“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

Sharing an email from Daughter from India (DFI).  

Dear IHM,

I have been an avid follower of your blog since 2008. Off-late I saw many readers seeking advises on this forum and even I am in need of some advise at this juncture of my life and hence I am writing at length to you.

We had a love marriage, both in same undergrad college and did our MS from same US university. We both are gujjus though from different communities. I thought of my hubby to be a very forward looking, self reliant individual (especially after I saw him manage well with “homely” duties in US). We didn’t have a long courtship period since we told families about us being in love and our intention of getting married too early in the stage (as soon as we finished MS and before started working full time) – both families agreed and we married in a month! Looking back we think we should have spent more time discussing our priorities and preferences in life (where to settle (US vs. india), joint family vs. nuclear, openness to me having his community’s style of foods (I am an ardent fan of my kind of food vs. his family is strict about their preferences), thoughts on kids’ religion, my last name etc.

I am an only child and have been brought up with no “restrictions”/unequal treatment whatsoever. I have grown up to be an independent, confident woman with a good career and understanding of responsibility towards my parents, in-laws etc. Being a fair and rational thinker, I assumed I will be “allowed” to eat what I like, raise children as “our” children imbibing values from both families, treating both sets of parents with equal responsibility etc.

One day we were discussing how do we manage funds etc. and my assumption of priority was “hubby and I make core family which is most important, both set of parents make up the second tier of circle and then his sister, her family, my cousins etc come in the third tier”. However, his opinion was that after marriage, our first tier is “his family – including his parents and both of us”, and in second tier it will be my parents and his sister. I didn’t like the idea of giving this biased importance to his parents and we had some argument over it but I gave up. Looking back I think I should have stood my ground firm and strong. In that dilemma I googled on what do other “modern indian daughters in law” go through, do they face similar questions like I did? And I found your blog on, Joint Families and Indian Daughters.

Coming back to present sitaution – We are in US, drawing good salary, good savings, blessed with a little princess and overall leading a very content happy married life. Our parents are back in India. My husband’s family wanted us to move to India and live with them since sometime, but somehow we kept delaying the decision. My husband is totally in favor of going back – my hunch is its mainly because his parents have never given him any other choice! They always say “Come this year, wrap up things” etc. and never said that “What you both think? Decide what you think makes more sense to you”. Me, on the other hand feel suffocated by the fact that we are not given the freedom to choose and sanely make a decision of where we would like “our family” to be.

In addition, I have concern about returning back to India and living with in-laws – over the last 6 years, my experience of living with them has only worsened. Already leaving US is a tough decision for me and on top of it, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me time and over again. Please note that my intention here is not to run away from responsibilities, I know I will be there and try my best to help in times of need for anyone, be it my parents or be it in-laws. Also note that his parents are comparatively young in early 50s and mine are in early 60s. Touch wood, all are doing good healthwise and well-being-wise. Both have good homes to live in, a very happy social life and we support both set monetarily (it’s another long story on how we decided to manage our funds and whose parents get what.)

When my in-laws tell my hubby “We miss you, come back soon” etc, he goes in a frenzy and wants us to move back asap. I have managed to control that by saying we will decide once we get “greencard”. Now that our greencard is very close to processing and we have a baby, we want to finally “settle down”. I think we have three roads,

1. Buying a home in US and settling here atleast for some more years or

2. Going back, living with in-laws and investing elsewhere or

3. Going back, buying home in india and living nuclear.

I am personally ok with either option 1 or 3. But am very uncomfy with option 2 – I don’t need explain details here since many of your blogs have covered pretty much what goes in my mind.

To summarize – I won’t be allowed to cook what I like , my MIL doesn’t like that I try to imbibe mine as well as their culture in my baby. The expectation is that I will convert to their beliefs, my parents will be a second priority in life, I won’t be able to visit them or viceversa as much as we would like to and the list continues.

In order to simplify things and put a case for my preferences, hubby and I decided to give a “trial” period in India where we plan to go there for 2 months, live and work from there, experience life and daily chores, decide what we want – muster courage to discuss our preferences openly with in-laws/parents and then come to a final conclusion. Please note that I had a very tough time convincing my hubby for this “trial” period too, he was all set to go back as soon as greencard is in our hands.

With all this in mind, I would like to ask readers and your advise…

Am I doing anything wrong by not simply agreeing to settle back in India with in-laws? Since I am not comfortable with that idea, how do I go about “evaluating our trial period in india”?

After 2 months, if I still feel I don’t want to live with in-laws or rather settle in US, how do I convey it to my hubby and In-laws? My hubby said he will never be able to tell his parents that he wants to live nuclear. Also, I have told my thoughts and opinion to my parents and they are ready to support me in either situation/decision I make, whichever makes me happy eventually.

Looking forward to your thoughts…I just cannot thank you enough for your blog, for the inspiration it has been to me over all these years. You are one of the big reasons I am able to survive emotionally; not feeling “guilty” of not being a “traditional” Indian bahu”.

Apologies for the long email and if you decide to post it on your blog, then once again many thanks!

–   Daughter from India (DFI)

Related Posts:

To an Anonymous DIL

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…


144 thoughts on ““Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

  1. Dear DFI.. I am sorry but you shud be discussing this with your Hubby and not with strangers ..

    How can me or anyone else give you advice since we dont know you, or your hubby or your family.. how can someone anyone do that.. you will get a lot of advice here by lots of people but remember much of that advice is from people who have not been in the same situation as you.. and even if some have been in the same situation then Their in laws or their hubby is not exactly same as yours ..

    so talk to your hubby , tell him your apprehensions I am sure things can work out for sure .. Talking always helps .. All the best and god bless


    • Bikram, the issues most Indian women face are similar, because the expectations from them are same (and frequently, equally unrealistic). Do you think it is wrong to discuss an issue with like minded people (the email writer is aware that most visitors on this blog would not judge her) and to get validation or a different point of view?

      Do you think it is wrong for people to analyse and discuss a situation? Do you think it is wrong for married people to seek any opinion other than their spouse’s, even anonymously?

      You suggested, //so talk to your hubby, tell him your apprehensions I am sure things can work out for sure .. // But she has described that talking to him did not solve the problem – he sees his parents as family, and her family as a lesser priority.

      Liked by 1 person

      • it is quiet funny that one is ready to believe strangers … and not their own husband..

        we had this on a previous article too..

        It is not wrong to discuss but How can we, Especially all those who pressed the thumbs down to my response and the ones who pressed UP for yours ..
        HOW can we .. tell someone one to do ..

        But Yes i do think it is wrong to discuss till they are themselves SURE, I seriously sometimes wonder why things dont work in our nation because we are a nation of hypocrites simply, we love to interfere in others , many of the people again DOWN-UP people dont have a clue what might be going in their OWN HOUSe.. yet they are quick to interfere in others ..

        Can I ask all those what is wrong that i have said..

        Where in the article has she written he sees her family to be lesser, she has said she will not be able to do see her parents.. No where she writes about her hubby being like that ..

        I just cant believe this .. REALLY .. had I written oh please since its not working , you need to separate from ur hubby and go separate ways .. I bet the same would have given enough thumbs UPS.. this is the truth of us..

        “In order to simplify things and put a case for my preferences, hubby and I decided to give a “trial” period in India where we plan to go there for 2 months, live and work from there, experience life and daily chores, decide what we want – muster courage to discuss our preferences openly with in-laws/parents and then come to a final conclusion. Please note that I had a very tough time convincing my hubby for this “trial” period too, he was all set to go back as soon as greencard is in our hands.”

        it says she has talked to her hubby and he is listening to her too, maybe not 100% but a bit .. thats better than many a woman whose husbands dont even bother to listen to the wives..

        This is exactly what I keep saying assumptions..

        ASSUME – is making a ASS of U and ME

        I really love the way some coonversations go here, what all people think , I am also sure that many with the thumbs down and up would have loved had i written , why bother going to the in-laws house AT ALL..


        • To be really candid, the Indian Daughter is just asking for a nice excuse to extend stay in US. Just the way she did for last 6 years.


        • //”it is quiet funny that one is ready to believe strangers … and not their own husband..”//

          What is so funny about it Bikram? I have been married for thirty years and to the same man too. I really don’t understand AT ALL what is funny if I don’t believe something my husband says and want to clear my mind elsewhere. After all he is just another HUMAN BEING like me, you or anyone else on this planet. How can he have answers to everything? What is a husband? A walking Wikipedia or google search?
          No human being knows everything. No human being need believe everything anyone else says, be it their mother/father/husband/wife/sister/brother/friend/mentor/teacher or whoever. We are at liberty to seek answers wherever we choose, wherever we are comfortable. Husband is NOT the SOURCE OF ALL KNOWLEDGE for the wife that it becomes “funny” if she asks help of others. Moreover, it is not as if the discussion happening here (or anywhere where answers are sought) is binding on the person that asks. It is a DISCUSSION for God’s sake and that too anonymous. The person seeking answers gets views from other which they accept or don’t as per their wish.
          Sometimes strangers bring in a new perspective to the matter which those involved in the drama are UNABLE to see precisely because of their very involvement in it.
          Frankly, I find it funny that you think this is funny.


      • Right I have re read it .. he does say its second tier her family .. so my apologies for that .. But still

        1. What is the harm if the hubby wants to go back to his home.. to stay with his parents.

        2. How does it matter if the in-laws have their set way of living , She can refuse to do so.

        She can give a ultimatum to her husband , that this is what she wants.. as she already says her parents will stand with her.. So it will be fine to go separate ways.


        • “What is the harm if the hubby wants to go back to his home.. to stay with his parents.”

          what if she demanded to go back home to her parents?


        • Kmkh.. she will have to say that to know the reply.. won’t she.. as I said we are assuming .. and quick to come to conclusion..

          She has not asked the question and yet some have already like ur reply.. makes me smile ..


        • 1. What is the harm if the hubby wants to go back to his home.. to stay with his parents.

          – No harm if it was just him that was affected by his decision. However, it affects his wife equally. So he has to take into account her happiness and wellbeing too.
          If she doesn’t want it, they will need to meet each other half-way.. she doesn’t automatically have to submit to his wishes (same goes for him).

          2. How does it matter if the in-laws have their set way of living , She can refuse to do so.

          – Clearly the problem is not that they have a way of living, the problem is that they want her to live their way too.
          She can only really refuse if her husband fully supports her in that. If he says ‘why don’t you adjust’, then her refusal will cause big fights as it will be her against three of them. Not a happy situation really.


        • @carvaka :-

          1. What is the harm if the hubby wants to go back to his home.. to stay with his parents.

          – No harm if it was just him that was affected by his decision. However, it affects his wife equally. So he has to take into account her happiness and wellbeing too.
          If she doesn’t want it, they will need to meet each other half-way.. she doesn’t automatically have to submit to his wishes (same goes for him).

          Totally agree to that , he has to look after her and should see if she is happy of not, But as the article says there is nothing that says otherwise ..
          Moreover I did not say it does not affect her, they are into this equally.. that is why I am sure I wrote Talk to hubby discuss with him..

          2. How does it matter if the in-laws have their set way of living , She can refuse to do so.

          Again she will only know her husband fully supports her if she talks to him and tells him what she feels ..
          Again a lot of “IFS” in the statement , if this is that and what not ,,, HENCE my first comment of as to who are we to advice her .. Can you predict what will happen , is it 100% going to be always the same all the time ..

          I don’t know what’s wrong with us all, we jump to conclusions always .. you can see the reactions for the people to the comment .. and PARDON me but I find it offensive the reactions to something that any one with some common sense should say .. but it seems the moment there is a comment of anything written which might just go against a woman .. this is the reaction ..
          and I shall repeat here NO wonder our nation and society is such .. because we jump to conclusions

          As I pointed earlier from the reactions it would be safe to say that If i had said leave your hubby , get a divorce or create some scene etc etc it would be the idle situation ..

          IF this IF that .. is all we seem to talk about always .. and the best was the reply I got from KMKH .. I mean I asked a question instead of a Reply I get a counter question ???

          How is that helpful i wonder..

          If this is the reaction to my saying that DISCUSS WITH HUBBY.. then I would like to ask all those who are reacting.. do they do the same in their own house – i said house because clearly it cant be a HOME .. if they react the same in their own place .. .. IF YES them why dont you come out in the open and reply .. Rather then just a click of the button ….

          maybe I live in a ideal world .. But I think in my own heart that till we have lived it all, and tried all avenues , its never a right decision to break a relation, but i guess its too much to ask from anyone ..


        • Actually, nobody is suggesting that she divorce her husband.. or at least I certainly am not. I don’t know why you are telling me off about that. I am also not jumping to any conclusions. What I said in reply to your questions was very much based on the OP’s email. She said she has spoken to her husband and found it difficult to convince him ‘Please note that I had a very tough time convincing my hubby for this “trial” period too, he was all set to go back as soon as greencard is in our hands.’. She also said she has previously had to submit to his ideas that his parents are more important. So in these matters, he is not meeting her halfway, taking her happiness into account.

          I don’t actually understand why you are so agitated by her asking for advice or support here. Everyone is recommending that she speak to her husband but you are saying ‘why ask us, what is he saying wrong’ while another approach is ‘speak to him, think of your happiness and be assertive about what you absolutely need’. The former discourages the OP from seeking support. There is no need to get upset about strangers giving advice.. the OP doesn’t have to take any of it. But there is a chance that she might benefit from some encouragement here to find a solution with her husband that makes her happy too.

          Women (sometimes men) too often just submit to their partner’s wishes because they are fraught with ‘am I asking for too much’, as the OP said. It might help her to know that other people have similar experiences as her and she’s not asking for too much. That is empowerment. She might even come across an idea to manage the subject peacefully with her husband (or stand her ground anyway). I don’t see any harm in that.

