needs above them.
Divorce is a taboo that needs to be talked about and normalised in our culture. The more we dismiss it and don’t talk about it, the more alien we make it – hence making it out to be something bad. We understand how hard it can be to take the plunge, put your needs first and leave someone that isn’t making you happy anymore. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of concerns that you may have in the hopes of making this transition less gruelling for you.
“Am I destroying my family?”
Divorce isn’t about destroying a family – when you sign the divorce papers, you’re not signing a death certificate. You’re merely agreeing to a dissolution of marriage between two people who no longer make each other happy. People may think that when children are involved, they suffer the most in the case of a divorce. But that’s not entirely true.
Psychologists and family therapists have cited various studies that prove children from divorced families are happier than children with an unstable family life. Children require love and stability and sometimes that can come from two happy, coexisting families, instead of an unhappy family that’s become a breeding ground for toxic energy.
Even Islam awards women the autonomy of divorce if they’re unhappy in the marriage, either through asking for Khula or a divorce. So if divorce was actually such an ailment to society, why would it be something that’s been accepted since the past 1400 years?
“But, what will people think?”
The fear of becoming a public pariah and being seen as an outcast causes a lot of women to stay in toxic, unhappy marriages. They suffer in silence in the confines of their homes because ‘log kya kahenge?’
But this fear is definitely not something that should stop you from being happy and do as you please! Irrelevant people will always have something to say, irrespective of what you do, and those are the people you don’t need in your life to begin with. While the people who truly matter may have reservations at first, but with time they’ll see how happy and carefree you are outside of the unhappy marriage, and they’ll understand and support you.
Remember, your life is so much more than fodder for gossip. You don’t need to maintain the facade of a happy, put-together family just to make others happy. Focus on your own reality and internal happiness.
“It’s just too hard!”
We’re not here to delude you by telling you getting a divorce will be easy – because it won’t. Taking such a big step to put yourself first and ensure your own happiness and well being is not an easy feat. You may need some support and therapy to guide you through this tumultuous time and that’s okay! But we can tell you that it will be freeing and liberating. With time, you’ll learn to be happy unshackled by an unhealthy relationship.
Your life is your own and it’s a gift that you need to cherish and take care of. Your intended purpose in life isn’t to suffer, it’s to live a life of happiness. And everyone’s happiness is different. You cannot make everyone around you happy if you yourself are unhappy.
At the end of the day, you have to see what your situation is. If you think that you and your partner can make it work, then give it a try. See a marriage counsellor and get professional help – that’s okay too! But if you know, with absolute certainty, that your marriage is only causing you unhappiness and there is no resolution but divorce, don’t feel ashamed! Yes it’s hard, but it’s not wrong.