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Rational-Emotional ‘Divorce’ in Iran

Findings of Qualitative Research on Women with Marital Dissatisfaction

Abstract

This study investigates emotional divorce in marriage in everyday life in Iran from a female perspective. Many studies have been conducted on divorce but there is vacuum in the field of emotional divorce in regard to how it is defined and which research methodologies are most appropriate. This study aims to understand the participant’s construct of emotional divorce as well as its mechanism and causes, using grounded theory to achieve a deep and holistic understanding of the issues. Analytic induction and theoretical saturation were the criteria for selecting 22 women with severe marital dissatisfaction, as subjects for the research. One of the core ideas considered is that emotional divorce increases when formal, legal divorce is difficult to obtain, Findings cover four fields including: (1) social contexts such as patriarchy, the presence of stepfathers, and female passivity; (2) intensifying factors such as men’s sex vs. women’s love and the presence of a rival wife; (3) unequal exchange and (4) the sense of inequality, rational divorce and finally emotional divorce itself. Our research findings show the occurrence of ‘emotional divorce’ often arises from rational calculation. Unequal exchange results in the sense of inequality as the main cause of emotional divorce.

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Acknowledgments

Firstly, we should thank all participants who have put much trust in us and shared with us their experiences. Next, our particular thanks go to all interviewers and to our colleagues, especially, Mahshid Shahidi, Azadeh Vahidnia, Sheyda Khaledi, who are experts and specialists in the field of family in Tehran. Respected officials and personnel of Amene Orphan Asylum also deserve our sincere thanks for their full collaboration.

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Correspondence to Meysam Haddadi Barzoki.

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Barzoki, M.H., Tavakoll, M. & Burrage, H. Rational-Emotional ‘Divorce’ in Iran. Applied Research Quality Life 10, 107–122 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-014-9303-9

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Keywords

  • Divorce
  • Patriarchy
  • Emotional distancing
  • Unequal exchange
  • Inequality