Reading the article “Good or Bad, Hard to Say!” suddenly struck a chord with me regarding the deteriorating status quo of the institution of marriage in India and its fatal repercussions on men. Marriage, at least in India, has always been projected as “Tumultuous for women and blissful for men”. However, perceptions are seldom reality.
This has led to a social meme that when a marriage breaks, it does not affect the man and thus men are offered no protection from failed marriages the way women are offered. However, what a man goes through in a bad marriage can be understood either by the victim himself or men’s rights activists who understand a man’s pain.
Most men in broken marriages sulk in silence; feign a plastic smile to tell everyone, “I am fine.” While many unfortunate ones commit suicide as elucidated from the below 2 articles,
However, as I said earlier also that it was “Good or Bad, Hard to Say!” That prompted me to write this article, let’s have a look at the brighter side of a failed marriage. But before we will glance at what a man in a broken marriage goes through and why does he do so?
I recall a famous saying here, “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible” by David M Ogilvy. Often when men get married in India, they are chided with terms like “Now your independence is gone and you will have to take permission for every small thing.” Because of their upbringing, social conditioning and chronic hardwiring men tend to take such signals of potential harassment in a comically ignoring manner lest it befalls upon them as hard reality.
Often married men feel a lack of independence and are made to sacrifice their personal interests in the name of family responsibilities and the bait that it is a “Male Dominated World” and slowly they start feeling trapped in the marriage but given the current socio-legal dynamics and the fact that even the thought of moving out of marriage for a man is a crime, most men continue to suffer. However, as men are emotionally castrated since the age of 6, leading to a very poor emotional health for men, making them extremely vulnerable to emotional confrontations and this austere emotional health makes men emotionally numb wherein they fail to realize even self-abuse and subconsciously lead a life of denial.
It is a known psychological fact that women are emotionally stronger than males and respond better to emotional confrontations. The same has also been reported by a study reported in the UK Telegraph titled, “Women better at picking up emotions than men”. And in any domestic violence it’s the emotional aggression that precedes physical aggression i.e. the instigating females are treated as victims and the emotionally weak and disabled reacting males are punished.
Thus, men face double jeopardy in marriages – no relief from Domestic Violence and they are also victims of social bias fueled by stereotypic assumptions wherein they are projected as false perpetrators of abuse. All this makes it very difficult for the men entrapped in such situations to deal with the emotional turmoil.
And because of this often men miss their bachelorhood, time when they were free to do just anything they wanted to do and were not nagged at small things. However, golden days of past never come back and only remain as sweet memories.
Now let us have a look at what happens to men whose marriages are broken. The wife is gone and there is no one to nag the man and he can lead a life of his own wish. Some clear advantages of a wife going away:-
- You won’t be asked, “Where are you going?” every time you step out of the house.
- You won’t have to give details of every minute when you return home.
- You won’t have to take permissions to go out with your friends.
- You won’t have to explain every phone call you make/receive.
- You won’t be forced to go shopping.
- You would be free to flirt with females and have no guilt feeling for having an affair or two.
- You won’t be required to cater to unwanted in-laws.
- Your mother-in-law will not poke nose or make comments about every little thing you do.
- You won’t be compared to your father-in-law every time you make a mistake.
- You would be cooking only for yourself and not for the whole family of your wife and in-laws.
So, in a nutshell you’d be living a Bachelor’s life once again, having actually experienced what marriage is and someone telling you to get re-married would get a befitting reply from you.
For men in broken marriages life is “Bachelorhood Revisited” and therefore “Good or Bad, Hard to say!”, as it depends on how the man sees the broken marriage. Life is all about contexts, no truth is absolute. Every truth has a context associated with it. One can always switch the context to make the truth comfortable. If one continues to live in a disempowering context that life is ruined, marriage is broken bla bla bla, then suffering knows no end, however, a slight shift in context that a Broken Marriage is Bachelorhood Revisited will result in joy knowing no bounds.
Yes, it is a fact that majority of men in broken do face multiple false cases of dowry harassment under Section 498A, Domestic Violence and are treated as FREE ATM MACHINES in various alimony/maintenance provisions and as SPERM DONORS in child custody cases but let’s not forget, “There is no FREE LUNCH in life and everything has a price attached to it.”
So while men in broken marriages have the 10 odd reasons to cheer up, the cases and the harassment that they face is the price they pay for freedom post marriage and its break-up. It’s just that men are being forced to follow the “Pre-Paid Financial Model”. But again, the choice remains with men, accept it as a way of life or continue to suffer. After all, any individual’s happiness is in his own hands.
So my message to all the men in broken marriages – “Hey buddy, just enjoy your second bachelorhood.”