Emotional divorce

Came upon an interesting term yesterday called "Emotional Divorce", which 'is a psychological mechanism some spouses use when they feel the marriage has become a threat to their well-being. When you divorce yourself emotionally from your spouse, you have separated your emotions from the marriage'.Sounds terribly like the state of many marriages I see around me. People stick around with their spouses just for the sake of kids, financial dependence or social convenience. When all emotion has left the equation, what do you think such parties of a marriage should do?

23 replies
Urmi Chanda-Vaz
July 13, 2017


Madhuri. Y July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Increasingly now, emotional divorce is turning out to be a phase after which people are seeking legal divorce. I would say, it is beginning to happen already, it's just that some might take the decision early, some later. *p*

Anand July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

In my view what leads to the not so uncommon phenomenon of "Emotional Divorce" are two factors — being bored with the same old routine, and the feeling of being "trapped" in a relationship.*p**p*In fact the institution of marriage evolved as a difficult-to-get-out legal or religious "contract" precisely because "love" is expected to wear out, and to rarel last a lifetime! Yet, for the sake of child-rearing and old-age security/ companionshp it is essential that a couple stays together for a lifetime — unless in extreme situations.*p**p*If we accept the above, we can try to handle the twin factors that lead to "Emotional Divorce". *p**p*My first suggestion is that couple share their wildest fantasies with each other. While this can be exciting to both, it is easier said than done — mainly because this may trigger jealousies and doubts in one or the other spouse.*p**p*The second suggestion is to give space to each other — to pursue own interests, and even to discretely flirt with others, even while remaining committed to the family and the marriage. Often, this very freedom makes the marriage worth holding on to. *p**p*I agree that these suggestions are impossible in most relationships — for practical reasons. The happy ones are those that are able to practice these at least to some extent…*p**p* *p**p* *p*

Himani Pande July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

It is a grim situation. I would call it an EMOTIONAL TUMOUR. When this surfaces you need to analyze. You have to do the surgery, can't wait for final haemorrhaging.*p**p*Is the separator screen between the partners a result of over compromising on the part of one to the gratification of needs of the other?*p**p*Is it because of a sudden change of tastes, compatibility, level of evolving etc. ?*p**p*Is it really because one meets THEIR TYPE much later in life.*p**p*One must remember that we are stakeholders somewhere. We can't kick off responsibilities and rush off to the person that triggers our passion best. A disconnect can take place there too if imbalances all around are created.*p**p*Monotony, sameness do happen in long term social arrangements but if the feeling of partnership grows with the years then less of emotional divorces would happen.*p**p*One can't get a sweetdish all twenty four hours of the day. Try, work it out.*p**p*But yes emotional divorce could well be the reason for a real one. It works as a precursor to the final. Don't push too hard. Don't get frissons by the term emotional divorce. It is a condition that needs working upon. If not then destiny would offer its plans. But act either way towards the best outcome.*p*

DEVRAJ KALSI July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Evolved people use sophisticated terms to define half-dead, almost-dead relationships. When emotional attachment ends, it is a kind of split situation and the partners need to realise whether they have the inclination to invest their emotions in the same person or they wish to re-invest somewhere else. If they think they continuing for the sake of kids and other other obligations, then they have to take a call. Either think of self or about family unit.  *p*

Himani Pande July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am
Malini July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

I cant speak for others as, i am no social commentator, but as a person in a relationship married for considerable time, i too read this article with great intrigue. And couldnt agree more. *p**p*However, I do feel that, when we feel disconnected to our partner, the disconnection is somewhere within ourselves, or towards our ownself. We are actually infact, disconnected to a part of us, or a whole of us. It all lies within, and i have become a firm believer of this, because all along we keep searching for someone to connect deeply, whereas the person to connect with is sitting still within, waiting for the moment, We say, "Oh Hello there"… *p**p*Once our connection with ourselves is clear, i really think, matters could improve… but since, this state is extremely difficult to accheive, we will keep giving reasons such as, no spark, no chemistry, i have switched off, etc etc.. *p**p*Yes, many couples infact many many couples, divorce each other emotionally, ofcourse divorce first happens in the heart. But, i really think, even if seperation happens, i can never disconnect from someone i lived with day and night for years together, even if i sign a paper… *p**p*So, if all emotion has left the equation, then, probably, go in search of your ownself and bid a real bye to the other person, instead of keeping such a status.. of living together, but not living together. Time to move ahead, knowing that some part will always love that person, even unknowingly… *p*

Bali.D July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

agree with you u completely urmi:)*p*

Utkarsh Patel July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

In my opinion, it defeats the very purpose of a marriage. However, in societies where women do not have an individual existence or personaility, this is endured. But with the changing times, its good to distance and live a happy life than 'endure' a dead relationship.*p*

