An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

Let me share a comment in response to “An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?” (Click to read)

How common do you think are these expectations? How common is it for Indian women to feel fortunate and empowered that they are marrying a family and not a man? In general, are women able to/allowed to choose?

I apologize to the email writer, because I have not sufficiently engaged with her problems. Just got on my own train of thoughts that I wanted to share here. This is quite possibly a separate mail, as I have no answers for her, but only going to talk about me.

//Moral of the story for all going-to -be -married ppl is never to agree to live in a joint family after marriage.//

As a ‘good’ son, who’s at the age when he should be thinking about getting married, these kind of mails/comments put the fear of God into me.

My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

That her conception of a marriage is going to be principally about ‘me and her’ and not principally about my family and hers.

I grew up in an environment where individual identities weren’t a big deal. Individuals were integral part of the families, where the sum is greater than the parts and naturally got greater precedence. There wasn’t anything to think about it at all. And this wasn’t always about women. Men choosing careers, other life-choices was always wedded to the interests of the family, even as things got more and more nuclear.

Slowly this has begun to be viewed as ‘stifling’ and it gets mixed with the debate about a women’s role in the marriage. But I think it is larger than that. It is the individual and the family.

This kind of ‘judging parents’ is just not done. They can be difficult it just does not matter. They can’t be approached with a calm weighing of pros-and-cons. In fact the terms with which relationships are being discussed here – ‘fairness’, ‘I do my bit’, really leaves me baffled. I see one commentator has done person-hour math about kitchen time!!

Anyway each to his own. Let me stay on me..

These new-fangled ideas of parents ‘letting the kids live their lives’ do not appeal to me. I just want my parents to be as they are today. Comfortable making the kind of decisions (or what would be called ‘intrusions’) they have been always been making. I don’t want them, at this age, to start withdrawing into a ‘you have your life, we have ours, we’ll meet for dinner’ mode of things. If marriage were to do that to my relationship with my parents, it would be quite disappointing.

And they are already mentally preparing to turn our relationship into one between adults who respect each other. And I know they are consciously turning into different people as this is in my best interest, going forward. I just want to be treated as always: like a kid, who can be ordered about and taken for granted – not politely asked favours. In fact I get very annoyed when they say: ‘would it be possible for you to do this?’ when the last two words would have sufficed.

I want to be someone with whom they can speak their mind to, without fear of being judged. And I hate it that they are slowly transitioning away because popular media and their social network is teaching them to ‘be mature’, ‘to stay out of your adult son’s business’ etc.

I know that seems to work for most people these days. I also know I probably skipped a generation: I much prefer the relationships my aunts had with my grandparents than my cousins (and cousins-in-law, I have no siblings) have with my aunts. It worries me that the girl I am probably going to marry, is likely to prefer the latter.

I always make career/life choices that ensure my parents are most comfortable. I don’t like associating words like duty, sacrifice etc. with this, because all of that emanate from an individualistic thinking. What I am talking about is, having really no considerable conception of oneself as an individual, in the first place. IMO, more than any attributes, it is his/her relationships that defines a person. Someone who is even conscious of placing a family’s interests above one’s ‘own’ is going to have a problem. It’s only a matter of time.

I realize, the way I have presented it is quite paternalistic as I I have not mentioned my relationship with my parents-in-law. Actually I am resolving to go all out on that. And that is not just because of reciprocity, because that is how I naturally feel about marriages and relationships.

Heck, the last few years I have been thinking about my prospective parents-in-law, whoever they are, more than about my prospective wife.

Will they be living with us? What can I do to make them comfortable with me, my parents (4 elder people, starting to live together in the autumn of their lives – one can anticipate discomforts).

Or will they not choose to live with us? Where then? With my siblings-in-law? What if they live in another city? Will my wife be ok with that? (I can’t conceive not living under the same roof as my parents, let alone in a different city). Or would we need to move to a place that works for all of us. Or will they be more ‘mature and distant’ people, than me and my parents? In which case, would a girl who grew up in that environment enjoy become the closeness of our family? Or would she call it ‘suffocating’?

And so on and so forth that it is just crazy. My question is, is it possible a girl out there is likely to be thinking about a marriage along these lines and not thinking principally about the guy she is going to marry?

And the more I read the comments here, the more I doubt the possibility of that.

Scaredy Cat

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To an Anonymous DIL

414 thoughts on “An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

  1. Please, whatever you do, be upfront about your demands. You and your wife-to-be need to be on the same page with respect to all of what you have written,

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    • Yes, of course, Getting all this across clearly is the next problem actually. I think, I scared the bejeezus out of a poor girl I met a few months back, by trying to cram all of this into the kickoff ‘get-to-know-each-other’ chat😐

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      • You need not be worried if you remember that the girl who is going to marry is not just a ‘girl but also a human being who can love, hate, agree, disagree, yell, sulk, fight, hug, adjust, rebel etc etc….depending on the situation, the person and how everything appeals to her at that point of time. If you and your family are able to accept all shades of that person and be ready to analyze, understand her feelings, reciprocate it instead of judging or demanding her to be just polite & quiet and a ‘loving’ wife/DIL in every situation ..understand that you got the girl of your dreams.
        Also remember, if your wife is smiling, loving, adjusting, compromising in every situation without putting forward opinions of her own, you are somewhere stifling her, and her real personality.
        Good luck!

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        • Sure I get what you are saying about personalities not being static. People are always in flux. I have no delusions of anticipating a composite of personality traits with pin-point precisions, as there is no way I can meaningfully define myself in such terms. Was talking about overarching concerns.

          I am not sure where I kind of suggested ‘demanding politeness’. More than one commentator seems to perceived such an archetype in the way I presented. Perhaps the use of the word ‘girl’ has become perjorative and associated with notions of demureness. I was merely writing it as a boy.

          It is good for two people to start out wanting the same things. Everything else can largely be worked out (or so I think, with my abundant inexperience).

          //Good luck!//
          Thank You.

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        • Beautiful reply Lady, Of course, it is tragic that most Indian MILs and FILs forget that the new bride is a human and feels all that a human being feels.

          DILs are never allowed to feel the full spectrum of human emotions.

          Their emotional responses are restricted to unconditional generosity, forgiveness, love, tolerance and acceptance.

          Honestly, a state of unconditional acceptance and love is the very definition of nirvana.

          So perhaps, in addition to “tall, fair, slim and homely,” matrimonial ads should also demand prospective bridws who have achieved nirvana.🙂

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        • So perhaps, in addition to “tall, fair, slim and homely,” matrimonial ads should also demand prospective brides who have achieved nirvana.

          Now you’ve done it.

          I just laughed like a maniac and after staring at me for a bit, the wife has resorted to shooting periodic glances at me as though she’s worried for my sanity.

          Damn you. 😀

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        • @biwo
          “So perhaps, in addition to “tall, fair, slim and homely,” matrimonial ads should also demand prospective brides who have achieved nirvana”

          ROTFL… :))

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    • …I just want to be treated as always: like a kid, who can be ordered about and taken for granted – not politely asked favours…

      Wao, here is an adult who refuses to grow up… Now this is called classic uncut umbilical chord. He assumes himself to be an extension of his parents. How is this person going to take the demise of his parents??

      Why in the world he wants to get married? For sex? you can get that even without marriage just be ready to pay for it. For progeny? Pay a surrogate.

      DG is at loss of words. Will comment later.
      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Liked by 1 person

  2. With all due respect, I would say that it’s in your best interests and that of any prospective spouses that you do not get married. Marriage is not an absolute requirement in life. And given your fixation with parents (parents-in-law), it’s exceptionally unlikely that you’d find a woman who’d be able to cope with that.

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    • This is good advice. You do have a fixation with your parents that’s going to come in the way of marriage. It’s strange to see that your parents are taking the right course in their relationship with you but you mind that rather than understanding that they are preparing for a transition in your lives. But you’re not ready for that transition.

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    • //Marriage is not an absolute requirement in life//
      True. But for someone who really likes relationships, family and definitely sees kids as central – it kinda is.

      Thanks for the comment.

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      • In that case, you need to grow up…Even if a woman agrees to live in a joint family, she may not always like being treated as a part of a whole…She will need individual attention and will have individual needs simply because she is an individual…

        Also, do not expect your wife to love your parents like you do just like you will not love her parents like you do yours…I’m sure over the years she will grow to love them but the love may not be the same as her love for her parents…Each relationship is different…

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      • For a woman who gets married, it is normally accompanied by the need to form a strong relationship first with the one she’s committed to – her husband. Yep, women tend to see husbands as central in a marriage. Why would someone get married into a scenario like you describe, if they have a completely different viewpoint?

        Also, consider how someone would be able to put their parents (relationship has had its ups/downs/time to mature) on par with some people she has rarely seen, much less known decently even for a day? You mention that you would try to do that to her parents – have you considered how your parents might react to this and how that would change all your assumptions?

        Most people get there with dealing with their parents and in-laws on the same-ish footing after long years of marriage – dealing with their likes and dislikes and fashioning a relationship with them that is a function of both parties….if one sees honest good intention from the other side. It is the same with a husband who is interested in engaging.

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      • P.S. I think you are over thinking things – loosen up…Yes, please ensure that you convey your wants to your prospective wife but thinking about whether boths sets of parents will live under one roof etc. is a bit too much…Also, in my opinion, having both sets of parents living under one roof is a recipe for disaster…

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      • Sorry dude, it’s not just about what you want. Your whole email reads like a shopping list about what you want from your prospective partner. Have you thought about what you have to offer in return? If not, why should anyone marry you?

        Fine, you have sacrificed your own individuality for the sake of your parents (where you say things like “I always make career/life choices that ensure my parents are most comfortable”). But that is still your own *individual* choice. Think about why you are doing that? Obviously, you are gaining something out of doing so. What? Is it that you expect your future children will do the same for you? Sorry, you have no right to expect any such thing from them.

        Like the other commentators say, grow up. With this attitude, it is better if you reconcile yourself to staying single.

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  3. Hmm… you want a ‘girl’ who will love , obey, and care for your parents as unconditionally as you do, never once questioning them and who will also WANT to be taken for granted?!

    Basically , a female version of yourself?

    No worries- stay unmarried, or start donating heavily to stem cell research!

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    • I guess the word ‘girl’ is not going down too well. I didn’t mean it to suggest demure or obedient or anything like that.

      Regarding wanting to be taken for granted. Let me back up a little a bit. To twist the Segal-quote, ‘love means not having to say please’ is what I relate to. Of course, I don’t mean it literally. You know what I mean…not having to think twice about asking/saying something. Just being oneself.

      //Basically , a female version of yourself?//
      Haha. That’d be a complete disaster. Explaining how would be another post. Another day.

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      • Don’t think that is a quote that is twistable. There’s a big difference between being polite/courteous/giving someone the space to do or not do and forgiving someone you love. The quote is ‘love means not having to say sorry’ and assumes a lot of love from knowing a person well ahead of time. A love story first, not wedding story/obedience story/put everyone over us story.

        Going with that movie, you might also want to note that Jenny in the movie clearly states her beliefs to her father on behalf of the new unit she has formed with her fiance. And he stands up for her to his parents. Just saying.

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        • I used to love Love Story, but now I get kinda mad when I remember that Jenny never let Oliver do the dishes because it was “girl thing” to do😐

          IHM, your blog is deconditioning me too much!😀

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      • “not having to think twice about asking/saying something. Just being oneself”

        That’s exactly what happens when you take somebody for granted.

        It helps to first establish boundaries, build trust and respect before you aspire for that level of familiarity with your spouse/SO.

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      • @Scaredy Cat
        I do get what you mean.
        That level of intimacy is something everyone aspires for. Both in a partner , and with one’s parents. You want the same comfortable status quo to also exist between your future wife and your parents. That’s absolutely fine as something you desire but if you turn it into an ‘expectation’ or ‘requirement’ know this-
        It’s highly unlikely that you will find someone who will instantaneously love your parents . YOU will have to play a very proactive role to ensure that affection develops on both sides. The best way to do this is to let her spend extended time with you and your folks before the wedding. I’m talking about months, or possibly even a year.
        Even then , the utopia you describe may not materialise. Are you mature enough to deal with the disappointment? After all, the behaviour of 4 adults ( or even 6) will need to be modified to establish the dynamic that makes one person-you- happy.

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    • Don’t want to be unduly harsh but this line
      ‘My question is, is it possible a girl out there is likely to be thinking about a marriage along these lines and not thinking principally about the guy she is going to marry?’

      makes it sound like you want your future wife to put the bond she has with your parents AHEAD of the bond she has with you. I wonder if any woman would do that out of her own free will.

      And have you ever examined why you feel the way you do, towards your parents? Introspection will probably help you explain your point of view better to the women you meet .

      (And if they can’t seem to see your take on marriage, please don’t judge them.)

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      • //(And if they can’t seem to see your take on marriage, please don’t judge them.)//
        Not at all. I never do that. Whatever works for each person.

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  4. You have a right to live your life the way you want to, if that means maintaining the relationship you already have with your parents post-marriage then you should do that – don’t let anything de-motivate this. It is equally important that you make these intentions clear to any potential girl friend or marriage prospect – since it’s not just about you but equally about her too.

    On the other hand, your parents may not see it this way – since they too have methods of coming to terms of the change, change being you ‘married’. At times, the parents may feel they have started to lose you to a way of life they never experienced (you not being you, as you would be pre-married) and for them its just as hard getting use to it all as you and your (partner).

    But I’d like to repeat here – you have full right to live your life the way you want to, marriage is important and this should always be on your radar – but be prepared for compromise, as not all compromise is a bad thing in the long run.

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  5. From your mail, you do not seem like you are as yet ready for marriage. Everyone has to grow up at some time or the other and your parents are doing the right thing by treating you with respect, as an adult. People who do not grow up and have to be treated as kids (like you want to be) are generally stunted in mental growth, so I do not understand why you aspire to act like a retarded person. You do not want a wife, you want a sister. Ask your parents to provide you one.

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    • @Fem

      ‘ You do not want a wife, you want a sister. Ask your parents to provide you one.’

      I was going to type this, and then decided not to. Glad to know the exact same thought crossed your mind.
      But in all seriousness, what IS marriage, if not principally about two adults forming a social unit consisting solely of themselves as a couple? For all the talk about ‘two families marrying each other’, it will be nearly impossible to find a woman who will think along scaredycats lines. Even if he did find such a person there’s also the possibility that her thinking and likely even his, will change and evolve with time.
      And this check-list route to marriage will never work- somewhere , something on your list will remain unchecked. That’s a statistical given.

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      • Thanks! I think being childish and expecting the wife to be childish as well is ultimately stupid, because even the parents must be relieved and happy at some point to know they have a grown up son whom they can respect and be proud of. This guy’s parents seem to have realized that. But no, the son himself wants to be petted and coddled and ordered about like a child. Why would any woman want to be party to this idiocy?

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        • Are we misinterpreting Scaredy Cat’s position?

          It is possible that he only wants his relationship with his parents to continue to be as informal and uninhibited as it was pre-marriage.

          While I personally hold that psychological separation in the parent-child relationship HAS to occur to allow for new marital bond to grow and develop, perhaps not everybody think it necessary?

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      • //check-list route//
        Not actually. I do understand people’s ideas and personalities, interests and thus relationships change inevitably over time. So I am not into checking off a list. However I think it is important people start off wanting the same things. That was all.

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        • You need to understand that a lot of arranged marriages – which is what you seem to want – just barely manage a peaceful co-existence between the couple. There’s no guarantee that love will make an appearance. AT ALL.

          So expecting that you and your wife-with-whom-you-don’t-want-a-courtship-before-marriage will love you, that you’ll love her, that she’ll love your parents, that they’ll love her, that her parents will love you, that you’ll love them, that the two of them will love YOUR parents, and that your parents will love them back, is asking for……umm, a LOT, you know?

          It’s like I sometimes fear that the outfit I end up wearing on my highly improbable tending-towards-impossible hurried trip to the moon won’t be fashion-forward enough for High Heel Confidential. But I have other things to fear in the meanwhile and that keeps me busy enough.

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      • I think this view of marriage being between two families is quite dominant in our society.

        Also, I realise that many women in our age cohort (20 to 40) still accept that the marital bond is less important and is secondary to the parental bond (for the man).

        Many women still accept and expect that their husbands will be sons first and husbands later (if at all).

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    • //you do not want a wife, you want a sister.//
      I couldn’t’ve put it better.
      Just that I don’t see the two as irreconcilable opposites.

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        • LOL
          I meant in a very ‘poetic’ sense a la AK Ramanujan’s ‘Love poem for a wife’ that opens thus:
          Really what keeps us apart at the end of years is unshared childhood

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      • Scaredy Cat you do realise that having biological kids of your own (which is presumably one of your reasons to get married in the first place) needs you to have sex with your wife??!!
        And in that case please enlighten me how a wife and a sister are NOT “irreconcilable opposites”??
        @The Wild Child – I agree marriage is the least off his issues!!

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      • “Just that I don’t see the two as irreconcilable opposites.” Heh. You are being very optimistic then.

        I think you don’t realise that in the past, when women seemed and even professed to love their in-laws like their own parents, most of them were lying. It is impossible for most people to love someone else like their parents, which was discussed in the previous post. Very few people have ever done it. You’d have to find someone who first of all, does not have that kind of bond with her own parents. And then, if you find such a person, there’s no guarantee that your parents would make suitable surrogate parents for her.

        And further, even if you find a woman who for whatever reason, genuinely is able to love your parents like her own, she may in all probability want to be an adult and not a child as you want to be.

        So, in summary, the best you can hope for is someone who pretends to love your parents and is submissive. Your best bet would be to look in the smaller towns. And accept that your wife is probably angry and resentful but just not telling you because she feels she has to fit into a socially defined role.

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        • @Bride

          Did you just say ‘Small Town Mentality’ ? I don’t know what people from small towns would react to it.

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        • I didn’t say ‘small town mentality’. My comment is right there for what I actually said.

          But I do believe that people in small towns tend to be more conservative (there may be exceptions of course). I recently read a book called The Bad Guys’ Guide to The Good Indian Girl. Most of the stories – based on interviews with women – are set in small towns and yes, they are more conservative.

          People from small towns are, of course, free to tell me I’m wrong and that small towns are bastions of liberal values and provide a progressive atmosphere for women. I’d love to be shown I’m wrong in this case.

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        • Aright Bride, you wanted a small-towner to step up and contradict you, so here goes😀

          I’m from a small-town in Tamil Nadu (my friends’ favorite thing to laugh at about my town is that we only have two bus routes, 1 and 2. Back when I grew up there were no hang out places, and we used to gather at each other houses, but things have improved since then). I can confidently say that people I knew in my teeny-tiny “village” (as we call it fondly) were WAY more open-minded and diverse than most people I met in my short stint at Chennai, which IMO is probably the most conservative city in India.

          We were very open-minded about relationships back in school. My friend D’s dad told her about contraception (and even showed her a condom) before the requisite 10th grade bio class on the “Reproductive system”, (She promptly transferred the information to us the next day during lunch hour). And another friend whose dad told her he was ok with her marrying anyone, even out of religion, as long as she didn’t come whining to him afterwards (She is Protestant, and is now happily married to a Hindu) Of course, there were boors who ostracized people in live-in relationships (yes, there were live-ins in my small town, my Catholic friend’s mom who couldn’t get divorced, and my mother’s HOD, who divorced his wife, and reconciled without making it official again, are two I know) and cat-called if they saw a mixed group of boys and girls, but name one metro where they don’t have this section of the populace too.

          People in Chennai STARED if I wore jeans and any top that didn’t resemble a tent. Not just the boors on the roads. Believe it or not, I was actually told by a middle-aged lady to “dress decently”. I’ve lived for a while in Bangalore too, and I can say that conservative mindsets exist everywhere. There are the pub-goers who congregate at church street, and there are the Kannadiga aunties who look askance at you when you speak Tamil in their hearing.

          So no, small towners are not a good blanket bet for Scaredy Cat. I’d suggest listing “Traditional” as part of his matrimonial profile.

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        • Good to know your experience Thumbelina. You are right that conservative mindsets exist everywhere – even Mumbai has some conservative and some liberal areas – and of course, in India, we are never free of the creepos on the street but I assumed that conservatism would be more widely prevalent and more hardened in small towns. Glad to hear differently. Not such good news for Scaredy Cat though, I guess.

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        • Yes, the trolling was obvious here but then many of the emails IHM posts here also seem rather fictional. So I assume most people respond by treating this as a hypothetical exercise.

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        • oops! I didn’t realize you were referring to my post. I thought it was some inside-joke about some troll here.

          I’d like to assure you folks – particularly the ones who have taken time out to respond with great sensitivity, that I am not making this up.I can say mother-promise, but that’d be a bit ironic.

          btw I don’t think what I am saying is so incredible that you would conclude I am making this up!

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        • @IHM, Every guy I know going through an arranged marriage has these same thoughts in mind! Their first concern is how well she can adjust to his family – parents & siblings. Everything else comes next. Also, they are so influenced by all the negative stories around them, if the girl is a little outright and frank they reject her thinking she is too bold to fit in.

          My cousin is on a bride-hunt for 2yrs now, he wants educated, well-employed girl but he wants to see a homely, demure, soft-spoken in her someone who can adjust to the family.

          me – I agree. I have seen more men who have the kind of expectations that this guy has, than the kind who want life partners, friends and companions.

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        • What does homely even mean anyway?

          I used to think it means “not attractive” or “plain”, but apparently, it’s used in a different sense in matrimonial adverts.

          What’s a “homely” woman?

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        • PT, ‘Homely’ in matrimonialspeak is used to describe someone who is good at domestic activities. Like cooking, sewing, all that. I explained the dictionary meaning of the word to the girls in my college once and they refused to believe me😀
          There is a South-Indian actress called Sneha who is described as ‘homely’. A ‘homely figure’ is an attractive woman who does not dress glamorously. The madonna, not the whore.

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        • Praveen (PT),

          “Homely” in the matrimonial sense these days means some one who is plain (read dumb) enough to not only bring home the bacon, but fry and serve it too…no questions asked.

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        • @PT – That is perceived to be the correct meaning of the word across the world! In India, or should I say in the matrimonial sections of Indian dailies, it has come to mean somebody who’s happy – and most comfortable – spending most of their time at home. Somebody not very street smart or worldly-wise either.

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        • [maybe replying to the wrong sub-thread here, hence the quote]

          *Nish do you think the expectations in this email are unusual or unheard of?*

          @IHM – I wouldn’t say unheard of, but certainly unusual. And specially the OP’s further responses. Odd comparisons between a wife and a sister, and then later insisting it was sarcasm. Planning to live together as a tri-couple-family (OP and spouse, OP’s parents, spouse’s parents) is rather unusual as well.

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    • @Fem, Yup, just the thought that occurred to me. Someone lucky to have parents who treats the son as an adult, but the son wants to remain a ‘kid’ in his own words.

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      • Oh please don’t fall for that ‘we want to treat you like an adult’ parents of such sons.
        I am married to one. They talk all high funda like they want the son to be responsible in fact they are the ones who also emotionally keep such sons under control, all those talks of we are adjusting for you and your wife is very decieving, it makes these sons to be even more concerned about parents.. .. I am in this situation, I know that😦

        me – I too thought all this talk of wanting to fade away gracefully, instead of delighting in the ‘kid’ growing up didn’t make sense.😦

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        • I should probably not be writing at all if after all this, these are the kind of impressions about my parents that I have left you folks with.

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        • @Scaredy cat – Your parents may be an exception. I really hope they are else it is not easy for you or your wife.

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        • “all those talks of we are adjusting for you and your wife is very decieving”

          Any parent who talks this way is NOT treating the child as adult.

          Like

      • DG was married to one scaredy cat, just his parents did not treat him as an adult. When that rabid dog/cat could not get mommy dear to like DG he beat the crap out of DG to make her befitting for mommy.
        Peace,
        Desi Girl

        Like

  6. @ Fem

    Are you trying to say a sister is capable is more capable of loving a guy than his wife?
    Nice to know that for a change.

    Loose bonds with one’s parents are not an indication that a person has matured.

    Like

      • Such wives do exist as per my life’s experiences & observations.

        I do agree that there are few such women but we can’t deny their existence.

        I have across some women (they weren’t mental wrecks but confident, well-educated, born & bred in a big city, belonging to well-off families, trendy & fashionable) who rejected suitors simply because those guys didn’t stay with their parents (especially the mother) because such women felt that her husband’s mother will give her the same kind of affection in her new house when she leaves her own mother.

        Some were disappointed but others developed a closer relationship with their MILs than their own mothers. (& now its those women’s mothers who are feeling insecure :o)

        Like

        • “…a closer relationship with their MILs than their own mothers.” ?
          — Whoever made you believe this have clearly fooled you or were trying hard to be called ‘good DIL’.

          Like

        • @lady

          ‘Whoever made you believe this have clearly fooled you or were trying hard to be called ‘good DIL’’

          We have to knock off our preconceived notions. Intense love of a woman for the husband’s mother which grows beyond what she has for her own needn’t be a staged show/ pretense/desperate attempt on her part to be in the good books of the in-laws/meeting societal expectations/a filial obligation/a mask to hide an ulterior motive (as some might assume)

          It is & can be genuine and let’s not close our eyes to the existence of that genuine love even if it not not echoed in majority of such relationships

          I am an astute observer and I am not living in a fool’s paradise.

          Like

        • “Some were disappointed but others developed a closer relationship with their MILs than their own mothers”

          And I play golf on the moon every night.

          Get real, eh.

          Like

        • Raghav, I have seen women who don’t get along with their mom get along well with their MIL. I have yet to see a woman who says she is equally close to bothy, mom and MIL.

          Like

        • Raghav, sure the scenario you depicted might exist. Though getting on with and loving one’s in-laws is not the same as loving them as much as one loves one’s own parents. Why must people be so greedy for love anyway? Why can’t just loving and getting on suffice. That in itself seems to be quite a stretch.

          Mainly I wanted to say that while this scenario does exist, it is quite rare. And it’s something that develops organically, there’s no predicting it. One would be safer predicting the more natural scenario of a person generally being closer and loving their own parents and base one’s plans on that. Of course, if one’s spouse turns out to love one’s parents like their own, that’s a bonus.

          Like

        • /who rejected suitors simply because those guys didn’t stay with their parents (especially the mother) /
          Really? Wow!! Why, oh why do I never come across a single such woman–I am sure it will be great fun talking to her and trying to analyze her motivations!!

