Breaking Up

‘Relationships are a very beautiful and divine bonus of life, but not life itself.’

Deepak Kashyap, counsellor

‘Sometimes it is better to endure the transitional pain of a break up than to bear the constant pain of an undesired, unwanted, or bad relationship.’

Jyotti Savla, counsellor


I want to leave my partner of 5 years, but I am too scared to do so. What do I do?

Deciding to get out of a relationship is one of the most difficult decisions for anyone to make. The number of years spent together, whether or not there are children involved, one’s financial status, one’s own level of confidence, the availability of housing, the possibility of support from others including parents and friends – all these play a role in this decision. When a relationship is not working or is abusive External Website that opens in a new window, you may find yourself at a crossroad, trying to figure out whether to stay or to go.

The term ‘walking out’ has a particularly abled connotation. For someone who is in a wheelchair or who cannot see, it may sound more daunting, particularly if the partner is also the caregiver. So in the case of a woman with disability, the dependence is not only a financial dependence, but it could also be the everyday dependence on a partner for daily needs that makes this decision even more difficult. In addition, there is always the fear of not finding someone else.

But being in an unhappy relationship is often far more damaging than not being in one. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of your situation before making this life-changing decision. Perhaps the first step is coming to the realisation that you are in a place that is bad for yourself, and discussing it with the most supportive people you can think of. They may help you find the resources you need – money, support from family and friends, place to stay etc. Stay strong. Take time to decide, but once you decide, don’t let discouragement or criticism change your mind.

I feel lost without my partner. Will I ever recover from this broken relationship? How?

Here is what counsellor Deepak Kashyap has to say to you: ‘Firstly, stop being in a hurry to recover. It is okay to be sad. As humans we have all the capacity to feel sadness, and it is not advisable to force a particular emotion on yourself. But what will help in recovering External Website that opens in a new window is the knowledge that “This is a temporary phase. This is a rough patch, it will pass, but this is my rough patch and I have to walk on it right now. I shouldn’t be in a hurry to be all happy and gay right after I have divorced or broken up.” It’s good to go through that emotion, to learn from it, but not despair. It is very important for you to understand that just because you have failed in the romantic arena of life that doesn’t mean that you are a failure in life itself.’

Don’t shy away from seeking support. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself like you would do if it were a close friend in the same situation.

The end of a relationship can also be a really positive thing. It might be the push for you to do something you’d enjoy, but haven’t given much thought to before. Don’t feel lost, because endings are beginnings too!

I am disabled. Isn’t it my partner’s responsibility to always be with me and never leave me?

If for various reasons your partner has decided to end the relationship, you can’t do much about it. You could discuss your problems and try to work it out. But trying to salvage your relationship just because you are dependent on your partner due to your disability is almost like emotional blackmail for your partner. If your partner is overly sensitive and conscientious, they may stick around, but even then your relationship will suffer. They may continue to be with you and perform the caregiver role only out of duty or responsibility. But is this what you want? The role of a caregiver is something that can be outsourced but not the role of a partner.

Relationships sustain because of what you are as a human being. By wanting to continue on the basis of your disability, you are saying that there is nothing more to you than your disability. That’s not true!

Don’t try to hold on, or lay unnecessary moral rules for your partner. They have as much a choice to leave a relationship that is not working as you do. Focus on what is causing problems in your relationship – if your disability is not one of them, there is no reason to bring it in.

My community doesn’t view divorce as okay. Then how do I decide to separate?

Says counsellor Deepak Kashyap, ‘Here is the first question – Whose approval are you trying to seek? Are you trying to seek approval from others by staying with your partner? If you don’t like sharing your problems with others, and have been portraying [yourselves] as a happy couple, you will be very conscious when people ask you “What went wrong?” You are fearing “What will others think of me? Will they stop trusting me?” This is why others’ approval becomes very important. Particularly because you think that “I will be divorced disabled and if people don’t accept me, life could get difficult.”‘

Even if the larger community doesn’t view divorce External Website that opens in a new window as okay, there will be some family members who will be more sympathetic. So try and enlist their support. You have just one life. Is it really worth going through a bad marriage? Or living a relationship which is not for you? You are struggling, living with immense pain or suffocation, only because of the community. Why? You have a right to live the way you want to, and you deserve to be happy. Stand by your decision, and sooner or later, people will come around.