An email: He will be one of those 40 year old men lving in parents basement with a wife he never really wanted.

So 36 Biradari Panchayat in Baghpat wants no ‘love marriages’ ( i.e. Choice Marriages) and some political leaders are silent and some others insist that choice-marriages are permissible “if the parents approve”.
They don’t say that ‘semi-forced arranged marriages’ are permissible without the couple’s consent. Not eloping is seen as consent?
It seems our political leaders are taking no real action or stand  against these biradari/khap panchayats because they fear losing the votes of parents like A’s in this email. 
Hi IHM,
I am an avid reader of your blog but have never really posted. I am male living in USA. I am contacting you regarding a friend of mine who is undergoing some difficult circumstances with his family. He is male, 30. His family dynamics are very similar to the stories often published in your blog. To protect his identity I refer to him as ‘A’. I have known him for over a decade and sympathize with his position.
This guy has been living in some seriously repressive family, to be honest I am not sure how he does it, I need your advice as I feel he is close to breaking point & something serious is about to happen. I would like to help him without thrusting my view point but it is not exactly easy to do this.
First off his mother is extremely manipulative. She is over-protective, obsessive and constantly worry about how to steer the entire family in a direction which she wants. She is a master manipulator of circumstances, as a result of this A has lived in almost constant depression and stress although somehow he has managed to graduate and keep up at a decent job.
Unfortunately his father is colluding with her and the siblings rally around her to manipulate A.
The mother had already manipulated the elder brother into marriage. He too caved under stress, she broke him down just as A was broken down. Today the elder brother is childless two years into marriage and goes through regular cycles of rage & depression on what he has done. He is lost between leaving the wife and staying in the family. The mother never got along with the brother’s wife because according to A the elder DIL never accepted the mother’s controlling behaviors. The mother has tried all sorts of underhanded tactics to leave the elder brother but it never materialized. Today the parents are super nice to her face but curse her behind her back.
She was at the center stage when A was getting married, he never wanted an arranged marriage, it was thrust upon him & he caved under pressure. They went back to their homeland and got married under stress. At that stage he revealed to his parents (just before his marriage) that he his only doing it out of pressure but his parents laid some serious guilt trips on him, he once again caved under pressure. They did ask him but he felt the pressure is too great, his father turned his face away from him saying he should do what he agreed on. His mother giving him a choice yet pressurizing him at the same time, he felt extremely guilty for refusing and went ahead with the marriage.
Part of A’s predicament is that his issues go beyond marriage. The mother is controlling every aspect of his life, his marriage, she has even convinced him to stay in the family home basement. The parents are spending a load of cash to get a nice place constructed – but isn’t this just more manipulation? Handing out candies to eventually control him? So in this manner the parents have really controlled 80 percent of his life his marriage and his living situation. I feel A has been brain washed extensively and I am aching to see him being emotionally abused like this. Tomorrow the mother will control his career, his wife & any children… it will never stop.
After A came back from marriage and the fog lifted he realized what has happened. He started getting help and finally calmed down and studied his circumstances. He realized the guilty patterns and why they are occurring. I helped him a lot to see the family dynamics and realize what is really going on. He has spent time in rage and confusion. The parents are unwilling to accommodate any of his wishes, they manipulate him, guilt trip him and use the siblings to exert their point. The mother I have to say is domineering and fully planted herself in the life of her children pulling the strings as she pleases. As long as A and the siblings do what the mother wants everything is good, otherwise she goes around playing her games.
He is seriously thinking of calling off the sponsorship (his family made him sponsor his wife) & then run away from his family. That is a drastic move for sure, I don’t know what to tell him, if I were him I would be thinking like that too but there is too much at stake, family ties, a wife and uncertainty regarding the future. He says the marriage is not consummated, the wife is quite young finding another suitor will probably will be not an issue. He feels if he does not do this he will be one of those 40 year old men living in parents basement with a wife he never really wanted. Jeez what a situation.
Kindly post on this on your blog without any names mentioned. I would request A to read this with an open mind. I thank you for having an open platform like this that deals with these issues.
An Update.
Hi IHM,
There is a small update on this situation, I have come to know that he only has about 6-8 days before the sponsorship process is complete, after which the wife will be coming over. I can safely say once this happens there is no way for him to get out of this toxic environment as he will be legally bound by the Canadian laws. The parents are well aware of this and they have brain-washing, butterring and stroking his ego to stay in the marriage, they actually bullied and guilt tripped him before the marriage. He knows this now but is paralyzed by uncertainty and fear.
I have tried to talk to him objectively as there is quite a bit at stake, however he is quite distraught and leaning towards running. At the same time he is afraid of running too as he is unsure of the long term consequences of this. It seems he is losing no matter what he does. It appears to me atleast that everyone around is happy for the marriage at the cost of him.
– What would you say to A?

119 thoughts on “An email: He will be one of those 40 year old men lving in parents basement with a wife he never really wanted.

  1. Uh? Seriously, what?
    Guy married a woman because of his domineering mom. Now guy wants to run away because he does not want to be a 40-something living in his mom’s basement? And worse, he wants to do that by simply NOT sponsoring his wife’s visa? No part of this involves treating the woman he married as a human being and telling her what the predicament is (which he should have done before his wedding)? Seriously?
    I’m sorry A, you’re spineless. Take some responsibility – it’s your life and technically it’s your wife at the moment. I know, I know, family dynamics, patriarchy hurting the men as well, yada yada yada, but dude, you can fight it and not make it the master of your circumstances. At the very least your wife deserves to know why you are ‘running away’ if you plan to.

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    • Why do we have to associate men with people with spines? Most of our women issues would be solved if each of us grew spines too – we would stop street sexual harassment not ignore/pretend that it didnt happen, stand up to in-laws and tell them you are not a maid, refuse forced marriages, refuse to stay in an abusive relationship – all of these require SPINES too.

      Yet we never comment on a woman’s post that hey..grow a spine..do something about it, “I know family dynamics, patriarchy hurting the women as well, yada yada”.

      Why? Because it is insensitive. Men may have it easy in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day growing up in a toxic environment affects them too. This is probably the reason why most men dont like discussing their problems – they’re supposed to have spines and solve them, while we women are sympathized with because our lack of spine is considered commonplace.

      Yes A is being selfish, but there is a way to address that without berating him

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      • Don’t think the comment was berating at all. An adult, doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or woman who is capable of taking control and changing the situation for the better but doesn’t out of family conditioning needs to grow a spine.

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      • rd,

        In this case the ‘grow a spine’ comment was not for the parents manipulating him, it was specifically for his thoughts of ‘running away’. Manipulation and gaslighting can be hard to resist. But two things made me very angry – first, the complete disregard for the wife’s feelings, indeed, her very personhood, second, the decision to ‘run away’ despite another person being entangled in the mess. The letter talks about the marriage not being consummated, about her virginity making it easier to get over it, but is that really the point? That’s where the spine, the sense of responsibility should come in IMO. I would be very supportive to this guy to get away from his toxic parents, but setting things right wih his wife, that’s his responsibility all said and done. And yes, this does not apply just to men, I know a woman who was living with a guy in the US and married another guy in India just to keep her parents happy. That was equally wrong, debased, and worthy of condemnation.

        In short – being abused does not condone abuse or cowardice.

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      • Thank you DG, A reminds me of my previous life. This issue more than other post had me emotionally going. My only advice to A is to do what you got to do, listen to your gut and ignore everything else.

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  2. First of all, A has to realize it is not about him anymore. Another person is uprooting her life and moving to the States FOR HIM. So no matter what, he needs to talk to this person and tell her exactly how he feels. He is also obligated to go the extra mile with her because she did not sign up for this. For all you know, she thought A wanted to marry her. It is not fair.

    Second, A needs to move out of his parents basement like now. It would also be advisable to refuse to communicate with them for some time so that he can clear his head and understand his priorities. It may take weeks, it may take months. But he needs the distance. He has a job, he is financially independent, so it should not be too hard economically to make the move.

    If A wants to re-establish relationship with his parents and siblings, he needs to lay down firm rules for what is OK and what is not OK. He needs to set clear boundaries on what issues are up for discussion and what is non negotiable.

    And A should realize that he is part lucky. Atleast he realizes he has manipulative parents. Recognizing the issue is the first step towards solving it.

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  3. i say to
    A’s wife – get all your dowry/ marriage expenses and some damages (~ 50 Lakhs) for time loss/emotional turmoil etc . Let him take a loan and settle it – and by selling his inheritance- somehow.

    A- yep, you can run after you do what i said above ! nobody wants you.. make your life how u want – no one cares.

    email guy – oh such tragedy, our hearts melt for ur friend- emotional pressure/guilt trip/caving under pressure. Such miserable life – such blatant represssion – this is all gonna give me nightmares for days to come.