          Like

        • Raghav,

          It is one thing to like your in-laws and get along with them. That’s not unnatural or even particularly uncommon.

          What I find unbelievable is the idea that in-laws can be any kind of replacement for the people who raised you. Even if you do not like your parents, the relationship you share with them is something that simply cannot be replicated.

          Like

    • His sister would be more capable of loving his parents than his wife. There might be many exceptions, but in general, yes, daughters love their parents more than daughters in law do.

      I was not advocating loose bonds with the parents, but growing up and cutting the umbilical cord before getting married. There is a difference between loose bonds with parents and independence; they are not one and the same thing.

      Like

        • I was not talking about anyone loving the man in question at all, since the OP doesn’t seem to be bothered about it. So I don’t know where you got that from. I am talking about who will love his parents more. Your question is irrelevant.

          Like

      • @Fem

        It’s fine if you didn’t get the intended sarcasm🙂

        My question was in response to the suggestion that you offered to scaredycat:
        ‘Ask your parents to get you a sister”

        Like

        • As I said, irrelevant question, and irrelevant comment. If all he cares about is someone to love his parents, his sister would do it more naturally than any wife. Your comment made no sense, whichever way I look at it.

          Like

        • @Raghav,

          I made the first comment in this thread, so I hope I know better than you what I was talking about. It was about the prospective wife’s love for the guy’s parents.

          Unconditional love simply does not exist. Perhaps a parent’s love for their children can be seen as unconditional in certain cases, but other than that, it doesn’t work.

          Like

  7. //And they are already mentally preparing to turn our relationship into one between adults who respect each other. And I know they are consciously turning into different people as this is in my best interest, going forward.//

    Congratulations to such parents who don’t force their son to remain in an infantile state for the rest of his life!

    //I just want to be treated as always: like a kid, who can be ordered about and taken for granted – not politely asked favours. In fact I get very annoyed when they say: ‘would it be possible for you to do this?’ when the last two words would have sufficed.//

    I would like to ask the letter writer a counter question. He seems very eager to please his parents and make them happy. What if it actually makes them happy to have an adult son they can respect instead of a yes-man – sorry, a yes-child?

    Like

    • //What if it actually makes them happy to have an adult son they can respect instead of a yes-man – sorry, a yes-child?//
      To clear the air, I know that’s what they want. All household decisions are actually jointly made. I decide many of the things. I often even overrule them on decisions – financial to relationship, when I think their judgment isn’t strong. So pardon the exaggeration in my mail.

      But I don’t quite like it if they think this HAS TO BE the way going forward. And I hate it when they are already preparing for a life where they’d be relegating to back-row.

      Let me give an example of the kind of thing that is annoying me. We’ve been mulling about buying a house for a year or so. My parents’ stand is, we should wait till I get married (which, for some reason, they think is around the corner) so that, what we end up buying something that does not synch with what my future wife would like and find convenient, suitable to her tastes etc.

      Now, just imagine that attitude exuding in most aspect of our relationship.

      Like

      • >My parents’ stand is, we should wait till I get married (which, for some reason, they think is around the corner) so that, what we end up buying something that does not synch with what my future wife would like and find convenient, suitable to her tastes etc.<
        Could you just shed some light what is so wrong about that? I don't see your parents as a problem. Frankly, i think it is you.

        Like

        • //Could you just shed some light what is so wrong about that? I don’t see your parents as a problem. Frankly, i think it is you.//

          It kinda reflects a thinking on their part that, ‘our turn is over’. Things should be as you want them. Our preferences and wishes are of secondary importance

          That’s what I do not like.

          Like

      • But… why are you not able to think of these commonsensical things yourself? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your life and your choices? For how long will you force your parents to keep on parenting you? Isn’t it time you gave them a break??

        Don’t tell me “they don’t want a break, they want to have a say in decisions”. They don’t. They just want to be sure that you are okay. And as long as you never grow up and take responsibility for yourself, they will think that the only way you can be okay is if they look after you.

        What a sorry situation. And you want to add another infantalizable adult into this mix!

        Like

        • I am not sure I painted the situ. as clearly as I should have.
          I do decide many of the things. What I am battling is the expectation that, in the future my (and my wife’s) decisions would prevail over theirs.

          I want them to feel free to treat me as they always have. They shouldn’t feel constrained by anything, least of all my age. That is all I am saying.

          There is a greater sense resignation in them than retirement. I don’t know how to articulate that.

          Like

      • I actually think your parents have got it right!
        Your wife will be a part of the family–why shouldn’t her likes and dislikes matter?

        Like

        • //why shouldn’t her likes and dislikes matter?//
          Sigh! Let me clarify again. I am not saying that at all.
          Things get decided in a very inclusive manner in our house and that’s probably be how it pans out in the future too.

          I am talking about the frame of mind of my parents where they have already put in precedence the wishes of someone who has not yet entered our lives over their own wishes. I don’t like that. It would be quite unfortunate if my partner were to think ‘that’s how it ought to be’.

          I hope the distinction is clearer.

          Like

        • “I am talking about the frame of mind of my parents where they have already put in precedence the wishes of someone who has not yet entered our lives over their own wishes. I don’t like that.”

          I understand that. Have an ADULT talk with your parents and explain that perhaps your wife’s wishes can wait until you get married. If this is about living together (which I do not advocate), then everyone will have to make adjustments. You ought to appreciate that your parents talk to you as an adult and respect your problems. What you are thinking of as being resigned and stepping back as if their time is over, might actually be a sense of relief in having fulfilled their duties and a desire to live out their retirement in enjoyment without responsibilities. There are parents who do not want to interfere in their children’s married life. not because they are afraid, but because they don’t want to.

          Like

      • Hurrah for your parents and their maturity. Maybe what’s annoying you is that your parents seem to be making all their decisions based on your future marriage and therefore delaying everything? I see a problem with that because your parents still seem to be presuming that your wife will want to live with them but maybe that’s the impression you gave. At least, they seem progressive in thinking what your wife might like… though honestly, I think it will be quite hard for your wife a newcomer to frankly express her tastes to her in-laws and for them to accept it also.

        Or maybe your parents are saying all this with an air of martyrdom and you’re feeling guilty?

        Like

        • //Or maybe your parents are saying all this with an air of martyrdom and you’re feeling guilty?//
          Not actually. They say it like it’s the most natural thing in the world!

          //maybe that’s the impression you gave.//
          err..perhaps because that is the impression I have, because the only way I can think of it working.

          Like

      • I think what your parents say makes perfect sense! They are willing to understand the changes that marriage will bring and are doing their bit to make it easy for you and your future wife. IMO, you should be helping them here and not creating obstacles instead.

        Like

        • @Jeanne

          The guy’s parents certainly are extremely kind and loving in this case.

          However, it’s a suprise, a guy’s parents are to be considered ‘sensible and worthy’ by some only as long as they expect their married son to leave them and reserve all his care & affection for his wife.

          Like

      • “I often even overrule them on decisions – financial to relationship, when I think their judgment isn’t strong. So pardon the exaggeration in my mail.”

        ANY parents who intend to live by themselves in their old age wouldn’t let their son take their financial decisions.
        I am a girl and am going to get away, so it didn’t really matter to my parents what I thought about financial stuff- they were the ones who were going to live with it, not me.

        This is just pretending that they want to see you as an adult. Because this is EXACTLY what happens in MOST joint marriages- the male son takes the financial decisions while the parents let him.
        They are just getting prepared for that eventuality. But by going about it this way, they pretend that they “let” you take decisions!

        Bravo!

        I have met people like this before. The parents say stuff like- oh we will never move in with you, we will never do this and that and blah blah.. and their male kids say stuff like- they always listen to me, they will do what I want in the end and I want to live with them.

        Um? Does this sound mature?

        Also, this whole pretending to care about the gal’s family is awesome!!!

        You are saying that you won’t mind if they move in with you? REALLY? Conversation between such a person:-
        P: I won’t mind keeping my wives parents with me. I will love them like I love my parents.
        Me: Well, but our society conditions us in such a way that they will not want to live with you because of people
        P: Well, yes if they care that much about their respect and dignity, I will have to support them.

        You let parents stay with you, but you “let” them and you believe in your heart that you are giving them a favour, and they better know that too.

        Also, this same person gave the example of his maternal grandmother who stays with them as proof.(she doesn’t have a husband anymore and she has no sons) But he conveniently didn’t mention that when his parents’ grandmother comes to visit them, she goes on a trip to all the relatives in the town since she can’t stay with them. (and this woman has two sons btw. she could live with just one. But of course it is her right to live wherever she wishes.)
        And of course, he had NO problem complaining about how much trouble his mat grandmother caused their family, but the same thing in his pat grandmother were not mentioned because then it is: “she is old, budhape mein hota hai, ab kya bolna”

        Look into a mirror and you see a hypocrite and liar!

        Like

  8. Like BAB said, you have the right to live life the way you want it. If you want it centered around your parents, thats your choice. But here are a few titbits from reality you might want to consider:

    1. It is very very unlikely that any person who has not been raised by your parents ( or for that matter has been raised by your parents) will love your parents the way you do. The same way how it is very unlikely that you will be able to see your ILs in the same light as your parents.

    2. Relationships with ILs, just like any other relationship develops over time. And relationships are a two way effort. Any relationship where only one person is doing all the adjusting, even if it is because they initially want to, will generate some amount of resentment in the individual.

    3. Marriage does not mean that parents have to change. Everyone can be the person they are without overstepping other people’s boundaries. Your parents cannot take the same liberties that they take with you with a relative stranger ( your wife ) as they do not share the same relationship with your wife.

    4. Even if everything works out your way and you find a wife who loves your parents like you do, love does not mean there will be no disagreements. Are your parents ready to accept disagreements and fights like they do with you and move on without any ego bruises when it happens with their DIL? After all, if they want to be treated like parents, they should should treat your wife as a daughter, accepting the good, bad and the ugly of it.

    That said, marriage is about two people. How much ever you may love your parents, realize that you are probably going to spend more time in your lifetime with your wife than with either set of parents.

    Like

    • //Are your parents ready to accept disagreements and fights like they do with you and move on without any ego bruises when it happens with their DIL? After all, if they want to be treated like parents, they should should treat your wife as a daughter, accepting the good, bad and the ugly of it.//
      Well, they haven’t done this before🙂 But I am absolutely sure they’ll ace this.
      I say this from the my parents’ relationships with my cousins-in-law. Taking up their side – so to speak – in any familial frictions and helping resolve things, most positively. Of course, I know it can be a different proposition living under the same roof. But something tells me they’ll do just fine.

      Just the way they go about ‘adjusting’ is what I’m likely to have trouble ‘adjusting’ to.

      When we met a prospective family last time, they used the exact expression of looking forward to a daughter. I cringed because I know it as a bit of cliche. But I shouldn’t’ve, because I know they are super-earnest about it.

      Personally I have a kinda teflon ego, particularly when it comes to elders. Even those I am not close to. I rarely take offence. But I know it is not easy for everyone. Hence the worry.

      //That said, marriage is about two people. How much ever you may love your
      parents, realize that you are probably going to spend more time in your lifetime with your wife than with either set of parents.//

      True. I get that too. But it is going to take a loooot of time. Years, before the marital bond gets that close. And that is going to be based on shared moments and shared relationships as much as it would be about shared interests.

      It is difficult to say right of the bat that, at that moment, it is the two individuals that are principal. Because,at that time, they are not.

      And these things will hopefully naturally evolve and I am probably just over-analyzing.

      Like

        • //you have a problem with the way your parents are “adjusting” ? Would you not have a problem with your spouse “adjusting” the same way?//
          Let’s first understand that there are no absolutes. It’s always a question of degree. Having said that, yes I will have less problem with the latter. And while at it, let me also clarify it is not just her. I expect I will have to ‘adjust’ a whole lot too.

          I’d rather than have younger people adapt than the elders adapt, change their ways, fade to the background ‘gracefully’ etc.

          Like

        • Ok…we finally get to the bottom of the whole situation. This whole drama about “love” is primarily about making sure your world remains exactly the same despite inclusion of one wholly new person into it.

          Basic human nature dictates that only one person “adjusting” all the time without even a thought will definitely build resentment. You might say “i told you so” but this is what will happen.

          Save yourself the unpleasantness and dont get married.

          Then you can have the love and adjustment all to yourself.

          Like

      • //True. I get that too. But it is going to take a loooot of time. Years, before the marital bond gets that close.//

        Good that you get this..and ditto for your wife’s feelings towards your parents. So, wear some logic boots and understand that she would not love them as a daughter from the day one. It would take time and a lot of mutual affection, if at all it were to happen.

        Like

      • //True. I get that too. But it is going to take a loooot of time. Years, before the marital bond gets that close. And that is going to be based on shared moments and shared relationships as much as it would be about shared interests.//

        Great so you talk sense…now why would this logic not apply to your wife and your parents relationship?? I suggest you wear some logic boots and understand that she would not love your parents from the day one..it would take time and a lot of mutually shared affection.

        Like

  9. I agree British Asian Blog, you have a right to your choices. You also need to sit down and talk to your parents about your expectations of them. You want them to still live with you and with your future wife and communicate with both of you in a certain way. You must have that clear before marriage so that they are also comfortable and since you want to make them comfortable with your future wife, ask them the qualities they would like in your future wife so you can narrow down those qualities before hand and thus make the selection process easier. I don’t think what you are looking for is impossible to find, but definitely it will make your choices more narrow. Definitely you will get a lot of negative responses. But it is extremely important that you do not hide this before marriage or everyone will suffer. Maybe you will need to look for someone who is not used to independent city life. Also in regards to compromise keep in mind that how you feel now may not be the same how you feel in 15, 20 or even 30 years. People grow/change interest in time and the same will be true of your spouse, parents etc. The dynamics will also change once you have children. Good luck.

    Like

  10. forget the parents, initially what wife will demonstrate towards you is also called courtesy. Its not genuine love, respect, care or kindness.

    with passage of time those values need to be earned from each other by demonstrative actions and matching of ideas. so if she likes the parents why not ?

    Like

  11. To the letter writer Id say, go ahead and look , I’m sure you will find a girl who thinks like you do. I mean we are a huge human population on this earth and everyone can find their soul mate if you try hard.

    As for her loving your parents like you do – maybe she will maybe she won’t , as long as you make it known upfront to her i don’t see any problem.

    As for in-laws, i don’t think many prospective in-laws will willingly move from their town to stay with their SIL, daughter and her in-laws just for your convenience. and if they don’t then will your parents move? again this merging of family may not be logistically possible in case of work issues???
    to avoid this you could look for prospective spouses in your own city, but what about transfers, better job opportunities etc.,

    Remember life is constantly changing, no one can make plans for the future and expect it to turn exactly as planned, we at best plan for a certain situation and protect ourselves form great harm the rest will turn out as life plays along.

    As for your parents staying exactly as they are and demanding of you, if that’s what you want i don’t see why not. hopefully your future spouse will agree too – again key lies in being informed right at the start.

    I don’t see why you have to be scared or disheartened, you are not unique in wanting something like this, i see plenty of men wanting the status quo to remain the same and as long as your spouse is not forced into this, it’s fine. be patient and if you find a partner you think matches your ideal go for it, if not.. you can still remain happy . best of luck.

    One of my brothers was similar to what you are, dad’s beloved slave and wanted a wife to bow down to whatever the parents said , he got married, his wife is a very wise woman who was the only child and she agreed to his terms if he agreed to hers, they both wanted to be married but devoted to their parents. they do not have kids yet since her mom as poor health and she spends quite a few hrs /day taking care of their needs. they have decided that kids are not compatible with elder care and the elders apparently feel hurt .From what i hear their marriage is ok, they plod along , more concerned with each parents well being than any bonding with their spouse, i find that sad, especially since i feel my brother will not experience the sense of closeness,bonding and love i share with my spouse,and wonder what will happen when all 4 old people are gone will these 2 just part ways?? but if it makes him happy then so be it, who am i to judge.

    Like

      • but i don’t understand why should you expect things to be status quo for your parents after your marriage… When yr wife would move into her house, there is a major change in her life , which i need not elaborate…Even her parents’ life would change as they no longer would have their darling daughter, who has spent all her life with them… Your life wouldn’t be the same as you are sharing it with your wedded wife… and when there is a new member in your parents’ home … whether it is a new DIL , a newborn , a visiting relative , there are bound to be adjustments , sharing of space , from all the members in the family, including your parents … This is the natural process …. whenever there is an addition in any unit , it never remains the same as it was …why is it insisted that ONLY YOUR parents’ lives should be the same … ??

        Like

        • //whenever there is an addition in any unit , it never remains the same as it was //
          Sure, I see that.
          //why is it insisted that ONLY YOUR parents’ lives should be the same … ??//
          How do I answer this ‘why’?
          These are exactly the terms – u do ur bit, I do mine – of approaching a parental relationship that is unacceptable to me.

          I am for the younger ones making most of the effort and changes and not necessarily expecting the elder ones to bend over backwards and accept a secondary role, so to speak

          Like

      • Well adjustment should come from both sides, for there is a limit to how much a single person can adjust.
        if you are living with your parents, and you are talking about younger ones adjusting–then well the only one adjusting will be your wife.
        Your life will be way easier because you haven’t moved out of you childhood home–so essentially what you will be adjusting to is one person.
        And what she will be adjusting to is 3 new people and a new environment.
        There was a thread which talked about how In-laws cannot treat DILs like a daughter. Now i’m sure that your parents are very nice and they want a daughter in their daughter-in-law, however, that might take a very very long time or might never happen.
        We are used to our parents idiosyncratic behavior, we’ve spent 20-25 years with them, we get when they are joking, serious or need to be ignored.
        With In-laws this takes time
        I don’t think anyone–younger or older needs to bend over backwards– just try not to impose thats all, for instance you might not mind you parents asking you to follow some rules– but your wife might.
        As for taking secondary roles– — hmmm—- before my husband and i got married, my parents were the top on my list of priorities, my husband took that place abt one year into the marriage and now my son is nudging him to second position. Things change.
        Which doesn’t mean i love anyone less.
        I get in many ways what you want, you don’t want things to change— but maybe it’s time to realize that things will never be the same.

        Like

    • @Radha

      ‘One of my brothers was similar to what you are, dad’s beloved slave’

      Just a correction:

      A son who loves, respects and cares for his father isn’t his father’s slave. (regardless of his marital status)

      Like

      • @raghav,

        I dont get this…Blind filial obediencce and shows of respect is not the hall mark of a healthy parent child relationship. How come daughter still love their parents and manage’s relationships with spouses ? Doesn’t that means somewhere there is a PROBLEM in the way sons are brought up?

        @ Scaredy cat,

        Being an only kid of parents I understand your concerns but friend, all relationships have to evolve with time. That is called life. that is what generations before has done too. You might be able to find a spouse who fits in to your ideals. Tomorrow , what is the guarantee that you wont resent her for prioritizing your parents over you? Would you be happy if all her thoughts were about keeping both sets of parents happy even if it makes you unhappy( you believe you have to adjust more than elders)? even more important bring a kid into the equation. Say , your ( both) parents might want the kid to be brought up in one particular way which might not gel with you then? Or the kid has to forego something to make the grand parents happy. Will u be happy then? If the kids start resenting all this then? Mind you families are not islands of isolation but social units so the kids will know how otehrs live and tomorrow when societial mores change the next gen will too. If they dont treat you the same way you treat your parenst you will die heart broken. No dont tell me you have it worked out but remember thre is always a “Johari window” in you which only third parties see. Also all relationships have their space in life . And at given phases one relationship will take precedence over the other. At childhood it is ur parents , then your spouse then kids etc. Wise is the man who understands this natural progression and moves ahead

        Like

        • As I am saying again and again…nobody can go in expecting to perfectly predict the future. At best they need to start off wanting the same things. I will cross most of the bridges when I come to them and deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

          But since I myself do not believe ‘elders turn is down, now it is all up to us. I would find it hugely convenient if partner also has the same point of view’. Else she is likely to feel – as many have said – stifled.

          So I can’t answer most of the questions with any degree of certainty. Except one:
          //what is the guarantee that you wont resent her for prioritizing your parents over you? //
          Highly highly highly unlikely that I would resent that🙂

          Like

  12. While I am completely and utterly opposed to your criteria for a partner, that’s not really important here. Let’s put some of your worries at rest.

    First, there’s someone for everyone. In fact, there are multiple ‘the ones’ for everyone.

    I see a lot of younger people worried about whether they will find someone who meets such and such conditions.

    IMHO, it’s an unfounded worry, because most of the time, good relationships simply don’t happen like that.

    The key is to simply look for people you LIKE. People you click with. People you share ideas with. People you can laugh around with. You know, people you enjoy being around. Don’t turn finding a partner into a chore. It’s supposed to be fun; enjoy it.

    If the comments on here worry you, I’d say banish that worry. The kind of men and women you see here are a tiny, tiny minority in India (I personally don’t consider that a good thing, but that’s besides the point).

    As Anonymous has said, be upfront about your ideas, make sure your partner knows what she’s getting into, and you’ll largely be fine, except for one thing:

    DON’T expect perfection. There are no perfect partners out there. Once again: there are no perfect partners out there .

    If you expect that your partner will share the same equation with your parents as you, that’s a pipe dream. At best, you’ll get someone who is almost perfect, someone who can almost meet your criteria, someone who you will be reasonably happy having around most of the time. At BEST.

    If you rush things, if you make unwise choices, if you choose to hide your true feelings (I’m not saying you will, but just hypothetically), expect your life to get one notch closer to miserable. Bad marriages can turn happy, confident people into soulless wrecks in an astonishingly small amount of time. I’m guessing that you aren’t big on divorce or long-term courtship before marriage, so that’s all the more reason to be careful.

    Basically, don’t marry just for the heck of it. Get married to a person you like, take the time to get to know this person well enough, make sure she gets to know you too, and most of all, stop worrying about never finding her. Everyone who’s looking, eventually finds someone; you will too.

    Like

    • Thank You for your comments.
      //I’m guessing that you aren’t big on divorce // Is anyone?🙂

      //DON’T expect perfection. //
      I am not. As I mentioned earlier. My idea is both should kinda want the same things. Rest can be worked out.

      Like

    • Is anyone?

      Touché.

      The distinction I was trying to make was between people who say, “There is NO WAY I’m ever getting a divorce, not if I can help it”, and those who say, “Okay, if things get too bad, I’m ready to break this relationship up, no big deal”. I suppose you fall more towards the first camp. I could be wrong, but that’s the impression I got.

      Like

        • Playing games now…are we Mr.Cat? You post a question on a public forum, and when decent hardworking people take time out of their day to answer your questions, you behave like a smart ass. What are you..12?

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      • //Playing games now…are we Mr.Cat? You post a question on a public forum, and when decent hardworking people take time out of their day to answer your questions, you behave like a smart ass. What are you..12?//
        Referring to any of my responses in particular?.

        Sorry if I offended you. I really appreciate the responses from you guys. It is kinda overwhelming actually. I am making an effort to engage with all of your comments and respond.

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  13. I also want to add – if you marry someone and she thinks just like you and her parents live with you guys together, they will bring traditions from her family and choices form her family , wil your parents accept that, will they agree to change just for them?
    I’m saying this because the slightest words can become cannon balls when basically 6 strangers are forced to live together. but everyone will have to adjusta bit and what if her parents don’t want to change their lifestyle? and they chose to remain separate, will your future spouse be capablae of taking care of them and yet being with you an dyour parents. how would your parents feel.

    if one of my sons said they will marry and bring their wives and their parents to live with me I’d quite possibly flee in terror🙂 i don’t think this age i want to modify my ways much to adjust with another family, i’d much rather my sons lead happy lives with their wifves without including me in the mess. I’m happy with my husband and god forbit im alone i have lplenty of interests to keep me busy and like minded friends thank god.

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    • Yeah, I am aware of the issues there may be. I am not saying living under one roof will be a breeze. These are all issues to consider. I am not saying I have answers to these.

      Just saying I am devoting as much mindspace thinking about all this even more than thinking of a girl as a compilation of individual attributes. And I was musing if it was reasonable to expect there are people whose priorities are similarly aligned and whose concerns are similar.

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      • Dear Scaredy Cat,

        Your idea of wanting to keep your Parents’ lives status quo after your marriage and getting your Inlaws to shift to your parents house (close to impossible, but still hypothetically speaking )..is mutually exclusive ..

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      • Of course.

        As PT says, there are many “fits” for all of us.

        The only thing you must do is ensure that you communicate your expectations and perceptions to your future spouse.

        You should also ensure that she is not under duress and is genuinely in agreement with your ideas.

        Many people marry under pressure and that spells DISASTER for both of you.

        If possible, arrange to meet your prospective partner several times until you are convinced that she’s the right choice.

        May not be easy in an arranged marriage set up, but it will be immensely helpful to you.

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        • //Many people marry under pressure and that spells DISASTER for both of you.//
          Agree. I am kinda impervious to pressure on this issue.

          //May not be easy in an arranged marriage set up, but it will be immensely helpful to you.//Yeah. Plan to do the best with the given constraints.

          Last time I couldn’t proceed with a prospect because I wanted to meet and talk more to understand better. The girl’s family were quite conservative and so they didn’t think it was appropriate. We respected their PoV, but couldn’t feel pressurized to make a decision because of that.

          For several weeks after that my parents were feeling bad for saying no. Because they seemed like pretty nice people and all that. There was really no discernibly strong incompatibility based on which we could have decided against it.

          But I kinda had to reason with them repeatedly to tell them, that was the best decision we could have made with the information (or lack thereof) at that point.

          Hmm…why did I ramble all this now? Just to say I don’t feel pressurized. My parents sure do. But I can handle that.

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        • Replying to SC, I understand your parents’ regret; but I believe you were completely justified in backing out.

          The other thing I will say is this: You seem to be too well-read, articulate and self-aware to really succeed in the arranged marriage market.

          I’d like to urge you to find someone on your own if possible. Spouse hunting in an arranged marriage set-up works for those who are of the cookie-cutter variety; people who don’t read between the lines and ponder over shades of grey.

          Somehow, you don’t come across as typical arranged-marriage material (mean that as a compliment)

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    • Totally with you on this @radha. My parents and my ILs are nice people, but they absolutely refuse to live under the same roof for even a few weeks because they are very different people and will drive each other and me completely nuts.

      That said, my parents and FIL regularly plan trips (that are not longer than a week) and spend time with each other without me prodding any of them to do so.

      Happy relationships do not necessarily mean living in each others pockets!

