Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him?

 Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him? 

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Would you give this guy, and this marriage, a chance?  

“The guy I am married to is like that. :( It’s been 2 months now that we got married. I am facing pressure to call him “yevandi” (Telugu name that women used to call their husbands) instead of his name from both his mother and mine.(He wants me to call him that too. But, I told him I will call him by his name and he SAID he was OK with it, but I have a feeling he wants me to call him yevandi too) Till now, have not caved in. He expects me to cook for him and SERVE him the food in his plate, forget him helping me cook. (me asking him to help led to a BIG, HUGE argument) and sleep with him whenever he wants to – whether at that moment I want to or not. And the killer part – If I say no, he will stop talking to me. For DAYS. And it gets funnier… after not talking to me for days…one day when he thought i was asleep, I felt him lift my blanket planning to do God knows what. I turned around in surprise (remember days of not talking to me) and he just looked embarrassed and walked out of the room. Am I just a body to him???!!!!

Once, in revenge for saying No, he pinched me on my thigh – not in a sexual way, but to hurt me. Also, once I told him I was too tired. And his response? What have you done to get tired? Really? What have I done while you sat on your ass watching TV? (!!!!)

He keeps trying to order me around (I say try because till now i haven’t “obeyed” his orders.)

When he asked me to make him coffee, i told him to make it himself. which he did. Then he went and complained to my mother that I asked him to make his own coffee. (I do make coffee for him when I am making it for myself – I just told him that I wouldn’t specifically make it for him)

And his mother – she expects me to cook in the morning breakfast and lunch. then come home from office and cook dinner again – so that her precious son doesn’t eat stale food. What about me coming home tired? What about the days when I have to work late? (Again, he will not do anything) Btw, he KNOWS cooking. He HAS cooked previously. He just wont cook now that he has a “wife”.

I know it’s just been 2 months of marriage, but I am seriously considering divorce.

This has become another big issue. I told me mom and she is threatening to kill herself. (Her favourite dialogue whenever I do something she doesn’t like). Or another of her tactics – she told me the other day “Oh your father and I, we are just like 2 dead people” – I was like “You’ve got to be kidding me! Here I am struggling with this misogynistic, chauvinistic, sadistic guy wondering whether to be with him or leave him! I really can’t deal with this drama right now. I have enough problems in my life.”

But again, 2 months is too soon for divorce isn’t it? I keep telling myself that he has been “socially conditioned” to have certain expectations from his wife. I need to give him some time to unlearn that stuff. But, on the other hand, I am miserable with him. I am not willing to struggle for years while he slowly learns to see me as a human being.

What to do? I know compromise is needed in a relationship, I know we need to make an effort to make a relationship work. But, I can’t even respect this guy! Forget love him.

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160 thoughts on “Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him?

  1. Sweety this an’t goona change. Trust me, for reasons of my own, I know. All that will happen, is, that with time, you’ll get used to it and frustrated at the same time. Get out, you have understood your situation in time to get out and get a life. BTW, what about sex when you want to? I am sure he feels women have no needs whatsoever.

  2. Take a simple call – are you willing to put up with this all your life?
    What you’ve described, is pretty basic. And Basics dont change much. Not unless you’re willing to put in herculean effort and play things out with this guy like an elaborate chess game.

    • Do you think richajn, this guy has no idea that marriages can be partnership too, and maybe communication could help…? But of course, finding someone difficult to respect is not something that would change easily.

      • I really really don’t think so. He is a grown up, let’s hold him accountable for his actions. I don’t think communication can help because there are plenty of signals around us in society to let us know that treating your wife like a slave/servant is not right. Lots of men and women manage to figure out that you should treat each other equally to have a happy marriage. An equal challenging partner brings so much more to life than a servant/ slave and there are examples out there. This man has willingly blocked all of this out and will continue to do so.

      • Maybe. Maybe communication could help. But, from her description, looks like it would take an awful lot of communication and hand-holding to get the guy to even see that there’s another way to look at marriage and the husband-wife roles; that it could be a partnership. More down the alley of marriage counselors and therapists. For any newly married young woman to do it by herself would be herculean.

  3. Yuck. I wish women would insist on learning more about a man’s attitudes and expectations before getting married. I don’t understand why they don’t considering our country is crawling with such pigs. But it’s not too late — I’d go for divorce. He sounds disgusting.

  4. How on earth did you end up marrying him in the first place? Didn’t you talk to him or spend time with him before you decided to get into this? Most men assume wives are around to cook, clean, and have sex with, so there’s nothing surprising about this guy’s attitude. Many MILs also believe that their sons are god’s gift to womankind, so they will get outraged if you beg to differ. You know that you are right in expecting equality in your relationship, so there’s no need to change your view. However, it will take quite a while for you to convince everyone around you of it. The question is – are you willing to spend a good part of your life in trying to change people who may or may not listen? Consider moving out. Sharing responsibilities becomes a practical necessity when both husband and wife are working outside the home. Also, he won’t have his mummy to run to and complain about you all the time. Suggest going to a marriage counselor – a. you will at least convince him of the seriousness of the issue b. a disinterested third party sharing your view might make him see reason. If he absolutely refuses to change, then don’t waste your life on him.

    • I’d just like to add that not all men or all MILs are actually like that at all. I know plenty that aren’t, mine including. We need to stop settling for less and look for men who understand marriage and want a mutual equal relationship.

    • It look me nearly 12 rounds of ‘boy-seeing’ in a traditional arranged marriage set up before I decided I had had enough and took the first job opportunity to fly out of India and made my home in a new country where I finally met Mr. Allright.

      In each of these ‘seeing’ sessions, I would insist on having a private conversation with the guy – while the rest of the ‘seeing’ gang of folks waited in a different room – with stupid, silly smiles looks on their face. God those were such horrible days! Sometimes I asked for multiple meetings – and it usually revealed the guys thinking.

      A US returned IT Director guy was crestfallen that I would not change my eating habits after marriage and turn non-vegetarian. OUT!
      A guy’s father once asked me ‘We are a family of 8 and each one of us likes to eat different things. How will you handle this?’ My social conditioning forced me to be gullible and polite and say some nonsense that I regret to this day (something like I’ll cook a different meal each day -GEEZ!) while internally I was thinking – are you looking for a life partner for your son or a cook, you *#$%^! To the guy’s credit, he later called my father to indirectly apologize by saying his father is old fashioned – but that was enough of a red flag for me. Naturally that guy was OUT!

      All of these sessions taught me what to ask a guy and what to watch out for. It’s in the small details, you just have to be observant and perceptive.

      Yes, today’s modern woman has to put a guy through the test to understand his core nature – before agreeing to marry him. Of course it still won’t guarantee that the guy won’t turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing after marriage, but at least you know you did your due diligence.

      Now, I know that there are a bunch of progressive thinking guys are out there – their numbers are in the minority, but their numbers are slowly increasing , and
      that gives me hope for future generations.

      • Its my experience that well-educated, “traditional” read “chauvinistic” men do not reveal their true colours until after the wedding day.

        When asked about decision-making, before the wedding, my ex-husband told me that all decisions would be jointly-made; that marriage was a partnership. All that changed the day after the wedding.

        Before the wedding, my father told my ex-in-laws very specifically and pointedly, that I was independent-minded and used to living my own life. There was no smiling silence on their part.

        I told my ex-in-laws and husband specifically that I would always work and they reassured me that there would be no opposition. I told them that I was an agnostic and not religious at all, but would participate in religious functions if required. They said they understood.

        One day after the wedding, the demands and expectations started piling up. What I wore, how I behaved, every aspect of my life was criticised. My parents were insulted and my upbringing criticised.

        Probably my ex-in-laws assumed that I would “adjust” after marriage because it would be too late to do anything else. Divorce was so stigmatised in their family that they never seriously considered the possibility of a wife and DIL asking for one.

        • Similar thing here. I told my husband that I was independent and he SAID he accepted it. He told me the same thing – all decisions would be taken jointly – then after marriage the tune changed to “I’m taking care of it. Why are you worried? Don’t you trust me?”. Then, they all decided to take a trip to Tirupati – and I was not informed of it, till I walked in to a room and heard mother and son secretly discussing something. Then, when I informed him that I didn’t have leave (since I took a lot of leave for the wedding), he said “you’ll have to manage. That’s it”. Is this my husband or my boss in office talking?
          And THEN, he couldn’t take leave because someone else in his team had also taken leave. Then the trip got cancelled. Talk about double standards.

  5. It’s really saddening to hear stories like this even in the current times when we are supposed to be moving forward with technology etc. I don’t think it’s ever possible for such men to change. The society helps such men. I think the men who are more caring and understanding are very few and it should come from within. It’s not possible to change men who are so very chauvinistic! Also it never helps if his mother stays along with you! If ever you can have a separate house, then perhaps it will be possible to slowly make him understand that there NOTHING WRONG in helping just around the house!

    Dear IHM, I’m a big fan of your blog. Its very informative about many things happening around us. At times I feel things have started getting better in India, only to hear more such stories. My husband and me now live in Netherlands. Initially I too had many problems with my in laws. But thankfully we moved to NL just for a few years at least until we grow a stronger bond with our marriage.

    • //NOTHING WRONG in helping just around the house!//

      I think it might help if we stopped calling it helping around the house. He is not helping, he is doing his share (we should be 50:50 with his wife if she works too). Helping implies that despite both having full time jobs, the house is still her responsibility and he helps her. I would rather say the house is a join responsibility and both do their share of chores. No one is helping anyone.

