From a young age, we are told that marriage is the be-all and end-all. That is the final destination where we will find our happily ever after. Marriage has always been shown as the best thing to happen and more importantly, one marriage forever.

Many of us looked to our parents as the first real look at what a marriage looks like. Some of us saw a couple who loved each other and respected each other. Others saw the complete opposite.

Looking at a marriage that is failing really hard when you’re growing up is tough because you’re taught that marriage is supposed to be filled with love and affection. It’s confusing because you see what it is supposed to be, what the couple pretends it is and then you see the reality.

In Asian cultures, it’s not as common to find divorced parents. That’s not because the Asian community has somehow cracked the secret to a happy and successful marriage; but because the idea of divorce and separation is so unthinkable that it’s better to pretend the problems don’t exist.

It’s a romanticization of ‘we know how to make things work’ and turning your nose up to other cultures where divorce has become less taboo.

But in these pretenses, everyone forgets to look at the children who are being raised in this toxic environment. It is really telling when children say that they wish their parents have split up. Kids see everything, they are there when the doors are closed, and the problems come bubbling to the surface.

They are a part of every argument and fight, and this has long term impacts on their mental health and how they view romantic relationships.

Some parents see the problems in their relationship and endeavor to work on them. Be it through therapy or other means it’s a healthy decision that’s made in the best interest of the people involved.

Staying in a marriage because it’s ‘the right thing to do’ or ‘staying for the kids’ does nothing but teach kids that long-term relationships are filled with arguments and violence.

It’s not easy to leave a relationship. It’s even harder when everyone and their dog is telling you that it’s the wrong decision to leave. That as a woman and a mother you have to stay. I promise you, pretending it’s fine and your marriage is perfect is even worse.

I have seen couples who have been abusive to each other one day professing their love on their anniversary the next and it honestly makes me sick. It pretends to show the world how lucky you are whereas, in reality, it’s completely different.

We need to change the way we see relationships and marriage. It’s not courageous to stay in a relationship that is broken and pretend it’s fine; especially when younger people are involved.

Sometimes, you need to be selfish and put yourself and your happiness and well-being first.

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  • Aafiyah Shaikh

    Aafiyah is a graduate from Lancaster University with a BA in International Relations. In her spare time, she loves writing poetry, and dismantling racist and patriarchal structures


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