Reader Questions – Divorce, Doctors, Movie night and A walk in the park

The following are some questions posed by a reader and my answers

A girl is in a relationship, her husband has been good to her. But she has started to feel she has grown apart and wants a divorce although her husband loves her- you support this.

Let’s say a married woman starts to like another man and she wants to legally end the current marriage with a divorce, although her husband loves her – in a marriage, it has become one sided love from husband – And she wants a divorce.

Why have they grown apart?  What do you mean by “being good”? Traditionally a husband was said to be  “good” and “loving”  if he could provide the wife with food, clothing and a place to sleep. There was no expectation towards the husband to meet  or fulfill a wife’s emotional, intellectual or physical needs and desires. Men just took what they needed without even asking for it. Also, many times each spouse may grow and evolve very differently in a marriage, so sometimes instead of  growing together they grow apart. This is not uncommon.  Marriage when done right can be the most fulfilling, satisfying and fun filled experience of one’s life. But when its not working can be the most lonely and excruciating  journey ever.

As long as there is no physical, mental, emotional abuse or threat of violence and if this particular woman wants to, then the couple can try to work on their marriage by getting some counselling and trying to make the relationship work. If the woman is unwilling to further, work on the marriage then its best for the husband to let her go and try to find happiness elsewhere.

Again,  from your second scenario,  the woman has made her decision. Although this situation is sad, there is no point in holding on to someone who doesn’t want to be with you.  My one suggestion would be to end the marriage first and then find another guy, ( unless it was the husband’s abuse which drove her into the arms of another man and even then it still better to end the current relationship first ). I am not very familiar with the divorce laws in India, in the USA although some states require you to submit a reason for the divorce like infidelity or abuse, many of them are called ” no fault states” meaning that no matter what the internal dynamics, if one spouse wants out of the marriage then he/she should be able to get out. There is no way to stall or “not give” your spouse a divorce.

The husband does not like his wife visiting a male gynaecologist – what will you say?

It’s okay if he doesn’t like it, as long as he does not stop her from getting the necessary medical services.

A husband is not fine with his wife going out with her male friend often, and he certainly does not like it when she spends nights in his home watching movies – don’t you think he is well within his rights?

This is a relationship problem and not a social issue, there is no law that prevents a woman from having friends of the opposite sex. You did not mention if she goes alone to this male friend’s house, takes her husband along, whether this male friend has a girlfriend/wife/partner or even if a group of friends get together for a weekend movie night.  As you have said it yourself, she is only watching movies, from what I see her only crime would be to maybe neglect her share of household chores if she spends too much time this activity.

A husband sees his wife walking hand in hand with a male friend of hers in a park and his wife does not like him bringing the topic up- what would you expect him to do, as a feminist?

What was this husband doing in the park? Was he following her, or was he there already when his wife arrived with the male friend? Also, was this husband alone or did he have some kind of company, cause if he did then I see how the wife would not want him to bring up her mistakes or infractions.

Hope this helps.

P.S I realize that some of the things I’ve proposed are not very common in India like marriage counselling. So I’d appreciate if readers can offer me other perspectives.

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22 Comments

  1. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    I see… Why do you assume that the husband has to be abusive? Why do you assume that the husband has stalked her? It could have been accidental that he saw his wife being hand in hand with another man without telling him….. And he’s raise the issue at home.

    Here are a few more:

    1. The husband, a good man who cares for his wife’s needs has fallen ill/met with accident and will need to be cared for full time for a long time. The wife says I am not willing to spend my youth away caring for you. I cannot sacrifice my career for you so I am walking out for divorce.

    2. The wife has been in physical relationship with her ex-boyfriend after her marriage and when the husband confronts, she tells as long as I am satisfying you, it’s my life and you do not interfere.

    3. The wife has had a child out of adultery. She demands maintenance for the child born out of adultery. DNA tests have proved that the child is not his.

    I am wondering how the feminist will feel about these cases.

    Reply
  2. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    3. The wife has had a child out of adultery. She demands maintenance for the child born out of adultery. DNA tests have proved that the child is not the husband’s.

    Reply
    • I don’t know the specifics of the case here. But I truly believe that a being a sperm donor and a father are two entirely different things. You can be a sperm donor without ever being a father and you can be the best father that ever was without being a sperm donor.

      I am not a lawyer so I’m unaware of the minute details of family law, especially in India, but where I live if you sign your name in the space provided for the father’s name on birth forms at the hospital, then you are the legal father of the child and are responsible for it.

      Reply
      • Niranchana

         /  February 1, 2012

        Hello! I am not talking about sperm donors…. I am talking about a wife who cheated on her husband and had a baby. still she demands that the husband must provide for the kid…….

      • Niranchana

         /  February 1, 2012

        “you can be the best father that ever was without being a sperm donor.”

        So feminist, you say that the husband should be ok with being a father to a child who was not his child (how wife cheated – adultery is cheating, not sperm donor stuff) because a man can still be a good father?

      • Niranchana

         /  February 1, 2012

        “you can be the best father that ever was without being a sperm donor.”