    IHM – why didn’t you include – what about teh menz? LOLZ!! in your tags –🙂

    copy paste from FB comments –
    Poongothai Srinivasan:IHM ! what is this, seriously so much BS I’ve never read before.
    25 minutes ago · Like
    Poongothai Srinivasan :I can rephrase the entire article in words – what would actually be the reality – but too much stuck@work.
    24 minutes ago · Like · 1
    Poongothai Srinivasan: In short – oh ‘m such a loser , I wanted all my inheritance/dowry and everything and did not have anything to say against my marriage and went ahead “married” – but for “sponsorship” – i have 1000 qualms and scared.
    23 minutes ago · Like
    Poongothai Srinivasan: because i’m such an idiot and spineless escapist – tomorrow after i bring my wife here to Canada – I can blame all my misfortune/loser-attitude- everything on her for the rest of my life, like how I do it currently on my mom.
    21 minutes ago · Like
    Poongothai Srinivasan: nope, this is not the case of “love marriage” .. A is totally incapable of loving/being loved . He is a typical whiny-loser like some other 178 men i’ve known.
    18 minutes ago · Like · 1
    Poongothai Srinivasan: why the mail has no concern for the non-entity – the wife?

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    • The best advice…. Time to grow a backbone, and fast.

      Running away is no solution. He should immediately resolve to stand up to his mother and tell his folks that enough is enough, and he is going to live his own life starting today. They might cut him off, which will anyway happen if he runs off. They might even respect him and start to leave him alone (though unlikely).

      Then he should speak to his wife and tell her he wants out of this marriage (that is, if he or she really don’t want to give it a chance) — its unfair to keep her hanging too, let her move on.

      Its not easy, but its the only way.

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  4. OMG, this story is getting so commonplace???? I have a friend whose life had turned upside down after marrying such a guy.She is divorced now but the trauma she had undergone during that whole time was too much.I think one needs to write as to how to help people who want to go for choice marriages. Will comeback later and comment more. Need to read this once again. I just wrote about a related topic on my blog. My God! I am fed up.

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  5. lets face it, we all have manipulative parents to some degree. we all have to, when then time comes, face them, and fight them, and leave them alone, till they realise that we are now adults and the dynamics of the relationship have changed – for ever.
    A never did it.
    Now, he doesnt even want to give the girl a chance. and no girl should have to face this. so please, first, if you have a job, get out of your parents’ basement – both physically and metaphorically. Move out. Give them time to understand that you have grown up. (err.. the assumption is that you have grown up).

    then, when you are ready, get into a relationship. the email doesnt mention whether a has had a reln in life.

    and pls stop being a crybaby. that privilege ends at the age of 5. in today’s world, even sooner.

    PS: the elder brother is childless after 2 years of marriage. and that is a problem because?

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    • Thats exactly what i thought too – 2 yrs into marriage and childless – so? Why do ppl in India think that women are baby popping machines and they should pop out babies straight 10 months into marriage?

      Coming to A – sorry to say, but you are being spineless. Grow up- thats all i can say. Ever thought of your wife – yes, that woman whom you married bcoz of your parents manipulation? Did she marry you with the knowledge that you were not interested and only married her bcoz you were manipulated? Did you tell her that you dont want to sponser her visa coz you dont want to live with her? What rubbish is this? I cant believe this mail – there is an innocent person involved here and the e mail writer doesnt want to even talk about it. And you have the gall to say that the marriage wasnt consummated so she can get married easily? How utterly disgusting!!!

      A – first grow up and stand up for yourself. Secondly, you owe it your wife. You CANNOT run away and ruin someone elses life for your non ability to stand up against your parents. Thirdly, talk to your wife, give her a chance.

      If you cant do the above- pls pay back all the costs incurred in the marriage to your in laws, the dowry you got etc etc.And last- think about how are you going to help the girl get out of the trauma of having been married to a slime -sorry to say this Mr.A but truly my blood boils. I am recently married and i cant even imagine how it would have been if my partner were to tell me the same thing. What about mutual trust,respect, understanding in a marriage?

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  6. What would I say to A? Hmmmm… let me think. I will say “ ‘A’ you are an idiot.” Now before everyone jumps on me and blames me for being unsympathetic towards this bungling moron just hear me out.
    Mr. A would have had all my sympathies, had he not chosen to involve an innocent woman and her family into the already messy situation he was in.
    I have been working and volunteering with DV victims for some years now and this is the story I see repeatedly occur in one form or other. The guy gets married due to his parents pressurizing him and somehow the fog lifts miraculously after the wedding. It’s not that I do not understand the power Indian parents have over their grown children and especially the kind parents exhibit towards their sons. But I have a problem when the abused turns into an abuser.
    While I would never recommend staying in a loveless marriage, Mr. A has to understand that a woman is not a shirt or a device that you can return if you don’t like it after purchasing. The LW has not mentioned that there is anything wrong with the wife itself, just that she was the mom’s choice not A’s. Also a couple of years down the line Mr. A will still remain an eligible bachelor even after divorce, but this woman will be deemed used goods, blamed, poked and prodded in the marriage market for no fault of hers. Not to mention the huge mental and emotional scars she may carry for a long time.
    I also get the feeling that the LW feels it may not be a good idea for Mr. A to sponsor his wife and he/she says that if he sponsors her he will be bound by Canadian laws. I don’t know how the other readers are going to respond to it but I “read” it as the LW feeling it would be easier to get rid of the wife in India than in Canada/USA.
    The only good thing I think that has come of this is Mr. A deciding to seek and get help. I’m sure therapy and counseling will help and provide him with tools and techniques to break the patterns of behavior that he has established and help him set boundaries with his family members.
    I would also ask Mr. A to have a long chat with his wife where, he starts by apologizing for bringing her into such a messy situation, tells her that he is getting help and trying to make things better and promises to make sure that she doesn’t suffer the same fate at the hands of his mother.

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    • love this. “fog lifts after marriage” – exactly!
      yes if it was before marriage – definitely would have asked him to stand up . but nope – only after marriage – and just because – scared of Canadian laws – alimony/child-support etc.
      Canadian law is not going to make him live with his wife – that only the Greatest India might do- they will just ask him to pay for that – which will not happen in India easily – inspite of hordes of men rallying
      around talking about 398A misuse .
      I had an ex-project manager , who ran away from US – leaving his wife and kid – because he did not want to pay child support. Good for the woman and to the US , though.
      But in spite of this history (he admitted to me by himself proudly – not knowing I’m a fem here -and is not a random gossip), he was a PM in a reputed company and he did not face any social discrimination – except from me.😦

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    • “and somehow the fog lifts miraculously after the wedding”

      yes, exactly! why does it ever not lift before marriage??

      “But I have a problem when the abused turns into an abuser.”

      Completely agree!

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    • Ok, so I’ve finally calmed down.

      Thank you Sharmi, Poongothai and Sushma for supporting my suggestions.

      My experience is that 8 out of 10 women who are abandoned by their spouses or choose to leave them do not want to return to Indian subcontinent. They prefer to stay in the USA/Canada. They are willing to do menial jobs like cooking, cleaning, baby sitting, ferrying kids to school, tuitions, you name it. This is in spite of having to go through a long and laborious process to get legal residency or even a work permit, when these women ( at least the well educated ) can get well paying jobs back in their home counties. Do you know why? It’s because most of them feel that they can hold their head high and go on about rebuilding their lives here, unlike in India where they will be answerable to anyone and everyone, have their freedom curtailed and worst of all their stripped of their dignity.

      I can understand what “A” has gone through. Being a child in the Indian subcontinent is sometimes akin to being the lifelong member of a cult. I mean it’s not brainwashing that these kids undergo, its indoctrination. I’m glad that this person realized that he was being manipulated and wants to get out of it, but that is no excuse for being selfish and cruel towards another human being who he brought into the his life willingly or unwillingly. The deed is done. He needs to realize that any decision he makes would likely change the course of this woman’s life forever or at least for a really long time. I do not fault him for being born into his family, but I do see a “major character flaw” in him for not revealing all of this to the woman by now.

      While I do not know the specifics in this particular case, most of the time, the bride and groom are allowed to at least talk to each other. When the LW says that “A” told his parents just before the wedding that he was only getting married because of pressure from them, I don’t know what stopped him from revealing this to the woman before the wedding, or better still at some point before her parents spent a boatload of money organizing it. At least she would have had the chance to walk away from it with her dignity and reputation intact. This is not the behavior that one expects from someone who knows what it is to not be a participant in the decision making process for one’s own life.

      It has also been my observation that many families living in the USA/Canada tend to go back to India for brides, cause they feel that most girls who were born and raised in the USA/Canada are too independent , can’t be controlled by the husband and his family and do not put up with the loads of crap that the husband and his family want to dump on the average DIL. So, they go back to the subcontinent and find the youngest, most naïve and gullible woman they can find and bring her back to be the maid and baby maker. I hope that “A” doesn’t think of his wife that way and feels that he can get away with treating her shabbily.

