An email: “Is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me?”

Sharing an email.

Good evening and greetings from the eastern part of the United States! :-) I am a young woman in my 20s currently living in the US.

One email you posted is an issue I have been struggling with for the past 8 months and really resonates with me. It’s a topic I fail to understand, and no family or friend of mine can really offer me any sound advice or reasonable answers. The post from December 7, 2011 which you received from another American woman titled: “Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?” is a very similar situation I have just recently gone through.

I am a Caucasian-American and had been dating an Indian man (Brahmin) for about two years. He was the one who pursued me 2 years ago; I did not pursue him, but once I got to know him, I genuinely started to like him a lot. He never led me to believe that he wasn’t truly “committed” to me or that our relationship was only “temporary.” he had been with my family on several occasions. We got along well, but in the back of my mind, I wondered what would come to be.
We had briefly talked about 3 or 4 times about his parents and how them getting to accept me would be “his problem” and no-one would ever influence his” decision. He admitted it would be a “mountainous task,” but always said he would take care of it. Back in the summer when I indirectly gave him an ultimatum, (we would still be together going nowhere otherwise) he chose to end it with me because his parents would never accept me and he could never been happy if his parents were unhappy, which he claims would lead him to have a grudge on me. He tried talking to a family member about the situation, but even they said that he needs to make the parents happy, and that he could learn to love in an arranged marriage. As far as I know, a few months after we broke up, he tried explaining the situation to his parents, but only using hypotheticals, like “what if I did this? or what if I did that?” (not real situation or real people) and when he did, they threatened to disown him and panicked, and frantically tried to get him married off. He did not have a heart for me, did not fight for me, and only cared about the happiness of his parents. Sometimes he expressed sadness, and sometimes he seemed as though he couldn’t care less and have moved along just fine.
Now, my question is, did this guy ever truly care for me, is it truly that he can’t “shatter” his parents heart, is he just a loser/coward who can’t be bothered with doing the work associated with being with me, or, did maybe he need an excuse to end it because, after all, he took pride in his Brahmin beliefs and maybe did not want to see that tradition partially end with an American wife? (After all, I am not vegetarian, and he was a very strict one.) If it is the 3rd one, is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me? It may be so. He is not yet married, but the pressure to do so started 4-5 years ago, before I knew him. His mother has been hounding him non-stop since to get married. Is he really so concerned about her happiness? If so, why didn’t he give in to her 5 years ago when all this nonsense started? It seems a little sick that he is expected to sacrifice his life-long happiness, and is it me, or is he willing to do so? Does the control ever stop? I suppose only if the sons let it.

I am sure you are super bombarded with emails, work, family, and just the trials of life, but I was wondering if there is a way I can hear your opinion, and if possible, hear the opinions of the public, specifically Indian men? I think hearing your and others opinions might truly give me the inner peace I desperately need. Thank you so much and God bless.

Related Posts:

“Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?”
So what does marriage mean to traditional and conservative Indians?
“I am the glue in their marriage. They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”
An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.
“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

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98 thoughts on “An email: “Is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me?”

  1. People can love without being strong or courageous. In the end, it was a choice he made to go the well-trod path. From experience, I know how difficult it is for men and women alike to strike out on their own if they are from an Indian family. The family structure is stifling. I don’t think he loved his parents or his culture more than he loved you, but he probably didn’t have the guts to stand up to all the emotional blackmail that is routine in Indian homes. It’s not easy in any way and not just the family, but everyone conspires to make you feel like the lowliest worm. Not many can withstand this abuse (yes, it is abuse) and most give in, and the cycle continues. Just feel sorry for him and be thankful you are out of it.

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  2. In India even today a son or worse still a daughter choosing their own spouse is not the norm and when it happens the parents in most situations play the blame game and make their child feel guilty about being”disobedient”,”bringing disgrace” and breaking the family tradition.
    About 8 years ago ours was the first self-choice marriage in my husband’s family and so many years later when many of his cousins have now married outside their community and caste in whispers we (rather he) are blamed for initiating a wrong trend.

    All of us are a product of the choices we make and those we don’t make as well,so take heart dear this was not about you,you are a person and not a mannequin which he could customize as per his parents wishes.If he could not pursue this pervasively I am sorry to suggest that maybe he was not serious about this relationship and just took the easy way out when things came to a breaking point.

    Forget about whether he has moved on or not,you must move on.God bless.

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  3. I am not a guy, but coming from a Brahmin family and having grown up in India , I can hopefully give you some perspective.

    It is very common for traditional Indian parents to ask , rather demand that their kids “sacrifice” and marry someone of their choice from the same community. It is not like they are against non Indians. They sometimes have trouble accepting SILs/DILs from the same caste just because of the fact that they were not the ones that chose them. It all ties into “what people will say”, as in the fear that they will be looked down by their peers for raising such wayward kids.

    While in some cases parents are genuinely concerned about compatibility issues when their son / daughter presents a partner of a totally different cultural background, most of the parents do not react in an adult way and try and discuss their concerns with their kids and ask if they considered those issues. Instead like small kindergarten kids, they throw tantrums and in some cases even threaten with committing suicide.

    This does not mean that Indians or Brahmins have never married someone outside of their parents’ comfort zone. They have married and guess what – the parents survived! Heck, they even mended their relations with their kids and their spouses.But yes, lot of times, they were disowned and had to cut relations with their communities which I am sure would have been very painful.

    Coming to your ex-boyfriend, what he did was very cowardly and looks like he is not ready to be an adult. A large part of it is because he probably was never allowed to act like an adult his entire life. If culture and tradition were so important to him, he should have been clear about it with you from the beginning that the relationship would never lead to marriage. He led you on. But also realize that his fear about parents and ex-communication were probably very real.

    In the end, while it is very painful, believe me, you are much better off without him. Because this would not have ended with him convincing his parents that he will marry you. From the looks of it, your culture and your traditions would probably never be accepted. You may have even been pressured to give them up.

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    • I am reminded of a blog called the Big, Bad, Blonde Bahu. Sadly, Ms 4B chose to take her blog down last year.

      The blog was an eye-opener. One of the posts narrated how the man’s mother, newly arrived from India slapped 4B when she learnt that Mr 4B wanted to marry her.

      Another post described how 4B made breakfast for her MIL, only to watch her pick up the plate and toss the food into the garbage bin.

      She was a Caucasian American, Catholic, married to a Marathi Brahmin man. The blog described her bewilderment when confronted with typical Indian MIL behavior (temper tantrums, emotional blackmail, passive-aggressive undermining).

      Another described how she choked on the smoke from the homam (ritual fire) during the marriage ceremony and was blamed by everybody for ruining the ceremony.

      The blog made for some very interesting (and worrisome) reading.

      Apparently, many Indians “elders” think that the only way to elevate Indian culture is by blatantly disrespecting somebody else’s, especially a gori DIL.

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      • this comment deserves an answer.

        this behaviour is not the monopoly of indian parents.
        neither is it specific to the brahmin or catholic demographics.
        any parents facing a child marrying out of their community( or culture or language or religion) faces this situation. a christian is scared of their child marrying a jew.. a sikh is scared of their child marrying a hindu.. a kerala brahmin is scared of their child marrying a telugu brahmin..an arab is scared of their child marrying a non-arab. parents are scared when their child (male or female) grows up and questions their belief system. parents are scared when a child chooses a partner whose culture the guy/gal does not understand.

        now how do they express that fear depends on many factors..most of the parents, with a close-knit community to fall back to, will seek the community’s help in the matter.

        the abusive MIL is not restricted to intercaste marriages.. same caste, same belief, same counrty marriages also suffer when the MIL decides that her new daughter in law (who usually lives with her, in the parental house) does not deserve to be treated with dignity.. this can make the DIL’s life hell if she lets it happen.

