- Hevar Hassan
- BBC Arabic
It is not easy to talk about emotional separation between spouses in Arab and Islamic societies, as it remains confined to bedrooms, although it is no less harmful to the family than divorce. Undoubtedly one or all parties, including children, are affected by the formal divorce between spouses.
Divorce cases in Saudi Arabia, for example, over the past year (June 2018 and June 2019) totaled 5,333 cases per month, according to the Saudi Ministry of Justice. In Egypt, the divorce rate has risen to 23 almost every hour. In Turkey, the divorce rate increased by 10.9 percent during 2018, according to the Turkish Statistics Authority, and in Iran, there are twenty cases of divorce per hour, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Experts in the field of psychology and sociology believe that the rate of “clinical separation” exceeds the rate of formal divorce, although there are no official statistics on this due to the sensitivity of the issue. It is covering all segments of society, regardless of their religion, nationality, age or cultural background.
Kamal says he does not know if he is married or divorced, “I really can not say.”
Kamal (not his real name) works as an engineer at a telecommunications company in London. He married Soraja in Iraq twenty years ago and they have two sons in their twenties.
Kamal (46 years old) is a political and social activist, raises many political and social issues and has hundreds of followers on the social network Facebook.
Kamal describes his relationship with his wife, saying: “My relationship with him went from full of love to a form of mutual respect as two colleagues. The emotional and sexual attraction between us disappeared many years ago, especially since she had a child. first.”
“I did not blame her for leaving our common bed, even after a few months from birth, and I am justifying this because it could be due to the change in her mood and psychology due to the change in hormones after the birth. she consulted psychologists to revive our relationship, but it took her more than she imagined, and over time, she no longer pays any attention to the emotional and sexual relationship between us, especially after the birth of our second son. “
He got to the point where she asked him not to behave like a teenager and “not care about romance and sex if he tries to tickle her feelings or get close to her because he has become a father.”
He adds: “Soraya thinks she is an ideal woman because of her interest in children and homework and social work, but I see her as ideal only as a mother and housewife and not as a woman.”
Desirable and rejected
Kamal went through a state of boredom and depression due to his wife’s lack of desire for him, so he locked himself in and retired to his room with his virtual friends, who were in the hundreds on Facebook.
Over time, the number of his fans who started praising his ideas and his live musical instrument on his Facebook page increased and his self-confidence returned. Those comments and compliments made him feel safe again, he said.
Kamal was content with compliments, compliments and private letters, and some of his fans asked to meet him, some of which turned into “mortal and later sexual encounters”.
“I could not resist the temptations of young sexy girls at a time when I felt emotionally dead and heartless in our marital relationship.”
Kamal believes that he is not the only one who lives in such a situation and says: “I know that people give negative labels to a man like me and blame me, but I am not the only one who lives in such a situation, there are dozens like me in my inner circle.
Kamal has two lives: the virtual one to enjoy society and family and the role of the ideal father and husband and the private one he secretly spends with his girlfriend on the weekends.
In the opinion of social scholar Hamid Al-Hashemi, that there are many like Kamal, but instead of justifying his mistakes and weakness in the face of his whims, it would be better for him to discuss these small details with his own. woman and be honest with her about what she has in mind and what might result from this in the future if she continues to treat him this way.Method, to reach a solution that satisfies both parties and saves them from mistakes against each other or falling into a state of isolation, as Kamal did.
He added: “A woman is also mistaken for neglecting the emotional and sexual aspects of their marital relationship, because in this way she asks him to suppress a natural human need that is beyond his capabilities and that is necessary for the continuation of love between spouses. . “
As for psychologist Amal Al-Hamid, she stresses the need to get rid of the saying “I did my best” because it makes both parties feel desperate and each party feels that it is the victim and that the other. is responsible.
He adds: “Both sides need to think about the positive aspects, remember the beautiful and difficult times they lived together and take the initiative to transmit positive behaviors through coexistence. Husband’s attention as well.
