Nivedita Shenoy (42) was very sure that she is not going to be miserable or bitter after separating from her husband Ravi. Though they had been married for 12 years, she and her husband had drifted apart, both physically and emotionally, after the birth of their second daughter six years ago. They continued the charade for a few years, for the sake of their children, finally deciding to go their separate ways (a la conscious uncoupling). She had everything figured out; she was an independent woman earning well for herself and had a close-knit circle of friends and relatives to fall back on in the time of crisis.
Most importantly, her two daughters insisted on staying with her instead of their father—who had given his approval for this setting. They both were well-meaning individuals wishing the best for each other and their own happiness. However, when it actually happened, she was filled with a sense of loss and even experienced emotions like anger and resentment bordering on bitterness for her now ex-husband for agreeing to all her conditions during divorce. "I was hurt as I felt he should have at least tried to hold on to some things from our married days, which he did not. That kind of gave me the impression that he didn't care for me and the years we had together. That left me bitter and I eventually had the feeling of resentment towards him and we are not on talking terms anymore," says Nivedita. healing is an arduous process .
"The end of any relationship is similar to the death of a close one, so there will be bereavement," says Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, a city-based psychologist and relationship counsellor. "Saying that you will be okay with the separation or divorce is like saying, I can walk with my eyes closed without an accident," she says. Dr Ajinkya explains that even if the decision is by mutual consent, the grief and pain will be present. "Living with the person for many years becomes a part of your routine and upsetting the routine will automatically have its consequences.
The facade you put up for society and kids may fool them but you cannot fool yourself," she says. In cases where children are part of the scenario, couples opt for co-parenting, which may seem as a winsome solution.But experts feel that division of affection and a broken home will surely have its impact on the child, in spite of the best efforts by parents to keep the situation normal. "One partner can never fill the gap for the other. Just like rules of engagement, there are rules of disengagement, which pass through the cycle of grief and relief and whatever falls in-between. Even kids have to suffer that loss," says psychologist Dr Anand Nadkarni, who dealt with several cases where people tried to suppress their true emotions post a break-up.
Financial Well-being is the key. "Financial well-being also plays an important role in the overall scheme of things," says Neelam Ahuja (37), a divorcee and a working woman who did not demand any alimony from her husband, as she was very sure she could manage on her own. But she soon realised the folly of her decision as her financial burdens kept mounting each passing year and it was hard to maintain her standard of living. "Obviously, I blamed my ex-husband for my misery. I felt he should have thought of me and offered to give some kind of help at the time of divorce. I felt cheated and have broken all ties with him now," she says. "Keeping things amicable is the basis of conscious uncoupling but in reality, human emotions take over and undo things subconsciously and that's life," concludes Dr Nadkarni.
What is conscious uncoupling?
Psychotherapists describe it as "a proven process for lovingly completing a relationship that will leave you feeling whole and healed and at peace".
Dos and don'ts post a divorce
- Take a break: Avoid taking decisions in a haste for a while. Keep certain matters pending till you heal emotionally.
- Keep away from unwanted well-wishers: Reveal your deepest emotions only to a few people; avoid discussing everything with everyone. Choose you counsellor wisely.
- Introspection: Devote time to dwell on your past relationship to understand the pitfalls you need avoid in future.
- Keep away from rebound relationships: Do not be in a hurry to prove to your ex that you still have it in you. Take it easy for a while as rebound relationships do not work most of the time.