        So feminist, you say that the husband should be ok with being a father to a child who was not his child (his wife cheated – adultery is cheating, not sperm donor stuff) because a man can still be a good father to some child not his own?

  3. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    “there is no point in holding on to someone who doesn’t want to be with you.”
    Well, would you say the same thing if a wife still loves her husband dearly and the husband walks out asking for a divorce, because he feels he has grown apart?

    Reply
    • That would be the decent thing to do. But most men don’t do it because the need for it never arises. These men get to eat their cake and have it too. Even if the woman wants to leave, she is portrayed as a home wrecker and the actions of the man are justified or excused saying “mard hai”. The woman is asked to adjust and is told that its her fault that the man strayed.

      Reply
      • Niranchana

         /  February 1, 2012

        I am not talking about men who ate unfaithful
        Not all men cheat.
        Why would you assume that all husbands cheat?

  4. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    A husband is not fine with his wife going out with her male friend often, and he certainly does not like it when she spends nights in his home watching movies – don’t you think he is well within his rights?

    I am talking about a case where she is going to stay nights in a single friend’s house repeatedly. The husband does not know the reason. Even if he knows he has the right to object. There is no absolute freedom in marriage.

    And what if the friend happens to be her ex-boyfriend with whom she has patched up now?

    Reply
  5. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    Ah I can see your mind setup – you will justify, find ways to justify all the wrongs a woman does, because she is a woman. You will expect a man to be ok with whatever she does. If so, he is a good man. else, he is the legendary bad man.

    Go ahead, the day is not far it seems, where adultery will be legalised for ladies, divorce can be done with a click of the mouse from the ladies’ side for no fault of the husband, money milked from the poor guy, laws drafted more against them……. you will have the rights to be selfish and go unleashed!

    Reply
  6. I hope the readers who asked these questions are reading your very sensible advice. Loved your answers!!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much IHM! This means a lot to me.

      Reply
    • Niranchana

       /  February 1, 2012

      lol! she is supporting adultery and you rejoice!

      Reply
      • Niranchana, I never said anything about supporting or not supporting adultery. All I said was that the reason for it sometimes was understandable. I do believe in love and marriage, while no marriage is perfect, a really good one can make you happier, healthier, wealthier and it can even make you live longer. Also, if you read my post thoroughly, I did say that its not nice to cheat someone who loves you and who you promised to love and honor.

  7. Niranchana

     /  February 1, 2012

    Then what do you mean by this – “you can be the best father that ever was without being a sperm donor.”?

    You expect the husband to accept and support the child his wife gave birth to out of her adultery? Don’t you think it’s not sensible?

    Reply
    • It means that you don’t have to give birth to the child to love him or her.

      Reply
      • Niranchana

         /  February 2, 2012

        Don’t beat around the bush: Tell this – What do you expect the husband to so when the wife has given birth to a child due to her adultery and she demands maintenance for that child?

  8. Malavika

     /  February 29, 2012

    Hmm…… Ok. here is my take.
    The couple, once married, cannot act autonomously. Each other’s wishes and sentiments must be respected.
    Adultery, whoever does it is wrong.

    Reply
  9. Anupama

     /  February 29, 2012

    Hi,

    (My name changed for privacy).

    I came across your blog by recommendation from a friend who reads IHM’s blog.

    I belong to an Indian family and I have been recently married.

    My husband’s twin brother was elder to him by a few minutes and his wife is same age, a few weeks younger than me.

    But my in-law’s family still treat them as the elder people and during our marriage, they asked us to touch their feet and take their blessings.

    After I came into the house, I had to in the ceremony, take blessings from my husband’s brother’s wife (my co-sister) after my mother in-law, and accept sindoor on my hair parting from her, for the first time in the house.

    My MIL said that she is also to be treated and respected as a MIL. When we have a disagreement, she gets the final say, by virtue of the position. And in the family functions, I am required to take Sindoor as Prasad on my hair parting from her, after touching the feet. And during the Vrats, my MIL says she will be my guru and initiate me. And she unleashed a long sermon on how a wife should behave towards husband when I addresses my husband as ‘da’ within our room, and she over heard it.

    I am wondering when my husband and his brother are twins, do the 3 minutes matter so much to make us touch the feet and take blessings? I am expected to always address her as (her name) + ji or Ji.

    Should she, my age-mate, be my superior in the home, for the 3 minute difference in birth?

    My FIL and BIL do not like this but the MIL, SIL and co-sisters shun them away as it’s a ladies’ matter. Of course, my co-sister revels in this.

    Once I tried talking to her, but she was not willing to listen. In fact she mentioned in a lighter tone (according to her) that I should be rising before her and sleeping after her, as she is my MIL equivalant. But I am not doing that. I am deeply hurt by these behaviours. So is my husband. My husband, his brother and their dad run a business together. That way he is financially dependant on the family.

    How do I handle this?

    Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Anupama

       /  February 29, 2012

      Both of us got married on the same day and place and muhurth time. So it’s not as if she is my senior either.

      Reply
  1. Desi women and male doctors « Desi Woman's Guide

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