      Let me tell you LW, “A” has already disrespected his wife and the least he can do now is to not make life hell for her either by running away and leaving her her at the mercy of his parents once she is in the USA or abandoning her by breaking it off before she boards the plane without knowing what she wants.

      My apologies to IHM and the other readers for hogging so much comment space and for any typos present .

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      • I was also married to a mama’s boy who was withdrawn, reticent and indifferent before the wedding.

        I blame myself for not seeing the red flags and for naively thinking that his reticent behavior was due to the recent death of a parents.

        The only advice I can give to any woman reading this thread is — if you have misgivings and a bad feeling about your impending marriage, DO NOT ignore it.

        ACT ON IT. Postpone the wedding if you don’t want to; call it off.

        NEVER marry a man if your gut is telling you otherwise. Trust your instinct.

        It’s taken me years to get over this feeling of having been cheated and duped. Ladies, DO NOT marry a man you know very little about and whose behavior mystifies and unsettles you.

        These are warning signs and should be paid heed to.

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        • I agree 100% with what you’ve said Biwo, but unfortunately young women in India do not have that choice.

          Many times the “getting to know” phase happens after saying yes to getting married and even if the girls suspect something is wrong and do not want to go through with marrying the guy, their doubts, questions and fears are minimized or even shushed. The worst part is being withdrawn, indifferent or reticent can be considered manly qualities and would never qualify for a cancellation or even postponement of a wedding.

          A wedding is never postponed or cancelled by the girls side unless there is an extreme circumstance like the guy being already married.

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        • @Desi Woman, I am pleased to report that things are a-changing, slowly but surely.

          One of my cousins was engaged to marry a rather well-to-do guy and her parents were mighty proud of having found such a groom for their daughter.

          One day the guy called my cousin. She was busy at work and could not answer the call. The guy made a couple more calls, both went unanswered .

          When my cousin finally got the time to call him back, the guy was sputtering with rage–HOW DARE she not answer his calls???

          My cousin was very upset and let her parents know. That very evening her father called the father of the guy to say that they were calling it off. The guy’s father couldn’t believe his ears and demanded to know the reason. When told, he was incredulous–for such a small thing you are calling off a wedding?

          Well, too bad for the guy’s father, but many girls are increasingly finding the courage to say no over such ‘small’ things. What’s more, their parents stand by them too!!

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  7. Erm, more than his mother, I feel anger towards A himself. His mother is dominating and all that (for whatever reasons), but he belongs to a ‘so called’ progressive generation where speaking one’s mind is easier than what it was during his mother’s time. And just because he could not be firm enough and speak his mind before he got married (just saying what you want before the marriage does not account to speaking one’s mind) and did not stand upto what he felt was right he is not even giving his wife an explanation to his behaviour of withdrawing the sponsorship! He didnt have the spine to speak up when he had the chance, and he does not have a spine to speak up now! I do not really feel pity for him. He knows what he is doing is not right by succumbing to his mom’s wishes and this itself is the biggest step in bringing about a change. Knowing that one needs to bring about a change. and yet he choses to run away.
    My suggestion: Talk to the wife and take her into confidence. Talk to her if “she” wants to stay married to him or whether she was also forced into the marriage. Please do take her to be your equal in making whatever decision, even if that decision is to go your separate ways. Once you sort out the situation from your wife, then tell your parents that you wish to “run away” from them.

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  8. I am sorry! Your friend A is just acting immaturely. So to prove a point he is punishing his innocent wife? Why drag her into this mess in the first place?
    What is done is done. Running away is never a solution. His wisdom lies in doing something to be assertive with is mother. Why not instead go with an open mind into this marriage and cut contact with his mother for a while.

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  9. Wow this is as bad as it gets. No don’t run away it will open a new can of worms, although he has been miserable he has got to give the girl a chance, he might like her. I think he should talk to the wife and confide in her his concerns, something good may come off that.

    No I don’t think he is a terrible dude, he has been run over too many times. He needs to exert himself more and take things as they come not pre-assume what will happen.

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  10. It would have been interesting to see some of the responses if the positions of the guy/girl are switched. Usually in these situations women are sided with but I can almost gurantee nobody would give two hoots about the guy if the roles are switched.

    No I don’t think what he is planning to do is right. But what was done to him was also not right. It seems the parents are your typical narcissistics. This is so common, by the time people realize what has happened it is too late, when will this change …

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    • /I can almost guarantee nobody would give two hoots about the guy if the roles are switched./
      I can guarantee that nobody would be condoning the behaviour of the girl in the reverse scenario either.

      I am pretty sure there would have been outrage over the plight of the guy stuck in that scenario too –just that nobody would be too worried about his marital prospects in the future. The fact is that divorced men do not face the same discrimination in the marriage market that divorced women do. That’s why women divorcees get more sympathy on this forum.

      /But what was done to him was also not right./
      Why did he allow them to do whatever was done to him? Men who don’t have the guts to stand up to their parents have only themselves to blame for their plight. In any case he has no right to take it out on the poor girl who was made to marry him.

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      • I believe your last paragraph is precisely what Glacier is alluding too. Would you say the same about a woman who couldn’t stand up to her parents?

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        • Okay, let me try to explain my POV.

          I would say EXACTLY the same about a woman who lives abroad and is well-employed ( as A seems to be) and yet allowed her parents to marry her off to some guy she couldn’t care less about( as A did). I would have nothing but sympathy for the poor innocent guy who married her in good faith.

          The only difference would be that the episode would not really harm the guy’s marital prospects thereafter, while a woman in such a scenario(A’s current wife) will forever be blamed and shamed for that sham of a marriage and her marital prospects will be adversely affected in no small way.

          Which I think is why A will be coming in for more brickbats than a woman in his place–even though the quantum of the wrongdoing would be the same, the consequences faced by the innocent spouse will differ in severity.

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      • “Why did he allow them to do whatever was done to him?”

        He probably did try to stop it but the parents did not care. They did it anyway, he broke down. Yup his fault – easy to say not easy to walk someone else’s shoes. I don’t think he needs a spine – that is just ridiculous. What he needs to do is make a firm decision on what he wants – whether he has to ‘run away’ to enforce that is irrelevant.

        I have absolutely zero interest in the marriage succeeding or failing, I am interested to see what he does. And yes I hope that he tells the girl and gives his family a good kick in the back side.

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    • I beg to disagree Glacier. I am sure if the roles had been reversed, everyone would have reprimanded the girl too for not giving the husband a chance and acting immaturely. Of course, advice would have been different since in our country, if a man is divorced, the way our regressive society sees him is different from the way it views a woman who is divorced- but of course, the pain the man would go thru in such a situation is the same. Somehow, this reminded me of a beautiful tamil movie by Mani Ratnam called Mouna Ragam where the heroine asks the hero for divorce first day into marriage because she couldnt stand up to her parents. (eventually, she falls for him- and its a movie) but point is you cannot generalize

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      • Agree. I sympathised with Revathi (heroine) in the movie when I was younger but now I sympathise more with Mohan (hero) in the movie. I am sure Glacier if the roles were reversed, the plight of the innocent guy would definitely have been highlighted.

        And A definitely grow up, stand up or do whatever the hell you want, stop being self-centered and get out of your self pity. Speak to your wife and sort it out. She deserves to know.

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  11. Its a sad state of affairs. A should get out of his parent’s house, start life anew, seek help, confide in wife. The closest relationships can be the most toxic. How can a person be so heartless and manipulative towards their own children! Do they have no moral compass?

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    • No matter how cruel they are, parents always think they are doing everything for the good of their children. It is that almost divine thing attached to parenthood that makes them think this.

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  12. I would sympathize with this guy, if he had taken the decision to *run away* before he got married to the woman.
    Now, for no mistake of hers, this woman will be ostracized by society. She may still find someone willing to marry her, but it will be difficult.

    The worst part is, whatever decision he takes now, the woman will suffer either way.

    1. He stays with her – and seeing his attitude – she will be stuck in a loveless marriage with a guy who will resent her for HIS mistake.
    2. He divorces her before she reaches Canada – social ostracization in India, mental and emotional trauma (she will likely think it’s HER fault he didn’t want her).
    3. He divorces her AFTER she reaches Canada – she will still go through emotional and mental trauma of a divorce, all because a guy couldn’t stand up to his parents.

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  13. A, grow a spine. Learn to stand up for yourself.
    Running away isnt going to help if you cant stand up for youself.

    What both the writer and A missed out on is that the wife is a real live person. What about her? Her feelings? She just got married for heaven’s sake. And she’s all set to give up everything she knows and loves to move to a new place just for A.

    >> He says the marriage is not consummated, the wife is quite young finding another suitor will probably will be not an issue.

    Huh!? Really? Is that what you think? Do you know what divorce feels like? Do you have any idea what shit a divorced woman (even if ‘young’ and ‘virginal’) goes through? What about the trauma this girl and her family will have to face.

    Seriously dude – both A and the writer – grow up.

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    • >> He says the marriage is not consummated, the wife is quite young finding another suitor will probably will be not an issue.

