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How to handle a situation like divorce

October 20, 2023 0 comments

Brief Background Marital Breakdown

Marital breakdown is a common occurrence in which a married couple's relationship deteriorates to the point that they are unable to repair it. The process has numerous stages, and each person progresses through them at a different pace. It's a multi-step process that involves psychology, personal finance, and, in some cases, religion. 

It is a violation of domestic expectations that frequently leads to divorce or the breakdown of a marriage. Children, in-laws, and other family members are frequently involved in the process. 

There may be no relationship left at the conclusion of the process, or there may be a long-distance relationship (see legal separation). In this way, every marriage dissolution is unique.However it is important to understand that more often than not there is contributiona by both partners lwading to the breakdown.and both need appropriate scientific  counselling by a professional.

Common Symptoms That Indicate A Breakdown

There  are some well documented common symptoms that typify a breakdown, as given under:-

1.Excessive & unfounded & prolonged mistrust from any spouse.

2.One feels emotionally isolated, controlled and manipulated.

3.Not spending quality time together.

4.A spouse who threatens divorce on a regular basis.

5.You always feel stressed out when it comes to your marriage.

6.Sexual infidelity.

7.Your thoughts and opinions are not validated, it undermines your 


8.One or both partners refuse to seek professional help / counseling.

9.They're not the first person you call in case of emergency.

10.Forcing / coercing kids to take sides against other parent.

11.Breaking parental boundaries with kids and gradually coercing them into a surrogate spouse role.

12.Talking ill about and maligning the other spouse with other people for the sake of it, but not committed to resolving core issues.

13.Wife asking husband to reduce contact with her family members, or vice-versa demand by husband. 

14.Not socializing or going on outings together or meeting mutual friends together. Refusing to host relatives at home.

15.One partner is forced by the other to live as if they were single.

The Dangers Of Non Professional Interference In Marital Conflict

It is usually noted that in almost all marital conflicts there is an attempt by immediate family and friends to restore balance in the situation.This is particularly true  in Indian society.

There are three main observable groups that emerge to resolve the marital conflict,namely:-

  1. Family/blood relations
  2. Friends
  3. Neutral spectators

These groups of people are non professionals, because they’re not professionally trained to handle marital cases that have gone beyond the normal wear and tar of a marriage. They know very little or nothing at all about clinical psychology. And they cannot address deepaer psychological issues which cause such deep breakdowns in a marriage.

Their reactions are also somewhat predictable. And this is what it looks like 

Reactions By Family And Friends 

1.Disbelief . the first stage is complete disbelief .they cannot grasp the fact that a seemingly normal looking marriage appears to have fissures. They often ask in astonishment “how can situation be so bad?” hence they assume that things are not too bad and that they will be able to tackle the conflict from outside with a passing bit of advice prevalent in society commonly.

2.To them on the surface everything appears fine.

3.Not able to identify dysfunction . These friends and family dong admit that critical mass of chain reaction toward marital breakdown  has already commenced.

4. They are in denial of dangers of a  non professional approach These friends and not aware that non-professional approach to resolving a deeply disturbed marriage  can further deteriorate matters.These friends and family offer shallow, superficial solutions based on common household comprehension which is incapable of grasping the degree of the disturbance. They feel helpless and so resort to superficial templates of homemade solutions. Thus they spoil whatever minimum chances exist of resolving the situation peacefully.

5.In the Indian context battle lines are drawn quickly. In Indian society relatives and family from both sides are at war with each pother very soon,once they realsie that the spouses are unable to carry on.Unforunately the law enters the scene with a heavy bias against the male spouse Prof.

There is often a lot of blame shifting and maligning of reputations.

6.There is little patience to resolve matters. No body wants to resolve the matter amicably after a certain point.Family and relatives are more likely to flare up matters instead of calming down things.Relatives are more interested in showing off their loyalty by a display of explosive emotions,which further aggravates the breakdown and hardens destructive mindsets.

7.No one admits that this is unscientific approach. Even genuinely well meaning family and friends are unwilling to advise the couple to go in for counselling or therapy.They are often unaware of their unscientific approach and attitudes towards the developing situation.And they neglect the counselling option out of ignorance and also because of an unnecessary stigma attaced with a professional counselling.

8.Criticism of the couple behind closed doors. The same family and friends who outwardly appear very loyal,often begin criticising both spouses in private.They believe that either of the partners should have handled things more maturely. Sadly there is an immature degeneration into cocktail party gossip and secret ridicule of both spouses going through a  disturbed marriage.What is needed however is professional counselling and couple therapy.

Evaluation Of Mistakes By  Friends And family

1. Not listening to complete views .Common mistake number one  friends and family make is not listening to complete views of both sides impartially. Impartial hearing of views from both sides can prevent a lot of marriages from breakdown.

