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'Happily married men live longer'

Psychologists, Sanjoy Mukerji and Dr Veena Chakravarthy discuss the repercussions of separating on the couple, their children and their life...

sex and relationships Updated: Feb 21, 2010 17:34 IST
Prema K

Psychologist and author of You Can Change Your Destiny, Sanjoy Mukerji, believes, that couples who separate after many years of marriage, were incompatible right from the start, but had been making adjustments and compromises for the sake of their children.

“They feel free of responsibility when the children grow up and want to lead their lives the way they had imagined,” says Mukerji. “At that mature age, sometimes one partner goes the spiritual way and starts thinking of the other as stagnant. For a while, he or she tries to persuade the other to follow suit, but if it doesn’t happen then a certain sense of detachment creeps in. I’ve come across many such couples. Initially, opposites attract, but later, diverse personalities lead to clashes.”

According to clinical psychologist, Dr Veena Chakravarthy, many issues are brushed under the carpet or ignored. “This leads to pent-up frustrations that spark off constant bickering and personality clashes,” she avers.

Separation, both agree, results in children feeling traumatised too. “They feel uprooted, shy away from commitment and develop intimacy phobia,” says Mukerji. Their parents too are not as blasé as they appear. At a later age, men are more affected than women. “Elderly husbands could go into depression or fall prey to a disease. According to a study, men who are happily married have a longer life. The reverse is true for women,” says Mukerji.

Dr Chakravarthy points out, that such separated couples continue to have common friends, which make it difficult for them to get over each other completely, since they continue to bump into each other socially. She adds, “Some couples take the split badly and go into depression. So, before making this choice, they need to spend time and talk to their kids. If the kids are with them, they can motivate their parent to start their life afresh.”

How to handle a break-up

Couples should attend a few counselling sessions together, so that they can help their children cope with the separation.
At least one of the parents should develop a strong relationship with the children, especially if they are in their 20s or younger. That’s a crucial age given suicide cases are common today.
Developing a hobby like learning to play a musical instrument, reading or joining a gym is a welcome diversion.
Tap your inner strength to help you overcome the crisis.
Use this as an opportunity to do all those things you couldn’t earlier, like pursuing a hobby.
Develop new social contacts.