      Does it mean if the divorce gets through the wife should advertize this fact to her prospective groom ? Does this imply that she is not been “used” by ny other man ? That itself i a disgusting thought.
      We come back to square one here – virginality of a woman is a virtue ? ???

      I just cannot sympathize/understand the LW who uses such words for a woman.

      Like

      • The statement is actually funny, I am legally single because my marriage was anulled as it did not get consummated. But it does not change anything, and what does this really mean….I had to go about giving lengthy explanations, when I decided keep the status as divorced is a lot easier

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  14. Im a little disappointed by the comments. Why are we treating him differently because he is a man?

    A…you screwed up. Everybody does. Now you have a choice to fix it, or ruin your wife’s life forever by running away/shirking responsibility. Talk to her, see what she thinks. Get to know her, and unless she is as conniving as your mother, you might at least get a friend who supports you in the form of a wife. And if it doesnt seem like it will work, then as a couple decide upon divorce. You are both adults, and she has a say in this as well. By not sponsoring her you are ruining her life, as everyone back home will wonder what she did to turn you off/deserve this fate.

    If you are living abroad, see a therapist.

    PS.Nobody ever looks at a divorcee as “virginal”.

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    • @ rd I don’t think we’re treating him differently because he is a man. I remember there was an email writer who didn’t want to marry a guy she was engaged to. I believe the comments were similar – many people raised the question of the feelings of the guy involved. The key point is whether the wedding has taken place or not.
      People are more forgiving of a broken engagement than of a broken marriage. It is harder for both men and women to get married after a divorce (not impossible, just harder).

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    • Why are you disappointed by the comments? I’m genuinely curious. They seem to be reasonable on the whole – A has been weak, he exhibited spinelessness by getting married when he didn’t want to, now he’s very close to completely ruining the life of the innocent woman he married – what’s wrong with pointing that out?

      I myself would be a bit more sympathetic towards A’s situation – hundreds of thousands of women have been manipulated by family and/or put themselves in the situation of being married when they didn’t want, to someone they didn’t want – BUT for the fact that as a man, it’s infinitely easier for him to run away from a marriage and wreck a woman’s life.

      How many women would or could or did run away from their husband in a similar situation… AND continue to be accepted openly and without nasty insinuations by Indian society, whether in India or abroad??? Damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. And to have this happen to A’s wife when it was not her choice to be caught up in the consequences of his spineless behaviour…well, my sympathy goes to her, not him.

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    • Does it matter anyhow if the divorcee is seen as virginal or not. If she could somehow prove that she is a virgin does it make the situation alright ?
      Her being a virgin or not – her virginity being accepted by society or not – This is totally irrelevant.

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  15. Um. A, seriously, I know how you feel but this kinda thing is NOT RIGHT. Ok?
    I know I’m supposed to be helping and everything, but you seem to be brought up in an environment which treats wife as subservient slaves with no real control over their lives. Your wife is a HUMAN BEING. Yep. So. Talk to her, ask her what she wants, and if your wishes don’t match, find a middle path.
    Obviously, your wife may be socialised to give your wishes preference over hers, but if you feel that she IS doing that, tell her to be frank and open.
    Find a middle path. She may want to stay married (because, ahem, y’know, NRI and everything). Tell her why you don’t want HER to stay in the relationship -:

    1. Abusive Mom
    2. Generally manipulative family
    3. How messed up YOU are.

    Now, its totally possible she may be hurt. Tell her ITS NOT HER FAULT. Its YOURS.

    Whatever, my point is – do not let HER feel guilty for YOUR actions. Do not blame HER or try to emotionally manipulate HER.

    And, well, you know what else to do –

    Get out of the basement. ASAP

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  16. A, have heart and faith. You are independent and grown up and now have a wife too. Realize your responsibility towards her. Take a day’s time off from your job, don’t tell your parents, go somewhere you can think. And think hard. What is it that you really want from your life? As I can gather from this letter, living with your parents will not be the aim of your life. Make a list of action items for yourself and ACT. For heavens sake ACT on those items and ACT QUICK. Do what you’ve always wanted to do. Be free. Talk to your lawfully wedded wife and see how she sees this problem. It will cause her pain. Apologize to her for being the reason for her pain and ask her for her help in resolving this. Try to understand her and her situation. See if you can both make a life together, outside the clutches of your parents. If not part. It will be hard for you both no doubt. But it has to be done for the eventual peace of mind. It’s only one life. Don’t end up regretting on your death bed. Stand up and fight while you still can.

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  17. I have no fresh advice for A that others have not already offered.
    I only have a suggestion to the email writer.
    Can he please forward this email and all these comments to that unfortunate wife?
    The email writer is confiding in us, total strangers.
    He should be alerting the wife to this situation.
    She is the one affected. Not us.
    After reading this and knowing her situation, let the wife take her own decision whether or not to join this husband abroad.

    Regards
    GV

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  18. Its terrible, there is going to be pain no matter what he does, it seems the ‘least damage’ is if he decides to go through with the marriage and give the woman a chance. Ofcourse given his current predicament it does not appear the marriage will go down too well, this whole thing will blow up sooner or later. I seriously doubt the parents will magically let him live his own life, if they haven’t stopped stomping over him at marriage they will not stop in the future. Thankfully no children are involved.

    Don’t let the parents off the hook, they have a played a huge role in this mess. Some ‘feminist’ posters have been minimizing the manipulative parents – rubbish, they were there they played there part. These parents are always are the hub of these scenarios, sure they had there reasons but look what is has done. Don’t cast it aside as trivial.

    I have been through this, mother inducing guilt, father the angry yes man & the siblings cooperating with the parents. I feel for him I do, I feel for the girl too – she has done nothing wrong. I think A should tell her the truth and know what she wants. Go from there, if it ends up in divorce so be it atleast it would be for the right reasons. No you won’t be ruining her entire life, this is just idealistic bullshi* don’t fall for it. Get up & fight for your life, it is clear nobody else will.

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    • Glacier. Unfortunately in India, divorce DOES ruin a woman’s ENTIRE life. I’m divorced, and I live like a hermit.

      Even educated, middle-class families treat divorced women with just that hint of disdain. It’s enough for you to know unmistakeably that you’re a persona non-grata.

      You have to grow a thick skin to ignore that kind of isolating behavior.
      It doesn’t matter if you have a kind, loving heart, strength of character, humility, intelligence, talent, education, accomplishment, beauty — being divorced is such a big character flaw that it outweighs everything else you do or achieve in life.

      The stigma of divorce is lifelong and can only be removed by remarriage. For a divorced woman, remarriage is also a daunting prospect and the pickings are slim.

      A divorced woman is about as welcome in Indian society as somebody with leprosy.

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  19. Why run now? Wait for a child to enter the story!

    This guy is developing a spine too late. Please do not ruin the life of the woman you have married. When you got into this arranged marriage, you did not love this woman, so go on to spend a life with her keeping this in mind. There is no need to change your equation with her. She might be your perfect partner. Do not treat her as a problem.
    What you really need to change is this – tell your parents exactly what you think about them and you are not going to take the manipulations any more. Then take your wife and leave.

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  20. I am a little concerned about the comments that seem to have different standards for men and women. When a woman is the victim of patriarchy, there is no question of unanimous support going out to her. And that is how it should be. But when a man is the victim of patriarchy, he is simply told to get a backbone? If we expect men and women to act differently in the face of adversity, then are we not practising the same discrimination that originally led to this gender divide?

    I have complete sympathy for the man. A suggestion I have is that he could sponsor the woman and make a deal with her. Once she is in Canada, they can get a divorce by mutual consent and go their separate ways. But if not possible for some reason, I would advise the man to run in whatever way he wants, to save his own skin. His first duty is to himself. This is the advice I would give any woman, and I prefer to give the man the same advice.

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    • I agree but dont you think there is another catch here? After getting divorced, the guy might find another girl very easily. But imagine the girl’s life. She would be taunted all her life that the guy ran away because she was not good…

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      • Well, this exact thing has happened to my friend, and all I can say is that her life is happier now post-divorce. She is free to leave home, live by herself, visit her friends, do whatever she pleases because she is already ‘spoilt’. She once told me that the divorce was the best thing that has happened to her.

        The woman might find herself better off as a divorced woman standing on her own two feet than as the wife of a man purposefully dependent on someone who has no feelings whatsoever for her.

        That said, he can help her as the fellow victim of a sadistic society, perhaps by helping her out with contacts and jobs. But expecting him to remain a victim so that the partner’s life path goes as anticipated is asking way too much.

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        • I agree a divorce (hell this can even qualify for an annulment if the girls family wants it), would set her free, people think this is bad, it will be 100x worse later on. Some of the posters are speaking out of emotion, yup the girl is getting the rough side of it but so is the guy.

          If the marriage goes through this guy will have to pretend a healthy marriage because this would be the only way to prevent further conflict, they BOTH will probably never get out of the parent’s basement and she will hate him for it anyway.