          If you read my comment below, you will see that how I have ‘reacted’ here is exactly how I ‘react’ in real life. Discussing my expectations/ what I think is fair with my partner and encouraging him to do the same. We have a very happy home and our parents are quite happy with us too.


      • well said IHM; I am pretty much sure that many women face this dilemma. And if talking/discussing it over on a social forum helps her and in the process many girls who have not plucked the courage to nib their thoughts then it is most definitely welcome.Even within India, I find many inlaws throw the ‘we miss you’ line very frequently and send the menfolk in a tizzy. Like the email writer says I am not averse to taking care of the parents from either side, but let that be a mutual decision and not a forced one. This looks like openly saying that since we are the parents of the boy and you are bound to take care of us. Interestingly, I have heard a few mother-in-law’s blatantly saying that we want our daughter to be away from her inlaws whereas we want the son to be with us and the d-i-l must surely serve us as we are getting old.. ANother emotional angle they bring is is we miss the grandkids. Such a hypocrite society we live in. Coming to DFI’s situation, I totally empathise with her situation and suggest that she put her foot down for option no:1 but if that does not seem to pass muster then moving back to India but living a nuclear family seems the best option. This way you are there for the clingy parents at the same time you live your life. Please don’t trap yourself in a guilty mindset.


        • @sanjay, @IHM & @priya

          Clingy parents? oh man…..you’ve got to be kidding me…..

          I do agree with a lot of things you said, but clingy parents?

          The only thing i find totally wrong in this case is the guy expecting her to live with his parents and her following their rules. The rest is not so unfair. And yes, I do agree with Sanjay that it looks like she is just buying more time to be in the US. Why? She is best one to answer. I am sure her parents want her back just as bad. But maybe are simply not very vocal about it (sadly, this can be attributed to the crappy system in India where we feel once the girl is married off, she belongs to her inlaws)

          Why is nobody seeing it from the guy’s point of view (before judging me – I am a female) What if he really misses his parents? Is that wrong? Is it wrong for parents to miss their son/daughter and expect them to live closer by? And honestly, by the looks of it, if the guy’s parents are set in their own ways, so is DFI. She doesnt seem that eager to eat their food, how can she expect that out of them? I do understand that the guy is being unreasonable in asking her to stay with his parents. No questions asked there. But she can definitely agree to move back to india and live in a nuclear set up.

          Also, (a thought shared by my friend PrincessButter, who is at work and cannot comment) DFI’s statement that his parents are younger in their 50’s and hers in 60’s is so wrong on so many different levels. Just because they haven’t been seriously ill/old/bedridden or otherwise unable to take care of themselves, does not mean that you shouldn’t want to be close to them. Parents do not need their child to be their nurse. Parents just need the emotional support which i believe every child owes them.

          I am pretty sure, had this story been the other way round, where the girls parents wanted her back home and the guy wanted to stay back, everyone would be asking her to take the first flight out. Which in my opinion, is unfair.


        • What if he really misses his parents? Is that wrong? Is it wrong for parents to miss their son/daughter and expect them to live closer by?

          What if? We all want things we cannot have. You cannot just force your partner to give in to each of your whims and fancies without considering their viewpoint too.
          My wife wanted to return to India for similar reasons as the husband here (she missed her family). I was not thrilled about it, but we compromised, and came up with a mutually acceptable formula. As I am male, and as my wife’s parents are very fine people, the in-law side of things wasn’t really an issue. Moving back worked for us. It’s foolish to deny that men do not face a fraction of the kind of pressure women tend to face from in-laws in India.

          Our formula would certainly not have worked if I was forced to live with a domineering MIL who wanted to control everything from my food choices to my parenting style, just because my spouse wanted to be near her parents.

          In this case, my sympathies are firmly with the Email Writer, not her husband, because not only is she facing far greater compromise (living away from your parents as a mature adult is not in the same ballpark of unpleasantness as having to live in the shadow of deeply controlling in-laws), but she is also bargaining from a position of weakness (his entire family vs. her alone), which is unfair, as she is supposed to be an equal partner in this marriage and must therefore have an equal say in a decision such as this one.

          Is it wrong for parents to miss their son/daughter and expect them to live closer by?

          No. Yes.

          Missing your kids is natural.

          Expecting your kids to give up their lives (and coerce their spouses into doing so as well) just so you can miss them a little lesser is most certainly wrong. I’d personally never expect or even want that from my child(ren). I’d much rather that they be happy in their own lives, and I be happy in mine. At some point, you must let go.

          And honestly, by the looks of it, if the guy’s parents are set in their own ways, so is DFI. She doesnt seem that eager to eat their food, how can she expect that out of them?

          As a matter of fact, she is not expecting that out of them. She is merely expecting that they extend her the courtesy of letting her eat whatever she damn well pleases without unnecessary taunting and dark comments. This is not, in my opinion, an unreasonable expectation, coming from an adult.

          I do understand that the guy is being unreasonable in asking her to stay with his parents. No questions asked there. But she can definitely agree to move back to india and live in a nuclear set up.

          Indeed, but he is not open to that either (which is half the issue). See comments below.

          I am pretty sure, had this story been the other way round, where the girls parents wanted her back home and the guy wanted to stay back, everyone would be asking her to take the first flight out

          Perhaps. Cannot answer for ‘everyone’, but I wouldn’t advise any such thing.


        • Parenting is difficult and I truly understand all the trials & tribulations they undergo to raise a child. And it is but natural they want to spend their time with them. But when the longingness for being together becomes suffocating to one particular person, it is in the best interest of everybody concerned to take a neutral stand and maintain an equilibrium. Parents deserve our love and support but they also need to be resonable.Parents must be generous and not selfish. They must be flexible and be willing to give space and appreciate/take in to account other’s point of view. When the talk centres on I am missing my child but not willing to accommodate the d-i-l’s thoughts and wishes it becomes a liability and hence clingy. I am in no way demeaning these parents or for that matter of fact any. I raise a boy and a girl and yes life will come a full circle where I & my hubby may/will yearn for the kids& their families to be with us. But it will defenitely not be at the cost of any party feeling unhappy and shortchanged. For I believe parenting is selflessness.


        • Bikram, let me give just one example, if any husband expects his wife to live with his parents, and they expect her to give up what she likes to eat – and he does not ensure that she does not go through giving up/ guilt/blame just to eat what she likes, I would say he, and also his family are wrong.

          If a wife expects her husband to live with her parents and obey and serve them, and give up the food he likes to eat – and if her parents take it for granted that he would do that, I would say she and her parents are wrong.


        • don’t know about the others but I thumbed down your comment b/c (and this may be just be how I interpreted it) you say the writer should not be discussing this with strangers. I completely agree that she should talk to her husband, but what is wrong with talking to strangers?? I feel there is too much of this “noo we must protect our family honor” “no airing dirty laundry” “what will people think” etc. that your comment implies. And it seems like the couple have already discussed this issue extensively, but are at a stalemate because each of them want different things…

          Also the email clearly asks for advice so what is wrong with people giving her advice? Sure, no-one can know her exact situation but she can use whatever advice applies to her, no? Plus I don’t think any of the readers suggested anything like a break-up, because the couple seem to be happy…the problem is the in-laws…

          I personally think that if the husband wants to live with his parents he should stand up for his wife’s rights at all times, or else he should settle for living in a nuclear family. I understand wanting to be close to your loved ones, so I do sympathize with the guy. But it seems like he sees that what his parents are asking of his wife is unreasonable, but is just too chicken to stand up to them. And no, it is not easy to ‘refuse’ to go along with in-laws wishes, especially if you are living with them! The husband needs to support her. Who knows, maybe the trial stay will help.


    • Dear Bikram,

      Your thoughts came across as the most genuine and heartfelt advice, that of course no one is looking for…but one that I find to be the most helpful.

      While I am never against talking, sharing, mulling, pondering over your problems/issues/dilemmas with friends (including our blogger friends whom we have not mostly met but love and trust nevertheless), I totally understand what you are trying to say here.

      It is not really about sharing or not sharing our problems with total strangers (that is a personal choice). It is about not showing enough trust in the very person we claim to love and spend our lives with – the husband or the wife. And that is a laughable issue. It IS an irony that we lay our trust on strangers at times rather than our own family. It is sad but I think we do that to get a neutral viewpoint. To make sure we are not alone in what we are going through…that others have been through similar journeys…and are there to share their experiences.

      At times when we are unable to get across our views to the very people we love and care about…it helps talking with people who have been through similar pain.

      I thought about writing this comment only to lend my support to Bikram’s comments. I think we need to look deep within ourselves to find (and root out) the grains of doubt, insecurity that makes us lose our grip or control over our own lives. It is very important to set clear our viewpoints, draw lines before we step into any relationship – short term or long term. Parents, relatives, sisters, brothers, their extended families – keep them where they belong. It should be entirely up to you two to decide…where and when to include them and where not. Beyond these measures, I don’t think there is anything anyone can do just as Bikram said. I very strongly believe that the only person that can help me is ME. But I have come to that conclusion after many stumbles.

      Good luck to the EW and everyone else going through similar issues. Never stop listening to your heart. It is there to give you the soundest of advice, only if one cares to listen.



      • I also want to say here that anyone (man or woman) who gives up doing anything (eating the things they like, doing the things they want, cooking foods their own way, praying the God they want to, going to places they wish to, watching/reading movies/books…the list goes on!!)….stating numerous reasons and then blames it upon a second, third, fourth person, I have something to say to them –

        It is your fault and your fault only that you gave up what you liked to do. It was ‘your’ fear, ‘your’ insecurities that made you give in to other people’s demands. Now that you have realized it was wrong of you to have given assent to whatever ‘they’ wanted you to do…NOW is the time to change all that. Seriously, as long as you are breathing, there is still time to change your life the way you want it.

        No one but you can do it. Voice your opinions, your views directly to the people concerned. Why depend upon the husband or the wife to speak for you? Why can’t a woman step up and clearly state to a family she is now a member of – ‘ this is how I like to cook, what I like to eat and what I am used to since my childhood…if that is a problem I would like to cook separately for myself.’

        Bend where you can…but don’t allow anyone to break you. Once you allow, you have to blame yourself for it. Please understand, that is the only way you can fix your problems.


    • After Reading all the comments and the replies and HOW the comment has been DE-CONSTRUCTED.. especially by some whom I respected a lot ..

      I have thought that I should start to think as a MAN would rather than how a human would, because end of the day its all about GENDER.

      I have seen the real idea is to take a LINE out of a comment and shred it to pieces ..

      Dear Shail Mam :- Out of all the lines that I wrote you picked up “//”it is quiet funny that one is ready to believe strangers … and not their own husband..”//”

      This was in context to the FIRST comment but never mind.

      “maybe I live in a ideal world .. But I think in my own heart that till we have lived it all, and tried all avenues , its never a right decision to break a relation, but I guess its too much to ask from anyone ..”

      you said what is a husband just a Human being … Well I too replied as a Human being.. it is quiet obvious from the replies that being JUST a human being is not enough , especially in our society..

      But glad you found the funny in my being Funny .. they do say Smile and the world smiles with you …

      Please do kindly revert back to the FIRST comment on this POST ..

      “How can me or anyone else give you advice since we don’t know you, or your hubby or your family.. how can someone anyone do that.. you will get a lot of advice here by lots of people but remember much of that advice is from people who have not been in the same situation as you.. and even if some have been in the same situation then Their in laws or their hubby is not exactly same as yours .”

      I have written in the second line that you will get a lot of advice but remember we are not in the same situation.

      to cut the story short All this is .. BECAUSE I ASKED THE LADY in question to Discuss it with her Hubby 🙂

      I have given a thumbs UP too.. to every reply .. especially the ones which have counter questioned .. instead of replying to what I have asked .. NOW that in itself is very FUNNY.


      • ALSO has anyone even thought of knowing the HUBBY’s side of the STORY..
        To discuss and give a view one needs to know Both sides of the STORY..

        SO again to all the Thumbs down people.. Do you know the Exact story, do you know what really happened , what the hubby said .. How can you advice someone on one one side …

        There you go ready get set go for the thumbs down 🙂


      • DFI,
        My guess is your husband has been brought in a typical patriarchal parenting style of yesteryears. He might have difficulty in communicating freely with his parents. I am brought up similarly and had found it difficult say things which may be unpleasant to my parents like when I had to communicate about my choice marriage. One short cut is to write a letter telling everything. I did that but some how got courage enough to go to my parents and break it softly on their face before letter reached them. Those were the days of snail mail. Now your husband can try email -:)
        It would be much better if he communicate directly to his parents than you doing it.


  2. 1. You are not doing anything wrong. You have a life too, the baby is as much yours to raise as it is his, and your desire for independence is just as important as his desire to be with his parents. You are not obliged to meekly submit just because you are a woman.

    2. I’m not sure if you honestly have any desire to ‘evaluate’ the situation. It seems to me that you are dead set against living with his parents. It’s not necessarily ‘wrong’ to feel this way; you are free to make up your mind any which way you please. There are some things that you don’t have to try in order to reject. For example, I know that living with my parents would stifle my independence and worse, stifle my partner’s independence too. I didn’t have to try it out, I knew it will happen. Therefore, I did my best to ensure that the situation never arose.

    If I am right, and you are indeed dead set against this arrangement with no desire to honestly evaluate it (again, not a ‘wrong’ thing to do, but a choice that you make), then you need to be honest about it with both yourself and your partner. If you are sure that living with his parents is just not your cup of tea, then assert yourself, and let him know that that is indeed how you feel. Don’t lie. Don’t give him any false hopes of a compromise. And don’t make any unilateral compromises unless you are absolutely comfortable doing so – you are doing nothing wrong here, and don’t let anyone guilt you into taking decisions which might result in a lifetime of regret.

