Mukul, 31, Sheetal, 27, both IT professionals, residents of Noida, dated for about a year and tied the knot. That was three years ago. They landed up at a counsellor’s cabin, last week, after Sheetal asked Mukul for a divorce. Despite theirs being a love marriage, Sheetal complained that there has been intimacy issues; with both too tired to work on the marriage. With pressure building on them to start a family; Sheetal disclosed that the marriage is not consummated. The two agreed to split. Visiting the counsellor was one last ditch effort to make things turn around.

Porn-watching has replaced sex. Emotional intimacy has been replaced by video games or other distractions. High aspirations coupled with high stress, addiction traps and an emotional erosion could be taking a toll on the marriages of young NCR couples. So much so that marital counsellors, mental health experts and sexual disorder experts state that young couples, may be married for over 3-4 years, living together and may have not even consummated their marriage. The panic button is usually pressed when one of the partners asks for a divorce; or the larger family starts asking the couple why they are not starting a family.

“The surprising bit is that most of these couples are high achievers, educated and successful. They are aware of what is happening in their lives, but they just do not want to take control of the situation early on. A poor personal life leads to dependence on pornography. The distance increases, until usually the wife asks for a divorce,” psychiatrist, Dr Praveen Tripathi, a sexual disorder expert with Kailash Hospital, Noida, told TOI. Tripathi said he has seen at least half a dozen similar case studies in Noida alone last two months.

“On a daily basis, I counsel 3-4 couples from NCR region. These are high IQ professionals with at least one partner with extremely low emotional quotient (EQ). So with one partner not feeling emotionally fulfilled, they start withdrawing from the partner. Result? Many young couples in their late 20s, early 30s may not even be having sex,” Delhi-based, relationship and marital counsellor, Dr Nisha Khalla, psychologist and marital counsellor told TOI.

In a country of high emotional drama and displays, it may come as a surprise when doctors claim that of all couples showing up, either one or both have low emotional quotient.

“A low emotional quotient usually leads to a poor quality sexual life. Small things like forgiveness, patience, maturity, appreciation for the partner, understanding problems, respect for each other, and reciprocation of feelings are all crucial for a relationship to be healthy and fruitful. Increasingly, young couples are so driven by their professional aspirations. They are so comfortable in their own space and independence. The partner who has a healthy EQ, starts withdrawing and eventually the marriages are failing. People only come to a counsellor as a last ditch effort when one or both have decided to take the divorce route. Almost all of these couples are also childless, because they have not been able to build a trust in each other for raising a family,” Nisha Khanna said.

“Sociologically, we all need a partner who will push us, give us positive stroke, appreciate and help you grow; but with both partners highly driven for their careers, and engulfed in negative thinking – these basic qualities have gone missing,” she adds.
“When you see the same issues in several consecutive cases, it is definitely a mark of a trend. The couples keep brushing the issue under the carpet and try to keep carrying on with their jobs and social life, until they hit boiling point. This usually starts with people asking them about when they plan to have a child,” Praveen Tripathi added.So how does one get it right? “Express your expectations before the marriage; pursue your own happiness by doing things you love doing. Spend quality time, talk to each other. Build your emotional fabric within the relationship,” stated Nisha Khanna, who has counselled 3000 couples in 15 years. Manage your stress; lead a disciplined life and pursue, not postpone your happiness; is the simple formula she has for young people tying the knoOn an average I get 20-25 such cases per month. Most of such couples are from high pressure, corporate work back ground. Most of these cases are also people who do not have normal schedules and work in odd shifts. Almost none have children. The marriages have started falling apart within the first few years. My advice to people who are going ahead and tying the knot is to check if they are attracted to their partners, whether they share an intellectual match and are on the same wavelength, and finally if they can bond emotionally,” psychologist, Dr Rekha Mehta, a marital counsellor based out of Gurgaon saidBut does counselling help? Can failing relationships be revived via professional intervention?Only 5 per cent of failed marriages can be revived via counselling, if the partners are determined to work on it and if they have not hurt each other during the period of trouble in the relationship,” Mehta added.