          It’s all about damage control here, the damage is already inflicted, it cannot be fixed to the ideal scenario. It is what it is – a disaster. Somebody please shoot the parents!

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    • true his first duty is to save himself – but he himself is responsible for the messed-up situation. He should have saved himself before he involved another human being into this messy equation. And now as an adult with full conciousness regardless of the manipulation, A has linked his wife’s life into his. So now it is his moral duty to stand by his decission. He no longer has the liberty to rescue himself only – he took it upon himself the duty to rescue his wife too from this situation.
      Better example would be – what if now comes a child in the picture – if he brings a child in this world (though he can choose not to invbolve himself) would the advice be – you did not want a child – it was a manipulation – you were just an accidental sperm doner- save urself. ?????
      No one here is advising him to stay in an unhappy marriage rather asking him to grow a spine and take matters in his hands instead of running away.
      Can happen that his wife turns out to be a clingy woman who may not want to leave him. What does the poor man do in this case ? But you see he himself is responsible for creating this situation and he himself should handle it. His wife did not marry him with the knowledge that he is not an interested party but rather he is marrying her under influence/manipulation of his family. If he had made matters clear to her beforehand it would have been a different matter altogether.
      Punishing his wife because she is weaker and seems like dependent on him is no sign of a god human being. If he wants to take charge of his life he has to start by rectifying his mistakes. His biggest mistake here is to get another person involved. After he clears up this issue he is free to do what he wants with his life.

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      • “He should have saved himself before he involved another human being into this messy equation.”
        Another classic. When a woman is forced into marriage, she is the victim. When a man is, he is responsible for the situation because of course, men are never victims. Only emotionally infalliable perpretators.

        Your comment about ruining her life comes from the same can that emotional blackmailing parents draw their rhetoric from. How different is the ‘you are ruining her life’ argument from the ‘we bore you for 9 months and brought you up…’? Both are equally sound and equally manipulative blah-blahs to maintain the status quo.

        I rather loved the ‘he must be gay’ part. Yet another classic. Ah men, they can’t stop themselves from putting their dicks into any female who is ‘available’, can they? If they don’t there must be some problem with their sexual orientation.

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        • Why can’t a man be confused? Why can’t his fog lift after marriage (just like an assertive woman’s fog lifts after marrying into a conservative family). Why call him spineless and heartless and selfish without giving him a chance?

          To the LW – Yes, he should talk to his wife.
          Has she done him any harm?
          Does he think that she has a different wavelength?
          Maybe she is putting up a different appearance to please him and his MIL.
          Ask him to have a heart-to-heart.

          If he still wants to leave her, it’s better to tell her face-to-face and discuss her available options.

          I am sure he is saturated with all the emotional drama in his life, but trust me, opening up to the only person who has had no hand to play in this situation will make him feel better, in the long run. At least he wont lead the rest of his life in guilt.

          And yes, her virginity or lack of it is immaterial in this discussion – it was insensitive of him to tell you that, and more so for you to share it with us as if it would be alright for him to divorce her because she is a virgin.

          If you whole heartedly support your friend in his quest to break free, make sure he doesn’t run away one fine night. I am not sure if the parents are dependant on him (or how the visas are related), but he ought to talk to the brother, talk about sharing the financial burden (if the parents aren’t idependant) and obviously, talk to his wife. He ought to tie all the loose ends before he can break free.

          An independant and happy life cannot start from cowardice and guilt. He still has to like himself, and more importantly, not feel sorry for himself to start an assertive life.

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    • I don’t see any gender biased advice posted here. Had A been a woman she would still need to confide in her spouse and sort the matter out.
      Once one has committed to a relationship ( also officiated by the state here) one is bound to give more time to sort it out rather than chickening out when it’s time to face the consequences.

      Now, had A’s wife been abusive or manipulative (like his mother), I’m sure every sane person here would’ve advised him to scram. That too would hold had A been a woman.

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      • Swarup,
        I am sure the essence of the advice could have been the same, but the tone would have been different. We would have been sympathetic for the female (“I think you should talk to your husband”, “You haven’t told us how the husband is with his wife – is he just a mute spectator”, “Talk to the husband an give him an ultimatum – if he is ready to move out with you, then they can be together”), while the tone for the male is decidedly accusatory (“Grow a spine”, ” You are ruining her life”, “What about the poor girl?”, “Instead of running away why dont you stand up to your beliefs”). It is the inherent belief the patriarchy affects women only, and makes a man dominant. He has no right being non-assertive.

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        • Archana, while the male victims of a forced marriage deserve as much sympathy as do female victims, the consequences of marital breakdown are not equal for men and women.

          A broken marriage is a mere blip in a man’s life. He can rebuild it, move on, remarry and still hold his head high.

          A woman bears a disproportionate amount of blame for divorce in India. Her life changes drastically, for the worse after divorce.

          Very few women succeed in leading stigma-free lives after divorce.

          Even battered women are stigmatised after divorce, for no fault of theirs. I was also married to a mama’s boy and am now divorced.

          Most people I know blame me for the divorce. It’s taken me an immense amount of self-healing and meditation to accept that I cannot change what people think of me.

          Based on my own experience, I would urge the LW to ensure that A’s wife is divorced in Canada and has a chance to rebuild her life there.

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    • Fem, I felt the same way about the comments. Men can be victims of patriarchal conditioning too. They need support the same way women do. I am pretty sure the word ‘spineless’ wouldn’t have been used for a woman victim. A is here for third party opinion just the way the women are here. We shouldn’t judge him.

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      • I also absolutely fail to understand why taking a divorce from a woman he never wanted to marry in the first place is seen as ‘ruining the poor girl’s life’. I think it is a perfectly acceptable reason to divorce someone if you don’t want to spend your life with them. The woman will face some harsh penalties, but in time, she herself will become a stronger person. It surely is better than living a life of restriction, and popping out baby after baby, and suffering mental anguish because no one really loves you?

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        • Agree whole heartedly. Women who stay are much worse off, freedom is a beautiful thing. Having children to cure the depression is usually what follows, it’s a cycle.

          I strongly think it is the lure of freedom that his driving A to run. I know that feeling quite well. Although I disagree with his way of doing it I understand the motives as ‘selfish’ as they maybe to outsiders.

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  21. He says the marriage is not consummated,
    classic case of a guy who is GAY who is unwilling to mention it for obvious reasons.
    Trapped a girl , now wants to get away

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    • If he is gay, then that is doubly serious.
      He had no business to get married in the first place.
      His cowardice has caused an innocent girl to suffer.
      My sympathies are entirely with the girl, whether this guy is gay or not.
      At least now, let him come out with the facts and seek the girl’s pardon and offer to agree for a divorce after compensating her and her parents financially at least.
      The emotional damage to the girl can never be compensated but hopefully time will heal the wounds.

      Regards
      GV

      Like

    • I some how think, you are right, the signs are clear to me that he is gay no doubt about it. May be he is scared on how that would be looked at by his parents.

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      • Unlike common perception, not all men are willing to screw any living female that they can get hold of. I guess according to this logic, anyone who gets a chance but does not rape, must be gay as well.

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    • No I don’t think is gay, in some muslim cultures I have seen that term being used. I believe Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi muslim cultures express it this way, I don’t think it is derogatory, it is just a way of saying it. I believe it simply means a ‘rukhsati’ (departure from parental house) has not taken place after the marriage. It is often not the marriage but the ‘rukhsati’ that is viewed as the official start of the marriage.

      This is very depressing, I don’t wish this on anyone.

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      • And I heard of a man who went to court because his wife didnt sleep with him on the first night. And the court agreed with him by calling it mental cruelty on the wife’s part…

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        • “And I heard of a man who went to court because his wife didnt sleep with him on the first night.”
          And its connection to this individual is? Women who objectify and stereotype men shouldn’t complain when they are objectified and stereotyped.

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  22. I do not know what to support: staying married or getting divorced, but I am seeing a real-life scenario in my office. My manager got married against his wishes. He proudly proclaims that he wanted to stay unmarried all his life. His wife used to work with a big company and has been part of a team that built some very widely used patented products. She stopped working after marriage (or could be childbirth since I know her since last year only). All of us know that he hates her to the core. He sits in office complaining to everyone about his kid. She is around 3-4. He finds her very irritating. He finds his wife even more irritating. He was heard telling a colleague that his wife wants another kid but he said NO. When his family is here with him he stays in office all the time. When they go to India for vacation he comes late and go home early. We have seen him closing the door of the lift when he saw her coming. She was hardly 2 feet away. We were present with him and found it extremely embarrasing. He doesnt take them out anywhere.
    Last month we heard a news that we are all being sent back to India by year end. He sent his family back immediately explaining that his daughter would find it difficult to get admission in schools if she doesnt go now. But when he got news that he would be staying back till next year he was super happy. Because he is not planning to get his family back. It is visa renewal time and he is not renewing his family’s visa.
    We feel extremely bad for his wife. God knows why she got married to him and why she is stll with him. Maybe it’s the Indian mentality of “Adjust maadi”. But I can see where A’s life is heading if he stays with his wife.

