Attitudes toward divorce changing in Vietnam, but prejudice persists
The breaking news that American billionaire Bill Gates and his wife have plans to divorce after 27 years of living together has flooded local media and social networks in Vietnam over the past few days, overwhelming other hot issues.
Interestingly, the online community, both men and women, commented on those who "had a lot of money and still could not maintain their family", mocked women who were "abandoned" by their husbands, and noted that divorce is an unfortunate breakdown.
Such views of society will change because the divorce rate in major cities of Vietnam today has skyrocketed to 30%. Along with gender equality, women's liberation, sexual revolution, and awareness education movements, the divorce rate will soon be close to that of developed countries, which is now up to 42-50%.
Among the reasons for divorce in Vietnam, lifestyle conflict is the first (27.7%), followed by adultery (25.9%), economic problems (13%), domestic violence (6.7%), health (2.2%), and living apart for a long time (1.3%). These reasons are not much different from the West.
Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife have decided to divorce after 27 years of marriage.
However, there is an alarming problem: too few couples in Vietnam know how to step out of a marriage with dignity. After five years or even 10 years after divorce, the insiders are still angry and suffering, while outsiders still denounce and make comments about their divorce.
Love is a wonderful thing. If love has gone, boldly break up but with a decent and kind attitude. That is the way to respect yourself. But in fact, many women have become “heroines” in the online community after video clips of their jealous scenes went viral. Such trivial clips tell a lot about the times and the society in which we live!
Why do so many people support making scenes of jealousy so enthusiastically? They, perhaps, have had to endure too long the husband-dominated culture. The women who are often looked down on, cuckolded, neglected, oppressed or economically dependent, will, at a certain point, give up everything.
Vietnamese society is stuck in the congestion of notions about marriage, love and society. The traditional notions of the agricultural village, religion and the state have almost the same purpose: to turn marriage into a form to protect social stability, through the responsibility of giving birth and raising children to create the right society.
This, consciously and unconsciously, has turned generations of Vietnamese women into victims of the system: When commitments to fidelity are broken, they often choose to remain silent to protect their family and use their own children as cards to keep the man. In the long run, this erodes their self-esteem!
Meanwhile, the traditional practices of this society add to women's suffering: praising the image of a perfect, orderly family.
When the majority believe in the quantitative unity of marriage, they will be eliminated in terms of two human factors: qualitative difference and the instinct to seek new love. Love is born and dies, and changes in very complicated ways over time, rather than being an illusion of "lasting forever".
Both men and women marry and then divorce, mistake the romantic or frivolous concepts of getting married and struggle, and do not know how to respect the partner and maintain the relationship. It is important that they also know how to step out of a difficult relationship with dialogue and dignity. When love has been ruined, there is no need to be dragged into the hole by continuing to maintain a bad marriage in the name of the children and to hide from the eyes of the world, or to make scenes of jealousy to let the world know.
In order to get rid of the pain of marriage, modern people have come up with a lot of tricks: sleeping together, not getting married, searching for ‘sugar baby’, but these can be a different kind of mistake: using another as a tool to fill their confusion, helplessness and loneliness.
Leo Tolstoy once wrote: "Happy families are the same, but unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways."
Perhaps, hundreds of years later, the misfortune of humankind will remain the same - separate, helpless and not easily shared.
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