Here’s everything you need to know about the new relationship term- Emotional Divorce | sex and relationships | Hindustan Times
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Here’s everything you need to know about the new relationship term- Emotional Divorce

After gaslighting, ghosting and benching, emotional divorce is the new addition to the relationship dictionary. With the help of experts, we explain what emotional divorce is and how you can survive it.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 18, 2017 11:24 IST
Abhinav Verma
Emotional divorce is a psychological defence mechanism employed by the partner,who feels that their marriage is a threat to their emotional well being.
Emotional divorce is a psychological defence mechanism employed by the partner,who feels that their marriage is a threat to their emotional well being.(Istock)

By definition, divorce is ‘the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body’. It involves tedious paperwork, separation of finances and assets. However, divorce is just a formality as it’s preceded by an emotional divorce, which does the actual damage. According to the internet, emotional divorce can be defined as a psychological defence mechanism employed by the partner, who feels that their existing marriage is a threat to their well being. The subjected partner tends to withdraw his/her emotions from the marriage to protect oneself. According to experts, Shivani Misri Sadhoo, psychologist and marriage counselor and Anika Parashar, therapeutic counselor- who also have Facebook support group for divorced women, the partner that initiates the emotional divorce, is the ‘walk- away’ spouse and the partner that gets emotionally divorced, is the ‘left- behind’ spouse.

So, with the help of these experts we decode the characteristics of a ‘walk- away’ and ‘left- behind’ spouse and provide few pointers to survive an emotional divorce.

The walk- away spouse

-Over a period of time they stop communicating. They get tired of being the one who always makes the effort to communicate the problems of the relationships.

-They usually give a cold and distant vibe as if they are not interested in the relationship anymore. They won’t say that it’s over but that’s what they will project.

-They prefer to spend time away from the home and at times they give excuses to get away from the house.

-They have an exasperated behaviour towards their spouse and they tend to shut down any efforts by their partner to save their marriage.

-Their aim is to accelerate the divorce process.

The left- behind spouse

-They have no idea that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage and that the marriage is heading for a breakdown.

-Clingy attitude towards their partner, always looking for one more chance to save their marriage.

-They feel nervous, anxious and worry about the future and being single again.

-In extreme cases, they have a tendency to stalk or harass their partner.

-Their aim is to delay the divorce process.

How to navigate through an emotional divorce

During an emotional divorce, the left- behind partner tries to the control the relationship. They failed to see the warning signs and when they get emotionally divorced, they don’t know how to respond. As a result, they act in a manner that usually ends up pushing their partner further away. The left- behind partner needs to avoid causing unnecessary conflict and understand that the relationship is over and need to let go. It’s also important for them to understand that the partner walking away is not a bad person. In fact that person is just as emotionally damaged as they are and they are looking to protect themselves from further pain.

Whereas, the walk- away spouse needs to be a bit sensitive towards left- behind spouse, as they react the way they do because they are still trying to save the relationship. The walk- away spouse also needs to avoid doing anything that can trigger the walk- away spouse. They also need to avoid in old dynamics that can create conflict.