    If my reading of your situation is incorrect, and you do indeed want to evaluate, then I suggest you do it in terms of your own happiness, not the happiness of everyone else around you, as many are prone to doing. Don’t fall into the ‘virtuous woman’ trap of measuring the merits of everything in terms of the happiness of the family, even at the cost of your own well-being. If seeing everyone else happy truly makes you happy, that’s all very well. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. As a sampler, ask yourself questions like – “Am I happy with this lifestyle? Will I be happy 10 years later? Will I be okay with raising my child in this environment? Will I be able to do what I want with my life here?”. If the answer is Yes, then you have yourself a happy situation. If not, then you need to look at alternatives.

    What I am suggesting may sound a little selfish, but it is practical, hard-nosed advice which comes from a lifetime of experience in dealing with clingy parents (from the other side of the gender fence). Understand that a little selfishness is necessary at this point because you are dealing with a situation that is easy to get into but very hard to leave afterwards.

    3. If and when you’ve decided you cannot possibly survive with the in-laws, you must convey your feelings point-blank. This is no time for ambiguity or false promises. The test of a marriage does not lie in how nice you and your partner are as individuals, the test lies in how well you solve problems and disagreements. Sit down one evening with some Gatorade, and have a heart-to-heart discussion about how your future is going to play out. Many couples compromise by living nuclear in the same city as the parents, so that there is a degree of closeness, and day-to-day independence is maintained. That may work for you. There are really no cut-and-dried solutions here – you and your husband will have to work out a formula that works for YOUR marriage. The only cardinal rule here is honesty. Be honest about what you want and what you can do without. Hash something out, and be well.

    Here’s wishing the best of luck to you guys.


      • Thanks PT for detailed reply! Frankly, i am open to moving back to india…just that i know that living with in-laws will simply result in unhappy lives of everyone…and yes, i have conveyed my apprehension to hubby over coffee conversations…we have had walks and talked hearts out on this…..he understands where i come from, but is himself “bound” so hard that he thinks if he even mentions living nuclear to his parents, that would be the end of world to them and hence is not willing to say that. Due to his this take, i thought of this “trial period” idea in order to buy time to put thoughts together while i am in india….and more importantly prepare myself so that instead of hubby, i myself can have a in-person open communication with my in-laws describing whatever my apprehensions are. This blog is helping me build up mentally to prepare for this decision-making process….thanks once again.


        • Hey there! Wouldn’t it be better if you could communicate that when you are still in the US? Like someone has mentioned above, its best to be straight, honest and risk sounding arrogant, than trying to please someone and end up losing your peace of mind? Sometimes, agreeing to a trial and making a conscious effort of holding the fort for the 2 months will work just fine. Your in-laws will probably genuinely try to make things work. I think its a different ball-game if the arrangement is for a longer time. Wish you the very best:-)


        • I don’t really understand this thing that he cannot even suggest an alternative to his parents to what they want. It’s a bit like my-way-or-the-highway, no? I mean what if you told him your world would end if he suggested living with them. It’s not fair on his or their part to be so ‘all or nothing’ about this. Everyone needs to appreciate that a number of people are involved and find an option that works for all. Why is it ok for you and your husband to move across the world but not ok to even suggest a small compromise to the parents of being close but not together?

          You should both ask yourselves, would his parents’ world really fall apart if you guys lived 20 minutes away or something? I think they would get over it. Please don’t get guilted into committing to a lifestyle that you don’t want. Be assertive now when you have a choice. It’ll be much worse when you are living in the joint family and having to convince your partner to leave.. even more of a ‘she broke their home’, in case that worries you.


  3. I’m not understanding why you would go through all the effort & time necessary to get a ‘greencard’ (permanent resident status in the US) only to leave & go back to India?
    Do yours & his parents (whom you stated that you both financially support) not realize how much more $$$ you can make in the US as opposed to India?
    It isn’t exactly cheap to relocate for a ‘trial stay’ in India for 2 months, then having to reestablish yourself in the US again either.
    Unless yours or his parents had some long term health problem & needed your care- I’d say stay in the US & ‘make hay while the sun shines’. Don’t assume that $$$ you are making in the US or the job you have is going to be there forever. I’m not sure what sort of employment you & your husband have in the US, but if you leave your job(s)- don’t expect that same job to be there if you come back in 2 months.
    I can’t even imagine starting a new business in the US in these tough economic times.


    • Do yours & his parents (whom you stated that you both financially support) not realize how much more $$$ you can make in the US as opposed to India?

      Well, that’s a rather misleading statement. You may generally make more money in the US in dollar terms, but at the same time, the cost of living is also much higher. Although a US Dollar will fetch you more than fifty Indian Rupees at a currency exchange, the actual purchasing power of 1 USD is between INR 13-20, by most estimates. The purchasing power of a Canadian Dollar is even lower than that.

      From personal experience, I can attest that at least at senior management levels, good firms in India will give you anything between 50-100% of what you make in North America (Canada, in my case), depending on how well you negotiate and how well you meet the needs of the firm.
      My wife ended up at approximately 70% of her Canadian salary, whereas I got about 65%. Considering the difference in tax rates, higher returns on savings and far, far lower spending on essentials like housing, food and so on, I’d say the drop was more than compensated for, and there was actually a tangible increase in our disposable income.

      I was not particularly keen on returning to India myself (my wife was), but my issues had more to do with lifestyle. Indian cities can be very crowded, polluted and crime-prone indeed. That, of course, remains a problem. Money isn’t, not really.


      • Well Praveen- Yours’ is a rather narrow viewpoint.
        We don’t know if the aforementioned couple are gas station attendants, ‘senior management’, or MD/Ph.D’s do we?
        I can tell you working in healthcare (as I do)- you won’t make even 50% of what you can make in the US opposed to India no matter how good your ‘negotiating skills’ are.
        As far as ‘tax rates’ go, I was paying about 40% of my income in state & federal taxes in pricey California, I still cleared more than anything I’ve been offered by any Indian firm.
        Living in Canada you actually got decent healthcare for paying your taxes, that certainly won’t happen in the US or India.
        In Canada & the US your tax dollars will get your child a decent K through 12 education also, that won’t happen in India. University & Colleges fees are very affordable & ‘financeable’ in the US as opposed to India also.
        My US dollar will buy me a lot more & better quality ‘stuff’ in the US than I ever could find in India. Cars, household appliances, clothing, electronics, food, housing, you name it. I’ve found no great bargains on these items in India- you definitely get what you pay for. Shoddy, dated merchandise is the norm.
        Services are definitely cheaper but generally lower quality also- (i.e. Healthcare is still practiced ‘3rd world’ style, even in the ‘better’ private clinics & hospitals poor sanitation is the norm.)
        When it comes to housing prices in India & the US, well that depends on where you live. I’ve not found any great housing bargains in India either. Housing in ultra-swanky parts of Mumbai can be just as expensive as upscale places in the US like Manhattan. There are places in the US where it is quite expensive to live, just as there are inexpensive places to live in India. The problem once again is quality. We lived in a rather ‘pricey posh’ neighborhood in Bangalore for a year- a beautiful bungalow with a leaky roof & windows, rather haphazard electric, sewage, & internet connections, potable water was an issue also. Generally these are not problems in ‘pricey posh’ housing in the US.
        As long as you stay healthy, have no school age children, & are willing to put up with all the crowding, pollution, crime & time consuming inconvenience, THEN I’d agree- making comparable ‘Money’ in India is not an issue.
        I can also tell you residing in one of India’s polluted cities will also take 7-10 yrs off your lifespan.


        • We don’t know if the aforementioned couple are gas station attendants, ‘senior management’, or MD/Ph.D’s do we?

          My point exactly.

          There is no need to get so utterly defensive. I was merely pointing out that your statement does not hold true for everybody, which you’ve effectively acknowledged. We’ll leave it at that.


        • The couple in Q are post grads – she states that both have done their MS (Master in Science) together in the same university. She also says she has a good career going.

          Also I suppose it is different living in India as a person of Indian origin, versus one who is not. Our Scottish friend was asked for a much higher rent, our German friends’ helps expect much higher salaries, even roadside veggie-sellers and auto guys charge higher amounts from white folks.
          While this is not fair, that is so thanks to the perception (not always true) of white folks being wealthier and hence better able to shell out more.

          As a person (of Indian origin) who has returned to India after living outside for 8 years I can tell you this – salaries here are certainly comparable to those we earned abroad. Also starting new businesses is easy especially in a place like Bangalore, it is great fun too – in fact that is pretty what I do currently.


        • I don’t see the point in this discussion quite frankly. And I seriously don’t know where is the need to trash India’s polluted cities like this.
          Do you have any data or numbers for this? – I can also tell you residing in one of India’s polluted cities will also take 7-10 yrs off your lifespan.

          I am not saying that many of India’s cities are not polluted. That is one problem, but to say that this will take 7-10 yrs off your lifespan is totally unfair.

          AND it is NOT the point of the discussion. But just couldn’t pass this random statement about my country!


        • Beatrice, I live in the US (for the personal Freedom I have here as a woman, more than anything else) and I can swear on any holy/political document that many, many categories of “stuff” you get from the US is utter rubbish compared to the “stuff” I get from India. Clothes, furniture, art deco, household items – the more expensive, better quality items I’ve paid through my nose for here in the US come with a “Made in India” tag.

          Maybe you didn’t go shopping in the right places in India? I wouldn’t be so quick to make such judgmental blanket statements 🙂

          Also, I’m sure if I drank the fluoridated and heavy-metal contaminated “potable” water I get from my tap here in CA, it may not take 7-8 years off my life, but it would make 15-20 years of my life hell (Alzheimer’s anyone?) The houses even in pricey posh areas in California have lead paint and plumbing. The leases we sign say they won’t be responsible for reproductive harm, etc. Just saying.


        • Gayatri-
          You wrote & I quote-
          ‘I don’t see the point in this discussion quite frankly. And I seriously don’t know where is the need to trash India’s polluted cities like this.’
          ‘Trash India’s polluted cities’ is kind of funny.
          Oh I don’t know where this is going Gayatri, I suppose you really can’t put a price on extending your life expectancy?
          I get so tired of Indians being in such denial about the quality of life in their own country. It becomes like an excuse for their complacency. I have to ask, are middle class Indians really this completely unaware or just totally oblivious to the reality of the situation?
          I can’t log in to my UN stat book for some reason right now but this will get you started Ms. Gayatri-
          ‘The GAINS model estimates that outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter will, by 2030, shorten statistical life expectancy in India by 57 (29-80) months, compared to 17 (8-23) months in 2005.’

          Air particulates are just part of the problem, heavy metal contamination, uranium poisoning from the ‘fly ash’ of coal burning power stations, persistent organic pollutants, improperly disposed of radionuclides, industrial chemicals simply dumped- these are all what you’re eating, drinking & breathing India. The very young & the very old bear the brunt of these toxins.
          This doesn’t even include the 1,600 needless Indian deaths daily due poor sanitation (that’s like 8 jumbo jets crashing with all passengers killed DAILY) or the epidemics of Dengue Fever & Japanese Encephalitis due to India’s lack of a decent mosquito abatement program.
          Don’t even get me started on the lack of any type of healthcare ‘system’.
          Money doesn’t mean much when you’re dead.
          Ok, RANT OFF.


        • Gayatri…i do agree with you when you say that discussing the pros and cons of life in india vs in the US is not a valid topic of discussion as pertaining to the EW’s issue here. But I have to agree with Beatrice when she says that quality of life is better in the US than in india(this includes air quality, hygene, food qualty, water etc) and this becomes a big factor when you move from the US to india.


        • @ Beatrix

          I don’t usually respond to illogical rants, but since you’ve tempered your rants with the claim of being a healthcare professional, I’m tempted to.

          I’m sorry you didn’t like India. It happens to a lot of people. Most adults accept that the country is not for them and move on. The fact that you had a bad experience does not mean it is (or will be) bad for everyone. Contrary to what you seem to believe, there are a rather large number of Indians who have experienced life abroad and chosen to return, despite the pollution, crime and crowds. Why do you think that is? Are they patriots? Are they masochists? Are they guilted into it by their parents? Perhaps. Or perhaps a lot of your happiness is defined not by environmental factors, but by your own mind space. My wife wanted to come back to India because she missed her family, her siblings, her friends, the lively streets, the myriad colors of India. I have not regretted the decision to return, because believe it or not, my lifestyle is at least as good as it was in Canada (minus pollution etc.), and my spouse is happier. The latter factor alone is sufficient to justify the decision. It is not denial, it is a statement of fact.

          I think it’s really very silly to talk about ‘denial’ while sitting on a blog that criticizes contemporary practices in India nearly every day of the week. Did you genuinely get that feeling right about now, or is it just that you enjoy saying that? Perhaps you missed the part where everyone acknowledged that the problems exist. Perhaps you just have an ax to grind (not a bad thing, but at least acknowledge it, eh?).

          We may never know.


        • Are you even serious? Which country does NOT have any bad things? Are you not able to see the complete picture? I am really amazed!!

          I have lived in the US for the last 6 years and we moved back to India to start our own business. So I have seen the better and worse things of both the nations. Pollution, poverty is a problem here, AND elder care, drugs, depression, teenage mothers, obesity are the problems of the western world. Not to mention western society is EATING up most of the carbon footprint of the world.. by habits like using too much plastic and stuff. The sheer amount of waste that is generated by every individual is ridiculous in western society and that too contributes, you know!

          Every country has its own set of problems, mam!

          IHM: Not sure I agree about Teenage Pregnancies.
          Teenage pregnancies, not our culture….

          And a 24 year old mother, from Jaipur, with a six year old child was in news yesterday. She committed suicide. She must have been a teenager when the child was born?