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  23. A everyone has been telling you how spineless you are and you should grow up. I agree with everyone here but let me tell you I also sympathise with you because my husband was in the same situation like you are. So I totally get the pain and the suffering you are going through and why you want to run away.

    I have never met 2 parents who are more heartless then my husband’s parents. I would like to call them providers not parents because they have never been supportive or encouraging towards him. My husband’s mother is extremely manipulative and his father just toes the line. She is critical, rude and extremely demanding.

    My husband grew up to be a man who was unsure of himself and even now at 34 doubts everything he does. He thinks about every action he has to take 100 times resulting in being someone who comes across as not confident at all. He has no faith in himself and his ability to be anything in his life. During my last visit I had my mom in law tell my FIL how stupid and idotic my husband is and he has no sense.

    My husband has never fought with his parents nor does he back answers. He just clamps up and does not respond no matter what they say. When we got married we stayed with them for a year and in that one year I realised why he he was not close to his parents and why he is the way he is. Thankfully he took things in his hands and we moved away from them first to a different house and then a different country. We started to meditate and made a pact that nothing his parents say would effect our marriage. We have been married for 8 years now and still don’t have kids. Imagine what shit we both have to go through because of that from his parents. But nothing touches us now because we don’t let it. Infact everytime his mother acts funny we both laugh now and talk it out and then forget about it the next day.

    And believed me life changed for us. He is now a more happy and content man although he still doubts himself. But I am there to support him and guide him to make sure he does not fall.

    So as everyone said you need to do 2 things.

    1) Stand up for yourself and move out of your parents house as soon as possible. They will cry, beg, manipulate even more. Your mother might even pretend to be sick to get her way around but hopefully by now you know all her tricks and you will stand your ground. Remember you are an adult and as your friend said you are smart enough to hold a job so cutting off the umbilical cord is not going to cripple you.It is liberating actually. My husband tells me how he feels alive now that he can live his life on his own terms.

    2) Confide in your wife. Do you realize in your attempt to break free you are destroying this poor girls life who has not done anything to you. She would be having a 100 dreams that she will soon get to be with you and spend her life with you. Hell she might even be in love with you by now if she is like any other girl. Don’t you think you are doing the same thing to her what your mom does to you i.e breaking her spirit and making her hate life. Can you imagine what she would go through. Why cut her a bad deal because of what you are going through. I would advise you to pick your wife up from the airport and just take her to your new home. Take a few days off from work..spend time with her..get to know her…tell her what you have been through and then decide on how you want to move ahead.

    Your life is in your hands my friend. Don’t let it slip past you. STAND UP…HAVE FAITH

    Hugs — do let us all know how you changed your life .

    Like

  24. ‘A’ has been gaslighted by his parents for a very long time. By the time he realized it, he had involved an innocent person (wife) in this imbroglio. Under whatever circumstances he got married, his wife is at no fault. She needs to know the truth. She needs to feel respected. Let her know the facts and let her make a decision about what she wants to do. She might be already suspecting something’s wrong based on A’s behavior. Her gut must be telling her something.She might actually feel relieved to know the truth. And she deserves to know the truth.

    A, as far as your relation with your parents goes, you need to move out, get your own space and eventually learn to stand up for yourself. I dont think the presence/absence of a wife should foil your plans of moving out. A therapist will help you go through this. Seek a therapist immediately.

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  25. Funny how the whole thing is about only how A and his predicament. The wife is not a part of the equation at all. Is she educated? Working? From a society that treats it kindly if the ‘husband’ just vaporizes? And does not blame her for a failed marriage that has not even begun?!! In a country where even educated, working, women find themselves trapped in unexpected situations, where does A’s wife belong? All this thinking and the brilliant idea of running away did not flash before he married? And for heaven’s sake, A is educated and contemplating a life abroad? Am sure the girl will be better off without suffering a repressive home and a husband who cannot stand up for himself. But then, he owes her an explanation.. For all you know, A and his wife could get lucky and find love in the marriage.. There have been positive arranged marriage stories too.. But to make or break should be their mutual decision, not just A’s or his mother’s!!

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  26. I know a girl who got married to a guy quite similar. After the marraige, from day one the guy started giving her the cold shoulder. She was simply clueless as to the reason for his behavior. When she mustered up enough courage to ask, he replied that he did not want to marry at all but did so because his family emotionally manipulated him. He still was close to his parents after his marriage, but treated the wife as an intruder which was totally unfair to her. He wouldn’t speak to her and just went about his life as if she did not exist. When his parents died (within an year of marriage) he completely neglected her. One day she went back home (going home is not frowned upon in our community, women do visit parents) and he has not called. She is still waiting with fond hopes that he will change his mind one day and call her back, in spite of all that she has gone through.
    I don’t know what to say about spineless men who cannot stand up to parents. Like someone has said above women who cannot stand up to parents are also spineless. The difference is that a man can walk out and start a new life without anti-social elements or society making life difficult for him. No one is going to harass a lone man as a woman. Women in larger numbers have a spine from what I have noticed. Staying at your in-laws place, retaining your sanity and making your life work without support from even the husband takes a lot of spine on the part of women. Keeping silent in the presence of parents, not admitting to problems and letting wife fend for herself with HIS parents is what most men do and hardly requires any spine.
    I for one have only one suggestion to this man. Your parents manipulating you? Stand up and walk out of their lives. Make your own. It is not that difficult. If feelings of guilt plague you, go for counselling to get out of the manipulative influence/guilt.

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  27. IMO A has 2 choices.

    1. Talkto his wife, explain everything, give her the choice to separate and recompense her adn admit GUILT ( this is important especially if she’s in india ) so she can be free and decide if to marry again, whom to marry etc., without society putting this whole BS of failure on her and this needs to be done BEFORE she sets foot in a diff country. whicle she is on her home turn and has the support of her folks nearby. not transplanted into a psycho family and dumped on.

    2. Separate from influence of mommy , move out, try to build a life with his wife for all we know they could be a great compatible pair and definetly go for counselling.

    Now if i were the wife i would certainly prefer option1, but again i don’t speak for all girls in india. the first yr is hard enough with love and passion thrown in🙂 this is like a worst case scenario, man is depressed, maybe didn’t want to get married to me ,mom is a controlling manipulative phsycho, dad is an accomplice and sibling have their own agenda, why on god’s green earth would i want IN into this family and be a partner for this man.

    marriage is anot an alter for sacrifice, it’s a bond of love, trust, passion and companionship. I see not one element for a hapy marriage here not for the man nor for the woman and a bad history thrown in…uggh what a mess.. first release the girl or else at the very least enlighten her to her Plight and GIVE HER A CHOICE.

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  28. If he’s going to run A has no choice but to stop the wife from coming.i can imagine the scene– wife lands in canada, A flees and MIL turns her attention to DIL – arrey mere beta was so good, tumne kya kiya . you came and he ran away – it MUSt be your fault and therein begins a life of misery for the poor unsuspecting girl…..
    uggghhh grown men educated with absolutely no akal, dimaag etc., we produce them in droves….

    Like

  29. I see letters like this and want to publish them as ads on Shaadi.com for all prospective brides/grooms/family(s)!!!
    @A – Mate!!! Really?!? Your physical age may be 30 but mentally you seem to be stuck at the angst of 14. There is an expiry data on when one has to stop blaming ones parent(s)/family for all of the problems in one’s life. Is your mom a master manipulator? The answer to that is most likely a “YES”, but blaming HER for YOUR inability to stand up and live YOUR life is NOT a plausible answer for a 30 year old ADULT!!! Acknowledge THAT first. Second, “run away” THAT is your BIG PLAN!! Again I ask what are you 14?!? Running away is NOT going to mark your standing up to your mother (or really any true marker of adulthood) I think if anything it just proves that YOU need HER to RUN YOUR LIFE!! Finally, that girl you married deserves to know the truth which is – The man she is married to DOES NOT WANT to be married to her. The whys are really secondary. Further you know that manipulation act your mom does on you…guilt, woe is me card that she plays…what the hell do you think you are playing now??? Dude you have learnt the worst of your behaviours from the master of the game, recognise that. This girl you married (I refuse to call her you wife) deserves to at least decide if she wants you or not, wants to try at this marriage or not, wants to even bother coming to the US or not. Give her that at least.
    @ All the commentors outraged that others are harsh to A – What just because he is a guy, we all need to protect his flower petal ego?? He is an ADULT…NOT stuck in some sort of endless ADOLESCENCE where all advice needs to be sugar coated!!

    PS – I am NOT even getting into the whole virginity issue (How do you even know?!?), where the girl he is married to gets to have all decisions made for her by the LW and A. (Where is that pillow I can now scream into!!)

