Can you avoid divorce if your relationship is breaking up?

Dr. Hamid al Hashemi

The first Monday of the year is known as Divorce Day, as attorneys see an increase in clients seeking their services to separate. But there are also those who decide to stay together despite the emotional and family cost of doing so. Several experts recommend what to do if you find yourself in that situation

Some couples experience such emotional and sexual detachment that it weighs more heavily – and is sometimes more painful – than the divorce itself.

According to experts consulted by the BBC, these couples avoid talking about separating, although the emotional and family cost to stay together be much older.

The BBC spoke to several people caught up in that situation about the “emotional vacuum” they feel and consulted with several therapists about the best way to deal with it.

From lovers to colleagues

“To be honest, I can’t tell you if I’m married or divorced,” Kamal * tells the BBC.

He is a telecommunications consultant who has been married to his wife for 20 years, with whom he shares two children.

Some say they feel emotionally empty with their partner. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kamal is 46 years old, has an active life on social networks and hundreds of followers on Facebook, but when he talks about his relationship with his wife, he says he is going “downhill.”

“Posted of being one Love passionate to a kind of respect, almost the same that two colleagues have at work ”, she describes.

“It all started after the birth of our first child. It was like all the emotional and sexual attraction we had gone out of the window. And it’s been that way ever since”, Explain.

“I have sought excuses for his decision to Sleep on another room months after our son was born. And sometimes I still argue that it must have been hormones or postpartum depression. ”

He says he consulted with several experts, especially when his wife, after giving birth to her second child, decided that she did not want to have any emotional or sexual contact with him.

Kamal recalls that once when he told her that they needed to add romance to the relationship, she replied that he stop “acting like a teenager” and behave “Like a parent.”

“She thinks that she is the ideal wife because she takes care of the children and the house. And I think she does a great job as a mother and housewife. But no more, ”he says.

Some unhappy couples sometimes turn to social media to alleviate that feeling of “abandonment and disinterest.” (Photo: Getty Images)


Kamal says that feeling frustrated and unwanted, he began to stop worrying about his marriage. He went into his room and looked for comfort in the company of hundreds of Facebook friends.

Several fans began to find the thoughts he shared on the social network interesting, and the more “likes” they got, the more self-confidence grew.

But those virtual interactions soon became “romantic and sexual encountersKamal acknowledges.

“It was difficult to resist attractive women who showed interest in me and that weather in which I was feeling emotionally dead and in a marriage with the days numbered”

Kamal knows there are others like him. “People may judge me, but I am not the only one. There are many more people who are in the same situation”

Now she has a double life: the public one, “of perfect father and husband”, and the clandestine one, the one she leads with her “love” on weekends.

But beyond finding excuses, psychologist Hamid al Hashimi says that what would serve Kamal the most would be “Openly discuss your needs and the current situation in which you live with your wife.”

Commitment and communication can be key to moving a relationship forward. (Photo: Getty Images)

“He should have told her what was going on instead of moving on without speaking. Often the best way to solve a problem is to reach a middle ground: a commitment from both parties that helps to see the mistakes of both and avoids the feeling of abandonment ”, says the therapist.

For al Hashimi, both sides must make changes.

“The wife cannot suppress the sexual and emotional part of a marriage, something that is essential to maintain love,” he says.

It is essential for marriage counselor Amal al Hamid to stop saying “I’ve done everything in my power ”.

“It is no use blaming the other and falling into the role of the victim”, stresses.

And he adds that a strategy may be to remember the good times and the times when they managed to overcome difficult times together.

“Everyone should take the initiative. A positive attitude is contagious” He added.

Psychologist Amal al Hamid believes that improving the marriage relationship starts with the simplest things, like repeating the word “thank you” and smiling instead of grumbling. (Photo: BBC)

Feel guilty

Mitra and Rustam, both in their 40s, have been a couple and have lived with their two daughters in the UK since 2005.

About 10 years ago, Mitra was diagnosed with breast and post-uterine cancer. That affected her energy and increased her anxiety.

Now she acknowledges that the operations she underwent blocked her sexual desire. “The only window to life was through my daughters,” bill.

But when she found out that her husband had a lover, she couldn’t believe it and made him choose between her and the other woman.

He chose her, because “he knew he would lose his daughters if he chose the other woman,” Mitra recalls.

Couples may find it difficult to seek marriage counseling. (Photo: Getty Images)

“If what happened to me had happened to him, I would have accompanied him to the end. Marriage is good and bad. Maybe men should learn to be less selfish, “he says.

But she admits that she cannot meet her husband’s needs and that is why she feels guilty. “Although I can’t accept that he abandons me. As a woman I can’t feel unwanted” He added.

For now, her husband only finds refuge in his books. “He hardly does anything other than work. He is always silent. Even our daughters tell him he is a boring father. ”

But like many couples, they find it difficult to accept that they need a marriage counselor.

Financial support

Samar, 29, left Syria in 2015 when a Turkish man married to escape a “refugee life, especially a refugee woman who is often harassed.”

According to her, marriage was her “only decent solution”, but she was shocked when she realized that the beliefs and traditions of her new family were very different from her own.

“My whole life is based on taking care of the children, cooking, cleaning and attending to their demands”, he tells the BBC.

Others are frustrated with their role in the relationship. (Photo: Getty Images)

The only reason she remains married to a man who even forbids her from visiting her neighbors “except those he approves of” is financial support for her and her children.

“If I had any other means, I would not stay with him one more day. They never treated me like this when I was with my family. My opinion, dignity, feelings do not count at all here. It is the only available to sex that you are looking for. ”

Secretly married

Rouj reports that his 60-year-old father has not had sex with his 47-year-old mother, during decades.

And she clarifies that her mother knows that the father “is secretly married to another woman”, but that he prefers to keep everything hidden. She couldn’t bear people’s comments if the matter were known.

“My father is a rich man and it is the only reason that a much younger woman would agree to marry him. My mother is a strong and financially independent woman, but she doesn’t want to speak up and file for divorce, because she doesn’t want to spoil our reputation. She wants to keep her prideRouj explains.

Her mother has suffered emotionally quite a bit in recent years, but wants to appear which is fine and What is it happy, even if its Tand very sad.

She herself has rejected the idea of ​​seeking legal advice because she wants to keep her father’s secret marriage hidden.

Social researcher Hamid al Hashemi believes that the responsibility for a good relationship lies with both parties. (Photo: BBC)

One way to solve

For Al Hamid, the only way to solve things is if both sides want to do it.

“If one of the two wants to push the other away or offend him, things will only get worse. Couples need to talk openly about their problems, but you have to choose the words appropriately, “he says.

Sometimes, Al Hamid argues, one side tries to change things while the other clings to the status quo, foiling any attempt at change.

To overcome difficulties, both parties must learn not to allow things to accumulate. They must speak frequently, using the correct language so as not to offend.

* The names in this article have been changed to protect the identity of the interviewees

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