An email: “I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice.”

Sharing an email.
Hello, IHM.
Most of the people who write to you seem to be women, but I hope you will be able to offer some advice to me as well! (I’m male)
Okay, before I begin my story, some background. I am a 29 year old Delhiite, and an investment banker by profession. My family is a large one, and is fairly traditional, but I have spent several years abroad, and for good or worse, do consider myself a bit more liberal than the average Indian. I’ve done reasonably well in my career so far and currently hold what people would call a ‘plush’ job in the NCR.
As you may imagine, as I crossed 25, my family started hankering me (with increasing intensity) to think about marriage. I resisted all attempts for about three years. Last year, though, I finally gave in, and agreed to have a look at some of the eligible ‘matches’ my family had received.
After a couple of unsuccessful ‘dates’ (I’m not sure what I would call them, really), I hit the jackpot. This woman – I’ll call her Tara – was a fellow banker who also lived and worked in the NCR. We spent about five months getting to know each other. I was skeptical at first, but I was eventually bowled over not just by the fact that she was great looking, but also because she was the sort of confident, vivacious, smart and yet kind individual that I always wanted as a life partner. We shared many of the same goals, we shared similar values and we also had similar thoughts on things like religion and parenting. In short, I thought Tara was more or less my best shot at finding ‘the one’, and to the extent that anyone can do so in five months, I think I genuinely fell in love with her. Our parents were quite happy, and we arranged to have a June engagement.
That was the good part. Now comes the dilemma.They say love blinds you to many things. I was blinded too, but as time passed, it became more and more obvious to me that all was not well on her side. It manifested as small things which I initially chalked to the initial awkwardness (but which were more than that in actuality). She would seem extremely stressed, and even resentful at times. Her moods would change suddenly. One moment, we would be talking quite normally, the next, she would simply explode over some triviality (e.g me tipping the waiter too much).

On my first – and only – attempt at any kind of physical contact (just physical, not even sexual), she completely froze, and her body tensed up like a wound spring.

Of course, I immediately let go, and to my surprise, she began crying and left without a word. I did not talk about it later, thinking that it was obviously a sensitive subject, and hoping that she would come round to it when she felt comfortable. She never did.

She completely broke down on several occasions, for no apparent reason whatsoever and did not respond when I asked her what was wrong.
These things started happening with increasing regularity, and before long, I began suspecting that something was very wrong.
It was only in the last couple of weeks that — after much prodding and cajoling — she shared the truth with me. Her story was involved and complicated, but the long and short of it was that she was basically being emotionally blackmailed into this relationship by her own parents, in many ways. For example, her mother suffers from multiple health issues, and the ‘stress’ that Tara caused by not getting married according to her parents’ wishes was supposedly aggravating these issues. She also has a younger brother, who evidently cannot get married until she does. The parents have expressed a wish to see their grandkids before they die, and her father threatened to consume rat poison on at least one occasion.
The pressure was obviously incredible.
Many heart-to-heart discussions followed, but the bottom line which came out was that while she honestly did not want to get married at this point, she did like me, and would thus marry me as a sort of ‘best-compromise-available’ solution, if I was willing (basically a known devil v. the devil unknown scenario).
Faced with this situation, I unequivocally refused. I told her she needed to get out of the trap she was in, live her own life, and find her own speed. I reasoned that I couldn’t marry someone who didn’t want to be married at all, as doing so would make both our lives miserable. I made this argument in many ways, at many times, and told her we could be friends etc.She did not accept this, and told me that I wasn’t doing her any favors but in fact only making things worse, because she’d now have to marry some other guy that her parents chose for her, who might not be very suitable. She told me that I should take some time to think about it.

As you may have guessed, I am now double-guessing myself. I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice. Would we have been better off if I had chosen otherwise? Is she right in saying that I am actually leaving her worse off than before? I have been feeling a little guilty for having been part of this whole blackmail, and not seeing the signs earlier on. There is also a sense of betrayal — this was a woman I loved (I think) and I thought we had something great going on, but in the end, it all turned out to be a charade.
I am conflicted and confused.
Your perspective on this issue would be greatly appreciated. At the very least, it would help me clear my mind on the subject. Hopefully, I will also learn some valuable lessons for the future.
Awaiting your reply.

Conflicted Banker

79 thoughts on “An email: “I have absolutely decided that I will not marry her, but I am wondering if I made the right choice.”

  1. “she did like me, and would thus marry me as a sort of ‘best-compromise-available’ solution”
    That’s never the right reason to marry someone. You deserve better. Marriage should be between willing partners who want to be together, not a compromise for one from the outset. Knowing what you knew, there was really only one right choice and that was to walk away. I think you did very much the right thing.

    “Is she right in saying that I am actually leaving her worse off than before?”
    You’re not. She needs to handle her parents and find her own way out of the ‘trap’ she is in, as you said. If she showed such signs of strains and resistance towards you before marriage, then I cannot imagine how things would have got better if you got married. You cannot fix other people’s demons, not even by marrying them. They must do it themselves. As much as you felt for her, marriage should not be under coercion for anyone. It’s difficult enough to make it work anyway, it should at least be between people who both want to make it work.

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  2. Two things here –

    One, Tara should spend some money and buy some rat poison and give it to her father. And then live happily ever after. Parents who emotionally blackmail their kids can only be dealt with in one way.