        • Okay I live in a relatively small town in the USA now and lived all of my life in Kolkata, and your point about healthcare is completely untrue in my personal experience at least. All my life, I have had easily and immediately accessible healthcare in India, whereas here, I have had to go through so much hassle and waiting for just a counseling appointment and a flu shot appointment. Please do not make such unfounded generalization. And college education also is much more a headache for the middle class in the US than for the middle class in India(I agree that federal aid may put people below the 60k mark in a better position). Many students here are in so much debt because of college, debt that often lasts them a great part of their lives after college, whereas in India the best institutions are the cheapest. For India’s poor, everything is out of reach, of course, but people who have already been abroad once are likely to never fall in that category.


      • “Indian cities can be very crowded, polluted and crime-prone indeed. That, of course, remains a problem. Money isn’t, not really.”
        That pretty much sums up my experience as well. I am a ‘return’ pilot, having worked in airlines in Central Asia and Europe for more than 4 years. Even if I were to account that European pilots get paid higher on an average than North American pilots, I still get paid close to European salaries in India. I also have a lot of colleagues from the US and Canada who admit that they wouldn’t trade their jobs in India or South-East Asia for an equivalent job in a North American flying bus. It is not just the money and what you can buy with it, but the intangible ‘collateral’ and personal benefits of living in Asia vis. a vis. living in North America.
        >> It is easier to get farm fresh and better quality food in India if you are friendly with farmers and are willing to pay premium (which turns out far cheaper than what one would pay for processed crap that one gets in North America). There are also a lot of ethnic herbs and foods that would be pretty much impossible to find in non-SEA countries. Like fresh bamboo shoots or fish/prawn varieries for instance.
        >> I can afford a house help, chauffeur and other such amenities which would be difficult in Europe or North America on an equivalent income. For those material goods which are not easily available in the country, I can get them ordered online or imported. Like Doc Maartens for instance.
        >> I get to speak my language. It might not make sense to people who don’t have to deal with speaking in a foreign language all the time; or to Indians who have large ‘Indian’ communities in other countries. But there is nothing as comforting as speaking in a language that you are most familiar with. As a Khasi, India is pretty much the only country where I can find another Khasi without considerable search and relocation.
        >> India is also ripe with business oppotunities. If you have the smarts, you can create a lot of money from pretty much any venture in the country. My cousin created her first million at the age of 23, by running a fashion accessories retail chain. She started in college, from scratch, after people used to consult her for fashion advice. Another friend of mine made it big by exporting North East Indian handicrafts and handloom products.
        I think it is irrational to assume that everyone is going to earn less and have a lower quality of life in India. It is also very condescending to assume that the only reason someone lives in a country is for the money and lifestyle that one can buy/afford.


        • You are living in a world of illusion … seriously doubt how safe it will be to ride the jet when you the pilot ! Let me clear a few hallucinations :
          1. ” It is not just the money and what you can buy with it, but the intangible ‘collateral’ and personal benefits of living in Asia vis. a vis. living in North America.”
          Pretty jargon loaded sentence I wonder if you yourself understand what you saying… and then without any example or reference.. so just trash this sloppy point

          2.”It is easier to get farm fresh and better quality food in India if you are friendly with farmers and are willing to pay premium (which turns out far cheaper than what one would pay for processed crap that one gets in North America).”

          really… really ! dude do you have any idea in any sense what the load of DDT and other organophosphates in indian vegetable and fruits? Any idea?? Let me tell you… its is over 50,000 more compared to any Western equivalent. Fresh food dont mean they are harmless ! In India there are no strict regulatory body to QC any Indian agri products, milk is adulterated, so are almost anything. No one bothers to even do a simple lab test on these items.

          3.” I can afford a house help, chauffeur and other such amenities which would be difficult in Europe or North America on an equivalent income.”

          You should be chased by now by IT officials to brat on this ! Did you ever bother to pay for retirement, medicare,LIC, personal injury, unemployment benefits to your bunch of helps ? In India what you doing is “exploiting” the poor and needy without even bothering to compensate them even in legal terms the bare minimum. So you can afford. If you were in US and don’t pay even a single benefit, you either will be kicked out of the country or by now sitting and rotting in some Federal prison like your favorite Devyani Kobragade! So the cheap labor that you talking about to afford proudly is really a human abuse in name of helps. Got it dear?

          4.”India is also ripe with business oppotunities. If you have the smarts, you can create a lot of money from pretty much any venture in the country.”

          next time send me the E-mail address of your imaginary cousin making millions , really wanna talk with her to see what art she have to escape the worlds most bureaucratic hurdles in India and make millions ! Till then I doubt the credebility of your statement . Sorry cant buy it. (I gave up my ambition to start a drug company in Pune after waiting for 4 years to get just 2 documents signed !)


    • @Beatrix

      Which one would you prefer, a lonely long life with noone of your near ones to take care (USA) or an average life with full of your loved ones around (INDIA)?

      Those money calculations could not buy them happiness !
      I remember watching this movie called “Namesake” !
      What a misery it is if one’s own children think so much to live with their parents who raised and sacrificed so much for them.


      • Hi Beatrice and others…
        everyone in family – me & hubby, in-laws and my parents understnad that savings which we can make…quality of our life….quality of life which we can give to our children is way better in US than we can ever make it happen in india. From time to time i have made it a point that my in-laws observe such differences (just so that they acknowledge it)…for example, my MIL doesnt fall sick while shes in US whereas in india is constantly troubled with breathing problems…my FIL feels much fresh and healthy here than in india…

        However, when it comes to emotional, social and family gratification….the distance between US and India is a killer. For example, my friend suddenly received a call middle of the night telling his dad passed away….from that day onwards, i dread my phone ringing at night. These things (emotional bonding and feeling that i might not be around if any such thing happens, i might not be able to spend random weekends with my parents doing simple things like going to library…hikes, they wont be able to spend as much time with my baby and viceversa, warmth felt during diwali and other festivals…etc. instills this fear of distance. And this is the main reason of me being open to move back to india. We have a very close knit friend circle in US, however there tends to be a thin line which is drawn at some point or other when it comes to family vs. friends.

        I swing back and forth between the positives and negatives of lifestyles in both countries….landing nowhere. Atleast this has made me clear that i will be happy/willing to try out the option 1 or 3 with a very clear and open mindset. For option 2, as i mentioned i have concerns–especially someone said from years of experience that it will be easy to move in and fall into this trap but very difficult to come out of it…especially with an MIL who already has criticised “bahus” from neighbourhood who live separately after marriage..


        • Totally agree with Atheist India and Zubeii…

          @Beatrice – I would never deny all that you said about India, the dirt, pollution, crimes etc etc. Infact, honestly, that’s just the beginning of the troubles India is dealing with right now. But having spent 23 years in India and the last one year in the US, I would say, (and here i am ONLY talking about me, i cannot talk for others, though im sure many would agree) that the life i experienced in India was wayyy happier and better than the life in US.

          Sure, life is comfortable here with the organized traffic, clean air, clean water, safe roads and great work culture. Unfortunately i do not think one can lead a fulfilled life with just these materialistic/superficial factors. I live in an upscale neighborhood here and drive a car. But I had a bigger home in India, had my parents with me, domestic help who took care of everything, a lovely neighborhood, extended family and a whole lot of close friends. I do earn a lot more here, considering I just graduated. But I don’t really have anything to spend it on. Most of my friends are just colleagues and ex-classmates who are all focused on their careers and life, just the way i am. Everytime I crave for good Indian food (my own cooking skills being..well… 😦 ) i have to drive 5 miles and almost always eat alone!! I spend half my time texting friends and parents in India. Its the perfect example of feeling lonely in a crowd. Diwali is reduced to a day where i think about the wonderful Diwalis i had back home. Are all the dollars in the world worth this??? I have begun applying for jobs in India and will move back in a couple months. I do not know if there is any truth to the claim of Indian air knocking off 10 yrs from ur life span. But I wud rather live 50 years of a happy life, than 60 years of an emotionally unfulfilled life.

          Back to DFI’s question. I honestly cant comment from a relationship standpoint. I am not married and do not understand all the dynamics of a marriage. But, had I been in her place, I would come back, but live in the same city and not with the in-laws. That’s a fair enough demand and i feel her husband will understand and agree to it. And she wins too….she gets to be closer to her parents, her kid gets to enjoy the grandparents’ love.

          Another angle – (maybe im too young to comment, but this is just my observation)- DFI seems really concerned about her kid’s upbringing and wants the child to be equally influenced by her as well as her husband’s culture. How will she achieve this by living in a different country?? I do not know her kid’s age. But as soon as the child starts her schooling she will be influenced by the American culture too. Most kids end up suffering from an identity crisis as they are unable to relate to any one culture. Some even begin rejecting their own culture and adopting the American one, just to fit in with their peers. I could be wrong. But if upbringing and culture matters this much to her, this is definitely a point to consider.


        • @ Mo
          A bit offtopic, but I believe what has to be said has to be said. While I agree with some of the points you made, especially the relative comfort of living in one’s homeland, I can’t get my head around the issues with identity crisis.
          In my personal opinion, identity crisis is over-rated and used by pop-sociologists to justify ethno-religious ghetto-isation, reverse racism or at times, used as a crutch by parents who are unable to impose their rigid and parochial notions of religion/culture on their kids. Even Indian teenagers who live in India are not immune to identity crisis, unless they i) belong to the Hindi speaking Hindu elite OR ii) isolate and ghettoise themselves from the mainstream (in my experience, a common trait among Muslims OR North East Indians).
          Coming from a mixed parentage, an ethno-religious minority in the country and a really messed up ‘family’, I had to deal with identity conflicts most of my adolescence. Even though it sucked at one point, it made me stronger and more independant as an adult. I learnt to look at my ethno-religious identity factors from a neutral viewpoint and reject those parts of my supposed cultural identity that I did not find agreeable, while retaining those parts that made sense. I developed as an individual and as a person, I grew flexible and open minded enough to live in pretty much any country/society in the world (except the very primitive and rigid ones).
          On that note, I think there is nothing wrong if DFI’s kids grow with an ‘American culture’ (which is contradictory, since America has multiple cultures, ranging from conservative bible thumpers to pot smoking hippies and everything in between). There is nothing wrong with American culture, if her children pick up traditional American value systems. I think Indian parents should really give a leeway to their adolescents to explore their individuality, rather than trying to confine them in the rigid framework of ‘Indian culture’. If it means rejecting ‘Indian culture’, whats the harm? Look at it objectively, if Indian culture is as utopic as people feel it is – why is the country such an impoverished, collective and primitive mess?
          People should really move on and realise we live in the 21st century, not 17th century tribal societies. Identity crisis is a good thing, if people don’t mess with it or try to shame kids for being in conflict with their ethnic/social/religious identities.


      • @Beatrix ….. Just thought I’d add in my two bit from exeperience in healthcare….

        As a healthcare professional, have you ever encountered the term called ‘Medical tourism’?
        …… just incase you missed it, India has one of the highest inflows of Medical tourists, YES, from the west too.


  4. It might be very difficult to make 3 happen, might cause unnecessary friction.

    So 1 is the best bet, at least for the next 5 years. Trial run isn’t going to work in your favor, unless you are very crafty – and chances are there that if your hubby is craftier, then he might use the trial run to get you moving.
    There are 100 points to talk in favor of living in the US, without bringing the you+in laws relationship into picture. It is easier to get the guy agree to a decision , if we focus on the economical impact of the decision – or something in the line of what is best for the kids’ future. And it is not actually going to be a lie.

    And please, stand your ground. Elders are not some stubborn set people, they are more capable of adjustments as you can observe from your own parents. And as for the hubby, I guess you need to do lots of work to reclaim your ground and stand on it firmly. You are being just too nice. Your name, your food – only your choice. Your child/finance – only mutually agreed decisions.

    I personally think, joint family is not at all a good idea (husband wife – living in one house itself is such a balancing act), when husband considers parents as first circle.
    Maybe in 5/10 years time, when they might actually need your support, you will be able to strengthen your core circle like how you desire.

    I honestly don’t know, how your hubby can move without your co-operation. You can always show passive aggression. What is he going to do – book tickets? who will do the planning/packing/your job-hunting part? What happens if you do not start/discuss the topic, and just keep yourselves busy with work/kid/socializing/traveling etc? Without saying no directly, but just not taking the next step – which would be some basic planning -(which I assume – in most cases is generally handled by the women, at least once you have a kid).


    • Lovely reply…
      hubby wont be able to move without my consent for sure…however, at this juncture of my life, i cannot put head in sand and avoid situation…especially i need a feeling of being “settled” someplace for atleast next few years….we have saved enuf to buy a nice home anywhere but we are still renting just because we havnt decided where we will eventually settle.we want to get some cool cars for us, but again dont feel like putting money at this point before we get some decision made ! so things like this are pushing both of us to come to some kind of decision.


  5. This may sound like a stupid question, but it isnt clear what your source of livelihood will be when you return to India. I wonder if you have an option to work in India, in a different city than where your in-laws live. Several options exist today in India, even if you work in leading companies. This might give you a kind of golden mean, and may be , at some point, a buffer period , where you live on your own, in another city in India, managing your own stuff, in touch with everyone, , but nuclear.

    I think the trial period in India is a good idea. Things may not be as bad as you think .


    • my husband’s company has a branch back in india which will make our transition back there smooth. however his company is not in same city as my in-laws. this is good in the sense that, we can get some buffer period as u mentioned.Just that my in-laws are likely to move-in to that city while we figure out a job in their home town. Btw, my in-laws have many times, directly or indirectly told my parents that “convince ur daughter to adjust to our traditions….convince her to eat our style food etc. and also that they will live with their son no matter which city we go to. All this has added to my apprehension….