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      • I totally relate to what cluelesschick says here. My parents and ILs are completely different people, coming from completely different backgrounds. But both respect the other and spend a lot of quality time together, but living together would be disastrous as their lifestyles just do not match!

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        • Reminds me of my favorite lines from the play The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw. Speaking to his mistress, the king, Magnus, says:

          […] do not let us fall into the common mistake of expecting to become one flesh and one spirit. Every star has its own orbit; and between it and its nearest neighbor there is not only a powerful attraction but an infinite distance. When the attraction becomes stronger than the distance the two do not embrace: they crash together in ruin. We two also have our orbits, and must keep an infinite distance between us to avoid a disastrous collision. Keeping our distance is the whole secret of good manners; and without good manners human society is
          intolerable and impossible.

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  14. I will just stick to you main question: Whether your wife will love your parents as much as you do or not:
    Love is more complex than this, I feel. Whether for your partner, you prospective in laws, your friends etc., it takes a lot of time and interaction between the two parties to come to love each other. A lot depends on the mentality, the habits, the way they treat each other. You cannot expect any person to start loving your family members just because she married you. While I absolutely love my parent and think they are the coolest and best-est parents in the whole wide world, I totally respect if my husband does not think this way. He really likes my parents, respects them, interacts with them very often, knows that he does have certain duties towards them, but it stops at that. I mean, he hardly knows my parents for 3-4 years now, so it is really unfair of me to expect that he loves my parents as much as I do. Same for me. How can I suddenly start liking his parents just because I married him?! I do like my in-laws better today that I did the first time. And that is because I have got to know them well, we interact, they let me be, I let them be, and we in general give each other our space.
    And, I think this whole, partner loving your own parents as much as you do is not really very important here. These dynamics change over time. Some bonds get strengthened and some break. It is very much possible that your wife might end up loving your parents afterall! Who knows, right? I mean, she cannot be expected to like them just because she is married to you. It will take efforts from both side, to come to like each other and maybe even really love and care for each other.

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  15. Why not for the next decade, we change the rules of our society just a little to accommodate the following:

    Parents teach good etiquette to their son, educate him well. Then stand with folded hands and solemn faces at his wedding which they promptly arrange, before he turns 30. They hope he will make them proud by producing their first grand daughter in the next year. That they won’t have to hear any complaints regarding his character or behaviour. That he will keep his wife and in-laws happy with his skills and ‘earning’ abilities.
    They say goodbye to their son tearfully as he proceeds towards a new life.
    The bride brings her groom home after the wedding as her prize – he is ‘neighbor’s envy, owner’s pride’ !!
    The groom is received and welcomed amidst a crowd of ceremonies and a throng of people he doesn’t know, that last until midnight.
    Then, the groom enters his room where his wife is waiting for him to ‘perform his best’ and ‘satisfy his wife’….on the first night. He has got the best of men’s lingerie for the purpose…it is supposed to make matters easy.
    After a satisfactory night, the new husband then sets off to winning the hearts of his new home, and new family, that he treats just like his own.
    He brings home all his earnings, spends his last penny on his new set of parents who are just like his own…
    He devotes some time every evening, including weekends to his parent-in-laws…getting to know them, their likes, dislikes, wants and wishes…agreeing to most of what their perception of life is.
    He gives up his childhood habits, also his friends, he learns to adapt to his wife’s home – her parents, sisters and their spouses.
    He adopts his wife’s social circle, makes friends with his wive’s friend’s husbands… he takes his wife to a few of his office parties too and maintains some social circle – as much is required to ensure greater/bigger earnings, of course. After all we are modern, progressive people.
    He invites his parents over at times or visits them during festivals, birthdays…making sure his parents buy him bags full of presents for his in-laws who are now just like his parents, to keep them happy and smiling cheek to cheek.
    On his visits to his parent’s place, he makes sure his wife gets a well deserved welcome, and full attention, also the best of everything during her stay.
    He lives happily or tries to knowing this is how his life will be till he sees the end of his life.

    Sounds little hard to implement I know, but trust me…I am a woman, so speaking from experience….everything becomes very easy once you start treating your parents-in-law and your wife’s family as your very own. And it is not that hard to lose your identity…if you put your mind to it, everything is possible.

    …after about a decade of the above said practice, we can resume discussing the pros and cons of a joint family, love vs arranged marriages or any topic that arises out of these two.

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  16. LOL! I feel for you after having read all the comments here. My motto is simple. Expect from your spouse exactly what she can expect from you. After all just because she’s a daughter doesn’t mean her relationship with her parents is any different that what yours is. Treat her parents as yours and even if she doesn’t initially, she will automatically start to! Good wishes.

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    • //Treat her parents as yours and even if she doesn’t initially, she will automatically start to!// Surely, that’s the least I can do.

      //Good wishes.// Thank You.

      Like

  17. Having read the other comments so far, I think there is another perspective to your question that you do not see in your narrow world-view. Let’s leave your prospective GF/Bride/Wife out of the equation for the moment, though I do agree with the other commenters above that you should be up front about your expectations.
    Let’s talk about your parents, you say:
    “they are already mentally preparing to turn our relationship into one between adults who respect each other. And I know they are consciously turning into different people as this is in my best interest, going forward…because popular media and their social network is teaching them to ‘be mature’, ‘to stay out of your adult son’s business’ etc.”
    How about you for one moment step back from everything in your parent’s life being about YOU? Have you ever considered that the decisions that your parents are making are for themselves? That they may be aiming for an “adult relationship” with their presumably “adult son” so that they may in the “autumn of their lives”- travel, see the world, take dance lessons, do whatever the hell they please as they have fulfilled their duties as a parent towards you. Scaredy Cat this is NOT about you!!
    Somehow in the page long e-mail you have written in that possibility has never occurred to you. You may see yourself primarily as your parents son (and each to his own), but please do not make the presumption that your parents define themselves so singularly as well. Your parents are individuals with their own set of goals, dream and aspirations and I think it is time you recognise that their choices/decisions may not be about you alone. Hell you may be surprised that they are actually looking forward to you finally flying the roost!!!

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    • Reasonable perspective. Actually I had a friend of mine say the same thing once.

      But I am reasonably sure
      //Your parents are individuals with their own set of goals, dream and aspirations and I think it is time you recognise that their choices/decisions may not be about you alone.//
      this is not the case.

      This may sound very arrogant and solipsistic.But there is no way I can explain this to anyone why I know I am quite certain about this.

      I am not dismissing your PoV off the bat. It is indeed quite a reasonable to think so. Just that it doesn’t happen to be the case.

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        • //And they will feel the same way about your wife?//
          I am not sure I fully understand.
          Did you mean, will they emotionally invest totally in our well-being and tie their joys and lows to ours. Most certainly.

          //And you will feel the same way about her parents?//
          As I admitted earlier, it is not something that will happen on day one. Same with her. It will take time. But this I surely see this as the ideal I want to achieve and will spare no effort to get there. i.e. I see it as quite important to the marriage itself.

          Not something like, ‘as long as the plumbing works’ let us- the husband and wife- get on with ‘our’ lives, which is what is actually centerstage. That’s not how I can see it.

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        • //I mean will your parents be able to love your wife the way they love you?//
          As I said earlier, they haven’t done this before either, but I am reasonably certain they will. And that is because they want to, because they deem that very important. All I have being trying to say in a roundabout obtuse way is, if one can reasonably hope for the same.

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        • Scaredy Cat, you must be aware that many people don’t adopt babies because they are afraid that they won’t be able to love a child born of them as their own? And we’re talking about babies, which are brought up by the adoptive parents. Having given birth to two children and thought about adoption I realised that it takes an exceptional person to be able to love a child one has not given birth to as one’s own child. So I can quite confidently say it would be much harder to love a fully formed adult as ones own child.

          Are you seriously expecting that your parents and your future wife to love each other as parents-daughter or was that just an exaggeration? Would just loving each other do for you? That might be more realistic though even then, I’m not sure it can be expected as a given no matter how good the intentions are. It’s only possible to will onself to love to a certain extent.

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        • //Are you seriously expecting that your parents and your future wife to love each other as parents-daughter or was that just an exaggeration? //
          Rhetorical question I guess.
          I should wake up and smell the coffee.

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      • Solipsism

        Thanks for teaching me a new word.
        Let me share what I read in the dictionary.

        The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.

        Solipsism is a philosophical position that nothing outside one’s own mind can be known to exist, or, sometimes, the position that nothing outside one’s own mind does exist. Solipsism Syndrome is, by extension, the overwhelming feeling that nothing is real, that all is a dream. Sufferers become lonely and detached from the world and eventually become completely indifferent. Some people claim to have suffered from Solipsism Syndrome but it is not currently recognized as a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
        —————–

        Will comment later.
        Regards
        GV

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  18. I’m only going to respond to one statement here:
    “My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.”

    You should fear that about any set of three people in the world. Given three individuals x, y, and z, who are supposed to form their own separate relationships with one-another, what are the chances x and y will both love z equally? That’s one possibility out of an infinity (given that most human beings don’t simply LOVE all other human beings, let alone love them a prescribed amount just so they can tell their spouses hey, we’re even stevens! how utterly cool?!) so the answer tends towards zero.

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        • Child, you’ve let your math brain run wild. Next you’ll be integrating your equation from zero to infinity, which will cause a lot of IHM’s readers (this engineering graduate included) to run for the woods screaming.

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        • Another thought from yet another gray haired engineer:

          Have you ever felt anxious that your children may not feel the same way towards you as you feel towards your parents?

          Do you know if your mother loved her in-laws as much as you want your wife to do so?

          Regards
          GV

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    • //Have you ever felt anxious that your children may not feel the same way towards you as you feel towards your parents?//
      Haven’t gotten that far.

      //Do you know if your mother loved her in-laws as much as you want your wife to do so?//
      Most definitely yes.
      Even half of that would have have me singing paeans (uh-oh, I said ‘half’ the math-types shall appear again now)

      My father has four brothers. But both my paternal grandparents preferred to live in our home till their very last days. That itself says something. I don’t remember a lot of my grandmother but I do remember the last years of my grandfather. Where he became an emotionally challenging person to manage. It took both my parents to handle that. I don’t think any of my other aunts-uncles would have managed it that well.

      And for my other that sort of thing comes with love and a strong sense of identification. Of course, it won’t happen on Day one but for it happen over time, the person should consider it as quite important to the definition of marriage.

      But I see many – classmates, acquaintances in my social circle – who would rather not. Who perceive it as something that they do for their husband’s sake. That’s going to be a problem.

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      • “//Do you know if your mother loved her in-laws as much as you want your wife to do so?//Most definitely yes.
        Even half of that would have have me singing paeans”

        —> I will believe that, my mother and MIL too were like that. I do not call that love, I call that respect and regards that they had to give to elders in general, in-laws in particular.

        But tell me did your mother ever fight with her MIL? Ask her if she disapproved anything and expressed it to her in-laws? Did she ever tell her MIL to cook her a favorite dish? Did she tell her MIL to do some household work while she rested? Did she ever complain to her MIL when she got upset with the FIL? Did she ever leave the place in a fit of anger around her in-laws?
        These are the little things that we do with our own parents , we take these things for granted because they know us and they will never judge us based on our reactions in that particular situation.

        If you expect from your future wife a little respect, or courtesy towards your parents it is understandable, but love is a very strong word to use in this context, don’t expect it, it’s not practical.

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        • Good points lady.

          //These are the little things that we do with our own parents , we take these things for granted because they know us and they will never judge us based on our reactions in that particular situation. //

          Yes. I totally totally get you.
          In an ideal world that is exactly I would expect the relationship to evolve to that level of comfort. And I am intent on helping it get there to the best extent possible. I know my parents are also mentally preparing for this.

          But when, say, a disagreement emerges I don’t want them withdrawing into a shell – which is where they are already preparing to head. I want them to feel free and not circumspect.

          Of course it won’t happen on day one, but hopefully eventually.

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      • I agree with Lady. What your mother did for her in-laws does not necessarily translate to love (though, of course, it could be love… only she could say honestly). It is just how people with compassion and empathy behave.

        My mother too did the same for my dad’s parents. She tirelessly looked after them when they were sick, took care to make their favourite stuff and accommodate their needs even though they had been horrible to her in the past, so much so that she had to move out of their house. Towards the end of his days, when he was spending some time in our house (my mum always welcomed by grandparents to our house) my grandfather told her that they had made a mistake in how they treated her. My mother also never badmouthed by grandparent to us when we were young so we never knew how bad they were to her until we were much older.

        But did my mother love my dad’s parents as much as her own parents? Definitely not. Did she love them at all? I don’t know. I honestly think, given the background, she didn’t. She is just a good person.

        My dad does the same for my maternal grandmother who lives with them. My dad actually invited my mother’s mother to live with us and she took him up on the offer although she has five sons. She is now 98 and extremely difficult to deal with both physically and emotionally. When my mother was recently away from home helping me look after my baby, my dad looked after my grandmother to the extend of cleaning up her bowel movements when she lost control and delivering an enema. How may Indian son-in-laws would do that?

        But does my dad love my grandmom? I don’t know. Does he love her as much as his own parents? Definitely not.

        I am half the person my parents are. I can honestly say I don’t love my in laws. I don’t even really like them. But I make some effort with them because they are my husband’s parents. When they are old and if they need care, I am sure I would help. Because caring for old people, especially in your family, is just a human value.

        Although we are saying that loving your parents as much as you or even loving them at all may not come to pass (but could happen too), you can take heart from these stories because I think the chances are good that even people who do not love your parents, would be willing to care for them, especially if your parents are as nice and considerate as you say they are… which always makes things easier.

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        • //you can take heart from these stories//
          I sure do. Thank You.
          What’s love do with all this – you say. Hmm…

          I guess my dictionary definition of love is a tad simplistic: Genuinely feeling the joys and sorrows of the other’s as one’s own

          There are many people whose joys an sorrows you share, but only in a very few do you feel it as intensely and inseparably as you would feel your own.

          Not much chance of that inner circle happening eh?
          Empathy seems too light a word for me. But I could live with it.

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        • Empathy a light word? Sheesh. You remind me of Calvin when he says “Happiness isn’t enough, I DEMAND euphoria!” And Calvin was six, what’s your excuse?🙂

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  19. You are refusing to grow up. You want a school like environment while being in a college…you never seem to want to leave school!
    Would be difficult to measure ‘equal’ love. Also, ‘love’ changes over time. You can start or stop loving a person over time. What would you do then. Leave her? What are your reasons for getting married? You should list them down. Ask yourself – why would you want to get married.

    You must also share this with each of the prospective person you will meet.

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    • Ok dude, let’s not get all mathematical about the ‘equally’🙂
      You know what I meant right. Understanding that the parents would as important to the equation as the two of us, our individual attributes, likes, dislikes etc.

      I think I listed out the reasons in an earlier comment.
      I am somehow who enjoys family and relationships, would consider a future without lifelong companionship and children, quite pointless .

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      • I am afraid, you are wanting to have all at once – a loving wife, forever similar relationship with parents, no one can give you that assurance.
        Even if you would have had a sibling, that would have changed your equation with your parents to an extent. You cannot expect things to remain same when we are talking about a wife. What about your own parents – are they still child like with their own parents (or were child like while they had their parents).
        hmmm…”Enjoying family & relationships”, arent you still doing that – how would bringing in a wife change that. You seem to be in a perfect state of happiness & contentment in terms of family/relationships…why complicate with a wife.

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  20. dear scaredy cat, yes, all the things you want in a wife are perfectly possible, and i say that with no trace of sarcasm. in my opinion, there are some caveats though

    – you love your parents. great. you want your future wife to love them too. why not? it’s perfectly possible. this however is not something you can force or even request, coax or cajole your wife to feel. it is completely dependent on how you and your parents treat her. treat her with respect, value her as a person, give her love, and don’t stifle her, and you will be surprised at how much she is willing to do for you in return.

    – people here have expressed doubt that a woman can love her mother in law as much if not more than her mother. well, that’s possible too. my paternal grandmother was a wonderful woman, who loved and respected my mother, and the two of them had a wonderfully close relationship, closer in fact than that of my mother and her own mother who couldn’t see beyond my uncle (mother’s brother) this is not such a rare story. i know lots of women in my generation, and younger too, who have wonderful relationships with their in laws.
    again this can’t be forced. you can’t force love, it has to grow naturally, and it usually starts with the older person showing the way.

    – both sets of parents living together? perfectly possible again. in fact, i’m seeing it happening more, esp. with single child families being so common, and both husband and wife wanting to look after elderly parents. give them enough space so they are not stepping on each other’s toes, ignore petty complaints, don’t give any one mother right to lord over the kitchen, and parents are often happy to have other older folks for company, and grand children around. it can, and does work.

    – asking the wife to give up her individuality and be just the good daughter in law? now this just might be the killer.
    no woman wants to blend into the background of service to family at cost of self. everyone wants to be treated as a person of value.
    unless you are willing to do this, and recognize that your wife is a special person in her own standing, and deserves your special attention, love, respect, etc, you have doomed what could otherwise be a very workable situation, to complete failure.

    you have very right to expect to be married to a certain kind of person, whatever that kind is, and i am sure that there is a perfect woman out there for you.

    but trust me, unless you are willing to treat her as an individual whom you will respect for who she is, be happy in the knowledge that your parents have a son who adores them, and treats them like god, and leave it at that.

    good luck.

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    • Thank You.

      //asking the wife to give up her individuality and be just the good daughter in law? //
      Why is this being perceived this way again and again.
      I don’t claim to have much individuality to speak of that I will place as inviolably important and sacred. So I guess I will struggle to understand this mode of thinking.

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      • I think it is being perceived this way, because from your email it seemed that you don’t have a very good understanding of how complicated, layered and every changing individuals and relationships can be.

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      • I did, in multiple comments.

        //I think I listed out the reasons in an earlier comment.
        I am somehow who enjoys family and relationships, would consider a future without lifelong companionship and children, quite pointless .//

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        • Fair enough. Readers have already said what I’d like to say. Something tells me you haven’t really lived in a joint family, else you’d know how relationships in real life are not like those of the big house in Hum aapke hain kaun. Even there, the MIL was missing!
          Good luck to you, in finding a big enough communal house for your parents, girl’s parents & siblings ..their families and your family. That’s what you wrote in the email… you spend more time worrying about anyways than ‘lifelong companionship’ with the partner you choose. If they don’t want to live in the communal house, you can say I asked them but they didn’t agree ..so I kept my part of the deal. Now my wife must behave towards my parents as per my instructions and desires as her part of the deal.

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  21. 3 things that come to my mind after reading this post-

    1. I am glad Scardy cat is sort of clear about what he wants and is willing to be upfront about it while meeting prospective spouse. Had my ex- husband been aware of it or had had it him to communicate it to me when he came to ‘see’ me along with his dear Mommy and Daddy, I would have had some inkling of what I am getting into.

    2. I feel bad for Scardy Cat…doesnt seem he is open to that wonderful thing called ‘love’.. the romantic kind..the ‘oh-so wonderful’ heady feeling which over time turns into a beautiful bond of companionship and understanding… with or without kids.

    3. One comment saying “he is looking for a sister” exactly sums up how I felt with my ex-husband and his immidiate and extended family- live like his sister but also expected to produce a child at the earliest!

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  22. Dear Scaredy Cat,

    I read through all the comments…Guess, I wanted to say what they all have said…just one thing

    As a ‘girl’ married for six years, let me tell you that, your in laws are always your in laws…I have the best set of in laws anyone could ask for…they are co-operative, they stay away but come and help us whenever we want, they dont interfere, and even if they do, my husband doesnt let them take decisions which involve just me and him…etc etc…but please remember…I am not as free with my MIL as I am with my mom..I do love her, but to expect the same kind of love, affection, etc etc would be difficult…similarly my husband adores my parents, but there is always a line drawn somewhere…We have been with our parents for 25 odd years…to overnight make a stranger’s parents as loved as yours, would be expected too much..remember that you have 25 odd year head start with loving your parents, the girl you marry will never reach that stage ever!

    Also, your parents seem to be very balanced people 🙂

    All the best for the bride hunt…get married a lovely lady, but dont start a marriage with expectations..often when they are not met, it just strains the relations!

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    • //to overnight make a stranger’s parents as loved as yours, would be expected too much..remember that you have 25 odd year head start with loving your parents, the girl you marry will never reach that stage ever! //

      Of course. As I clarified in multiple comments, I don’t expect to happen off the start. Just that, that too being an important part of the considerations.

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      • Hi,
        My suggestion is : get married for love, coz you want to be with the person who you’re married to. Coz she makes your heart sing everytime you see her smile at you, coz it makes you feel more alive. get married coz you want to see your children with the one you love. so you and your wife can grow as parents, as a couple.
        Don’t get married to bring someone else to love your parents. ( a pet is a good idea) Don’t get married to someone just coz they love your parents- you might not love them- then you’re missing out. don’t get married for the wrong reasons- ones you stated above.
        Be nice to each other and rest will hopefully follow. But honestly, don’t have such high expectations.
        Noone in the world can love your parents like you do. PERIOD!
        don’t get greedy.

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  23. This might seem tangential to the discussion, but do you have a lot of friends your own age/generation? You seem to want a very Hum Aapke Hain Kaun scenario in your marriage, and I swear to God ALL I could think of while watching that movie was why people like Madhuri and Salman’s characters weren’t hanging out with others their own age instead of playing the parcel passing game with their parents and THEIR friends. I was also baffled at how Madhuri graduated from playing with dolls to wanting marriage in the course of one song, and how Salman went straight from being the kid of the house (“kab tak rahoon sabse chhota”) to wanting marriage as well. Clearly, that movie is burned in my memory!

    You know, there is an interim period when you fly off the nest, rebel (or not), discover the rest of the world and other people apart from your family, there’s this phase when your friends are the most important people in your life, and once you TIRE of that, you realize that you want to be part of family again. That you want to spend most of your time with people you think of as family rather than friends. You realize you can’t be a part of your parents’ family in the same way any more because you’ve grown out of it (you can go back but can’t go HOME again, etc.). THAT is when you want with someone else what your parents have with each other: family neither of you will grow out of. HOW oh how did you skip all of this, just like in the movie?

    Someone go inform Aishwarya Rai now that we’ve found an example of life imitating art!

    Like

    • My point – since that was one rambling comment – is that you cannot reasonably expect to be part of a happy, healthy marriage and also expect things to remain the same between you and your parents. That relationship should (ideally) have changed before you got to the point of considering marriage. It will change at some point even if you choose to remain single for the rest of your life, unless you’d like to remain a kid all your life. So your concern that it will change, is concern that the inevitable will happen .You might tell yourself that you’ll pick a certain kind of woman as spouse and that will somehow help prevent that from happening. But why are you so scared of this change?? What else are you planning to give up to ensure that this change doesn’t happen?

      Are you also planning to never take up a job in a city other than where your parents stay, for example? What if it’s a place your wife wants to move to – for whatever reason? How long and how well are you planning to confine yourself to a box so that you can avoid growing up into an individual, out of your parents’ shadow? Have you ever given a thought to who you’ll become – and how you’ll live out your life – once your parents are no more? If that’s unimaginable to you, I would very strongly recommend postponing the idea of getting married until you’re reasonably sure you’ve found your place under the sun. You owe it to yourself to live your life to the fullest. Let go, and watch yourself soar. You won’t regret it, I promise.

      Ughh, another rambling comment! *sigh*

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      • Most germane comments. Thank You very much.
        I don’t have an answers.
        Basically I am too unromantic to think on the lines ‘place under the sun’ etc. but will think about the points you back.

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        • You’re very welcome!

          Here’s something less romantic to think about – who are you when you stand alone*? What do you hope to accomplish with your life? I’m half expecting you to say – “ensure my family is happy and comfortable” – but the truth is, that’s going to be THEIR accomplishment, not yours. You cannot MAKE someone happy unless they choose to be. You can only make yourself happy. So think about what would make YOU happy.

          * – not original. source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgBt2IWq-TU

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        • //This might seem tangential to the discussion, but do you have a lot of friends your own age/generation?//
          Not a lot. A couple of people I grew up school/college.
          People who have seen me (and me them) as works in progress rather than as pieces of work.
          I mean that only in half-jest, I can’t recall anyone I met after I grew up (a disputable claim in these parts) whom I’d call a really close friend.
          You see where this is going, don’t you?

          When making new acquaintances I am far far more comfortable with people a generation older. More intetesting, more to talk and share. Senior colleagues than batchmates, professors than classmates, father’s friends than their sons, old authors than contemporary ones. I don’t think these things add up in any meaningful way. Well, I am in couch-talking mode anyway, so might as well say all this🙂

          //Clearly, that movie is burned in my memory!//
          Never knew having a closet-liking for this movie had so many implications. Hmmm..

          //You know, there is an interim period when you fly off the nest, rebel (or not), discover the rest of the world and other people apart from your family, there’s this phase when your friends are the most important people in your life, and once you TIRE of that, you realize that you want to be part of family again. That you want to spend most of your time with people you think of as family rather than friends. You realize you can’t be a part of your parents’ family in the same way any more because you’ve grown out of it (you can go back but can’t go HOME again, etc.). THAT is when you want with someone else what your parents have with each other: family neither of you will grow out of.

          HOW oh how did you skip all of this, just like in the movie?//
          Oh I did try that. ‘Friends are the most important people in your life’ is just not me. I had very good experiences living away from home. A must for every youngster IMO.

          I wouldn’t say I missed home or anything. But, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, at the end of the day it felt like a vacation from which I will need to get back home.

          //But why are you so scared of this change??//
          A linear combination ‘why fix what ain’t broke’ and ‘having my cake and eating it too’.

          //What else are you planning to give up to ensure that this change doesn’t happen?//
          No plans. Will give up when it comes up.
          Okay now I am being plain flippant. Or not.

          //Are you also planning to never take up a job in a city other than where your parents stay, for example?//
          Or in a place where they can stay comfortably.
          I don’t think my job/career – much as I don’t mind it at all – define me as my relationships do. Tail shouldn’t wag the dog.

          So, it’s safe to say I’ve passed up the mayorship of Timbuktu for good.

          //What if it’s a place your wife wants to move to – for whatever reason? //
          ay there’s the rub.
          Top in the list of things to clarify upfront.

          //How long and how well are you planning to confine yourself to a box so that you can avoid growing up into an individual, out of your parents’ shadow?//
          I am not sure I see it that way. I am my own person in many ways. Thankfully my parents are comfortable living in a city where there are sufficient professional opportunities for me. So it works out fine. Why is it wrong to expect this to go on?