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        • Jaya, I agree mostly. However, there is a big difference between not approving of your offspring’s choice of a mate and showing your disapproval by humiliating/hurting your offspring’s mate.

          It doesn’t matter which community the DIL belongs to or whether the marriage was arranged or not. I am criticising the tendency that many Indian parents have of treating the DIL in a manner that is disrespectful or inconsiderate.

          I am taking issue with that. It’s human nature to cling to the familiar and reject the unfamiliar. However, reasonable, mature people can still behave courteously and respectfully towards people who are from another culture.

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        • Er…in regards to “any parents facing a child marrying out of their community( or culture or language or religion) faces this situation”…I think it’s best to say any conservative, closed minded, xenophobic, and/or traditional parents facing a child marrying out of their community/culture/language/religion face this situation.

          I’m a Canadian of Nepali origin. I’m married to a Telugu dude. Neither of us had any issues with our parents.

          Regarding the 4B blog, I read a few posts a while ago and was horrified. The MIL’s behavior was terrible to the point that I think she had severe mental issues which were never looked into.

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        • I don’t think Biwo meant this for just the Brahrman community, she meant this in general. Also, I think this is the great thing that unites all the differing Indian communities – I don’t know why we have so many communities because this way of thinking is identical.

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        • “It’s human nature to cling to the familiar and reject the unfamiliar. However, reasonable, mature people can still behave courteously and respectfully towards people who are from another culture.”

          Absolutely! There’s a huge difference between feelings and actions. We are all entitled to our feelings. How we act upon them makes all the difference in the world.

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        • Jaya, any concerned parent will have a few doubts when their kid’s partner is from an unknown culture, as I said in my comment. How they react is the crux of the issue. Do they try and find out from their kid if they are comfortable? Do they try and find out about the other culture? Do they rationally express their concerns and then accept the partner when they adult child says, yes, I have considers all of that and I still feel my happiness lies with this person….

          I wonder why parents try and seek solace in such a judgmental community that is worse that disowns them for their personal choices. All this when they are still telling their kids to put family first and not be influenced by THEIR friends. Hypocritical right?

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      • “One of the posts narrated how the man’s mother, newly arrived from India slapped 4B when she learnt that Mr 4B wanted to marry her. Another post described how 4B made breakfast for her MIL, only to watch her pick up the plate and toss the food into the garbage bin.”

        I know I shouldn’t be surprised (being Indian and all), but I honestly find this shocking!! Just crazy unreasonable behaviour.

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        • Carvaka, Ms 4B initially thought that such histrionic behavior was quintessentially Indian, because she saw her MIL watch Marathi TV soaps, where the MILs sometimes slapped their DILs; harangued them and ordered them around, while the rest of the family looked on.

          She had no points of reference which could help her see that her MIL’s behavior was aberrant even by Indian standards.

          Her blog readers had to explain to her that it was unusual even for an Indian MIL to be so volatile and unpredictable; that the MIL perhaps had undiagnosed mental health issues.

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        • I used to read 4B’s blog and do not recall reading anything about MIL slapping the DIL or being ‘blamed by everybody for ruining the ceremony’ after she choked on the smoke.
          But, yes, there were several subtle and non-subtle ways that the MIL tried to verbally and via body language, undermine and insult the American DIL, which is absolutely inexcusable. It was in fact quite similar to how some MILs are known to behave with their Indian DILs as well.

          My impression from there was that it was Mr 4B to blame – he had not taken into account that there would be vast differences between the thinking of his conservative mother and his American wife – he did not seem to have made any attempt whatsoever to bridge that gap before putting both of them in each other’s company.

          I object to some commentators pointing out specific Indian communities who are likely to do this. This is very misleading and not true at all. You could see these types of clashes in any Indian community depending on the how much exposure there has been to mixed culture marriages, education, conservative vs non-conservative lifestyle etc. I have seen Indian families that have wholeheartedly accepted their western DILs (plenty of blogs out there demonstrating this), and then some who have not.

          My advice to non-Indian women dating or looking to marry Indian men is to get to know how strong an influence the guy’s family has on the relationship and gauge how likely it is to affect the peace and stability of the relationship. To not take his word for it. Interpersonal communication – especially when it comes to relationships is not always a strong trait of men in general (even though there are excellent exceptions) – so don’t count on him to iron out all differences. If possible try to talk with the family on phone, or better yet in person to gauge their reaction to the relationship. Women have a good radar for detecting potential relationship conflicts.

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        • Replying to Deepti. You may not recall the particular post, but Ms 4B described how she suffered a panic attack during the homa because of the smoke and overcrowding. She tried to signal to her sister who was on the other side of the room but failed.

          She described how the people around her couldn’t understand what panic attacks were and that she needed space and fresh air. She wrote about how she could only leave after her husband intervened. She also described how some aunts yelled at her to return to the ceremony after a few minutes and she couldnt understand because of the language barrier.

          As regards the slapping, one of her posts described how her MIL’s behavior had improved gradually after that incident, that she while she was still hostile, she was not so volatile.

          As regards my mentioning the community Mr 4B belonged to, I belong to it as well and only mentioned it because the blog specifically referenced certain aspects of Marathi brahmin rituals and customs that Ms 4B was trying to learn and wrote at length about. She wondered if such behavior was cultural, specific to her MIL or specific to Mr 4B’s family or caste and community.

          I agree that such behavior cuts across caste, region, community lines. In fact, the MIL-DIL conflict unites an otherwise diverse and heterogeneous society (except matrilineal communities/tribes in the NE) :)

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  4. I laughed out loud when I read this. Ok, I know I am not supposed to but this situation has little to do with the girl being caucasean. Even if the girl was a non-brahmin, an SC, a Jaat, someone from eastern India – the situation might have been pretty much the same. It is a pattern that can be pretty much seen in abundance.
    The fact is that the guy knew from the very first day that he will never have the courage to present this girl as his partner to his parents. Maybe he was hopeful initially but he chickened out as the relationship progressed. What prompts such guys to enter into relationships they perfectly know will never work out because of the false values ingrained in them?
    Lady,
    Be happy that you were saved on time. You are very lucky. Thank God that 20 years down the line, he will be a small, forgettable blip in your life. Go and find real love.

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    • I agree with Amit, that you should consider yourself lucky that you’re not with him.

      The guy probably got into a relationship thinking he could change his parents’ viewpoint, but when he realized the amount of work and effort it would take, he just decided to take the easy way out. He learned a valuable lesson about himself and his parents, about how far he would be able to go regarding changing their mind and how his folks would react… and you, unfortunately, became collateral damage.

      I’m sorry about what you had to go through. It’s unfair that you had to get hurt.
      I hope you find someone more worthy of you.

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    • > What prompts such guys to enter into relationships they perfectly know will never work out

      A selfish desire to get their rocks off with a white woman. I know SO MANY desi men who lie to white women in order to sleep with them and then a year later they get happily arranged-married to parent-approved same-caste wives they have insisted must never have had a boyfriend before. Disgusting.

      I thoroughly agree with your last paragraph.

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      • I’m sorry, but I don’t agree that it’s all right to assume that he ‘knew perfectly well’ it would never work out.

        Perhaps he did, but we can’t simply assume so.

        Most people are nowhere near that self-aware, at least not until they have actually faced a conflict as major as that one. You are presuming malicious intent where it is entirely plausible that there wasn’t any.

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  5. Dear email writer,

    This type of reaction from parents is a common thing in many cultures – Indian being one of them. Why? Because this is all they have seen, are familiar with – a boy marries a girl of their choice – anything new is threatening.

    Yes, it is a selfish notion. Why would parents interfere with children’s happiness? I honestly don’t know. I was born a Brahmin too and I’m still vegetarian. I have kids. I would want my son to marry someone he loves and someone who loves him. What does what we choose to eat have anything to do with this?

