Ask Sayeda: What are the grounds for divorce?

Published: April 2, 2013

When emotions are high, and when we are tired, we can tend to make drastic decisions that may not be the ones we feel truly aligned with in the long run.

I’m from a pretty well to do segment of Pakistani society. Have been working for 10 years, and am on the brink of divorce.

Being fairly spiritual, I wanted to know what is your opinion about what is too far in a marriage — what would be the grounds for divorce?

I have lived with some minor physical fights that had more emotional trauma than physical; lived through ‘emotional’ affairs where my husband has been inappropriate with a woman online; and have also faced living in one room in my in-laws house because my husband does not financially support me, or our child, because he claims he is in debt (which I have paid off twice in the past).

People still urge me to stay with him (he is fantastic at managing his public image — I, on the other hand, come across as a hostile, slightly beserk person because I’ve been pretty bad at coping with life stress).

My parents — while somewhat supportive — don’t have any solutions. I definitely can’t afford to live on my own.

Curious to know what you would be able to recommend I do.

Anonymous from Karachi

Hi Anonymous from Karachi, 

Thank you for writing in. Before I continue any further, I would like to say that I truly acknowledge your courage and honesty. You mentioned that your parents are “somewhat supportive”. They know you best, so what do they say about the situation?

If possible, would they be able to offer you a space to just stay with them for a while?

What I am recommending is that you get some space from the situation in the short-term, before making any drastic, long-term decision. When emotions are high, and when we are tired, we can tend to make drastic decisions that may not be the ones we feel truly aligned with in the long run. So, the first step is to get some distance, and to then really begin to explore what would work for you going forward.

The next step would be to begin to explore what it is that you want. If you feel that there may be something that you could still do, something that hasn’t been tried, then I would suggest you do that before you take any final steps.

The reason for suggesting this is that I’ve often seen people who felt that they didn’t try everything, and then the regret of that is something very challenging to live within the long run. Finally, take some time to imagine the next 10 years of your life.

Imagine one scenario where things stay the same as they are now, and 10 years go by, what does your life look like now?

Next, imagine one thing changing (either you are on your own, he changes one thing or so on — the choice is yours), how do things look like 10 years from now? Next imagine that ten years have gone by, with this one change having been made.

What does your life look like now?

Take a step back and see which scenario feels more aligned with what you want. Once you get a sense of what things could be like, it will give you some opportunity to figure out what you really want to do moving forward. All the best!

Have a question for Sayeda? Drop us an email explaining your problem on [email protected] and read her response next week! All submissions will be edited for clarity and brevity.

Read more by Sayeda here

Sayeda Habib

Sayeda Habib

Sayeda Habib is a life coach who empowers her clients to create a fulfilling, happier life. To find out more on coaching, or to work with Sayeda, log on to or email [email protected]

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Get divorce as soon as possible and live a happy life. This person is being rewarded by society and by you on his bad behaviour, why would he change?Recommend

  • eagleye

    You are a working woman so finance is not a problem. Dump him! You are looking for sympathy and feel sad & sorry for yourself. Stop being used as a foot mat……..have faith in yourself and dump him and stop paying his debts.Get out before its too late.Recommend

  • Zalam Singh

    Its “Berserk”, not “Beserk”Recommend

  • Optimist

    Full life no marryRecommend

  • Amer

    Divorce is your own decision & you should not care what other people say or think about it. Recommend

  • hyms

    Seriously, I really just couldn’t digest it,
    Why aint she happy & not willing to compromise;

    a) if things went well initially when the marriage took place, PONDER deeply on the things that had had changed which developed these differences,

    b) Isn’t it that once a couple engages in physical love, extends the family eventually, both the couple now happens to be more closer, understanding and compromising to each other??,

    c) Whose fault is it if it aint her’s that her husband is seeking friendship to an online woman, she(wife) should have gone way ahead to satisfy her husband’s desires,

    d) And, if she was aware of the differences before making love to him, why did she then had physical contact and above given birth to a child whose future would now be running between seeing both mom and dad together and what made their dear parents seek separate ways. Recommend

  • charlie

    Some times divorce is the only solution and some time we are thinking emotionally…. its all your decision becoz after that at one side you have to face brutal consequences and on other you have to face some good part…… think log term and its better to take out some solutions after that if you are still not happy decision is yours and you have to stick don’t blame your parents and else …. after all its you and your child. Think Wisely before any decision…. Do istikhara…Recommend

  • Hina

    Try to analyse first what is the reason of his attitude? Was he same since you married him or he changed later. Moreover, maybe he is acting like this due to financial implications & failure for not being able to support financially you & your child has made him to look for escapes (like an online affair) or so.

