Today – December 1st, 2013 – it would have been my parents’ silver anniversary.
I say would have been, because my parents divorced after 12 years together, in April of 2001. It was not an amicable divorce. My mother and I (then 11 years old) had not foreseen the separation and we were taken by shock. The divorce was accompanied by incriminations and haggling, and it also meant a severe drop in financial and social status for both of us. My mother and I were forced to move back to Pakistan, and Pakistani society is not kind to divorcees, or children of ‘broken’ families.
I’m not writing this today to discuss the effect of the divorce, on my mother or myself. I don’t wish to talk about how the separation affected my view of relationships, how I still have trouble trusting people even now. I don’t wish to highlight how much my mother had to struggle, against society and her disease, and is still struggling, even today.
There are two purposes to this post. The first is to confess. When we first came back, I was forbidden to tell people (classmates, friends) about my parent’s divorce. The reasoning for this was that people would judge me on my background instead of my actual qualities. So, I hid it for years, sometimes from people who were very close to me. The constant hiding made me feel as if it was something to be ashamed of, a reflection on my character, somehow. In retrospect, I realise I would only have lost friends not worth having. Hence, this blogpost: a public admission as well as a private reassurance, that I have no reason to hide this fact, nor should I try to.
The second purpose is to extol the virtues of discussion and honesty. At the end of the day, I do not believe divorce is wrong. Marriages end, people decide not to live with each other, circumstances become insurmountable. Everyone has a right to make decisions about their own life. If there’s anything I’ve learnt, though, it’s that there’s a right and a wrong way to end things. Even when things are done perfectly, in a graceful, decent way, with discussions and honesty and openness, feelings are likely to get hurt. That is inevitable. The main point, though, is that the sense of closure comes sooner and more easily.
But when you take a decision, particularly one that affects other people, and you do it without discussion – that is simply wrong. By withholding from the other person a chance to weigh in, or time to mentally and physically prepare themselves, you create a sense of unfairness and betrayal that lasts years. The pain of betrayal and loss of trust can last much, much longer than the pain that comes from a broken relationship. If it is possible to pick a way to end things, I believe the right way should be taken, where things are laid open and discussions take place before a decision is made.
I think that’s all. I realise that my views on things are born of my experiences, and may not be entirely correct. I’d love to hear what you guys think in the comments, whether you agree or not.
This is probably one of a series of cathartic posts I plan on doing, exploring aspects of my past that I’ve kept shrouded away. But that’s about it for now.
See you guys soon.