          //Have you ever given a thought to who you’ll become – and how you’ll live out your life – once your parents are no more?//
          Not yet. Hopefully there’ll be a lot of time before I am in that situ. But by then I’d’ve hopefully developed equally strong familial bonds, as I mentioned earlier.

          //If that’s unimaginable to you, I would very strongly recommend postponing the idea of getting married until you’re reasonably sure you’ve found your place under the sun. //
          Yeah I hear you. I don’t want to sound very cocksure, particularly when you are trying to be encouraging. But I am a bit too cynical for all this. I don’t think there is a such a thing ‘place under the sun’. It’s what people like to think about themselves, justify their stances, rationalize their decisions. Nobody was ‘meant’ to do anything or ‘meant’ to be with anybody. We just need to choose what works for each of us, that is all.

          And I believe I am on way.

          //You owe it to yourself to live your life to the fullest. Let go, and watch yourself soar. You won’t regret it, I promise.//
          Thank You. As unbelievable as it may sound, I think I am doing that. Just that it means different things to different people.

          Like

        • This is a reply to your comment below but I can’t reply after a certain level of nesting.

          I would ask you not to marry – for the same reasons everyone else has mentioned – but you sound like you really want to. The way I look at it, there’s NO way any woman can assure you that in the next 50 or howmanyever years, she’ll never want a thing that’ll come in the way of you remaining the same kid to your parents and they the same parents to you as when you were 5 years old. A woman might tell you that now, but she might want to move to a different city, or move out of your parents house because they don’t get along (because if you’re not getting into a relationship with her prior to marriage, I’d guess your parents aren’t either). Or even something much smaller than that. Are you then going to hold her to what she agrees to now? Or are you going to force her to make choices and live out her life devoted to the cause called Let Scaredy Cat Remain A Scaredy Cat……? I hope you find who you’re looking for but I also hope nobody is reduced to serving the purpose of a prop in your grand mission. To me, that’s just cruel.

          I would also ask you not to have kids, only because you say by the time you lose your parents you’d like to have a family of your own. Why? So the kids can be responsible for your emotional well-being once your parents are no more? I hope you realize how unfair that is to the kids. I am a product of a similar family, i.e. from a very early age I knew I was responsible for my parents’ mental and emotional health. That said, they both came from badly damaged and abusive families and didn’t know any better. Yet – YET – it’s taken me a long time to get over the fact and say – FINE, so I didn’t get a childhood, at least I’m living out my adulthood the way I want to. I’ve (very recently) realized I’ve forgiven them for everything and made peace with everything that happened. And this is in spite of the fact that I know how deeply wounded they both are. It blows me away that you’re choosing to pass that on to your children and make them your crutches when you seem to have been raised in a healthy environment by two mature and caring parents.

          I don’t mean this in a disparaging way at all, but please look into getting some therapy. I know a lot of people here have said it’s a good thing that you know what you want and are honest about it. The way I look at it, you’re looking to preserve dysfunction and pass it down future generations. KNOWING that it is what you want doesn’t even come close to being justification enough for expecting another human being to spend her life helping you never grow up, and creating more human beings to serve as emotional crutches.

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      • //This is a reply to your comment below but I can’t reply after a certain level of nesting.//
        Same here

        //Or are you going to force her to make choices and live out her life devoted to the cause called Let Scaredy Cat Remain A Scaredy Cat……? I hope you find who you’re looking for but I also hope nobody is reduced to serving the purpose of a prop in your grand mission. To me, that’s just cruel.//
        There is no forcing or deception.
        I believe I am being honest and trying to speak my mind much ahead and also understanding what her expectations of a marriage are and if I can manage that.

        //Why? So the kids can be responsible for your emotional well-being once your parents are no more?//
        I think some of you are making the the assumption that I will expect my kids to have a certain kind of relationship. I have no such expectations.
        I can understand why you guys are saying so. Perhaps many of you think ‘given this is how his relationships with his parents is, he will naturally expect it of his kids’.
        I don’t have the foggiest idea.

        One of my most daredevil cousins has become a hyperemotional overprotective father. It’s quite unbelievable. There is no reasonable way to predict how one’s child changes one. Now I may resolve to do this, that, and the other thing. The truth is one never knows.

        //from a very early age I knew I was responsible for my parents’ mental and emotional health.//
        I relate to that.

        //It blows me away that you’re choosing to pass that on to your children and make them your crutches //
        Wait. Let’s step back a moment.

        You asked me what I planned to when my parents are no more. i.e. the kind of emotional void that there’d be.
        I said such a thing was far away and by then I expect to have developed a good marital bond and have kids. Where do you get making kids crutches and all that?
        I will have my interests as I already do. Now will they define me as much as relationships do, I doubt it.
        Would I have the same kind of relationship with my kids that I parents have with me, I doubt that too.

        //I don’t mean this in a disparaging way at all, but please look into getting some therapy. //
        What would be the outcome of a therapy in your opinion? I ask this quite sincerely.
        i.e. what would be a good post-therapy outcome?

        //The way I look at it, you’re looking to preserve dysfunction and pass it down future generations. KNOWING that it is what you want doesn’t even come close to being justification enough for expecting another human being to spend her life helping you never grow up, and creating more human beings to serve as emotional crutches.//
        Dysfunction, eh?

        What is ‘growing up’ here?
        Having an ambition? Wanting to ‘make something out of life’? – then I’d sit that one out.
        Making decisions around the household on day-to-day issues to larger ones (err…like my marriage for instance!) – in which case, as I already mentioned I am already doing such things.

        Have you guys seriously never met people who really don’t want anything more than being with the people they love and doing the best for them. Pretty much most people I know want nothing more than that, even if they don’t articulate it that way I do.

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    • Not a rambling comment at all. I was impressed with how accurately you described my life. Though even after I wanted and found my someone else, my parents’ home remained HOME for me for quite a while.

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    • //What do you hope to accomplish with your life? I’m half expecting you to say – “ensure my family is happy and comfortable”//

      I am kinda notoriously ambitionless.But that’s not a really odd thing, is it? Just looking back at a generation or two earlier… they wanted to be good, honest people who treated each other well (and struggled at that!) build and maintain good relationships.

      Somehow this notion that a individual is inadequate if he does not ‘atleast plant a tree and leave his mark in the world’ has creeped in over time. I am not that eager to agree with that.

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      • If you think ambition is a modern concept, you are sadly mistaken.

        Ambition is as old as humanity itself, and I would certainly consider it odd that anyone would have no ambitions at all.

        Everyone hopes to accomplish something or the other. Maybe you just want a particular type of lifestyle, maybe you want to make lots of money, maybe you want power, maybe you’re just looking to enjoy life with your loved ones, whatever.

        Somehow this notion that a individual is inadequate if he does not ‘atleast plant a tree and leave his mark in the world’ has creeped in over time

        In fact, this is probably one of the oldest, most basic human desires. The desire to be great, the desire to leave a mark on the world, the desire to be known after one’s death – it’s one of the most powerful motivating factors there is.

        History is replete with examples of people who wanted to make a mark and ended up doing so, some through splendid success, others only in ignominious failure.

        This notion is hardwired into most peoples’ brains, just like the sex drive. It’s nothing new.

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        • PT, I think while ambition might be as old as time, I also think it’s a modern concept that EVERYONE must desire to leave their mark in the world etc. I’d wager that there were vast numbers of toiling masses, who while they would have liked to make their lives more comfortable, were not so much motivated to leave their mark in the world, find their place in the son etc. Well, I guess the primal desire to leave one’s mark was expressed through having children and that was it. The very idea of selfhood was itself born and finessed in the 17th C or so.

          I think it’s perfectly ok to be ambitionless and to gain ones satisfaction in life primarily through relationships.

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        • ’d wager that there were vast numbers of toiling masses, who while they would have liked to make their lives more comfortable, were not so much motivated to leave their mark in the world, find their place in the son etc.

          There are vast numbers of toiling masses today for whom leaving a mark is not a prominent consideration, mainly because they have more immediate survival-related concerns.

          It’s not that they don’t want to leave a mark, it’s only that they don’t have the luxury of stepping back and looking at their contributions.

          Among prosperous urban populations, it’s absolutely not a new concept, although the expression was different (it was expressed in terms of the collective mark left by a family, community, dynasty or whatever). The difference, of course, is that thanks to the increased levels of global prosperity, many more people have been able to join the ranks of that group than was hitherto possible.

          I think it’s perfectly ok to be ambitionless and to gain ones satisfaction in life primarily through relationships.

          I think it’s perfectly fine to not be career-oriented, or to not desire wealth, power and so forth. This is not the same as being ambitionless.

          Being ambitionless would mean having no desire for success in any form, including in relationships.

          Very few people are truly ambitionless, and it’s not really a natural state for a person to be in.

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        • @PT Because many more people have joined the ranks of people for whom it is possible to leave their mark, it doesn’t follow that they do or should want to.

          I also think that stretching the word ambition to relationships is… um, ambitious. Ambition generally connotes material aspirations and yes, there are those who might seek material fulfillment through their relationships but this is not the sort of fulfillment Scaredy Cat is talking about, I think, and neither am I. Nor may it result in leaving a mark in a material or recognised way.

          Agreed that not many people are truly ambitionless. I’m not sure whether it is natural or not but naturalness is not a good argument for anything. Monogamy is not natural either.

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        • Because many more people have joined the ranks of people for whom it is possible to leave their mark, it doesn’t follow that they do or should want to.

          I did not say that it follows.

          I said that nearly everyone who has the resources to, wants to, and more people now have the resources. This is a general, experience-based observation (that could be wrong, but I think is correct), and not a logical deduction.

          I also did not say that they SHOULD.

          I said that most people do want to.

          There’s a big difference there. Saying that most people want to do X is not the same as saying that people SHOULD do X.

          I also think that stretching the word ambition to relationships is… um, ambitious

          Semantics.

          Connotations mean nothing without context.

          I agree that one does not generally use “ambition” to connote non-material success, but the original usage was not mine. The question was, “What do you hope to accomplish with your life?”, to which SC replied:

          “I am notoriously ambitionless. But that’s not a really odd thing, is it?”.

          Since “ambition” is obviously being used as a catch-all phrase for personal goals in life here, relationships do come within its ambit in this context. Building good relationships certainly comes within the category of things you might want to accomplish with your life.

          I’m not sure whether it is natural or not but naturalness is not a good argument for anything. Monogamy is not natural either.

          I’m not making an argument at all.

          By saying that it is natural, I am not extolling the virtues of ambition, any more than you are advocating polygamy by saying monogamy is unnatural.

          That was merely a rebuttal to the idea that being ambitionless is some age-old state of being that has changed in the recent past. It is not. It’s very human to be ambitious, and it always has been.

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      • “Somehow this notion that a individual is inadequate if he does not ‘atleast plant a tree and leave his mark in the world’ has creeped in over time”

        Wrong. This sort of thinking was more important to and the characteristic of old timers. Ambition was very much part of the life in the past.

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        • Though I think I have made it adequately clear, I’ll clarify again

          //Being ambitionless would mean having no desire for success in any form, including in relationships. // this is not what I meant.

          //Ambition was very much part of the life in the past.//
          Well if one were to describe ‘escaping poverty’ as an ambition then sure everyone in my past generations were driven by it. I meant the ambitions of someone whose material comforts are taken care of like ‘finding one’s true calling’ and the like.

          I don’t think such things are for everyone.

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        • this is not what I meant.
          I meant the ambitions of someone whose material comforts are taken care of like ‘finding one’s true calling’ and the like.

          Unfortunately, none of us have psychic powers and therefore cannot know what you meant unless you express yourself clearly.

          We can only guess at it from context.

          As well, are you saying that you don’t want material comforts at all? You’d be willing to live a completely Bohemian existence?

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    • The Wild Child, Madhuri may have gone from playing with dolls to wanting marriage in one song in HAHK.

      She didn’t exactly follow the HAHK script in real life, did she?

      She seems to have approached marriage in a very dignified, practical and responsible way in real life.

      If marriage is difficult for ordinary Indian women, it is a hundred times more difficult for successful Bollywood actresses.

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      • I meant Madhuri’s character in the movie, not the actress herself. Obviously I have no insight into the kind of marriage she’s part of or the kind of spouse she makes! Nothing against the woman, at all. I was only talking of the movie.

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  24. I really don’t think you are ready for marriage. You need to think about why you want to get married in the first place. Is it because it is expected of you or because you want a partner to share your life with?

    Moreover, you seem so sure that you yourself won’t change after marriage. I am not sure if you have been in a relationship before or not, but you may find that once you are married, your outlook on life may change also. You assume that you will remain the same all your life, as will the people around you.

    It is possible that you may find someone with the same outlook towards marriage as you . But it would be very important that you are honest to yourself and to her that you are not looking for a thinking adult who wants to make her own decisions about her life. God forbid, if you get a job opportunity somewhere else! What if your wife gets a job opportunity somewhere else? From the expectation you have of her, even before you have met her, it’s clear that you would not expect her to take up the job. So it is better to look for a girl who wants that kind of a life, also.

    Not that I personally agree with the kind of relationship you are looking for, but I would think you need to make your demands (and that is what they are – no matter how else you may want to phrase them) very clear to the girl. Am sure if you are honest, you may find someone who fits your mould.

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    • //Is it because it is expected of you or because you want a partner to share your life with? //
      The former as I commented earlier.

      And I am aware ‘things change’. I just meant that my concerns are much much larger than the individual attributes. And hope there’d be someone who feels the same way about marriage.

      From my ‘my-age’ social circle, and what I observe around in general, this is not the case. Hence this sorta anxiety-catharsis post.

      Thanks for your comments.

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      • @Scaredy Cat

        I think you are worried that marriage is going to distance you from your parents or that your wife will be the cause of the distance.

        Let me assure you that not all women get married with the sole intent of breaking their husbands’ families apart. Discord happens when a person is not treated as an adult, an individual with a right to live life as they choose.Also, putting yourself first when choosing a spouse does not automatically mean that your relationship with your parents will be impacted in a negative way.

        Have you thought that with parents and you having your own interests, you would not be infringing on each other’s decisions? You mentioned the house situation. If your parents bought their house and you bought yours after you got married, neither would be compromising for anyone. And please dont tell me you have to have to live within 100ft radius of your parents for you to show your love to them. Love, unlike some forces in physics, is not inversely proportional to the distance.

        That said, no matter how clear you are about your expectations with your potential partner, your relationship with your parents will change after marriage in some way because any new strong close relationship will affect other relationships. My relationship with my husband changed after my daughter was born. It is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just different.

        If you are not ready for your relationship with your parents to change, then you are not ready for marriage,

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  25. I agree with BAB, cluelesschick, and PT. scaredy cat has every right to live life as he wants it. If he wants to be a kid and if others around him don’t have a problem, let him be, who are we to judge?

    I think it is positive and encouraging that he is being upfront about his expectations to the prospective bride. Yes, most women today believe marriage is between ‘two people’ and not ‘two families’, and I say ‘most’ so there are people who would fit your description and you should make an effort in searching and getting acquainted with the girl before you marry. In the mean time, keep in mind that relationships are dynamics, they change as you change. Dont tell me you will not change, you are changing, each new experience is making you a new person. So be flexible, may be your parent’s wouldn’t want to be involved in your day to day life once you start a family, try to accommodate other’s feelings as well. Worrying about the inlaws and whether they would like to live with you, well, bro, i think its a bit too much, dont over kill. Deal with those kind of situations as and when they happen, dont obsess yourself with expectations of married life. And remember these sort of over planning can make your life hell. If something go haywire in your plan, you might not be able to handle it, so relax and let things take their own turn.

    Now to get back to the main Q, the post title. It is a bit too much to expect your wife/husband to treat your parents as their own from day 1. Your love/affection/relationship with you parents is a result of life long association. Is it fair to expect another person to reciprocate the same way as you do without that sort of association? Think rationally man, how is it possible? Relationships require time to strengthen and bond. so dont expect your wife and parents to be best of chums from day 1, and most importantly dont push them to it. Let them take their own time and space, let the DIL-Parents-inlaw relationship develop on its own, believe me this would be much stronger healthier and happier bond than the common forced/assumed one.

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    • //from day 1//
      Didn’t mean that all.
      Sorry, I think I have not written my initial post well. Too many people seem to have understood it as ‘from day 1’.

      Thanks for your comments.

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  26. As odd and unsettling as it comes to me; you seem very clearheaded, sure and honest about your choice, which deserves respect. I think you need to understand WHY you want to be subservient to your parents. Personally, I think it is a warped negative case of puer aeternus, but there is also a possibility that this is an ‘alternative’ that your mind has accepted for yourself. I think it is best you see a psychologist on this one.

    Now coming to the subject of having a wife who suits your goals, this is a tricky area. The human psyche is very diverse and understanding this diversity as I do, there might be women who are comfortable with your arrangement, as revolting as it seem to a lot of the female readers here. But you’ll have to search a lot to find such women, since it isn’t the norm and I also advise you against using the short-cut of decieving any woman who isn’t inclined that way. This is a life you picked for you, there is no reason why an unwilling ‘partner’ has to be trudged along. The keyword is ‘consent’ and ‘choice’.

    Again, I’ll reterate my point that you should see a professional. If it is a case of peur aeternus AND you marry a woman who subscribes to your ideal, you might end up growing out of it after marriage. In such a case, you’d resent your wife building a better bond with your parents rather than you.

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  27. //puer aeternus//
    googling.

    //I also advise you against using the short-cut of decieving any woman who isn’t inclined that way. //
    Oh most definitely. I am at the other end of the spectrum. I believe there is no such thing as ‘too much truth’, even if all this may be overanalyses and even if it may be scary to hear for someone who doesn’t even know me .

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  28. Dear Scaredy Cat,
    You seem like a reasonable guy, idealistic and a little odd, but reasonable and fair. I don’t think you’re trying to expect your wife to obey and follow you and your parents word-to-word but just someone who gets along with the family. I get it and you do want the same for your in-laws too so much so that you think of all 6 of you liivng under the same roof as a possibility. Fair enough. From you email, here is what I gathered.

    1) You love your parents and you want your wife to love them the same way. May be not the ‘equal’ amount like others here are presuming but you atleast want her to get along without any major conflicts.
    2) You will love, support and respect your wife and her individuality and assume your parents will do the same to the new member of the family.
    3) You and your parents will make necessary adjustments to accomodate the new person into your family and make her feel welcome so that that any reasonable woman should would be feel at home in less or no time.
    4) The only reason a conflict can go out of hand and disturb the peace of the house is if your future wife doesn’t adjust to the dynamics of your family and you are afriad if there is any woman out there who can adjust to your family life. Again, you and your parents will always be entirely fair.
    5) You do not believe in gender stereotypes, so you want to take care of your wife’s family too. Maybe they can live with you or somewhere nearby.
    6) You respect your wife’s opinion in family /property matters as long as they are not in direct contractiction with your parents’ in which case, you want your parents’ opinion to prevail for whatver reason you believe in ( age, wisdom etc).

    All of the above don’t sound so bad, do they? Why would any woman not want to adjust with such a perfect family? If you were a woamn, you would have no probelmw ith this arrangment , will you? And I know you don’t like to bring up the gender issue and you think you will do the same things as you expect from your wife as you’re a fair man. So, do you think if a woman has the same fears such as you about her future spouse, are they justified?

    Is it okay for you (and maybe your parents too) to move to her parents house and live together happiliy ever after? Okay, may be having two sets of parents under one roof is too idealistic (we’ll get to that later), but can your future wife expect you to move with her into her parents home?

    Let’s say she cannot conceive not living under the same roof as her parents, let alone in a different city. What would you say to her? And if you do live with them, is it okay for her parents’ opinion take precedence over yours in matters related to your property, investments and most importantly your children?

    And may be your wife thinks her parents know the best and you both should compromise? Is it okay for them to treat her like a child and order her and not worry about politely asking favors, but just demand them? I’m not saying they’re going to be unreasonable but there’s bound to be difference of opinion between two generations, don’t you agree? Would you be still able to love them just like your wife loves them?

    Let’s say like you, your future wife wants to be fair to your parents and want to take care of them. She wants all of you to live with her parents. Will that be okay with your parents? If it is and each set of parents have differing opinions about a common issue, whose should prevail?. After all, they are all parents and have more wisdom, right? If you take one side, is it fair to the other side? What is the solution here? I bet you would agree that it’s better for so many people not to live under the same roof. It’s not fair for either set of parents to change their ways for the other.

    So, let’s take the case of wife/husband moving into their spouse’s home. ( Please notice that I’m trying to be gender nuetral). So, when a young new family member joins a new family unit, is is fair for the existing family unit to not consider his/her opinions just because he/she is new and young? Let’s he/she adjusts in the beginning, but a repetition of this might cause severe resentment against the entire family unit and he/she just wants to break free and just stay with her/his spouse alone. And the spouse might feel the same way after a while. This might be interpeted by the family unit as being headstrong/not adjusting/breaking a family etc. But it’s all pure common sense. That’s the reason why joint families are not surviving.

    When you’re joining two people in a marriage for a life long companionship, isn’t it the most sensible thing to do for the couple to get to know each other first and come to reasonable level of mutual understanding before they start adjusting to each others in-laws? What is wrong in a nuclear family, by the way, when the couple can support both their parents in their capacity and have them visit frequently? Wont the new couple need privacy to learn each other’s strengths, weaknesses, opinions and habits, learn what turns each other on, be goofy, funny, argue, makeup, hug, coddle, yell, fight, laugh, entertain people their age, party etc? How is it possible to do all this in a joint family? Or do you think it’s not important to expect privacy to interact with your spouse? Do you realize that if an adult cannot bear the separation from his/her parents, that means they still have a lot of growing up to do? Breaking free from the nest and creating your own identity is a a natural part of any living being’s existence and to resist it would only lead to a lot of resentment. Of course as wild child mentioned you might want to return to your nest at some point, but things cannot stay the same as before.

    My point with this whole thing is that you seem too idealistic in your hopes and haven’t weighed in the complexities of human realtions, especially with someone other than your own family member. If i may ask, how old are you and have you ever lived outside of your home, like in a hostel/dorm room, lived independently with a rommate etc? If so, you would have discovered that each person is different. Their habits, relationship with siblings/parents/friends, level of tidiness, privacy limits, tolerance to noice, intrusion, food habits, political/social opinions : everything is different. You’ll see that people manage to make good friends/roomates when they respect the differences and reach an optimum level of compromise from both sides. Still, you find that sometimes, people who had the best intentions in mind wanting to make good friends can find that things don’t work out with people they thought had something in common. Agreed that a family situation is different. But when getting to know and adjusting to another person until they both reach a common ground is such a complex process, isn’t it better to start with 2 people (the couple) first than to start with the entire family (4 or 6 people trying to adjust with atleast 3 new people)?

    Radhika

    Like

    • Thank You for your comment Radhika.
      First of all I feel bad for having written a loosely worded post that so many of you engaging with so carefully and responding to so comprehensively.

      The initial part of your comment is what I should have written when trying to explain myself. You did a much better job than I could have hoped to.

      //All of the above don’t sound so bad, do they?//
      Well if put that way they don’t🙂
      For a while I was beginning to think I had my head screwed the wrong way with all the ‘don’t even think of infecting the gene-pool, you freak’ type comments.

      //So, do you think if a woman has the same fears such as you about her future spouse, are they justified?//
      Perfectly justified.

      //And I know you don’t like to bring up the gender issue//
      And this is exactly why🙂
      You are making me confront the exact questions which I know I don’t have answers for. Where I come face to face with the limits of my ‘equity’.

      I can say I don’t personally have any bounds. But as long as it is true that I will not go about beyond to break the walls of convention, I should know the limits of what I can think of myself in this regard. Will elaborate below:

      //Is it okay for you (and maybe your parents too) to move to her parents house and live together happiliy ever after?//
      I am reasonably certain my parents will not be comfortable living in her parents’ house.

      Again, there are really no limits for the stuff my parents would do ‘for’ me. So if it comes to that, I am sure they’d be willing to. But that is exactly the point. I know they would rather not, so I would not want them to. I just want them to be as they are.

      So, given that, isn’t it reasonable for me to expect my wife’s parents to be equally uncomfortable staying in our house? Quite possible.

      My maternal grandparents live with us, for a few months a year. They are totally at home and all that, but still consider my maternal uncles’ home as their headquarters. So I understand the traditional reluctance. I will still do everything possible to ensure my PILs feel at home with me and my parents.

      //but can your future wife expect you to move with her into her parents home? //
      A girl has every right to expect that. But if it means living away from my parents, then it is a no-go. None of this adjacent streets/upstairs-downstairs business will work for me.

      //And if you do live with them, is it okay for her parents’ opinion take precedence over yours in matters related to your property, investments and most importantly your children? //
      You got me here.
      And all notions of equity vaporize and I seem to be well within a regular conservative framework, with all it attendant inequities. I challenge it only to the extent that I am willing to. When it gets uncomfortable I stop. For me, it is the prospect of living away from my parents. For the next guy it could be something I may consider despicably chauvinistic.

      //If it is and each set of parents have differing opinions about a common issue, whose should prevail?//
      Will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Hell, do I sound official.
      As I said earlier, it’s not like I am not decisive. Nor am I saying person X should prevail in all conditions, always no matter what.
      All I am saying is, I don’t like my parents’ current assumption that they would need to withdraw and ‘leave it to the kids, it is their life after-all’.

      My father often says in only half-jest, hear me out, before rejecting me. I just want him to keep doing that.

      //What is wrong in a nuclear family, by the way, when the couple can support both their parents in their capacity and have them visit frequently? //
      Nothing is right or wrong. It is what works for each individual. And it won’t work for me and my parents.

      // Of course as wild child mentioned you might want to return to your nest at some point, but things cannot stay the same as before. My point with this whole thing is that you seem too idealistic in your hope//
      Well, let’s just say this. I’ve been there, done that and a few years back returned to the ‘nest’. The ‘outside’ is great and all that but it always felt like a long vacation from which I will eventually need to get back home.

      //If i may ask, how old are you and have you ever lived outside of your home, like in a hostel/dorm room, lived independently with a rommate etc? If so, you would have discovered that each person is different. Their habits, relationship with siblings/parents/friends, level of tidiness, privacy limits, tolerance to noice, intrusion, food habits, political/social opinions : everything is different.//
      I’ve lived and worked away from home for years. And – believe it or not – I am a major evangelist for ‘studying and living away from home at a certain age’ to all my cousins,nephews. I am quite aware of the complexities of relationships you mention and the extent to which living away broadens the mind. My initial post sounds a tad simplistic I guess. I was just trying to be concise.