    Also analyse what kind of a father he is? If he is a good father? How about your child, whether your child will be able to cope without his father emotionally in case of divorce?

    Lastly, living in one room with in-laws & temporary financial disruptions can be compromised as down the lane it can be changed if your husband is willing to get financially established. So you can help him out in opting for a job or starting small scale business. Recommend

  • Naya Pakistan

    Stand on your own feet. Until women decide to take tough decisions in life nothing will change and men will always exploit them. Be independent financially, emotionally may God be with you. Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    Divorce should be the last resort if you have kids.Recommend

  • SK

    Are you really sane, what you are suggesting is that it is women at the other end who is at the fault. Like seriously, where have you got your morals from. She has said, she has been beaten up, had witnessd her husband indulge in extra-marital affair and he is not even financially supportive of her. To go to another woman, does not need any excuse and especially that he was avoided or neglected physically by his wife. There can be numerous other reasons for that, may be he was always involved with that other woman or may be he just wants fun. Stop trying to portray him as the victim here! Recommend

  • Erum

    I think you haven’t seen that her husband was in debt which she paid off twice..
    N what I think is if he is not satisfied n seeking interest in other woman then he sshould also pay attention towards his financial attention.. he doesn’t afford a 2nd woman in his life..
    P.S Anonymous should think about the social issues after getting divoced cz she also have a child who would be separated fron one of his parents.Recommend

  • Wasim P

    Most women change a lot after marriage. Always suspicious, nagging, restless about the relationship, Such innate insecurity leads to acute attention seeking, wanting frequent display of affection and assurances. It is only after arrival of kids, their focus is dominanted by caring for their children, thereby giving some breathing space for their husbands. Even in this case, the person has not mentioned who has changed for worse. Although the husband is financially wrecked, he has not abandoned his family totally. Men are not as expressive as women…but are a lot calmer because they believe they are understood well by their partner. Although you may disagree, a divorce will equally be hurtful for him. You know him and his intentions, only you should judge. The world doesn’t end if you divorce. The world doesn’t end if you stay.Recommend

  • ABC

    Would you say the same thing if this was a man writing about his wife? That its his fault she had an affair? Double standardsRecommend

  • hyms

    Rightly pointed out Erum. But one aint really sure what would one had to face in business. And as per marriage, don’t you believe its all about compromise and everything?
    About seeking interests in other woman, here the wife might exactly be not fulfilling her duties when it comes to satisfying husband. Had had she done and agreed to everything her husband required, I’m sure her husband would keep her interest first upon his and make sure he is taking good care of her.Recommend

  • AWA

    I must advice you not to make a hasty decison . Stick up to him as there is no gurantee if your life will be good after divorcing him ; Stay upright and face the violance with a forgiving attitude till the man changes ; Pray to Allah to give him wisdomRecommend

  • mind control

    Take a step back and see which scenario feels more aligned with what you want. Once you get a sense of what things could be like, it will give you some opportunity to figure out what you really want to do moving forward.


    Step back to feel what you want and then figure out what you really want . And then what? Figure out ‘WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT?

    Is this advice or Jalebi.