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    • Dee,
      There was a diary of a married girl I read a few weeks back, where, after facing a lot of pressure from her family, her In-laws, and her non-compatibility with her husband, she committed suicide.

      Now, if the same girl has written a letter here before suicide, would you have said – “What just because she is a girl, we all need to protect her flower petal ego?? She is an ADULT…NOT stuck in some sort of endless ADOLESCENCE where all advice needs to be sugar coated!! ” It is not the ego that is being protected – it is trying to stand in the man’s (woman’s) shoes, feel their depression and helplessness and try to find out how they can help themselves.
      Finally, advice need not be sugar coated – but they definitely don’t have to be barb-wired either.

      Here is a guy who DOES NOT know what to do – his being adult has nothing to do with it – he is just confused. Doesn’t a man have the right to be confused at 30 – is he supposed to become an adult miraculously after he crosses 14? Is it difficult to accept that he is a tad different from you?
      “There is an expiry data on when one has to stop blaming ones parent(s)/family for all of the problems in one’s life.” – I hate it when men AND women end up blaming their parents for their issues. But that’s what we all do right? We blame our parents and in-laws for their patriarchial outlook and for moulding them or runing their childhood/teenage years. It is not wrong to blame the parents, it is wrong to not realise what the problem is and not take the right corrective measures. He is saturated and thinks running is the ultimate solution – all we have to do (or the LW has to do) is show the other, better options.

      Like

      • Archana Sweety was in the situation of A’s wife. Smartu had married her against his wishes, under pressure from his parents. The women in both the cases were unaware of the man’s unwillingness to marry them.
        And both were likely to be more affected by both the marriage and divorce. They were likely to be seen as responsible for not winning over the husbands’ hearts. The men in both the cases could marry again, or stay unmarried more easily.

        But I agree with you about non judgmental advice.

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        • I agree IHM – Sweety’s case is a replica of A’s wife.
          But think how her letter would have been had she written to you – it would have been a wringing-hands, helpless (==spineless?) and frustrated cry for help – what if she had written – “I feel so unloved that I want to run away”. Do you think we would have said – “OMG girl – get a spine” or “You are not 14 any more. Act mature”? We would have started with “I do feel sorry for you, but…” and then talked about women’s plight in general in society. We would have touched up on the MIL, FIL, BIL and SIL’s viciousness before broaching the topic of the hapless husband.
          Most of the commenters here are/were spineless – and I don’t think that in itself is a despicable thing. They know they are and want to correct it/have corrected it. Almost all the commenters have undergone abuse/discrimination themselves and have been quiet before lashing back. I myself have been spineless during innumerable molesting in public – now no more of course.
          The only difference here is that he is a man, and we are full on attacking him, instead of telling him that “I feel you. Now you know what is wrong. But…”, the comments are in the lines of “How dare you?”.

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        • @Archana – Nobody leaves a person they like/love/respect just because they are in a helpless situation. As I suspected(confirmed in the next e-mail), he personally doesn’t want to live with her. I am assuming that probably he waited till marriage to see if she is compatible or he was just biased about her even before marriage..(I am just assuming)

          I really, really feel sorry for A for not being able to stand up to his parents. But my sorry ends there. Helplessness deserves a sorry; apathy, indifference towards another human being doesn’t! And I think that is what is happening here…

          In the case of Sweety and Smartu – Sweety wanted to make it work, Smartu didn’t, he just didn’t care! That makes a huge difference how people react to them.

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        • I just hope that A’s wife will not do something as drastic as Sweety did…I know women who have divorced their husbands for various reasons including physical abuse. They had the courage to walk out of the marriage and face the world. But, their parents also played an important role by supporting them. However, I don’t think A’s wife’s parents are of that type (I got that impression from the second post).

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      • Archana, it is okay to be confused at ANY stage of your life. One does not become an adult miraculously after he/she crosses 14, but one certainly needs to take up some responsibility as an adult, knowing when to draw the line, isn’t it? We might not be the perfect adults all the time, or heck even half of the times, but aren’t we expected to at least have the sensibility to not knowingly ruin someone else’s life? Even now, A’s solution is to just run away from this mess.
        I am sure he knows pretty well that she will alone have to face the social implications, since she will be in India. He has all the chances in the world to create a better life for himself in a far away country. If A wants to start over, then he would bring his wife to Canada, away from that toxic environment and see if he can get along with her and nurture a relationship. If not, it would be up to both of them to come to a mutual consent for divorce. Isn’t that what an adult will do?

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    • His actions are simply reaction to a long line of events of which he is not entirely responsible, there are always actors involved. I am quite sure that this is not first time he has run into this situation, he got run over in the marriage, he probably got run over even before that.

      He also being run over in choice of living, it has to be the damn basement. If not now then at some other point this will boil over, maybe after she comes over, maybe 5 years down the line, 10, 20 (I have seen all intervals in real life). It’s never pretty but you know what? It is inevitable. Such is human nature, even a faithful dog, if you poke too many times it will eventually bark at you & may even bite.

      I don’t know what is going to happen with A but I know that at some point he will react badly to this. The tragedy and this is a lesson to be learnt that action must be taken sooner than later. The more you wait the worse it becomes, the more paralyzed you become and eventually you lose your spirit. This is what is really happening, he really does not know what to do. I think (I could be wrong), he knows he is being had but is too paralyzed by the consequences.

      Why does anyone in their lives have to go through this? More than the wife its the damn parents who need to read this thread and realize what their OCDs have done. Without any equivocations shame on them, they are ones who are truly selfish.

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      • Glacier, the tragedy is that A’s parents probably think that they love him and most likely do.

        Over-involved parents are usually convinced they have the child’s best interests at heart.

        All that aside, as adults, we bear ultimate responsibility for our actions. It does not matter how extentuating the circumstances are; how we justify our actions.

        WE are responsible for our choices, nobody else.

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        • Loving to the point where they see it is OK to manipulate and gas-light? I agree they do have best interests at heart however with all due respect I believe they have their own interests more at heart. I am sure A’s parents love him but this does justify emotional blackmail – not in the least.

          We are responsible, and A is absolutely responsible for this mess however so are the parents, I cannot just let them off the hook & make A sound like an axe murderer here. They were there and they played their part in this mess.

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  30. First of all, it is important for ‘A’ to realize that he cannot undo the history. He needs to recognize the fact that he isn’t in this alone anymore; another human being – his lawful wife has now been dragged into this mess as well. Life isn’t a perfectly choreographed parade of milestones and ‘A’ screwed up, just like we all do. But this is a big mess, he has gotten not only himself but somebody else who probably has no inkling about all this into trouble. Clearing up this mess will require courage on his part to stand up for himself, be an adult and take responsibility for himself. This means setting things right.

    1) Start by doing a self reflection to asses the situation. De-tangle yourself from the whole family drama. Remove yourself from that negative space and do some honest soul searching. Logically think through the implications of all the alternatives you have.

    2) Once you have sorted yourself out, have a mature and honest conversation with your wife. Layout your whole predicament in front of her. But remember she didn’t sign up for this and may react harshly when you spill out the truth. She has every right to feel that she has been wronged and it is your responsibility to admit to this and apologize for all the pain you have caused her. She might be too shocked and unprepared to handle this and a drama may ensue; however it is important that you handle it all sensitively and intelligently. Make an effort to de-escalate the situation. Don’t think of her as your enemy, you can make an ally out of her. Before deciding on a divorce or separation, it ‘d suggest you to give serious consideration to forging a bond with her. If you guys mutually decide to give it a try, please make sure you aren’t making a half hearted effort to work it out with her. You never know, if both of you are willing to nurture and care for it, you might end up with a rewarding relationship. If you choose to divorce her, make sure you take up full responsibility for it. You might have to explain the whole situation to her parents.

    3) Everyone is worthy of a life without abuse, whatever the source and you don’t have to endure an abusive, unhealthy relationship that threatens your well-being — even if that relationship is with a parent. I understand how cutting off the ties that bind you with your parents can be the hardest thing to do. After all they are the people who gave you life and nurtured you when you were completely helpless and dependent. And the fact the even the most abusive parents can sometimes be really loving coupled with the pressure and expectations from the society to put up with the harmful behavior just because the source of misery happens to be the parents, makes it extremely hard for the person to break away.

    To change your family dynamic, you must change yourself. Immediately move out of your parent’s home. Find another place to live. If your parents complain, you will have to learn how to disengage before it becomes an argument. Just say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but this is what I have to do.” End of discussion. Toxic parents are masters of trying to use “logic” and “emotional manipulation” to convince you why they are right, and you are wrong. Remember this and remain firm in your decision to move out. For a while cut off from them completely. That means no communication with them. Accept that your parents will not change. View them objectively, as the fallible humans they are. Realize that you aren’t responsible for their happiness. See a therapist if you wish to. Take your time before re-establishing any connection with them. Whenever you communicate with them be assertive in a non combative way and set boundaries.

    While you are taking all these steps, your family may try even harder to pull you back. Some family members may even turn on you. Be prepared to stand your ground. If you give in, nothing will change.