    So you ask – Why does this guy give in to his parents demands? He is afraid to displease them because this is the mind set he was born into. It is very difficult to get rid of. Telling a traditional Indian that he must do what he thinks is right rather than what society/parents want – is like telling an American his/her freedom is not important, he/she should do what the neighbors think. To a great extent, it’s history and social conditioning. You are the product of centuries of hard won personal freedom – it’s all around you, it’s all you see, it’s what you grew up with. To some extent, it is also culture specific. Many Western cultures value personal freedom, something that one has to fight for in many Eastern cultures.

    However, if it had to come to this, I wish he had been clear about his priorities. He shouldn’t be dating someone when in his own mind, he doesn’t feel emancipated enough to marry that person. I feel maybe at one point he felt he could make it all work, and then later began to have doubts (the old mindset creeping back in, taking hold).

    It must be extremely hard for you to go through this. This is unfair to you. But the truth is, in the long run, it is a good thing that it’s ending now. If you get married to someone and then they reveal themselves to you as someone who can’t commit to you, then you have to go through so much more pain.

    I think any man who loves a woman (or any woman who loves a man) can make it work despite parental disapproval. If a person is giving up the person they claim to love for parental approval, that cannot be called ‘love’. Love is not some romantic notion in a movie – love is commitment.

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  6. I know a couple who are from different background who were together for 10 years before they got married last year. They spent about 5-6 years out of that showing their parents how strong their relationship was till their parents eventually saw that it was wrong of them to expect their kids to not marry because the parents were not comfortable with the idea. Perhaps such stories are the exception, not the rule. Its definitely very difficult to convince traditional parents but it’s not impossible. The fact that your ex didn’t even try seems like he never had the guts. I don’t think its entirely about “breaking his mom’s heart”. He’s probably more concerned about being disowned and not appearing to be the “good son” in front of the family. I think I would have given him the benefit of doubt if at least he had attempted to convince his parents. It seems like he just doesn’t want to make things uncomfortable for himself. And if that is the case, I think you should see this as good riddance. You don’t want to be with someone like that, especially if he thinks he’s superior because he is a Brahman or something. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be with a partner who is from the same background as oneself; but if that was the case, he shouldn’t have got into a committed relationship with someone from a different culture. And he shouldn’t blame his parents for a decision that he has taken. For all you know his parents are probably not has conservative as he is making them out to be.

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  7. Hi,

    I am a Malayali Christian who fell in love and married a Telugu Brahmin boy. We are from different states and everything about our culture and tradition and food and what not are different.

    We waited for 3 years for approval from his folks and when we did not get it, we decided to go ahead and get married. I had the approval from my parents (I must say it’s mostly the girl’s parents who give in, because they come to realize that their daughter’s happiness is more important). But that is MOSTLY not the case with the boy’s family. They talk of society, what they will think, how can we accept somebody from a another caste and it goes on and on and on.

    In my case, his father expired a few years back, so it was all the more “what will people think, they will say I have not brought you up properly, you are doing things on your own” yada yada yada. It’s the fear what people will say rather than what their son wants. My husband has 3 elder sisters, all of them married, but none of them or their husbands wanted to support him or try and help to convince his mother. Why? Because – if something happened in the future and we have trouble in our marriage they would be blamed. It was a typical cat on the wall ploy. His sisters and BIL’s said “If mom agrees, we will agree” His mother said “If they all agree, then we will see”.

    But, my husband could not take in the emotional blackmail, the tears, the blame game, the way they made him feel guilty–he finally walked out. They said “if you want to marry her, you go and do what you want”. From the time he turned into his 20′s he has always been saying that he would only marry a girl of his choice and will never settle for an “arranged marriage”.

    It’s going to be 9 years now this July since our marriage and his folks have still not accepted me. He goes to his mom’s home every Sunday evening-his mother could not bear to be without seeing him and she told him he could come home (a month after our marriage!!). She wanted to cook and feed him at least once a week. Sometimes when he is unable to make it for and tells her he is not coming home, she gets so upset. But whenever he is at home, they never discuss me, never ask about me, don’t even acknowledge that he is married.

    He has 6 nieces and they have not informed them about his (their only maternal and favourite Uncle’s marriage), lest their minds get corrupted!! But the new generation is not one to be cowed down. They got to know about me and 3 out of this 6 nieces are good friends with me (without the family’s knowledge ofcourse). I would’ve loved to have such a huge extended family, but neither me nor my husband would’ve accepted living with my MIL under the same roof. His mother is tooo orthodox and compromising would have only made our lives hell.

    My husband is nothing like his family–he is not orthodox, not traditional, so caring, loving and puts me before everything else, though he always says this his mother is his responsibility too, which I agree.I never hold him back when he spends for his family, sisters nieces etc.

    What I’m trying to say is..this would have been your life, if your BF would had stood up for you. Or maybe they would have accepted you once you had kids. But it’s very very difficult getting them to accept you whole heartedly. If he has not stood up for you and you had pressurised him into a marriage, he would not have supported you then too and would always lean towards pleasing his parents. So, be glad and move on.

    Sorry for the long post–just wanted to give you a picture.

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    • I think this sums it up. Marrying him would have for meant buying into a system with a strict family hierarchy, constant parental pressure and various other said and unsaid expectations. How much all of this would have affected you is debatable, but from the sounds of it, your ex himself wasn’t very good at handling this sort of thing, so I’m willing to bet that your marriage would have been coloured by all these issues.

      In the end, you dodged a bullet. You were with a man who (by your account) did not even attempt to fight for you. Alluding to your existence, using hypothetical situations, without stating clearly that a life with you is what he wanted IS pretty discouraging- but you dodged a bullet, he’s the one stuck .

      Finally, it seems like you want closure on the strength of his feelings for you. I’d say you probably know the answer to that- the important thing is that his feelings for you and his inability to resolve the situation were mutually exclusive.
      In other words- inter-racial couples who manage to make this situation work are not more IN LOVE than the one’s who don’t- the make it work because they are better at handling the BS that comes their way.

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      • “You dodged a bullet”. Oh the LW has no idea just how narrowly she dodged one here.

        Her ex appears to have been a pusillanimous and confused man who wanted his different worlds to coalesce without trying too much. It takes a lot of inner strength, resolve and clarity for a man to negotiate such situations successfully.

        At least he chickened out before he married her. That would have been much, much worse.

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  8. I’m really sorry to say but I’m pretty sure the guy was never in love…I’ve two daughters both of them stay abroad and have heard many such stories of their friends ….it is fairly common practice for guys to fall in love(or rather pretend) with girls of foreign land and then feel helpless and unable to bear the pressure and marry off to the girl of their parents’ choice. The good thing is you are saved timely and to continue in such relationships is like choosing to live in a hell…even if they gather the courage to fight for their love, invariably later their parents keep making them feel guilty for being an uncaring son and for not caring for his parents’ happiness…it is rightly said love is blind or you would have smelt the kind of guy he was long before….

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  9. I have never ever understood why or how parents can make you feel guilty or why children lack guts to stand up to parents. And I come from a really orthodox and traditional family too. May be I am just made differently.

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    • Yes you are right,…it is difficult to imagine but it is so that in India that the day the son is born he is seen as budhape ka sahara, who would bring a bride(rather more a servant) matching their aspirations, who would take care of them, most of them see the girl as a means to fulfill sexual desires of their son, nothing more, which may not happen if he marries the girl of his own choice ….they bring up their son imbibing this deep in his conscious, so all this is in the back of his mind even if he falls in love…which eventually makes him guilty….this is not generally the case with a daughter who generally are brought up to make them a good daughter in law…such problems as faced in the above post are outcome of these traditional thoughts…

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      • Well, I should know what the outcome of traditional thought is, because I have been brought up that way, as I said above. Guilt is felt by children is not something unique to sons, daughters also feel guilt when going against what their parents have imbibed.

