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A divorce need not mean the end of romantic relationships in your life. How can Indian women go about dating after a divorce?
By Kalpana Misra
“I’m not single. I’m in a longstanding relationship with fun and freedom.” Yes – I’ve often thought so when asked why I’m still single although it’s been over seven years now. I’m not the only one. Most divorced Indian women’s features set into a kind of wry sneer when you talk to them about dating after divorce. They’re either having a fabulous time being single and discovering what it is that they want to do after a lifetime of pandering to other people’s needs and wants, or they are likely to be still recovering from the trauma of divorce.
Mary Kay Blakely, author and single mother, says dramatically, “Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary by-pass. After such a monumental assault on the heart, it takes years to amend all the habits and attitudes that led up to it.”
Relationship coaches and counsellors advice a period of being alone with yourself, coming to terms with things, and learning to like yourself as a person before you try to chart the shark infested, choppy waters of relationships.
After you’ve been through counselling and have healed from the divorce you may think about a relationship. You come to a full stop almost immediately because the question you ask yourself is: “Where are all the men?” They’re usually all married and, as other people’s husbands are a no-no, you as a divorced Indian woman begin to wonder what to do.
You want to meet someone – leading somewhere, perhaps…you’d rather not think about where.
Divorced men? Most divorced men that you meet are an absolute mess. Very few divorced Indian men go for counselling or even think things through to a logical conclusion that makes sense of the event and lays ghosts to rest. Mostly, they remain stuck in a morass of self-pity, refusing to move forward, unable to move backward, bemoaning their lost children, lost youth and lost prosperity.
Despite this black picture I paint you may still crave companionship, quarrels, joint dinners – although hopefully you don’t dream of washing his shirts and getting them ironed. You want to meet someone – leading somewhere, perhaps…you’d rather not think about where.
To get into a relationship you need to put yourself out there. You need to date. How do you go about it? Is dating after divorce different from dating before divorce? If you did ‘date’ and yours wasn’t an arranged marriage, you may know a thing or two about dating. If you divorced late in life, you’ll have absolutely no knowledge of dating, even if you did in your youth partly because everything has changed and partly because you don’t really remember how to go about it.
I occasionally think that it’s easier for those whose families ‘arrange’ their weddings – yes even the second one – matrimonial columns have space for divorcees and Shaadi.com is graced with an offshoot called Second shaadi.com.
But then again an arranged match isn’t ideal for everyone; and ‘shaadi’ implies marriage. Once divorced, some people eventually open up to the idea of a relationship but not even their worst nightmare would feature them remarrying. It simply isn’t an option for many divorced Indian women. Even the word shaadi sends shivers down their spine. Shivers of fear, not tremors of excited anticipation!
They say dating is the best way to get to know if you’re compatible with someone and decide whether you want to take it to the next level. Maybe you don’t and are quite happy to date like a teenager, just for fun. Perhaps you hope to find someone to have dinner with, watch a film with, chat to with no strings attached; light-hearted and enjoyable with no expectations, leading nowhere except to more outings. Companionship instead of family responsibility. The internet is good for that – dating websites like OK Cupid are a big hit and give you the option to interact a little online and assess the person before actually meeting them. It’s best to follow safety measures – inform a friend, meet in a crowded place in the daytime. There’s no need to be afraid, but be cautious. Get to know the guy really well before spending any alone time with him.
…dating again shows that you believe in life and love despite everything.
There are quite a few ways to meet men to date with, once you decide to take the plunge. Sometimes you meet someone at work, in a coffee shop or at a mutual friend’s, sometimes you have to give it a little push and be proactive. What’s certain is that you have to know what you want and then you’ll surely find a way to get it.
Single mothers have to contend with other hurdles such as a lack of a babysitter, cautioning parents or their own fears and insecurities. I assure you that you can overcome them if you decide that you want to date again after your divorce. I know I’ve painted a less than rosy picture of dating after divorce but honestly, dating again shows that you believe in life and love despite everything.
I found this lovely quote on Pinterest – I don’t know where it originated so I can’t credit the person – but I can follow the advice: “Love as though you have never been hurt before.” Try to forget the pain and dance again. That’s the mark of a true winner and a fitting reply to the divorce – thumb your nose at it, put it behind you and start life afresh believing it will be better, now that you’re wiser.