    The simple advice is- The man is unfaithful and profligate and untrustworthy and irresponsible. Dump him ASAP.
    And please give the distressed lady the Contact details of some support group, which will help her tide over the transition.Recommend

  • Historian 1

    go and stay away from this man for a couple of months..your parents/ siblings should support you during this time. if he changes, good, otherwise divorce him.Recommend


    @hyms: What an ignorant response from your end – Recommend

  • FJ

    Please remember that this is just one side of the story. Also it is important to know how many years of marriage has passed. Things get better and they take time. For me if husband beats his wife then that should be the end of the relationship!Recommend

  • Baba jee

    Something tells me it was a love-marriage……Recommend

  • hyms

    @SK, ABC
    Marriage` is not smething that you decide in weeks, its happens to be a very big decision for both the man and woman, who mutually agree on serving their rest of the lives for his/her better half.
    I am pretty sure the lady(wife) here was informed and was aware of her husband, his financial position, his firends, business and everything related.
    Before taking that big decision, she herself vowed to be her wife for the remaining life. If she would have taken a strong stand earlier when her husband asked her to clear her debt and monitored his movments and have had apprehended him, things might have been somewhat different.
    Though, Agreed, in this case its the vice-versa, the wife seems to have a wisdom and a matured way of thinking while the husband never understood the responsibility to support himself financially.
    I would say, if the lady(wife) takes a strong stand against her husband, let him know of his shortcomings, and suggest him ways to improve himself, would definately improve the relations overall.
    As per husband, his childish, immature attitude of not being able to sustain himself financially and above all hovering to find yet another beauty queen., thus treat him as a child until he himself realizes his doings. For surely, he himself might be drawing himself away from her to avoid embarssment of not-treating-her(wife) as she requires to be and to avoid nagging from the wife, hence seeking solace in the arms of another woman.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You started with ‘ Being fairly spiritual………….. ‘ and then did not clarify exactly what you meant. Otherwise from the story the guy seems a bit of a rotter and you’ll have a compatibility issue. Advice given by Sayeda of giving yourselves ‘ space ‘ and then coming to a decision is spot on.Recommend

  • Daniyal

    So that means that if the wife were to cheat on her husband, then that’s the husband’s fault since he “wasn’t able to satisfy her demands”? Cause that’s what your logic suggests. That way ALL the people unfaithful to their spouses are actually the victims, and the ones who have been cheated on are the culprits.

  • Open-marriage

    Get a boy friend yourself and live in an open relationship !

    Life is too short !Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @Baba jee:

    How did you infer that?


  • Habiba Younis

    ur husband frankly doesnt seem to have any potential for change. evaluate on this basis, can u imagine life on long run with ur husband same as he is now, and put in ur childs fate in the equation too. Recommend

  • Nayla

    @ hyms,

    You sure have some flawed, insane logic. So, can you honestly say that if you had a wife, and she cheated on you, you would take responsibility for her having an affair, since you obviously didn’t keep her happy enough to not cheat on you?Recommend

  • Baba jee

    Marriage is not something you decide in minutes, seconds, hours or days. it requires a through thought-process for both the man and the woman who happen to start totally a new phase in life And before actually initiating that phase both the parties know each other, understand each other, compromise with each other, are fullly aware of theirs and others financial position precisely to make sure he is able to provide home to his wife and following to the ones who would soon be the part of the family (Babies).

    Similarly, in the case above, though there happens to be a wide difference financial difference betwenn the two, however things did went well during the initial years of marriage and the when the baby arrived but given knowing the financial position of the husband, she(wife) should haven been mentally prepared before taking a giant leap backwards(taking in financial terms) as a step-down.

    Doesnt that happen when one desperately falls in love? Cause one tends to sideline his/her brains over ecstatic feelings of love.Recommend

  • ABC

    @Baba Jee
    Where does it say that it was a happy marriage? Just because they had a baby doesn’t mean they loved each other. You do know many babies in Pakistan are born without the parents even knowing each other properly due to arrange marriage settings or to parents who do not get along? AT least in Pakistan being in love doesn’t seem to be one of the criteria’s for having children.Recommend

  • hyms

    @Nayla & all others who are thinking on similar lines

    Why are you just restricting yourselves to just the physical intercourse thing, true it does matter but aside from that one must ‘not-strictly’ check-in on his/her partner activities and inform them regularly that you trust them so that one doesn’t end up in a fix for surely its a communication gap that weakens the knot.Recommend

  • Cluster Fly

    Whatever he imagines you did, or said that according to him made him behave in this way is totally irrelevant. Fact is, he is a grown man, who made a conscious decision to act in the way he did. Recommend