2. Ignorance of childhood history. Ignoring intimate childhood/family history of one or the other spouse. They are not aware of unique family dynamics / core issues , even when dysfunction is already prevailing.Thus family members have a poor understanding of deeper issues and tend to give mismatching advice which turns counterproductive as time passes.

3. Damage due to absence of scientific counselling. Scientifically, this  can only be done by trained  counselling and experienced professionals in a clinical setting. But in the absence of scientific counselling, unknowingly  great damage continues form family and friends.

4. Fear of social stigma avoidance of counselling. Family and friends avoid sending the disturbed couple for counselling due to social stigma. Whereas statistics prove that professional help has long lasting benefits for family harmony.

5. Family members unwittingly enable dysfunction .One big mistake family/friends make about a  disturbed marriage is unwittingly enabling dysfunction by taking sides with abusive partner, unawares. They are not aware of the complete truth but because of prejudice take sides with their close relations. This kind of biased support frequently aggravates the situation.

6. Erroneous notion of gender-exclusive aggrievement. An erroneous  social bias and false-notion exists  of gender-exclusive aggrievement. This means that it is a default understanding that only men are the wrongdoers  in a marriage.

7. Friends and family judge the couple negatively. Worst tactical mistake, but commonly noticed is friends instead of helping couple, begin to form poor opinion of affected couple. They may judge them either openly, or behind their backs. And the culmination is being  dismissive and  disrespectful to affected spouses.This  leads to soured relations of friends/family with affected couple.And this is the last thing the disturbed couple need at this juncture.Hence it is advisable for friends and family not to get too involved in a  disturbed marriage,beyond a certain point. The best help from family/friends is encouragement to join counselling.

Recommended Help From Family/Friends 

1.Approach family help as a selfless social service .Family and friends must help save a marriage and, thereby a family. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity of doing social service of a different kind.

2.Acknowledge dysfunction. Friends or family must never hesitate to admit  that family dysfunction is prevailing in a marriage. Under any circumstance, DO NOT deny dysfunction.

3.Avoid harsh judgments. Be neutral. Do not judge the disturbed couple too harshly, because that maligns your own attitude towards them. In the long term this creates a distance between you, as friends/family ,and the disturbed couple. Preserve your own good equation with both spouses. They’re going through a rough patch. Very delicate time.Outwardly things appear normal but there are hidden undercurrents that need professional handling ONLY. 

4.Urge the disturbed couple to see a professional. Encourage the disturbed couple to seek professional assistance. Do not shy from it. And do not let the fallacy of social stigma stop you from sending the disturbed couple for counselling. It’s the best help you can EVER offer.

5.As friends / family understand the importance of counselling. Remove social stigma of professional counselling. Marriage  therapy at any age - is not a crime. It is the safest and fastest route to full recovery of marriage.

 6. Avoid litigation by timely action. Long term family dysfunction results in litigation/breakup. If a disturbed marriage is not addressed through timely counselling then in the long run there is continuous breakdown of intimacy and communication. This finally enters the legal arena through divorce proceedings.

7. Family/ friends must work in sync with counsellors. It is widely observed and documented that friends in conjunction with professionals, have saved a marriage where blood relations have failed badly. It needs to be understood that less time is needed to heal through friends working in sync with professional help. This is easily possible when friends have the intent to bring selfless service to a family, that can heal with their timely aid.This is also a form of huge selfless help to an unknowingly suffering child  growing up in family discord

8. Friends / family must realise the crucial need to cooperate with professionals.Only agree with focussed intervention advised by an experienced professional.This is far better than deteriorating matters by avoiding counselling. It is better than dealing  with cost and time of litigation, and disaster of breakup. Human problems differ. Someone needs a pathology doctor. Someone needs  a marriage counselor. Both have power to heal. Worldwide, counselling heals countless families. 

9. Crucial tips in helping a disturbed couple,by friends/family

  • Avoid taking hasty sides.
  • Avoid pushing solutions either way.
  • Avoid gossiping with others about a confided problem .
  • Relax. In helping someone you’re not to carry a mountain of burden yourselves.
  • You wont need to get involved, minute by minute or even on daily basis so don’t worry about getting suffocated, provided you abide by the advice of the counsellors..
  • Only  brief interventions in sync with professional at apt moments is sufficient.
  • Remember friends / family must not disconnect from the couple at this stage. Instead they must remain connected as prior. But the only difference is attend to the couple in sync with a professional for positive long-term resolution

The Success Rate Of  Professional Counselling In A Disturbed Marriage.

Statistics prove that, the world over, millions of marriages have revived and flourished through professional clinical assistance, than unwitting,  erroneous advice by well meaning associates.

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reports an overall success rate of 98%. The success of couples therapy and other factors contributes to a decreasing divorce rate in the United States.