  6. Ask your husband , that he should move back
    Tell your husband , you will stay in US and manage on your own with your daughter
    Both of you can travel and spend time together either country for some time every year

    Just evaluate if you will be able to manage all alone or are you in need of a “man/husband ” to manage / take care of your day to day life , if this is true then you would need to go out as a team which ever country you may be

    Dont decide where he should be because if you have priorities so does he , he should be free to go to india and take care of his parents alone .


    • Was talking to a friend today – their’s is exactly the same situation as yours. They have 2 kids. The husband wants to move back, the wife doe snot because she knows she will have to live with in-laws which she is not comfortable with. Both of them are good friends of mine, so both have told me separately why/why not they want to move. Both have a point but I would still be biased towards the wife because *she* is expected to make masses of ‘adjustments’, while the guy happily gets the best of both worlds – ie his folks AND his wife+kids.
      At the moment he works out of India while she from HK. Kids are with her, he visits once a month. Not a very happy situation either. Sigh.


    • Then why to marry at the first place :O If they have to stay separately ?
      I think such issues should be cleared before getting married. Why to create fuss after marriage /)


      • 🙂 I strongly advise all to-be-married people to clear such things before marriage…however, some things are learned the hard way….i can live on my own…and support my daughter alone, but thats not what i or even my hubby would be happy with! we want to be together, thats for sure, no matter where we eventually decide.


  7. If you are the dependent on the Green card application, then you are kinda tied up with his application right now. So if he decides to cancel it and go back, there’s not a lot you can do. If you are not, and you are the primary applicant then you are safe. But if he’s the primary applicant, and you anticipate a situation where he goes back and you want to stay here, you may want to apply on your own independently via your company. As the mom, you should get default custody of kids too. Either way, it’d be best to consult an immigration attorney as to your status here.


    • It takes years to get a GC so if they plan to move back after they get theirs, they need to take into account 2 things
      1) they will have to spend 2 months a year in the US to keep their GC valid and
      2) US citizens and GC holders have to pay US taxes on their global income


      • Hi Nish…he wont take such an extreme step 🙂 thanks for the highlight of GC validity etc…the only reason we are waiting for GC is that it will give us MAX an year of living outside USA ….and still keep option to return back if things dont work out at all. We plan to file taxes etc in US and visit back for the first year to ensure we have one full year of life in india which will be the last point of no return.


  8. You say you married for love. meaning you are not strangers and have a decent comfirt level, also been married for a few years, I don’t understand why
    1. You cannot tell him you ‘DONT want to stay with in-laws’ because you have a difficult time adjusting . no blame on them, but it’s your choice not to adjust.
    2. You can’t give up your food, choices, preferences etc, because it’s not fair and you simply don’t want to.
    3. your child needs to have both cultures, both grandparents, both family influences since it’s a child formed out of BOTH of you.

    Can’t you tell him these 3 things? And if you do what do you think will happen.
    Worst case,
    1. He will get angry and dump you !!!!! – IMO – there is no LOVE here.
    2. HE will sulk and fight and tell his parents and you will have a mess on your hands..– well go to theraphy or talk it out and compromise equally – move to india live separately .
    3. He will be mad, hurt, but appreciate your honesty and together you will come ot an agreement.
    4. He’ll simply blame you and tell his parents he can’t move and get out by being the good guy 🙂

    I understand all these in-law issues, passive forcing, adjust -madi tactics since I lived and soaked it up 🙂 but the one thing i don’t understand for most couples is when you are married and give your whole self ot the other, why can’t you state your preferences and believe me they change constantly what you liked today may not work tomorrow ..
    Unless you can speak freely without expecting backlash andunless you Both see yourself as 1 unit, I don’t think it is a marriage at all.

    Me and my hubby fight, have diff views but we are a UNIT. Both our feelings are taken into consideration, both speak our mind, both criticisze both sides freely without offense.

    Young couples shoud try it sometimes, it’s liberating and free. when we were newly married my aunt-in law misunderstood somethng and told my hsuband. I have no in-laws or sibling-in laws. and she was quite close to him. Yet he said, I trust my wife, you must have misunderstood. And that was it.

    Even today when I see him I only see the young fella, who gave his unstinting support as I walked away from everything I knew, he always tells me he sees me as the one who left everything for him. That makes us a team. no one gets in to this or breaks it . not even the kids.

    Tell your husband what you feel, honestly and he will compromise, men are not mind readers, they are raised a certain way and if they have to change you have to tell them what bothers you about their expectations.

    If he doesn’t then it’s simply not a marriage/partnership…


    • Hi radha,
      As i have told before…we have had nice long conversations on this topic…we are vey much in love and he supports me wherever he can…for example…when i was pregnant, my MIL was with us. She didnt like that i cooked my style of food (with stuff i am not supposed to use per their community)….and she taunted me while i was cooking. (looking back i feel pang of sadness mixed with anger on how cud a person taunt at a pregnant womans food esp. when shes craving for something!). however in this situtaiton, my hubby took charge of the situtation and ensured i cook and eat what i like. (The only sad part is my pregnancy gave him that strenght to talk/convince her)…he no longer has that courage to mention that in normal circumstances !

      to summarize, my hubby understands this situation, understands my concerns…but is so very spell-bound that he cannot go against the will of his parents and live separately.


        • @n – I SOOOO AGREE!

          @DFI –
          I think as long as you are the only one adjusting nobody has a problem…


      • Sometimes I feel that men have the strength, they just don’t want to use it. It is a choice which they make either consciously or subconsciously


      • Good that your husband supported you, however it shouldn’t have taken you being pregnant to do it. pregnancy is not a disease and a pregnant women doesn’t need mollycoddling ( but this is just my opinion)
        However i don’t buy the ‘ he cannot go against his parents’ at all . that is pure rubbish, I see so many couples, they fall in love, parents object.. and the man and woman can obviously go against them, god they hold strong and put their foot down and get married…. when they can do that when they are single what makes them loose their spine whenthey get married. it is because it DOESN’T affect them. they simply don’t care. Yes i sound harsh but when you canfight to get your life partner why can’t you fight for your happiness.??? The fact that he stood up against his mom for cooking says he can do it. so there is no spell bound rubbish… he simply wants to stay with his parents. nothng wrong is that if he’s single but if he is a part of a family unit , unfortunately he has to compromise. yes life sucks.
        All you have to say is ‘I don’t feel comfortable staying in a joint family’ that’s it.. no explanations required , no trial nothing… what does a trial achieve. satisfies him you are trying??? satisfying him that you will try to compromise and try to be happy?? i really don’t get it.
        if he wants to live near his parents , you can compromise by moving to india and he can compromise by setting up a separate home near parents — both win. Yes his parents will lose face with relatives and friends, but then they can always blame you 🙂
        as for dicussing before marriage, you can only think of the big points, there are so many minor issues which will have to be faced after marriage. i’ve always believed that love conquors all and BOTH have to believe that you are a family unit, you trust each other first and do not let anyone else into this 1st circle.. and lo problems solved!!!


  9. You just need to communicate your non-negotiables. If you don’t want to live with his parents, just dig in your feet, and say NO. Ask him what other options he has to discuss with you, seeing that living with his parents is non-negotiable for you. Similarly, there is no question of anyone telling you what to eat. That’s non-negotiable too.Just stay firm, and refuse to accept his decisions. You have a life to live too.


    • Good advice. Based on your email, I also think raising your daughter with both sets of values and traditions is a non-negotiable (which it should be). You are BOTH her parents, and she needs to be able to know about both your backgrounds.

      As for the trial period, it does seem to me as if you are going into the “trial” with your mind not completely open to the possibility that you may like that option. Which is fine. You’re entitled to feel the way you do. But as PT has said, you need to clearly tell your husband about this, and if he won’t listen, well, then you know that living with his parents is a non-negotiable for him. Either way, you need to decide what is best for you (and your daughter).

      Good luck! Hope all goes well.


  10. Hey so going through the post I have few points, ill like to add.
    1. Trying out the arrangement for 2 months is a good option however, you should clarify this before hand to your husband. Since he is the axle here and has to manage both his parents and you. It will be easier on him to prepare in the two months.

    2. //My hubby said he will never be able to tell his parents that he wants to live nuclear. //
    The real question is, does he wants to live nuclear. Being a guy ill tell you, 2 months with his parents he will actually desperately want to live nuclear. However, as I said, you may want to discuss this with him, if he does want to live nuclear and does not know how to break it to his parents, it will be easy. If he doesn’t want to live nuclear, well thats a different argument altogether.

    3. //Also, I have told my thoughts and opinion to my parents and they are ready to support me in either situation/decision I make, whichever makes me happy eventually.//
    Don’t involve your parents for now, as this is purely between you and your hubby. This thing has to be sorted between you two, involving parents will complicate things and his ego will come into picture causing undesired directions.

    4. About the tier of priority. That is sadly the state of almost all the modern couples and as recently married, I have felt the discussion and saw both the side of arguments. No comments there, since we are still figuring these things out.


  11. My advice to you would be not to move back to India if you don’t want to, but, if you do move back do not live with them. This advice is not given casually, but comes after many many years of being married and seeing countless friends and family members deal with in-laws. I use to be one of those people who said families have to make it work at all costs, and in-laws are your like your parents. From your letter it seems that your in-laws want their lifestyle and choices to be the dominating one in your family. When you live them, their influence on your husband will increase and yours will decrease. You will be unhappy if you have to do things all their way or struggle with them over everything. Your husband will be unhappy if he is forced to choose sides in a struggle between his parents and you. You write that the idea of living with in-laws leaves you “shaken and scared”. Listen to this instinct, because it is telling you something important. It is saying that nothing good will come out of this.


    • pk
      You are right on the money with your reply! I totally agree – DFI should listen to her instincts first!!
      Do NOT go against your instincts. Do what you really want to do and don’t do what you really don’t want to do. Living somebody else’s life or dream is not good for your health and happiness.


  12. Hi,
    I relate so well to your situation. We moved back from the US too – and since my in-laws live in a city thats great (job-wise for both of us), the husband and I had a lot of unpleasant conversations. While living in the same house as the in-laws was never considered (by anyone) – I did express some objection to living in the same city as well. This is because knowing his family dynamics, I knew we’d be expected to keep every weekend and holiday free for socializing with them – or at any rate, have a damn good excuse.
    Anyway, after a few very-gently worded conversations, I’m very happy to say my hubby got the hint. We didn’t really talk about it – I guess it still hurts him that the in-law honeymoon is over and it hasnt been exactly smooth sailing since. One point that I clearly made, and that I really believe in, was that distance is KEY to nurturing a decent relationship. And it was because I want a decent relationship with his parents, that I also want to put distance between us.
    It’s all worked out great. We visit each other about once in a couple of months, have a great time, and before all the little annoyances start ruining dinner, the visit is over. Everything is fresh and rosy by the time the next visit rolls around.


    • “One point that I clearly made, and that I really believe in, was that distance is KEY to nurturing a decent relationship. And it was because I want a decent relationship with his parents, that I also want to put distance between us.”… so very true…well said


  13. Hello Friend,
    You have admitted that you married in haste without really speaking to each other about important issues. It’s time to have a heart to heart talk with your hubby before you take any decision at all. Do not try to say, promise or do things which will put you in a fix later on. By now I am sure you have a good judgment of your hubby’s nature and his attitude towards his parents, It’s time to get real. Be very very clear with your hubby and tell him clearly that you are not going to be comfortable staying with IN-LAWS that you prefer a Nuclear set up. It;s better to sort this issue before you take any other decision. As far as I see, your hubby wishes to stay with his parents. List down the pros and cons of every situation, better write them down and think. See if you can understand his point of view and observe if he will accept your way of thinking. Marriage is all about adjustments, respect, love and trust between the couples. Both parties have to equally support each other to live a harmonious life. If only one person is forced to sacrifice, the marriage will not survive and even if it survives its not gonna be a happy marriage. No doubt parents (from both sides) need to be loved and respected but not at the cost of their children’s happiness. My only request with you would be to be honest with yourself, ask yourself what is that you really want? Unless you are clear, you will not be able to take the right decision. Once you are in India, I doubt if you will be able to really talk with your hubby. Its better you speak to him and take a final call in the US itself. Either you both decide and remain in US or you both stay nuclear in India or you go mentally prepared to live in a joint family. Whatever be the decision its better to sort out before you leave or else you will be in an emotional mess.Good luck.


  14. Hi EW, we are also in a very similar situation. We have lived in the US for about 8 years now and are green card holders. My hubby has recently started talking about moving back to India, because his parents are quite old and he wants to be there for them. I am not very enthusiastic about this. Even though i get along pretty well with my in laws, living with them would drive me crazy. They are very old fashioned and traditional and I am not. I think i can maintain a better relationship with them if i am living away from them. But its hard to explain all this to hubby. He just does not get it. Anyways, i have bought myself somemore time by convincing hubby to wait till we get citizenship here. That way we can come and go back anytime we want. With a greencard you cannot stay outside of US for more than 6 months, else you will lose your greencard. So i have fended off the situation for now and we are going to wait for our citizenship here before we make any decisions, which gives me atleast 3 or 4 more years 😉


    • Hi Priya,
      While I can understand most of what you say, I would think spending time with aged parents who are in poor health and looking after them would trump everything else. Wouldn’t you want to come back if your own parents were old and ill and needed somebody to look after them?
      Rather than putting it off for 3 or 4 years (which may be too late or may make them really suffer), I think you guys should probably move back and get a place near theirs – perhaps on the same street or something.


  15. Dear DFI,
    You have received lots of good advice from the many posters above. This is more of a reply to :”Since I am not comfortable with that idea, how do I go about “evaluating our trial period in india”?”
    The trial move seems like a good. If it can be a “real” trial, i.e. with real jobs, daily schedules etc. I would be really curious to know how you are going to manage that… get two good jobs in the same city as your in-laws (if you want to try out case 2) and still have jobs to come back to in the US, without taking a big financial hit (even if your indian salaries, with purchasing power parity are comparable to US ones). And if you are trying out the move to a different city, short term housing in a locality of your choosing, isn’t that next to impossible in many of India’s metros?

