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The aftermath of a (celeb) divorce

Madhuri Banerjee MadhuriBanerjee

Updated: January 25, 2016, 1:08 PM IST
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2016 seems to be the year of break ups and divorce. I wonder if it’s a New Year Resolution to leave dead relationships and move on. With Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna declaring they’re getting a divorce to media speculations of Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor going through a separation, to rumours of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie splitting up after ten years of being together, 2016 is the year of break ups and January isn’t even over.

We all know that Hollywood has been very pro marriage and divorce but it’s never happened in Bollywood. But 2015 saw a major step taken by Susanne Roshan to divorce Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan. And Kalki Koechlin divorced Anurag Kashyap. The list goes on. And while Aamir Khan divorced Reena a long time back this was the first time that celeb wives took the stance to divorce their husband.

Divorce is never easy. It’s like a volcano has erupted and left ashes of a marriage with devastation, destruction and loss all around that is traumatic. And the worst part is that no one can see it. No one will understand it. And no one cares about it. It’s all internal.

For normal human beings who don’t live their lives in the public eye it is overwhelming. For celebs it must be worse. They need to answer to the media about their private lives with questions on how they’re doing, if they’re planning to get married again and how it affects their children. This constant pressure on celebs to seem happy must not be easy.

I want to be biased here and say a divorce is harder on a woman.

Suddenly the woman is left all alone, an aged figure with a few accomplishments and shattered dreams. Women get married in the hope that they’ll be with the man forever. They put all their eggs into this one basket of a relationship. They give up their careers or take a step back to have children who will take their father’s names. They sit quietly while they hear of their men having affairs hoping it’s not true and not having the guts to confront him. Women secretly pray for a miracle that the man may love her passionately again. They change their hair, they go on crash diets to look better and they even take up some work so their husband can have some respect for them again. Some women even go out and have affairs to feel better about themselves but truly all they want is to have a stable and happy marriage. Until they realise they’re only fooling themselves.

After much internal conversation and chats with close friends women come to the conclusion that it’s better to be happy alone than be miserable in a marriage. When you’re alone and lonely you know that there is a hope of finding someone who loves you deeply. When you’re in a marriage and lonely it only means that your soul is dying…wanting love, companionship and fun which you’ll never get again.
And then one fine day, when the kids have gone for a birthday party somewhere and the couple is alone at home, a conversation begins, “We need to talk.”

And he/ she’ll say, “Ya I think so too.”

“This marriage hasn’t been working for a long time.”

Silence.

“I’m just not feeling connected to you anymore.”

Silence.

“I think maybe we should get a divorce.”

Silence.

“What do you think?”

And the other person will instantly think well if he/she doesn’t want to make this work, then why the hell should I try? I can’t be the only one in love here. And the most natural answer that will emerge is, “Ya I guess so too.”

And later in the press a statement from the couple will be released where they say they both love each other deeply and will be great parents for the children. And the media goes wild unable to understand the real devastation of the couple and the desolate feelings of the woman.

The man is free. From this point on no matter what he does, he’ll be seen as the hero. If he spends a day in a week with the child the family and media will say “What an amazing father. See how he’s taking time out for his children.”

If he works really hard and is unable to see his children the people and media will write, “How hard he works for his family.”

And if he starts seeing someone else everyone will say, “It’s about time he falls in love. How long can he be alone? He needs someone to look after him.”

When we reverse the situation we see the woman is picking up the pieces of her life once again with great courage and a feeling of hollowness inside. A woman who manages the minutiae of her children’s needs all alone, to looking after a house, to being a great role model for her friends and society and building her career once again. The man may or may not give her alimony. But the fact is that he’s destroyed her self-confidence and security. And she may never get married again because she’ll always be thinking of her children first.

If the woman succeeds at any level to seem strong and independent the people write her off as “She was always so aggressive. No wonder he left her.” Or “Look how well she’s doing. And that poor husband. He’s still working so hard to pay her alimony!”

So when you hear of a woman who’s divorced (celeb or not) don’t pity her, label her or dismiss her. Marvel at her. Understand her. Be compassionate. And always support her. She is trying to make her mark and raise good human beings in a society that is not on her side. And she’s doing it with her head held high and that’s the sign of the new age woman!
First Published: January 25, 2016, 1:02 PM IST

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