      //isn’t it better to start with 2 people (the couple) first than to start with the entire family (4 or 6 people trying to adjust with atleast 3 new people)?//
      There are new universal answers to this.
      But it worked like a breeze till the recent past right? What I am talking about was the norm. Now, since the notion of marrying an individual is much more stronger, the expectations are more along those lines.

      //Do you realize that if an adult cannot bear the separation from his/her parents, that means they still have a lot of growing up to do?// What about the parents who can’t bear? How grown-up are they?

      I expect to wake up and see this whole discussion to have taken a different turn because of this post.

      Like

      • “But it worked like a breeze till the recent past right?”, you ask.
        How do you know that? It it worked, it came at a price. The price of injustice to a certain section( caste, gender , class, race in western societies etc) of the society. As long as that certain section didn’t complain, things worked out smoothly. Most people who bemoan the loss of golden past do not realize that past was not always good and especially it was not fair. The past generation did not entertain the idea of equal treatment and everyone was expected to maintain the status quo. Women were supposed to adjust, no questions asked. Most women didn’t work. Not many adjustments were expected of men. And women in that generation were not even aware that they can question these practices and stand up and were blissfully ignorant. My grandmother, according to her own accord, has had a good life. She gave birth to 11 children, 8 survived. She spent 25 years of her life in child birth and infant care. My grandfather died even before I was born and as far as I’ve remembered, she kept jugging between 8 kids until the day she died. She was welcome everywhere, but that wasn’t the life I would want for myself. But that was the norm then. Again, I’m not saying everyone suffered a lot, but there was a lot of injustice going on even if they didn’t know it back then. You cannot apply the same norms these days. We change with times and to long for old times is to take a step back.

        As a society, we constantly try to evolve so all sections of the society can enjoy the same freedom as everyone. It’s hard for the already privileged sections to accept this change, but it will happen whether they like it or not. Can you honestly say that everyone enjoyed the same rights and freedoms in the past when everything was a breeze? Today’s families have realized that it’s hard to acheive that goal in a joint family and are slowly moving away from that. Not saying it happens in all cases, but that was the reason for the disintegration of joint families. Because you see, you cannot put a price on freedom. Discrimination is a terrible thing, no matter what section of society it effects. Be it the gender, caste, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability etc, it’s an awful thing to experience and sooner or later, that particular section will fight for their rights. And it’s not uncommon for the privileged sections to resist this and say “what more do they want?”. Slavery has also worked like a breeze in the past, but it was not fair to the African american community in USA. I’m not trying to equate joint families to the social evils, what I’m trying to say is just because it has worked in the past doesn’t mean it’s fair and justified to deny a certain section of a society the same rights as the other. You admitted that ” And all notions of equity vaporize and I seem to be well within a regular conservative framework, with all it attendant inequities. I challenge it only to the extent that I am willing to. When it gets uncomfortable I stop. “. You seem to be an advocate of equal rights and fairness, so I’m trying to get you to see my point that it might be more possible to achieve equality and fairness in a nuclear family than in a joint family.

        I’m just curious about one thing. What is your idea of marriage between two people? While families are important, let’s leave both set of parents out of equation for now. How do you plan to get to know your future wife? Dating? Prior courtship? Matrimonial sites? Aren’t you even a little bit interested in hanging out and romance your girl friend/fiancee/wife away from your house? If you don’t , that’s fine and I’m not judging. But I’m just saying it’s not very natural and you’ll have a hard time finding an independent woman who thinks of it as natural. Just like college/work, marriage is another phase of life you might want to experience on your own atleast for a while. and let me stress this point: There is nothing to feel guilty about this. Although I understand your desire to live with your parents, I guess I’m just baffled that you don’t even want to try this important life experience on your own independently atleast for a while. But to each his own, I guess. Considering your expectations, I think it won’t be a bad idea for you to date the woman, bring her to meet your parents and meeting her parents before even considering an engagement. Once she gets to know you and your parents, maybe she’ll be more inclined to understand and agree to your expectations.

        I do wish you find someone you’re looking for and understand your pov, and as far as I know there are still a few women who would settle for far less than what you’ve to offer. Good Luck.

        Like

        • //The price of injustice to a certain section( caste, gender , class, race in western societies etc) of the society.//

          Radhika, I think that is bit of an oversimplification if we were to look at it only from POV of gender alone (while I all the time acknowledge that the ‘raw deal women got’ is indeed the elephant in the room). The ‘price’ I am talking about (to use your terms of framing) is what the individual paid to the family.

          I am saying, till a generation back marriage was about extending and raising the existing family. And I contend it is, as much for men as it is for women. There may be men who may feel constrained by the family. Who will feel a complete satisfaction/ sense of accomplishment only when they ‘do’ something as individuals. Each to his own.

          As far as I am concerned, I will never understand ‘each person is responsible for their own happiness’ business. Relationships will have their pitfalls, they put us in an inescapably perpetual state of vulnerability. But that’s the only way there is.

          It’s a rather nuanced point. I am not saying it too well.

          //it might be more possible to achieve equality and fairness in a nuclear family than in a joint family. //
          I will not contest that.
          I can only make the most of the ray of sunshine in the way you have written the sentence – that does not say it is impossible in the former.

          But then that’s because I can only see myself be miserable in the latter arrangement. Or atleast, so I think today.

          //We change with times and to long for old times is to take a step back. // Yeah. But mine is the cliched pipe-dream. Can’t we keep the good parts than throw the whole thing out. I guess then we’ll be debating about my questionable definition of ‘good’

          //Aren’t you even a little bit interested in hanging out and romance your girl friend/fiancee/wife away from your house? //
          Yeah. I don’t see why I would need to live alone for that. The emotional negatives outweigh the positives from this. I’ll be sensible to worry that, that may colour how I start thinking about the marriage itself.

          //I do wish you find someone you’re looking for and understand your pov, and as far as I know there are still a few women who would settle for far less than what you’ve to offer. Good Luck.//
          Thank You. Now only the minor detail for finding the person is, remains🙂

          Thanks for your comments. Really appreciate the time and effort you have taken for this.

          Like

      • Umm….worked like a breeze in the recent past???

        We seem to be inhabiting two different worlds. Because in my world, it worked like a breeze for one half of the population AT THE COST OF the other half.

        If I could ask you to do me a favor, would you consider my situation and provide some advice:
        I’m tired of making my own meals, cleaning my own house, driving my own car. I know I can hire people to do all these things for me, but I don’t want to part with the money. I think this money-in-exchange-for-services is a new concept that people try to introduce into every relationship and every aspect of life. What I want is some people staying with me, doing all these things for me, and in return, I’ve give them food, shelter, and clothing. I know I COULD pay someone money for all this, but this is a linear combination of wanting to have my cake and eat it too, and “why fix what aint broke.”

        My principal fear is that these people might not want to serve my needs as badly as I do. Which again, is a very modern influence, because slavery worked like a breeze in the recent past, right?

        Like

        • Ah Wild Child, your words, they cut deep but they ring true.

          I think women of previous generations had no illusions about marriage, no expectations of love, empathy and intimacy.

          Perhaps that is why they could survive marriages that were so transactional in nature.

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        • Haha I see your point WC.
          But do you really think the analogy works?
          Mind you I am not merely talking about gender biased marriages.

          It is also about the choices of men with more exposure and opportunity. So I’d be hesitant to jump into casting this in a gender-bias/injustice framework alone. Useful as it, it does not adequately capture everything I am talking about.

          Again I see my poor choice of words (breeze) and the callous feel they suggest is a problem. Let me explain better. Let me pick an example of a guy

          My father went out of the way to ensure he wouldn’t get transferred a lot in his career (a real wonder in the govt. service) because my grandparents chose to stay with us and wouldn’t’ve been comfortable living in farthest parts of the country. They had already moved to slightly larger towns over their lives.

          Of all my uncles, my grandparents preferred to stay with us. I guess many here would call it ‘imposing’. Could they have been asked to stay elsewhere while my father took up some assignments, career-options elsewhere. Well yeah, but you know that’d not be the best.

          These tradeoffs happened without a thought. It was like it was a no-brainer. Sure, this is what matters most. Everything is secondary and can be worked around that.

          I gave you a male example just to give you an idea of that it is not just women who made sacrifices (I hate the word, nobody makes sacrifices. If someone does something, it is because they prefer it to all other alternatives. But I guess it is a reasonable shorthand for what I am trying to say. )

          That said, I would certainly not argue the demands on the women were more.

          For about a couple of years when I was in middle school, my father lived in another city to which he was transferred. My mother – who didn’t get a transfer-, my nonagenarian grandfather (her FIL) and me lived in another city. I can’t imagine a single person from my current friends’ circle who would do that today. I guess it was 12 years into their marriage and by that times bonds develop etc.

          That’s about all I am also saying. Nothing magical and day one of course. But eventually a capacity to see it that it is about the family and not principally about the individual.

          That’s what I meant to say: the family being numero one was simple and automatic, now it is not.

          btw, while on that, I think I should also clarify that I can’t imagine myself working in another city while my wife is in another. So I wouldn’t’ve done what my father did. But I guess the economic opportunities are lot more now than what he’d had.

          The reason I invoked that was to underline the universal notion of the commitment to the family. I am given to understanding that is an archaic expectation.

          Like

        • Scaredy Cat, I get your point. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because there are good things about the joint family that would work for some people (you, for example) and that the sacrifices of the individual for that ideal might pay off in terms of greater happiness for all.

          The problem with a statement like “it worked like a breeze in the past” is that it elides the extreme injustice to women that I would say was the backbone of these marriages. Even traditionalists agree. They are always saying “women are the heart of the family”, it is “the wife that keeps the family together” etc. when what they really mean is that it is the wife swallowing injustices and sacrificing endlessly to keep the family together (they see nothing wrong with this though, in fact, it is glorified). Yes, men too made sacrifices but they had more of a choice, their sacrifices were always on more favourable terms. And that’s why marriages are crumbling – because this old frame of marriage based on injustice is no longer acceptable to women, and increasingly not to men either, because they’d rather see their wives get a fair deal too. But the good news is that the new forms of marriage that are evolving are fairer and neither do they involve deserting one’s parents. Ideas such as caring for one’s wives parents are not old ones, they are new ones.

          And as someone pointed out, such an arrangement would involve your parents adjusting too. It just occurred to me is what you want is a scenario where your parents do not have to adjust at all. And you mentioned the idea of your wife’s parents also staying with you as an indication of your fairness. But you have to realise that your parents not adjusting at all – and adjusting does not mean bending over backwards – will not happen without injustice to someone else… your wife, your wife’s parents.

          To get back to “it worked like a breeze in the past”, it really is like saying slavery worked like a breeze in the past. For many women who bore the brunt of these marriages and to all of us, who still bear the brunt of patriarchy, it is as offensive as a racial slur. I’m always amazed at how easily we women swallow careless remarks about gender but are much more conscious about race. We are calling you out on this statement because we believe that carelessly making these statements and letting them slide propogates them.

          At the heart of it, the only reason you have a hope in hell of having your dream scenario come true whereby from what I gathered you continue to put your relationship with your parents first before that of your wife is because of patriarchy. Because there are still women out there who might think this is a normal thing to ask for.

          What you are proposing is like a business deal where you enter into a partnership with someone to start a business but your real loyalty is to your family firm. So you if the larger family firm demands it, you will keep funnelling resources (time money expertise etc.) out to the larger firm. Sure, the larger firm will prosper but at the cost of the smaller one, and I’d wager your partner would be pretty pissed. You might argue that your partner also benefits by working in the larger interest and gets a payout but I would say her payout would never be equal to yours. Because you have the satisfication of working with people you are close to, of repaying a debt to your parents etc. while she will have to put in much more effort and won’t really get that satisfaction anyway.

          Don’t you realise that your parents, if they are indeed stepping back in good faith, are doing so because they understand that even traditionally for a marriage to work the husband and wife have to have a strong bond. And this cannot happen if there is a third party playing a dominant role.

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        • exactly. Once this guy married for 10+ yrs had to spend larger parts of week in another city due to work, and he rented a flat there. We were telling him to keep a maid and he jokingly replied .. “I will get another wife…. no maid works with so much heart into it”. There you go.

          Like

      • //”All I am saying is, I don’t like my parents’ current assumption that they would need to withdraw and ‘leave it to the kids, it is their life after-all’.”//

        If the parents who said it meant it from their heart, all I can say is, that is one set of excellent parents totally wasted.

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      • //We are calling you out on this statement because we believe that carelessly making these statements and letting them slide propogates them. //
        Point Taken.
        I didn’t mean to make light of it. As I said in my earlier comment to which this was the response, I also meant to include the definition/expectation changing for men too.

        //like a business deal where you enter into a partnership with someone to start a business but your real loyalty is to your family firm//
        Will stop you right there.
        The very idea of the partnership is to ease the partner into the family firm.
        I am not comfortable engaging with the analogy any further. It is these kind of cold dissections that prompted me to write my first post.

        Like

        • “The very idea of the partnership is to ease the partner into the family firm.”

          Don’t know how to make my point without the analogy but I don’t think it’s possible for either you or your wife to be partners with your parents, particularly because you mentioned you don’t want your parents to adjust. If only one side is mostly adjusting, it’s not a partnership. But for a marriage to be successful and just it has to be a partnership, and a partnership between two people is easier to manage.

          Unsettling as they may be, I think “cold dissections” are useful in laying bare injustice and making sure everyone gets a fair deal and realistic goals are set. Marriage is at the heart of it a legal, economic and social contract. It’s not all la di da warm fuzzy feeling.

          When asked why you want to get married, you said it’s because you want children and a family. This seems like quite a clear goal to me. You are also quite clear and logical about your conditions. These are “dissections” too.

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        • Scaredy Cat,
          My views have been put forth quite eloquently by other commentators, so will not belabor the point that you seem to be somewhat unrealistic. You do seem to be fairly good-humored about the advice you are getting, so will ask you this : how is it that you, who seem fairly reasonable by the manner in which you write your replies, recognize the “unfairness” yet you don’t wish to challenge/change it ? As you say yourself :

          “And all notions of equity vaporize and I seem to be well within a regular conservative framework, with all it attendant inequities. I challenge it only to the extent that I am willing to. When it gets uncomfortable I stop. ”

          Is it every man for himself then ? And every woman ? And this might be too philosophical for this discussion, but where would we all be if we all thought turned a blind eye to inequity just because it suited us ? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t (it is your life), but am baffled as to how we are raising sons who seem to be so, so, so mindful of their parent’s welfare, but so ready to ignore inequity served to another, even if that other is the spouse ?

          Like

  29. Dear Mr. Cat,

    Going thru your email and one hundred comments and responses this is what I have gathered about you. My responses after each comment.
    1) You are an only child – Not your fault.
    2) You are extremely and unusually close to your parents –This happens too.
    3) You feel that you have a greater sense of duty towards them because of your single child status-Or you are a spoilt and completely dependent adult who fears leaving the nest because you may not be able to function as effectively alone or with an adult who is not your parent.
    4) You can never imagine not living under the same roof or same city as your parents live. – Did your mom/dad accompany you to school and sit next to you the entire time? Do you take them to work with you and have them sit with you while you work? This may seem silly, but if you went to school all by yourself and now go to work alone, then not living with them once you’re married is kind of like that, just on a bigger scale. But I would definitely discuss the above two points with a therapist.
    5) You overrule your parents’ decision all the time and they accept it happily, but it hurts you to think that your wife might do the same thing.
    6) Your parents overrule your decision you don’t say anything to them, but are upset because once your wife enters the picture this might become the norm.
    7) You dream of living with your parents, wife, in-laws under the same roof. – Wake up and find a better hobby than day dreaming.
    8) Your parents are being either very mature or very manipulative when they tell you as a matter of fact that things will change after you get married. If it is out of maturity respect them and give them some space. Many parents, especially those with an only child put their marriage on hold to just be parents, let them experience each other just as husband and wife. If they are being manipulative and want to try and sow seeds of discord in your marital life even before you are married, assure them that being married will and cannot change the love and respect you have for them.
    9) You ask whether your wife will love your parents, but never once ask what you can do to make her love your parents (I am not even going to get into how much and how deeply).
    10) Finally, I see that I can be difficult for you to find someone who thinks like you do on your own, so your best bet is an arranged marriage, but make sure that the girl and her parents know 100% about your ideas and plans for the future, cause if you don’t and they discover it later, the fairytale that you’ve imagined for yourself could end up becoming a horror story.

    Like

    • Loved your comment Desi Woman. Particularly these points.

      1. Do you take them to work with you and have them sit with you while you work? This may seem silly, but if you went to school all by yourself and now go to work alone, then not living with them once you’re married is kind of like that, just on a bigger scale.

      2. Your parents are being either very mature or very manipulative when they tell you as a matter of fact that things will change after you get married.

      Like

    • //3) You feel that you have a greater sense of duty towards them because of your single child status-Or you are a spoilt and completely dependent adult who fears leaving the nest because you may not be able to function as effectively alone or with an adult who is not your parent.//
      Why the OR, we could work out a ‘little bit of both’ and call it a deal.

      //5) You overrule your parents’ decision all the time and they accept it happily, but it hurts you to think that your wife might do the same thing.//
      Not actually. If they have the kind of relationship and ease, I couldn’t ask for more.
      What I worry is they will be circumspect and not put forth what they really feel because they will put what they assume is better for us.
      It is already taking a lot for me to get them to say what they truly feel about some issues.

      // so your best bet is an arranged marriage, but make sure that the girl and her parents know 100% about your ideas and plans for the future, cause if you don’t and they discover it later, the fairytale that you’ve imagined for yourself could end up becoming a horror story.//
      Thanks. I stand adviced. That’s the plan.

      Like

    • @Desi Woman, You have said it all.
      What this ‘kid’ is forgetting is that it might just be, there is that slender chance, that the parents want to have a life of their own too? Perhaps not have the son and bahu stick to them at all times? Wonder if this son has ever thought of that? No parent in this society is going to come right out and say it because it might be misconstrued as lack of affection for child/children. It is a society that believes (like a commentator said in a previous post by IHM) that men and women after 40 don’t have any real life left. This son too believes that he has to chipko-fy to his parents. BUT do they want that? Has he given any thought to the fact that they might want some freedom and privacy for themselves? I bet not.

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    • Very good points, Desi Girl. I have an only daughter and now I am hoping that she shouldn’t turn out like Scaredy Cat and think about bringing her husband and his parents to my house😦 This thought turns me into a scaredy cat.

      Like

      • @STF, I know just what you mean. Imagine if my sons started thinking like this letter writer! Just the thought makes me feel faint. Children who want to stop time and be a kids forever even while the parents’ age. It is a nightmare.

        Like

  30. Just a couple of things ..most commentators have given excellent thoughts on love and on being upfront with the girl before marriage….i mean make sure she clearly understands what you expect [about everything] and also ask her what is her PoV. Because sometimes people don’t listen and misconstrue.
    And i totally understand your relationship with your parents’..though most ppl have called you ‘kid’ and immature’. I get it.. though i’m ‘good daughter’ not son. I like that i can talk casually with parents and so can they. I’d hate it to if they would have to think twice about asking me and if they’d go all formal and say please, accomodate my time all the time.And my fear is finding the guy in this indian social set up, to just let me do for my parent and be just polite and not question me about why i take care of my father. i don’t have a brother….and my sisters are busy in their own lives and don’t bother about my parents . I recently lost my Mom and well..its only me who primarily takes care of my Dad.
    Thirdly, your parents are good judge..let them evolve and change your equation with your parents as and when time and situation demands.Don’t expect your wife to love your parents but do expect her to be polite and respectful.

    I have read 4-5 posts on IHM however its trending here on IHM [from the various comments] about having fragmented life with one’s own parents, setting limits and other blah blah…as if children are not as dysfunctional as the parents! Most parents only want children’s happiness and usually they put their entire lives on hold for their children. Its no fun having a formal relationship one’s own parents ! So be absolutely clear to the girl, no mincing words but keep expectations really low and focus on developing a solid relationship with her too.

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    • Zahra, I am a parent. I will not put my entire life on hold for my children and will not expect them to put their entire lives on hold for me. I do want only my children’s happiness but I have the humility to know that my good intentions might not always translate to the best advice for them.

      A lot of us have very close relationships with our parents and most of us would love our partners and parents to love and get along with each other. Just that it’s best to be realistic about how close this relationship between people who are not parent and child can be.

      Like

        • Yes, but did children ask to be born? As parents, we have children because we want them and we do what we feel is necessary to help them lead happy lives. But just because due to circumstances we have to make sacrifices for them, we cannot expect them to put their entire lives on hold for us. My problem is with “entire” lives actually.

          Like

        • Zahra, anecdote is not the plural of data.

          We cannot assume that some practice/living arrangement is universal just because we see it all around us.

          We need to have a Plan B for our family life, on the off-chance that our spouse and parents don’t exactly hit it off.

          Its great if they do, but what if they don’t?

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    • //I’d hate it to if they would have to think twice about asking me// Exactly!
      //Most parents only want children’s happiness and usually they put their entire lives on hold for their children.// Exactly exactly!
      //Its no fun having a formal relationship one’s own parents !// Exactly exactly exactly!
      //So be absolutely clear to the girl, no mincing words but keep expectations really low and focus on developing a solid relationship with her too.// Yep. Thanks for your comments

      Like

      • Scaredy cat & Zahra,
        when you realise that your parents ‘put their entire lives on hold’ for the happiness of you, how do you feel? to me it is very very selfish of the children to sit back, enjoy and do nothing about. Please don’t let your dear parents put their lives on hold for your happiness. And you think you love them? You just love yourself… that’s all.
        Read the post and nearly 200 comments… But this part really really hurt.

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        • //to me it is very very selfish of the children to sit back, enjoy and do nothing about. //You are making assumptions here.

          For most parents it is absolutely natural that the child dominates their lives completely. The child can do something about it, if at all, only much much later. The child can grow up and try and counteract it in whatever way possible.

          For my parents these are other relationships, other interests; which I constantly push them towards. But at the end of the day there is no denying the fact that my highs and lows dominate their thought process.

          Like

    • @Zahra, What gives you the impression that children who are ‘grown up’ have formal relationship with parents? I have two grown up sons, quite mature beings. We have the most casual relationship. It is NOT like you describe at all. We don’t have to think before we talk to them neither do they have to. And that is what I see among many other parents and children.
      But any grown up child who wants to remain a kid has a problem they should well address soon.

      Like

      • Apparently,

        Respecting limits = Formal/No Fun

        Taking people for granted just because they’re family = Perfectly fine.

        You learn something new every day here in Des.

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        • Apparently,
          You think like that. Nowhere in my comment have i presented this equation or even pointed towards it.
          @ shail,PT and shy
          What made you think i equate taking them for granted to loving them ? I mean, I don’t run to them with every little problem of my life, or mooch off them. And neither do they. There are limits both ways only difference we don’t use those limits to lessen our burdens as per our convenience.
          @ shail
          What gave you the impression that just because i think differently about parent child relationship it automatically makes me less grown up ? i thought being an adult entails taking responsibility and learning to think openly and independently ,make your own decisions and earn your money.Most importantly maturity at handling relationships.
          @shy
          You have got it all wrong. My parents did whatever they thought was right at that time when i was a kid. That’s done. How does that make
          me selfish ? i think maybe you have not even read what the writer of this post has said.

          Like

        • @the Bride
          Your last reply is misleading. i said parents keeping their lives on hold for their kids…right or wrong it was their decision, …….my parents have never asked me to keep my life on hold for them because they made sacrifices for me and my sisters !
          My parents are educated and self sufficient , i just choose to take care
          of them… all the time respecting their limits.
          I think people are assuming more than what is actually written in comments and therefore this confusion.

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        • Nowhere in my comment have i presented this equation or even pointed towards it.

          Is that right? May I quote from your own comment?

          I’d hate it to if they would have to think twice about asking me and if they’d go all formal

          There are some things you must think twice about asking. That is called respecting a person’s limits. Even in informal relationships, it is important.

          If you do not think twice about asking anything from a person, you are taking them for granted. This applies to parents too.

          Like

        • Zahra, I thought you meant because your parents put their entire lives on hold for you, you should do the same. Few of us would disagree with loving and continuing to care for your parents as an adult and after marriage. You’d also find many guys who are supportive of this, just as Scaredy Cat would find more than many women who agree with his need to care for his parents. But many spouses would have a problem if you always put your parents and their needs first. Occasionally would be acceptable – like if my parents were seriously ill, I would leave my husband and even my babies and go to India to care for them. But it’s a problem if you ALWAYS put your parent first and then also expect your spouse to do the same. That seems to be what Scaredy Cat wants and you seemed to be agreeing.

          In your clarification you mentioned that your parents made sacrifices when you were a kid. Well, we all do that as parents. That is what you buy into when you have a child. We know that when we have children, our life changes. For three months I was on such a strict diet because my baby could be allergic to something in my milk. At one point, I was eating nothing but boiled rice and ginger. I know that my body was probably leaching calcium from my bones and I will pay for this later. Do I expect my baby to be grateful. Hell no! I made these choices to give my baby the best start in life, and all I want is for my babies to be strong, healthy and have a happy life (and that happy life will mean leaving me someday). And everytime my babies smile or crawl or do some completely normal thing, every sacrifice is worth it (doesn’t make them less hard though). If there was a debt to be repaid, my babies repaid the very day the sacrifices were made just by existing and being them,.

          Your parents sound like they want the same for you. So don’t feel guilty about all that. Love and care for your parents because you love them that’s all. Not because they sacrificed for you in the past. If your parents are the lovely people they seem to be, I’m sure those sacrifices don’t even occur to them.

          Like

      • @Zahra,
        “And i totally understand your relationship with your parents’..though most ppl have called you ‘kid’ and immature’. I get it.. though i’m ‘good daughter’ not son. I like that i can talk casually with parents and so can they. I’d hate it to if they would have to think twice about asking me and if they’d go all formal and say please, accomodate my time all the time”

        This above is what gave me the impression. Those children who want to be treated like adults by parents (and vice versa) ALSO have a very casual and GOOD relationship with each other, not formal.

        Like

        • @PT
          That’s a different line of thinking. I am afraid i never thought about taking for granted and limits that way.For me respecting limits means accepting the ‘NO’ gracefully in all relationships. And i expect the same. i don’t think twice in asking my parents, if they say no …its a ‘no’ !. And they do the same when i say ‘No’. For more difficult situations, we just discuss and try to reach a compromise.

