We grow up assuming we will get married and live happily ever after. We get an education. Get a job. Do everything right. And then decide to ‘settle down’. We as Indians are obsessed with marriage. Parents spend their life time savings on their daughter’s marriage . Each and every person the family has ever known gets invited.
But not everybody’s marriage lasts.
Jasmina became a chartered accountant at the early age of 22. Brilliant in academics, she was doing very well at her job in her hometown of Rajkot. After working for two years, she decided to get married. After all, that is what we women do in India. Get a good education. Work for some time. Then marry before ‘it is too late’.
She met a man through an arranged set-up. The first meeting the guy seemed to be understanding. He seemed to care. He seemed to convince her that he does see any issues. That he will support her…
But she could see some red flags. However with every passing day, the stakes were increasing..
She was engaged to him..
She had moved to the city where he worked..
She had changed her job..
The wedding date was fixed..
After some deliberation, Jasmina decided to go ahead with the marriage.
10 months later
Jasmina had moved back to her parents’ home after a brief marriage of false promises, ill-treatment and lack of respect.
People think that a brief marriage falling apart should not be as painful as a long one, especially with kids. They are wrong. For there is no competition in grief. Everybody has their own battle. And a lonely one it is.
Jasmina was shocked. Too much had happened too fast. In the initial days, all she could do was cry. People would tell her she should have given more time. She had to justify herself to them. But she knew that sitting at her parents’ home and crying would not help her. She started working in one of her friends’ firm as a partner.
The usual questions continued.
‘But hua kya!!’
Keeping busy surely helped. It was a great distraction.
Friends and family’s support
Jasmina started meeting her old friends, and going out with them. She made it very clear to them that she was not interested in discussing her marriage. She told them they had to wait till the time she becomes comfortable enough to talk about it without crying or feeling sorry for herself. The friends decided to put their curiosity on hold and respect Jasmina’s decision to not talk about it for some time.
Jasmina’s family treated her the same as they did before she got married. They kept her away from random, well-meaning but inquisitive strangers who would ask, ‘Why is she here’.
Meditation and counseling
Meditation works for some. It doesn’t work for others. For Jasmina it did. She also believes that what we eat is very important. She was eating healthy food. She believes that binging on junk food only makes things worse. One should watch their diet which directly affects the physical well-being which will in turn improve the mental state.
Once Jasmina got divorced she started dating again. However, she realized that this may take some more time for her. She was not ready yet (which is fine).
Life is the best teacher
When you are in your 20s and 30s you care about what others think of you.
When you are in your 40s and 50s you stop caring about what people think.
When you are in your 60s and 70s, you realize nobody was thinking about you in the first place.
Grief makes us wise. It teaches us what really matters. Jasmina also understood that ultimately it is more in our head. Nobody really cares if she is married or divorced. No society cares about our life as much as we think they care.
Last December, Jasmina took up a job in Mumbai. Her self-confidence has increased. She believes staying alone has helped her. Initially, she could not bear to spend a moment alone. But now, she is totally in charge of her life, physically, emotionally and financially and is independent.
“But all of them are external factors. The internal and most important factor that kept me moving through all this was I didn’t lose hope and kept courage that things will be better in future.” says Jasmina.
Some tips if you know someone going through a divorce or separation:
- Grief is not linear. Some days they would want to be all alone and avoid everyone. Some days they will be scared to even spend a moment alone. It is okay. They are going through the worst pain they know. Don’t judge them. Don’t say ‘She attended somebody’s wedding two months after her divorce but did not attend mine which was two years later.’ Maybe in the initial two months she had vowed to be strong. But after two years she had a break-down again. This is not about you.
- Some people can go and on talking about it.Repeat the same things. Much to your frustration. Some would not like to say a word. Much to your frustration. Even if you are very close, they don’t owe you anything. The same person may wish to speak sometimes and not other times. It is okay. Again, be sensitive towards their feelings, not yours. Remember ‘Comfort in, dump out’. Sharing the link to my article, ‘Dear Parents, Your Child’s Divorce Is Not About You’.
Thanks Jasmina for giving us specific tips to handle this situation. This is what we need. To know we can survive it. Not only can we survive it, we can thrive and continue to live good, fulfilling and blessed lives. Divorce is just a phase. Not a tragedy!
This is the second story to be published in the series, ‘What Kept Me Going’ wherein I am publishing a story of strength and hope shared by my readers. I am grateful to Jasmina for trusting me with her story. Please be sensitive with your comments.