    If you are able to make the trial work, you should probably keep a journal to note down your feelings about things that happened. You might encounter some pleasant surprises too and some of the things you might dread now may not actually be that dreadful. Of course, your fears may be realized, but in either case, your experiment will have been successful. Journaling, will help you in coming to an more objective decision in my opinion.

    Lastly, I would like to thank you for your letter, as many of your thoughts resonate with some of mine and some others with a close friend of mine and reading the other blog comments have helped me too.


    • My hubby has his office branch in india and bot of us are planning to work remotely for few weeks and then use vacation for remaining period. That way we still continue the work we have in US…earn same salary and have job to resume on our return 🙂 We have decided to use a limited pool of money during the trip so that it gives us more idea on the reality of expenses back there…

      I like the journaling idea…will try to do that.


  16. Dear DFI,

    Will there be good job opportunities for you/ you husband in the city where you in laws live? Can you move to a different city stating job as a reason if things do not work out ?

    You can also look at r2iclubforums.com to get opinion from other people in similar situations.


  17. I think you both need to talk about what a marriage means to you. If he thinks it is one person coming into the other’s family completely and you think it’s two equals forming a partnership, you will keep hitting these issues. You need to invest in clarifying and agreeing on this and then you will know what the other expects from the marriage going forward. And make sure he meets you halfway.. you both need to be happy in your marriage.

    1) Your expectations are fully acceptable.. you’re doing nothing wrong.

    2) If he says his parents are ‘tier 1’ and yours are ‘tier 2’ and you accept that, you’re setting a precedent for him to want you to live with his parents and care for them above yours. Are you happy to do that? If not then you need to revisit this discussion. Ask him, what’s the difference in the two of you? You parents invested equally in you both, so why do his get more rights on you than your own? Double standards like this have no place in an equal marriage.

    3) No one has the right to tell you what to eat, what to wear, how to do your household chores. You are an independent adult and should be free to live as you want.

    4) You carried your child for 9 months and gave birth to it so why should you have no input in how the child is brought up? You and your husband need to agree on this and then there should be no space for anyone else to interfere.

    5) This trial period.. know that it is not actually trial period. Once you move in with his parents, it will be a herculean task to move out after 2 month. I would say it’s near impossible. Your husband will not want to leave (he already seems sure), so how will you convince him then? You lose all negotiation power at that point. You can only negotiate now before you move in. Seriously. You have a choice now, you won’t have one later.

    Do not give into compromises that you are not happy about. It will only lead to resentment. If your husband cares about you, he should care about that. If you are scared your husband will leave you then you need to work on this. He should not make you choose between him and your happiness. You should be tier 1 for each other, one unit and he should be concerned about your wellbeing too.

    By the way, has he considered the freedom he’ll lose living with his parents? Maybe he’ll be happy leaving near his parents in a nuclear setup. He might be getting defensive just because you’re saying no.. ask him if that’s really what he wants and if you could live down the street instead.


    • Oh, and if it offers any encouragement, I am in a happy marriage where it is clear to everyone that both are parents are equal for us. We have made it clear through actions and words and everyone is happy. I think if boundaries in relationships are well defined, everyone finds it easier to know what to expect.

      We had some difficult conversations when I didn’t want to change my last name. He felt like I was rejecting his name.. but eventually understood that my choice is about my identity and has nothing to do with his name. We have talked about these things before and after our marriage (it’s never too late!) and we find it’s important to have the same expectations from our marriage.

      I know many others who have managed equal marriages. There is no reason for things to stay the way they have been so far. You have the same responsibilities towards your parents as he has towards his. You have the same right on your child’s upbringing as he does too. These can all co-exist.

      Talk to each other. If you care about each other, you will find a way to listen.


      • @ Carvaka
        “I think if boundaries in relationships are well defined, everyone finds it easier to know what to expect. ”
        Completely agreed. I think more than half the problems in relationships could be avoided if couples were more honest with each other and didn’t rely on assumed or implied ‘contracts’. To be practical though, some people, because of their cultural and family upbringing, find it difficult to speak their mind about the deal breakers in their relationship. They’d rather trust their instincts about the character/beliefs of another person and assume that because they want things a certain way, their partner would, as well. Your example was a good one and I really admire the way you cleared it out beforehand, before further commitment. If only more people woke up and smelt the coffee…


        • Thanks AI. You’re totally right about implied contracts.. and it’s such a pitfall because we all have different versions of the contracts in our heads. Husband and I had been together for years and lived together and still hit this issue with the last name. Surprised us both as we generally share egalitarian values but obviously the last name meant different things to us. So important to talk about this stuff early on.

          @desidaaru, exactly!


      • I agree 100%. The trial period idea needs to be made crystal clear to your inlaws and husband- otherwise you run the risk of ‘hotel california syndrome’- you think you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave!


  18. honestly, i wouldn’t do the trial version at all. You will go live there for 2 months and everyone will be happy and then you will say you want to go back and they will all hate you for taking their son away (who wants to stay there) and it will all be an emotional mess. Either go back for good or don’t go back at all. if i were in your shoes, i wouldn’t go back unless the husband agresses to stay in a separate house. If your MIL is like mine, you will start hating ur life after living with them and eventually regret ur decision of moving back. the thing is joint family is, you have to make a lotttttt of adjustments. some girls don’t care about adjusting but if you are an educated strong minded woman then you won’t want to adjust and eventually you will start having fights with ur husband regarding his family and then he will feel like he is stuck between you and his parents. I am not against living with the husband’s family but the family has to be modern and understanding. I think you should ask ur husband how will he feel if you told him that you want to move back with your parents. Make him understand why you can’t move back with his family. Convince him that you can move back but can live separately and that way you can visit his parents often. Basically, don’t leave the US unless he promises to get a separate house.


  19. 1. You know, your trial is a very bad idea. because you are entering it with the objective of proving to the husband that its a bad idea, and he is entering it very clearly to convince you that its great. because, like he has said himself, nuclear is not an option for him at all. so both of u r entering it with an agenda. the 2 agendas are opposite to each other and there is no meeting ground. this is not a trial, this is a battle of passive aggression – the traditional mode of behavior in Indian families.

    2. i dont get it. if they miss their son so much, why bother sending him to the US? didnt they know he is going there to start a life of his own? how come parents are sooo pro living away from children when the children have no family, and as soon as there is family, they start “missing” them? where was the missing all these years?

    3. you do not want to go. thats ur call. he wants to go. and he has as much right as you to take that call. just like he cant force your hand, you cant force his. tell him to sit down and plan HIS future – what happens after he gets his green card? what abt citizinship? how does he plan to manage family dynamics with a joint family? with u sulking all the time bcs of simple stuff like food, with the mother sulking all the time over stuff like time spent with her vs time spent with wife, and gifts for wife vs gifts for mother, and wife sulking all the time over going to her parents’ place. trust me, the men DON’T have it easy. he will have to deal with as much as you, and even more – bcs u r fighting strangers, but he is being forced to fight his own parents. tell him you will not accept passive agrression and guilt trips.

    4. after this, let him take a decision and then stick with it. and NOW. you already have a child.. delaying an important decision like this will only increase its impact when it happens. if his decision is still to go to India and live with his folks, then both of u might start planning for ur individual futures. if you guys can reach a middle ground, that will be fantastic. if the decision is to stay on in the US, please consider how you are going ot handle the time when either parent needs your physical presence on account of ill health or something. Is the next option going to be that the in laws move to the us to be with you? have u thought abt that? And if you have decided to stay on the US, pls communicate to the parents unequivocally.. so that this constant needling ends once and for all. this will devastate the marriage slowly and surely.

    sorry for the really long comment. everyone loves putting advice.


    • i like the discrete way u think…we know its high-time we need to decide NOW…..i am prepared to come up with a decision and convey it to family members while in india…coz even i dont like being in such a limbo. u are right about us having “kind of mutually exclusive agendas” for this trial trip….all that i plan is to point out all pros and cons as it comes along the way, discover any surprises in the path and then openly have a discussion with family as an outcome of this trial.


  20. Here is a perspective from a person belonging to your parent’s generation.

    We have a daughter married and settled in USA for the past 12 years and she also holds a good job.
    My son in law is also well settled in his profession and they live in their own house in USA. They appear to be happy here and have shown no plans to move back to India. They are in regular touch with us (and my son in law’s parents) by phone, email and Skype.

    I also have an unmarried son who is 26 and he has been away from us in UK for the past 5 years.

    We (wife and I) are alone in Bangalore and we are now leading a retired life.

    I have no expectations that my son or daughter and son-in-law will give up their jobs and careers and studies and life styles and return to India just to take care of us in our old age.

    Times have changed. This expection was normal with persons of our generation and all previous generations but we are free from this mind set.

    I have planned to be available to my children whenever they need our help.
    (I am now temporarily staying with my daughter in USA, at her invitation, to be of help to her as she has just had a baby). She does not expect us to be here permanently and neither are we willing to do so. We value our independence back in India.

    I don’t want to be dependent on my children and we have planned that quite early and worked for it. We will live our lives independently in India for as long as we can and then move to an assisted living center if we are unable to live by ourselves. We have already surveyed a few places and found that it is still too early for us to think about moving there. After we cross 70 or 75 we may think about it once again. I have no doubts that if we need extra money, my children will pitch in unhesitatingly. Hopefully we will not need to ask them.

    In your case, I would advise you to convince your husband and stay in USA unless he or you or both are unhappy in your jobs and life here.

    I don’t think this trial period of two months will work out.

    By all means, help out your parents/ in-laws with money if they need it but you need not sacrifice your careers for their sake. They also should not have such expectations from you.

    At the same time, be warned that you too should not have these expectations from your children in future and must work towards it right now. But I suppose for the next generation this will not be an issue at all. You belong to the generation that (in this matter) is caught in between the older and the next generation.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you will solve this problem satisfactorily.
    All the best


    • GVji, If only all people of the parents’ generation thought like you, the world would be a happier place to live in. The mindset you mentioned requires a lot of emotional maturity. It is about “not missing people”, and getting rid of the insecurity that comes with old age. Not many people will have this level of maturity and you are *up there*!

      So, in a sense, your advice is not applicable to everyone. It takes quite a lot of introspection to get rid of insecurities in life.


    • Agree 100% GV. You guys are our ideal i think 🙂 our boys are in college , out of the house and somehow we’ve grown with the mindset that once they leave our job is done and they will not come back. and it feels so freeing and carefree . we love them , but we really enjoy the time together now. the past 17yrs were a blur of living for them and now it feels like we live for ourself. i certainly do not want a son + DIl coming in and mucking up our lives. I can’t imagine living with youngsters on a schedule, their work, their food, their budgeted lives , constant crying babies… uggghh
      we come and go as we please. travel as we please. although i’m begging hubby to delegate more. atleast i cantravel with him. and since’e he’s boss he can go when he wants and come when he wants. boy the freedom.
      no way am i getting up early and coaxing a childto drink milk in my life again — never.


    • Applause GVji! We need more parents like you!

      My widowed maternal grandmother, at the grand old age of 80+, still shuttled (of her own free will) between my place, my aunt’s place, and her own home. Both my aunt and my Mother (she had no sons) pressured her to stay put with us(my aunt lives within a mile of where we do) but no amount of convincing and/or complaining worked – if she wanted to be alone at her place, that was it, she was off. :D. And she did fine there by herself (although my mother or aunt would eventually convince her to come back within a month)

      So I hope you won’t need an assisted living center for a long, long time!


  21. Your husband may have agreed to come back for a trial period, however it does seem he and his family are already sure that they will stay together. This trial period may be your effort to make him realise life could be better in US but in my opinion, he has already made up his mind.

    You do really love him …right? Irrespective of the fact that you are now having thoughts about marrying too early and not understanding each other’s opinions regarding where to settle etc.

    I guess you have a few choices – (a) you agree to live with his in laws and see how it goes. May be they turn around and ‘let you’ (sorry for the choice of words here) live like you wish(this takes a long time to happen). If that happens both of you have your wish. Regarding your parents – like his parents are the first priority ..your parents are to you.
    (b) you agree to live with his parents, but you genuinely feel you are having settling down issues with them. They are not bending their customs for you and you are not willing to bend for them. In that case you can mutually decide to live separately. You and husband would have given this whole thing a chance and now concluded that the arrangement doesnt work.
    (c) You decide to always live separately, whether in US or India. Not having given it a chance. Your husband will take very long to adjust to this. ( Given at their slightest insistence he is willing to pack bags and go).

    I would however suggest you give it a shot – and be less apprehensive about them – who knows if things work out.


  22. The well being of your family unit should be of primary concern to you. In laws on both sides are secondary. If you think your move to India is for the benefit of you, your husband and your daughter combined, only then go for it.
    I agree with the person who said you two are going for the trial period with diametrically opposite agendas where both are going to try to show how one is right and the other is wrong. This experiment is bound to fail. However if you wish to use it as a fig leaf that you at least tried, go ahead.
    The best thing is for the boy to tell his parents the futility of their expectations. They are grown up persons and will definitely see the truth and ‘adjust’ accordingly. As GV has said our generation has learned to accept this reality. Your in laws will also do so eventually.
    Having said all that I think the emphasis you lay on cooking customs is frivolous. Food tastes can be easily acquired and discarded as well. The larger picture should be human bonding.


      • This.

        I agree generally with everything Vivek said. However, complaining about food choices is not frivolous. It’s not about one food taste being better than another.. obviously you can get used to anything. The problem is that when small personal freedoms like what to eat is taken, what to wear, etc. are taken away from you, this basic lack of freedom can become suffocating. Would you as an adult want someone telling your everyday what you can and cannot eat?

