An email: “When I met my husband, the first impression I had was that he was a male-chauvinist”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I follow your blog and have tried to understand how patriarchy is entrenched in Indian culture.  I am writing you my issue and would like to get a feedback from your readers who I respect immensely.

My story…

I have been married for over 12 years. I had a typical arranged marriage.  I was very clear about how I wanted my married life to be…my partner to be a friend, someone I can have fun with, and someone with whom I can be myself.  When I met my now-husband, the first impression I had after talking to him was that he was a male-chauvinist.  I wanted to meet him again for second round talks and said ok.  We got engaged, went out for a month or so before he left to US on work.  We married a year later but during our engagement period we had quite a lot of arguments.  He was not happy that I was not in IT field, often questioned why my dad did not make me an engineer like my brothers.  Couple of times during my engagement period I told my dad to call off the marriage which he never did.  Well, eventually we married.  On the day of marriage I did not have any love for him all I had was fear. I also had the hope that things will be better after marriage and I can make him happy.

Came to US on H4 visa.  I did not know a lot about cooking.  So had quite a few disasters in the kitchen. There was constant taunting how my parents got me married off without training me.  I could not prepare the dishes that his mom cooked and he was very upset with that.  I was quite shy talking to strangers and he used to make fun of me for that.  I was not comfortable wearing western outfits at that time and he used to taunt me for that too how I had not dressing sense.  In a nutshell, I was constantly put down for everything I did, my parents made fun of that my self-esteem diminished with passing time.

He was a consultant and travelled Monday thru Thursday. He wanted me to study instead of wasting my time.  I agreed and prepared myself to do Masters which I completed successfully. Got a job which did not pay much because I was a fresher. Had two children in two years and life was going on a break neck speed with kids, work, social commitments etc.  His travelling continued and I was running everything myself.  Weekends he would want to catch up on sleep.  Any request for help around chores always resulted in arguments.

He never liked doing anything with me from the beginning. I was an athlete and played quite a few games.  He never like coming for a run or swim or walk with me.  My requests were always turned down.  We bought a table tennis table and I was very excited because I play TT quite well.  But he never played with me.  When we have friends over, he would play with them and if they are playing doubles and wanted a fourth person then I was called to fill in.  The friends used to comment on my playing skills which he always made fun of in front of them.

He likes friends coming over but would never pitch in with cooking or post clean up.  He would also become a guest and after they left will comment on what a poor host I was, how the dishes were only ok and always comment on my conversations with them.  In fact I am quite versatile in conversing on any topic.  I never have conversations with my husband because he always will try to say something negative and that shuts me down.  I was constantly put down in front of friends too and was never appreciated even when asked for.  His sense of humor is to make fun of people, on their short comings and would expect me to laugh at his jokes.  I am quite sensitive and I do not see any humor in making fun of people.  He never talks about his personal feeling to anyone even to me and would reprimand me for talking personal things to friends or family.  All we talked about was mundane stuff like kids schedule, groceries, paying bills etc. I yearned for meaningful conversations and sharing personal feelings.

My children grew up and were missing having dad around during weekdays and even I was getting tired running the whole house myself and demanded that he stop travelling as much and take a local project.  After quite a struggle he stopped travelling.  But that did not make him take part in household chores or pitch in raising the children.  It was always his needs that came first.

He always made my job seem worthless when compared to his.  I did not work on climbing the career ladder because of kids and his travelling job.  I was the anchor to hold things in place and did not want to take more responsibility at work that will take more time from my kids.  Three years ago I landed in another job that put me in a position where I should be for the years I have been in the industry.  The pay hike surprised him.  The first bonus I got was close to what he made and he was so insecure because of that. In my new work place people appreciated my communication skills, my way of working and I got more accolades for my dressing sense.

All these years I never argued much with him because I looked up to him and thought that he was saying all these negative things because I was not good enough.  I kept on striving to make him happy.  Became a good cook, dressed better, and started paying attention to all those things he complained about. But the complaints never stopped, he always had something or the other to complain about.  I looked after all his needs and I think at some point morphed into being his mother.  I was just taken for granted and expected to run like a well-oiled machine.  When I fell sick he would get irritated.

After I landed this new job my perspective about myself changed.  I realized that I am not the problem he is the one who is unable to see anything positive in me.  I started demanding more respect.  That bothered him and any argument ended with him having more complaints about me how I was the wrong one.

This is not the kind of life I wanted my kids to see.  He never acknowledges our anniversary nor remembers my birthday.  I started telling him what I wanted from this marriage and this is not want signed up for.  He always goes behind the culture curtain and says that this is how it is in Indian culture and I am getting too westernized.  I wanted a trial separation a year back for him to realize how much I am holding his life together and wanted him to give me some credit.  He said he will try to pitch in but was never consistent.

He always used to question me going and staying at my parents place saying I have my brothers taking care of them so why should I go spend time with them.  His mom is very nice to me and I have a good relationship with her.  But she also becomes a typical MIL when it comes to me going to my parents’ house.  He would do anything to keep his mom happy even if that means crushing my happiness.  I have argued with him multiple times on this but he always turns the table on me.

The last one year had been quite strained with me asking him to pitch in with the chores and focusing on building our relationship and he not being consistent with his trying.  The last straw came when I caught him having an affair with an acquaintance.  He has never been this emotional kind and I pulled along all these years with the hope that one day he will get me/understand me.  But the affair broke it.  It was a short lived affair of 3 weeks, no sex involved but there was hugging, kissing and long hours of phone conversations, texting and meeting for lunch and dinner.  All that I wanted him to do with me he was doing with her.

He was more shocked that how did he let this happen to him rather than realize what impact this has on me.  I have never cried in these 12 years of marriage. But the affair broke my heart.  I cried so much. He says he never realized I loved him so much.  He always used to say that romance, passion existed only in movies and not in real life and I was a strong believer of love.  But this affair proved wrong when he was caught in all those emotions he always said never existed in real life.  So he has it in him but just does not have it for me.  He started the affair and that makes it even worse for me.

The affair is over now and the girl is out of our lives.  I am unable to forgive him.  I am waiting for the school year to be over before moving out. He wants me to stay and does not believe when I say I am moving out.  He thinks everything will be normal if I become normal.  He says I am being hard on him that I am not giving him a chance. He is so much into how the society thinks of him/perceives him and a divorce will kill that image that he has built around him.

He is willing to do all the things I have always wanted him to do. But my heart is not in it anymore. I keep thinking he is doing this so I won’t leave him but not when I wanted him to do.  I keep asking him what was missing between us that made him go to her and he says there is no connection between our problem and that affair.

I know I will be ok and will be happy.  I have my job and I know I can take care of myself.  At least start living for myself instead of all the years I spent trying to make others happy.  When I think of the kids I worry sometimes.  Somedays I am clear this is over and other days I am doubting my decision.  I read somewhere in your blog comments: the fear of the unknown makes people go along with known suffering…something like that.

Help me…

Confused mom

103 thoughts on “An email: “When I met my husband, the first impression I had was that he was a male-chauvinist”

  1. Leave darling. Your heart is not in it. It’s the best reason to leave. Rebuild, rediscover. We can survive without paroxyms of romantic love, poetry, glossy vacations. We can’t survive without respect. This man doesn’t respect you. He never will. Even though he may never have an affair again, there are many ways to disrespect someone, as you have been dealing with for 12 years.

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  2. RUN, don’t walk, away from this man. Something you know you should have done 12 years ago, but do it now at least.

    (a) What he has done to you is pure 100% emotional abuse. This is in fact seeming to me to be a very “small” term for the way he treats you but that is only because people tend to devalue emotional abuse and say that it is not a big deal. The opposite is true. I can’t imagine your strength and courage in living with such abuse and still managing to make such a huge success of your personal life. You are an amazing woman!

    (b) I am afraid for you when you say you will wait till the end of the school year to move out. Will a long weekend not suffice? Isn’t there some Easter break or somethingcoming up which will give you a few days during which to move out? The longer you stay with him, the more he can use the arguments of culture and your natural hesitation against you, and make you stay. I am afraid for you. Please move out ASAP. It is very, very hard to leave an abusive relationship and you have done a great thing by making a decision. but it is important to follow through RIGHT AWAY, or else you get sucked back.