          Like

    • Zahra…I can see that you don’t like formalities.
      What I am confused about is this:

      //My parents are educated and self sufficient , i just choose to take care
      of them… all the time respecting their limits.//

      I am curious how how respect their limits? Won’t this respect make your relation formal?

      Like

      • How will it make it formal ? My interactions with them are casual and informal even when i know my limits and act accordingly.

        @ The bride
        Ok… i get your PoV . I don’t do anything out of guilt… ..just out of responsibility,love and because they need that kind of help in their old age.Actually, the fact for me is- i don’t think anyone in this world will love me unconditionally as my parents have.

        @IHM
        My couple of responses showed ‘ waiting for comment approval’ and have not appeared ..just curious…

        Like

  31. Oh My. I am done reading the post, and was only half way through the comments when I thought it would be better if I gave my point of view out here before the variety of opinions impact my own.

    So, yes. I have to give one thing to you. Atleast you know what you want. I have always found that to be the biggest issue, when someone goes out and out to say one thing, and somewhere in the back of his head he has this huge load of expectations which he hopes will be telepathically transferred to his companion, and when that doesn’t happen, he’s disappointed.

    That being said, one has to be realistic. Love, is something that develops over time. You need to know someone, spend time with them to actually grow to love them. So when you say, that your worry is that your wife might not love your parents as much as you do, it’s true. She might not. It is difficult you know, to just ‘love’ someone because they are so important to that one person you have decided to spend your life with. Respect, yes. Politeness yes. Even affection perhaps. But love, according to me, is too strong a word. So, no, she might be be supportive and courteous, but because of her love to you, perhaps.

    Also, I am not saying it’s her ‘duty’ to be polite, or helpful, or courteous here, this, just like others is a relationship too, and like all other relationships, its a two-way road. Will your parents ‘love’ her as much as they ‘love’ you? The whole point you mentioned about wanting to be a ‘kid’ always, again, while you say you want to be ordered around and taken for granted, is a two way thing again, you also have the liberty to say whatever you want to your parents, but one has to mind their words and tone with their in-laws, who they have just come to know, unlike how free you can be with your parents. Which is why expecting your wife to have the same kind of relationship with your parents is a slightly exaggerated thought, even if your parents are the most accommodating/understanding/loving people ever.

    It is good that you also understand that while you share such a close relationship with your parents, she might want such a relationship too. All of you living under the same roof, I am not sure how practical it is, especially for the parents who might want their own lives.

    In short, it is ok, I feel to expect your spouse to have a happy, cordial, affectionate relationship with your family, provided you have the same set of rules/expectations from them towards her as well. Because whatever you say, she’s here because she married you. And if after listening to all that you want of her, if she’s gone ahead and said yes, it is only fair that you ensure that she has every bit of happiness herself, which is not in the least hindered by the others who matter so much to you.

    Like

    • //And if after listening to all that you want of her, if she’s gone ahead and said yes, it is only fair that you ensure that she has every bit of happiness herself, which is not in the least hindered by the others who matter so much to you.//
      Thank You for the comment.

      Like

  32. I just wrote a looooong comment, and I think it’s lost!😦 I am not sure if it is under moderation either!😦 IHM, can you see it?

    Me – Published🙂 I was away for a while, hence the delay.

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  33. Mr Cat, I’ve been following the discussion with great interest but have hesitated in jumping in with both feet because you do not come across as the typical patriarchal jerk that we debate about on IHM’s blog. I figured, like many others have said before, you’ve the right to live as you want so I certainly don’t want to come outright and condemn you just because I personally might wither away and suffocate in a situation such as the one described by you. It sounds at best utopian or at worst delusional – but hey, thats what you want and we’re all big on getting things to work out the way owe wants. And then you said this –

    //None of this adjacent streets/upstairs-downstairs business will work for me//

    Not even upstairs downstairs? Can i ask for a min of 2 really concrete reasons why you absolutely refuse to consider even a separate floor from your parents (something more detailed than i-never-want-my-relationship-with-my-parents-to-change).

    No judgement, I promise – I’m just trying to understand a world view so diametrically opposite to mine.

    Like

    • //Can i ask for a min of 2 really concrete reasons why you absolutely refuse to consider even a separate floor from your parents //
      Well I can’t conceive of that.
      I don’t think they live their lives, I live mine. It is the same. We occupy each others thoughts a lot. There are tonnes of surrogate activities that they could do without me and me without them, but I know that is nowhere near the level of fulfillment and satisfaction we get in being in each others’ lives.

      I know others have suggested I am unwilling to consider the possibility that my parents have a life of their own. If it makes it easier for you folks to close the file that way, fine. Just that I know for a fact that that is SO not the case.

      As vain as it may sound, I know that my slightest joys are likely to be more fulfilling to them than anything they have done by themselves all day.

      Like

      • “I know that my slightest joys are likely to be more fulfilling to them than anything they have done by themselves all day.”

        I doubt if they’re the ones looking for ways to ensure it stays the same. No, that’s YOU. You are the one who enjoys it. YOU like how their lives and identities have been reduced to this. And instead of spending your time and efforts trying to help them find fulfillment in their own lives, you’re looking for an insurance plan because God forbid little Scaredy Cat gets an iota less of attention from them than it’s used to.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am sorry…but this is just so bizarre. You seem to have no consideration for your parents’ romantic/comradely/sexual life and its privacy FROM you, either!

        Like

        • //YOU like how their lives and identities have been reduced to this. //
          There is no way to make you believe otherwise as you seem to have already made your conclusion.
          I can only say I don’t like it.
          Anything I say is going to be interpreted as my vanity speaking. But I don’t think I can help saying it the way it is: I am the glue in their marriage. (discount a few notches for exaggeration and bear in mind the old reminder that there are no absolutes…only relative truths).

          They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me. It takes me some effort to even say such things. I cringe as I type. I’ll be too embarrassed to say such things to friends, when discussing such topics.

          //And instead of spending your time and efforts trying to help them find fulfillment in their own lives,//
          Not for lack of trying, my friend.

          // you’re looking for an insurance plan because God forbid little Scaredy Cat gets an iota less of attention from them than it’s used to.//
          I read it a few times, I didn’t understand. I just read it as this whole ’emotional dependence’ thing is a devious ploy of my fertile imagination.

          You can say ‘they possibly have a good and fulfilling relationship and I am unwilling to admit’ it. I’ll be quite happy if that were true but I know for sure that’s not the case. What else can I say?

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        • // You seem to have no consideration for your parents’ romantic/comradely/sexual life and its privacy FROM you, either!// Unfortunate that I seem so to you.
          I have nothing else to say in response.

          Like

      • //I know that my slightest joys are likely to be more fulfilling to them than anything they have done by themselves all day.//
        I guess now i know :S

        Like

      • I’ve got to tell you, for someone who appears to be pretty articulate, it takes a lot of back and forth for you to say exactly what you mean!

        I get it. I’m the glue in my parents’ marriage, too. This isn’t something to cringe at or be embarrassed about — the marriage is between the two of them, and it is what THEY chose to make of it. I also get that you’ve tried and it hasn’t helped because they’re not up for trying new things at their age.

        However, the way I look at it, this is a “problem” and it needs to be “fixed.”

        What that means is that ANOTHER couple shouldn’t have to make their marriage and their lives revolve around maintaining the status quo here. If you’d like this situation to change, BRING ABOUT that change. Step out of their equation and let them figure out their own equation as a couple. They’re adults, and they’re capable of learning (I know, even with my parents that doesn’t SEEM like it but they are).

        I get that it’s important to you that they live happy and fulfilling lives, but you don’t HAVE TO BE the sole provider of all that happiness and fulfillment. If they find their marriage to be not fulfilling enough – as any one relationships of several decades seldom is – they’ll have to look outside to make friends, get new hobbies, do community service….whatever it takes. And if they do none of this, it’s still their choice. In that case, they’re choosing not to find more fulfillment in their lives or their marriage. Let them be. They’ll find their way into a state of being that makes them happy. You’ll have to let them get there on their own.

        Believe me if you can, my own parents were the same way but my move abroad did wonders. Now my mom has become an avid reader, started working again, my dad’s become a social butterfly (!) with a huge friends circle. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t quick, but it did happen. And I didn’t have to shortchange myself of a marriage to make it happen. My own relationship with them is the best it’s ever been, because now it’s only about love and not about codependence any more.

        Your fear that your future spouse won’t care as much about this as you do is like your fear of the sun rising each morning. Of course she won’t. She shouldn’t HAVE TO. How is this HER problem? She wasn’t born into or raised by this family; why would she be ready to make it the point of her existence? Any caring, empathetic person will tend to the elderly but love-shove🙂 is asking for a lot, really.

        To your question, therapy won’t solve any problems. It will help you understand your own behavior and motivations better. I didn’t get to this ‘zen’ state about my parents’ marriage on my own. I didn’t go to a therapist either, but I read some books recommended by a therapist friend and did the ‘therapy’ by myself! I asked myself the tough questions, worked through the answers, and realized what the problems actually were. In your situation for instance, nobody can tell you how much of the ‘marriage’ between you and your parents is your need and how much of it is theirs. But you could get to a point where you can identify what the needs really are, and figure out other ways that they can be met. Good luck!

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  34. Pity for people who come here and post their lives stupidest hardships (as they mention)..adjusting with your in-laws is such a demeaning word, but the moment your sibling gets married, the first thing the likes of each of you do is expect the same out of her…pls adjust! either we dont understand the word adjust! adjust is not giving up yourself, but adjusting means adding space for others in your life. Things might not be peaceful initially, but with time and effort! yes repeatedly i use the word EFFORT, you only improve your situation…no relation…no relation sustains unless each puts in some effort. So what’s the harm? a DIL doesnt feel like talking to in-laws about her feelings but can make public display of her frustration. will that help? maybe for 15-20 mins but back when she faces the same people, how would she help herself. a son is in a dilemma whether the women he brings in will let him be a good and faithful son to his parents? whats the harm? who would not want to be loved? yes had people written for their rights that yes girls should be allowed to love their parents equally, i appreciated, yes in India women are not allowed much to attach with their mayka but to revenge it doesnt mean we take boys off their parents…why not think of a solution where everyone stays happy…not as mr cat say under one roof!

    some said its bolly stuff, some say its tv soaps, some say its paranoid, some says it patriarchial, what if i say most of you are badly influenced from west…its good to be insppired for a woman’s role, but dont derogate the whole family system that makes many like me proud. If by now you dont know the meaning of family, go and meet the kids out there on the roads and in the orphanages. They will give u a better understanding of the word family!

    Like

    • some said its bolly stuff, some say its tv soaps, some say its paranoid, some says it patriarchial, what if i say most of you are badly influenced from west…its good to be insppired for a woman’s role, but dont derogate the whole family system that makes many like me proud.

      Yes, anon, you’re right, I’m very badly influenced from west. My lost Indian-ness can never be recovered. Oh, the shame.

      Like

      • Yes, PT. Alas, we are all hopelessly corrupted by “paschimi sabhyata”. In fact, our passports should be taken away from us and we should be sent packing to the big, bad West (if they’ll have us)🙂

        Like

    • Another one of these chest thumping culture worshipers.. To twist a Samuel Johnson quote: ‘Culture is the last refuge of the Indian chauvinist’.😉

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      • Like I was telling one of my colleagues today who is feeling pressure to marry a girl he doesn’t like….
        Culture is all very good… but lets not forget common sense…!!

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    • Oh right, The west! How can we forget the BIG BAD West?? Lol. But people like to use ALL the stuff the BIG BAD WEST makes, even the internet😛

      Please wake up. If time and finances permit, make a trip to the West and SEE for yourself. Family means the same EVERYWHERE.

      Like

    • And what exactly do you even know about family dynamics in the west? Do you have any idea of the closeness of Western families, in spite (because) of the space they give to each other?

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    • @Anon
      You are concerned of family… breaking down as a unit that it stood before but the fact is description of ‘family’ has to be changed now even in Indian context. Things have changed whatever the influences that may be !

      Like

  35. I won’t be original saying that the guy is definitely not ready for marriage.

    But where he really loses the point completely is in the way he expects his wife to love his parents “the same way” as he does.

    She can love them deeply and dearly but it will NEVER EVER be the same love like to her own parents.

    Wishful thinking!

    Like

  36. Seriously reading this person’s mail makes me think that no woman should ever think of marrying an Indian guy. They might vary in their thoughts slightly from the cat, but will have the same thought on a sub-conscious level.

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    • //no woman should ever think of marrying an Indian guy.//
      Whoa! What have I done? I seem to have ruined it for all Indian guys out there.

      Like

      • You have not ruined anythign, you are just one brave one who has managed to blurt out your fears. Its sad to say this, but you guys are hopeless. Please dont take it personally.

        Like

        • 🙂 ..actually I don’t know if I should smile.. but the fact is- indeed most guys out there are really really hopeless..
          .. and I also think that lots of the girls out there are hopeless too in the sense that despite knowing all this at different level they jump into it, maybe in want of better option or courage to have a different option, and worst till perpetrate the same thing when they become mothers/inlaws..etc.

          Like

  37. Scaredy Cat,
    Your principal fear is about to come true very soon. Your wife will never love your parents as much as you do and it might work for you if you snap out of this notion asap. Your parents changed your diapers. They know you ever since you were born. The relationship between your parents and your wife will start when she is an adult. There is a huge emotional and mental difference which is not humanly possible to overcome.
    The problem will start once you get married and look expectedly at your wife everytime you “think” she should have done what “you” would have done in her place to appease your parents in a situation. You will start with polite getures to make her understand. Soon irritaion and frustration will take over, straining your relationship. You will try very hard for her to be “you” which again is not humanly possible.
    Make sure you tell all of this to the woman whom you marry.
    p.s. A wife never likes her husband to be ordered around and behave like a kid. This irritates the hell out of a woman.

    Like

    • Hi Amit,

      I honestly could not have put it better myself. I wish there were more guys like you out there. If I had a nickel for everytime I have been subjected to the ‘My parents are now your parents..You should magically forget the people you spent most of your life with…’ sermon I would have a gazillion dollars…Thank you for your comment!..

      Like

  38. if you want to be treated like a kid, then you have no business getting married. Marriage is for adults. Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to realize that and get married anyway.

    And yes, please share your opinions with the person you get married to (not just her parents, whom you say you think more about than the woman you intend to get married to), and hope that you find someone who feels like you do so you can both be happy living for your parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Dear Scaredy Cat,

    Real life example always help. My brother and I are extremely close to my parents. Especially my brother who has this special bond with my mother and they both were like friends. When my brother decided to get married – because he was not in love he decided to give arranged marriage a try.

    He was very clear that he wanted our parents to live with him when he got married, he wanted his wife to love and respect his parents just like he would do the same for hers. Infact we mentioned this on his marriage profile. We never thought we were doing anything wrong in getting a girl in a family where the parents stay with them.

    We finally found a lovely girl. My brother was upfront with her and her family and told them he wishes for his parents to always live with him. Her parents readily agreed telling us how they had a joint family and how their daughter was used to living in a set up with parents. They courted for 6 months and every time my brother asked her if she was ok with the set up she said yes she was and she could not wait to start her life with her new parents.

    Immediately after the wedding her behavior changed she would fight with my parents and brother for no reason and lock herself in her room for hours and then come out and ask for forgiveness because she didn’t know why she was angry. Once her mother subtly told us that she was upset because she had to live with the family. My mother confronted her and asked her why didn’t she say she was not comfortable the 6 months of courtship – she bluntly told my mother She did not want to stay in a joint family but she agreed because my brother was a good match and her parents told her to. She told my mother very clearly that my mother was not her mother and never to expect her to treat her like one.

    My mother was heartbroken and shocked, my brother disappointed and everyone was bitter Eventually my parents moved out to avoid any further issues but on hind sight we think it was a mistake on our part to expect any girl to live with her in laws. It broke our family apart making my poor brother choose between his parents and wife. We now look at her with distrust and I am sure she does the same.

    As you say your parents are cool and they will love your wife like a daughter, my parents were the same. My mother even now does more for my SIL then she has done for me. But I admit there are times when my mom gets upset with something she says , when she wouldn’t be with me if I did the same thing. It is just different.

    There are also expectations from the DIL which increase 3 fold if they live together.

    So my friend it is noble on your part to expect the love you have for your parents from your wife but the reality is it will never happen. The best thing is move out after marriage, work on that first. You know your parents since you were born but your wife does not. She will marry you, she first needs to know the man she married.

    Also living with the in laws puts a lot of pressure every word every action gets analyzed at both ends. The only way to deal with this is to live your life with your spouse and make your parents a pleasant part of your life not the center. The whole reason why one gets married is to start their own family, not start their family with the parents. Believe me we have been there and speaking from experience.

    Like

    • The DIL sounds a lot like me.
      I had no apprehensions living with my in-laws, but after I started living with them it was very difficult because I felt so many restrictions to live my life. I did not like the entire scenario where their approval was required for everything I did or we did as a couple. I could not go visit my parents without their approval, or buy something new without telling them, I could not visit my friends anymore, they had to know how I spent my money.
      I am a late raiser, and in the new house I was supposed to get up at 4am even on weekends! I had to eat what they decided. Had no freedom even to arrange things like I wanted. Nothing should be moved, not even furniture or items on the kitchen counter. We had to come back home at the time they decided. I had to visit temples and functions when my interests were just curling up in bed reading a book or watch my favorite program on TV. I had to remember to buy something for my MIL and SIL each time my husband bought me something. I did not realize it in the beginning, later on would get frustrated and being unable/even scared to react would go into the bed room. Most of the time I would be sad but they only thought I was angry and disrespectful. My husband an otherwise caring person would just agree to do everything they wanted, in fact he tried harder to be a better son after marriage. He expected me to meet their expectations and over a period of time I got even more frustrated living in the same house. I still live with them because I have no other go! My husband will not move out and I hate to be the one to ‘break’ his family like you mention. Nobody is happy with me and I am not happy with the entire situation.

      Like

      • I was in a marriage like that, but unlike you, I left and have never regretted it.

        I cannot stand spineless men, and the thought of spending a lifetime “adjusting” for a man who couldn’t see beyond his mother and sister helped make it an easy decision.

        He wasn’t worth it, and pardon me for saying so; neither apparently, is your husband.😦

        Like

      • And mind you all this was done lovingly in very sweet loving words like ‘we love you’, ‘we are concerned about you’, ‘you are our daughter’ , ‘we want you to be happy’, ‘we are old, will die today or tomorrow, you both have to live happily’ — these get repeated again and again and I am forced to listen to them and do as they please and when I react again they say ‘we love her so much that is why we tell her but she does not want to feel part of the family’ ….God, I am stuck with noone to understand, I have lost all my freedom and still get blamed for not being good enough for the family only because I hate all the control over our daily lives😦

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        • Oh my. This is exactly what I want to avoid. I would like to go out of the way to make it abundantly clear how I think things will pan out.

          btw I’d prefix a NOT somewhere in the handle you’ve chosen for this comment🙂

          Like

        • @Scaredy cat
          //This is exactly what I want to avoid. I would like to go out of the way to make it abundantly clear how I think things will pan out.//

          If you want to really avoid all this, please change your thinking, and expect nothing from your future wife. Do not make your parents and her parents as the central point in this marriage. You are getting married to each other and you have to only accommodate the families that you have extended. Just like you have your fears, she will have her own fears of how you will be with her parents.

          Live with your parents, but probably upstairs, give some space and time to grow as a couple first, if possible work for a couple of years in some other city or country, you both need to adjust and understand each other, everything else, everyone else comes next. Your parents have each other, they are happy with it. Now it is time for you to build the same kind of life long relationship with your own wife. You are not sidelining your parents just because you want to concentrate on each other.

          It is OK to have these fears, but it becomes a big deal if you stress upon it a lot more than necessary.

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        • Another Scaredy Cat’s Girl.

          Your husband and in-laws are manipulating you. They’re using a carrot-and-stick approach with you and will not stop until they finally break your spirit.

          Going by what you’ve written, it appears that you realise that you’re being taken for a ride here, but are unwilling to do anything about it.

          I urge you to start setting boundaries with your husband and in-laws.

          You’ll spend a lifetime pleasing others, think if this is what you truly want.

          NOONE can disrespect you without your permission.

          When you are old and grey, do you want to be just another embittered woman?

          We have millions of those in our country, and what good has it done to them?

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        • I live in the us and my husbands parents came to visit us. We were doing just fine till then. Then came the “she’s not talking enough, ( I’m quiet by nature, get more quiet when I sense people don’t like me) she doesn’t do this ( i did everything, short of serving them – and that too in the us- laundry, dishes, jhaddo poocha- no maids here) and this and all that. ” and then my husband takes me and the kids out on a drive and says I will give you a divorce if you don’t talk more to my parents…

          so there you go.
          anything can be a breaking point. your parents may not approve of her eating style and you’ll take her out for a divorce then.
          Just don’t get married for the wrong reasons

          Like

    • Thank You Bhavna. What you described is my worst nightmare.
      But I don’t think it will be as pressurizing because I know my parents and I will go out of the way to make her feel comfortable. But then, I am not the right person to comment on this.

      As I said, love takes looooong time to develop. So, god forbid, if I am confronted with an either-or choice like brother faced, even before I have developed a strong marital bond, then it is anyone’s guess what I’d choose.

      And what I worry is, my parents would think it is in my best interest to do exactly that and encourage me to be ‘realistic’ when I know it would devastate them. With every withdrawal of theirs I see they are inching towards making a ‘your life and future is more important’ type justification in the future, were such a scenario to arise.

      I am basically trying my best to ensure they don’t start thinking that that’s an acceptable solution.

      Like

      • Another scardey cat/ biwo

        In our house the case was different. My sil can do what she wants to do no questions asked.

        Sleep late, go to her parents place . The first few months of her wedding my Sils mom was unwell, as my brother was away at work for a few months my mom encouraged her to Stay with her parents as they needed her and my mom understood as a newly wed she would be uncomfortable living with in in laws Alone.

        The point is every woman Marries a
        Man but in India the entire family gets married to her.

        I am sure it is not easy for a woman to leave her family and come and start a life with a new family and expect to love them and support them.

        We put too much pressure on the bride to behave in a certain way and if she doesn’t she is labelled a bitch.

        As I said earlier in hindsight it was a huge mistake in making my parents stay with them. No matter how good our intentions were the fact of the matter is every one had expectations and too much planning and over thinking screws things up.

        So really SC take things as they come. Let your wife fall in love with you first, know u and understand you. Don’t expect anything else in return if you get what you want great, if you don’t take it with a pinch of salt.

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        • Hi Bhavna, I did not intend to compare your family to that of my ex, my apologies if I did that.🙂

          My brother’s wife also keeps us at arm’s length, and had I not undergone what I did in my own marriage, I would have been extremely judgemental about her.

          Now I understand that she is entitled to make her own choices w.r.t to us, even though it may hurt my parents a little.

          She married my brother, not all of us. I get that.🙂

          Like

  40. Having gone through the comments and the guy’s response to it, what I find perplexing is that the guy seems quite reasonable and witty and likeable enough, but on the other hand… is, well, annoying… with his refusal to grow up.

    And the thing is… I think he knows exactly how immature he is being… but is cool about that.
    Yup. Annoying.

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    • He is exactly like the guy I married, great fun, understanding, loving husband whose expectations and behavior changes dramatically in the presence of his parents.

      Annoying, yes. Suffocating, hell ya!

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    • Which is why I suspect that he is baiting us, taking perverse pleasure in our flabbergasted, tchtching responses.🙂

      It just doesn’t add up. He’s obviously, quite level-headed and self-aware, but also cycnical and afraid of change.

      Quite a perplexing combination of personality traits (scratching my head now).

      Like

        • Thanks.
          Tried reading the first link, I couldn’t even get midway. Can’t take so much bluntness.

          Like

      • Indeed. What is on display here is conservatism in its purest form. Breathtakingly, implausibly pure conservatism.

        It doesn’t add up for me either. Absolutely not.

        Something is definitely missing here.

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      • //taking perverse pleasure in our flabbergasted//
        Not at all.
        Atleast for to be fair to all those folks who have taken time and effort to engage with my points and respond, I have to clarify again and again, that I am quite serious.

        I find it perplexing that so many of you find my situ. so incredible that u would rather believe I am bluffing.

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        • SC, I certainly did not intend to question your motives or honesty, I’m sorry if I sounded that way.

          I was merely trying to understand where you’re coming from. See things from your perspective.

          I did not succeed fully, but I do applaud your honesty and your refusal to be cowed down by all the negative commentary you received and your patient attempts to explain your take on things nevertheless.

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    • Annoying…exactly what I thought Sanjana. I’m imagining him grinning ear to ear, thinking how smart he is and how he got everyone all riled up.

      //”And the thing is… I think he knows exactly how immature he is being… but is cool about that.”//

      This is what I would call being selfish and lazy.

      While I can understand, being an only child and the recipient of extra love and care quality and quantity wise, it may be natural for him to feel a tinge of sadness when he’s transitioning into the next phase of his life.

      But, what I’m seeing here is a person who is using his parents as an excuse to just get by without putting any extra effort into his life, career and relationships.

      Being contented is one thing, but this guy has set the bar really low for himself and cloaks his laziness in the garb of love for his parents.

      Another major red flag, is in over 25 responses he never mentions even once that he will love and care for his wife, he has spent years thinking about her parents, but does not want to devote any “mindspace” to thinking about her.

      Like I said in my previous comment, he talks a lot about every person in the equation except for the one without whom the equation remains incomplete.

      Also, could it be that Mr. Cat bats for the other team. I don’t know, just a thought.

      Like

      • agree sanjana… after going through the comments, i think SC is a smart, articulate person having fun at the expense of the readers. maybe it was a slow day at work, hmmm?

        Like

      • //I’m imagining him grinning ear to ear, thinking how smart he is and how he got everyone all riled up//
        Look, there’s no way I can convince you. It is unfortunate if many of you would rather believe I am trolling with an imaginary situ. than willing to even admit such a thing is possible.

        I’d feel really bad if people, like Radhika, WildChild etc, who’ve taken the time and effort to respond to me also start doubting if I am for real or not.

        Unfortunately that I can do about it.

        //he never mentions even once that he will love and care for his wife//
        Ok, call me arrogant but I think this is relatively easier.
        I get along with most people really well. Even those whom others find difficult to get along with. I am fairly confident I will be able love and be loved by an individual. It will take time. It will be based on gradual development of a shared understanding, memories and moments – all of which are ahead of us.

        That said, I will admit I have no particular preferences for personalities/tastes. Someone who is broad minded, generous, reasonable, not peevish and loves being with family (all of which btw I consider good descriptors of me) would work.