“Man’s need and guilt”
As for Mitra and her husband, Rostam, they are an Iranian couple in their 40s. They have moved to Birmingham, England, with their two teenage daughters since 2005.
The uterus was diagnosed with cancer of the breast and then the uterus 10 years ago, and her breasts, ovaries and uterus were removed, which transformed her character from an energetic, active and moving woman into another anxious, isolated and involuntary to live. she described it.
Mitra says that she has lost her sexual desire since the removal operations and has lost the desire to have sex with others and her husband and says: “My only window to life is the presence of my two daughters in my life.” .
Regarding her relationship with her husband, she says: “This situation does not justify my husband seeking another wife, but he did and I discovered his case. “His choice is between her and me, so he chose me because he realized he would lose his two daughters.”
She explains her stance by saying, “If my husband were the one who had cancer, I would support him until the last day of my life. Marriage promised to stay together in thick and thin and not only “Men should learn to sacrifice and give up their selfishness in good times.”
But Mitra contradicts herself after a while and says: “I know I can not meet his natural needs and sometimes I feel guilty, but at the same time I do not accept the idea that he abandons me and I. , like any woman, do not admit to being unwanted. “
As for her husband, Rustom, books have become almost his whole world and he hardly participates in any activities outside of his work and stays quiet and silent all the time, according to the description of his wife, and daughter his teen describes him as a “boring dad”.
Psychologists and social workers unanimously agree that couples who are going through such situations should consider visiting psychologists to save their married life before it is too late.
However, the culture of consulting with psychologists and social workers in Arab and Islamic societies is still not common. Social researcher Hamid Al-Hashemi comments on Rostom’s condition, saying: “He is not well and is prone to severe depression and his results are not good.”
Samar, 29, who has moved from Syria to Turkey since 2015 and married a Turkish man, said: “The reason that pushed her to marry in Turkey is the difficult life of refugees there, especially women, because they are constantly harassed. “
She chose to marry “for the sake of a dignified life that preserves her dignity”, but was later surprised by the social differences between them and a completely different way of life from what was taught.
She says her life is “limited to raising children, cleaning up and meeting the demands of her husband”, who does not care about her desire, but about what he wants, even by force. The only financial source of money he needs. to support her two children.
And she adds: “If I had other options, I would not stay with him for a day because I am not used to this kind of treatment from my family. My thoughts, my dignity, even my emotions here have no value. “It’s just sex on demand.”
As for Roj from Erbil, she says her 60-year-old father has not had sex with her 47-year-old mother for decades and that her mother, despite knowing about her father’s secret marriage, does not reveal it. this. to anyone “to preserve her dignity and pride” because it would make her feel humiliated if “the community starts talking for a reason”. Her husband left her.
The daughter adds: “My father is very rich and this wealth made a young woman in her thirties marry him and my mother is a strong and financially independent woman, but she preferred not to reveal my father’s marriage and not to ask. for a divorce to preserve our reputation on the one hand and her pride on the other ”.
Psychologist Amal Al-Hamid believes that if spouses understand the reasons and have the will to solve, it will be very easy to overcome the problem, but if one of the parties marginalizes the other and scratches his feelings and the language of dialogue and sincerity. between them is absent, the problem will worsen and become more complicated and eventually both parties face an emotional divorce and psychologically it is more difficult than a public divorce.
In many cases, one party tries to change the situation, routine and monotony in their life, while the other party adheres to that routine and the other party, in turn, surrenders to it after his efforts fail. according to Al-Hamid.
In order for spouses to overcome their problems and bring life back to their emotional and sexual relationship, problems should not be postponed and left to pile up, but put them into discussion by selecting words that do not cause anger and rage. of the other party so that the matter does not turn into malice and hatred.
For example, if the husband does not give a gift to his wife, she should take the initiative and repeat the matter to draw attention to what he has lost. Over time and repetition, the climb of positive initiative will pass to the other party as well.
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