    Wish you all the best, and know that I truly admire you for your strength of character, not just for the amazing work you have done in 12 years raising two kids by yourself while building a great career.

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    • I completely agree with Nandini, I may not articulate as beautifully as her, but, I will just say that you need to leave him. He has tortured you enough.

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    • Yes, i agree with nandini about leaving immediately. If you stay till end of year, you might get sucked back into this farce of a marriage!! Actually better still, you stay and kick him out!!

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  3. Doesn’t the first impression still hold true?

    First of all let me say that finding out about the affair even though it was not sexual and your is unforgivable (as you rightly say). Yes, It was not sexual but he gave the love, care and comfort he should be giving you, to someone else.

    You’re already doing more than him for the family, which means that when you separate you will be able to take care of the kids well. You already are in a good career stage. The more you stick through with such a relationship the more it will eat you up from the inside

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  4. I don’t think you should wait for the school year to be over–seek some legal advice about getting a divorce. Luckily, you’re in the US so it’s not going to be as difficult as in India. In cases like these, it’s usually the husband who leaves the house and not the other way around. However, if you want to leave, then you can look at renting an apartment short term (in the same county) so your kids can still attend the same school until the school year is over.

    About kids: many studies have shown that kids of happily divorced parents fare far better than kids of miserably married parents. It’s not right to raise kids in a hostile environment (with an absent parent no less).

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    • I agree with Kay. See, Indian women have this thing SO ingrained in them that they’re thinking about the kids in a situation when they should really be thinking about themselves. The kids will be fine. GET AWAYYY FROM THIS MAN!

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      • It’s like an oxygen mask in a plane–they tell you to wear your own first before securing someone else’s mask because you can’t help your child if you’re already comatose.

        My husband’s (born and raised in India) parents are happily divorced and married to different people now. He’s one of the most well adjusted people I know.

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      • my mom has been dealing with these same problems (not the affair) for 23 years now. She always says that, when us children were little she wanted to leave but, my dad said he would fight for custody of us kids and thats what stops her, she doesn’t want us to go through that. But, now my brother and I are in our teen years and my dad and I have a terrible disrespectful relationship as well.

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  5. You know you’ve made the right decision. I wish you all the strength to go through with it – and its clear you’ve got deep reserves of it within you. You’ve built a life and a career and most importantly broken through the fog his constant belittling had put around you. You sound really wonderful and you deserve better.

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  6. http://indianwomanhasarrived.blogspot.in/2013/02/blog-post_15.html
    On this link i posted a problem , i would say the other side of the coin . its in hindi so readers who dont read hindi might feel cheated to have clicked the link .

    coming to the problem of “confused mom ” , i simply have one question to ask , intially she was a daughter , then a wife and now merely a mom !!!
    where is her “independent identity ” a woman ???

    indian society believes in training the woman and it has been going on for ages . training her to domestication , conditioning her to be a “pupil” always
    see this where i quoted few line from Mahatma Gandhis autobiograpy http://indianwomanhasarrived.blogspot.in/2013/02/blog-post_25.html

    Dear Confused Mom
    Please note that u have a identity of your own . As regards accepting infiedility , YOU SHOULD NOT If each woman and wife rejects the man because of this , major issues will be clear . Its not the other woman { as you have said } who is responsible for the act / misconduct of the husband . Its the security that all husbands have that inspite of having a affair they can call it a “mistake” which makes them abuse both woman

    And you can blame your husband for all the pain he has caused you but dont forget that YOUR PARENTS are more responsible for all this mess in your life because inspite of your refusing to marry him , they forced u .
    One thing u should give credit to your husband is that he asked you to study or else u would have been confined to “low esteme” for rest of your life

    Walk out but before that make sure you have enough sources to bank on
    hugs

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    • You know, I agree with you on everything except the blaming the parents part.

      It’s important to take some responsibility for your actions instead of always slipping into the role of the victim, especially when you have the means to do so.
      In this case,the OP could have put her foot down and directly broken the engagement with this man instead of expecting her father to do so on her behalf.

      We Indian women can sit and whine about culture, traditions, in-laws and husbands for the next thousand years but things will not change unless we ourselves make (individual) choices that safeguard us and our interests. No one is magically going to change society for us,or even look out for us, so it’s up to us, as individuals, to make the choices that may upset society, or family, but in the long run help ourselves, and make us happy.

      Anyway, to the OP I say the past is the past. Better late than never!
      Leave when you want to. Remember that when when you leave , you will be making the choice to end years and years of unhappiness. You owe it to yourself and your children, to do this sooner rather than later.

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      • We Indian women can sit and whine about culture, traditions, in-laws and husbands for the next thousand years but things will not change unless we ourselves make (individual) choices that safeguard us and our interests. No one is magically going to change society for us,or even look out for us, so it’s up to us, as individuals, to make the choices that may upset society, or family, but in the long run help ourselves, and make us happy.

        EXACTLY THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING ON MY HINDI BLOG FOR LAST SO MANY YEARS

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    • I would not blame my parents because if I had put my foot down they would have agreed to call it off. Everytime I told my dad, he went to my in-laws house and told them about our arguments. It was they who were afraid of society and convinced their son to go ahead with the wedding. Again I should have followed my gut instinct. Too late to regret. I always thought I had it in me be a great partner/ spouse. I just got stuck with the wrong guy.

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      • “I just got stuck with the wrong guy”.
        True. Also, every marriage is a gamble to a certain extent, and you can never account for how a person will change for good or for bad many years down the line.
        That being said, I really hope you look towards the future. In spite of a bad marriage there are other lovely things in your life, such as your kids, your career and life in a country that is kinder to single parents. Leverage these good things to create a new home for yourself, all the best.

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      • I understand . I want to know just one thing why inspite of your gut feeling u did not ask ur parents to call it off ???
        { This is all for discussion purpose }
        Was it the fear that they will think bad about about u and u wanted to remain good daughter realizing that its difficult for parents to find a good match

        second question is
        had you not been financially independent would u still think of leaving your husband as u are able to do know

        love and hugs

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        • There was no compulsion from my parents and I would have got better proposals even if this engagement was broken. My family and my relatives would have totally stood by my decision. I guess I was confused at that age and was not sure enough about my gut instinct. Also I always thought these arguments were temporary and once I started living with him we would understand each other.

          Regarding the second question, I would have made myself equipped financially before leaving him or I would have gone back to India and started a life there. I was working before I got married. My parents would have supported me unconditionally given the situation. My mom knows about the situation. Initially she was in denial. But after a few days she understood why I am unable to forgive him.

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  7. You are an amazing woman. You came to a new country, adapted to it, assimilated well enough to build yourself a solid career, all this while raising 2 kids and managing your entire housework with no servants and no help from your spouse.
    What you’ve been through with your husband is called emotional abuse. It often makes the victim feels it’s her fault. It has nothing to do with you. If you achieve A, he will pick on B. If you fulfill B, he’ll pick on C. That’s how abuse works.
    This is not a normal husband/wife conflict situation which may be caused through communication difficulties, personality differences, financial or other stresses. If it were, I’d advice you to resolve your situation. Many Indian women are conditioned to make their marriages work, at all costs. To justify that, we are taught that marital conflict is normal. Yes, certain kinds of marital conflicts are normal. But what you’re husband is doing can be very damaging to one’s mind. I’m glad that you are still being strong and rational enough to think about the situation. But please don’t wait.
    Please leave while you still have both strength and rationality in you. If you feel you need further support through the process of leaving, please see a counselor.
    You are financially independent and an extremely capable woman. You’ll make a very capable parent to your kids. There are lots of families headed by wonderful, dedicated single parents and happy kids. All the best!

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  8. This is a case of emotional abuse at its worst to the point where it cost you your self esteem and worth . If I were you , I would leave him this instant and carry two hoots about his image . Your mental peace should be your priority now . Don’t worry about children’s vacations and leave him NOW ! Good Luck !