      • Well for such men, it’s very difficult to even do anything with 50:50 in mind! For them only baby steps of “helping around” is possible! I have seen many such men, in my extended family circle. It’s too difficult for them to do anything, since they have such a big ego! Also their mothers don’t help the situation one bit. Things like “my son shouldn’t eat stale food” “my son shouldn’t cook after a long day of work” make matters even worse! There is a fundamental error in the upbringing of such men. From young, they are told that they are superior, dominant and far better that the female sex. This needs to be addressed at the very grass root level. The good thing for me and my sister was, that my mother always told us that we were equal to men and should strife to have a very good education and career and be very independent. This outlook also helped us choose the right kind of guy for ourselves. Just like how others have mentioned here, I’m not boosting, but my husband and I do everything in the house in 50:50 manner. Of course not exactly quantifying it, but there never has been a situation when I’m told to do certain tasks at home because I’m the WIFE!

        • I agree with you completely that this has to come from parents. If you bring up girls and boys to be equal then they will be. Even otherwise, lots of women realise that the disparity is unfair but such kind of men obviously don’t have any inclination to accept that as then they will have to get off their bums!

          However, if these men are so incapable of even thinking of things being 50:50 and such big egos, why should we accept that and stay with them? All I am saying is that we should hold them accountable and make it clear to society that such attitudes are unacceptable. The only way to do that is to not marry such people and not stay in such marriages if you are unhappy. There is no reason to spend decades of your life trying to put up with such treatment, we need to expect better from men we marry.

  6. I would definitely divorce him. She seems strong and independent and will be fine by herself. She’ll then have a chance of finding a decent man who actually loves and respects her (if she wants a partner). Why wait around until you’ve possibly had a kid and it’s even more difficult to leave? I really think we need to hold educated adults accountable for their actions. This man is treating his wife literally like a servant and a sex slave. Conditioning is a convenient excuse that people use for their misogynistic actions. If we don’t stop marrying and reproducing with men like these, them and their families have no reason to change. It’s as simple as that.

    In my marriage (young and newly married), we both cook and often together. We both eat ‘stale food’ and I really don’t see the big deal. He happily loads the dishwasher/ washing machine and I do the same. Once a week we deep clean the house, together. Financial responsibilities are split evenly too. Neither of our families even asked what the other person earns when we got married, let alone trying to control my money as the dil etc.

    I say all this not to boast but just to say that it’s not much to expect mutual respect and equality! It’s entirely possible and is all around us (I know many such people). If YOU don’t expect equality and settle for less, you simply will never get it. This whole business of people expecting the woman to wake up and cook two meals, go to work, come back and cook again. Why would you put up with being treated like that? Why can’t he cook half the time, if you both work? No one is going to grant us equality. We have to create it for ourselves. Better be without a man than with a man like this!

    • @ Carvaka
      “No one is going to grant us equality. We have to create it for ourselves. Better be without a man than with a man like this!”
      Well said! If Indian women step up their game and stop incentivising men like the OP’s husband, by avoiding marrying or dating them, things will start to change for the better. Until then, no amount of complaining in blogs and at the same time yet settling for less (or a meal ticket) is going to change anything.
       
      The first step to equality is not to comply to traditionalism and then complain how unfair it is. It is to fight back against unfair customs and traditions, even at the risk of being unpopular and disliked by the traditionalists. Given that Indian women (like Indian men) are heavily trained to avoid stepping on other’s foot, they don’t develop the kind of attitude and originality to be revolutionaries and to stand up for what they believe is fair and just.

      • @ Carvaka: You must be kidding, right? [in your advice to divorce rather than work out differences]
        Full disclosure: I was a pig at the beginning of my marriage :(. I was a big time free loader… since from the beginning of time, I got whatever I wanted, without lifting a finger (my mother would do homework for me, wash my clothes, feed me with nothing other than my favourite foods, buy me clothes that I like and even tie shoe laces everyday for school… ). With this background, I looked upon myself as someone who is “entitled” to finer things in life ( and not the chores that come with it!)
        Luckily a few things worked in our favour:

        1) My mom taught me to treat women as partners [she herself has a Phd. and worked as a Prof.,, yeah yeah.. she was doing all of the above while working! She is not a human, but God/Robot, depending on which side of the religious divide you are on :)]
        2) My wife was/is exceptionally smart
        3) We were alone during our initial years…
        4) We were/are in love :). 14 years and counting. 2 kids (and not counting :)).

        So, here is how we resolved the differences, several years back:

        1) My wife pointed out that the meaning of partner meant that we divvy up the work/chores (duh? right? WRONG – this is a fundamental premise that is not easy to come to most guys… )
        2) We drew up an excel – in which we tracked our progress.. and after a short while, we did did as a habit (the sharing bit)

        So, my sincere advice to you is:

        1) You and your husband should live alone for atleast 2 years (1st year is the year of turbulance and second year, that of reconciliation)
        2) Do not let your MIL/MOM to stay with you for more than a week, if you can help it.
        3) Communicate.

        Of course – you would need to do all this if:

        1) You share basic values with your husband. And
        2) You / your husband share mutual liking (even if it is sexually).

        ‘Coz, trust me babe – world does not come pre-created to our liking… we need to mould it as if it were wet clay!

        Cheers,

        Reg

        • @Reg – Yes, all your suggestions are perfect and workable…. but they come with the background of someone who is willing to change and accept that there are no pre-defined roles in a partnership. Kudos to your mother for instilling that value in you, she did things for you.. but that was NOT because she was a woman and it was her duty. Kudos to you too for being willing to change and learn as well as your wife for her patience :). Unfortunately a lot of Indian men however believe that it is the primary duty of their wives to maintain the home and take care of them. Changing this attitude is what is difficult.. not learning chores.. and @Carvaka was probably referring to this. I personally know more than one couple who have been in counselling and have worked to get over the attitude but havent been able to. I would suggest the OP giving it a preset period of time… maybe one year? to work through it, combined with counselling.
          If things dont improve at all then it needs to be taken to the next level.
          Dear OP, however always remember that you have a right to live life according to your beliefs and values as long as it does not infringe on anyone elses. Also, please let there not be a situation, years later when you look back and wish that you had taken action earlier. I would also ask you to think about what values you would like to pass on to your children if and when you decide to have them.

        • Hi Reg, Kudos to you for being open to change. But, this situation is difficult because not only is this guy not open to change, he informs his mother of the tiniest thing that i try telling him to do. So much so that even though the in laws don’t stay here, it FEELS as if they are right here!
          On top of it, HE doesn’t tell me anything. He will have his MOTHER call me and tell me things. All I get from HIM is stony silence. And how do I know how he gets his mother to tell me things? His mom will call me, give me a lecture on how to treat my husband. Then 10 mins later I get a call from him. “So, did you talk to my mother? What did she say?” I feel as if I am married to his mother and not him.
          Anyway, the decision is made. I am too selfish to want to spend the next 5-10 years (or however long this guy takes) for him to come out of his thinking and out of his mommys lap.
          I want to be happy! I want to be with a guy, with whom I can share things, without wondering if this will also reach his mothers ears! I want a guy, who, when I tell him I don’t want to have sex, will respect it. I want a guy who doesn’t try to control me. Not just him, even his family is trying to control me – change me in to someone else.
          I actually had a conversation regarding my sex life with my MIL!!! When we were at inlaws place for the first few days of our marriage, Husband was watching TV late at night, next she comes and asks me if we are having a normal “married life”…. And then when I stuttered yes, she asks me “Then why was my son watching TV late night, hmmm?” WTF!!!! These are not the kind of people I can survive with….

  7. I have a feeling communication may help! What I am envisioning is a totally immature baby-in-mommy’s-arms’ guy who needs some ‘Boss-thats-not-how-it-works’ lessons. I would not jump to the conclusion that communication wont help and that things will remain the same. It could be given a shot. If hez Basically a nice guy but socially conditioned there is a chance for improvement!

    • If he expects his wife to do all the work for him, obey him and follow him, just be a body for sex (no mutual needs appreciated), then what is really left that could make him a nice guy? I’m just curious what could make someone seem nice despite all this.

      • @ Carvaka: exactly my thoughts

        @jaishvats: What made you think of him to be a nice guy? Just cause he can cook (though he doesn’t do it now cause he now has a full time maid, his wife) OR cause he walked out of the room w/o attacking his wife when he found she wasn’t sleeping?

      • The whole point is he is blissfully unaware of all these because of his narrow mindset and what he has been seeing around him till date. I believe that the initial few months of marriage are more difficult and after that most of the partners tend to adjust or understand the other’s point of view.
        I totally agree with jaishvats on this.

        • So when he expects her to call him by the respectful name for husband in telugu as described, demands sex whenever he wants it, wants her to do complete housework and a full time job, what exactly is he unaware of? I don’t understand what you mean at all. Why don’t we take people at face value. If those are his actions then he is fully aware of them.

          If I as a woman marry a man and expect him to do all the housework in addition to his work, want him to call me ‘madam’ at all times and want him to obey all my orders while I just sit on my ass and watch tv, would that be ok? Would you say it’s ok because I’m not aware of it and am actually a nice person?

      • In a less sexist society, Sarkywoman’s husband would be treated exactly like the jerk/d$*^ he is.

        In Indian society, he gets sympathised with — because he’s basically a misunderstood nice guy with a shrew for a wife. Sob, sob, sob.

    • Nice guy who pinches his wife if she turns him down for something? Or, nice guy for running to mommy every time something goes wrong?

      Unfortunately, it’s thinking like this that forces women and not just Indian women to stay in bad relationships.

      Isn’t she already giving this a shot? The here and now, that is his chance, IF the marriage means anything at all to him. Not the “What if he changes?”

      What if, she continues to give him a chance and waits for another 20 years before realizing that it was a mistake to do so?

      Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. I wouldn’t go with making her feel like she owes him another chance.

      Anything she owes, she owes herself.

    • A guy who sulks and “stops talking” for days when his wife says no to sex.. Let’s face it, there’s no way he’s “basically a nice guy”. He sounds like someone without compassion, and incapable of caring for another human being. Definitely not the material for a “partner”.

      In my opinion, It’s best to identify the type, and get out.