*Photo credit: Britt Knee (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
A freelance journalist and teacher, Kalpana is a feminist, an animal rights activist, passionate about
I am a divorcee, I want to get into a new relationship but I am too scared to even think of marriage…how do i overcome the fear??
Hello,You have the rights to hangout or dating for the man you like.Yes,otherwise you loose your happiness and the rest of life.Wish you for the happy times in future.
Dear Aparna, I am too a seperated man and very optimistic to meet another woman. Kindly contact if possible.
There’s nothing wrong in Getting into New Relationship. See Its your life and you can’t waste it being single all your life. The challenge is you just need to find the right person you wish to spend your time because you don’t want to repeat the same mistake once again. I wish you all the very best in life. Your heart is an open book . So you will have your Mr. Truly Perfect in your life..
Life is not over after being divorcee as the other one who threw you into this dirt he will be enjoying the life some or other where and the society will never claim such a persons. so be cofident and be cheerful to make your life colourful and don’t care the worst society that is full of boundations.
Its your life and you can’t waste it being single all your life. The challenge is you just need to find the right person you wish to spend your time because you don’t want to repeat the same mistake once again
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This is very useful information shared here. I am really thankful for this.
Thanks Anuj. A person should have his/her freedom in his/her life and its just respecting each-other.
Hi, As much as one wants to date, a few more words of caution mtg ppl found online or otherwise would help. Jasmine
Hi Jasmine! Thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t cautioned women because they’re usually aware of all the horror stories surrounding online dating. The idea is to empower them. It is of course wise to proceed slowly with someone you’ve me online and get to know them well by talking or chatting before proceeding to actually meeting them.
Hello Kalpana – This is really a good article you have shared here. According to me divorcee and widows are also have right and freedom of dating and choose the medium by their own will, whether it is online dating or some other. They may get friends by other means also and enjoy with them but I thing the destination must be marriage finally.
Seems like my wedding came with a Divorce offer! It feels like my life ended even before starting..!! im 25 ,i got married (arranged) in feb 2015 . Unfortunately to a gay or something and now getting divorced..!! Im shattered 🙁
It is a good decision and u can look for alternate option.
Hello Women of India,
I am Chris Savarkar, born and bred in United Kingdom…..i want to use this opportunity to comment that Indian women should overlook the culture or customs of India which is blind folding our women both physically, mentally and spiritually in marriage and etc to live your lives to your greatest peaks for only the living can move forward so think twice and fall in and out in love, anytime and anyday as long as your spirit instructs you..moreover love is unconditionalllll
Hello Chris….. Situation of women in the urban society in India has improved considerably over the years but the plight of this gender is still like the primitive age in the rural areas. This may be due to their lack of education, inability to get employment or conservative upbringing. This situation may take decades to change as India is unable to control the population rate. When majority of the people live below the poverty line, the revenue earner is looked upon as a demi-God in the family. This individual in majority of the cases would be a man, Since that man is also uneducated, he assumes the title of a tyrant. A woman will keep quiet even if he raises his hands on her or molests her at night as she wants food and shelter for her 3 to 5 children and for herself. Population control, female independence to find employment and education are the key highlights in my opinion which determines the plight of today’s Indian women. I am a divorced man 45 years and have gone through hell during the divorce process with my ex but I still respect this gender and am thankful to that woman for having given birth to 2 beautiful kids of mine,
Why should women suffer like this. why don’t we come outside this shell. Is marriage everything in life ??????. I don’t think so. It is only a small part in our life’s journey. It is like a lottery. It works out well for few and doesn’t work out for few others. It has nothing to do with whether a women is good or bad. It is just that the marriage lottery did not work out. In western culture, women never go into complete depression if marriage doesn’t work out. They go and meet new people and see if someone else could become their long term friend. But, in our culture it is called as dating and they look up to it as a major crime. It is not dating. It is not something that is done just for fun without seriousness. We have to find a good person who can be our long term friend
Lolz,jab divorce krna tha to shadi kyu ki
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@Sandeep Razdan – thank you for your insightful comment. I’d like to add that the whole problem that women face is because of the patriarchal way of thinking. It’s not possible for them to ‘ get an education’, ‘ get a job’ because they aren’t allowed to do those things. The whole culture of the sub continent is about making the man all important and the woman subservient.
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