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  9. Hi IHM

    Just one question bothers me; what did he say when the email writer discovered his “affair“? How did he defend it?

    Best wishes in your decision and regards

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    • Once I had joked to him how he can never flirt with any girl because to flirt you have to let go of your ego and give compliments. He used that when this affair came out. Also I doubted something was wrong within a week of the affair starting but waited till I was completely sure. He said that if I had questioned him initially the affair would have stopped then. Of course it is always my fault.

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      • Dear confused mom,
        My heart really goes out to you.
        And I feel the ‘affair’ is just 10% of the problem you’ve been facing. In fact, no offense, but I think it came as sort of a blessing in disguise, and now you have something to shield yourself with, if at all he tries to turn tables back at you again. Like everyone else here, I am fully for walking out of this hell you’ve been going through. And trust me, the sooner you do it, the better it’ll be, because firstly, you’re in the US, and it is far easier and unbiased when it comes to these things.
        Also, you’re kids need to be kept away from all this. No matter how much you try to conceal it, kids get affected by dysfunctional relationships around them. In fact, I’ve heard, statistics say that kids of single parents turn out far more emotionally balanced than kids from dysfunctional families. And as they grow up I’m sure they’ll have immense respect for how you’ve held everything together and singlehandedly turned them into fine human beings.
        I wish you all the best for you and your kids.
        Hugs to you.🙂

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      • //”He said that if I had questioned him initially the affair would have stopped then.”//

        Wow. Even that he has palmed off on you. You will be so much better off without this person.

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  10. I feel somewhat concerned about your safety in this situation. Your husband is completely dependent on you and has taken you for granted. Now, when he realizes you are very serious about leaving, he may get aggressive. Please get legal help immediately.

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  11. I confess the title made me think that this was going to be a post about how he actually turned around and became worth staying with.🙂

    However, that is not the case here. Your story is disturbing. Over the years, you have excused an enormous amount of abuse.
    Perhaps you were hoping that things would improve a bit with time (this does happen, but not as often as one would think), or perhaps there were just too many uncertainties to consider leaving.

    Whatever your reason, I assure you that you have now arrived upon the right conclusions regarding the future of this relationship, viz. that there really is no future. At least, there isn’t any future worth living through.

    I can understand last-minute double guessing and backtracking. It happens. It has happened to far stronger individuals than you and I. But please know that you made precisely the right decision for the circumstances. You will thank yourself for it eternally, and when your children are old enough to understand, they will be thankful too.

    Should you feel that there is any merit to his apologies, remember that you are not doing this to punish him (although he does deserve the strongest possible condemnation for many of his acts). Rather, you are doing this for the sake of your own happiness and that of your children. This has everything to do with the fact that you are fundamentally different individuals, with fundamentally different ideas of what marriage is. This has also to do with the fact that he has given you no reason, over a period of 12 years, to suppose that he can effect any meaningful change whatsoever.

    Get the appropriate legal advice, draft a good plan for moving out (taking into account things like place(s) to stay, schools for your kids, your work etc.), and when the time comes, walk out with your head held high, and don’t look back.

    Here’s wishing the very best to you!

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    • P. S: I do agree with Nandini in that you should not wait too long. Even if it is not practical to leave immediately (although I’d advise leaving ASAP too), you should at least get the process started. Start scouting for an apartment, for a lawyer and so on. If possible, tell friends (even if not family) about your decision. Make any other preparations you deem necessary.

      These things help you go through with your decision when doubts and confusion start to overwhelm you.

      Do not, under any circumstances, succumb to his appeal that you are being ‘harsh’ on him. For one, he deserves nothing better. But even if he did, his feelings are not a sufficient reason to spend a lifetime being miserable and emotionally unfulfilled.

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  12. I have immense respect and admiration for the letter writer, she has made a life for herself in a foreign land despite a decade long emotionally abusive marriage that was forced upon her. You are a very strong woman to keep everything together, excel at your professional goals and raise children when your supposed life partner always put you down and never gave any support (granted he got you educated, his only good deed, but that could be for the status symbol of a US educated wife among his peers). You have been through hell and still done so well for yourself, kudos, you should give yourself a pat in the back. You are an amazing person, wish there are more Indian women like you who would take charge of their life. I don’t know if I would have so much courage, guts and determination to pull my life together if I was in your shoes.

    Now same advice as everyone else above, leave this jerk good for nothing husband. You are in the US, educated/working and far away from gossipy neighbors/relatives/archaic divorce laws back in India. You are in a much better situation to take this final step in shaping your own life (and your children’s) going forward. Take charge sista ! Life is too short to live with so much pain and agony for so long.

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    • // You are in the US, educated/working and far away from gossipy neighbors/relatives/archaic divorce laws back in India.//

      The society part of is not true. In our cities atleast, the idea of divorce is taking root. The gossip will always be present everywhere. I find people in cities are taking divorces in their stride. People are getting married again too. A positive change indeed, though not widespread yet.

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  13. I was almost in tears by the end of this mail…
    Your husband is a bad bad man!
    he never respected you for being you…
    and now, to save his image he wants to keep you in his life?!!! great!!

    I am a strong believer of things happening for a reason… you strived so hard to meet his expectations… but, in his eyes you could never be good enough( I doubt if you still can).. I guess, this is god’s way of showing you that nobody is worth changing yourself for..
    whatever you decide(to stay or to move out) please don’t give him so much importance.. he is not worth it… nobody is worth it… and please act on your own interests.. don’t think about him, don’t think about children(they are highly adaptable, we don’t give them enough credit)… your decision has to be based entirely on what is it that YOU want to do…

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    • When the affair came out, I cried a lot and hoped he would say he wants me back because he loves me. But never once did he say that. Of course he cried a couple of times which surprised me because I have never seen him cry. But he never said all those things I wanted him to say. It’s been 4 months. The first few months I really hoped that things would change. The arguments still ended in blaming me for my mistakes. How I was arguing the past one year made him seek her for comfort because she paid attention to him. I asked him why he did not think why I was frustrated and do something about it. Now I see the affair as a boon. I would have never been able to convince myself to walk away and would have doubted if I had tried enough or giving up.

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      • Oh dear! It’s hard to accept the fact that the person you care for so much, doesn’t even appreciates the fact that you are in his life! You are looking for love and acceptance from a man who is incapable of giving you one…
        Don’t look for love outside.. be your own best friend, don’t wait for someone else to fulfill your needs, treat yourself the way you wanted him to treat you, pamper yourself, keep yourself busy with the things that interest you, things that make you happy, don’t waste your precious, valuable time thinking if he ever loved you or not…
        wishing you a bright future with lots of happiness and fulfillment!! all the best!!

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      • Dear LW,

        I will thank him for not saying things to you that he doesn’t mean, even AFTER he was caught. Because if he did, you would find one more excuse to hang on to this man.
        He is not a bad person, he just doesn’t know how to deal with his fears and insecurities. His upbringing doesn’t allow him to talk about his insecurities either. He needs love but doesn’t know how to give, or receive or show love. Pride and ego comes in his way. I bet growing up he didn’t witness a lot of love around him. Deep inside he craves for it but is unable to process this need himself on his own. He only knows how to process anger, displeasure. It helps him feel in control. You may think he needs you…and you may decide to stay but you will never be happy with him. His negativity will ruin your health and dreams and ambitions…seriously he will never let you be happy. Because he doesn’t allow himself to be happy.

        -Best

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        • I agree with the person who said him repenting would have given you another reason to convince yourself to stay. But trust me even if he had said those things you wanted to hear, it wouldn’t have mattered. Sometimes it is just too late. Sometimes people have acted so selfishly that even when they give this partial acknowledgement of having done something wrong, all you feel is anger and a sense of why now. Trust me, I have been through this. There was a time when I wanted some really important people in my life to accept how they had forced me to give something up for their own considerations (I was young and too scared to lose their approval). 5 years after the incident, they did acknowledge they made a mistake but at the same time said I should have stood firmer. While I should have stood firmer, there is no denying that there was a lot of emotional blackmail from their part. There had been days when I had imagined that I would feel so vindicated and happy if they ever said something to that effect, but when it happened, all I wanted to do was lash out, to tell them why did they ruin my life that way. Till date, they do hold up that I should have stood firmer and their acknowledging their role in the whole mess up hasnt made me feel any better. I just regret all the opportunities I lost. So trust me, him saying anything remorseful would have made no difference.

