Real Reason Why Most Indian Men Support ‘Sanctity’ Of The Great Indian Marriage!

The term 'man-baby' is not just an angry term that wives throw at husbands. It is a horrible truth. Which is why patriarchy has made women scapegoats as wives.

Most women find life easier after divorce, way more than men. Because they were doing everything by themselves anyway — earning, taking care of the kids, handling chores, whatever. All that changes is that there is one man-baby and his judgments and adult tantrums less to manage.

Unless she is financially dependent on her partner or the divorce settlement was financially unfair and she now has to manage on much less money than before or work extra, divorce is liberating for women.

It is the opposite for men (the huge majority of patriarchal man-babies that their wives wanted to be rid of, I mean, not the statistically insignificant ‘honorable exceptions’ who can actually take care of themselves. So don’t go not-all-men on me, ok?) Even if they manage to keep all the money, they still fall apart unless they have already found another woman to hold them up.

And surprisingly this truth was known ages before the time divorce became a possibility. As a child I used to hear my parents and others around them feeling very sorry for a man if his wife died. Not so much for a woman with a dead husband, even though culturally speaking her loss would be seen as calamitous, while a man could, of course marry again at whatever age.

I understood this after my divorces

I could not understand this till I walked out of two marriages, ten years apart, and saw both men collapse.

The two men came from vastly different backgrounds, had different educational qualifications and capacities, but they had one thing in common — they were heavily patriarchal and had been conditioned into narcissism where a wife was concerned, by that culture. Both men had started giving me divorce and abandonment threats very early in the marriage, were always tearing me down any way they could. And after I had had enough and started talking divorce — not as a threat but seriously, both laughed at me and told me I could not survive a day without them.

So what happened when I actually walked out? Why were both men — such different men — pleading at my feet to not leave them in the exact same way? Why did both men go out like a candle once I walked out? Why did they keep putting off divorce and pleading with me to come back till I finally made the putting off impossible? Why after all those years of threatening divorce, was the joke suddenly on them?

Let me tell you it was not for the lack of women. My first husband was already having an affair with a married woman by the time I actually left, and the woman divorced her partner within a few months of me walking out. But the man kept pleading to me to come back for three years more, and only married this woman a whole year after I divorced him. My second partner was older of course, but he started sleeping around almost as soon as we parted. And yet he kept coming to me. He would tell me about his sexual encounters, tell me how nothing ‘measured up’ to me, and plead for me to take him back.

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At that time — I was not yet forty when my second divorce happened — I could not understand why these men, who had told me repeatedly how horrid I was, were so desperate to come back to me when they had other women in their lives, apparently better than me.

It is now, after extensive healing work, and study of psychology as part of my training as a therapist, that I understand.

Man-baby is not just an angry term; it is the reality of all our entitled men

Men are way more dependent on women than the whole culture of patriarchy realises. Men — a vast majority of them —  are brought up entitled, served hand and foot, never held accountable for their behaviour, allowed all excesses and also allowed to blame all those excesses on others.

The term ‘man-baby’ is not just an angry term that wives throw at husbands. It is a horrible truth. Grown up men brought up this way may have an education, the skills to earn money, may also in some cases be able to cook and clean. But they don’t have a single skill that an adult requires to regulate their emotions when things don’t go their way. The only responses they know are those of a spoilt child — throwing tantrums till they get their way.

And that is where a wife is vital to a man’s very survival. He cannot enact his emotional dysfunctionality in the outer world if he is to be considered ‘good’ in any way. He can’t throw a tantrum with his boss, his clients, his friends, his relatives. which is why patriarchy tries to solve the problem by issuing him a docile and totally obedient wife to hold him up — essentially a scapegoat.

That is exactly what women do — hold the man-baby up. Putting up with his emotional disfunction and consequent unstability. And placating him through all the ways he acts them out. Whether it is yelling, throwing tantrums, criticizing, physical violence, tearing down, neglecting, being unavailable in relationship, controlling, indulging in addictive or risque behaviors, anything. So that he can go out into the rest of the world with his nerves settled and feel good about how adult and good he is. Of course to come back again to take the toll of the fake adulthood out on her.

So divorce or widower-hood means – no free scapegoat for their entitled behaviour!

And when she walks out the man is faced with a vacuum that is terrifying because he has never had to stand on his own feet in any way except in money terms. He has no one to yell at to relieve his emotional build up. He can no longer dump the responsibility of cleaning up after him on someone — he will come back to a dirty house and no dinner. He can’t just demand sex from someone and get mad and smash something when it is not given. He has to either please another woman enough or pay for it.

This. This is what about divorce hits men from behind and  causes them to completely spin out of control. Both my husbands lived in this easy belief that once they had succeeded in marrying a woman they would have her for the rest of their lives. Because I would be too scared to leave. Nothing had prepared them for how their feet gave out under them the minute I was gone.

My first husband had actually planned the affair as a way to scare me into staying. And when it did not work he went berserk even though that woman was there for him — she actually helped him overcome his alcoholism. She had been in her first marriage for just one year, and had the same naive belief that I had had — that she could heal a man with her ‘love’. Today she lives very discontented life with him because nothing about him has healed except for the fact that he does not drink any more. I would have warned her about him if she had listened — she was a colleague to both of us. But I also get it that it is hard to listen to a sane voice when you are drunk with puppy romance. I was in her place once. All I can say now is that I am sad she got trapped too.

As for my second husband, he was older — 10 years my senior in fact — and the multitude of women he was meeting were also older and wiser from experience. They could not be hoodwinked into marrying him like the young and inexperienced me was — they were OK to have sex and go home. He desperately went around for years after, and also before, the divorce, asking his friends to find a wife for him. But the women simply did not want to. Now he lives alone, looks extinguished — destroyed actually, with no woman to hold him up.

And as for me, I am happier than I have ever been in life

This is the reason women get healthier and happier after the husband is out of the picture. Because with growing financial power and reducing social violence against single women — never married, or widows or divorced — there is no reason why women should stay on in marriage as a passive scapegoat.

This is also the basic reason why Patriarchy has historically needed to tear down widows and single women any way they can. Kill them — burn them on the pyre of their dead husbands or burn them as witches, stigmatize them, starve them, deprive them of everything worth living for, disfigure them physically, whatever they can do to make their lives miserable. To simply hide the fact that they are better off in life without these man babies.

And today when more and more single women are saying no to marriage, preferring to enjoy their lives solo, that is the reason why the patriarchy is getting desperate to control women’s bodies again — things like the pro life movement are a desperate move to keep the women from walking away to a better life. Because that leaves men with literally nothing to stand on. And it shows.

It is a hard battle for the women, no doubt — taking your power back in a patriarchal world and healing from the abuse, individual and generational, is a very tough, patient, long job.

But the final joke is on the patriarchy, and nothing can change that.

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About the Author

Srishtaa Aparna Pallavi

Aparna Pallavi's current callings are as a therapist, contemplative writer and researcher of indigenous and forest foods. Gender and patriarchy are among her favorite subjects in her contemplative writing. Formerly she has had a read more...

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