        The larger picture should be human bonding for everyone.. and asking one person to change their eating habits, sleeping habits, religious beliefs or whatever does not lead to acceptance or bonding.


    Going back will only worsen his family’s influence on your husband.
    Explain to your husband that there is no way you can live with your in-laws.
    Decide while you are still in the US about your plan of action on all eventualities before you set up on a new (and from what you say, horrendous) path.


    • Oh, and just cos you are ALREADY married is no reason NOT to demand an equal marriage. It’s not too late. He’s a human being, he CAN adapt if he wants to. He is capable of dealing with all kinds of change in life… why not a strong, independent woman?


  24. When you married your husband, you did not sign a contract to marry his folks. And you definitely did not sign a contract to have his family as primary superseding yours. If he does the “your family ” ” my family” thing, so should you. More so since they do not sound very pleasant at all.
    Nuclear families are great for maintaining peace. And it would be a good idea ot have the whole idea of who is important to “our family” conversation early enough. Really, what is the worst that can happen, that your husband chooses his family over you? Well, would you really want to maintain the facade of being in relaitonship with someone who thinks you are secondary to his mommy? Sorry to put it bluntly, but you need to discuss this.
    On the returning to India, please remember visiting on vacation, living for a trial period and moving forever are distinct things. The first is easy as it gets over, the other two progressively less so.
    And moving back for family of origin ( his not yours) is all very romantic, but not practical. And honestly, would they like to help buffet the reverse culture shock of the move back, not to mention the restrictions you would have to live with, with them in hovering distance?
    Regardless of quality of life issues, is this move something you want? It does not sound like you do. And, while making sacrifices for family is really very noble, is it worthwhile if it makes you miserable? Should not your family also reciprocate the same, you are their family too? Maybe you should have this conversation too with your husband, minus any “mommy loves me and misses me” drama.


  25. Many suggestions have been given. Many thumbs up and down. I have some blogger friends too who have replied. I thought to just let it go. But, I am one of the Indian DILs in US like you who would face this situation sooner or later. I am mentally preparing myself, that’s a diff story. My two cents for you:

    # 2 months is not at all an enough period. Trust me on this. Please make it at least 6 months or 1 year.
    # I donno what your priorities and options are, but what is the point in leaving after getting the GC? Isn’t it better to get your citizenship and then move? It doesn’t make any difference to move after getting the GC or before getting the GC, right?
    # The main purpose of your husband to go back is to stay with his parents; and you say they are in early 50s and pretty healthy. But looks like going back is must. you can’t anyway avoid it. So, may be you should talk to your husband that you stay as a nuclear family first, visiting the parents often, getting them or visiting them for holidays so that you have some ramp up time with them.
    Then once you both are comfortable, you can live with them permanently. I know it’s hard to talk and convince, but I would say you should try once. If it works, it’s good or else you would at least know what he is thinking.

    Whatever you decide, it’s your life. So, pls think and take a wise decision. Last thing, it’s very easy to pass a suggestion or make an advice, but being in your shoes, only you would know how hard it is to take the decision. . Good luck to you in the whole process.


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  27. I think people have covered most points here but here is an additional point that would affect me if I was ever in a similar situation:
    – You mention you are an only child and that you parents are older.
    – If your parents need care before his do won’t your ability to help them be hindered if you are already staying with your in-laws? I’ve seen this with my friends who live with their in-laws vs those that don’t. The ones who are by themselves have much more freedom in having both sets of parents stay over. If you are with your in-laws they might object to your parents visiting and your parents might not be comfortable visiting either.
    I am also an Indian woman living in the US and I’ve discussed this trend with other people. Of all the Indian couples I’ve spoken to who want to go back it’s always the men who want to go back and the women don’t and it’s always the same reasons:
    – men have it much easier in India, with the bonus of being close to their families
    – women have to settle for a much harder life for women (all the different posts on this blog already address this so I won’t go into more details) and in addition usually move in with their husbands’ families and deal with that additional headache. They are only slightly closer to their own families and probably see them with the same frequency that they would in the US.


    • hi sphinx…
      “If your parents need care before his do won’t your ability to help them be hindered if you are already staying with your in-laws?” absolutely yes. I have observed during my past visits that the number of days i stay with my parents, when do i return, adhoc visits etc were kind of decided by in-laws (i took 2 trips to learn this is not working out in my favor and put my foot down on this…). but to ur point, being able to be present when my parents need me will be difficult if i live with in-laws. of course, obvious huge emergencies would be exceptions, but i am concnerd about other days when they might need me and i cant make it because i have other obligations to attend to at my in-laws place is not fair. this is one of the main reasons i do not feel like moving-in with them. Thanks for your reply


  28. Your letter has been haunting me.

    I hope you put your needs first, and do not move in with your in-laws. This may cause strife, or your husband may accept it. To put yourself and your daughter in a situation where fundamental parts of your being will be subjugated, and your autonomy curtailed is to cause inner strife, and not peace. Be true to yourself, Be kind to yourself. In doing so, you are ultimately building yourself, and your daughter’s future stability, which can only bring good things by extension to your relationship with your husband.

    I wish you strength, peace, steadfastness in advocating for yourself and your needs first. You deserve nothing less, as a full human being.


  29. Thanks once again to all those who shared their opinions here…this has been a great help and i cannot thank each one of you enough. Your blog and readers rock IHM!


  30. IHM asked me whether I see anything wrong for looking for excuse to stay in US.
    So to analyse things correctly you have to look things this way
    1. Indian Daughter is using strong words like “shaken” and “stirred”. What for? Because she is not allowed to eat what she likes. I would have laughed a lot if the discussion won’t have been serious.
    2. She agrees that issue of nursing parents does not exist.
    3. She also pointed out some instances where her husband backed her.
    4. Her husband is very interested in staying with his family.
    5. None of both discussed issue of staying with in-laws.

    I strongly think that Indian Daughter has used strong words because she was driven by emotions.

    As a sidenote, I have also noted that IHM is hell bent on woman’s “freedom”. But she consciously avoids compromise done by Indian daughter’s husband by not staying with parents. IHM very consciously promotes western lifestyle as that lifestyle, at this point, is suitable to her needs. It would be interesting to see if she would promote pre nuptial agreements like west. It would be interesting to see if she has the courage to write that current indian law of “Irreversible breakdown of Marriage” is against husband. It would be interesting to see whether she would like same divorce rate as west (where husband can initiate the divorce). It would be interesting to see if she really likes level playing field.

    The reality is you cannot have all things the way you want. Every lifestyle has the downsides. It is just that you won’t realize those. Next generation will.


    • @Sanjay-
      Emotions were a part in my choice of words, however those emotions have been driven by facts and incidents over a period of few years. I didnt want to start giving examples since it wud have been a long email and chances were it cud have derailed the conversations someplace else.

      To point 1 – Not eating what i like is one of the examples – it might be a matter for u to laugh at, however when u are practically not “allowed” to cook or eat what u like in your very own “home” and practically forever (not for a limited time-period)…a fan of food and cooking like me will understand what i mean here (or perhaps know only when such situation strikes on his/herself).

      To point 5 – If I understand it right, you mean, husband and I haven’t discussed issues of staying with in-laws? If tats what it meant then we did have discussions around it pretty obviously as i had to put forth my views on why don’t i want to live in a joint-family setting.I used to be pretty ignorant about such incidences, even backbiting etc..for initial few years…i started putting my foot down on “my opinion”, “my needs” etc…only after i got pregnant and realized that things wont change unless i speak-up.

      To your summary “The reality is you cannot have all things the way you want. Every lifestyle has the downsides. It is just that you won’t realize those. Next generation will.” – Of course, one cant have everything the way one wants and every lifestyle has its +ves and -ves. However, I don’t agree that the we wont realize until its too late. We evolve based on others’ as well as our own experiences. I am sure there was a subset of our previous generations who realized these downsides but didn’t have enough privilege/platform/courage/freedom to express it. We need the “freedom” to evolve and not be bound by someone else’s opinions. I will be happy in a state where I don’t like the decision I made, rather than being in a state of limbo where others make decisions for me and i don’t have much say in it.


    • ‘compromise by husband by not staying with parents’ !!
      —- this is nt a compromise, by any means. Compromise is the husband staying with the wife’s parents.
      —-compromise is not getting married to do seva for your parents.

      One does not need to be a feminist to see this. And what’s wrong with divorce if things don’t work out? I’m not a big proponent but if I had to be married vs happy, then I owe it to myself to be happy.

      There is no downside to being happy. No downside to having a fair marriage and certainly no downside to living life on your terms with love fr your partner — be it for a husband or wife


    • Sanjay, your comments seem incredibly short sighted to me.

      Having your freedom of what to eat taken away is no laughing matter. I’m surprised that you think so.

      As Radha / IHM have pointed out, it’s not a compromise done by husband by not staying with his parents. If it is, then the wife is not asking her husband to stay with her parents either. Why aren’t you calling that as a compromise as well by the wife?

      I’m pretty sure that if husbands stop taking away their wife’s financial independence after marriage by not making them give up their jobs, then pre-nuptial agreements can very well be brought into practice. Even so-called educated people I know want their wives to stop working after marriage and remain as a dependent. In such a scenario, do you think pre-nuptials is the right way to go?

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say that “Irreversible breakdown of Marriage” is against husband. I kind of got the opposite impression

      If it means that neither the wife nor the husband have to stay in an oppressive, loveless marriage, then the same divorce rate as the west is preferable. Or do you prefer husbands / wives staying in marriages that make them miserable?

      IHM (and others with similar views) would definitely prefer a level playing field. The problem is that the playing field is extremely skewed against women right now. Your suggestions would only end up making it more skewed.

      Yes, every lifestyle has its downsides. Generations of Indian women have seen and been fed up with the downsides of our lifestyle…why not try out other lifestyles to see if they get some semblance of equality that way?


      • “I’m pretty sure that if husbands stop taking away their wife’s financial independence after marriage by not making them give up their jobs, then pre-nuptial agreements can very well be brought into practice.”
        While there are Indian men who expect their wives to give up jobs and take up the role as a housewife, I don’t think it would be a good argument against pre-nuptials. Should those men, who do not pressure their wives to become housewives have to pay because some men do so? That sounds utterly collectivist to me, it is akin to saying rape laws should be scrapped because some women use that to make false rape allegations.
        Besides, even for housewives, pre-nups are a good thing. A good pre-nup can be a excellent way to prevent housewives getting strung high-and-dry during a divorce after they have sacrificed their careers to keep a family.


        • I’m sorry…my impression was that pre-nuptials were entered into so that the spouse who earns more money does not have to pay out any of their wealth to their partner in the case of a divorce down the line. I was not aware that it could include spousal support as well. In that case, you are correct. Done right, it could be quite beneficial to housewives in the event of a divorce.


  31. Hi DFI,
    Understand your predicament, and I’m happy to see so many people already voice good, workable suggestions for you.
    As someone pretty much in the same age bracket as you, I totally read your mind. But lets look at the other side too– You mention that you are an only child, and your parents are older than his. There is a faint chance that some family requirements on your side may require you to decide something similar in the future..If you close doors on relocation today, it will be almost impossible and impractical for you to ask the same of him in the future.
    Also, your hubby is right now torn between two sets of people he really loves. And forcing him to choose one “side” over another will only drive him over the wall ; more so if he is not one of those ‘vocal’ types. If you support him in this hour, it will only cement your relationship in the long run.
    That said, I am NOT asking you to be a meek cow and bow to whatever is asked of you. Maybe it is time for some cool, rational thinking and some groundwork.
    Lots of times, emotional decisions like these are taken without accounting for practical aspects of day-to-day life. These very aspects hit you when you go unprepared.
    There are many things that may become good reasons for you to come back to the country, but not to your in-laws’ home. Choice of good work opportunity will automatically narrow down only few cities for you, as a couple, to settle down. Even if that includes the city where his folks stay, you might get a different, more professionally satisfying job in a different city.
    I’m presuming if you float this, you may be met with a typical reaction of “Your Job isnt as important as happiness of the family” or somesuch. Again, time to use your head. In India of today, cost of living is crying through the roof, and inflation is growing faster than the blink of an eye. Make a clear point to him that you have a little princess today, and both of you will have to continue working so as to provide the best for her and for your retirement. No one has seen the future, and you would rather continue sharpening your skills as long as you can — who knows when you may need those ?
    If he is someone who sees and respects logic, you have a sounding board.
    Marriage means different things to different people, but deep down it is built on a backbone of trust. If he sees you unwilling to accommodate even the smallest of changes, he will probably stop taking you seriously over a period of time. However, if he sees you as a genuine friend and problem-solver, he’ll respect your word much more. Try finding logic to agree / disagree to everything dished out to you — and you’ll see your relationship even more beautiful than what you’d imagined.
    And that needs YOU, more than anyone else, to have clear thinking of what is acceptable, what is not, and how you can make this marriage work within the circumstances you are put in.


    • Hi DFI,

      i was contemplating and looking for advice as to live in India or in the US, and came across this page. So what has been your experience, and where are you now. In india or back in the US?