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  14. The question is, why have you not left till now? You deserve better than this – still, better late than never. Cutting this toxic man out of your life will do you a world of good.

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  15. Till PATIs remain PARMESHWARS and wives keep waiting for them to IMPROVE and GET BETTER the same story will keep getting repeated.

    Dear E-mail writer you are a strong woman,go on set an inspiring example for many other women in similar situations.

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  16. What a terrible way to have been abused for 12 years! My heart goes out to you for having lived with such a man for such a long time. I think you should not even wait anymore. There might not have been physical abuse in your marriage, but this is abuse undoubtedly. It’s clear that your husband is a male chauvinist – and not only that – he seems to think he can get away with anything. Please make him see that he cannot go on ruling your life and taunting you and making you feel small. It’s a wonderful thing that after years of hard work, you now have a very well-paying job (all because of your own merits) – therefore please leave this man. He is not worth you.
    You might hear from your husband, or your parents, or his parents about how you should give him a second chance to save your marriage. There’s no second chance here – you’ve given him a million chances and now it is time to let go. You need to get away for your own sanity. Also, your children would do better to live away from a man who cannot respect their mother at all.
    Please go live your life happily – do not waste it with such a person. Wish you all the best in taking the right step! Hugs.

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    • Also, the husband seems more concerned about this image that he has built for himself of being a good family man, provider, etc, rather than his wife leaving and how it would affect them as a family. That’s something for the LW to consider, innit?

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  17. I have no advise to offer to the letter writer but I do wish all parents who want to forcibly “marry off” their daughters hoping things will “settle down” would read this letter.

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  18. Here’s a hug for you. You deserve peace and happiness. Please tell yourself that worst part of your life is over. Take the plunge. Like Kay mentioned don’t delay it. Get the process moving. Am praying for you today that you have an amazing like ahead. Would love to have friends like you.

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  19. Infidelity = his mask has now completely dropped, with this betrayal his selfishness and hostility towards you is an undeniable fact.
    You’ve known it along with the constant put downs & unsupportive behaviors..
    He won’t change, not for the children, not for you, not for what the neighbors think.
    Save your money & leave, don’t waste anymore time in this dysfunctional relationship.

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  20. Dear Letter Writer

    It is funny how we are always ready to sacrifice our happiness and self respect to save a marriage that is not worth saving. But your husband never thought of doing that. As everyone has suggested walk out while you can.

    Your husband will do everything to stop you when he realizes you have made up your mind. He will emotionally blackmail you, cry, beg and if that doesn’t work he will start verbal abuse and even get his parents and yours to pitch in.Even his affair will be blamed on your inability to be a good wife to him.

    Everyone and there mother will tell you to “Pliss adjust” for the sake of your children. You will be labelled a lot of things and may have to fight this battle alone. But trust me when you finally breath the fresh air of independence and self reliance it will all be worth it.

    Just remember one thing you suffered for 12 years with this man and no one protected you, stood by you and saved you from this hell. Do you think these people will care now? Your husband and his family will worry about there standing in society and ur parents will worry about Izzazt. No one will worry about you, your feelings and the torture you have gone.

    So leave my friend, fly like a bird. Be happy, be independent, raise your kids as a happy single mom rather than a miserable mom with a father who doesn’t treat her right.

    Do write back to IHM and tell us how you went. Our prayers, love and support are with you. Trust yourself.

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  21. In good time, confused mom. In good time. Meanwhile, build your support system. You will need it when you walk out. And never, ever dole out the same shit that this sick man doled out to you although from what I can make out, you are a much more balanced person than he ever was or ever can be. Do not let him give you guilt trips.
    Striving is all very wonderful. But striving relentlessly for somebody or something who/which doesn’t give a shit about you deep down, is unnecessary. There won’t be any memorial to your name or my name. So being or trying to be a martyr is completely and utterly unnecessary.
    I wish you strength and peace.
    And a salute for soldiering on through these 12 years.
    Love

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  22. i think its time to say Enough is enough. Your situation is more or less the same as in the “English Vinglish” movie. Emotional abuse, taking the woman for granted, no appreciation, putting her down at every instant. At least in the movie, the husband did love her.

    In your case, your first instinct was right. When you felt that he was a Male Chauvinist why did you still go ahead with the proposal? Anyway it is too late to think about that now.

    Now, you have made a career for yourself. You have the means to live independently (I’m not saying that if you were dependant on him, you should still stick with him). You need to move out, not because you need to teach him a lesson or to make him suffer–but for your own mental peace and happiness. Everyone deserves happiness.

    He has never loved you or treated you as a soul mate. Women want their husbands to be their friend, husband, philosopher, guide and soul mate. Men like him just want somebody who will run their house, take care of kids – just do whatever their mothers used to do and extra. They just don’t realize that they can have fun with their wife, can joke around, can treat her like a friend. They think they have to be strict at home, be the PROVIDER, no emotional talk, no discussions about anything. All decisions have to be taken by the man. That has been how families have been. Even if the wife has been working, her feelings or her thoughts and suggestions are just not taken into consideration.

    You have taken all this abuse all these years. The worst part is when he has shows all that love, affection, long conversations etc to another person. Just shows that if the husband-wife treat each other as friends, they will end up sharing everything between them. When the line is drawn as “Husband-wife” so many restrictions come into place.

    Before you leave, I think you should also let him know all that is there in you heart. Tell him all that you expected out of him, all that you did for him, all the abuse that you took in and still managed to carry on and how you rose in your career in spite of all the negativity he had thrown at you. He has to hear all that from you.

    All the very best for your future. You still have a wonderful life ahead of you. Do not be bothered about society and image.

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    • When I questioned him about how the feeling of love, romance and passion do exist in real life and whether he experienced these feelings with her, he said that he did and also admitted that he has never experienced anything like this before. That is why he got carried away. He says he may eventually feel the same towards me. That broke my heart that he never had these feelings for me ever. I always thought he liked me but never expressed it.

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      • 12 years is a long time. How much more ‘eventually’ is needed? You are a star for having achieved all that you have despite the trying circumstances. Many hugs to you. And good luck for the future!

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  23. You know what saddens me the most about the e-mail? This will not be the first, or the last, woman to suffer through this. It’s hard enough moving to a new country and starting a completely new life. It’s worse when you’re put through consistent emotional abuse with absolutely no support system in place.

    One thing I would advise you to not do is have the mentality that you need to stay for the children. Trust me, children are a LOT more affected when their parents are unhappy than when they are separated and happy. They’re like little sponges–they absorb what they see happen in their own families and (whether you intend for them to or not) apply that same logic to the outside world. You can’t change your husband after twelve years of marriage. But you can save the next generation from making the exact same mistakes as you. And you can show them that above everything, the most basic of human needs should always be attended to, and that’s respect and emotional well being. Most importantly, you’re also showing them that no one should take emotional abuse lying down, and that it is not okay to inflict this upon others.

    Your husband is only changing right now because he wants to keep the status quo going. After a few weeks go by and he thinks he’s kept you happy, he’ll revert back to his old ways. The affair is just the start. He is (and excuse my language here) a d-bag. He doesn’t deserve you, and you sure don’t deserve him and his torment.

    Congratulations on making the decision to leave. I know a lot of other women in the same situation who won’t because they’re worried about what everyone and their uncle’s cat will think. The only people you need to worry about right now are yourself, and your children. And your children deserve you to be happy and single than miserable and married.

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    • That is the reason I started demanding respect from him. I wanted my son to respect and love his wife and my daughter to know what equality in a relationship means. I did not want them growing in an environment where they see the mom doing everything while the dad just works. My son thought I do not bring home money because he sees his dad working all the time while I don’t bring home work unless it’s absolutely required.

