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What Is It Like To Be A ‘Divorced Indian Woman’

  • JWB Post
  •  October 5, 2016


Divorce in India is complicated. No, we’re not talking about the long legal procedure but the way we treat individuals after they separate from one another. It’s not news if we tell you how hard the life gets for the divorced women.

When someone on Quora asked – How does the Indian society look at divorced women – a variety of answers showed up. Below are two answers that will tell you the reality.

I got divorced a year ago so maybe I now have had some time for the chaos to settle and for me to be more objective about it. Here are a few things I found:
1. Other Indian married women suddenly get “insecure” about you being around their husbands. Sometimes they immediately start assigning you labels such as “my sister” or “his sister” which is fine. We Indians are used to that. Relax women, I am not after your husbands. I left mine for a good reason, and another woman’s coveted possession is no prize for me. One particular instance was disturbing for me.
2. Some men start treating you like an “open minded/ free spirited” woman. If getting a divorce is indicative of being a free spirit, am sorry that you feel chained in your marriage Mr. Creep. Since I have lived in the USA for a while and even while my divorce was being finalized, I didn’t have to encounter too many such men. 
3. Some people think you won’t stand a shot with another try at dating / relationships because you are “damaged goods”. 
4. People expect you to share with them the details of why it happened. You feel like you have to explain yourself for being divorced. Was he beating you? Was he having an affair?  Did you guys try marital counseling?
5. Your friends dwindle in number, and this attrition is good for you. It’s like secretly watching your own funeral and knowing who attended. Recognize and value those who stand by you and support you. You need this structure around you through this journey.

6. Married friends either don’t know what to do with a “newly divorced” person and most dinner invitations start to dry up. Single friends are much better in this regard. You will see fewer of them disappear. If you and your husband had common friends, a divorce makes them want to choose sides.

But more than how society treats divorced women I want to focus on raising awareness about the steps someone can take both before and after getting divorced to strengthen themselves against outward pressures. Maybe I will follow it up with a separate post.

I am not going to be brutal and say that they all are bad and my mother has faced a lot of discrimination. No, that is not the case. Explicitly everybody was congratulating her for being brave and getting out of her terrible marriage, people commended her for raising her daughters alone in a place like Delhi. All in all if you look at the outer picture then we had a lot of supporters.

Having said that, there were things which changed. 

Everybody had an opinion on everything we did. ” Oh! so you got a job?” “What will happen to the court case now?” ” I bet your father doesn’t know about it” They seem to impose themselves on us more thinking that we do not have anyone.

My parents announced their decision to separate when i was in class 9, and my father moved out in class 10, suddenly we were the talk of the society. Everybody was talking about us. During that time my family came to visit us and people made rumors that there was police in our house ( that was the most ridiculous rumor I had heard). Even without knowing anything there were so many theories circling in the society, none of them were true. So we were asked weird questions when we stepped out ( nobody dared to question my mother) “Did he beat her?” ” What happened?”

When we used to live with out father, we got invited to weddings and social parties (this may sound trivial) but after we left, even though people claimed to support us, we were not asked ever. My father moved out of the house to another locality and he made it all the events. What is the worst part? the other aunties of the society would call up my mom the next day and say ” We saw your husband there” ” We felt like giving him one slap” 

Where workplace is concerned, since my mom is a teacher majority of her staff is female, and more than that none of them know about her divorce. She has just told her HOD because she still has to appear in court. Her boss has been really supportive of it and gives her leaves when she so requires.

There is no explicit discrimination, the picture is really rosy if you look at it and most of the time in reality it is, but there are times when there are judging gazes or sympathy gazes. That is why I am saying not nicely.

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