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        • Yes, even girls do feel guilty in that case but at least they(traditional parents) have no expectations from daughters after marriage….therefore the guilt is perhaps short lived, and more importantly they don’t emotionally torture their son in law…the couple can get along well with each other if guy’s parents are ok with the marriage…the funny part is that they say they care and love their children and all the nonsense is for the good of children…I wonder if the children are not happy what good they are doing to their children….

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        • //”the funny part is that they say they care and love their children and all the nonsense is for the good of children…I wonder if the children are not happy what good they are doing to their children…”//

          Agree totally!

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    • I completely agree with you on this one (though I am not from an orthodox family). There are many people who have stood up to their parents to marry someone of their choice. The guy in this case, did not have the courage. I’d take it one step further and say, he thought it would be more beneficial to him to marry someone of his parents’ choosing. After all, marrying a woman from a traditional family would garner him a dowry and subservience.

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      • and wah wah from the society too…in fact their respect is attached to the dowry…more the dowry, greater the respect…
        sometimes I think all these nuances are because traditionally, a girl has to leave her home and be part of guy’s family….this is an unsaid rule and girls are also following it quietly without questioning….this rule is put into their system gradually, as they grow…due to this it appears logical for the guy to marry off to a girl of parents choice to ensure amicability at home…and a girl who is brought up in traditional environment becomes naturally the first choice for the guy,(he being sacrificing, caring son…)

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  10. This is what probably happened.
    The guy was all for convincing his parents at first, he felt it would not be impossible and jumped into the relationship.Then he started discussing with his parents hypothetical scenarios just to find out how hard things were gonna get for him.
    His folks smelled a rat and brought in the water works,threats,fake heartattacks,emotional black mailing, brain washing from all the relatives and neighbours , the whole nine yards.The guy opts out of hell.End of story.
    It has got nothing to do with the differences in nationality/religion/caste etc. Its just enough that the girl isn’t his parents choice.
    His ‘love’ for his ‘traditions’and ‘culture’, if such a thing ver did exist in his heart, would never have allowed him to get involved with you in the first place.
    So make your peace, dear lady,with the fact that you are better off without him.
    Good Luck.

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    • OMG! this is exaaaactly what happened in my friend’s daughter’s case….the guy fought to his full capacity and all of a sudden his mother had heart ache, b.p.,unconsciousness, hospitalization, and what not…the day that guy agreed to their choice she was all fine….

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  11. Even if the culture never made him a man , was he even a sensible adult ( the ones who can be without feeling guilty for using his own brand of toothpaste)? How can one happily get into a relationship without clarifying what it means to either of them? . No harm in dating or having a fling – but how hard is to see beyond? I see this as case of make love until mommy calls style!

    Email writer, I am happy you are so out of this mess. As Amit put it, it does not matter if the guy is a brahmin, baniya or a rajput – they are all bloody same when it comes to using the name of culture, religion, tradition instead of standing up with their backbones straight.

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  12. “is he just a loser/coward who can’t be bothered with doing the work associated with being with me”

    Yes, this. As others have pointed you, you could have been a brahmin even – just not of ‘their’ choice – and the situation might have been the same. Sounds like he has issues holding his own with his family and they have issues letting him be an independent adult. This could only have led to more messiness if you got married. As much as it may hurt to see it like that, I think this is good riddance for you.

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  13. Well, This bred of guys are just spineless idiots.

    Culture : They are not saving that because what they are doing is NOT Indian Culture. Its called hypocrisy.

    Parents: Well. Everybody can have their opinion so if he had spine he could have been independent.

    Society: Largely a bunch of hypocrites again so here too its guy needs to have spine to stand up to.

    In a summary,

    This guy never cared for you and your happiness and it was just a moment which felt like ( if it was ever there, he was just having instantaneous fun )

    So somebody mentioned in comments ” Be happy you are saved in time”

    There is nothing like “culture loving guy” in this case.

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  14. @Raghav,

    I don’t know what your problem is, but if you are going to comment on my blog, I suggest you read the posts first. I found your commenting on the sad case of Savita Halappanavar with your rambles on how you think parent / offspring relationship should be, extremely in bad taste. The poor woman died of neglect and it was a post in honour of her, and she doesn’t need nonsense like that. I am happy to publish any comments if you have anything to say on the subjects I write about. Otherwise, don’t try to spam by bringing stuff over from here.

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    • @Raghav, STOP spamming me on my blog. The entire point is that you did not read MY post and instead ranted about other stuff. My blog is not your personal diary. Moreover, if you want me to reply to you privately, you should send me your email. I have no way of contacting you other than this blog.

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  15. Well the answer’s simple. He is a coward AND he used you. Being Brahmin has little to do with it. He refused to stand up for you and led you on. You are fortunate because you did not have to marry him. The only sad part is that you wasted precious time with him when you could have been going out and enjoying your life. He is by no means an exception. I have myself heard the exact same story from another American client of mine. The man always chickens out, pushing the blame on to the supposed ties to and debt towards his parents. Loser.

    I married outside of my community and my parents (and hers) disapproved strenuously. While I love my parents, there was no way I was willing to let them vet/approve my choice of wife. It was my wife who did not want to marry without her parents’ approval. So we waited 5 years before people came around and we got married.

    The way I look at it this is a win-win for both sets of parents and us. If our marriage does disintegrate, we don’t get to blame them. If we are fine (as we are so far, after 10 years), then they are happy their kids are all right. Yes? :)

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  16. Dear email writer,
    You are better off without him – Period. I agree with Amit too when he says it does not matter what nationality u are, the emotional blackmails of the parent’s are pretty much the same. And if that boy could not stand up for you, it is no use shedding tears over the situation.. After a few years this will just be a bad dream and nothing more than that. Real love is sure to find you soon. Best Wishes

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  17. To the email writer,
    No he’s not serious, he might have believed at one point he was serious, with good intentions been attracted to you and then realized fighting with his parents for you was simply not worth it.

    I don’t think he truly loved you, you fight and protect the one you love, against all odds.
    irrespective of nationality, tradition and custom.

    I’m from a tradition brahmin family , oh so very orthodox and i married against my parents wishes when i realised their refusal had no strong basis, they just wanted to their dutiful daughter let them pick her spouse and show the world how well they raise dher, they felt they had failed as parents when i choose to pick my spouse. in my mind i think i got a great upbringing, was raised ot make up my own mind and stand independent.
    so let it go. he was not meant to be and you really don’t want to be saddled with a confused soul who cant decide differentiate between tradition, culture and respect do you?

    And no it’s not just because you are caucasian, although it does play a part, but such men and women ( oh yes them too) are plenty in india too , some date just to test the waters ( which is ok in my book – how else will you know if the person is compatible), some date with the intention of marriage and chicken out int he end.. there are all kinds.

    In some cases blaming the parents happiness is a tried and tested way of dumping someone without guilt. :-)

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  18. LW,

    As someone who has been in the situation of having to fight a protracted war with the parents for the “privilege” of marrying the woman I wanted to, I’d say that given your respective worldviews and appetite for conflict, you guys could hardly have hoped for a better outcome.

    In such situations, the comparisons with ‘dodging a bullet’, while trite, are very accurate.

    To the independent, free-thinking individual, orthodox family structures in India can be stifling, to say the least. It is not easy to break out of those structures, especially when you have been brought up to revere them, and look up to them, especially when you have taught that even the thought of breaking out is sacrilegious to your parents, to your culture, to pretty much everything you might hold dear. In such families, young men are taught that love is a mere distraction, a corruption, and that women are a ‘trap’ that the wise individual must not fall into. They are taught that one’s parents always know best, that going against them is foolishness, that any sign of defiance towards the strictures of elders is a manifestation of supreme selfishness. I know, because I was brought up in such a family.