 Today, counseling can indeed save and strengthen a marriage.

This 98% success rate is an extremely encouraging figure.

Recommended  Goals If You Want To Improve Your Disturbed Marriage

In case your marriage is disturbed and you want to improve your marriage,it is possible.The only thing is you should be very clear about your goals.

And what should be your goals?

  1. Firstly be determined to restore marriage to as normal as before.If not better.Remember,even one person can turn around things for the better in a marriage.
  2. Focus on positives of your spouse only . The reason is there are many invaluable positives in each spouse.Focussing on them makes a world of difference.
  3. Be sure not to tarnish image of spouse publicly .Also, you are not to blame, or condemn them condemn. Not to speak ill of your spouse.
  4. You must admit that no one is perfect, neither are you. Be courageous and honest enoughto admit your own errors.
  5. It is however crucial- to stop being in denial of family dysfunction. Most disturbed marriages are restored to better status by honest confession. And the confession must be with aim to improve
  6. Bring awareness of importance and high  value of marriage as an institution. Even if this sentiment is absent from one side. In such a case encourage professional intervention.
  7. One crucial reason for having a healthy, normal marriage is to help your child have a normal family.This will ensure a good future for your child. This will also secure their future family relationships.
  8. Be conscious of what marital values your children are carrying from your home.As parents, you are constantly being observed and imitated by your innocent children on every front.By the time they grow into teenage they invariably carry your character values of peacefulness, or conflict.
  9. One extremely important aspect is to look after your own self also,while you are making efforts to improve your marriage.Too much stress and pressure can be counterproductive.
  10. Your aim must not be to change your spouse or their personality at all . Only help them understand that you value their presence in your life. When you understand you are not making any progress for more  several months, it is high time you see a professional. Remove the erroneous stigma of professional  counselling from your mind.
  11. Lastly never, never compare your spouse, or your marriage with others.Every spouse and every marriage is unique.No marriage is perfect.But the couple makes it strong with their commitment to being mature towards their relationship.

Negative Effect Of On Child Due To /Emotional Incest /Surrogate Spouse Equation

Sometimes one parent in a disturbed marriage goes into an extreme state of emotional dependence. In that situation one parent takes the support of children to fight against the other spouse. But for the children involved in such a situation the effect is extremely damaging in their later life.

Also, this kind of a situation is termed as “surrogate spouse”. Here one parent unconsciously turns the child against his/her other parent.The child is misused by one parent and is used for fulfilling emotional needs, which should only come through a spouse.Hence the name surrogate spouse.

Here are some negative effects of a surrogate spouse relationship on a child:-

1.The child starts feeling responsible for only one parent’s feelings

2. One parent poisons the child against the other parent.Hence there is a constant “forced” distance and conflict with the other parent

3. There is a harmful concealed guilt due to self-alienation from other parent.This is detrimental in later life for the growing child.

4. One parent forces the children into age – inappropriate ,spouse-like responsibilities.hence the child’s development is adversely affected.

5.Loss of quality childhood/teenage life

6.The child from such a family normally has difficulty making and sustaining friendships

7. The child suffers isolation from other friends in school,and later at the workplace.

8 The children suffer from undesirable feelings of guilt & unworthiness in a surrogate spouse relationship.

9. Usually there is concealed anxiety and depression in the children of surrogate relationships.

10. The child suffers from poor self-esteem in adult life.And has a poor performance in profession and in society

11.There is a poor standard of  social decisions and very damaging perfectionism

12. The child suffers from maladaptive  marital life and high rate of broken marriages in later life.

Benefits Of Couples Therapy 

You just need someone to talk to every now and again. This is especially true when it comes to marital problems.

Having a third party listen to your difficulties can go a long way toward making you feel heard and understood. This does not always occur in the midst of a conflict.

In addition, the therapist acts as a sounding board for ideas. When you come up with potential solutions to conflicts or other concessions, the therapist will assist you in determining whether or not this is the best course to take in order to keep the relationship together.

Some important benefits of couples therapy are:-

1.Improving communication skills between two people

2.Discovering the root causes of major points of conflicts

3.Creating better understanding

4.Encouraging better acceptance of one another

5.Providing the opportunity to increase shared support

6.Restoring emotional and physical intimacy

7.Decreasing emotional detachment or avoidance

8.Restoring emotional strength and building relationship resilience

9.Restoring lost trust between a couple

10.Providing a secure environment and opportunity to heal.


The collapse of a married couple's relationship to the point that they are unable to repair it is known as marital breakdown.

Almost every marriage quarrel is marked by an attempt by immediate family and friends to bring the situation back into balance.

This is especially true in Indian culture.

Family and friends must come together to help save a marriage and, by extension, a family. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform a different type of social service. Friends and family should not be afraid to advise the troubled marriage to seek professional help.

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