    • I guess the upper case B in Basically caused all that uproar. There was an If Hez before that. :( Anyways, certain things happen in the initial few days of all arranged marriages , period. Certain expectations etc. “he is blissfully unaware of all these because of his narrow mindset and what he has been seeing around him till date.” I agree to that. When I say nice, I mean his views in general on a lot of things – compassion, kindness etc. I DONT MEAN THIS GUY IS ALL THAT. What I mean to say is A person may behave in one way because of the surroundings he grew up in and sometimes communication and time does help.

  8. Unfortunately this guy thinks just what 90% of the population of India believes in.
    Before considering divorce, please try to have some sessions of reasoning with him preferably when you both are alone. Just make your point clear without losing your cool. Sensible conversation can work wonders.

  9. Try going the counsellor way. Ensure that it is a professional, qualified counsellor, not some elderly relative that you or he would look up to otherwise. If it doesn’t work, or he denies that there is any need for a counsellor, it’s a dead end marriage. Run before it’s too late, lady!

    • Agree. If you can’t find a counsellor for specifically marital problems, try going to a good psychologist.
      If you live in Bangalore, NIMHANS offers marriage counselling. If you live in Hyderabad, try a private medical college / clinic , one with psychiatry services- they are more than likely to also employ psychologists and counsellors.
      If you do decide to get a divorce, PLEASE don’t over think it- the sooner the better- if this guy was a guy you were dating, you would have probably thrown him out of your life by now. You are young, and youth is not to be wasted on reforming dead-beat men.

  10. Posted this as reply to the original comment:

    Had I not known better, I would have said it’s too soon to consider divorce. Here’s my two cents though:

    You and only you know what you go through in that household, how it feels to be passive-aggressively treated and be subject to silent treatment because you didn’t say/do the right thing.

    He’s pinching you today, taking his first steps to inducing pain to get you to do what he wants. He has complete disregard for your sexual needs and only cares for his own and yes, in my eyes, forcing either partner for intercourse when they’re not ready is marital rape and abuse. He is not entitled to your body because he’s your husband.

    What would you tell your best friend, if she had written your post and asked for your advice?

    You deserve to be loved and treated with dignity and respect for being exactly who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

    Edited to add:

    Abuse of any kind is NOT OK.

    Pinning your hope on being able to say/do/be something or someone who will get through to him by communicating more/less, saying things a different way, is all just a way that you keep thinking you can somehow “make him see” what his actions are doing to you. It will mess with your brain, pull you into a vicious cycle.

    No-one can “make” another human being see or accept anything. Yes, your deciding to leave him might push him into promising change/apologizing/draw tears, etc, etc, but like I said before, you’re the one in the situation and you know him the best at this point.

    You will meet a lot of people who will tell you and ask why you didn’t notice things before, if you didn’t bother with getting to know him better, etc. Again, hindsight is always 20/20 but what is past is past. It doesn’t matter anymore what you could have done. What matters now, is what you will choose to do.

    If your gut is telling you something, don’t ignore it. Listen to it, pay heed and always remember regardless of what he sees you as, you are worthy of the love you desire, exactly the way you are.

    • Well said!!! I lived in Andhra Pradesh for the first 25 yrs of my life and I can tell you that most guys (not all as I met few guys who were of liberal mindset) there are socially conditioned “get your wife to serve you, control her if not she will control you, she should serve you good food. Tell her she need not work. She can stay at home and take care of kids”. I tell you even the so-called highly educated guys think this way. I know of a friend who was asked to stop addressing her husband by name as this was considered being disrespectful to him. She was asked to address him as ‘evandi’ and yes it does not matter if he addressed her as ‘yeme’, ‘osei’ etc (very disrespectul form of addressing ladies). I was staying in a hostel in Hyderabad. One inmate got married and after 6 months came back to live in the hostel. We later learnt that she was pressurized to give her salary to the in-laws, not allowed to go for an outing with her husband without the sister-in-law joining them, have to tell in-laws how much she spent every month etc etc. We got to know that her mother wanted her to compromise and then after ‘talks’with the in-laws the super-intelligent FIL proposed “Let her rent a flat next to ours. My son will spend 3 days with her and 4 days with us. And yes, she should not wear bindi because our community does not allow that”. I do not know what happened later but it amazes me as to how in certain homes women are treated as ‘commodities’ rather a robot who is supposed to follow orders.

      Coming back to the letter writer, lady, if you feel that there is no hope and that the guy is going to continue with his ‘pinching’ and ‘do as I say’ orders, you are better off living on your own. And I know parents who operate in a traditional and conservative environment will use all blackmailing techniques when the daughters tell them they want to live on their own “We will kill ourselves, you are not our daughter, we will cut off all our relations with you, why were you even born to us, did we not raise you well” etc etc. Dont give in. It is your life and you should decide how you want to live it.

  11. Dear Letter Writer,

    You sound like an intelligent and a smart woman. I admire the fact that Divorce is not a dirty word in you dictionary. You also seem to understand the importance of emotional well being & the sanctity of ‘making love’.

    If this was an arranged marriage, communication is the only way to overcome this- if you want to that is. Why don’t you move to another place, just the 2 of you? That way your husband will be introduced to something new that might force him to take up a stance. It will also help reduce your stress level as talks with his other family members reduce. You’ll have a clear path to make your intention heard without him getting a second opinion without your knowledge. You can put your foot down- gently- by splitting chores to make your work easier. If you are doing the dishes, let him iron both your clothes. Don’t split housework into kitchen for the lady & the rest of the house for the guy. If you’re making coffee today, he’s making salad for dinner. Also MIL problems will reduce.
    I think the problem here is like a first born (spoilt) child- he gets everything, tantrums are soothed, chores are never given, used milk mug on the floor that is filled with ants is whisked off by the maid etc.Tantrum = discomfort/I am ignored/my opinions do not matter/scream till someone hears me out/scream/scream/scream/let the others suffer/scream/scream. I think your husband is throwing tantrums.
    Why don’t you try this as a test?- Erase all expectations you have from him. Go on a week’s holiday or try amusement parks that are known to lift one’s mood. Talk to him then. Ask him what is bothering him. Ask him what a wife means to him. Tell him the importance of partnership, friendship. Tell him whatever it is that is bothering you. All this very very gently. This is a woman’s biggest weapon. Putting your words across gently.
    Come back home & expect that from him. Don’t tell him I can’t make coffee esp for you. Why don’t you say- I’m making coffee would you want one too? If he insists- Oh! let me stand beside you & watch what you do. This might sound filmy but trust me my husband is now so self reliant that it shocks his mother that he can make chapathis with a smile on his face *smirk*.

    I also think marriage is a two way street. Give him a chance. If he slips its his problem & It is better to walk away. Hope it helps.

    My 2 cents:
    Our Indian ‘culture’ has never ever given importance to self reliance & self respect. It only has definite terms. Wife cooks. Husband earns. Children scream. With the pace with which this world is moving & exposure to other cultures I think we should first & foremost think of what use I can be to myself that will inturn provide me skills to help others. I have seen a lot of bachelors (esp) who pay for the kitchen area in their rented house & never learn to cook. They resort to unhealthy mess food/canteen/junk just to fill their stomachs not for energy or health benefits. My younger cousin brother is the laziest man I have ever come across. He eats breakfast lying on the couch, forgets to wash his coffee mug, reads paper & leaves it under the fan, folds bedsheets like a used tent. His father is his copy & mother slogs all day & cleans after them. Marry this guy off to a working woman whose lived on her own & what else can you expect between the two? Expectation from such parents for their precious MBA studied sloth of a child is so high that this sloth thinks of himself as invincible/master/hero/owns women & what not.
    I also know of another man who is his dead opposite & is such a refreshing change. He is very interesting to talk to & can feel & see the respect pass between him & his wife. I think connection is instant for all self respecting people.

  12. “Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him?”
    It is possible, but….
    …it depends on that man’s ability to grow up,
    …how much interest he has in the partnership,
    …his ability to see the marriage as a partnership and willingness to work on it,
    …his preparedness to see his wife as a person, and understand her point of view/needs/feelings,
    …his acceptance of change (this is no longer the age of his parents’ ‘yevandi’ days),
    …ability to stand up to people who have brainwashed him into thinking this behaviour of his is macho and the way husbands should (the hardest part as such people are spineless and easily led, have no experience of thinking for themselves),
    …provided he stays away from Mommy dear so he learns what marriage is all about on his own,
    …and his never EVER indulging in physical abuse (including pinching).
    Altogether a tough act. I’d say, cut your losses and run if your efforts are not working.
    Another thing, don’t let your parents intimidate you with threats of suicide. NEVER EVER. What they did for you (bringing you up) was their duty. You don’t owe them a sacrifice of your life.

  13. From what I have seen around, these ‘not talking for days’ species are hard to reform. Sorry but I do not see much hope here. I do wonder how a strong woman like you got duped into marrying such a guy.

    • I so so agree. Those who stonewall their partners so that they can get them to submit, are childishly cruel. I don’t think this man loves you or even wants to. I remember a prospective groom, who had a condition : his wife should not grumble about the household chores. I asked if he would help, and he refused to answer!!
      You have to evaluate what you want : to be married and make your parents/in-laws/husband happy, or to keep yourself happy, regardless of your marital state. I would advise a woman to always choose peace of mind, no matter how costly.

      • Oh, and most important – you’re lucky to be married just for two months while getting to know all this! People around you would advise you to ‘tolerate’ for the greater common good, giving examples of so-called saints. But remember, the only person that is suffering is you. And your life matters to no one as much as it means to you.

    • I’m holding back on the advice here, since I’m really out of my depths talking about what makes a marriage happy.

      But the not talking for days part did strike me as ridiculous too. That’s the sort of emotional immaturity you’d associate with teenage relationships, not a marriage between adults.

