Emotional incompatibility, reason for young Indians seeking a divorce

Published: 08 May, 2009 11:14 IST | Aastha Atray Banan |

A recent survey reveals. iTALK finds out why the shaadi ka bandhan just isn't a big deal anymore

Emotional incompatibility ranked as the topmost reason why young Indians are seeking a divorce, a recent survey reveals. iTALK finds out why the shaadi ka bandhan just isn't a big deal anymore

Shweta Gaekwad (name changed) married a college friend because she thought she knew all she needed to about him. She was in for a surprise when he suggested that they shack up with his parents. "I was okay with that. What got me furious was his conservative behaviour. He'd tell me to fetch his his shoes when guests would be around at home," says the 31 year-old film executive.

A lack of understanding and subsequent emotional incompatibility, she says, was the reason behind her divorce that followed after just eight months of being married. A recent survey conducted by online matrimonial portal Secondshaadi.com reveals Shweta is one among a growing number of urban Indians who are separating from their partners on account of being unable to connect emotionally.

Women don't grin and bear it anymore
"Emotional incompatibility arises when a couple's attitude towards each other and the world in general, alters over time," says H'vovi Bhagwagar, clinical psychologist and behaviour skills consultant. Her practice has revealed that divorce rates have gone up 6 to 7 times in the last two years. "But this is hardly a new phenomenon. It's just that it's a talking point now because women are financially independent, and that means they won't grin and bear it. If they are unhappy, they will get up and leave."
Bhagwagar says couples have grown impatient; they are unwilling to give all it takes to save a relationship. "There is no motivation left to save a marriage, not to mention the desperate need for anger management." An interesting fact she reveals is how urban men and women are gradually losing interest in sexual relations with one another. "They aren't having enough sex, or enjoying it thanks to hectic schedules. Professional commitments is making it easier for them to find a sexual partner at the work place," she says.

If he slaps you, get and go
Freelance writer Minal Khona's 18 month-long marriage ended after in a bitter divorce. She's surprised at why the survey reflects nothing of the emotional and physical cruelty some married women have to put up with. "If it's just emotional incompatibility, you should try and talk it out. But if a man slaps you, you should leave right away, because if he can do it once, he can do it again," says the 40 year-old Mumbai resident.
Minal got married to an Indian settled in Australia through a matrimonial site. Her husband was in the throes of a homosexual relationship with his best friend, and often ended up physically abusing her. "He had issues with his mother, and I was the perfect punching bag," she says, adding that she was lucky to be financially secure enough to opt out of the marriage and return to India.

Inflexibility leads to emotional incompatibility
"Youngsters are growing up faster than they did. They develop strong personalities and are far from open to change," says psychiatrist and sex consultant Dr Rajiv Anand. Both, men and women are sticking to their own stock of experience, as if it's the hard earned cash in their bank account; more dependable than anything or anyone else." With most urban youngsters busy with individual career pressures, they are left with little or no energy to develop and nurture a strong emotional bond that's vital for a secure relationship. "Most marriages are turning into dry marriages, devoid of healthy emotions."

In-laws just lost their top position
Ironically, in-laws who once featured right up there among reasons for couples to quarrel, have lost their rank. Only 4% of those who participated in the survey voted for them as top reason. "Some couples are forced to get along with their in-laws. In Indian metros, rents are high, and that makes it inconvenient for couples to stay alone," says Bhagwagar.

With mutual consent, it's possible to get divorced in just six months
Divorce lawyer Geeta Budhrani admits she's seen a significant rise in divorce rates in the last few years. Along with pinning that on the fact that "emotional cruelty" is now recognised as a reason for divorce by Indian courts, Budhrani believes changing societal attitudes contribute too. "It's no longer a taboo to get divorced. Most couples who file for divorce have their parents' support."
Budhrani says domestic violence is another big factor. Interestingly, she lists men addicted to porn as another factor that gets women furious. "What makes it easier is that most women are financially independent, and don't have to think twice before upping and leaving." With mutual consent, procedures now make it possible for a couple to get divorced in just six months.