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  24. IHM,
    Sad story. Hope the email writer will escape ‘captivity’ soon.
    Interacting with my patients, I feel some of the widows look & feel more liberated after the demise of their husbands, while widowed men usually look lost -:)

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  25. Please go through articles about abuse in this website http://www.girlsguidetosurvival.com. It may help you realise the abuse you went through,are still going through,what more to expect if you stay in the marriage,how it will affect the children,why you put up with it till now,and what you can do now.
    All the best.

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    • I have been following these blogs for the last few years. I wanted to write to IHM a long time back about my issues. But I always thought that maybe I have not tried enough and strived more to have a relationship with him. He does not have many friends and those close to him are his friend in India. He does not understand the concept of BFF and always questioned why I talk to my BFF regularly. He always said that talking about personal feelings shows weakness. He knows nothing about my childhood or college days/friends neither do I. We are just two people living under a roof raising two kids.

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  26. You are an incredible woman ! And you are strong woman to splice away and make a future of yourself. Its very difficult to have a good career and take care of kids and be available for them in such a situation.The professional world outside has only empty verbal sympathies for troubled women especially women with children and of advanced age …the moment it affects you they’ll sideline you.
    So remove yourself from this situation …you will be happier alone then be with that unhappy,unloving selfish man !

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  27. 🙂

    Leave the nest darling and fly away. A man who hasn’t shown respect or love to you in the last 12 years is not worth another chance. I am sure God have something for you. Be blessed always.

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  28. “He is willing to do all the things I have always wanted him to do. ”
    No, he is willing to SAY that he will do what you always wanted so that you stay and keep making his life easy. I am telling you categorically that he will not change. He has no respect for you (or anyone except himself) and is an absolutely spoilt jerk. Please don’t fall for these false promises.

    It’s amazing that you have been able to build a life for yourself with your new career despite having him leeching your energies. It’s amazing that you have finally made this decision. Start acting on it before this fades away and you drag along until the next big shock from him.

    It’s amazing that abusive people like him manage to manipulate you into doing everything for them while still treating you horribly. You have done beyond everything for him, literally right down to feeding and being a caretaker/ mother doing all his chores.. and he had only abuse to offer you. Please know that this is not norma or right. It is in fact unacceptable, even more so since you had a job and outside responsibilities of your own. Making fun of you, disrespecting you for 12 years is also unacceptable. It’s not normal, it’s not how everyone lives, this stuff about ‘indian culture’ and ‘respect/love is only in the movies’ is nonsense. Abusers always try to normalise their abuse in their victim’s mind, but I am telling you that this is not normal and you do not need to accept this.

    Move out asap. Seriously, go before you lose the nerve or before he traps you in this awful abusive marriage again. Go before he tries to physically abuse you to intimidate you into staying. This man is incapable of even doing the most basic chores and will want to keep you around so he never has to bother learning.

    It’s an understatement to say that he doesn’t deserve you in his life. If you go, you will be free of this leech and all the abuse he offers. I don’t see that there’s anything that you could miss actually since he makes no positive contribution to your life. Go now.

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  29. Just the other day, when I suggested in another post here that it is better to move out of a relationship instead of staying on holding the emotional hurt to heart, I got no less than 19 thumbs down for my comment. And now, each person commenting here has been suggesting exactly that to the letter writer. Isn’t it strange?

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    • It’s not strange unless you are making the absurd contention that the same suggestions apply equally well to each and every situation.

      In this particular situation, most people (myself included) see no hope, and for good reason. Perhaps in the post where people disagreed with you, this was not so.

      To be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea which comment/post you are alluding to, and so I would normally not have responded to your comment, but I did want to point out that it is not always better to simply move out of a relationship which has gone sour. Often, it is worth one’s while to stick around and try to fix things. In this case, it isn’t, but it often is. Perfect relationships exist only in fairy tales.

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      • I think he’s referring to the lady who felt let down by her husband after her pregnancy/childbirth experience. Most people felt it was a communication problem and the husband did act decently after the incident, so everyone felt things could be worked out. I was surprised to see one comment advising divorce but don’t recall who it came from.
        Akash, we don’t recommend something for thumbs-ups or downs, we say things we believe in, we say things that we think might help, and not everyone has to agree with what we’re saying.
        Also as Praveen says, “It’s not strange unless you are making the absurd contention that the same suggestions apply equally well to each and every situation.” BTW, that line made me laugh:)

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        • Yes, I was referring to the post where the lady had problems during her pregnancy. Though the husband did “act decently” after the incident, but here’s what the letter writer stated towards the end of her letter.

          “I don’t think I can ever forgive him for it, especially because I put up with all her jibes and comments earlier thinking I shouldn’t bother him with such trivialities when he didn’t show me the same concern. I feel like my relationship with him has changed and I’m not able to regard him with the same respect that I used to have. There is no problem or something between us now, but I just feel a little cold inside. Like something has died out.”

          So do we expect her to carry on being in a relationship where she feels that “something has died out”? Where she thinks she can never forgive him? Something that has hurt her which she is unable to forget so that she can move on. So why should she drag her feet in such a relationship?

          I wasn’t looking for any thumbs up when I commented. Neither am I displeased by all the thumbs down because it is just an indication of people disagreeing with me. But I was questioning the difference in opinion between the two situations, both of which include a woman who is not able to continue happily in a relationship. Why should the woman in the first case be expected to forgive, forget and be asked to move on?

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        • @Akash
          The woman in the previous post herself stated that she had herself kept her husband in the dark about how she was being treated by the MIL.
          That obviously is enough to give the husband the benefit of doubt, and to give ‘saving the marriage’ a decent shot- by dicussion/marital counselling.
          Also, her issues with her husband were a few months old, while the LW in this case has had an unhappy marriage for the last 12 years. BIG difference.

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  30. I just feel so awful reading these accounts. I begin to wonder why we women tolerate so much disrespect before we see the writing on the wall.

    I really feel for the LW. She seems to have given her all to the marriage and deserves to have a partner who loves, respects and values her. Instead she has a man who is so focused on himself and his own needs that he fails to see the havoc his actions are wreaking on his family.

    Infidelity is harder to forgive than mere indifference and emotional coldness. Its one thing to accept that one’s husband is emotionally distant and repressed, its another to discover that he is that way only with you.

    I really feel for her and hope that she does what she thinks is best for her.

    LW, you have spent 12 years striving to be a perfect wife for your ungrateful husband. Now its your turn to live the life you were meant to live, on your terms, with or without him.

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  31. Please leave. As soon as you can. I put up with something similar for 9 years and finally left it all behind some 6 years ago now. It is worth it, it is so so worth it.🙂

    It is good to know that when you close the door behind you at night, your house is only filled with people who love and support you [your kids]. There is no one you have to answer to, no one to criticize you, no adult who requires mothering, no taunts to field or ignore. It is a freedom, the freedom to breathe and just be, that gives you a chance to start healing. Focus your energies on yourself and your kids. Pamper yourself instead of the adult kid you have been carrying around all these years.🙂

    And as for the kids, they will be happier. I say this not just because I’ve seen mine bloom in the last 6 years but also because I once overheard them talking about how I am so much happier now that I am alone and how that makes me so much more fun and how it all makes them so much happier.

    Also, and I hope it helps, let me pass on the best piece of advice I received when I was going through the end of my marriage – do not let your life become ras-viheen…hmm, I can’t think of an appropriate translation but savour the small joys of life – a beautiful morning, a peaceful night looking at the moon, music, the dawn…whatever works for you. All the best.🙂

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    • Here’s some great advice from someone who’s actually been through it. Good for you, Ritu! I know so many people here who are single moms and few are even single dads raising children. They do such a fantastic job of parenting and the kids are happy, they all have so much fun together and are so close to each other. Divorce is not the end of life. And for many, it can be a wonderful beginning. It’s like getting a second chance to be happy again, to have peace of mind, to engage in simple pleasures, all the things you used to love doing.

