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Divorced And Ready To Try Again?

Posted: May 17, 2012
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Divorced finally! Now ready for another relationship.

In India, divorce goes against our ‘traditions’, as though there’s any country or society where divorce is an acceptable ‘tradition’. As though it’s only us Indians who are sanctimonious about ‘making a marriage work’ and judgmental about those who have failed. I assure you, it’s a world wide phenomenon. The only difference is, that in other parts of the world, people recognise that a divorced person is still a human being, and that they cannot be wished away or left lying by the roadside, presumed dead.

They need to be rehabilitated, helped through this difficult time of loneliness, less income and the cruel jibes of people and their pointing fingers. The divorced person is not evil. They’re going through a lot. They may not show you but honestly, very few fit into the stereotype of the mate hunting, uncaring, insensitive person with no respect for family values that society loves to categorise them into. I say ‘very few’ but I could just as easily say ‘none’.

So, as I’ve mentioned before in this blog and at my other blog, divorced people, both men and women, are demonized. Once the divorcee has their divorce, has recovered some financial and emotional stability (all this takes at least five years), they may want to give marriage another go. Interestingly, the general assumption is – that you’re so lucky to be on your own. Or, “ Since you have children, you won’t be wanting to marry again, or have another relationship.”

The first time I encountered this attitude I was taken aback. And because I’m a person who questions myself first, I began to examine my desire for another relationship, wondering whether there was something wrong with that, since I do have children, and my desire for a partner is not because I want children but for companionship and a relationship that works.

I began to state clearly that this IS what I want. It was met with disapproving looks, with advice that was rather snide – “ Once you stop wanting it so much, it will happen.” – some weird kind of spirituality implying that stoic people who don’t express inappropriate and unfeminine desires for a mate will have their wishes granted by a loving God (male of course) who likes chaste women.

I took offense at the suggestion that my desire for a partner was somehow inappropriate but instead of riding into battle with flags flying I began to be careful whom I voiced this to. Women, whom I’d considered safe enough to share with, obviously weren’t. Or at least not all women, but only my closest friends – and not even all of them. Everyone had his or her own agenda about this issue of finding a second partner.

About men – I never share my desire to find a partner with a man. Because one and all wish to oblige me, and be the person who takes away my suffering. Not in a serious, committed way of course, because they’re either married already, getting a divorce and taking a decade to get it, emotionally unavailable, wishing to live on in a bad marriage because of their children, their fear of being divorced, parental pressure – are just a few of the mixed up men I’ve encountered.

It’s rare in India for a divorced woman to be taken seriously by men. Their assumption is – that she’s good for a bit of fun, she has no emotions, if she gets hurt again she can handle it, its happened to her before. ( They don’t realise HOW hard it is to start again from scratch, or how much courage it takes to open one’s heart again. And if they realise, they don’t care.)

Of course none of this can stop divorced people from finding another partner, but it’s interesting to see the mindset of people and what they think is acceptable or unacceptable for older people. My advice is – don’t worry about what people say or even give it a second thought. The divorce has already made you a strong person as you’ve had to drown out the voices, been let down by close friends and family and emerged with true friends who’ve stuck by your side come what may and who care about you even if you are divorced. If you’re ready for another relationship – go out and mingle, be open and learn to trust again. But I’d say – go very slow, and check along every step of the way whether the people you meet are worthy of your trust and love.

A freelance journalist and teacher, Kalpana is a feminist, an animal rights activist, passionate about

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