10 things my divorce taught me

It is neither glorious nor a matter of shame.

 |  4-minute read |   21-07-2016
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Last April, after a legal battle of two years, I finally got my divorce.

While I had heard about how pro-women Indian laws are, unfortunately I got to taste only the greed of lawyers, insensitivity of judges and the torturing slowness of our judicial system.

"Tareekh pe tareekh" is literally quite an apt description, really!

In the end, I was just relieved to get out of a dysfunctional marriage before it was too late.

Now that I have put my past safely behind me, I look back on what a gruelling journey the divorce was with fresh clarity. And I feel for those people who are contemplating it or going through it.

Also read: How Indian women misuse the law for divorce

Here are ten things I learned from my divorce:

1. It is not the end of the world

2. Indian law is fickle and the system is corrupt

Don't think that a woman is at an advantage or otherwise.

The only person who gains is the lawyer. You will be screwed over and over, and feel violated.

To gather mutual consent is your best option. Don't let the system mint money off your misery.

3. Build your inner circle 

I had lost contact with most of my close friends while my marriage was falling apart. I did not know how to talk about it.

The first thing to do as soon as your mind is made up (or even before) is to nurture your friendships again. This was the time I realised how important it is to have your own circle of friends outside your spouse and his friends circle.

Get back in touch if you have lost contact with old friends like I did. Learn to share your problems and feelings. Learn to trust. Their support can be a game-changer.

4. One party is never at fault

Do not waste energy in victimising yourself. To keep lapping in your pain and showing off your wounds can give you a sense of security just like wearing an old comfortable sweater does. But unless you stop victimising yourself you will never truly move on.

Yes, society may question you, but it is easy to question when they don’t have to live with the outcome of it. Your peace will only come from within. Be at peace with yourself knowing well that you did what you knew was best for you.

5. Delete all digital memories

Delete all digital memories - photographs, videos, texts and so on - of your married life. One can never begin afresh by looking at the same things that did not work out in the first place.

Remove all contact with your ex and his family. Throw out any stuff that makes you melancholic.

You are restarting one aspect of your life and unless you make space by removing the old things, you will never be able to fill your life with new beginnings. Neither keep resenting nor pining after those things. Just accept that something important is over.

travelwomanbd_072116020739.jpg Become a person who is comfortable with yourself.

6. Stop victimising yourself

While it is important to not victimise oneself, it is equally important to not feel guilty.

Divorce is a big step, especially for a woman. So, do not double guess yourself after the thing is over. It is over because that was the only course you could take without sacrificing yourself.

7. Take some "me" time

Make the best of this time and freedom. I did not want to look back and regret that I wasted precious years of my life during the divorce process.

While it is a depressing time, the fact is you get time for yourself that you never had before. I travelled, wrote a book and started a new business, while fighting the legal battle.

8. Enjoy your own company

Loneliness can be another hard battle to fight, especially when you are used to sharing your life with someone. As Marianne Moore once wrote, "The best cure for loneliness is solitude."

The solution is not to jump hastily into another relationship but to go right into the heart of your lonely feelings so that you can soothe your despair yourself.

Become a person who is comfortable with yourself so that you can love for the right reasons when the right person comes along.

9. Do not procrastinate 

There is something called giving it all you can. And there is something called wasting a good life after the bad.

Once you know that a relationship is meaningless and you need to get out - do not delay. Get out of it.

It took me three years and then two years more during the process of divorce. I wish I got out earlier.

10. It's no big deal

Divorce is neither glorious nor a matter of shame. Some people wear it like a badge of honour, I do not believe in that. But I also don’t believe in making it something that causes you to feel inferior.

It is just a status.

How much you let it change your life is up to you.

Writer

Nistha Tripathi Nistha Tripathi @nisthatripathi

The writer is author, 'Seven Conversations' (2014).

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