        As I said again and again. People should want the same things when they start out. Everything else can be worked out.

        So I think you can put that red-flag away. It was just that I was writing about another aspect of marriage, which I wanted to make front-and-center, that’s all.

        Like

        • //he never mentions even once that he will love and care for his wife//

          “Ok, call me arrogant but I think this is relatively easier. ”
          How is this easier?

          “I get along with most people really well. Even those whom others find difficult to get along with.”
          Getting along with most does not mean you get along with all. And getting along with the guy who sits next to you at work, or the guy who sells you vegetables, or even your household help does not mean that you WILL get along with your wife too. The expectations we have from these relationships are zero or at most minimal. The way you need to get along with her ( your future wife) is such that when and if you ever need a kidney she shouldn’t even think for a moment before offering you one of hers.

          “I am fairly confident I will be able love and be loved by an individual. It will take time. It will be based on gradual development of a shared understanding, memories and moments – all of which are ahead of us.”
          You are “fairly confident” that you will be able to love your wife, that too after ” gradual development of a shared understanding, memories and moments”. You seem pretty articulate, why is it so hard for you to say with conviction that you will love your wife.

          “That said, I will admit I have no particular preferences for personalities/tastes. Someone who is broad minded, generous, reasonable, not peevish and loves being with family (all of which btw I consider good descriptors of me) would work.”
          For someone says that they have no particular preference for personalities of tastes you have quite a handful of adjectives describing your partner.
          Does broadminded mean staying with you in your parents’ home, possibly along with her parents?
          Does generous mean, being generous with her time, energy and money?
          Does being reasonable mean “not judging” your parents when they “say something” to her that she does not like.
          And you are correct, all of the above is possible only if the poor woman is not “peevish”

          Like

        • Scaredy Cat, for what it’s worth, though I do think you’re playing devil’s advocate and exaggerating to some extent, I don’t think you’re arrogant or only playing the fool.

          Like

        • SC, I don’t think you’re bluffing about the situation… I just think you’re being pretty callous about the woman you would be getting married to, and putting more energy and effort into her parents! Which I find ludicrous! And believe you me, most parents would rather their son-in-law treat their daughter well than themselves.

          If you like people from an older generation better, maybe you should get married to someone older than you. Oh wait… mom and dad might not like that idea will they? And to you (apparently not to them, bless their souls), above all else, *their* feelings on whom you marry matters most!

          I’m sure you’re likable and witty and nice and whatever the rest you have portrayed yourself to be. If only you could strap on a pair and take yourself as an adult too! But you just couldn’t be bothered.
          I see your point of view. It’s so much easier being a child than taking responsibility for your own actions. So much easier being told what to do than decide for yourself, hai na?
          Life is hard, filled with perplexing situations and complex decisions to be made. Sometimes you make the right decisions, sometimes you don’t. But you always learn better when you are more self-aware and make your own decisions than when you rely on mommy and daddy to tell you what to do.
          Seriously dude… grow up!

          You are actually no different than the millions of other men in India… except maybe you might be more well-read, but clearly… reading Love Story is not enough is it? :

          Like

        • //Getting along with most does not mean you get along with all.//
          True

          //The way you need to get along with her ( your future wife) is such that when and if you ever need a kidney she shouldn’t even think for a moment before offering you one of hers.//
          Won’t happen on Day One, no? As I said, I am confident it will happen over time.
          //You are “fairly confident” that you will be able to love your wife, that too after ” gradual development of a shared understanding, memories and moments”. You seem pretty articulate, why is it so hard for you to say with conviction that you will love your wife.//
          Not hard. Why?

          //Does broadminded mean staying with you in your parents’ home, possibly along with her parents?// Yes.
          //Does generous mean, being generous with her time, energy and money?// All of the above, as that is how I believe I am.
          //Does being reasonable mean “not judging” your parents when they “say something” to her that she does not like.// Good
          //And you are correct, all of the above is possible only if the poor woman is not “peevish”// I think I have managed to tick you off for some reason. Please don’t pick on my words. What I am trying to say is, there may be a compatibility with those who have a certain outlook and approach to life, regardless of what their individual attributes, tastes, preferences are. That’s all. I was trying paint some broad brush strokes.

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  41. @scaredycat ,

    Dont overwthink this too much, go meet a girl, talk to her, show her this email and all the comments and give her a few days to digest it , maybe talk to her parents /friends etc., and then ask her for her answer.

    There you go, you did your part and the answer can be only YES or NO🙂 right?

    I also wanted to mention, that at first sight she might think your parents are ok and it’s fine to live with them and after a while she might not like some of their ways/words whatever. happens, usually in a marriage, you can then limit the interaction with that person a bit , since the bond is with your husband. but in your case that will not be possible, so either she’s stuck or she leaves, just be open, and remember for a family unit ( mom/dad/wife/kids/whomever) to be happy it’s individual members MUST all be happy.

    I’d also tell you to hear me out for a moment and thin about the love and bonding you can have with your spouse, the kind one has with a spouse and spouse alone. still loving your parents, but this is a diff kind of bon and this is the one that you will have to work hard on , especially if you want to live happily way after your parents are gone, its the bond that will help you become parents and go thru life …just a thought and you can take it or leave it.
    All the best in your search.hope you find all that you desire . keep us posted🙂

    Like

  42. Scaredy Cat,

    I sincerely hope you find happiness. But let me try to tell you why, as a woman, I find your requirements impractical, at least in accordance with my ideals. Feel free to give as much weight to these comments as you might want – others above have already given you excellent advice and I don’t want to add to the list. I just want to give you some perspective.

    Anybody who has had a functional relationship with their parents loves their parents. This goes without saying. But ‘love’ can mean different things to different people. Some people call obeying your parents’ words unconditionally ‘love’. Others believe that a parent should never be put under a state of psychological duress where they would have to change even one bit from they way they have always been, kind of what you say. In my own house, love means listening to people, everybody, making sure no one’s voice is stifled, to make sure we are taking reasonable, morally conscious decisions. What kind of expression of love are we talking about? Would you be okay if your wife grew up slightly differently and her notion of expressing love towards your parents (and her own) is different from yours?

    You say you want to be with your parents and you would be okay if your wife were to live with her parents, all under the same roof. Have you asked your parents if they would feel comfortable welcoming your wife’s parents to live permanently with you? I hope your home has enough bathrooms. Who gets to read the newspaper first in the morning? Would they arrange the sheets back neatly or throw them back haphazardly? Such, my friend, are the stuff household arguments are made of.

    I don’t know about you, but on some evenings, all I feel like doing is curl up with my PJs with a good movie and order take-out. When I practice music, in my own house, my dad sometimes says he ‘needs to take a walk’.🙂 Sometimes I just want to read without interruption, and I close the door of my study. No questions asked because my parents know I need the quiet. I am guessing from your post you would consider such activities ‘individualistic’, but some of us have a taste for it. My question is, how much ‘space’ – physically and otherwise, would there be?

    And then there’s sex. I would feel uncomfortable having sex with my husband under my own roof, with my parents in the other bedroom, let alone with people I barely know in the house. Yes, just because I marry a man does not mean I know his in-laws for seven lives. You may ask me how women in a previous generation did all this. Lack of exposure and lack of options, that’s all.

    Your mail mentions nothing about wanting to build intimacy with your wife and that’s the biggest red flag. Yes, that’s kind of important in a marriage. To you, a marriage may be about bringing two families together, but the bed rock of that alliance is the relationship you have with her.

    Practically, the most you can ask from someone before marriage is cordiality, not love towards their family. When you make love an expectation, in any relationship, it puts a strain. There is certainly middle ground between the throwing-the-parents-of-of-the-house DIL and the set-up you describe.

    In a way, a love match overcomes this. My parents have known my boyfriend since I was in college and we were friends. He doesn’t ‘love’ them, nor do I expect him to at least yet, but they can interface on common ground and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, even before I told them that we liked each other, they suggested that he is a really nice boy and would I consider marrying him😀 All that said, I would never insist on him staying with my parents for an extended period of time, because I know him well enough to know that it might not be the most comfortable arrangement possible.

    While we were in college, my boyfriend lived with his extended family, his grandmother, uncles and aunts, while his dad and mom were in another city so that his mom could work on her PhD. I have met all of them and consider them extremely warm people. They seem to like me too. I’m happy for that. But I am under no illusions that we can all be one big happy family, at least not right now. Asking anything more is unrealistic.

    I wanted to get to know my in-laws too before I got married. I wanted to see how well I could gel with them and how supportive my husband would be if there was a personality clash. Some people just cannot get along, forget love and all of that. So that’s something else you can consider doing.

    Lastly, you are not only over-thinking things but selectively thinking. The reason why I spelled out all this in such a huge comment is because you don’t seem to focus on the practical issues at hand. Tell you what, why don’t you show this post to your parents and ask what they think?

    No matter how much talking you do with a woman before the wedding, life after marriage might be different because of unstated expectations or things you or she may have taken for granted. In that scenario, both of you might have to learn some flexibility. Whatever happens, never get into the mode of thinking you are the ‘sole male caught between parents and wife’ as many men in such a situation do.

    All the best.

    -Nitya

    Like

    • Couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said NItya.

      Scaredy Cat, Pls make note, this is how a young adult should think, feel and act when it comes to relationships.

      Like

    • Pretty sensible and relevant comment. Infact, if you get these points right, you will do away with your ideas. I do think the Scaredy Cat is meaning to talk of a utopia but that is not possible in practice in the model of family he means to create .

      Like

    • //I sincerely hope you find happiness//
      Thank You Nitya.

      // Would you be okay if your wife grew up slightly differently and her notion of expressing love towards your parents (and her own) is different from yours?//
      Sure.

      //Have you asked your parents if they would feel comfortable welcoming your wife’s parents to live permanently with you?//
      Yes. It has been a rocky conversation. But they do see my PoV that, if that’s what my wife would want, in all fairness, that is absolutely reasonable request to consider.

      //I hope your home has enough bathrooms. Who gets to read the newspaper first in the morning? Would they arrange the sheets back neatly or throw them back haphazardly? Such, my friend, are the stuff household arguments are made of. //
      As I mentioned in my initial comment itself, I don’t expect it to be easy: four people in the autumn of their lives having to spend time with each other suddenly.
      Whether it is workable or not, cannot be said until tried. While my maternal grandparents don’t always live with us. But, when I grew up, it was often the case that for several months a year they, my paternal grandfather, my parents and me lived together. Two bathrooms and I got the newspaper first.

      I get what you are saying. Of course things will need working out. I am reluctant to dismiss it off that bat, particularly when it may be an alternative to living away from my parents.

      // I am guessing from your post you would consider such activities ‘individualistic’, but some of us have a taste for it.// Not actually. I hope I have not painted a picture regimental conservative household. Far from it. But I guess what I mean ‘this far’ suffocates me not, any further ‘would’.
      When I meant individual vs. the family, I meant larger -bigger life/career choices. Minor details can be worked out, or so I hope.

      // You may ask me how women in a previous generation did all this. // Not just women. I ask it of men too.
      //Lack of exposure and lack of options, that’s all.// You are on to something here. But I think there is more to it.

      //Your mail mentions nothing about wanting to build intimacy with your wife and that’s the biggest red flag.//
      As I mentioned in a previous comment, it is not that I don’t consider it important. It sure is, but for some reason I am reasonably confident of achieving this. It will naturally happen over time.

      // Tell you what, why don’t you show this post to your parents and ask what they think?//
      They wouldn’t like it that I am thinking so much about them when I should be thinking about myself.

      //both of you might have to learn some flexibility//
      Yes I expect that. Not even in a resigned manner but quite positively.
      It is boundaries of flexibility in certain things that I was talking about.

      Like

      • // Would you be okay if your wife grew up slightly differently and her notion of expressing love towards your parents (and her own) is different from yours?//
        Sure.

        No, I’m not so sure. Quoting you, your biggest fear is ‘your wife won’t love your parents as much as you do’. If you have learned to express love in different ways, she may approach your parents differently from the way you do and that may leads you to believe she doesn’t love them quite as much. She might consider talking directly to your father a sign of cordiality and camaraderie. You father might not might, but you might, because you are not used to him being talked back to.

        //Have you asked your parents if they would feel comfortable welcoming your wife’s parents to live permanently with you?//
        Yes. It has been a rocky conversation. But they do see my PoV that, if that’s what my wife would want, in all fairness, that is absolutely reasonable request to consider.

        Let’s say the girl who wants to marry you wants to live with her parents, just like you, but does not want to give her parents the trouble of relocating in the autumn of their lives. Would you be open to the idea of you living with your parents, your wife living with her parents, and meeting occasionally? Continuing this as long as your parents are alive, even if you have kids in the interim? Ask yourself why that sounds like a terrible idea. You want to live with your parents, and you are welcome to have your wife’s parents stay with you, but you would not necessarily want to move your parents to your wife’s parent’s house. Ask yourself why that is sexist.

        // You may ask me how women in a previous generation did all this. // Not just women. I ask it of men too.

        No. I know you are trying to go out of your way to be all gender neutral here but really, you are not. You want to live with your parents. So your wife moves in with your parents. You live in your comfort zone, she moves outside it. You say, oh no, she can live with her parents if she wants to, they are welcome to stay in our home. By saying that you are putting additional strain on two elderly people, to move house and stay outside their comfort zone as well. That is the reason I think this is a gender issue although you try so hard to be gender neutral and everything.

        They wouldn’t like it that I am thinking so much about them when I should be thinking about myself.

        It is not just that. You know, you are extremely sure you want to try this mode of living. I am just pointing out practical difficulties as your parents very well may. From all you have written here I gather that this is how you want your married life to be but you are not sure ‘if there’s a girl out there’ who gets this and would agree to marry you. There probably are. But given that you are so convinced that this is the way your life should be, what’s the point of this post?

        I know you say you have a genuine problem – it is hard to find girls when these are the demands you have. Sure. You have two options – examine your demands, find out why you are ‘scaring the bejeesus’ out of girls and think whether they are unreasonable. Or explain your ideals to the women you meet and are interested in and wait till one says yes.

        Like

        • //She might consider talking directly to your father a sign of cordiality and camaraderie. You father might not might, but you might, because you are not used to him being talked back to.//
          Nothing like that.
          Whatever works for them. I am not expecting the relationship, modes of communication should be in a particular manner, should be deferential etc. Not at all.
          I’d love it for them to all be at ease with each other and I will do all I can to make that work.

          At the same time, you should understand I am somewhat of an authority when it comes to knowing what my father/mother may mind but will not say, being what they are. Here again I can deal with it on a case by case basis. All I am saying is, if the girl thinks that is how it SHOULD be.That elders better step aside, having had their turn – then that’s not going to go down too well with me.

          // Ask yourself why that is sexist.//
          It is. Radhika made me ask myself those questions earlier today. I have responded.

          // I know you are trying to go out of your way to be all gender neutral here but really, you are not. You want to live with your parents. So your wife moves in with your parents. You live in your comfort zone, she moves outside it. You say, oh no, she can live with her parents if she wants to, they are welcome to stay in our home. By saying that you are putting additional strain on two elderly people, to move house and stay outside their comfort zone as well. That is the reason I think this is a gender issue although you try so hard to be gender neutral and everything.//
          I agree.
          I directly confront the limits of my equity when responding to Radhika’s questions above.
          But there are aspects beyond gender too which are the issues here, and need to be discussed.
          //But given that you are so convinced that this is the way your life should be, what’s the point of this post?//
          Originally it was a visceral reaction to a post along the lines of ‘don’t sons have a right to life’.
          As it overlapped a lot with my fears, I thought it’d be useful to post it here – a message from the dark side types.

          It has brought a tonnes of perspectives. I am not sure I have fully digested all of it yet. I will be revisiting to reread. I even anticipates some comments will shine better with new experiences.

          //examine your demands, find out why you are ‘scaring the bejeesus’ out of girls and think whether they are unreasonable.//
          This was itself an exercise in examining my demands.
          There are many absolutely nice people for whom I can conceive this arrangement not working. They may find it suffocating, stifling and the like. I don’t judge them for it. Each to her own.
          As I answered to an earlier commentator: I guess I am defining reasonability itself narrowly: being able to consider this arrangement reasonable🙂

          // Or explain your ideals to the women you meet and are interested in and wait till one says yes.//
          That is the plan.
          Once again, thanks for your comments.

          Like

        • I get where you are coming from to some extent. I don’t consider your wanting to be a kid a sign of immaturity but that you feel safe with your parents and want things to be that way. I think when you say ‘ambitionless’ you want to go back to the slow way of life of seventy-five years ago without a money-making craze where people gave more space to each other. You want all your relationships to co-exist harmoniously. Couched in those terms what you say might sound agreeable to some women. However, I will say it again, harmony requires flexibility. Since you seem so well read you would know what Kahlil Gibran says about marriage and children. Marriage requires work. Hope things work out for you.

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        • “I know you are trying to go out of your way to be all gender neutral here but really, you are not.”
          I completely agree. It’s about time Scaredy Cat realizes this.

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        • //Hope things work out for you.//
          Thank You Nithya.

          //“I know you are trying to go out of your way to be all gender neutral here but really, you are not.”
          I completely agree. It’s about time Scaredy Cat realizes this.//
          Yes Radhika I realize that. I think I said that in my response to you.

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        • If you haven’t already, you might want to explicitly add something to the tune of “Must be willing to live with my parents post marriage, and love them like her own too” as part of your profile, or “conditions”, or however it is done while finding “prospects”. It will save both you and girls “not cool” with your ideology a lot of time/trouble/trauma.

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  43. Completely agreeing to everything Nitya said, I cannot help being a little snarky at the LW- sorry to seem sarcastic, but your definition has a lot of people in the marriage- and that cannot be very healthy, specially since there seems to be a very unhealthy co-dependent relationship between you and your parents. It is ok for the parent-child relationship to be different from how it was years ago- both parties grow and mature. Just like they do not change your diaper any more nor feed you- you need to relinquish the desire to be their little boy and please them all the time- you can all be mutually respectful adults. Like it or not, even your parents need a break from parenting- they have their own lives unbelievable as it may seem. The email has me wondering if the LW has had any experience at all at an adult relationship to someone else. Like a friendship- because if he does, he should know how that works out without everyone sharing every intimate feeling about family. Marriage should ideally be the same, without the expectations. Also, even if you have siblings, it is rare if they feel the same way about your shared parents that you do- people are all different.

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  44. I agree with Nitya; Scaredy Cat, I don’t think you truly desire an intimate relationship with a woman at all (in fact, upthread, didn’t you agree that you’re just going to get married because it’s expected of you, not because you want a partner?). This might be a touchy subject, but I wonder if you’re even sexually drawn to women. I don’t expect you to answer questions about your sexuality on a public forum, but if you aren’t attracted to women (or if you’re just a low-libido/asexual person), it’s vital that you’re honest with yourself and with any prospective matches.

    A lot of people are advising you to have an arranged marriage with a traditional girl. Personally, I think this could be a recipe for disaster. Plenty of “homely” women have Bollywood-derived romantic notions, and in return for the respect and deference they offer their in-laws in public, they want a strong emotional bond with their husbands in private. All your emotional resources seem to be taken up with your parents, and I doubt that you could provide such a bond.

    In short, I would advise you to wait at least five years before getting married (and in those five years, think about what it takes to be a husband, not just about what it takes to be a son and a son-in-law.

    Like

    • //in fact, upthread, didn’t you agree that you’re just going to get married because it’s expected of you, not because you want a partner?//
      I don’t think I can said anything like that.

      //I wonder if you’re even sexually drawn to women//
      Mamma Mia!
      It has come to this, that the sexuality of a man is called into question for saying he wants to live with his parents.

      Okay I won’t be facetious. I know you ask in all earnest. Should I answer in the affirmative and confirm the stereotype that a man – even in all his anonymity – feels compelled clarify such things. Or should I just let it be and thus stake a partial bid for the maturity being so vehemently denied to me here?

      //All your emotional resources seem to be taken up with your parents, and I doubt that you could provide such a bond. //
      I don’t think so. As I said to a previous commentator. I am sure I can love my wife. So sure that I didn’t bother mentioning it and took it a a given, leading to people misinterpreting that.

      Such a bond will naturally evolve over time.

      Like

      • “I am sure I can love my wife”🙂 . Most men I’ve met think they will make the best husbands ever and are really hurt when their wives ever hint even slightly that they’re a bit unhappy with them. This is because in their minds they are liberal, but the actions tell a different story altogether. We are 3 close friends, on the marriage of one of us.. the married friend couldn’t come from Allahabad to Delhi because caring husband wouldn’t let her goto Delhi all alone (where she spent 5 yrs in school & college) and he couldn’t come because he hadn’t attended a relative’s wedding in delhi previous month and so relatives would talk!! This despite that we have good camaraderie with this elite college educated , intelligent man and personally called him imploring to come to the wedding. This is just one instance I have given , It’ll fill pages if I mention even half of them all. And yes, he thinks he is a perfectly liberal husband.

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      • “…stake a partial bid for the maturity being so vehemently denied to me here…”

        SC, please don’t think commentors are being needlessly judgmental or harsh.

        I believe people write because of a sincere desire to help others and prevent them from experiencing the personal miseries that many of us have gone through or witnessed.

        So I do hope that you understand that🙂

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  45. You seem like a decent guy. To each his/her own. Youre close to your parents and you dont want that to change once you get married. You dont want their lives or theyre relationship with youto alter. Its sweet and idealistic. I hope you find someone who thinks along the same lines as you. But dont make it a requirement, everybody has to adapt in a marriage. The couple as well as the extended family whether or not they live together…whether they like it or not. Just be respectful, and as you said think of the community – your wife’s wishes might sometimes be more important than your parents or your own (and vice versa).

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  46. It’s a funny post, I spent a decade escaping everything OP longs to keep. With all due respect to the OP I cannot find a better example of parents who have utterly failed at parenting & a man who is not a man. If you derive satisfaction from another person be it your parents, children, spouse whoever you will end up a withered empty hollow shell of a person.

    You have a lot of growing up to do.

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  47. SC, I don’t think you’re bluffing about the situation… I just think you’re being pretty callous about the woman you would be getting married to, and putting more energy and effort into her parents! Which I find ludicrous! And believe you me, most parents would rather their son-in-law treat their daughter well than themselves.

    If you like people from an older generation better, maybe you should get married to someone older than you. Oh wait… mom and dad might not like that idea will they? And to you (apparently not to them, bless their souls), above all else, *their* feelings on whom you marry matters most!

    I’m sure you’re likable and witty and nice and whatever the rest you have portrayed yourself to be. If only you could strap on a pair and take yourself as an adult too! But you just couldn’t be bothered.
    I see your point of view. It’s so much easier being a child than taking responsibility for your own actions. So much easier being told what to do than decide for yourself, hai na?
    Life is hard, filled with perplexing situations and complex decisions to be made. Sometimes you make the right decisions, sometimes you don’t. But you always learn better when you are more self-aware and make your own decisions than when you rely on mommy and daddy to tell you what to do.
    Seriously dude… grow up!

    Like

    • //And believe you me, most parents would rather their son-in-law treat their daughter well than themselves. // Quite understandable. But where is the question of not treating her well. On the contrary I am saying there are three of us waiting to make things as comfortable as possible for her. All I am saying is, it will work it is quite important for her to think of it marriage as such a relationship. The moment the two of us become thought of us the principal actors, in whose favour everything else should fold under, things are going to be bumpy.

      //If you like people from an older generation better, maybe you should get married to someone older than you//
      Clever quip, is it?

      //So much easier being told what to do than decide for yourself, hai na?//
      //make your own decisions than when you rely on mommy and daddy to tell you what to do.//
      I take some blame for being the misleadingly exaggerated tone of my original email. Meant to be loud to make a point. I have clarified a zillion times in the comments. I guess they are buried in the nestings and are difficult to read.

      Like

      • //But where is the question of not treating her well. On the contrary I am saying there are three of us waiting to make things as comfortable as possible for her. All I am saying is, it will work it is quite important for her to think of it marriage as such a relationship. The moment the two of us become thought of us the principal actors, in whose favour everything else should fold under, things are going to be bumpy.//

        How are you going to make things as comfortable as possible for her? From what I have seen, many daughters in law find it difficult to adjust to little, day to day things… Do you think your parents (and you) would be fine,

        1. If she has friends who visit her and walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and make tea for themselves? If some of her friends are male? (Not rude friends, but those who are also respectful to your parents)
        2. If she wears Western clothes and sleeveless blouses with sarees, lipsticks (any color restrictions?)
        3. Doesn’t like to wear mangal-sutra/thali/sindoor?
        4. Work hours that are not regular and if she needs to travel for work?
        5. Would she be required to hand over her pay to your parents? If they ask and if she is reluctant (although she loves them, many daughters do the same with their parents) – would you ask her to comply?
        6. Would she be able to stay up till late and watch TV (a show your parents may not enjoy)?
        7. Would she be required to wake up before other family members?
        8. Wants to shop with colleagues/friends or watch a movie? (not sure if you do this, but this could mean she would not be home on some evenings)
        9. If she, on some days just wants to sit in a corner and read – would this be seen as rude?
        10. Would she be expected to fast and pray, visit temples etc according to your family’s customs?
        11. If she is used to reading the newspaper first, would she be required to give that up? Do you think your parents would be able to let her read the newspaper first?
        12. If you and your wife are having an argument say over who reads the newspaper first, what are the chances of your parents intervening and asking you to adjust?

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        • You know, IHM, I think my SIL could answer yes to all of the above. But she moved back with her MIL after her FIL passed away, and after six years of marriage during which we built up a very comfortable relationship with them. She does talk back to her MIL too but probably less rudely than she would to her own mother. In this case, which I think is special and rare and not to be expected off the bat no matter what anyone promises, it think it worked because both Mil and my Sil are the adjusting types.

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        • i am guessing he (Scared Cat) wld simply say whats wrong in a few compromises for the greater good😉 This whole post and comments is like arguing with Dr. Sheldon Cooper. If you are for real Mr. Cat, do you want three people to unconditionally love the three of you? Good luck.

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        • @IHM – You asked him the right questions, these are the things that matter the most.