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  31. While I do acknowledge that A could have been more proactive in avoiding being manipulated into marriage, I do think that calling him ‘spineless’ is unwarranted.

    The fact is that it takes years to realise and undo this level of conditioning. It is doubly difficult to do so in the desi communities in the UK and Canada- because they are quite literally frozen in time- with near zero engagement with the outside world and the kind of patriarchy that could give a khap in rural India a run for its money with children of both genders living in economic and social dependence of the extended family.

    Thats the milieu , in all probability, that A has lived in all his life.

    That’s also why I feel Glaciers comments are worth reading, he quite literally, has been in A’s shoes (from what I’ve gathered on his posts on various fora)

    Also, the past is the past. The marriage is done. In my opinion A should-
    1. MOVE OUT. Asap. No excuses .
    2. Re-evaluate your ‘marriage’ after moving out. Maybe, just maybe, out of the parents clutches, the prospect of living with this woman may seem worth a shot.
    3. If you do decide to annul the marriage- FLY TO INDIA .APOLOGISE IN PERSON. Explain why you need to end it. Be prepared to defend that woman from the allegations that will no doubt come her way. Because she deserves nothing less than that- she’s innocent after all.

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  32. ‘The brother is two years into marriage and still childless’ – is there some sort of benchmark in a marriage, some sort of demarcation before which people MUST have kids?

    That aside, sure your mum has been manipulative, but you are a grown human being who should, instead of running away from the issue (which never, never works), grab the bull by the horns and deal with it.

    As for the marriage he was forced into (and the sponsorship thing) .. the wife is a human being too. Instead of ‘calling off the sponsorship’ and again, essentially running away from the problem, has A tried to actually SPEAK to the wife and assess her take on it also? Having dealt with manipulative family myself, I would like to mention (as have so many others) that running away from the problem may seem like a solution to you but it is extremely, extremely fleeting and will continue to become more and more harmful as time passes.

    For your own benefit, A, deal with the problem now. By addressing the issue head on.

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  33. Wow!! Ok I tried really hard not to judge A. Here’s a few things to ponder over –
    1. Today you are running from your wife and family…I wonder if you know Running is a pattern of behaviour, you do it once you will do it again and again for different things – people at work will manipulate you and you will run, people in other walks of life will take advantage of you and you wont say no but you will avoid them(basically run)…Yep, it becomes a pattern of character.
    2. You are 30 years old, while it is very difficult to cut the umbilical cord for most children…it has to be done, thats the way nature is. No sapling will survive under the shade of the big tree. I wonder if it ever occurred to you to take up a job in another country, so that you are no where close to your Manipulating mother.You need to get away and figure out your life by yourself.
    3. When you know she is manipulating you Why are you Letting Her do that to you again and again? Do you have A Victim Mentality? Are you an adranaline junkie for pain?
    4. What do you think requires to be done in your life, for you to feel good when you look in the mirror everyday?
    5. If you decide to continue living under your Mother’sSuffocating Rule, when exactly do you intend living a life that you envision for yourself? Do you have a Dream about how YOU want to live your life?

    Heres a few things you can do –
    Get out of that House, put a distance from the emotional manipulation. Distance gives you beter perspective. You cant undo History, you will have scars but they will heal once you do things by yourself. You need to learn that life is livable without your mother’s manual for life. While you are figuring your life, beware of those who are related to your family who will come to you as wellwishers with the sole agenda of sabotaging you. Whatever you do once you leave the House, you need to figure out for yourself, the lesser advice you get the better it is for figuring things out.

    Like

    • As for your wife…what ever figuring you have to do about your life should be done after you talk to her about what happened. You need to be honest with her and lay all the cards on the table, if nothing, it will make you feel better having been brave enought to face her and for treating her like a human being who deserves respect. Before making a decision to divorce or annulling the marriage, consider if you Both want to try to get to know each other or forge a relationship. Do Respect her wishes, cause she didnt know the drama going on in your Home or your Head when she decided to be your wife. I dont know about the world, but Marriage to me is not something to be done without careful consideration and if it gets to a point of divorce, then separating also should be done with that much care and consideration.

      Like

  34. obedient son, responsible husband and then a father. By the time the Indian male is in his late 40’s he is drained of his spirit, has no fight left in him and is a zombie who keeps saying yes to his wife all the time. So either you keep compromising and sacrificing your happiness for other people and end up as the usual lifeless zombie Indian male or you place yourself first and run as fast as you can. You owe nothing to anybody but yourself.

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    • Agree, this is the unsaid reality of desi marriages. It is seen but nobody wants to talk about it. An obese woman, a balding guy, 2.5 kids and a minivan, this is what this system produces.

      Like

    • Which world are you living in? The Indian male enjoys more unearned privileges than his counterparts in North America and Europe.

      An Indian male can marry a young woman, demand a huge dowry and like A, simply abandon his wife, no questions asked.

      Indian men can demand virgin wives, yet are not required to be virgins themselves.

      After marriage, an Indian man can expect his wife to compromises more because its HER job to make the marriage work,

      After divorce, people will sympathise with an Indian man; they will question the ex-wife’s character, her sanity and her sexual morals. He will be the innocent victim.

      It doesn’t matter what part the man played in the breakdown of the marriage, he is always an innocent victim. The ex-wife is the %&# from hell.

      Stop whining. Thank the stars you’re a man.

      Read IHM’s blog to know what life is like for Indian women. Compared to our lives, your life is a picnic.

      Like

  35. Some of the comments here are so disappointing, hypocritical and sexist.
    My take. A, you never owe anybody to live with them and support them. You do not owe to remain married to your so called wife. No perceived troubles of hers should force you to live with her. Just get out as soon as possible.
    However, you have committed a fraud to her, by marrying her while you did not want, and you have to compensate her for this crime. You have to pay damages to her for your crime. Although these things can not be rightfully compensated, but the norm is to pay financially. And you must do that. Better talk to her and suggest her to get a lawyer who could advise her what should her appropriate compensation be.

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  36. A to cut it short you need to talk to your parents..move out and let them know..and def talk to your wife..she is your wife now and she deserves to know everything..i know she will be hurt but she will understand, you will have to give this relationship a chance now..you just cant erase it and term it as your mistake..
    Trust me in India its way too difficult for girls and being a divorcee adds to the sufferings..people dont really mind their own business..
    So pleaassse take a stand and make your wife a partner..try it out and if still things dont work out between you too then you can take divorce with mutual consent.

    Like

  37. ”After A came back from marriage and the fog lifted he realized what has happened.” I am trying so hard to keep my comment free from any expletives! How come the fog lifted right after being married??? It is just because this A guy suddenly realized that he will be bound by Canadian laws if she were to come to Canada and then got divorced. I have absolutely no sympathy for A. I hope he pays dearly for this. It’s not even that he is stupid. Because he very well knew all along that he’s being manipulated. He’s a guy with no self respect whatsoever, allowing everybody to just walk over him and never having the courage to fight against it. Even now, his solution to this whole mess he got not only himself in, but also another person, is to run away without giving the marriage any chance.
    Agreed that he never fought back all these years and even as an adult, he never found the guts to stand up. But, at least as he was being pushed into a marriage he should have convinced himself that this is where it ends.

    P.S – To the person who wrote on behalf of A, stop making excuses for the situation he is in and painting a picture where A is a poor victim, you are just making him sound even more pathetic. He’s 30 years old for god’s sake!!

    Like

    • I forgot to add…A’s decided to not even try to get to know the wife, because she is ‘clingy’ due to her traditional upbringing. How is A even in a position to judge her? Just like how the ‘fog’ lifted for him, maybe she will also change her views and her opinions once she comes to Canada. I believe that the way we think is definitely affected in some way by the surroundings we are in. So maybe she will see another world where she feels empowered to take charge of her life. I know my views and thinking underwent a sea change once I came to the US for my Masters.
      But instead, A does not even want to give a fighting chance to this marriage. I feel he owes at least this much to his wife. Did A even think that it is maybe the environment that they are in, which is clouding both their thinking?

      Like

  38. Going by the discussion it seems there are two types of people.

    Type One: People who treat men and women equally.

    Type Two: People who have different rules and expectations based gender.

    When a girl says shes running away from marriage because she is trapped into it by social and family pressures etc… we applaud her courage.

    When a guy does the same, we say a more updated version of the quote “Be a man” by saying “Grow a spine”.

    Some of the comments here are reflective of nothing more but a repackaged parochial stereotype.

    Honestly, first start by treating people equally and not compensate for social inequality in your treatment of others. No one needs your pity as it serves absolutely no purpose.

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    • Agree, by telling A to grow a spine is basically a rehash of perpetuating the same cycle all over again. Let the woman go and free both of yourselves of a lifetime of mediocrity.

      Like

  39. Pingback: “His parents had already found a girl from his community who they feel is ‘perfect’ for him.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  40. Pingback: “You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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