A Warning Sign: Silent Divorce

A Warning Sign: Silent Divorce
A Warning Sign: Silent Divorce

Divorce rates in Iran have been rising constantly in recent years, but what makes the situation alarming is the number of seemingly successful marriages that end up in emotional divorce.

In the absence of official data, varying statistics have been cited on the rates of emotional divorce, but the majority of experts are of the opinion that one out of two marriages in the country are “in the state of silent divorce,” IRNA reported.

Emotional divorce is the phase in a relationship where, although couples appear far from physical separation, they are already emotionally disentangling from each other. To the outside world, they appear very much together, but the real connection is spent out.

Pointing to emotional divorce as the most horrendous stage of separation, psychologist Touraj Shamshiri said that it usually begins with frequent protests about each other’s behavior, often accompanied by harsh language which then leads to serious quarrels and verbal or physical abuse.  The couple then begins “to hate each other and enters the stage of indifference when they stop speaking altogether and become apathetic towards each other.”

“The final phase is when any hope of recovery in the relationship is abandoned,” he said adding that it is best to refer to specialists as soon as the first symptoms appear.

Shamshiri pointed to the lack of conversation between couples as a major cause of emotional separation.  Studies have revealed that the average spoken time in Iranian families is 15 minutes which has decreased in recent years due to the emergence and prevalence of social networks.

“Men’s feeling of supremacy together with their inattention and at times humiliating behavior towards their wives are other common reasons for such a state of affairs,” he said.

Silent divorce commonly occurs at the beginning of the third decade of married life. However, it can happen at any stage and couples are advised to be always prepared to fight the situation.

Shamshiri further said prospective couples must be educated on emotional divorce and learn the skills “to not let the sparks in marriage die” before getting married.

“The best way to prevent emotional divorce is to ensure a couple’s physical and mental compatibility and that they are mature enough to begin a relationship,” said the psychologist.

According to official data, 25% of marriages in Iran lead to divorce, but experts believe that the rate of emotional divorce is twice as much, which means half of the marriages are victims of emotional disengagement.  

According to Monireh Kermani Jahangir, another psychologist, 53% of Iranian couples are emotionally divorced.

A couple living together without emotional bonding are destroying their marriage.

The taboo of divorce in the society has led to an increase in emotional divorce. Conflicts between modern and traditional values, lack of right attitude towards marriage, the increasing marriage age, forced marriage, psychological disorders, depression, sexual incompatibility as well as economic problems are factors contributing to emotional distancing between couples.

Such a situation can also adversely impact children who grow up feeling emotionally insecure or empty. Emotional divorce thus sets children up for failed marriages as children don’t see parents communicating with each other, or see a relationship that seems void of joy and contentment.