          I am used to having my morning cup of coffee reading the newspaper for a while, this is how we did at home, my parents and us siblings would sit for a while sharing the newspaper, there was no hurry to do anything, even for my mother. Here in in-laws house, I have to first take bath, and PRAY for all of THEM, make breakfast and serve them all and even hear their comments of how I can IMPROVE. And that is always told with ‘We are now her parents, we want her to LEARN’ – The husband gets all impressed and cannot even see how I feel in this whole situation. This is what they mean by we try hard to ‘accommodate her’
          And yes, I cannot have an argument at all even with my husband , they show up at the door advising me in very sweet words how a woman should behave, no advise to the son.
          I cannot watch TV programs, the ones I want, I hate all the saas-bahu saaga, and melodramatic movies and I have to sit to give them company, else I am RUDE!
          I am not supposed to complain like this too, people will give me thumbs down because they will think I am the one who is blowing things out of proportion! That is what the world tells me all the time.

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      • About getting married to someone older… I was quite serious. You said you are more comfortable being with a person from an older generation and find yourself more comfortable with them. Then go on… get married to someone like that… at least you’ll offer her the respect and compassion you seem to reserve blindly to people of that generation.

        And yes… over 200 comments about your refusal to grow up… some of your clarifications have kinda been buried. But over 200 comments… woohoo! ;P
        But I don’t think your clarifications quite hit the mark… cos I still feel your search for this lady who will put her life completely on hold to humour your parents is extremely immature. You sayyy you’re willing to be open… and yet, really.. you have no idea what that is, cos to you, open is all fine, so long as your parents are happy.

        Your parents, on the other hand, sound like sane people… and chances are they’ll kick you out and ask you to get a life! Which is a good thing!🙂

        Like

        • Couldn’t help commenting, when I read about Dr. Sheldon Cooper🙂 . Infact, if you look at it, Dr. Sheldon cooper (those who don’t know him in The Big Bang theory is a marvelous theoretical physicist but has Aperger’s Syndrome – kind of autistic behavior and while his arguments are very logical but they are as you would aspect highly theoretical & hence becomes ludicrous at times, but for the physics world often very relevant since his thinking is only scientific). In the context of this discussion while I see the similarity in many respect, but what is even sadder is that perfectly humans talk illogically and fail to see the point simply because you want to stick to your guns or just for the sake of the argument. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies) !

          All four parents under one roof, cannot work. I think the husband & wife if they can pull it should be given the Nobel peace prize for making it happen. Certain things have to be understood and respected. Husband will feel uneasy at wife’s parents house & vice-versa ( intentionally saying it with reference to the husband to make the point across) . But the vice-versa part is always ignored and taken for guarantee. What is best is both move out – start a separate life but with due love & care for their respective families. I come from joint families (marwaris) (and grown up with 14 girls (father’s sisters) – two grandfather/mother, parents, 1 uncles & 4 of us siblings) and I see that now a days the trend is to make the separate as soon as possible after the marriage. It is better to do it when the going is good then do it when the water is over the head and it happens with hard feeling.

          IHM’s list is not exhaustive. There are thousand other things you have to worry about especially if you hit a financial crunch even of the smallest order..

          So, Mr. S-cat! Please see the point – see what is between the lines- really see what remains unsaid ..and good luck!

          Like

      • “The moment the two of us become thought of us the principal actors, in whose favour everything else should fold under, things are going to be bumpy.”

        Deluded, dysfunctional & toxic thinking. Ofcourse you two are the principal actors in the marriage NOT your parents. They have lived their lives, it’s time to live yours, even if you don’t want to you will have to.

        This is classic perpetuation of the dysfunction desis are generally composed of. The OP will probably expect the same of his children, another generation destroyed…

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      • //If you like people from an older generation better, maybe you should get married to someone older than you//
        Clever quip, is it?

        Why does that have to be a quip? Because the idea of marrying an older girl is a laughable idea? I think Sanjana is sincere in her suggestion. A friend of mine (mid 20s) is living-in with a woman in her 40s, and is happy. Should he have denied the chemistry, and treated her like a “didi” or “aunty” because she was so much older?

        //On the contrary I am saying there are three of us waiting to make things as comfortable as possible for her//
        Happiness doesn’t translate to being as “comfortable” as possible. You make your future wife sound like a terminal patient brought home to die in as little pain as possible, No exaggeration.

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  48. really!!! Wow!

    I’m sorry, if I am being rude, but this does not sound like a man who is ready for marriage. It sounds like a boy getting ready for this first day at school.

    I think this person needs to understand that growing up is the part of life. People are expected to change. you cannot be the same petulant child you were, when you were 5 years old, and your parents will NOT treat you like you are 5, when you are 35!! from your email, it looks like they understand the transition, while you are unable to.

    There is another issue here which really gets my goat. Assuming that the girl is a cunning, manipulative, calculative, selfish person. And just just one girl – any girl in a particular age group.
    I could do the same now – call every man on earth in a particular age group – a leching, lewd, disgusting MCP who does not care about anyone apart from his mother and his penis.
    If someone describing a girl as above isnt wrong, me describing a man as such, wouldnt be wrong as well – would it?

    however, things dont work that way. Gender does not determine one damn thing. Except maybe how you would eventually reproduce. What matters is the mindset, maturity, culture and the environment of a person. The person and not the gender should be the issue.

    Just grow up dude. period.

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  49. Just a couple of clarifications from some of the comments Scaredy Cat has made:

    1. You, your parents making the wife comfortable – I am sure the lady in question knows herself the best, so she should make herself comfortable in ways that seem best to her. I mean, there can be a huge disconnect between what you think makes her comfortable and what actually makes her comfortable. So I think you should stop being so confident about making your spouse comfortable and just focus on giving her some space to do as she pleases.

    2. This whole parents stepping aside business – there are aspects of a marriage where there is no space for more than two people and that cannot be helped. Otherwise, if people have their own lives, where exactly will your parents be “stepping aside” ? What exactly will they be giving up? You said that your family is pretty inclusive about decision making. Would including DIL’s opinions be called stepping aside? Unless your parents have strong opinions on things that do not directly concern them in any way, why should there be any collisions at all?

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  50. It is great that you know what and how you want your life to be and are quite upfront about it. As others have pointed out, it is necessary that you state your expectations and views to your prospective partner as well as get to understand her thoughts, views and expectations if she agrees with your line of thought and the kind of arrangement you wish to live in. We all know that situations change and nothing remains static, however it is important that you workout some possible solutions to the big and major questions and problems you might encounter later instead of just thinking that you will cross the bridge when you come to it. Obviously minor ones can be worked out later. Negotiate with your prospective partner the role that you want your parents and her parents to have in your marital life. Don’t assume you’re on the same page until you talk about it. If possible try to ask your prospective partner’s views on various major issues you think you might encounter. Know that it’s not the absolute number of similar attitudes between the individuals that influence the likelihood and strength of interpersonal relationships. Far more critical are the proportion and the importance of similar attitudes.

    Also know that you may really love your parents and have active and rich relationship with them, but the same can’t be expected out of your wife. The only thing you can expect out of her is civil, respectful and courteous behavior. I am sure your parents understand that such behavior needs to be reciprocated on their part as well. Probably with time they may forge a more deep and loving bond but she may never be able to love your parents the way you do.
    Please realize that some healthy boundaries need to be set between your parents and your wife, between your marital life and your relationship with your parents and this doesn’t entail closing out on your parents. Divided loyalties can hamper your relationship with your wife as well as your parents and hence the need for setting healthy boundaries and proper and open communication. Lastly, I hope you are well aware that if a wife has a problem with in-laws, it’s the husband who needs to step in and help fix it. Likewise, if a husband doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his in-laws, his wife needs to step in. The person with the primary relationship (the son or daughter, not the in-law) needs to be the messenger.

    Since you say you are close to your parents and wish for the whole dynamics of your relationship with them to remain the same, it would do you no good if you don’t convey this to them. It might be difficult but the best thing to do is to communicate. Also know that no matter how much you want things to remain the same, the relationship dynamics do change after major life events, marriage being one of them.

    I have nothing more to contribute. People out here have given you some of the best answers to your questions and have raised some really important issues and questions for you to consider before getting married to somebody. Anyway all the best.

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  51. Hi Scaredy Cat
    I left a long comment which dissappeared so i am typing another one.

    You have my sympathies. I had the exact same concerns as you. My parents are extremely dependent on me for their emotional well being. It is true and an onerous burden and I suspect you will find this out too. I live with my parents now though for few years I have lived in different cities. I also have one very sick parent who needs continous medical treatment. The other parent is also quite old and need medical attention from time to time. Like you i do like relationships and wanted to be married, have children -the works. Would my prospective partner move in with me and my parents, a sick one too at that? Also I’m female, so it seemed even more of a tall order. What if my prospective partner had similar parents who depended on my partner? Would we all live together? I had exactly the same doubts as you.

    I have no advice to offer you, except to say, I have had similar concerns, but I realise now that they were a little silly. Maybe you are overanalysing, and trying to hard to plan your future and do not realise life has its own plans.

    Let me tell you how things worked out with me. I met and fell in love with a nice polite and good man. We wanted to get married and we did. He is very nice to my parents, polite. He runs small errands, helps with hospital trips. Mostly he tries to make my life as easy as possible. My parents appreciate this. They don’t love him like they love me or my brother. They respect him though and are growing quite fond of him. His parents in turn like me. I like them too. I definitely don’t love them, but i recognize that they are good honest very compassionate human beings. I think my husbands siblings are fun and can turn into good friends of mine. My husbands siblings live with their parents. All in all everybody doesnt love everybody, but all of us seem to be very lucky in that we view each other as people, and not simply as roles- mother in law, husband daughter etc.There is a healthy dose of respect in all relationships interactions, which I appreciate very much. My Father in law and mother in law are not thrilled with our current living arrangements which I will come to shortly but they do ‘get’ it and they have not tried to talk me out of it and seem to believe that as an adult I know what I am doing.

    As far as living arrangements go I live with my parents and my husband with his. We all live in the same city. So i stay with him and his parents months together and he stays in mine- a little more often, that I stay with him. I am movign out to another city though, about about 6 hours by road from where I currently live. As duty bound as i feel towards my parents (its not just duty too- i do love them and am also very emotionally invested in their well being), it seems a little unhealthy to me to be so caught up in family love and duty. It exists and i know I can suppourt them when they need it from the new city. They also understand it would be better for me to “live my own life”. I have better career opportunities in the new city.

    I dont know if any of this helps. I hope things work out for you. Stay open, meet girls, talk about your expectations (the ones you mentioned in the email) , try to understand the partners expectations. Remember neither yours nor the girls vision of the future or expectations may stay the same after a few years. Focus on meeting someone you like and someone you see yourself able to fall in love with (yes one can sensibly love oxymoronic as it sounds) and just go with that. Deal with livign arrangements and other issues as you go along addressing it ion a need basis.

    Like

    • What i wanted to emphasis in my rather long and self involved comment, is that what I wanted changed. From not wanting to move out of my parent house ever, and wanting my prospective husband living with me, I have suddenly discovered that I would prefer to move out.

      Therefore your absolutely certain statement that you wouldn’t even want to live in different floors surprises me. While you continuously acknowledge that emotions, feelings and expectations are not static, you seem to be remarkably sure that yours will be.

      Like

  52. Scaredy Cat,

    Somewhere upthread I finally found the part that gives me (and I suspect the rest) some clue as to what this is all really about. Let me quote

    “I am the glue in their marriage. ” “They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”

    This, I believe is the key here – why you feel you ought to do whatever you aim to do. I somewhat understand you now, and your fears are no more of a child unwilling to grow up, rather of a man fearful of what his parents’ life will be reduced to, once the nest is empty. One question, you do know this, dont you?

    Now that your reasons are finally clear, what you are proposing (after marriage) is NOT the solution. In fact, you may rest assured that if you manage to implement what you want to, YOUR marriage will also end up in the same boat 30 years later. A happy marriage (i.e. 2 happy partners) between 2 thinking, intelligent and reasonable individuals REQUIRE you to put each other first.

    The solution here lies
    1. In ensuring a happy married life for you – please take note of all the worthy comments that have elaborated what, how and why you should build a lifelong bond with your spouse. “It will happen with time” is no guarantee, no sir. Your own parents’ married life is an apt example.

    2. “Helping” your parents find joy/comfort in each others’ company: Note I used the word helping, because you cannot do it for them OR keep them happy. Some suggestions, lots of time with each other, starting them on some kind of shared activity, reasonable involvement with grandkids once they are in the picture etc etc.

    Good luck!

    Like

    • Bingo! That’s the crux of the matter it appears to me.
      ““I am the glue in their marriage. ” “They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”

      Like

    • This is the whole point of the enite email, his entire thought process by Scaredy Cat:
      “I am the glue in their marriage. ” “They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”
      Its the same old story
      Looks like Dad’s parents (Mom’s inlaws) lived with Mom and Dad
      Dad was wrapped up with HIS Mom and Dad, probably had no emotional relationship or connection with his wife(Scaredy Cat’s Mom)
      Scaredy Cats Mom probably poured all her love and affection into the son(she needed love and emotional connection from her hubby, didnt get it from him, connected emtionally with the son Scaredy Cat)
      Now Scaredy Cat knows his mum will be devasted emotionally if he moves away – either physically or emotionally – after marriage
      Hence all his outpouring of not even moving upstairs/downstairs after marriage
      Hence no mention of an emotional connection with the wife
      And so the cycle perpetuates – Scaredy Cat will gte married, his wife will have an unfilled marriage with her hub, give birth in due course, get emotionally over attached with her kid, and so the sad sad sad cycle continues into the next generation
      I’ve seen so many cases like this in Indian society, and some Indians have the gall to say oh the americans and amerix=can culture – all of these americans are psycho and crazy
      and we think cases like this are normal
      But the human psyche needs emotional independence to a degree
      the human psyche needs romantic/sexual connections too
      not just parental connections
      and when this doesnt happen the human psyche is irreparably damaged
      I am not angry at Scaredy Cat, I am immensely sad for him, his mom(who never knew a happy fulfilling marriage), his to be wife(who will probably never know a happy emotionally and sexually fulfilling marriage/realtionship, similiarly his dad)….and so the sad cycle continues
      Cant see Scaredy Cat changing – to him this is normal, this is what he has known as normal as he grew up
      such a loss of human potential
      am sad all the best to scaredy cats wife she will need it, hope scaredy cat one day you realize this, but u will probably be too old too late by then(I think his dad realizes this now hence they r gently trying to get him to lead his own life take his own decisions)
      am sad at all this loss of human potential for happiness

      Like

    • i dont know if this is just me, but in my very large extended family, most of the older generation have perfunctory marriages too. But as Deeps has pointed out , the solution doesn’t lie in being so dependent on each other.
      Thats equally dsyfunctional.

      In my parents case, while my bro and I grew up , they bonded over the shared adventure of raising us. so then we were the “glue” in the marriage. But since we flown the nest, so to speak, they have managed to find other things to keep them occupied. My father travels on pilgrimages , visits to his other old friends, etc almost 6 months a year. And my mom is now on the forefront of the apartment society team, to negotiate with the builders on this and that. She on the other hand invites several relatives to visit while my dad travels. And they have peaceful relationship, if not a particularly close, or intimate one, when they cohabit the same house.

      It may be hard to believe , but your parents are adults too , who can sort out their own relationship, and marriage to each other.

      Like

  53. Scaredy Cat ,
    I have been following this thread for a while now… . and this is what is bothering me…

    My problem is with the fact that the marriage you are looking for is not fair and equitable. You have admitted that you can’t do for the girl , what you are expecting her to do for you . (That is you cant move away from your parents, or take ur parents to live with her)
    So assuming she does what you expect from her,moves in with your family, takes the effort to know them, care for them. You and your family are now elated.
    But how are you going to make this up to her?
    If she married you, she is someone who prioritizes relationships above all else too, but you made her give up the biggest priorities in her life (probably her parents) for this marriage.
    so she better be getting something really really awesome out of it to compensate.

    If not sooner or later the resentment is going to come….

    Like

  54. The thing that bothered me the most when reading your post and your replies is that you are so concerned about the fact that your parents would not feel free to express their opinions/thoughts to you after you are married. I was wondering what about your wife? As you have clearly stated elsewhere, your wife must love your parents as you love them, must be willing to be silent when your parents say something to her dislike and must also be generous with her time and money wrt your parents. How on earth can she possibly express her opinions/thoughts/fears freely in this kind of environment? You seem to be fine when her opinions are repressed but not your parents.

    You seem to view marriage not as a life changing event that is going to allow you to start a new life with a life-partner and share the rest of your life with her, but as an event that is going to change the relationship between you and your parents. In a way, you are already holding your wife responsible for any change in dynamics of the relationship between your parents and you.

    Considering the above, do YOU believe that the expectations you have of your to-be-wife is fair?
    Do YOU believe that you are ready to enter marriage?

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  55. I came back to post my 2 cents on some of the opinions here that this dude should go for an arranged marriage, possibly to a woman not from city, but from small town. I wonder why? Is it because women from small town are more gullible and likely to buy this joint family and treating in-laws as parents stuff? I say, wrong move. I don’t think you will ever be able to articulate your demands to your wife-to-be in that precious one hour alone time that you will be granted in the meet-the-bride meetings. Even if you do, she might just assume that you are like the 50 other men she met before who tells the same things. Or she may be pressured into saying a yes by the elders just because you may seem a good catch. I assume that the woman you want to marry would be in the early twenties (too young, IMO) and if she hasn’t seen the world yet, then it is quite likely that she has no idea of the humongous expectations that are placed on her and the enormous cost on her to fulfil those expectations. It will just be a recipe for disaster.

    I suggest you take the love marriage route – if you find a partner who will accept you with all the limitations that you have and is still willing to marry you, she is the one for you. A long courtship period will possibly allow her to understand you and your parents better and she will be in a better position to judge if she can manage to live with you. Only when taking this route will you be honest with yourself and the wife to be.

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  56. I haven’t yet all the comments (I will), but it looks like expecting your wife to love your parents as much as you do is simply asking for too much. Will YOU ever love her parents as much as she does? You will treat them well, you will behave respectfully, and so will your wife. But love? I think love for parents is so innate that you cannot expect someone from another family to love your parents the way you do.

    Maybe she will. Eventually. But it can’t be an expectation. Please think about what you really want from a marriage before you get into one. Or both of you will be very disappointed…

    Like

  57. Thanks for the comments folks. Work karma finally caught up so am unable to read them yet. Will read and respond in a day.

    Like

  58. Mr.Cat,
    What do you envision your old age to be like, when you and your future wife would have grown-up children of your own?

    Like

  59. Pingback: “I am the glue in their marriage. They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  60. Pingback: Joint Family and Indian Daughters | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

    • Surely you know that love for the wife is seldom directly proportional to love for the parents. If anything, it is more apt to be inversely proprtional, at least in the Indian context where it is considered part of the duty of a son to never make any overt display of affection towards the wife.

      A guy as fanatically devoted to parents as SC cannot but make a disastrous husband.

      Like

      • SH, I have been pondering this pretty much since college (15 years).

        What exactly makes it so difficult for Indian men to be good husbands while also being good sons?

        Based on what my non-Indian colleagues and friends have told me, men in Europe and the US don’t face this on a similar scale.

        Why then is the “good son” role so in conflict with the “good husband” role here?

        Has it always been like this? I look around me and see that almost every man I know struggles with this “son/husband” conflict.

        Why is the son his parents’ keeper in our society? Has this conflict always bedeviled Indian families?

        What do you think? Love your take on things, so asking.

        Like

        • This is something that confounds me too, Biwo. I guess the answer lies in the way we bring up sons in India. They are raised to be ‘good’ sons, ever so mindful of the great sacrifices the parents made for them and ever so distrustful of all women.. These good sons, by very definition , cannot make good husbands because their good-son-training has encouraged them to have a generally misogynistic outlook.

          Why do parents feel the need to impart such training to the sons? Because traditionally sons have been seen as ‘budhape ka sahara’–the only hope of receiving elder-care when you are old and infirm–which is why they are prayed and fasted for. Now elder care is seldom provided by the son himself–it is hard work–its the DIL who has to provide it. The parents fear that she won’t do it if she can help it, i.e., if her husband (their son) loves her, stands up for her etc . Hence all these warnings against succumbing to feminine wiles and not keeping the wife under control. This is their way of trying to ensure that their son will MAKE his wife provide elder care to them when they need it.

          I suppose things have been like this since as long as arranged marriages have been in practice. If you look at it, the institution of arranged-marriage is responsible for nearly every social ill that afflicts us. Arranged-marriage is the biggest tool in the hands of patriarchy to keep women under control.

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  61. Pingback: Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  62. I haven’t gone through all the comments but I would like give my 2 cents.
    It takes a lot of time, for love to blossom between people. In an arranged marriage, even the husband and wife will find anything close to love only after considerable time. Because, here it’s not only about two individuals, but also about two roles. And it should happen from both sides. Looking at the roles of husband and wife, it’s expected of them to love each other and given the intimate bond they share, there is a chance that love may blossom.
    Now, take the roles of parents-in-law and daughter-in-law: does such an expectation exist between them? yeah, respecting and serving the in-laws is seen as a bounded duty of the DIL, but will acceptance and love come into picture? One knows what stereotype is attached to the in-laws in this society. Both the parents-in-law and DIL should first fight that stereotype before reaching the individuals inside the roles.
    As I said earlier, love takes time to happen. So, one can’t expect the new DIL to love in-laws automatically. She doesn’t share your experiences of them. She doesn’t have that bond with them and just a marriage ritual will not invoke it in her. So, how can she love your parents as much as you do? Also, what about their love for her? Will they be able to love her right from day one? Will they treat her just like they do you – not in the sense of ordering about but in the sense that they loved you since your childhood?

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  63. @IHM
    @Another Scaredy cat’s girl yours situation sounds too familiar. Stuck in same kind of situation where i have to behave my in laws want me to right from how i eat/drink/see/act and the my so liberal n cool husband also thinks that this us the only way how things should go without even realizing what i go through with all of this. All he wants is a loving family where in he is provided with a comfort zone of his parents and parents are taken care of and I..well I work work n work, I have to sit with them after coming from office even when want to cuddle into my bed for sometime and just relaxxx and read which i love. Well this is considered as being rude and then my husband tells me that this way you will be left alone so should sit with us without releasing what i want and wish to do.
    Lots of simple issues actually turn into daily hard chores and the problem is i simply cant blindly follow someone be it my husband/in laws as i have my own eyes and my own way of doing somethings.

    For @SC :: please be more sympathetic with the girl you will be going to get married as we are also humans with our own little wishes that needs to be taken care of and we also need someone to whom we can just share our thoughts blankly without being judged for good/bad, things that pinched us that sadly your parents did as there are bound to be such situations. Even if all the people in your home (your parents) and your wife n you are all goody goody there are bound to be situations of conflict as each has their own way doing and seeing things. So give a shoulder and your 2 ears to listen to her worries as well as in the end its you too who will have to live together.
    So enjoyee it🙂

    Like

      • @IHM
        yeah read it..thanks :)…you know its so sad that even well educated and independent girls finds themselves stuck in these silly(i would say) situations in which they feel helpless and alone in a family with otherwise so many members around..and there is no simple solution to it either as it depends on person to person..but then i think a girl should know the art of drawing that very important ‘line’ so as make it clear to everybody..but these things should be handled politely and intelligently as at end of the day we also dont want to spoil the mood and our own little homie..
        sadly i have yet to learn this art form😉

        Like

        • I know …I consider myself quite modern yet I find myself stuck in this situation😦

          When I protest about my situation they say that if I think the situation is so difficult and if I am so independent, why don’t I just leave? This in spite of I doing everything to please them.

          It is very suffocating because there is no ‘good enough’ reason to convince anyone of how I suffer trying to adjust to others, yet I am suffering.

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  64. @SC
    and yes i would love to add to my above comment that sometimes distance in relationships works for good…but then you are not ready to do so..well the only advice we can really give you is just be specific about your needs..or give her a reference to this blog🙂..if she still agrees she is in love with and as said Love is blind ;))….

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  65. Pingback: So what does marriage mean to traditional and conservative Indians? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  66. @Another Scaredy cat’s
    Hey yaaar….seriously there seems to be no end to it…I am going through all of this..and i am so so tired..and i was a girl who did not want to get into all of this and keep life simple..usually we live alone but with frequent visits from my inlaws and its been 2 years that i have never complained of anything to either my husband or my inlaws though there were many such things that i felt but i adjusted and forget it after they were gone…but then while writing the above comments i thought to myself that see i should also speak up and let them know that i am not willing to this or that..and since then there has been a lot that happened in just two days and now i am so so tired emotionally, physically, mentally. and all of this has made me think if i would like to continue like this for whole of life as my husband thinks there is nothing wrong in what my MIL does and that all of this is because you dont mix up well with my parents.
    I mean not even once he told me that listen i know its tough for you but you dont worry i am with you as it is all it takes to get some energy back. So all of this episode has made me realize one more of this incident i will seriously consider my other options and let them live happy with themselves and find another girl who is as per their needs or whatever i dont care.

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  67. Pingback: An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law… | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  86. Alright. I am seeing loads of arguments coming against this even before I post, because this is going to be in the same direction of the email above , but not as childish/without a spine attitude.

    Are you girls out there completely ruling out even the possibility of getting along ok with some well-educated no-drama kind of in-laws too? I guess the OP’s email title said along the lines of “loving his parents genuinely”. Didn’t read the sh* fully though.

    I understand the basic fear here is not being given the privileges in a new home setting, and in-laws ruling even the poor hubby. happens only in crappy households. I would say my wife’s parents would/should be as important as mine, not only from her viewpoint after marriage, but it should be the same for me as well ideally, especially if she is the only child. If you ask me the same question, as a guy would I be able to let go the ego and love PILs too genuinely, well, I would try, i don’t see anything to be ashamed in it, as you ppl say you are modern girls, I am a modern guy.I dont believe in age old crap , looking down upon girl’s household and not eating at in laws place etc. Now why would you ppl say it is hard to do the same in return to boys/PILs? What if the DIL gets respect, get treated as the son himself (close enough as if the PILs’ daughter) and genuinely being loved? To me that would be one normal guy’s perfect dream setting. No way you say?

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  87. Pingback: An email: ‘He made it clear to them he will not marry me without their support. He will not leave them behind… ever.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  88. Pingback: But if there is so much of hesitation in spending time to know a person… aren’t the marriage hopefuls playing with fire? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  92. You and guys like you … make this world impossible to live for a woman. What if she demands everything from you …whatever you have written here… will you be able to live with that… My opinion is don’t get married ever …live with your parents and sulk with them…Don’t destroy a woman life and make her and yours life hell.

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  93. Pingback: Not touching feet after a year of marriage is disrespect to MIL? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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