It is a ticking bomb, brewing underneath to explode anytime. The Indian community, believed to have the most stable marital bond in
comparison with many other communities, is slowly shedding its devotion to unconditional marital relationship. A Times investigation
reveals that in Kuwait where Indians, praised by many international diplomats as peace loving people, no longer consider separation is taboo. What is more alarming is that people who are into the trauma of leaving the partner also tend to take the extreme step of ending their life.
In a recent study by the Research and Statistics Department in the Ministry of Justice on the divorce rate among Kuwaitis, Al-Qabas
published a report saying 55% of couples filing for divorce in the country have been married for 4 years or less. For Indian couples in
Kuwait, however, marital issues do not always necessarily reach as far as the court or the religious authorities. Times study reveals the cases of couples living apart are more than couples who file for a legal divorce.
Findings of the Times study
1. Living apart than legal divorce is more common and is on the rise among the Indian couples, especially the youngsters.
2. The number of women living separately from husbands whose relatives are in Kuwait is more than those who have no relatives in the country.
3. The number of separated women who are working is more than those who do not have any job.
4. Women who do not have children yet, or postponed pregnancy tend to haste separation than mothers.
5. The number of women who consider physical abuse, like slap, is a great offence is far more than before.
6. The number of young couples who are not ready to compromise and not able to resolve is on the rise. Spousal intolerance is seen less.
7. Reunions are happening for those whose relatives play a vital role.
Living and working in a multicultural atmosphere increase the chances of taking the daring step of declaring independence for many people. Work pressure, the eventual depression and the feeling that the marital bond is more like bondage, receiving nothing much in return materially or otherwise also constitute the urge for split-up. Economic independence and the importance given to career and promotion are other reasons behind the break. Following is a list of reasons behind the split, based on the specimen cases the Times studied.
1. A question of Equality: Women who earn equal or more than their partner tend to question their lack of financial freedom if that is
the case. In Kuwait there are a lot of qualified, experienced and
competent women who feel they are degraded at home. Doing house chores after coming from work without being appreciated weakens many women.
2. Male chauvinism: Some men do not permit their women to go to work despite their academic qualification. They cling on to the traditional mindset that equates husband-wife relation as that of master-slave.
3. Distribution of wealth: Couples who are both earning often fight over what to do with the money and where the savings should go. Women think it is obligatory to help their own family who had spent huge amounts for their education. Men think it is all history.
4. Conflicts of interests: Joined perhaps by family force some couples find it hard to cope with each other resulting clashes after clashes. From switching TV channels to choices of food, these cultural fights take their toll.
5. Lack of family support: Expat couples have the disadvantage of not able to reach their own relatives. When problems occur there is no one to turn to. Tired of seeing each other’s face the unexpressed emotions set pent-up only to burst in the form of a break. On the other hand, strange to say, couples whose relatives are in Kuwait take shelter at their relatives’ place.
6. High self-esteem, ego clash: Academically high, financially sound and physically attractive the youngsters think high on them and cannot take anything that shakes their confidence. One’s ego will not allow the other’s ego to dominate. To adjust or compromise is asking too much of them.
7. Individualism: in the age of Facebook and smartphones one’s space and privacy is important. Blaming the other and refusing to admit fault result in frequent arguments. Let the other surrender, both the husband and wife think. Who started the fight first is on each other’s mind.
8. Children: Boon or bane? Most fighting couples do not break away because of their children. However, some couples do break for the sake of children because they think it is no longer exemplary to continue fighting in front of the children. A suicide of a man was reported a few months ago in Jleeb where his wife moved away from him because of his punitive attitude. He used to spank his children in front of the mother as a form of revenge to her. The man jumped out from his building.
9. Cheating, infidelity: The presence of the third makes many couples sleeping with the enemy. Once caught, there is no going back. In the Times study the reason of extramarital affair comes as one of the last compared with other causes.
10. Future worries: Insecurities of future is a major concern for separated youngsters who were studied. Why to suffer when there is always a chance, many think. Staying alone or a new affair is like taking up a new job for the youngsters.
One of the celebrated divorces among Indian expats in Kuwait is of south Indian film actress Kavya Madhavan who first filed for a divorce from her then husband, a bank employee in Kuwait. The reasons are personal but life in Kuwait played a role in their split as the ‘enclosed’ life in a Salwa villa was not preferred by the busy actress. The man married a microbiologist in May, 2013