      • Most adult relationships between adults in India DO resemble teenage relationships elsewhere in the world- because as teenagers most Indian kids are not ‘allowed’ to have meaningful interactions which teach us how to relate to the opposite gender. Not allowed obviously because ‘these things’ will be ‘distracting’ . And then obviously we grow up, get married, play house and the s**t hits the fan.
        (apologies for swearing in print IHM, some posts do that to me:))

        • Not a truer word said.

          My Alma Mater, IIT-D, is somewhat infamous for its ridiculously skewed sex ratio, and I still feel a bit nauseous when I remember the way the rest of my batch-mates used to talk about women.

          There they are, these 20-21 year old blokes, and they’ve never meaningfully interacted with a woman in their entire lives who wasn’t their mother or sister. To them, women are almost like another species. Aliens. Mysterious but also subservient. Meant to do their bidding one day.

          Screwed up place, gender relations wise.

          These same blokes get into the workplace, get married, raise kids. Rinse, dry, repeat.

          And that’s how you get these sorry situations.

        • As an American woman who dated an Indian man, I couldn’t agree with you more. Here, we get all of the fumbling and bumbling and learning how to interact with each other out of the way when we are 15, 16, 17 years old. It may seem as if we are just dating for the heck of it, but there is a method to our madness.

          There, just seems to be another way to uphold these archaic systems, and make my life a hades when I’m dealing with a 30-year old man with the emotional maturity of a 14 year old. Thanks India!

  14. I tend to differ that social conditioning can be blamed for all of the choices that people make.

    Also, what use is it to blame social conditioning when he is the executor of the behavior?

    Lastly, IF, let’s say he does agree to go into counselling with her, has his ass handed to him on a boiler plate by a therapist but returns into an environment that continues to re-enforce his beliefs (social conditioning) and surrounds himself with the people to enable his behavior, he has no incentive to change.

    Letter writer is likelier to end up hearing that she and the therapist are wrong because all of the people that he is surrounded by and who think like him, either accept or support or are equally indulging in the very same behavior!

    The only way he will ever get out of his social conditioning is if he completely creates a social group of people who support mutuality in a relationship, that might include limiting or even severing contact with his mother.

    How likely is that?

    I’d say it’s be a miracle.

    • I fully agree with this. When social conditioning encourages rape, we don’t condone it and ask women to ‘adjust with the rapist’. Some sections of society do but there is appropriate outrage towards that. So when social conditioning encourages a man to ill-treat and abuse his wife, why do we condone that and ask her to adjust?

      He is an educated grown-up and has made a choice to act in this way, just like those rapists have made a choice to rape a woman. Plenty of men manage to be decent husbands and not rape a woman. Neither of these is automatic/ inevitable and we need to hold people accountable for their actions.

  15. I started reading thinking there is some genuine communication issue. When I got to the part of the ‘silent treatment’…the pinching, the trying to touch you when you were asleep – it was creepy. Get out before the beatings and marital rapes start. The writing’s all over the wall. Your safety and dignity is more important than someone’s pseudo honour.

  16. @I am not willing to struggle for years while he slowly learns to see me as a human being.
    What to do? I know compromise is needed in a relationship, I know we need to make an effort to
    make a relationship work. But, I can’t even respect this guy! Forget love him.

    My simple question is expectations from marriage / partner , why are these not discussed before the marriage .
    The situation is getting worse by the day because woman have evolved more in india , then man . Man are still where they were , they expect to be pampered but now woman dont have time and attitude to do “what they are expected to do ”
    The situation is getting complex because in case of arranged marriage the groom and bride are never participants in discussions , most of them dont even want to . its elders who decide .
    Most matrimonial ads still have a line “well versed in household affairs”
    Girls will be better off if they discuss at length with their parents and see the mind set of their parents and try to work with them and discuss and wait till they find a person they can communicate before marriage clearly that GIRLS ALSO HAVE EXPECTATIONS FROM MARRIAGE ” indian society cares a dam about girls expectations

    In this case the man is not going to change and the lady if she does not reconcile and adjust will never get what she wants out of marriage
    the way he husband told her mother about the cup of coffee not made for him , shows clearly that he still believes that her parents a responsible for her behavior

  17. It’s sad that you ended up in this situation. It’s a mystery to me that anyone will agree to marry someone that they obviously do not even know on a friendly basis. The abusiveness here seems so deep that I don’t see any chance whatsoever that it will somehow magically change. There’s so many serious warning-signs that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Get out. Yesterday. Then if you ever decide to get involved again, make sure that you get to know the guy really well *before* you agree to marry him. That way you avoid making the same mistake twice.

  18. Hi IHM and other commentators,

    Thanks for your support and your advice. I did talk to him before marriage. We discussed the what do I call him then and he said he was ok with me calling by his name. I told him I drink, he said he also drinks. I asked if he ate non-veg (we’re brahmins) – he told me he used to COOK chicken and mutton. (I made an erroneous assumption here – he’s cooking non-veg, something which I never managed to learn, and he’s telling me he cooks so he wont have a problem with cooking after marriage) Stupid, I know. Well, you learn from your mistakes. Also, again – regarding the coffee thing – whenever I make coffee for myself, I do ask him if would like coffee too and make for him. Just that I wont let him sit and watch TV while I sweat it out in the kitchen cooking breakfast, lunch and serve him coffee and then go running to office.

    Also, a clarification – MIL doesn’t STAY with us. But, here is another beauty – He tells her everything – what I have done/ not done. Ever single thing is reported to her. So, coffee incident is reported. The fact that I am careless about my bindi is reported. I am not so anti bindi so when he told me in an agonized tone that I should put bindi, otherwise it is like killing him while he is still alive, I decided to put bindi daily, when I go out. But, at home… I am a bit more lax.

    Believe me, it feels amazing to get this support.

    I told my mom that I said no to him and he didn’t talk to me for days. Her reaction? “Horrified” You told him no? Why? You should apologize to him!

    I told my mom about pinching incident.
    Mom: Smiles
    Me: Mom, He was HURTING me!!!
    Mom: Puzzled expression.. Err, Ok… I will talk to your father about this

    The worst part is, my dad is also a chauvinist – who never did any house work. So, when I talk about this with HIM, all I get is “So what? Lot of men don’t do any work!” – Although he is better than my mom about the yevandi thing – and the coffee incident.

    My USUALLY supportive brother also seems to have gone all crazy. He was asking me “You’re judging him too harshly. Do you think you have been a good wife?”
    I said “No, I haven’t”. Surprised silence from his end.

    And then he says this gem, “S, you WANTED this remember?
    Me: No, I never wanted THIS. I wanted to get married. Not THIS.

    Then HE also tried to blackmail me. So, what will you do if you get a divorce, have you thought about that? Mom, will anyway kill herself…
    Me: Really, now I am responsible for mom’s actions? Because mom will kill herself I should be miserable forever?
    Him: No, no, of course not… silence… but, but… what will you DO after getting a divorce?
    Me: ANYTHING!!!

    It feels to get all this off my chest. and it feels good to have SOME people who don’t think I am wrong for thinking the way I do.

    • You really need to get a divorce, and as quickly as possible. If your husband refuses to comply, get a really good lawyer. If he agrees, it’s way easier to go for a mutual consent divorce. Either way good luck!

      And being divorced is no big deal, and certainly tons better than being stuck in a love-less marriage.

    • I’m sorry your family is not supportive. It’s a tough spot to be in and I understand how it must make you feel.

      There isn’t a person in this world who would have been a perfect judge of character all the time, who has not been wrong about other people and their behavior/attitudes.

      4 months really isn’t too long to have known someone and predict what they’d be like after, when they know they have the safety of closed doors and parents to run to, to protect themselves.

      Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t fall into the trap of justifying why you did something you did, to anyone. You’re the only one who has to be at peace with your decisions and live with their consequences. Not your parents, not your MIL, not your brother or anyone else. They’re all adults, they have to handle their own issues with your decisions. How they choose to react is not in your hands, don’t feel upset with how their outlook is entrenched in keeping the marriage alive.

      So do what would be the kindest thing for you, do what would ultimately be in your best interest. Remember the lessons you’ve learnt from this relationship and help them build a better outlook for yourself.

      Above all, realize that it’s still early days and you’re quite clear and strong about what you want and that you’re not getting it from this person and that’s ok. Soulmates and romantic mumbo jumbo is for the movies, in real life, we learn by trial and error.

      • Loved your comment Shireen. When I was conflicted about getting out of my own dead-end marriage, I would ask myself how I wanted to be when I was pushing 50.

        Did I want to be strong, vibrant and optimistic or one of those greying, tired-looking women with defeated, dead eyes but an “intact” marriage.

        I know women who’ve endured abusive, loveless marriages and their faces tell their life-story. I have too much zest and passion for life to allow a bad marriage to suck it out of me.

        • Biwo…so proud of you for being there for yourself!!! And you’re right, the faces do tell the stories.

          I used to know a lady when I was about 14, and I didn’t understand then, why she was so meek, quiet and someone who preferred to stay in the background all the time. The husband was very outgoing, etc., so the contrast always stood out.

          Now that I know better, I know she was depressed and very likely abused into completely losing herself. Wish I could have helped her back then.

          No woman should be required to lose herself in an attempt to please others. It doesn’t work and it’s definitely not worth it.

          Wish I had had the same courage as you. I’m getting there too, one step at a time, though.

        • Biwo, I am so glad you choose wisely and choose yourself. Bravo!

          Our culture lays such strong emphasis on being enmeshed with each other, that we fail to realize at one point that people are responsible for their own happiness and everything someone close to us does, doesn’t have to be seen in the light of a personalized “how does this affect us as a family/standing in society” etc., etc.

          It’s a shame, the lengths to which we can go, to preserve our “image”, even when that means that our homes and hearts are burning behind closed doors.

    • You know what, the vast, overwhelming majority of people never change in their fundamentals once they are adults. They can change the way they say things, they can change their styles, their dress, whatever, but the fundamental worldview – that’s something which doesn’t change.