Isathefitmom July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

I think they should talk and try to make it work again..maybe go back to dates, eating outside, going to the movies*p*

Bhagyashree Sowani July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

This term sounds like they are living together but they have distanced their lives from each other.*p**p*If you do identify that this is what you are going through then its half the battle won.*p**p*Take charge of your life. Stop blaming your spouse. Be prepared to hear from him all the things he dislikes about you.*p**p*If even sitting across each other and having a conversation is impossible then have an inbetween maybe a parent or friend who can help you talk things out.*p**p*Make an effort to change.*p**p*If you are still living together inspite of your differences obviously your marriage has some value for both of you and its worth trying to redeem it.*p*

Urmi July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Well said, Anmol. *p*

Ranjana Kamo July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

This sounds like a sabbatical. The partners should try to find ways to rekindle their lost romance and if all efforts fail, they have to find a solution which could be a separation. Children are the main losers in such situations – the custody either goes to one parent where the child craves for the love of the other parent, or the child may be put up for adoption where the fate of the child could go either way. The perspective has changed with the passing years and separation and divorce is being sought to move away from dying marriages. An effort must still be made to refresh and retain the bond but if it is turning into a suffocating relationship, then walking away could be the only solution. *p*

Anmol Ratan Sachdeva July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

I know it is selfish to part ways once you stop feeling associated with your partner, but I believe that is the best thing to do at that moment. Plenty is at stake- the kids, family, finances and more, but what is more important- feeling satisfied of life or feeling chained because of forces outside control. I know most of the marriages nowadays are passing through this particular stage and phenomenon and still partners choose to cling for the sake of the family, but choosing to stay not only make you suffer but is a substantial proof that you do not want a healthy future for the ones you really care for. So, the moment one feels that it is becoming hard to stay, he/she should first try to mend things but if that is not possible one should think about self before others. Rude, but truth of life. You can make others happy only once you are completely happy in life.*p**p* *p*

Amit Shankar Saha July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

There can be issues of emotional divorce but it need not be permanent. Often a kind of boredom enters a relationship perhaps due to unfulfilled ambitions. It may go away with time or it may require perking up. Often this happens when one of the spouses becomes too involved with work or something. Sometime a showdown is required or a third person can help. But there can also be a situation like in the movie Jatugriha where the partners go their separate ways. *p*

Tuli Banerjee July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

*p*Thanks Antara :)*p*

AritrikDuttaChowdhury July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

I see ut happening around me. 90 percent people undergo this i guess*p*

Antara Majumder July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Can not agree more. Spot on!*p*

Tuli Banerjee July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Getting an emotional divorce is as tough as  getting a legal divorce. If a marriage hasn’t worked, the emotional divorce may help the couple. On second thoughts, a legal divorce seems easier than an emotional one. Many times couples never disengage, never truly separated their lives from their former spouses even after a legal divorce. They probably think that they don’t care about their former spouse, but they are deluding themselves. Only when an emotional divorce takes place successfully, can the individulas start living their personal lives happily, and think of new beginnings.*p**p* *p*

DrSanjeevTrivedi July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

 *p**p*Emergency situation. Time to see a coach or a counselor.*p*

Urmi July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

What a fabulous point raised, Bali. Indeed, one must depend only on oneself for one's happiness, but life and love and relationships aren't always as simple as we wish them to be, no?*p*

Urmi July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

I don't entirely agree with you, Abhijit. There are many people who, while living under the same roof, lead entirely parallel lives. Very little of what their spouses do is of any interest to them, and they interact only when they absolutely must. Yes, the word divorce sounds conclusive, but here the conclusion in matters of the heart is full and final. *p**p*In either case, it's not a term I've invented, and it's definitely not a state I'd wish upon anyone.*p**p* *p*

Abhijit Gadre July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Once you have used a word like "divorce" it is more of a conclusive word. One can be in an emotional turmoil resulting into a divorce but there cannot be an emotional divorce per se. A divorce is most a probability when all the emotions are drained.*p**p*Each individual has his or her priorities in life.Many times they may not allow their emotions interfere with the priorities. That does not make them weak or dependent. But if a person decides that the future is better in a divorce it is his or her priority which would decide.*p*

Bali.D July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Most people don't have the courage to let go or leave the relationship… And most of them stop from leaving their spouses because of financial dependence or because of kids… If one really has the guts,then they should move on…it will be difficult.. But when we don't depend on anyone for our sadness, then why should be depend on them for our happiness? In the end, are we not enough and good for ourselves? *p*

Anonymous July 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

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