When it comes to marriage in our country, we all know just how many stigmas and barriers stand in the way of two people simply coming together. Most of them are patriarchal norms that unfortunately end up deciding who we should choose as life partners. In fact, we happened to have stumbled upon this Reddit thread, where a user described a personal situation that riled up other Redditors, and rightfully so.
In the post, a man shared that he rejected a girl’s rishta because she had a sister who was divorced. Apparently, people around him advised him to do so.
I liked a girl but everyone adviced not to proceed and not to invite her parents home. Reason being her elder sister is divorced after 10 months of marriage.
This is the entire post.
And while there was a comment by a person that admitted to being in a similar situation, many people responded to it as well calling out how problematic the stigma around divorce is.
1. I, as a guy, have been in the same situation. Most of my matches, especially when contacted by their family, run away after hearing my family situation. It was even worse when my sister was not working. Most people assumed that I have to support my whole family and are not interested. Even though we have enough to be comfortable and I wanted to live separately after marriage, people still assume the worst and don’t bother to follow up. Also its not like I am someone who will let that situation affect my spouse in anyway but most people don’t even bother to know you as a person if they hear that fact. Also you will be surprised how even the people who act really woke and support LGBTQ etc. think of it as a negative after they hear about my sister’s divorce. The very first girl I met on Jeevansathi was all good in the first one hour until I mentioned about my sister and then the date ended in the next 10 minutes.
Here are some of the responses to the post and comment above.
2. Our society has a long way to go in destigmatizing things like these. I’d suggest you to keep looking for a partner outside of AM (arranged marriage) as well.
2. Divorce is just a bad marriage coming to an end. But there’s so many marriages that don’t end and stay toxic. So it’s not necessary that someone with a divorced sibling is more toxic than one with married siblings. If you really liked her, I think this is a loss for you.
3. This is a situation where you have to ask yourself if you have the courage to stand up for this girl and support her. Your parents and friends don’t have any real logic and experience to substantiate their standpoints. For every divorced sibling that MAY cause problems, there are 100s of married siblings who DO cause problems. There is every chance of having a normal uncomplicated life with a girl having divorced family members. You can talk to the girl and her elder sister and decide for yourself how much of a bad influence she could be. A divorce is no guarantee that someone is ‘bad’. In fact, the more we stigmatize divorces, the more we alienate people and make them bitter. If your parents and siblings are prejudiced against her, they will likely harass her after marriage (probably more than anything her sister may do). Do you have the guts to tell them to back off or move out, if you go against their wishes for her? Plus the sister may remarry in the future, you never know.
4. Majority of Indian population have stigmatized this quite well. And I don’t think the issue here is divorced sibling causing trouble in marriage. It has to do with the idea that their marriage didn’t work out. From childhood we are taught about one man woman concept, marriage and making sure it works. Divorce in the family breaks that idea and people believe it can lead to other divorces as the couple won’t work on their marriage. Elders also believe it is bad for the kids to see a divorcee in the family. The whole idea revolves around shame.
5. This is why AM is such a cluster fuck. This “highly eligible bachelor” doesn’t have the maturity, empathy or life experience to understand that you can do everything right and still end up in an unhappy marriage. A divorce doesn’t mean that the person leaving the marriage is irredeemably defective. It means that, for whatever reason, the marriage ended. In a country like India, where deception is an integral part of the marriage system, a person can do everything possible but still end up in a broken marriage.
6. He should say no, the girl will dodge a bullet. Given the sick line of reasoning that our society has, getting out of marriage requires courage which is not possible for everyone to have, so many people lack the family support that is needed. We need to celebrate the courage that people muster up and show empathy for the pain that life has given them. Rather people just want to punish the families of the one suffering too. Empathy for others is a rare trait.
7. Personally, I would actually have respect for that elder sister – that she took a stand for her life, and decided to call it quits than stay stuck in a loveless marriage. Takes effort to do that.
8. I literally don’t see one logical reason why one should think about a bride’s sister having been divorced. Neither are you going to stay at their home with the sister being dependent, nor do you have to adjust with her 24×7. It seems that you are already scared that if you cannot create a healthy and positive relationship with the girl in the future, then she would choose to divorce you, since her sister has already given her an example. It might be making you insecure. The whole issue is yours, not the girl or her family’s.
Divorce is definitely not a sign that there is something ‘wrong’ with a person. Let’s move towards a future where it doesn’t reflect badly on a woman’s personality.