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  32. I hate that your father did not break off the engagement even though you asked him to, but in the end, you are an adult and it was your decision to marry the guy. Anyway… it is what it is.
    I would say run like the wind, but I know it’s not going to be as easy as that.

    I have a friend of mine whose husband was abusive and she suffered through it for 8 years, now she’s divorced and happier than ever before. But even after she decided to leave him, it took years before she finally did. They have a kid together which complicated things for her, she was worried about how the child would react etc. And of course, it’s not an easy decision to take.

    So what I have to tell you is to stay strong, make sure you have some good, non-judgmental friends around you who will support you NO MATTER WHAT, even if you decide to give him another chance for the millionth time before you finally get to that point where you’re ready to get rid of this poisonous person! You will need to be strong, you will need some good people around you to help you keep your sanity and not give in to the pressure from “society” and family and your husband and everyone else.

    I wish you luck!

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    • His criteria for girl was a post graduate, fair skinned 5’6″ girl. I fulfilled these criteria and he got married. There was constant comparison with other women how some one was a good cook, someone decorated their house tastefully, someone had a thriving social life and how all I did was run the house, raise the kids and run around their class schedules. I used to ask him if he had all these expectations then he should have married someone with all the above quities. He used to say he is providing these criticisms to improve me and make me a better person. I have improved so much in these 12 years that I am searching for my own identity now.

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      • I think the word you need to use here is ‘changed’. NO ONE deserves to change themselves to such an unrecognizable extent for the happiness of someone who just does not seem to care about you.
        Please walk away from this emotional hell with your head held high and live your life the way YOU want to. From what I read, I can safely say that you’re not the one who needs to ‘improve’ in this marriage.
        I wish you strength and a beautiful happy life for you and your kids ahead.🙂

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    • I know past is past, but I cannot imagine ever forgiving the father in this case, he made his daughter suffer so much because he wanted to keep face in society and did not listen to her gut instincts from day 1. Sure she could have ultimately said no to the marriage, but we all know how much pressure and social conditioning we go through to do something so drastic. Is this how all arranged marriage process work, where parents just hope and pray they will be lucky to get rid of the daughter with someone good enough, otherwise it is her bad luck/fate to suffer.

      I keep getting emotionally blackmailed every time my parents discuss yet another potential rishta, They will go on “the guy makes X amount of money, he is from our community, what else do you want? your father is getting old, he is taking so many bp medicines, why do you increase his stress more with your arguments, do you want to kill your father to get your way? Is that why we made so many sacrifices for you?” It is sickening, the guilt trips I am given if I refuse a guy for reasons that are very important to me but my parents think are trivial or will get okay after marriage. I should send them this blog post, show them what happens with a hasty marriage decision.

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      • I feel for you. 4 years of my life, I spent struggling with parents who did not think of me. 4 years that I am never getting back. There is nothing worse than parents who would not respect you and your decisions. I think you should not allow them the opportunity to blackmail you. Believe me, it only gets worse and worse from here. My best suggestion is that you apply for a job elsewhere and move out. This way, they will talk to you on YOUR terms. You can pick their calls when YOU want. They won’t be able to constantly wear you down by attacking you at vulnerable moments.

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      • I so identify with your situation. I have been there, done that while I was in India. The guilt trips, the put me downs and unsolicited advice about how I should lower my standards for n number of reasons, the countless ‘boy-girl seeing’ sessions, angry outbursts followed by cold silence from the parents after I refused a proposal. I could not take it anymore and realized I had to move out of the toxic environment. Thankfully, I have always had high reserves of self esteem and I had a good job. So I started looking for ways to move out of my parents house. My job presented me with an opportunity to move to the US and I grabbed it with open arms.
        I met a guy in the US and we got married.
        Today my parents lament that they do not have their daughter and son-in-law near them in India, and I do not miss the opportunity to let them know that it was their pushing me into a corner that resulted in me moving away.

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      • AnonDiva. I know that this is completely unrelated to Confused Mom’s issue. I was in a marriage very much like hers, with interfering hostile and in-laws as an added complication. Based on my experiences, I caution every woman who is considering an arranged marriage to be alert to any red flags, any signs of dysfuntion or discomfort.

        Our instincts and innate judgement tell us more than we are willing to consciously admit. I also wanted to call off the marriage because something didn’t feel right. I went through it because “log kya kahenge”.

        I would request you to have several long and detailed conversations with any prospective grooms you meet. Appearances don’t tell the whole story, and a few meetings over coffee do not give you an accurate picture of what is in store for you.

        Given the nature and the enormous risks one takes with an arranged marriage, it is necessary that the interaction with the prospective mate be as frequent and close as is possible.

        Please don’t make the mistake of marrying somebody because they fit external criteria like education, caste, height and family background. Analyse their world view, value systems and behavior.

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  33. I feel terrible reading this. why do such thngs still happen, even with educated youngsters?
    You should cut the ties at least temporarily, not because he needs to realize your worth but because you should know how it is to be free without abuse, pleasing someone and living for others. You owe yourself that.
    And do not leave the house, he needs to leave . Why would 3 people move out when it’s easier for one to move out. You are taking care of the house and can continue to do so. It is shared between both of you, but is he capable of maintaining it?
    The kids will be fine, i think all kids want to be loved, guided and see happy faces around. they need to see you enjoyinglife. after all they learn from you guys.

    An affair however small , big, physical, emotional etc., is inexcusable, where is the marriage int his case, all it is is a piece of paper. which can be easily nullified. where is the emotional bonding, love, caring, sharing, passion, trust and respect. in the absence of these things i do not qualify the relationship as marriage at all. but that is just my opinion. to me a piece of paper or a yellow thread holds no meaning if these things don’t exist.

    tell him it’s over and have him leave. no drama and lead your life , it’s full of possibilities.

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    • I agree with this absolutely. If you get legal help, they’ll have him leave. It will be easier on your kids too instead of you moving out with them to an apartment. Please let your friends & family know too, and let your husband know that you’ve informed people about your decision (so he doesn’t resort to physical abuse). All the best.

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  34. You are in the USA, get him to move out! Theres no reason you should put up with the hassle of finding an apartment and dislocating the kids. Find a good lawyer who will help. Good luck!

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    • It is my decision to move out because I do not want to live in this house. There are so many memories associated with it. I don’t want any part of my previous life with me at this point. I want a clean start.

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  35. Dearest woman,
    I was also very moved by your e-mail. You have received a great deal of encouragement from the other readers, which I echo here too.

    I did want to suggest, however, that if you do not want to leave until the school year is over than you should begin planning (if it is safe to do so) how you will leave when the time comes:

    1) Seek confidential legal help asap. Search the phone book and online for divorce lawyers, particularly those who have experience with immigration issues. Importantly, determine whether it is you or your HUSBAND who needs to move out of the house. If you have evidence of the affair (e-mails, text messages, photographs) it would be wise to make duplicates and take them with you.

    2) If things go sour as the move-out date approaches have a few back up emergency numbers. These numbers can be family members you trust, a very close friend, and maybe the closest women’s shelter. Women’s shelters in the US are amazing. They will take you in no questions asked, will cover medical expenses, help you find legal assistance, and offer room and board for you and your children (at much lower prices). If your husband exhibits any stalking tendencies (of you or the children) they can help you with restraining orders, etc. and of course you will be very safe at their facilities (armed guards, etc). Importantly you do not have to be a “battered” woman to go there. If you are in distress, they will take you in.

    3) Think of what you will need to say to family so that you can avoid their un-informed protests. Do not listen if they say you need to give him one more chance, that he’s changed, that divorcing will hurt the children. These are all lies. You have lived 12 years with this man. You know better than anyone that the relationship has not worked and will never work. Tell them you have made this decision and your mind will not be changed.

    Best of luck to you e-mail writer. My prayers are with you. Big hugs!

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  36. Everyone here has given you some great nuggets of wisdom. I really only have two things to add to this.

