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Alarming Rise of Divorce in Lebanon: A Deeper Look

Image Courtesy Rida Abu Fakhir, Chouf, Lebanon.

There is an alarming increase of divorces in Lebanon! Divorce rates increased from 25% to 40% in Lebanon in 2017, according to The Monthly Magazine. Even before, the divorce rate in Lebanon increased by a whopping 55 percent between 2000 and 2013, from published statistics at the United Nation’s ESCWA!

Here, we discuss some reasons behind these statistics, and shed some light on a few questions. What drives a couple to destroy the family bond keeping and move family members apart? And what kind of life is awaiting those leaving a marriage? First, some reasons that might lead to divorce:

The absence of effective communication

In a healthy relationship, communication is the key. When the partners understand each other’s needs, they can make their relationship stronger. This can help develop a healthy and mature relationship as the couple resolve their conflicts successfully.

However, some couples are not open to discussing the intimate side of their relationship.This unwillingness can lead to unmet needs. As a consequence, the unsatisfied partner may start looking for satisfaction outside of the marriage.

Infidelity 

When a partner has a physical or emotional affair with a different mate, or cheating, it usually has devastating consequences on the marriage. If the secret ingredient of a healthy relationship disappears–Trust–, the bond can no longer survive.

Verbal and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse doesn’t include just domestic violence, it also includes any attempt to dominate or control another. This can drive the receiving partner to end the relationship if the option is affordable.

A lady friend of mine, we will call her “Rolla” to protect her true identity, was divorced almost five years ago. She told me, “I feel lonely and left out.” All her family members are busy with their own small families and don’t have time for her. Rolla lives with her parents in their big house. Even though she works all day, she feels disappointed when she returns home to find no one waiting for her. Even her parents live outside the country.

Rolla added, “I don’t have my own house where I can meet my friends freely. I am insecure and dependant, though I pretend to be the strong woman who can handle all the hard situations.” She said she didn’t want to be used by men on account of her being divorced. She tried hard to look for the right relationship with a new man, but hasn’t found Mr. Right yet. Still, Rolla feels confident about finding a new partner.

The opposite gender, the divorced man in this community, is also fighting his own battles too. He can be rejected by many single women despite having the privilege of being a man. In a masculine society, he still suffers from loneliness, and considers chances for marriage.

A divorce may have devastating consequences for the Children. A safe and loving environment is needed for a child to be in a good psychological state of mind.  When the parents move apart, any nurturing environment is often severely disrupted, and a child may suffer from emotional insecurity. With far reaching effects, divorces can permeate years into the future, even hurting a child’s academic performance. The child might become depressed, or blame him/herself for a parent’s disagreements. However, every child responds differently to the same experiences and so it’s difficult to generalize. In most cases though, children of divorced parents need psychological follow up to overcome any negative effects.

A woman’s capacity to make a bold decision to divorce and end a toxic relationship is influenced by education, finances, and parent support. Another woman said her divorce allowed her to lead a happier and more stable life with her children. Her financial independence and supportive parents, according to her, provided the courage needed to go through the divorce. Unlike the case mentioned before, divorce was the best solution for her toxic relationship.

Due to the increase in divorce rates in our society, more people are organizing efforts to help. A group of women I spoke with in Lebanon are raising awareness among engaged couples. They arrange meetings once a month to provide new couples with communication and conflict resolution skills to deal with challenges commonly faced in marriage.  

A friend of mine with divorced parents said that her life became happier and more stable after her parents divorced. She is embraced by both her parents’ love and support.

Divorce can be avoided when couples are able to find win-win solutions for both parties. With the right effort, couples can spend their life together, through thick and thin, and creating good memories. They watch their children grow and flourish. They support them through the good and bad experiences of life, providing wisdom and advice along the way. Despite the inevitability of divorce in some cases, it should be made with careful consideration and wisdom.

In conclusion, if the marriage becomes unbearable, partners should think wisely of the consequences of this step. They should prepare a secure and healthy environment enriched with love and care in order to raise happy children.

About Bader Shehayeb

Bader Shehayeb has a passion for poetry and creative writing. She holds a masters degree in special education, and consults on communication skills and relationships. Bader currently resides in Lebanon where she writes online in both English and Arabic languages.

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One comment

  1. Najwa Abi fakher

    Our community is so closed minded that when a druze woman decides to divorce, she is supposed to avoid talking to her X husband. Why don’t we have the right to a modern way to separate on good terms where both can be friends. It is a pity! Maybe they cannot live as husband and wife, but they can be good friends.