      Maybe your husband isn’t one of those people, maybe he’s one of the precious few who do end up changing. Are you up to taking that chance? Do you believe that’s a fair gamble? I think not. I think there’s always a chance that you hit the jackpot here, but there’s a much bigger chance you’ll go trying to find that jackpot.

      At the cost of sounding cynical, I contend that this marriage is doomed, it was doomed from the moment he made the fatal mistake of projecting his outdated stereotypes on a woman who wouldn’t have it, and in my opinion, it cannot be revived in any meaningful sense – or at least in any sense that would be meaningful to YOU. No matter what you do from now on and no matter what he does from now on, the most you’ll end up achieving is peaceful co-existence, and even that’s a long shot.

      If you have the means necessary to support yourself, I’d strongly recommend seeking divorce as quickly as possible. Your mother will not commit suicide. Don’t take my word for that, of course; just make sure that someone’s always near her and she’s not in a position to do anything stupid. That said, remember that if every parent who threatened to commit suicide in India followed up on that threat, we wouldn’t be an overpopulated nation.

      A word to the wise though – no matter how silly he sounds now, your brother is likely to end up as a big support to you in case you go for the divorce. You’ll need all the support you can get, so make sure he understands precisely what you’re going through. Emotional blackmail got to him faster than it got to you, but that’s because he’s not the one dealing with the painful situation.

      Also, just in case you have any residual doubts on the subject, men can and do perform their share of the housework. My own superior culinary skills have propelled me to the position of designated cook at our home, and my extreme adeptness at handling the vacuum cleaner, using the dishwasher and doing the laundry is legendary in the Talwar family.

      Best of luck, sarkywoman. The choice is yours, ultimately. Choose wisely and be honest with yourself.

    • Hugs. Was reading all that you have written, and I had an eerie sense of deja vu. This is me from 20 years ago. I was right at the spot where you are now, the only difference being that I realized all this around a year into my marriage. Things were much more traditional at that time, and I didn’t know what to do. The expectations, the unilateral assumption of entitlement, sexual or otherwise, the long silences which were supposed to punish me and “make me see the error of my feminist ways”, the expectation that his parents are to be looked io to and can do no wrong, while mine could do nothing right, the lack of support from my natal family, the emotional blackmail used to get me to become a housewife, inspite of my professional training…I could go on. I had no support, no job, no financial status to fall back on. I did the mistake of hoping that things would change. I brought a child into this world. I should have turned and ran before that.

      Today, after nearly 20 years of hoping and crying and praying and trying, I have realized that only I can help myself. I do things that help me and my child rise above it. Everything else is the same. The financial dependence, the emotional and occasional physical abuse, the long silences. I’m trying to carve a life for myself from that mess.

      Please, Sarkywoman, the only reason I shared this is so that you see where you are headed if you don’t do something about it. Please think about it, and take care of yourself. Only you can do that.

    • Before marriage he said all that? And he is still reporting your very day incidents to his mother. Oh dear. You married a real idli-subbarayudu, who will sit like a stone, when you go on emotional roller coaster.
      Before marriage he wanted to be your husband , so he said things you liked to hear. After the conquest, it is true colors coming out. Mana Deshamlo ilanti vallu entho mandi.This sounds like yesteryears movie stories.

      If you are going to keep silent, you had it girl!

      As all the other ladies have pointed out, the choice is yours. If you have evolved more than him, this marriage will be an unequal one. Go figure it out.

      All the best.

  19. Wanted to add… I did have 4 months to get to know him…. He wasn’t like this then. I mean, things weren’t perfect – but I went along with the “we have to work to make a relationship work” attitude and I admit there were a few red signals, which I guess I brushed under the carpet.

    • Sarky – hugs.

      It happens. Dont beat yourself up over it. And irrespective of what your folks or he says, dont ever get pressured into feeling guilty or that you’re doing smthg wrong by not ‘obeying’ him. It’s good that you’re standing up for yourself.

      Unfortunately, our society doesn’t quite accept that in a woman. Women are, in general, not ‘equal’ to men. So to expect a husband to make coffee for you once in a while, or ‘help’ in the kitchen, does not go down too well in most households.

      In the dating/courtship/getting to know each other phase – each one tends to put their best foot forward. It’s easy to fall in love. It’s easy to believe the best in another person. Because we want to.

      Whatever choice you make, dont ever doubt yourself. Stand up for yourself. Give it your best shot. You’ll find a way.

  20. My sympathies are with the email writer.
    There is nothing that I have to say that has not already been said by gounderbrownie, jaishvats, Sandhya, Arun, BlueHornbill and cacophonicthoughts.
    I endorse their comments.

    May be living separately on their own will help this couple?
    Divorce should not be a hurried first option.
    I suppose this was an arranged marriage?
    If it was a love marriage, then I am surprised how she chose him.
    Regards
    GV

    • A clarification:
      My comment was written before reading sarkywoman’s comments giving additional info.
      It’s clear sarkywoman does not have the support of her family in case she chooses to divorce him. That is a serious handicap. She now has the additional job of getting her family’s support before doing anything drastic.
      Professional counseling and frank discussions with ultimatums is my final recommendation.
      Divorce should be the last resort after sarkywoman is clear in her mind about how she will live as a divorcee particularly if there is a chance that her own family will not forgive her. Maybe they will reconcile and come to her aid after the divorce but that may take some time..
      Regards
      GV

    • It seems to me that if you have lived for two months with a person who is abusive and incompatible, doesn’t respect you and your experiences make you feel like you cannot respect or love this person, then divorce is really the next option so you can both move on with your lives.

      Your position is clearly different and you mention that divorce should not be the first hurried option (whereas I wouldn’t call it hurried in this case after 2 months). I would really like to understand why. What is the reason to not consider divorce if neither of you loves or respects the other (and there are no kids)? I am not asking rhetorically, I really hope to understand where we differ on this.

      • I honestly think a ‘quick’ divorce in an arranged marriage will save a lot of time and trouble- if the reason for the divorce is something as serious as emotional and physical abuse.
        Dear sarkywoman – try and picture your marriage five years from now- it’s not that difficult to imagine the future with someone you’ve known for 6 months, is it?
        A marriage can be many things, but a HAPPY marriage is one where the couple are each others best friends. Or that’s what it seems like to my mind-(I’m 24 and unmarried so maybe you could take it with a pinch of salt-)
        You already KNOW the gap between what you want and deserve and what you’re actually getting- it’s all on your HUSBAND to bridge this gap- so ask yourself and him- will he do it? If the answers is no, move on.

  21. How about this one: Is it possible to make a woman see her husband as partner, is she has been socially conditioned to see him as a meal ticket, a mortgage, an insurance policy and an ATM card.

    • So all you guys believe that the above mentioned social conditioning does not exist or what? My experience tells me that this conditioning among women is at least as common as the conditioning among the men that is being discussed in the OPs mail. BTW, I hadn’t read the mail before writing the above comment. I am simply sick and tired of people acting according to archaic norms, both MEN and WOMEN. But I totally understand that this blog is not an appropriate place to discuss it. People here have a certain constructed world view and are not willing to see past that.

      • In my experience, this blog is as good a place to discuss archaic norms as any – when that is indeed the topic under discussion. The above mentioned social conditioning absolutely exists, and I don’t like it more than any other reasonably-minded person who is not blinkered by some insane version of cultural chauvinism.

        However, this line of thought isn’t terribly relevant to the email which the post is about. Expressing a wholly irrelevant opinion about the social conditioning of women on a post which deals with the social conditioning of men makes it seem like you have an ax to grind and that you are unwilling to look past that. This may or may not be true, of course, but your comment makes it seem that way, and that, I believe, is also the reason behind the Shravan Kumar comparisons.

        Just so long as we’re clear.

      • I agree there is social conditioning in both men and women, however what part of that conditioninig on women causes ditress in women???
        men are conditioned to treat women like trash- so it hurts the women , causes harsdhips and agony and abuse and hence the writeup.
        Now coming to the man, he’s upset because he can’t treat the woman like trash??? an dshe’s changing??? what happened to treating fellow humans as humans ?

        • what happened to treating fellow humans as humans ?

          It never happened in India.

          We don’t treat fellow humans as humans. The only thing we give a flying sh*t about is status.

          Higher status? Demigods.
          Same status? Tools to climb higher.
          Lower status? Non-people.

          See any humans in that list? Nope, there aren’t any. Hierarchical societies are such fun, no?

    • @B: Actually, with all the rampant dowry payments, your questions should be:

      Is it possible to make a man see his wife as partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as a meal ticket, a mortgage, an insurance policy, an ATM card and a full-time maid/sex slave?

      • Thumbelina, to give B the benefit of the doubt, it is possible that he doesn’t fully understand Indian cultural practises since he is from across the border.

        Perhaps he is unfamiliar with dowry and the unequal economic burden that our marriage customs place on the bride’s family. Perhaps such customs do not exist across the border. Just sayin’.

    • B, even though we might have our fair share of closed minds in this forum, the negative reactions to your comment does not have anything to do with a closed mindset.

      When the entire forum is discussing about the marital problems of the email writer, you suddenly hijacked the topic by bringing in women’s social conditioning and diverted the discussion to a different topic. The implication (probably unintentional) of your comment seems to be that since some women see their husbands as a meal ticket, the email writer does not deserve to have any time spent on further discussion of her problems. Obviously people resent such an implication.

