Have you noticed that anytime there is divorce in a marriage, men always end up holding the short end of the stick when comes to support available to them. We are victimized and made to seem as the reason for the divorce, even if we are not. And if there are children in the marriage, the man is less likely to get custody of them, at least in our clime.
One of my uncles; (I seem to be telling stories of my uncles these days, well, they are veritable source of knowledge, not to mention fodder for topics to write on). This uncle of mine is a younger one and he is newly divorced. In fact, the court just finalized his divorce two months ago and as you can imagine, he is yet to recover from his experience in the hands of the woman, who had once sworn to love him.
After just five years of marriage, they were done and nothing would appease his ex-wife but divorce, which she got on the grounds of incompatibility, mixed with violent tendencies and all other reasons she could come up with. She and her lawyer managed to paint my Uncle a devil personified. That made him exam his life closely and doubt the person, he claimed to be. He was not sure of who he was anymore. He has grown quiet, the light in his eyes, dimmed by the switch of divorce. This was a man, whose booming voice could be heard from afar at family meetings but the last time I saw him; he sat cowering in a corner, after being forced out of his house by his brothers, who had noticed the way he had been withdrawing from life.
Merely watching him, the concerned looks darted in his directions by other relatives and the quiet conversations that went on about him, I realized three things divorce could do to a man, especially one, who had loved his ex-wife dearly, like my uncle did and had never wanted divorce from the get go. Here they are:
He loses his identity
My uncle’s marriage had been his all. He practically worshipped his wife. His marriage meant everything to him. It was so bad that his brothers wondered if it was the same father and mother who birthed them. If their mother was still alive, they would probably have asked her that question. He was different; he wore his heart on his sleeve where his wife and marriage were concerned. His brother called him “woman wrapper” because of that. But he was not concerned, as long as his wife was pleased.
When his wife instituted the divorce proceeding after a fight between them that escalated to him slapping her, because she had insulted his late mother, he swallowed his pride and went on his knees to beg her and promised that it would not happen again. She refused to accept his apologies and went ahead with the divorce. She concluded that, if he could slap her, then she was not going to wait until he started to beat her properly.
That stance left my uncle a shell of his former self. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect his, might be a case of depression, which is not good for a man in his middle ages, that’s heart attack knocking.
His paternal instinct is on the line
While, I only have faint memories of his parents, they were said to be a happy couple, who gave their kids the very best they could afford. Their home was the favourite holiday home for the rest of the family members’ children. And everyone was always welcome. That was the same atmosphere my uncle sought to create with his own family, but his wife was having none of it, families were not particularly welcome to spend the night, unless absolutely unavoidable. It was that bad but he accepted it all, because he loved her.
But apart from losing his wife, the court granted custody of the kids to her and he only has supervised visits with them, because of his ‘violent’ tendencies, which he might unleash on his own kids. That is quite laughable, knowing my uncle but he still goes to see his kids every weekend, though, that means seeing his ex-wife again, as she is the one supervising his visits with his kids.
It’s a case of bashing his head against the wall, every time; he tried to have the kids with him, away from their mother, who unfortunately has been filling the head of the young ones with rubbish about their father. So, now, he has to add, the feeling of failing his children to his heartache.
He is doing it alone
Rather than seek help or the support of his brothers, he has kept everyone at arm’s length. His brothers only got to know about the divorce proceeding in court through his ex-wife, who had somehow roped them into the mess and they had been asked to show up in court.
Even now that the divorce is final, he is still keeping a lot to himself. He is grieving and doing everything by himself. He doesn’t want to let go of the control of his business, so he can rest. He also refused to visit and spend a weekend with one of his brothers, who wanted his family to look after him properly. He couldn’t afford to visit though, weekends are for his kids. Accepted, he was asked to come during the week; he did not even bother with an answer.
He stays in a big house all by himself and his brothers are worried to death that he might do something stupid in his depressed state. His house-help has been mandated to check on him regularly when he is at home, and his staff are watching him with eagle eyes at work. I just wish he would snap out it, accept help and move on with his life. I guess, with time, that would happen.
So, next time, you see a divorcee; spare a thought for what he is going through.
He’s got as much to deal with as a woman and won’t allow himself get help, which is a pity.