By ROMANNA SHAIKH
June 10th, 2017
“Although marriage is something that should last a long time (sometimes forever), this does become an issue for people who aren’t happy and want to get out of the union.”
If you’re South Asian there’s one thing you are guaranteed to do in your life: get married.
Some of us have our destinies written by our parents or grandparents from our childhood with people they felt would be suitable for us. While others get to choose after college. Either way, one thing is for sure: you will get married. And once you’re married you can’t get out. Although marriage is something that should last a long time (sometimes forever), this does become an issue for people who aren’t happy and want to get out of the union.
And once you’re married you can’t get out.
Growing up I didn’t meet anyone from the South Asian community that was divorced and the aunties and uncles were proud of it. I did, however, know of many classmates and friends who weren’t South Asian that had divorced parents and step-parents.
When I first found out, it was a huge shock for me to realize that in real life, especially in the lives of the people I cared for, parents did get divorced. I saw countless people in my life stay married for most of their lives and I also took pride in that.
Until I got married, now that I am no longer married, I have to say it’s troubling that we don’t have divorces or at least that we don’t talk about them.
I suffered from an emotionally abusive marriage and while trying to get out of it I realized, it doesn’t matter how bad the situation is, for South Asians its best to stay married than be single.
I still can’t understand why.
For two months I have been fighting to get out a marriage I no longer want to be in. I wanted to be divorced and free as soon as I could, but for my family and community, that’s was big NO.
Many of the older women in the desi culture can’t understand why a young girl thinks living without her husband is much better than living with him. For them, their husband is everything–even if he treats them like crap.
However, I wasn’t going to have any of that. I’m tired of seeing miserable marriages. I am tired of men abusing women, and women just hoping their sons come out better. I am tired of this cycle.
Which is why I’m trying to escape it. I’m trying to jump out of the sinking sand before it’s too late for me to save myself. I’m 23 and divorced and happy.
How many of us can say we have seen a handful of marriages that are truly healthy, where women aren’t restricted, aren’t fearful of their husbands? Can we really say that they are happy with compromising everything they have, just to make their husbands happy? Is it all worth it?
When I got married, I was happy, I thought I married a man who would respect me and my choices. But slowly I started to lose freedom over the smallest things.
I had restrictions over my dressing style, my makeup, my social interactions. I wasn’t allowed to post things he disapproved of. If I refused to comply with his desires he insulted me and my family, he tried to emotionally blackmail me–from halfway across the world. He lived in Pakistan while I in New York. As all the small things piled to bigger things, I started to feel like I was giving my soul away to the devil.
This was not the marriage I signed up for. This was not how I wanted to live for the rest of my life. Finally when enough was enough, one late night in May during finals week, I texted him saying it was over.
Although today, our relationship is officially over, the storm has yet to pass. Although I have gotten over it, I now have to try to help my family move on. In the desi culture, when you are married, your families are also married.
I am perfectly fine knowing that I’m doing something better for my future, to make sure that I end this vicious cycle, but how do you explain that to those who are so deeply rooted in their culture that they can’t accept something that is visibly wrong with them?
Life is too short to live miserably with someone. Life’s too short to not use your own power to cut off the toxic relationships in your life to have a healthy life.
Take a stand, you’re not alone and ask for help.
Emotional abuse isn’t okay, unhealthy relationships and marriages aren’t okay and there are better people out there. I still have to find my better half and although several times I feel like I won’t, I remind myself that there is still a chance.