    When I told my parents about my engagement, they reacted with scorn, derision, tantrums and emotional blackmail, even though they had been somewhat softened by the many years I had already spent abroad, in and out of romantic relationships. There were the standard threats of disownment, of me being ‘dead to them’, and even suicide. This soon devolved into a cold war of sorts, a war that hasn’t entirely abated, even now that it has been over a decade since it all started. The protests can be strong enough to make you question your own motives, to make you question the wisdom of going ahead with whatever action you are planning to take, to make you question if you aren’t being overly self-centered. It takes a tremendous amount of resolve and faith to go on despite the rubbish that is thrown right in your face

    Not everyone is up to fighting that hard for one’s beliefs, and while I don’t judge them for it, I’d say that marrying such a person would be a mistake for someone who isn’t used to living within the aforementioned family structures. Even today, I have to make proactive efforts to shelter my wife from some of the regrettable commentary that occurs between some of my ‘dear’ ones. While I always made it clear that they weren’t going to control her life, some of them do continue to make incredibly vitriolic statements that I do my best to keep away from her. You may imagine that it would be hardly pleasant to be in her situation without any support whatsoever, which is more or less what would have happened had you actually gone ahead with your plans with this guy.

    It is indeed sick that people are expected to sacrifice life-long happiness at the altar of ‘family values’, but that is just how it is. It is the hand that some of us are dealt, and it is our call how to handle it. Some choose to break out, while others choose to go with the flow. Both decisions have costs, and it is up to the individual to decide what cost outweighs the other. As an outsider though, you must put your own interests first and foremost, and from the point of view of someone such as yourself, I’d say that it is infinitely preferable to not be in a relationship than to be in a relationship with someone who wants to avoid conflict and also happened to be born in a traditional Indian family scenario.

    Cheers.

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  19. I am sorry for your situation but you should be glad he is out of your life. If he knew his parents are strict then he should have never gotten in a relationship with you. So that was his mistake number 1. His second mistake was not telling you this clearly. He was just having his fun while he can. You don’t want to be with a guy who can’t stand up for you. So be glad, he is gone. You can find a wayy better guy who will stand up for you and care for you.

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  20. Many parents here (including me) have said that they can’t imagine how some parents can make their kids feel guilty for being happy. That’s because we have a life!:) Parents who have a healthy relationship with their kids enjoy them and are involved with them. But they also have other things to derive happiness from – a healthy relationship with their spouses, interests, friends, career, etc. Their whole life doesn’t revolve around cooking for their kids and cleaning up after them. As the kids get older, we become more like friends to them. My older son is a teenager. I like to bug him if he thinks xyz is cute and will he ask her to the prom:) He rolls his eyes at me and says, “Mom! Please! Would you stop??” while trying to hide his smile. I’m excited about his first prom and have been teaching him to dance without tripping on feet:) These are all such sweet milestones. I look forward to meeting the woman he will fall in love with in the future.

    A mother in a traditional set up is constantly taking care of her children’s needs. Her self esteem, her entire identity is sadly tied to this. When her son gets married, she is giving up this identity. What’s her purpose now? She’s not needed anymore. Someone else is taking up this all-important position. So her reaction is to hate this person who’s replacing her.

    If our society grew to a point where the mother in the family has a bigger role to play than taking care of everyone’s basic needs, if she were allowed a loving, equal relationship with her own husband, an education, a career, friends, and in short, a life, she would see her daughter-in-law as a friend rather than a threat.

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    • I agree Priya, but I always wonder if the children of such parents ever feel resentful towards their parents.

      My own parents have supported my brother and me through thick and thin. They’ve stood by me as I recovered from clinical depression after my divorce, stood by my brother as he struggled in the early years of his marriage and career.

      My brother and I often wonder what it would be like to have parents who dictate every major decision in their children’s life. Doesn’t that breed an immense amount of resentment? I’ve made huge mistakes in life, fallen and risen again but I’ve come through because my parents never doubted me, never withdrew support.

      They could have made very safe and correct choices for my brother and I. They could have spared themselves the agony of seeing their kids make mistakes, fail and start all over again. My mistakes and my choices have been my own and it’s liberating to take personal responsibility for your own life.
      (IHM if this is OT, feel free to reject the comment) :)

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      • Biwo, in some cases, the kids don’t realize that the parents are supposed to be supportive. When they go through major problems and get blamed, they start believing that it’s their fault. I have a single friend who’s mother constantly emotionally blackmails her. Nothing my friend does or achieves is good enough for her. After years of sadness, confusion, and low self esteem, she has finally decided that none of this is her fault and she needs to tune out her mom’s constant negativity and not crave for her affection or her approval. Sad, isn’t it? A mother should be the first person in the world to give you confidence, to believe in you.

        Just because they’re adults and parents, we often wrongly assume that all “parents are mature and loving even if they’re not always showing it”. Sadly this is not true. There are many parents who blame, judge, or control their kids. They can be petty and immature when they don’t get their way.

        You have wonderful, amazing parents! Give them a hug from me!:)

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  21. a heartbreak is not an easy situation to be in. it is obvious that you truly loved him. if he has lost you, it is his loss, not yours. love like yours is hard to come by and unfortunate is the idiot who loses it.

    whether he is spineless or not, whether he loved his culture or not, the basic point is this – no matter how much you love them, do not be with someone who does not value or respect you.

    Lets not talk about his love here. people have mentioned that he could be faking it all along, or that maybe he started with good intentions. i wldnt like to second guess his motives, or the strength of his spine et al.

    Yes, dodging a bullet pretty much sums it up. it is NOT easy to deal with the level of passive aggression we generate on a per second basis in almost every family.
    i agree with the others – you are so much better off without him.

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  22. I come from a traditional Brahmin family too. Some of my cousins/relatives fell in love with girls outside our community, some even outside our country :)
    There were usual drama/tantrums, sentimental daggers thrown at them by the elders of the family. Some elders even ganged up. So it was 1 vs ‘so-many’. But guess what, my cousins stood their ground. Finally the elders gave in and had them married to the girls of their choice.
    So yes, it is difficult to stand up to the elders, but it is not impossible.

    I truly doubt the intentions of your ex. May be he ended his relationship because of all the 3 reasons you mentioned.

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  23. There are some Indian men who are cut out for love marriage and some who are better off following the traditional path. It all depends on how they are brought up as well as their own individual personality. Seems this guy was one of the latter types.

    It is not wrong to want to make your parents happy. But you have to know what you want and be able to be clear about that with everybody. I have lots of friends who have had arranged marriages and not even tried to date while abroad because they knew how it would end up. I respect them for that. And then there are those who tell their parents “don’t bother looking for a girl for me, I will find my own girl” and then proceed to do exactly that.

    It’s the ones in the middle who say they will do one thing but do another that I lose respect for. The ones who go abroad, get in relationships, fully knowing – or even 50% knowing – they would break up and marry someone of their parents’ choosing. Or just as bad, the headstrong guy who says he’ll never get an arrange marriage and makes fun of his friends for it, gets a girlfriend, it goes badly, and he’s scarred for life and runs to mummy to get him married off to the first girl who says yes because he’s terrified of facing his feelings. (Note: this goes both ways; girls do this too).

    People kept telling me that my now-husband would run off and marry a girl from his caste. My response to them? “I have known him since before we ever thought of becoming a couple and I knew his firm stance on this. I choose to believe him. And if he is that type of guy who would do that? Then I’m better off without him, so I win either way.”

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  24. Once again, all my thoughts have already been echoed by others.

    All I wish to say is that his being a Brahmin and you being a Caucasian Christian is not a reason for this to have happened. This could have have happened with an Indian boy of any caste and it happens with Indian girls too of all castes.