    1. I’m not sure if you have girls or boys, but either way, they need to see that this is not the way you treat your life partner. Do you think your kids haven’t noticed how Daddy puts Mommy down? I’m pretty sure they have. Kids always know, and you aren’t doing them any favors by staying in a marriage you (by your own admission) had doubts about from the start.

    2. This is odd, but you should listen to this song by an American R&B artist named Mary J. Blige. The song is called “Not Gon’ Cry” and the refrain was all that I could hear when I was reading your letter. I hope it gives you some strength.

    You deserve better. Remember that. I feel sad for your husband because he is clearly suffering in his own personal hell, but he’s not willing to address his flaws, and by now I think you are just staying with him out of fear and habit.

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    • I have a boy and a girl. I became more aware of what they think of me when they started putting me down as though I don’t know anything. I started telling him that they are picking traits from him. He always dismissed it as kids don’t mean what they say. The last one year I have been trying to stand up for my rights and also telling the kids what’s right and what’s not acceptable. My kids do know that their dad constantly criticizes me. My son once gave my bff’s marriage as an example of happy couple.

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      • I had a feeling that this was possibly the case. The kids picking up on the behavior, and the older they get, resenting you for taking it.

        I know that it is a lot easier for us to sit behind our computers and dole out advice, than it is for you to be in this situation, but I truly do believe that you deserve better, and that you are strong enough to fight to create a life for yourself that doesn’t involve being constantly put down.

        I think the affair was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that maybe you feel as if after putting up with years of verbal and emotional abuse, the least he could do was be faithful?

        But you have many more reasons to leave beyond that. An affair is just really the latest thing to add to the list. Kind of a final “F-you”.

        I wish you the very, very best as you navigate your way to a solution that works for you.

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  37. move out asap and enjoy seeing his f***ed up life ! Give him the retribution he deserves.

    I was so livid at reading your account… If I were your friend, I would be coming over this moment to make you pack, box his nose and leave immediately.

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  38. If you have your visas/immigration stuff in order, LEAVE. The only reason I would delay or otherwise say that you’re going to stay is to set aside money for your divorce and the drop in your living standards that will occur . He has a nanny-cook-maid now so if you leave he has to hire all of that or do it himself on his super important busy schedule. Plus you make him look good.

    Make some noises about how he needs to do x y z and what that’s going to look like if he wants you to stay in explicit detail. Make it very high because even if he wants to do that in good faith, good faith isn’t enough to make up for twelve whole years of his bullshit. Knowing how this guy operates, he will probably fail and you will have the excuse you need (for yourself) to leave.

    Not knowing if this man views his children, I would still not count on alimony or child support.

    He’s only saying he’s willing to do the stuff you wanted him to do because you’re threatening to leave.

    You’re already doing all of the things yourself, raising the children, arranging all the things his life and you’re making money and he has a already a housekeeper-maid-sex-machine-concierge in you. He took you for granted and he constantly belittled you. Really, what have you to lose?

    I hate saying this but you’ve been trying and t and trying like he’s some sort of god. He’s not. He’s not so awesome that he’s worthy of all that effort.

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  39. I don’t know what to say..what to write..If I knew you, I wanted to give you a big hug and talk to you…I live in the US, like you do too..I thought I was reading my life..my friends’ life. The only difference being I work too but don’t have a full time job and not sure if I can financially stand myself. Both of us come from broken families..that is the only reason stopping me to take a decision as I don’t want to create one for my kids…I shared this with every girl friend of mine and they say the same thing…is this our story?
    Dearest, you have done everything you can. There is nothing beyond that. ‘YOU’ inside you died long time back..wake it up now. He will change…for sure, but what for? Just because you caught him? Just because he knows you love him so much..Bullshit!! He’s just playing mind games with you..he’s done it successfully all these years..ask if he wants to move or wants you to..go rent an apt and you are free!!! Life couldn’t be worse than this….Trust me!! School year is another 2 months away. You don’t have to wait that long…I am saying this standing in your shoes…take the reigns of life in your hands!! All the Very best to you!! You” be just fine!!!

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    • He does the dishes, brings flowers, even attempts to cook now. But these things absolutely has no impact on me. I don’t think I can ever forgive or forget the fact that he chose someone else over me.

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  40. There is a lesson here for all of us parents and children. Arranged marriages involve a huge amount of risk. A person may have psychological issues that may not interfere with his basic, everyday functioning. He may be able to hold down a job, not have any issues at the workplace or with neighbors. But he may have some serious psychological issues that can be damaging to the partner. There is no way to ask this question. With a very high emphasis placed on denial and sweeping things under the rug, parents are not likely to give you an honest answer about their child’s issues. Often they are not even being honest with themselves. A serious problem may be dismissed as “Oh he’s impatient.” or “That’s just how he is. Don’t worry, he’ll adjust once he gets married.” However shoving problems under the rug doesn’t make them go away – they get worse. And the worst part is that they can impact someone’s else’s life.

    I wish I could say that the solution would be to avoid arranged marriages, find your own spouse, someone you’ve had the opportunity to know over a period of time, at your workplace, for instance. But I know that is not always possible. Our society doesn’t provide an environment for safe, acceptable, healthy dating. So for those who can meet someone, date, get to know a person before marrying, that is the best way to go. No, it doesn’t guarantee that there will be no problems in the future but it does rule out many dangerous situations. For those going into arranged marriage, please be extremely cautious.

    Parents, please find out everything you can about the guy, and get away from the desperation of “I HAVE TO GET MY DAUGHTER MARRIED TO XYZ – he has a great job and I’m so thankful he agreed to marry my daughter. Please look for what lies beneath the surface. And if your daughter did get married to XYZ and he turned out to be abusive, PLEASE HAVE THE DECENCY to get her out of it and support her through the process. Otherwise, please don’t claim that you ‘love’ your child. If you love someone, you don’t let them suffer.

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    • Word. This is what I’ve always thought, and you really broke the issue down. As a Western person it gets annoying when people like to throw that tired, old statistic( that isn’t even true) that 50% of our marriages end in divorce as some type of justification that arranged marriages are the best way to go.

      How many of these arranged unions would actually last if people felt truly free to get away from them? Heck, how many people would actually do it if they had more of a choice?

      I think India could benefit from providing a safe environment for safe, acceptable, healthy dating. Or rather, a safe environment for healthy dating needs to become acceptable.

      Tough road. I’m not a member of the culture so these are just my philosophies, but I totally believe arranged marriages are only about three things: money, power, and acceptable sex in a controlled situation.

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      • American Woman, patriarchy requires arranged marriages to flourish. If men and women were to choose their own life partners, they will become an independent family unit. Yes they will still have ties to their birth families but their parents will now take the second tier. The arranged marriage system insures that the son’s parents remain the primary family, with the husband-wife unit being secondary, and the wife’s birth family a distant third. Arranged marriages are the only way to ensure that this hierarchy stays in place. Hence the intense opposition to dating – it directly threatens a centuries old, deeply entrenched power structure.

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        • I agree Priya. Now, how do we get the rest of the country on board with this philosophy? Arranged marriages really are the vehicle for all that is amiss. Caste system, dowery, bride burnings, abortion of female babies, sexual harassment, oppression of women…need I say more?

          If people chose their own partners, and learned how to do so by actually learning to respect and value members of the opposite sex as equals, a revolution would happen.

          Simplified thinking to complicated issues.

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        • @American Woman, it is already happening to a small extent – hence the intense debates on blogs, you hear more people getting divorced, getting out of these suffocating arrangements. You hear more and more people questioning these things – that’s a start. However the numbers of people finding their own partners is still quite small. Change is happening but my fear is it is too slow. Change that is too slow could lose momentum.

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  41. 12 years? You have suffered this emotional abuse for a very long time. Don’t add more days to it. And once you are out of it, you will realize what you have been missing in life.
    Don’t waste your life on this man. He is a worthless human being who does not deserve a relationship.