      You are going about it the wrong way. If you really feel the need to discuss the topic of women’s conditioning on this forum, then the right way to do that would be to send a separate email to IHM with the relevant specifics and request her to post it on her blog. If IHM agrees to post the email, then we can all have a discussion on the incongruity of how husbands prohibit their wives from working after marriage and then complain about their wives seeing them as a meal ticket :)

  22. Lets blame mommy,daddy and bollywood for this mess first :-)
    All those pati vrata ladies serving husband chai in bed after getting up, puuting rangoli, praying and dressing up in the best and brightest had probably done a number on the men. Of course since we are all humans some expect aishwarya rai + in her bestest avatar and fail to realize they are not shahrukh khan…

    anyway My advice – talk , talk to him , sit him down, seriously talk to him,
    1. let him know what you expect and what he can expect from you,
    2. ask him what he expects and what he can give you , write it down.
    3.next see how much matches.
    4. discuss of you can reach a compromise that satisfies both
    5. If not tell him you are thiking of divorce.
    6. No blackmail. both compromise and meet mid way and see if it will work. if not set him and yourself free…

    You can tell him what you feel about his views on women but you cannot make him change. he’s a grown man not a monkey, with buddi and dhimaag.

    If after such talk you feel neither of you can work it out then leave, rather than either of you be miserable together, be happy alone.

    e.g : I know of a man with a feminist wife, and he agreed ot her wishes, he is miserable, he feels he didn’t get the wife he was supposed to. meaning cook, maid and slave.. doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. everyone has expectations even terrible ones.

    Again – same broken record.. Parents have to Parent their kids, teach them .. it’s not enough to say i treat my daughter equal to my son, parents should teach the sons that they are just humans just like women are.
    It’s not hard. my sons would never ever dare drink tea an d leave their cups lying fo rme to pick up. my husband would slay them with words..
    we indulge them , i do more but i’m not their slave,and i don’t do dirty rooms, laundry etc., that’s their problem and they don’t expect their wives to do so either… they don’t think girls can do much anyway :-) going by my sorry cooking skills, they and their dad are kings of the kitchen on sunday when cook mami is off… actually they even take their product to her as a testament to her teaching skills :-)

    • Radha, you’re a powerful inspiration. I wish all Indian mothers did such a stellar job raising sons. Most Indian mothers raise their sons like they were little emperors.

      Your future DILs will be the envied by other women stuck with adult mama’s boys.

      • Biwo,

        I hope my sons find wives based on mutual love,passion and trust and not their round roti making skills . I tell them they’ll be bit happy with no work to do but largely unhappy with lack of love and partnership and hopefully they see and learn.

        In any case i hope to stay far far away from their wife search. we’ve told them, find your partners and we’ll pay half and show up and look pretty :-) I’am looking forward to them bumbling their way thru love …oh i could so be their agony aunt from a distance !!!!
        for now they are in college hopefully applying a tiny part of their mind to studies too..

  23. Hello mail writer,

    The first sign of the physical abuse (pinching) shows that the guy is indeed insensitive of your wants and needs as well as encroaching on your identity. Secondly running/complaining to mom shows that he is an emotional cripple too. From what I understand, this guy does not even comprehend that he has any problem or that marriage/any relationship needs equal efforts from both the parties. Also not talking to for days and sneakily lifting the blanket shows that he is too self absorbed and a sadist. A marriage counselor may help provided he tugs along with you to repair and mend. But I doubt he will agree to that.

    That it is only 2 months in to marriage need not deter you from making your decision as finally you are the person living with him. Let not the emotional blackmails of people around fool you in to staying and putting up with the trauma. Run for the exit while you still can and get out before it becomes too murky.

    Wishing you all the strength & peace

  24. I want to add – or rather ask a question..

    Where is the LOVE in this relationship ?, where is the passion ?, where is the care ? the joy in being together, the bond, the sharing.
    I don’t see any other reason for a marriage but these. If one doesn’t have these lements IMO 9 and mine only) it’s not a marriage. it’s a social contract.

    and yes arranged marriages can have these too.

  25. The sad part is, 90% of the Indian population expects no better from a husband.

    To many people, a lot of this behavior is perfectly acceptable. They may (or again, may not) have minor moral scruples about the pinching and such, but I know literally hundreds of people who would be quite okay with a husband who feels the need to have an argument when his wife tells him to do his bit in the kitchen.

    An equitable marriage continues to be a patently foreign concept to much of India, but there is another India, an India growing in size and influence every day, where women don’t feel compelled to be second-class and men don’t feel compelled to treat them so. It’s this dichotomy which really creates unpleasant situations like the one here, and I do believe that we’re going to be facing this dichotomy for a long, long time yet.

  26. You probably can’t change him much. You should get a divorce. the earlier the better. BUT before you do, make sure u talk to him once (with other people around, so he doesnt hurt u) and tell him ur issues with him. ask him if he wants to resolve them or divorce u. based on his reaction u can make ur decision. guys like him have no idea that whta they are doing is wrong. so if u put the reality in front of him, he might consider changing. its a long shot though. about convincing ur parents, since u work, u probably make enough to support urself. so just get urself an another place or move in with a friend then slowly make ur parents understand. they are not going to be thrilled with the idea of u getting a divorce so dont look at them for approval. just do it and then tell them that u have made ur decison and no one can change it.

  27. Latest Update:
    My parents tried to have a discussion with his parents, without either of us present to save MY marriage. My “MIL” had a long list of complaints.
    1. My first crime is that I don’t love my husband – apparently, in her words, a woman falls in love with her husband the minute he ties the mangalsutra around her neck. Shame on me I actually need some time for love to grow (or for that matter for the person to have some characteristics which I can admire or love)
    2. I read too many books (Yep, apparently I read books instead of doing the housework – the fact that I am actually doing the house work in spite of reading the books is irrelevant) Btw, I was reading the Millenium Series. Has anyone else read it? I love Lisbeth Salander!
    3. I expect my husband to help with the housework
    4. I have very “strong views” – apparently people with such strong views can never be happy. Of course, she completely forgets that she also has very strong views which happen to be contrary to mine.
    5. Since I cook only 2 items (other than breakfast) – A vegetable and a dal with rice for lunch – why the heck am I asking for his help? Can’t I cook it myself? – explaining that it’s not a matter of cooking 2 dishes or 10, but the principle that 2 of us share the work doesn’t wash with her.
    6. I don’t respect my husband – because I don’t call him “aap” (or rather meeru in telugu) and call him tu/tum.

    Anyway, I think divorce is inevitable. I came home to mom n dad’s place. Mom started crying the minute we came home. I did not try to console her, because that would just be opening a pandora’s box of blackmail.

    My dad is desperately trying to save my marriage – in spite of me telling him that I don’t want to be married to this guy. I think it’s that “log kya kahenge” that’s making him behave the way he is. Also, my dad has pretty chauvinistic views himself. HE was also telling me “For your kind information, NO husband will cook for his wife”…. So, obviously he thinks I am being unreasonable. Ya dad, Karma… trust a chauvinist like you would give birth to a feminist like me ;)

    But, I have a feeling my family is coming around. They love me, after all :) and they are pretty proud of my strong views, though they may not agree with them.

    Thanks again to all of you.

    IHM, on a separate note here.. I used to read your blog and comment a few years ago… Then I started a job in a place where I didn’t have internet access, so stopped being active on your blog. In this time, I went through a pretty bad break up which left me vulnerable, heart broken and with really low self esteem. I even lost my faith in feminism. I guess I was at that weak point when this arranged marriage rishta came and I got into this mess.

    Anyway, what I am saying is, past few months I have started reading your blog again and you have renewed my faith in feminism. And not just you – All the strong women and men on this blog who are just so amazing – you have unknowingly brought me back to life! You are like my secret support system.

    • You go girl. Stay strong and go for your happiness. You MIL’s list is hilarious. Good riddance, I say! Your parents will come around when they see you strong and happy. :-)

    • Okay, just some notes from this [unmarried, male, random] whippersnapper:

      1. Obviously, she’s using a different definition of ‘love’.

      2. There is no such thing as reading too many books. Also, I love Steig Larsson and the totally badass characters he creates.

      3. The work comes along with the house. It’s a package deal. You can’t have a house without the work that goes into making it a home. It’s his home too, and therefore, half the work is his. If you do his share, it’s a favor, not an obligation.

      4. People with strong views can’t be happy?

      5. Can’t you cook them? Well, can’t HE? If it’s that trivial a job, why the heck is he so reluctant to get his hands dirty? He knows how to cook, right? He ain’t afeard of fire, right? Is it a matter of principle for him too? Why is that okay coming from him (or mommy-in-law) but not from you?

      6. What a shitty, superficial thing to say. I call my sister a witch sometimes. I call her ‘tu’ whenever we speak in Hindi. There are very few people I respect and admire more than her, as a person. Does respect flow from a name? Does it flow from a title? Maybe in some peoples’ world, not mine.

      I dunno if divorce is inevitable, but I’m just going to say – you shouldn’t beat yourself up for making a mistake. Relationships are complicated. I know this because I’m a testosterone-pumped idiot with a laptop and I’m in my twenties. It’s easy to make a mistake here. The key is moving on. Or so I feel.

      Have a good life ahead. You owe that to yerself, matey. :)

    • Great that you have reached this clarity. Plenty of husbands cook for their wives. I learnt all my cooking from my husband. Before that, all I could make was tea and boiled eggs. And yep, Lisbeth Salander is awesome. Lots of moments in life when I’ve wanted her taser gun :D

      • Cooking is not the issue here, Lack of respect is the issue. If he did not know cooking, and is not good at it, but respected and loved her, she would have cooked for him or appointed one. This guy has no respect, and no love for the girl he married! He simply will not adjust.

    • From all of your writing, you seem to be a pretty smart and strong woman. Hugs to you for all that you have been through. I hope your parents don’t give you a hard time (emotionally blackmailing you) about the divorce. You don’t deserve spending years helping a grown man grow up. If you have such strong (and fair) views inspite of your dad being a chauvinist and your mom being so ‘conditioned’, why can’t he break free from his mould? You’ll do just fine on your own. Good luck to you!

    • Sarkywoman. I remember the time when my mother tried to reason with my ex-husband and tactfully remind him of HIS husbandly duties. She told him how my dad would do the dishes
      when the maid was MIA, or chop vegetables or make tea.