    In my own circle of relatives, (first cousins), three Christian girls, (An American, A Canadian and an Australian) have had happy marriages with Indian boys who ventured out of our country for studies and a career and who stayed on abroad and they are all Brahmins by birth but totally cosmopolitan in their outlook and life. In a wider circle of relatives, there are more of these cases and, touch wood, there has so far not been a single case of the marriages breaking up. Two Brahmin girls related to me have married Caucasian Christian boys too. As far as I know, they are all happily married for several years now and well settled abroad.

    With regard to your question, in the title of the blog, no, he does not love his culture and tradition at all. If he was tradition and culture conscious, he would not have got mixed up with you in the first place. I would say he is one of those guys who consider having a white girl friend a status symbol for flaunting. When it came to actually committing himself, he simply chickened out. Are you sure his parents are opposing this or is he merely using them as a shield ?

    I would say, good riddance.
    Forget him, and move on. Consider this as good luck rather than bad luck.
    Your life could have been miserable with this fellow in future after your marriage.
    He is not worth brooding over.
    I wish you better luck and happiness next time.
    Please don’t let this prejudice your mind about Indians.
    Regards
    GV

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  25. Letter writer
    I am an Indian woman but have been living in the US for over a decade. My most recent relationship ended in a very similar manner. I was in a relationship with an Indian guy for over three and half years, we practically lived together for about 2 years. I was even the same caste and religion as him, but I grew up outside India most of my life where as his parents were from a small town with very very conservative background. The guy seemed incredibly modern and liberal minded, graduated from a top 5 school in the US, we had an amazing chemistry and I thought we had a great future together as we discussed our plans. Guess what happened? He went back to India for a 10 day vacation in December to attend his brother’s wedding and comes back engaged to a girl he met only once. Imagine my horror and shock as I was driving him back from the airport. He basically said his parents wanted “their choice” of bride for the eldest son as the younger one already married his gf out of choice. He told his closest friend (I know him too) that his mother kept crying, emotionally blackmailing him, not eating for days and finally threatened to jump out the window if he did not agree to their selected girl. Apparently I would be too modern, too assertive, independent minded to mold into their ideal subservient daughter-in-law, he told me “you could never handle my mother, you would hate her”. I was devastated that so many years of our relationship was over in a snap and my ex-bf did not even stand up or fight for me. We had been through so much together in these years, not just the fun romantic dating stuff but also an incredibly harrowing job loss and visa issues for one and couple of months of recovery from an injury for the other. I thought these incidents brought us closer and shown the real side in our worst times. I still keep thinking if he ever cared about me at all, how could he just give it all up in mere 10 days? I cannot imagine finding someone again who would be this close to me, it is unbelievable that I never really mattered to him in the end.
    The whole parental pressure in marriage is painfully close to what I have been going through in past few months that I am still trying to wrap my head around it, so I don’t really have much advice for this writer but really appreciate the words of wisdom from other posters. Reading this blog has given me an amazing perspective on Indian joint family dynamics that I was mostly unaware of as I never lived in one.

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    • Annon diva, thanks for sharing this. At the end of the day, it boils down to what point you are willing to fight and this kind of situations can be very emotionally painful to be in.

      TO be honest, sometimes when i am in India, I feel like I am in a different universe and all the ideas and principles I built my life around abroad seem not to matter and many people make me feel I am just spouting nonsense. Like my universe ceased to exist and I felt nervous when I was back abroad and felt things were not real for a day or 2

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    • Diva and e-mail writer, If is helping you both i am in same boat with you. Had 4 years relation with an indian and i am european. Don’t know how happened, why happened to meet him but i keep thinking that i will realise it one day. Now all is in shadow. I had the same question : Did he loved me? This question hunted my nights. But today i can tell you both that the question is useless. Relations are starting and ending. What is mattering is what is between the beginning and the end. And if you both had a beautiful, challanging, full of love relation then keep with you the memories and stop ask “did he loved me”. What is the use to know that? Will make you feel better? Will make you to forget him? Will bring him back? The answer is no ,no , no and no! In our cases men left us for family, culture, themself, god knows for what. Could had been worst: to cheat us, to die…… Think in this way. What we all had was a wonderfull love story that ended. If ended means that was not suppose to last. God is having for us other plans. So lets move on and see what is there. And i promise you that you will have at least one more beautiful love story or as many as you want if you are open to that. Don’t close your heart and you will meet more lovely, interesting persons. Life is a journey and some people are coming in our lifes to teach us, some coming to learn, some coming and going , and only one is there to stay. You should have hope and enjoy life, rest will happen so don’t worry just be happy. Don’t let your hapiness to depend of something you may lose. And never forget – Good bye without reasons is the most painful one, Love without reasons is the most beautiful one. Love and peace wish you both!

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    • AnonDiva,

      I don’t think the decision made by that guy should be used to assess whether or not you mattered to him. Maybe he cared for you (which appears to be true after the incidents you mentioned) or maybe he didn’t. But that’s something only he knows for sure.

      But one thing which is certain is that he made a choice when he faced two options. As an adult, he must have weighed his options and hence gone with the one he was more comfortable with. Maybe his relationship with you for about four years (however close it was) couldn’t supercede his relationship with his mother. But all that is just speculation. Instead of judging him, you should accept the choice that he made and move on with memories of the good times.

      Parental pressure is a harsh truth which puts people in extremely tough situations. The choice one makes is always that which is most comfortable to oneself. There are a lot of people who truly love one another but don’t get married. Getting married to another person (other than the lover) cannot undo the feelings of the past. So, I don’t think marriage should be the basis of judging a person’s love towards another.

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      • “Instead of judging him, you should accept the choice that he made and move on with memories of the good times.”
        I disagree.
        There is such as thing as basic decency. However you want to argue it, it is wrong to promise to marry a woman while simultaneously being in a significant relationship with another lady. It is unfair to both the women in question. Using ‘parental pressure’ for this sort of behaviour is an excuse for lack of basic integrity.

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        • desidaru12, so do you want the guy to be hanged for being indecent? As far as the initial comment suggests, the guy didn’t keep the girl in dark about anything. He clearly told her that she wouldn’t be able to handle his mom. Also, nowhere it is mentioned that the guy promised his girlfriend for marriage. To expect every relationship to end in marriage is childish.

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        • Did the guy promise this lady that he will marry her? May be I missed it in the lady’s account. He seems to have even mentioned that it would be a “mountainous task,” (sic)

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    • AnnonDiva, my heart goes out to you. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that this guy is not worth it (and they’re right) but you will still feel the pain because you never expected this. No one likes to be taken for a ride, to be disrespected, to be made to feel as if they never mattered. This guy is so flaky, he doesn’t deserve you. This experience will make you stronger and wiser in the long run. In the meantime, surround yourself with friends that make you feel good. Do the things that you love – be it reading a good book, cooking a favorite meal, or going for a walk. Tap into your inner happiness.

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  26. Did this guy ever truly care for me -
    I do not know, i was not there but from what you wrote, yes

    is it truly that he can’t “shatter” his parents heart, is he just a loser/coward who can’t be bothered with doing the work associated with being with me, or, did maybe he need an excuse to end it –
    a bit of all three I think but then I will not judge because I do not know for sure

    If it is the 3rd one, is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me? -
    I think we cannot draw such conclusions. People are often not strong enough to fight, that is the truth. Is it safe to assume that a woman loves abuse/inequality more than herself if she remains in an unequal partnership? Is it safe to assume that most Americans in earlier years loved slavery more than freedom and equality because they kept on having slaves? Is it safe to assume that people loved being discriminated and sitting separately because they were black skinned more than breaking free of such prejudices? The problem in these cases is the system and it is difficult breaking the norm in the system. How many people are willing to give up the life of a typical American of college education and do things that are alternative? LIke selling their house, giving up their job and going and settling in an Asian country and living a frugal life even if they are unhappy in their current lives. Most will not dare to because often people do not have the strength to fight an entire system. They may not like it, but they would rather take the route of least resistance.

