Abu Dhabi: Why has the divorce rate increased in the UAE, and how did it impact women and children in the Emirati society?
A study, by Marriage Fund along with the University of Sharjah in 2011, involving 1,742 Emirati divorced women, revealed that absence of communication due to lack of harmony in the marriage is one of the major reasons behind divorce among Emiratis.
Constant bickering lead to the absence of love and inability to agree on issues of daily life. Stubbornness of a partner regarding his views, the inflexibility to accept a partner’s opinion were among the major causes of divorce. Other causes are over-defensiveness and anger during discussions which leads to animosity.
Due to traditions that forbid a pre-marital relationships, many women discovered traits in their husband’s personality that they were not aware of and found difficult to tolerate.
Interference by in-laws has also played a significant role in divorce. Some 54 per cent of divorced women were living very close to their parents and allowed significant interference in their marriages.
Polygamy, physical abuse of the wife, refusal to share the responsibility of looking after the children and pushing it entirely on the women, lack of, and the inability to provide financial support and forcing the wife to work and contribute part or her entire salary, are also considered major reasons of divorce.
The study further identified secondary reasons that lead to divorce. This includes a lack of understanding by the man about his wife’s jealousy and concerns especially when multiple wives are living together, alcohol and drugs, illness whether physical or mental, and the significant difference in age in some cases.
Other secondary reasons are marriage among relatives, which provides more opportunities for in-law interference, and many family issues including raising children and the inability of one partner to have children, plus the additional pressure on the family to have a child.
The study further defined and analysed the impact of divorce on the children, revealing that divorce is likely to induce significant changes in children’s character and considerably affect their mental and physical health, as well as their personalities and behaviour.
Some of the changes in children include defiance, stubbornness, sadness, hostility, isolation, hyperactivity, concentration deficiency, sense of guilt, lack of self esteem and renegade behaviour.
The children are also bound to be negatively impacted by the financial problems that divorce causes, as each parent may push the responsibility of the children’s financial needs on the other.
The children will also likely suffer from a sense of not belonging, feeling lost between mother and father, which could further lead to not obeying one or both parents. Absence of control could also develop into rebellious behaviour that may lead to crimes, such as stealing and may also lead to bullying.
Other negative effects include loss of friends and the inability to make friends, fearing marriage in the future and self-inflicted pain.
Divorce might also cause children to be hostile and break school rules, miss school, perform poorly academically, and lose interest in higher education.
With regards to health, children may suffer from insomnia, weight loss or just the opposite excessive eating habits, depression, migraine, stomach pain, speech problems, and bed-wetting, the study found.