Are divorces encouraging live-in arrangements?
Media professional Bapu Deedwania has been living in with boyfriend Manish for 11 years. But the 33 year-old is in no hurry to get married. "It's not like I don't believe in marriage, but I don't see the need. Neither of us have thought about it," says the Santacruz resident.
"Marriage doesn't always ensure a happier or more committed relationship. It's not a guarantee for anything. You have to be comfortable living with somebody, and that's what matters." Bapu may be living in bliss, but if global studies are anything to go by, her relationship with Manish would end if she did get married to him. Studies show that cohabitating before marriage increases the chances of divorce by up to 85%.
Twenty five year-old Bandra girl Nilanjana Bose (name changed) lives with her 38 year-old boyfriend, and says marriage is an institution that's lost value. "I see marriages breaking down because couples get married for the wrong reasons. And I see people living together for all the wrong reasons too."

7 top reasons they say, I quit
These reasons are listed on secondshaadi.com for frequent divorces and subsequent remarriages
1 Emotional Incompatibility 36%
2 Spouse passed away 21%
3 Sexual Incompatibility 4%
4 Extramarital affair 14%
5 Career move 4%
6 Incompatibility with in-laws 4%
7 Change in attitude from pre-marital days 14%

Celeb Case Study
Recently, actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi filed for divorce from filmmaker husband Shekhar Kapoor. The couple have a daughter

Young couples who are not sexually satisfied are seeking pleasure among colleagues
H'vovi Bhagwagar, Clinical Psychologist and Behaviour Skills Consultant

Most marriages are turning into dry marriages, devoid of healthy emotions LIKE LOVE, COMPANIONSHIP AND AFFECTION
Dr Rajiv Anand, Psychiatrist and sex consultant

If it's just emotional incompatibility, you need to talk to try and talk it out. But if a man slaps you, you should leave right away, because if he can do it once, he can do it again
Minal Khona, 40, got divorced after 18 months of being married

'Irreconcilable differences' is key phrase for Hollywood celebs
They get married and divorced at the drop of a hat, and most divorces give the tabloids serious dope. This year has already seen a spate of Hollywood divorces with Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh filing for divorce from her film executive husband Alex Young, citing the oft-use "irreconcilable differences" clause. Hulk Hogan's wife, Linda Marie Bollea, filed for divorce after 24 years. Hogan blamed the reality TV show they participated in, for the split, but his wife blamed it on Hogan sleeping with their daughter's best friend.
The most high profile divorce of the year has got to be Madonna and Guy Ritchie's. According to a British newspaper, the RocknRolla filmmaker later told friends: "I'm afraid the laughs in our life together were long gone. She's obsessed with her own public image, obsessed with being seen as some kind of global soothsayer. It's silly, she's a pop star."

Divorce trends around the world


About 59% of America's population of 300 million is married. Although over 90% of American adults look forward to married life, divorce rates are high. During the 1950s, more than 90% of married couples would stay together for ten years or more, but in the 1990s, the percentage fell to below 50%.

According to Korean government statistics, the divorce rate in Korea is growing at an average rate of 0.5% per year. In the past ten years, the total number of divorces has increased by nearly three times. That is to say, out of every 1,000 couples, 2.8 of them will divorce, making  Korea's divorce rate the third highest in the world after America and the UK. The most common reason for divorce is Korea is disagreements between the mother-in-law and wife.

Statistics show that over 200,000 couples divorced last year. The German media has blamed this on rising unemployment. Also to blame could be a "divorce economy" in German society, that has become popular, in which divorce-related magazines, companies, bars, and TV shows have added fuel to the fire. The German legislature is trying to pass a legislation that makes it difficult for couples to get a divorce. Once a husband decides on a divorce, he must give his wife half of his income for the rest of his life.

The divorce rate in Brazil has doubled since 1985. Many experts believe that this is due to the 1988 abolition of a law that said men could only have two divorces in their lifetime. Now, they can marry and divorce as many times as they like. Statistics have shown that 73% of divorces and separations are initiated by women.

According to statistics from the China Civil Administration Department, 341,000 married couples divorced in 1980, 800,000 in 1990, 1,210,000 in 2000, and 1,331,000 in 2005. Xu Anqi, an analyst at the Shanghai Social Science Academy and standing director of the China Research Association for Women and Family, says the reasons are many. First, society is going through a transitional period which is affecting the stability of marriages. As living standards increase, people have higher expectations towards marriage and love. A third reason is the simplification of marriage and divorce procedures.

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