  32. I have gone through the same situation. I moved to a remote village in west bengal, leaving my job and family in mumbai. I have gone through a lot bullying tactics from my mother in law, who started yelling at me and creating an atmosphere of fear, right from second day after marriage, in front of all the relatives who were in the house for attending the marriage. I was treated like a house labour, who was expected to wear new costly clothes every day of the month, supposedly to be given by my parents. The clothes that I had myself bought for home wear purpose were treated as below standard and due to this my family and many older generations of my family were called names, when my husband was at work. Was made to work in the kitchen from morning 6:30 am to 2:00 pm in the afternoon. Then again from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Then again from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Even if the previous day’s cooked food was left out, I was still expected to cook 7 new dishes every day for my husband and mother in law. I was allowed to cook one dish for myself which I could have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She would monitor exactly how much rice I cooked for myself. There was a glass tumbler, used in chai shops for giving cutting chai. I was allowed to cook rice not exceeding 3/4 full cutting chai tumbler, once for lunch and once for dinner. If I took more than that, MIL would put it back. Had to go on empty/half full stomach every day for a month. MIL threatened me with dire consequences if I dare say anything to husband. Was insulted in front of neighbors whenever they paid a visit to come and talk to me, and she would somehow make up something or the other to confine me to the kitchen when they came. Whenever I made some mistake or not follow her culture she would pull my hair or punch my upper arm, and then laugh to make it seem like a joke but the pain would remain for atleast a week. Was not allowed to step out of the house for even an evening stroll. She would listen to all my conversations with my parents and then come and inquire whom I was talking to to, what I told them. Once when a male friend called, I was told “Nowadays all IT people work and make friends with the opposite gender, and the carry on extra marital affairs with them”. Since the house was of two floors(G+1) and our bedroom and one pooja room was upstairs, she would make me go up and down the stairs throughout the day. There were strict instructions that used sanitary pads should not be thrown into the dustbin and collected in our bedroom and thrown far away from the house once the cycle is over(but for this I wont be allowed out of the house). I was not allowed to open the windows of the room or even peep out, where I was sitting even in the hot humid months of June. Not allowed to take rest even when running a high fever. Not allowed to talk to my husband in any other language than bengali. Was called black, fat, abangali, not bahu material, ugly, haramzadi etc. constantly, when husband was not at home. I couldn’t keep it a secret after 15 days of going through this behavior. Told my husband, who gave a nice hearing to MIL. And the problems magnified. After one month, I got the news that my mom was critically ill and both my brothers were down with malaria back in bombay, and father was the only one running around. I told my husband I have to leave immediately. Tickets were booked, and MIL informed. Her retort was “Who gave her permission to go?”. I left anyway, nursed my family back to health. Within seven days I started getting calls from her threatening to marry of my husband to some other bengali girl, If I don’t return. She brainwashed my husband within 15 days who then threatened divorce if I did not return. I informed my parents. My father went with me, the other three members of my family still not fully recovered(Mother and elder brother were still bedridden at that time.), leaving the responsibilty to take care of them on my younger brother. My father pleaded with her, touching her feet and asking her not to torture me like this. She gave him her word. He left early morning at 3 am and my bad treatment started at 6:30 am. I did not inform my parents anything anymore. Lost all hope. By this time I had already noticed a lump above my collar bone and 6 months later was diagnosed with gland TB. Throughout this time my husband continued to fight for me, because of his own guilt at not supporting me when my family was ill. When my TB treatment was to start she suddenly claimed that she was going blind due to cataract and made me delay my treatment by 4 months till her operation was over. When the TB drugs started, my body became weak day by day, but her nagging would start as soon as I tried to take some rest. The first 2 months I somehow coped quietly, but couldn’t take it no more, my BP started rising, I started retaliating with stern words. There were fights between me and her and once she even held and twisted my arm and told my husband who came running from the other room, that I had twisted hers. That was the last straw, when I heard her making such false accusations. My husband believed her. I asked my parents to come. I was depressed. When they came I informed them, they were shocked. Took us to a counselor, who asked her to stay separately. But at the end of the day, I can see the guilt in my husband’s eyes, being torn between his mother and wife, failing in the promise he gave his dying father, to take care of his mother, failing in his promise to take care of me, being puzzled and confused. On the one side, I feel I have started breathing again, but on the other I live with the guilt of separating a son and a mother. TB treatment is over now, I’m cured but there is no cure for low morale, lost confidence and nobody can return the wasted unproductive last 2 years. And no matter how far we try, our relationship as husband and wife though stronger now, has changed forever, leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
    Regarding the case in point, keeping my learning in mind, I have the following opinion:
    1) Be polite, but don’t be a doormat. Don’t let them insult you.
    2) Eat the food you like to eat, so as to continue being in good health. Change in food habits can lead to weak immune system leading to diseases (as in my case). Give your child healthy food, mix of your likes and your husband’s likes. Let your child choose. This is important for your child’s health. (My doctor told me only one thing: Eat to your content, eat food you like, don’t forcefully eat what you don’t like because your body will not absorb nutrients from food you dislike, Eat on time and be happy when you eat.)
    3) Never ever leave your job. Till you earn money, there will be some value to it. If you cant manage house hold duties and job together, outsource housework. And you working is even more important because this will help your child be self-dependent/independent and raise their confidence. But dont forget to give whatever free time you have to your kid.
    4) Give your husband priority and be on his side, show support. Never go to bed angry and don’t fight in front of your kid and in laws. Your in laws may try to offer their opinion of the situation(but even if this is for good, it never helps. Both of you have to solve your problems yourself.) and your child will grow up insecure, if this happens.
    5) Don’t compromise with the educational standards and facilities you had planned for your child. Give the kid the best possible education and move if you have to after discussing the same with your husband. It makes no sense if you both of you are earning and still your child has to study in a vernacular medium just because you have to give company to your in laws in their hometown.
    6) Check out if both of you are getting the best job opportunities in the area of your in laws house. If not, move, after discussing the same with your husband and take his parents with you. This will help you provide your child with the best facilities, the both of you can. Anyways, it is customary in India for parents to move in with their son’s family, and it is not compulsory that you have to move in to their house. Try to invest in accommodation keeping in mind that they may move in with both of you at such a place, where you will get the best job opportunity. But at the same time you both have to take care that the previous house/ ancestral home is maintained well so that vacations can be planned there.
    7) Also discuss with your husband, that at some point in your life, your parents may also have to move in when they can no longer live alone due to their age. Both of you have that responsibility.
    8) Regarding the sister and her family, your husband has responsibility to take care of certain minimum customs or commitments that need to be met. It will be difficult for you to understand this, being an only kid. Our society demands that. But it should not lead to both of you sacrificing your child’s future/ your future for her. Too much financial help may motivate her-in-laws to make her life hell, because over there she is also a DIL and their demands may never end. But as a brother he must fulfill his duties(which he has almost completed) towards her. Maintain a cordial relationship with her and lend and ear of support to her problems.
    9) If still things don’t work out, you both always have the option to fly back.

    I have following opinion. Please feel free to ignore.


    • Was called black, fat, abangali, not bahu material, ugly, ********** etc. constantly.

      >>>Never mind the fact that, I am wheatish brown, fairer than MIL, 5 ft 5 ” tall, well educated, above avg looking, and according to husband and family friends-> an excellent cook. 🙂 Oh yes, I learnt Bengali and started speaking within 2 weeks of marriage.


  33. do u run any services nicely termed as responsibilities,responsibility is not serving elders or taking hard decision against your life,u both be happy raising your child you have a kid keep her in safe it is your priority,ur husbands parents or ur parents doesnt matter they are in india…u understand they are in india madam,not in africa or amazon or in some other foreign land…even before u and ur husband are born in india they are born here and know about this land very well they can take care of themselves than u or husband does!
    what did u say???miss him so much ohhhhhh that is wat his parents say then y get him educated make him civilised etc etc y let him study at USA is this not all missing?they only miss him after u got married to him and u both moved to USA, amazingggggggggggg!!!!
    stop asking advices,life is not immortal it is mortal when u live for others it remains past when u live for life it is “GIFT”
    and remember we all have families want to know one surprising golden words i say ” no body will prefer wife’s parents in his priority list,vice versa do u list his parents in priority list as postion number one”u wont do it right so he cannot do it too…….simple family logic is our parents first in list her parents next,when comes to u ur parents 1st in list of ur priority and next his…dont u really agree this FACT…..ask ur conscience it will answer u.


    • I very much endorse what Praveen has to say !According to me …. living separate but near to one another and taking care of each others families without interference is the best solution instead of two women staying in the same house and fighting all the time!


  34. Pingback: ‘I googled “how to behave with in laws after marriage in India.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  36. Pingback: “Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  39. I see no qualms in living with your parents or in-laws. In my social circle I have witnessed some parents as weird as in-laws and few in-laws as good as own parents.

    Life can not be lead on terms and conditions.. had one not married would he or she ponder upon this much of going back to or calling upon their own parents with them…

    I lost my mom at a tender age, I have a younger brother settling down in terms of a career. I know (in my own head :)) that I would provide better care to my father down the line . (he is in early 60s working in a different city) and requesting him to stay with us. I am married and working, I do not want to shift to any foreign land just to be close to him (he stays in a different city). I think the same for my Ils as well (irrespective of my equations with them).

    Rest of the things comes later behaviour of in-laws, their acceptability, my father’s decision, society etc.

    I have witnessed that when people grow old they behave like a kid. If I can not think of leaving and separating my kids from me I can not also think of separating my parent and in-laws from me.


  40. Hi I have read this peculiar problem where the husband always wants to go back home to his parents…come on we are all married and happily settled in India , working managing our parents….I would like to know what kind of a marriage you people have? Are you still scarred to talk to your own husband your mind living in the U.S? If so remember yours is not a good marriage….I strongly feel being a woman you should give freedom to your husband to take care of his parents….and you should take care of yours…make him also understand how you feel when he refers to your parents on the second tyre..this kind of an attitude is totally unacceptable…this way he comes across as a typical Indian man wanting to dominate. Here proper communication is the key ….if you are living in the U.S just to escape a problem it is no solution..but if you comeback to live happily ever after but solve your problems your way as an educated person all my support goes to you…in fact all women in India will support you…You will set an example for the others…..In your place I will make the choice of buying my house in India and living separate but taking care of both the sets of parents if possible …that way I have the luxury and privilege of staying in my country and bringing up my kids the way I want but taking care of the elders in the family…..green card or no green card lady you are running away from problems…. Take a decision and stick to it!


  41. Pingback: ‘Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, …’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  42. Pingback: Simple methods, recommended to anybody else, coping with any other kind of abuse, are forbidden to Indian daughters in law. Forbidden by whom? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  43. i’m going through a similar phase..not that i have anything against his parents im very much willing to stay with them ..but i too will be working and earning…its hurts when someone says that is no more your home this is your home.. can i keep visiting my parents?…can they keep visiting me n my family..is it possible that my, his and both of us he and i stay under the same roof when my parents get old…will his and my parents agree to this?..they being from another generation might have a different view…more importantly my husband never sees it this way is what bugs me to the core…


  44. I totally agree with you.although I am not working…but I am facing similar situation you are in….it is a good thing that your husband agreed for the green card…my husband is adamant about returning nd staying with in laws just after 2.5years of stay in us…he doesnot like being in us…rather he loves that hellhole….i love my country but donot want to India.jst for this reason…plz help..how do I convince him…every time I try to tell him to stay in us permanently…we end up fighting like dogs…he loves me a lot..but when it comes to his parents…he is BLIND…according to him his parents are always right..nd m always wrong..m tired nd fed up with my life…plz help


    • I am responding to the 2015 anonymous comments….I am DFI and wanted to share the decisions made my me & hubby. We went to India after I had written above letter and did a trial stay for 2 months…this helped me gather courage to put my foot down and talk openly to my inlaws. One morning, we sat and I brought up topic about me NOT wanting to
      1. Move back to India (atleast till we get citizentship since I always wanted to keep the coming back to US option open).
      2. Not wanting to stay under one roof if and when we decide to move back

      In-laws were furious, cried and we exchanged some heated arguments, i had learnt to reason logically and was prepared for most of the questions, which irked them more. They were not ready to budge! My husband took my side and supported with all the reasoning, but there was a point when he couldnt reason anymore and me and husband decided to bring my parents into the conversation too.

      I went to my parents place that afternoon, it was like prepping for a “project”. We were prepared for all counter reasons and arguments to have a logical conversation. Then had a family meeting in evening (me, hubby, his parents, my parents and my SIL – hubby wanted her to be around). My father (man of less words) explained that as parents “we” should not be selfish and allow children to make their own decisions. In-laws got offended, my father calling them “selfish”, they insulted my father. me and my parents immediately left the place (we met at my inlaws home). My husband thought my fathers point was logical and didnt interrupt then. He immediately got back to me and came to my home to apologise (which reallly frustrated my FIL, since his son had “zhukofied’). My hubby convinced to go back to my inlaws place and we lived without bringing this topic up for ~3-4 days before returning back to US. Me and hubby decided to not move back till we get greencard or later citizenship.

      In US I had a hard time, but finally convinced hubby to buy a house. My inlaws came to visit us many times in US after that. They know that we are not going to budge so easily and have come to terms with it finally. We are still in US, have house and have really good fun times when in-laws visit here or we goto India.

      Will we think of moving back to india in future? Maybe Yes, but then it will be purely on my and hubby to decide – where and when to live.

      1. Me confronting in-laws, the huge fights were required for them to realise that I am not going to bow down to their emotional blackmailing.
      2. I had made my hubby read many posts on IHM’s blog…which had slowly helped to open his mindset (over 2-3 years)…this helped me get his support with less fights. I would suggest, pick some relaly good blogs here (there is one on IHMs old blogspot site about joint families, there is one about “happily married indian DIL”, there are very good modern ads (Deepika in one, Raga watch ads, laundry ads, Havells kitchen applicance ads, and many more. Make sure he reads/sees them along with some comments…..Give him a slow dose so he absorbs them slowly 🙂
      3. Go with your instincts and DO NOT hesitate – have courage to support your instincts and things will go your way.

      Note: I still get emotional blackmail from my in-laws, but I have learnt to argue peacefully and give such cool bouncers that they are left speechless. Believe me, having logical calm arguments with a smirk are useful than keeping silent!!


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