      She told him how she’d “trained” my brother to help around the house so his wife wasn’t overworked.

      His eyes grew as wide as saucers — he thought my mother would plead with him and beg him to take her errant daughter back.

      Instead here she was, telling him that he needed to do his bit in the marriage. I remember how his face puffed up with suppressed indignation when she suggested he help with the cooking. :)

    • I almost broke despite having a very supportive hubby who protected me from his family all the while… But you, you are one strong woman Sarkywoman.

      And I love Lisbeth Salander too! She would approve of you moving on :-)
      Best wishes for your future.

  28. Sarkywoman, You have done the right thing. I was exactly where you were 5 years ago. I can only say that stick to your decision, and never look back and question your judgement. I do find that years can cloud your thought process, (and time heals and you forget), but life can only get better after this point. Find something to focus on. I put my mind on getting a Master’s degree abroad, and that has been enough to keep me occupied all these years. Ask the ‘evandi’ to get lost and go to hell. Well, I always found calling ‘evandi’ very weird, though I was forced to do that to my ex when I was married to him for a brief 2 months :D

  29. Happy for you Sarkywoman!

    Your husband seems to have the mental maturity of a toddler. It’s hard to communicate with anyone who sulks and shuts down.

    Does he run to his mother every time he has a disagreement with a colleague at work? Or does he sulk and give them the silent treatment and refuse to work with them?

    He does this with you because he believes that you are not his equal and that you “do not deserve” any respect, cooperation and any explanation regarding his behavior. Most importantly he feels that he has the support of his family, your family and the society and that he will likely get away with anything he does.

    Also, I think he pinched you because he did not have the guts to hit you then. He was testing the waters to see how you respond. It does not take a lot of time for people like that to escalate to being much more violent.

    Remember the above if you are pressured to give this man another chance.

    Talk to your mother. Tell her that you love her and that you know she loves you too but, she has to stop and I mean STOP the drama of threatening suicide. Tell her that you have been through a lot and ask her is she wants to prop her daughter up or help everyone else push her down.

    Another suggestion. If you have a significant amount of free time, take up an activity requires you to be away from home like volunteering during weekends or a new hobby class. I’m saying this because in many households, even the supportive ones, they talk talk and talk about the breakup constantly not knowing how much this affects the woman in question. I have seen girls go back to their abusers because they felt the breakup was affecting their family. In short do not give people time to brainwash you.

    Stay strong and thank your lucky stars that you got out early and with your health and sanity intact.

  30. I def feel for the letter writer. The things you are going through are terrible. I hope that you are able to come to some sort of decision that works for you, and brings peace to your life.

    That said, I can’t help but say that this letter brings up a few questions for me:

    Why on earth does it seem like marriages are so quick to happen in India, yet the idea of divorcing someone you married after only knowing them for 4 months is seen as being hasty?

    Why on earth is so much effort put into trying to keep these unions together, but ZERO time is spent on the front end?

    It does not make sense to me to spend more time in marital counseling trying to save a union that was created just for the sake of society.

    From your account, this “husband” sounds cruel. A husband should be a friend, a partner, a lover, a champion of your soul. This guy doesn’t sound like any of that.

    • American Woman, most Indians believe that marriages are forever. It doesn’t matter whether the married couple live together in mutual misery as long as they “live” together.

      The main purpose of marriage is to continue the bloodline and provide the man with male heirs and a reliable sexual outlet. A married woman’s happiness is thought to lie in ceaseless and unconditional service to her husband and his family.

      Women are expected to “adjust” not matter how unhappy, unfulfilling or unfair the marriage is. The only reason arranged marriages succeed is because women have very little agency or freedom to demand a fairer deal for themselves.

      Many marriages in India are emotionally and sexually empty because emotional and sexual compatibility are not high on the list — caste, family background and physical appearance is.

      An arranged marriage is not about the individual happiness of the people involved, it is about perpetuating existing social, economic, caste and gender hierarchies.

      It’s a bit like the marriage of Charles and Diana, to quote another famous failed marriage.

  31. It made me so so angry to read this e-mail. What is your husband, a 5 year old?? When I was a CHILD I used to sulk and not talk to my parents when I was mad at them…there is no place for that kind of behavior in an adult relationship! I hope you stay strong and stand your ground. In the way that your parents and his parents came together and talked (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your mils list), maybe sit down with your husband and explain to him your expectations and why his behavior is unacceptable. Try and make him see that as you are working full-time, and he knows how to cook too, it is just not reasonable for him to expect you to do all the household chores. Remind him that before marriage he said that he is fine with you calling him by his name, ask him what his problem is now. And just flat out tell him that sulking and pinching you and whatever the hell that was with the blanket lifting is just unacceptable. Next time he does anything like that just yell at him or slap him or kick him in the balls. Do not do nothing, this just reinforces his behavior. Also, if he’s that unwilling to help out with cooking just cook food for yourself. Maybe then all his cooking expertise will come flooding back.

    TBH though, in my mind marriage is something more than just a partnership it is a connection, like friendship but deeper. Even if he suddenly does a 180 degree change and starts respecting you and pulling his load, do you have any love for your husband? Do you even like him? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with him, raise children with him (if you want kids)?

    If the answer’s no then this relationship is going nowhere. And it’s not just bad for you, it’s bad for your husband who obviously has 14th century expectations of gender roles (not that I have any sympathy for him whatsoever). Sometimes there is no middle ground and you just need to get out. GL!

  32. Good blog. FYI, “yevandi” is not a name, its more accurate translation into Hindi would be “Sunte ho ji…”!!!

    Moreover, in Telugu, it is pronounced yemandi.

  33. Dear IHM, I think sometime you should write on this obnoxious Indian practice of de-personalising human relationships by refusing to call by their names. In every modern country, a person calls his or her spouse by name; but not in India. A woman has to refer to her husband as “they”, “them”, “yemandi” or “sunte ho ji”; and sometimes you hear a man referring to his wife “O mother of XYZ!!!”.

    I think this is a vestige of the patriarchal system which disfavours intimacy between couples fearing that the love lorn couple would then abandon the joint family!

    But the fact is this practice causes great inconvenience and embarrassment because sometimes there is confusion as to who is being addressed. Because the couple are the biggest stakeholders in the marriage, and in respect of their own individual worth and dignity, persons should call his or her spouse by name only.

    • In malayalee culture you call everyone who is older than u chetta or chechi, literally brother or sister. Even if you are married to them. My mom still calls my dad chetta: her excuse is that she’s used to it. It’s so weird!

    • I agree. Why is it a big deal when it comes to addressing husbands, for that matter spouses?Is it a matter of national importance? Addressing spouses by name sounds very informal and good. All this ‘suno ji, suniye, aji sunte ho, yevandi, enri, acchain, ennanga” etc etc should stop. At least the new-age couples should not give in to this patriarchical beliefs.

  34. The best thing that has happened in my recent life has been coming across this blog. Sarkywoman I can totaly understand your dilemma as I too am in a similar situation(with an over the top MIL and a dominating SIL to add). However dont beat yourself up for not seeing the red flags during courtship. I dated my husband for three years before we got married, though it was a long distance relationship. He seemed absolutely rational and matured man. However now that I live with him I am shocked at seeing the true him. Since I was apprehensive to leave my job and move to his city(read his home) he convinced and promised me that I would not be required to change my lifestyle and could live whatever way I wanted, not cook if I felt like, sleep for however long I want, etc. However now he seems to be innocently suffering from selective amenesia. So it does happen at times, we all make mistakes. Dwelling in past will not help, we can only learn from it for future. If you are mentally prepared for divorce I wish you all the strength. However you may want to give a lat ditch effort by a trial seperation. Just move out for a said amount of time, say few months. Give each other a list of things you want to expect. Let him work on himself if he wants to save his marriage. It might or might not work but do give him a fair chance to save the marriage.

  35. Get a divorce.

    Two months is not too soon. You can give your entire life and things won’t change; the mindset of your husband or your mother-in-law won’t change. Rather, you’ll get used to something like that. So the right thing would be to get a divorce now. Go for it.

  36. I’ve never left a comment on IHM’s blog, although I lurk here almost every day shamelessly :) However after reading this mail, i feel compelled to tell the writer: Please leave. ASAP. Mine is the voice of experience, so I hope you’ll heed it. You’re stuck in a culture/ mindset clash which time will only make worse. When you and your husband use the word “husband” for instance, you are referring to two wholly different entities. You think best friend or partner, he thinks owner. The two paradigms are irreconcilable. Dump him and move on. You deserve better.

  37. Hugs Lady. Been there..Done that. My dad is a stereotypical abusive and chauvinistic husband and he gave birth to me..a feminist unfortunately. I was in your situation 6 yrs back….Suffered a bitter breakup..entered into a hurried Arranged Marriage and the guy acted pretty well before marriage. 2 months down the lane…He was an ASS but his Mum was awesome. She was a wonderful lady and did not support his idea of a wife. So..here you go. Good mums also give birth to weirdos. Went ahead with a divorce..Parents home was another pressure cooker..Moved out of there asap and got my own small apartment.

    FF 6 yrs…Fell in Love after a long hiatus and Am married to a good guy who loves cooking and cleaning and does not consider his share in the house work as help. 2 kids and things are going good. May I add…My Husband’s mum is super patriarchal and is such a badass. Go Figure!

  38. Given the entire set of incidents narrated by the writer, I do not think counseling is the way to go here.
    1. The husband expecting the wife to make coffee, cook, call him “yevandi” etc might be the result of social conditioning. This part might respond to counseling. At least it could be worth a try.
    2. The husband sulking and not talking to his wife, pinching her, telling his mother everything etc is not so much social conditioning,but the result of his own innate immaturity that is responsible for this childish behavior. As an adult, he is supposed to have grown out of this behavior. Marriage counseling won’t help here. He probably needs psychiatric help.
    3. The husband silently lifting the blanket while the wife is sleeping takes him straight into creepy pervert territory. This is a definite, definite red flag. If he thinks that it is ok to prey on a sleeping woman, then this makes him a sexual predator. The only counseling he needs to recieve is from the prison psychiatrist.