    His mother has been hounding him non-stop since to get married. Is he really so concerned about her happiness? If so, why didn’t he give in to her 5 years ago when all this nonsense started? -
    He was torn between what he wanted and fitting in the norm. He thought he had the strength to break free but realises he does not want to/cannot fight.

    At the end of the day, lot of people have to fight for what they believe in, have to go against the system and listen to all the nay sayers. Every country and culture has its rules and restrictions and it may differ in western culture and I can tell you that where ever you are, most people do not have the courage/strength to stand out and go against the grain. This may be for different things for different cultures but it exists.

    We have cases like this: http://elliedi.com/express-yourself-a-letter-to-a-blue-haired-pixie/

    So many Americans criticize Americans like Dr Betty Dodson while I think she is awesome!

    Confucian cultures (mostly south east Asia) are taught not to express their emotions outwardly to the society and keep a straight face except to their family. 99.99% of Chinese/south east Asians I know follow it.

    Koreans will look down upon inter racial relationships. Most of them will not date a foreigner because of this.

    Westerners break up because their Boyfriends are not good enough for them according to their friends. Why not check if you are happy with that guy than what your friends think?

    So at the end of my long story, I think it is an issue of people not having the courage/strength/willingness to fight for what they believe and choosing to take the well trodden path. I have learnt that however much I may advocate for some ideas, unless people want to fight for what they believe in/they want, nothing I say will change anything. People have to choose their path and if and how to fight for themselves.

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  27. How come it is taken for granted that if a boy chooses his parents over his lover then he is spineless, while if a girl chooses her parents over her lover then she is oppressed?

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      • Anon, I may be similarly tempted to assume characters and acts of people by their comments, but I’m sensible enough not to. If you have a real answer to the question I asked, I would like to hear it.

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      • And since you so easily assumed what I must have done, I have to mention the basis of the comment I made. Two years back, my cousin brother fought his parents for marrying his girlfriend who was from another religion. His parents refused and simply severed all relations with him when he stood his ground and got married in an Arya Samaj temple. But the girl had lied to him about her family’s approval and one fine day told him that she had got engaged. She hadn’t even mentioned anything to her family about her relationship with him. She is now ‘happily married’ living in the united states while my brother is living the life of a wreck his parents having disowned him. I wonder what you have to say now.

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        • Sanjay

          What makes you think the opinion will be any different if the gender is switched? Yes, your cousin’s girlfriend does not have very high moral standards. Yes, maybe her parents are very controlling but that is no excuse to treat another person in the way she did. And I am sure it must have been an awful time for your cousin going through what he did.

          But think about this. Maybe your cousin will find another person who loves and respects him. I am sure his parents will again, not be thrilled about it. Just because the girl was a jerk does not make the parents’ stand right. Your cousin just preponed a fight about ideology and freedom that he was going to have anyways and set the expectations with his parents.

          When parents disown a child, it is very very hurtful to the children. But it also sends out a very clear message that their so called “love” is not unconditional. It depends on how you toe their line without consideration for your happiness. Don’t you think your cousin is better off being the independent person he is without the influence of his selfish parents regardless of how his marriage turned out?

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        • it is not about gender as much as it about the personality ! i

          i have heard many girls or boys do as much as this girl has done with your brother. i have know a case where the girl has a relationship and goes home the next week and has got engaged ! without even telling a word to her boyfriend whom she has know for more than 2 years ? Why?

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  28. IHM, there is a Hindi movie titled ‘Dil jo bhi kahe’ which is based on a similar scenario which this post is about.

    A young Indian guy falls in love with a British girl; has a traditional Indian mother who goes into hysteria at the mere idea of having a foreigner DIL; guy tries to convince his mother; mother has a heart attack; guy resigns to his mother’s demands… and so on. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a sensible father.

    This movie beautifully busts many myths we seem to have. It shows that,
    1. All such traditional Indian mothers are not necessarily dominating/cunning/evil. Many times they are just trapped in their mindset of upholding traditions and values.
    2. Such prejudices are not limited to certain races or countries. As the girl’s British father is shown to be against her marrying an Indian guy.
    3. All guys who give in to their parents’ demands are not necessarily cowards. And they can actually love their partner.
    4. Such problems are not impossible to solve. One just has to use the mind to solve matters instead of giving up.

    I recommend everyone to watch this wonderful movie.

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  29. If he didn’t fight for you, then he is not the one you should mourn. I know you do and I know you will continue to do so but do try and focus on the fact that he chose not to fight for you. For whatever reason. That says it all.

    Reciprocity, of emotion and effort, has to be the foundation of any sustainable relationship. For no one deserves less than that. For you can’t depend on less than that.

    I wish you peace and healing.

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  30. I am the writer of this email, and I greatly appreciate everyone’s opinions/input on this matter. Maybe it seems silly to some of you, but it’s something I just can’t seem to wrap my head around even after all these months. I suppose in my culture, freedom is mandatory, and a luxury. Maybe in his culture, it is a perpetual fight/struggle, even in 2013. Regardless, I cannot imagine how a son or daughter can allow their parents to choose their spouse for them. If their parents need to choose a particular wife for him, and if they find her to be so wonderful, maybe they should marry her. It feels as though these parents maneuver in such a way as though they are picking out a new outfit for their son; if it doesn’t fit you could return it. If you have it and wear it for awhile and then it doesn’t fit, you can throw it out or donate it to good will. If you simply do not like it anymore, you don’t have to wear it. Do these parents think they are picking out a new outfit?
    Thanks again to all of you; I have a better grasp of these societal/parental pressures that exists for my ex and I’m sure for many others. But, at the same time, enough is enough. Their life is mostly over now; they lived their life, now let your sons/daughters do the same. I thought parents have unconditional love for their children; instead, this “love” is, in fact, very conditional.

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    • Well, truthfully, the guy was chicken! I agree parents are a pain in India when it comes to a lot of things, but as an individual adult, there is a certain amount of guts and confidence he requires. He had the guts to pursue you, which also the Indian society frowns upon. But he did it. When it came to a commitment, he just was not too sure himself.

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  31. @LilyPad, whatever you have expressed is 100% correct in context of Indian parents…thanks to the strong legal system that they cannot throw the brides like an old outfit but I have heard many stories that it was a common practice when laws were not strong enough but the mindset of traditional parents is the same…that’s why most parents here are not happy to have a daughter…many times amusingly I advise to guys over here that before you fall in love, do have permission from your elders and match your horoscope (which is the other big hurdle in many cases) with the girl as well…I can say that they love traditions more than they love their children…

    Now when you know the reality it is the time to move on with the belief that whatever happens, happens for good…this episode would have surely made you wiser and stronger….

    Wish you a very happy life ahead…

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  32. I’m not Indian. I myself am caucasian American married to an Indian man. My now husband was just as scared to tell his parents in the beginning. To understand why your boyfriend chose his family you have to learn a little about Indian culture. One permeating thing is that most children follow the parents advice and the parents are considered as a supreme authority. The parents have real life experience that is valued and many don’t want to go against it for fear they will make serious mistakes in life. Another point to consider is that social standing carries a heavy weight as well. I lived with my husband in India and even after a year of being there aunties still made comments about when/how I was going to leave him. These 2 obstacles alone are tormenting to anyone who goes against them.