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  42. Dear letter writer,

    your story about enduring emotional abuse for years sounds so familiar… Only last year my mother walked out of her marriage since my stepfather would not stop belittling her and attempting to control her. She too agonized whether to take this step or not since my little brother is still living with them. However, now that she is living in her own place, I finally see her laugh and smile again instead of just doing her duty to this abstract construct of “idyllic family”. She has started several new hobbies, meets people and finally travels to all the places in the world she always wanted to see. She is living her dreams now instead of waiting and hoping that things will improve.

    Of course my stepfather is not happy with the situation. When Mum was about to walk out, he suddenly tried to date her again and to keep her by promising things would improve. However, her feelings for him were dead and luckily she didn’t fall for his sudden “change”. He still hasn’t accepted she is gone. He keeps lobbying among their common friends, tells everyone how she needs a therapy for having left a piece of gold like him and how she has betrayed the family. Bulls**t! Who cares. My little brother is really happy that the toxic tension at home has dissolved and has no problems with them living separately. He says himself that things were horribe while they were still living under the same roof and that he is glad they split up.

    I can only encourage you to walk out of this sham of a marriage. You have already wasted 12 years of your life on a man who didn’t even appreciate it and tries to make it sound as if he was doing YOU a favour for putting up with “horrible, embarrassing you” so long. Nothing but manipulation and mindgames in order to make him feel better about himself and feed his own ego. Don’t play his games anymore, don’t stick to his rules. Make your own ones and stick to them. As for what people will say, if they are true friends, they will accept and respect your step. If they don’t, their problem and no terrible loss for you. You deserve respect and care, not this hell he calls “marriage”.

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  43. He is a selfish bully. Even without his affair – you were sick of him. You are doing a superb job with your profession and kids. You need to do a superb job with yourself also and be kind to yourself.

    I would say leave. Or at least trial sepration.

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  44. Dear Friend,

    Thank you for posting this. I am 24, engaged to a man who I believe is going to be like your husband. Mine is also an arranged marriage. He uses the culture word a lot. “In our culture…” or “I want a woman from a tamil culture..”. For all this, although I live abroad, I have never had a boyfriend/affair/anything, or went clubbing or whatever, or done/wanted to do anything that would give reason for even the strictest parent to be suspicious. I waited all these years for one man. Even if this marriage ends, I will not marry anyone else.
    He is so dominating and controlling. I’m scared of him at times. I love him but I’m so terrified thinking of the future!!!!!!!!!!! I am so confused an in tears. We just had an argument where he said after marriage, I will have to cook because that’s tamil culture!
    I’m hurting! Your post has given me a lot to think about!

    If anyone read this, please can you advise? I’m feeling so insecure and afraid of making the wrong decision! help me god!

    Thanks,
    a sister/friend in suffering

    Like

    • Whoa….trust your feelings. If you are this unhappy even before you get married, marriage with his guy is only going to end up making you miserable. If you do not want to break off the engagement yourself, then talk to him and tell him that you do NOT conform to his cultural expectations in any way whatsoever. Tell him clearly how your views differ from his expectations in the matter of cooking, dress wise or general behavior and how you are not going to change yourself to do his bidding. Chances are he’ll break off the engagement himself. If it does not happen, then talk to your parents about breaking off the engagement if they are supportive people. If they are not supportive people, talk to your family members and close friends who you know will support you. You can then talk to your parents with their support behind you.

      The bottom line is that if you are not comfortable with marrying this guy, then no one can make you marry this guy. This is in your hands. If you want to get out of this engagement, now is the time to break it off.

      Like

    • Breaking the engagement is much better than breaking marriage. My husband also said the same thing that in tamil culture girls do the cooking, take care of in-laws, do not question the husband etc. It is hard to make someone understand who just want to do what is convenient for them. I will say have more conversations with him. It will be hard for you to manage if he is the kind of person who does not even try to understand your point of view. Respect for you is more important. I suffered because I never stood up. You have the time and opportunity now. Be very clear about what you are getting into.

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  45. Pingback: An email: “He got very aggressive and even started pulling the loosened muscles of my abdomen (post preg) very hard” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  46. I hope you have already moved out and started a new life. If you have not please do. he will never ever ever change. never!!!!!!! Imagine living another 10, 20, 30, 40 years like this. stop you deserve more!!!

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  47. Pingback: “She is barred from accessing Gtalk, YM, FB, twitter… Her calls and messages are checked every day. He does not want unnecessary tensions.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  48. Pingback: “Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  49. My googl-ing matched the title of the article. Tears roll down as I keep reading your article, why? I am sailing in the same boat. My story is the same except that I am not aware of any affair (may be I am ignorant). Couple of factors I dread leaving this guy are 1. Children 2. Parents’ reaction – their emotional outbursts and how they are going to face this. Very curious to know your decision. I really really don’t have the courage to walk out – that’s the reason why he still treats me bad. Its really easy to advice others to walk out. Repercussions are equally bad for an Indian woman. Thanks.

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  50. I really feel for you.. I just came across this page now.. I have sailed through the same hell… I just walked out of my 17 years marriage just last month.. walked out with a 16 year old boy and a 11 year old girl.. I am in the middle east.

    My husband was open to me that he was in an affair for 8 years before marrying me.. I clearly told him that his past does not matter as long as it doesnt affect my future… My problems started the second year itself when I got a good job..he became very insecure, started abusing.. after much intervention from family and friends who told him he was wrong (which he was not willing to accept), he promised to change.. I gave him another chance.. I left jobs to balance both work and family… He never wanted to try or go up in life, never tried for better jobs.. I took care of all the financial stress, schooling, house work, homework… He would eat and go off to sleep, never bothered whether i have eaten, or kids have been fed.. financial planning, financial security, property issues, everything on my head……He only wanted to enjoy life to the fullest.. he was always full of praises for other women, always happy wth other women… He never wanted to be alone with us, he always wanted friends or other groups..

    I had to give up my job in 2012 and i was jobless for 8 months… we couldnt manage with his salary.. I sent him down to India to sell off my gold in Jan 2013 so we coudl ease the financial stress.. In feb 2013, i got a job and everythng was okk.. But then, the fights became very aggressive..all he wanted to do was just get home, eat and go off to sleep separately.. He found fault in everything i spoke or everything that kids did. All through my marriage, f & b’s were common and I sort of got used to it,, but now the abuses where getting to level of the filthy indian village type abuses.. I stayed aloof for 6 months, but that only gave him more reason to run away from his responsibilities and he was more happier.. he started using abusive language for the kids as well.. And then there was a family function in India and he was like ‘my family wants to spend time with me, so you and kids dont come’.. the way he put it, I didnt like… I fought over it, but then things never changed.. He got in touch with his friends from before marriage and wanted me to join his friends group.. This is when I realised there is lot of chatting and partyng going on.. Even when we went on holidays to India, he want constantly on the phone trying to keep in touch with his frnds(ladies), checking on them, giving them updates on every activity.. he even cancelled my outing plans to ensure his plans with frnds are not messed up.. He was super excited.. This is when I decided to take the mobile from him.. and although we came back to the middle east, I had his indian mobile.. I thought it was simple flirtations and was getting over it when I suddenly came across one of his messages to his college frnd whhere he mentioned that ‘he has got in touch with her.. offcourse without wife’s permission.. LOL.. I went back and forth and found that he got in touch with his ex-girlfriend of 8 years when he was down in Jan2013 to sell off my gold.. I checked fb and everything and found communication from him to his ex-gf.. he has been chatting with other female frnds as well praising them for their looks and evverything.. All these years, i did every thing to be a superwoman, to seek his appreciation, to seek his attention.. i never got it.. now I understand, i was just his wife infront of the society, where as I was just a servant and an easy ATM machine for him.. I took abuses all these years, but his gettign back with his ex was the last blow.. All he had to say is “i was just chatting, I didnt sleep with anyone.’.. My only question, when you can chat with honey, babes, lovergirl to these woman, why did you abuse me so much… Last month around this time, I used all the possible abuses to him and left the house with nothing much in hand…. its difficult in middle east, but with friends support, I have survived a month already.. He is still egoistic, he called couple of times hurling abuses.. but i have decided Enough is Enough…. If we educated women, take shit like this, then such men willl never change….

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