    The other part, of course, is that by his ugly behavior so far, the husband has pretty much completely alienated his wife and lost her respect. Even if by some remote possibility, the husband completely reforms himself 180 degrees, would the wife still have any love or respect left for the husband? Would she still want to spend the rest of her life with him?

    Getting out of this sham of a marriage should be item one on her agenda. She will definitely need a support group (especially her immediate family and friends) to get her through the trauma of divorce. She needs to get them on board before she decides to initiate any separation formalities.

    • You’ve put it so succinctly and clearly. That was the whole point – When the MIL was harping on about me not respecting him – that is the point I raised. How can I respect a guy who behaves like this?
      She developed selective hearing. She told my parents – See, she is so disrespectful she is asking how can I respect him? (Here, I don’t totally blame her – no parent likes to accept negative points about their children – sons in particular)

      • Sarkywoman, you’re not alone. My MIL, when I brought up the things that were troubling me about his behavior (not because I was complaining, but because I was actually naive enough to think that she might be able to help me understand him better), told me:

        1. Her husband treats her the same way (in a twisted way, that was supposed to make it ok)

        2. Then, she said I needed psychiatric/psychological help

        3. This was followed by telling me she didn’t believe a word I say, calling me a liar and telling me I was making things up because she knows her son.

        I ended up telling her, she doesn’t know my husband and that throwing insults at me wouldn’t change the truth at all.

        Not to mention, I haven’t bothered justifying how I deal with her son’s behavior at all, thereafter. She THINKS she can advise me and tell me what to do from time to time, I listen but don’t respond.

        But you’re right, your MIL, like mine, probably thought you were attacking her upbringing (I can’t say much about my husband’s upbringing, though) and ofcourse, she couldn’t see her son being faulted for anything.

        • Your MIL sounds like a typical Indian MIL. All defensive about her precious “kaleje ka tukda”.

          The country’s awash with grown-up men and their overprotective, overinvolved mothers. :)

        • I have come across mothers who simply do not let go of their grown-up sons. They are quick to blame the DILs if the son is in trouble of any kind. “oh no you made him eat stale food. That is why his stomach is upset. I never gave him stale food. My poor little boy! Didn’t your mother teach you how to take care of a husband”? A friend of mine had her in-laws visit them after she gave birth. The MIL and FIL were hurt and upset that their son assisted the DIL in cooking and changing diapers. It did not matter to them that my friend was coping with body aches after a caesarean and taking care of the child and very tired, yet managed to do household duties. After all, being a woman she is supposed to go through all of this. But the son should not miss morning and evening coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner as this will affect his health !The social conditioning that men should not be handling household duties is really very strong!!!

  39. It is NOT your fault. So why should you become the victim?

    Just leave him. Your happiness matters more than everything.

    Leave him, be strong, folks will rally around. Life will be better than what it is right now.

  40. I really wonder in what age are most of the men living.
    Not only that they have accepted that women can work , that is they feel ok with Money Coming in, Its for them right ?
    Other tasks should be as per their conditioned thoughts , else we are bad , you see , all those 80′s family movies effect shows on them

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  42. I would give it till the first anniversary. If there really is no positive change whatsoever then I would probably walk out. Two things to keep in mind:
    1. Many men feel that they have to show they are still their own boss even after marriage — so they stop even taking suggestions from women they saw as equals before the wedding. Sometimes this evens out with time.
    2. What our grandmothers knew — you can catch more flies with honey. I learnt it the hard way. And even then sometimes it doesn’t work but it does work better than the confrontations and hard-hitting arguments my husband had come to expect from me.

  43. I feel compelled to write to you.
    I do feel the agony and trauma that you are going through and nothing anyone else can say in consolation can ever make it any lesser.
    I cant speak for you, but I can tell you that there are men who go through what you just described. I was one of them. Read about that here: http://myrootsmywings.blogspot.in/2012/02/rear-view-mirror-celebration-of-god-in.html.

    Divorce is a huge step and while it is always easy to head that road when the going gets tough, there will be moments when you’d regret working towards a divorce.

    Now, all men are abusive. Most are physically and some are verbally and the rest are simply cheating on their wives. My dad was sometimes physically and othertimes verbally abusive towards my dad. He once punched her in the mouth in a crowded marketplace and my mom still suffers from gum problems because of that. But there are a thousands of instances when he showed his love for her until the moment he died. That is my biggest takeaway.
    See, what I am trying to say is- every relationship will have its share of abuses and grievances. I would challenge you to ask friends, colleagues and relatives who have been married for more than 18 months how strong their marriage is. Chances are they will all tell you that the worst is behind them. 2 months is too short to judge him. I am sometimes verbally abusive towards my wonderful wife and I feel terrible about it. I hate shouting at her and I am really guilty about it for many hours but I always explained to her why I got mad/upset and she understands. Sometimes, she gets mad and yells at me but we understand eachother. Its okay for you to go through this rollercoaster ride. Remember that all marriages will be a rollercoaster ride in the first 18 months because it is during this time that the husband and wife get to really know about eachother- their preferences, likes, past experiences, character and so on. Ideally your families should not interfere during this and you two will have to ride it out yourselves. Think of this period as your probation period.

    I could go on and on but do write to me in case you need more help with marriages.
    navin.matthew@gmail.com
    Navin

    • Dear Navin,

      I was just going to ignore your comment. But, somehow, I feel “compelled” to reply to you too.

      It’s not your fault you think the way you do. You lived with an abusive father and a mother who lived with it. So, yes you think it’s OK for a man to be abusive.

      But, my dear you are the prime example of why domestic violence is wrong. It made you grow up thinking that violence is OK. It made you think that even if someone hits you, they still love you and would do anything for you. But, you know what? There is a secret. People who hit you are so scared, so insecure that one day you will get sick of them and the abuse and get the gumption to walk out on them. THAT, my dear, THAT is the reason why they are so bloody sweet and loving when they are not being abusive.

      Abuse is NEVER OK. Yes, the first couple of years of a marriage are the hardest. Couples will quarrel. There will be times when they think they hate each other – but at no point will they HIT, RAPE or TORTURE each other. Any relationship with such a person is toxic and you must get out of such a relationship as soon as possible.

      You’re not a bad person, you’re just misguided. Get some counselling, come out of your father’s shadow. Hope you get some help. Soon.

    • //Now, all men are abusive. Most are physically and some are verbally and the rest are simply cheating on their wives. //

      I strongly disagree. And as a guy I am offfended that you think all men are offensive. They definitely are not. I have seen so many marriages in my family and most of them have men doting over wives, not hitting them.The same is true for cheating also. An average usual guy do not cheat his wife, no matter what.

      //He once punched her in the mouth in a crowded marketplace and my mom still suffers from gum problems because of that. //

      This explains so much of your comments. It seems your father was an abusive personality , your mother accepted it and thus you have grown with the notion that abusive husbands are the norm, which they are not

      I know you will not agree to this. So I will suggest you get a neutral third party view by visiting a professional counsellor. Trust me you will realize that this line of thought you have is not correct.

      People personality develop in two ways

      1. You see a behaviour, start to believe it is the right behaviour , learn it and execute it. Even if it happens to be wrong behaviour

      2. You see a behaviour, but your self awareness and awareness outside of your immediate environment make you realize it is not correct, so you reject the behaviour and choose the opposite and correct approach

      You are following the path 1 – believing your father behaviour to be correct and ready to execute it. The counsellor can help you take the path two – make you realize that abuse is not right and common and reject it , and learning to respect and love your wife

  44. I don’t think it really deserves a detailed response, but Navin’s reply above encapsulates everything that’s wrong with Indian culture. Dude, if you think all men are abusive, that your father punching your mother in the face and you verbally abusing your wife are no big deal, please, just keep your opinions to yourself. What on earth makes you think you’re competent to counsel other people about their marriages?

  45. Pingback: For Victims and Survivors of Marital Rape by Indian Homemaker | Violence Against Women 2012

  46. Pingback: The fraud called Marriage « Sarkywoman

  47. Hi all, its been a month tht i gt married…as ma husband is onsit out of india i was askd to resign frm ma promising job and wait fr ma visa. MIL n he r way too traditional. She would wake me up early mrng 7 the very ‘nxt day’ after marriage.i will hav to stand n perform all da chores standing till 11am n ma Mil pushd me to goto a doc wen im sick jst to wak me early mrng. Tis is sthn she said in frnt of mz husband tht sleeping late in their house will nt help wen am really sick–wich ma husband says it is her concrrn y she wantd me to goto doc. When i confrntd him wth wat she did as in askin me to get up n wrk right after i cam frm hodpitl. He says bear everythn wat his mom says n i shdnt complain..3days aftr mz marriag he says y did u gt mariied to mr wen u cannt do wat ma mom wants..wen u cant cuk..he went abroad within a week aftr shadi.he dint bthr about ma expenses.he dint gimme sny money wen he left. Now tht iam jobless i had to ask fr ma vanity mny he sent dum mony with wich i can only spend to pay m fon n internt bills..i dnt know if i shdd discuss his entire financisl status r nt cz wen i raisd a concern abt ma lif wen i ws wrking he slammd st me sayin its diff nw n i shd ask him fr every thn..he also insists tht i follow all tose telugu bahu custms as to lifting his plate..cukin…nt calin him wth name am fedup wth this old fashiond man n his family dono if it is too early to decide bt m so much unhappy

  48. Pingback: What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  49. Pingback: “Is this really it? the only person I’ll ever find? A sweet guy who has no interests?” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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