    It’s very likely that this man really cared for and/or loved you. You may never know for sure though. I do agree with what others have said above, if he chose to go with his family it was for a reason. He was likely saving you from torments like you have never known. I’m very active in the gori/pardesi community and I see a lot of caucasian women who are mistreated by their MIL’s. Girls are slapped (yes gori’s!), kicked out of the family homes, berated, chastised, etc. I’ve heard these women tell of being treated like they are lower than dirt. It’s not all of the gori’s, actually it’s only a small percentage, but it does happen. It sounds like you would have been one of them that had to fight that battle. Many Indian men would not want to put someone through that. It saddens me though as his Indian wife will likely be subjected to the same. It’s not just color, some parents seem to think that a new wife is the lowest member of the family and must earn her respect and place in the home. It’s possible you could have commanded better but he wasn’t strong enough to face it. It’s also quite possible his family was using some strong emotional blackmail to make him choose them and do what they want. You should ask him and if your relationship was as good as you felt it was, then he should be able to explain some of these things to you.

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  33. I am an indian and married an indian man of a different religion. His parents was against the marriage then and the very few times I was around them after our marriage they “drowned ” me and made me invisible. My husband never stood up for me and have never had a face to face discussion with his parents why they treated me , in fact he never understood.
    But when they needed my help they would ask !!!
    I was expected to follow the families rituals and become one of them which I did not, just because I did not see their rationale. The parents rationale was that I should become like them – the girls of their community following all the rituals and traditions and practises of their religion/caste/ and community. My husband has never introduced me to his extended family even after 14 years of marriage, because , Just because – HE DOES NOT HAVE THE GUTS TO DO SO EVEN NOW !!.
    It is his personality that he never can stand up – he is of that types who will put his head down and work – yes, those typical indian workhorses who will do as they are told to do , will suffocate and die, but will never differ an opinion. A slave like mentality, most indian men and women are like that. You are so lucky to have another chance to have a relationship where one is not ashamed of the other.
    so the question hovering in your mind is – why do i have stayed on this marriage. after the marriage he fell ill and i didnt want him to be alone. if we lived in india, i would have divorced him, but in the US without his family or relatives around he is a different person, completely different person. even now after more than a decade of marriage, he makes me feel invisible in front of his relatives ! what can i do if he does not have a spine ? we share the same goals in life – so i can live life without his family around.
    Indian parents SMOTHER their children and they never grow up

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    • Mridula, you don’t have to justify your choices. Sometimes, we choose to stay in marriages where everything else works except one particular aspect of it. You’ve stayed in the marriage because you’ve found enough reason to do so.

      If you’re happy and at peace with the choices you’ve made, then it doesn’t matter what others think.

      As for your husband, he’s as much a victim of our culture as everybody else. Our culture glorifies the parent-son bond but devalues the husband-wife bond. Its always of secondary importance compared to the parent-son bond. Its sad and dysfunctional, but hard to change overnight. All the best :)

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  34. I’m a male. Here is my reply. No BS. Pure facts.

    There are two kinds of men; responsible and irresponsible.

    Any indian man across india has one prime responsibility which is to take care of his parents and ensure that when they die, it’ll be under his roof. You can’t give this responsibility to a women because they’re unreliable. Men hold this responsibility.

    As I said earlier, there are two types of indian men; 1) Responsible ones and 2) Irresponsible ones. Number 2 category is basically made up of mtv generation “i want to live my life”, careless, carefree, irresponsible aholes. They too are unreliable and no different than an average indian women.

    On the other hand, the responsible indian male is a modern day rama. He’s the guy who heads a joint family. Takes care of things. Does what needs to be doing. Buys expensive gifts for his already married sisters husband. He will do the right thing yet like rama, everyone will hate him.

    It’s obvious that your indian guy left you but he had to do what he had to do. He did his duty. He’ll hate himself forever for it but he’s definitely is a responsible guy. He choose his duty over emotions. Like rama, the great king of ayodhya.

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      • It’s wasn’t BS. It was pure facts. You on the other hand or classic trolling.

        It’s a simple argument. An Indian Women can’t be given the responsibility to take care of her parents. She’ll just want to go live with her husband after she’s married. In fact, she’ll bite her husbands head off to buy another house away from the in-laws even.

        The men who dump their parents in favour of the wife out to get their asses whooped by responsible men. Real men know that their mothers are batty and will turn the wife batty too. The challenge is to be a man and handle these two women from biting each other under one roof. Only responsible men can diktat orders in the house and keep all women in line. Girly men will take the wife, run off, start a blog and bitcch all day long on twitter.

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        • @anil, please let me know then who would take care of parents of ‘irresponsible’ girl who has no brother…
          “She’ll just want to go live with her husband after she’s married. ”
          here lies the problem…where in the constitution is written that she is bound to live with guy’s parents….
          the best set up would be, to be equidistant from the both set of parents…let each couple live and enjoy their privacy …and both girl and the boy be responsible children to take care of both sets of parents when the need be…..if girl’s parents have the courage to part with their child, same courage has also been given to boy’s parents by god…lest they don’t care for society…

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        • Dearest Anil, please tell me you’re gay. If you’re straight, then I’m really sure the women in your life are in for the time of their lives.

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    • Oh, is this so? So then basically in my case, the son followed through with his required duty toward his parents and will sacrifice his life for them, because only their happiness matters? So, maybe he will be a hero to his mother, but a loser to everyone else. Is this accurate? I’m just trying to figure out this mind set.

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      • If your ex-bf was serious about his so-called ‘duty’ to his parents, he wouldn’t have pursued you so keenly in the first place. As a lot of people have pointed out, it just sounds like he either chickened out or he was emotionally pressurized into leaving you. Don’t keep trying to analyze his motives. That’s only going to prevent you from moving on. As far as Anil’s comments are concerned, I’m not entirely sure he’s not joking. It’s too silly even by Indian standards.

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  35. Mine is similar with little more worse, its guy who should be guilty if he wanted to marry then he would take any amount of time to convince, from very beginning it is not culture nor religion its him not wanting to spend life. Too coward to spend life with. You shouldn’t want to have and raise kids with such horrible person.
    it is not
    Is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me?
    truth is he might have loved you for his connivence

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  36. If the guy does not fight for you now, he will never stand by you or fight for you in the future too, especially when it comes to family.

    Glad you are SAVED! You deserve better.

    PS: It is nothing to do with caste of that guy, it is typical of Indian men regardless.

    Like

  37. Do Indian parents really say they’ll commit suicide, disown their children, and fake heart attacks if their children marry someone other than their choice? I mean, is this the exception or the rule?

    Also, just out of curiousity: I know it is very common for parents to set their children up on matrimonial sites…is it the parent or the child (or both) who search through profiles for a potentially good match? If it is the child who finds a match, then yet again, the person is not the parent’s choice? Is that acceptable??

    Like

    • this exactly happened in my friend’s daughter’s case…she found a match from a website…but the guy’s parents didn’t agree just because her parents were not capable of giving dowry…guy really liked the girl and tried to fight for her…but then the whole drama of disowning, heart attack etc. made the guy to back out…

      Like

      • LilyPad,

        I wrote the initial email that you referred to in your post. If you are still watching this thread, and want to get in touch with me to talk about your experience (or just need someone who understands), feel free to send me an email at prettylady28@gmail.com Hope to talk soon

        Like

  38. Pingback: An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  39. Pingback: An email from An Adult Male of India : “Every single family sitting or phone call will eventually lead to a holy grail – my marriage.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  40. Pingback: What do you understand by ‘unconditional love’? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  41. Pingback: “I have reached 26 and my parents have started pressurizing me. My BF is the same age. But my BF is youngest in family!” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  42. Well, having gone through something similar I can only be really happy for you ! A lot of guys from India happen to fall in this category. It’s just pure cowardice ! I believe you are better off without him. We can go on endlessly blaming the parents, but the guy was responsible to you! He did not live up to it. Period. That says enough about him !

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