* Image via Wikipedia
So a couple of weeks back we had our first hearing at the court.
If you want to get divorced in India – make sure its mutual. If its not – then my lawyer says,
“The only party who benefits is the lawyers.”
Sooner or later – and egos ensure it is later – you will realise it is not worth the trouble and wish it was mutual.
It was around 7 months ago that we realised that our decade long marriage couldn’t be salvaged. It had been on the rocks for four years and while there was no cheating or extra-marital affair – there were the little things that were actually the big things. The value differences. The expectations. Whoever says that love conquers all hasn’t really tried marriage to a person with a very different value system.
Back to the subject of the post. A friend referred me to a lawyer and we both met him. He was pretty cool. Said that he’d have to say that we had been living apart for a year at least – and then we’d have two hearings in front of the judge – 6 months apart. And that was something he couldn’t influence. The Supreme Court has that as an order. Yes, the law can be an ass.
So we went to the judge one Saturday morning. Surrounded by other couples – not all of them going through a “mutual separation” – heard accusations of domestic cruelty and of one spouse turning up and no word from the other.
When our turn came – the judge only spoke to our lawyer (for the purpose of the hearing we needed to have separate lawyers – and our lawyer had got an additional lawyer before the hearing – and got him to prepare what is called a “vakalatnama”) and then much anti-climatically he looked at the papers then enquired about the address proof and then passed it to the clerk to give us the next date after six months.
I discovered that unlike Hindi movies lawyers don’t call Judges “Mi Lord” – in NCR they call them “Janaab”
So that was it. I was semi-divorced (or semi-married) as I signed the court papers – and will be until the next hearing.
As I wait for the divorce to come through (maybe I’ll do a post on the complications of divorce in India someday) friends have started asking,
“So have you started dating again?”
The question used to make me recoil with horror. Because while I am attracted to confident and beautiful women, I don’t feel ready for a relationship. And I really don’t know if I ever will be. A divorced man (and woman) is seen as flawed by members of the opposite sex and society as a a whole.
So I don’t really know what they mean when they ask me if I will start dating again. Do they mean I should start dating other separated and divorced women or women who are spinsters over 35 and are desperate enough to marry a divorced man paying money to his ex-wife for child support?
Uncannily, thanks to Facebook, I have connected with two old female friends (who I have never considered in a romantic way) and discovered that they are separated/divorced – a fact that changed the way I thought of them. Would they be interested? I think not… but my reaction to their relationship status intrigued me.
Then there are single women who want to chat with you – but knowing that they are 12 yrs younger than you makes you cringe as you wonder
“Are they closer in age to my kids than to me?”
“Come on! 38 is not old! Why are you making yourself older than you are?”
Then there are the older women – 33 to 40 yr olds who, after knowing your status, want to meet for a coffee. My previous marriage was a decision based on a month of dating.. and I am now really scared of people in a hurry in relationships (even myself)
As I focus again on a single life – I hope to figure out the changed rules of dating… and will keep you updated
Yes, I am back.
So what do we talk about today?
How about the reasons why men cheat? But I am sure there are tonnes of articles and justifications that you can find on the internet (Google informs me there are 4.7 million results when you type that phrase in)
So I thought I’d merely point you to a couple of very interesting articles someone shared online.
One was this review of Stephanie Coontz’s book “Marriage a History” which says:
“Marriage was a way of turning strangers into relatives, of making peace, of making permanent trading connections,” Coontz says. “There are many different languages that call wives the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the word ‘peace-weaver’.”
The other was a blog post written by Dave Pollard who writes:
Anthropologists have concluded that such settling is unnatural, and that is why the chemistry of love binds us to a single partner only for a brief period sufficient to produce offspring and ensure they are sufficiently provided for until they are weaned.
Personally speaking, I am attracted to people all the time, and I don’t mean it in a sexual way all the time. Today’s generation calls it by new names like “Friends with Benefits” and the needless need to label relationships.
Happiness comes not by defining and putting boundaries around a certain thing, but by expanding it.
In my decade of being married I can count the moments of true happiness and the hours of feeling burdened with expectations and pain and hurt.
Yes marriage is hard work. And while people crib openly about going to work on Mondays and celebrate by saying “Thank God it’s Friday” – no one (at least publicly) says they are sick of marriage.
Commitment. That’s a big word. A word that gets interpreted by different people even if its the same context. Add infidelity to that list.
Women say commitment has to be not just physical but emotional as well. However, every married man doesn’t share everything with his wife. How about bitching about his wife’s habits to the boys? Is that a break of commitment? How about sharing that with female colleagues? Suddenly the lines blur, depending on who the audience is.
“But its the intent” Do I hear you say?
Unfortunately, intent is never visible – no matter how much intuition you go by. What matters is behavior. In offices men and women often end up having “office spouses” – a usually platonic relationship. Would their “real spouses” call that “emotional infidelity”
In the overall analysis, every man and woman has different emotional, intellectual, sexual needs. So why not have different “loves” for each need. And such needs change with time too. People grow apart.
Our parents’ generation did not marry for love – hence they stayed together. If we marry for love at least we should be committed to love itself.
Please join me in welcoming XX Factor‘s first guest-contributor. He’s a friend who often has an interesting male perspective to offer on the posts. Meet The Single Married Man and here’s his first post:
I still don’t know the answer to that question, though I suspect its got to do with expectations.
We don’t talk of expectations or values when we are flush with the glow of infatuation. However expectations are what make/ruin a relationship – and they have to be communicated in advance.
A lot of the expectations can be “value” or “condition” based – things like “I want a husband who keeps a steady job and buys a house for me by the time we are 30″ – if you can’t meet that, buddy, you’re doomed.
I have been married for 11 years – and I am going through a divorce now…Have seen my behavior – scrutinized it – so here are the top tips for dealing with a married man going through divorce
1. He will hit on anything in skirts/salwar kameez/jeans – As someone who’s been married the guy will try to see if he’s still “got his game” – so he’ll try out all the old lines on all the single/separated women
2. If you’re a married woman don’t tell him about your bad marriage – Divorcing guys hone into married women going through a bad patch. He’ll think you are “fair game” without the baggage
3. What had attracted her to you is the bone of contention – Remember what she found adorable about you – your forgetfulness – your laid back attitude , she will hate you for it. And other women would like you for it. Don’t fall for it.
4. He’ll be teary eyed and emotional – We saw Sanjeev Kumar in “Pati Patni aur Woh” – learn the lesson
5. If you’re single – and are attracted to grey hair – deep voice , stay away
In time the married guy will go through a divorce and be single again. Until that happens, legally – give him a wide berth.
- The Single Married Man
- Soul Searching After Divorce (divorcedazed.wordpress.com)
- The Happy Divorce (psychologytoday.com)
- I have a theory. You know how the divorce rate in the US sucks… (skillzmcfly.tumblr.com)