    Two, you need to marry the person YOU want. You deserve better than being a compromise spouse. You deserve someone who loves you and cares for you. If you really want to help her, tell her that you will help her move out of home and support her in all the small things life will throw at her. But she alone can stand up to her parents.

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  3. I think you took the right call. She’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be married and that she will only marry you because it’s better than marrying someone worse – that is pretty shaky ground to begin a lifelong (or one hopes so) commitment. She needs to figure out for herself how to deal with this emotional blackmail and you need some distance from her in order to stop believing that you are destined to be her saviour or some such thing. You are under no such moral obligation. Actually, what she seems to be expecting from you also seems like a bit of emotional blackmail to me! I understand the situation she’s in but this is simply not the solution. Basically, everyone needs to deal with their own shit and can’t expect someone else to do it for them. You don’t have to cut off all ties with her if you really care about her – you could still stick around as a friend. But that would be pretty hard to do without nursing any romantic expectations. You need to get away from her and this situation for a while till you’ve come to terms with what’s happened and are clear about your own stance and feelings.

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  4. First of all, I feel that you have acted as best as possible in this position. She is in a bad situation because of her parents and you’ve also inadvertently gotten caught up in it. I can understand your current dilemma. But, by holding you responsible for her parent’s actions and her own inaction, she seems to be emotionally blackmailing you just the way her parents are blackmailing her. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions except your own. From what you’ve said, this marriage seems to have all the markings of a disaster written all over it. You already feel a sense of betrayal. It will only magnify into active resentment if you end up marrying her and then find out that you are locked into a loveless marriage. If you wish to help her, then be supportive of her situation and see if you can get her some help by means of counseling or legal representation or women’s help centers. But you shouldn’t have to get married to a girl who is not interested in you, you deserve better than that.

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  5. Dear Conflicted Banker,

    For what it’s worth, here’s my perspective:

    You made the right choice. The Rescue fantasy works only in books. And while abundant love offered freely does help heal, healing another is neither the point nor the reason for love or marriage. That, as far as I can make out, is a trap. And if you walk into it, you only set yourself up for more pain later on.

    The young lady seems to have plenty of issues. And she needs to sort those out first before she can offer anyone anything positive as a life partner. So let her sort it out on her own, because no one else can do it for her.

    Also, to be absolutely blunt, if she wants you to sacrifice for her [and that is what it all boils down to – the stuff about leaving her in a bad situation, the stuff about you being the best compromise – all when I assume she knows how you feel], then I’d at least be wary. She had time enough to warn you that she wasn’t in it out of her own will – any time in all these months, she could have said so. Don’t second guess yourself now. Gifts as precious as love and willingness to build a life together deserve to be cherished, not treated like a useful tool or a compromise.

    You will need some time to get over this but you will do so, I am sure. All the best.

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  6. The only reason to get married is when two people genuinely like each other. When you would love to spend your life with the other person.
    There is always a bit of gamble involved when you are meeting a stranger but you have spent a long time with each other. The fact remains that she still wants to marry you because her parents will die otherwise (this is what she thinks) and not because she would love to spend the rest of her life with you. The reasons are all wrong.
    Compromises is the last thing you would want to do in an arranged marriage.

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  7. I think you made the right decision and should not be second-guessing it.
    1. Even if you have feelings for her, it’s obvious that she does not and is just ‘settling’ for you. While the thought of marrying her may still cross your mind given the way you feel about her, it would hurt you in the long run to be stuck in a loveless and probably sexless relationship.
    You owe it to yourself to find someone who genuinely cares for you.

    2. Her solution to get married anyway conveniently makes you the sacrificial lamb (along with herself)! If she is really intent on a sham marriage to please her folks, she should find a man also in want of a sham – not you, who is looking for the real deal! Feel sympathy if you must, but do not let it guilt you into making a choice that is going to harm you.

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  8. what would have happen if you came to know about these things only after the marriage. i think she is a genuine person,that’s why she discussed all these matters with you and she trust you and love you.she is a person who need some help or mental support in taking decisions.for that she need someone.according to me leaving someone is very easy (either before or after marriage) but you do not know what kind of girl you are going to marry .when its about relationship there will surely be problems, its not about avoiding problems but courageously facing it..that’s needed for successful relationship.its about understanding ang supporting each other.you have to ask your mind once again,did you love her genuinely, if yes discuss with her and find out if she need you. many of her problems originates from her unconscious mind,so its better to consult some psychologist and make her mind free from all fear responses. this only if you truly love her, if not better leave her to take her own life.

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    • I certainly agree she needs support and help, but the LW has no moral obligation to provide this help. First, you seem to assume this is a consensual relationship, when it is not. One party has been forced into it, and that is never conducive for a healthy marriage. Also, it is very well to advise the LW to face problems, but these are not his problems. He can only help Tara in solving her problems, but she needs to find herself a backbone first.

      And don’t be fooled by pretty talk like ‘it’s easy to leave someone’. Leaving someone is not that easy or there would be far fewer people in abusive relationships.

      I do agree a psychologist sounds good, especially for Tara’s ‘suicidal’ dad.

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    • If he still goes ahead with this relationship then its a perfect recipe for disastrous life. Marry someone who does not want to marry you ??? Marriage is a difficult relationship even when there is love; without it its going to be nothing but nightmare.

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  9. So, in order to get out of one side of blackmail, she essentially decided it’s okay to play on your emotions and blackmail you to be her prince charming and rescue her?

    I would say, no thank you and move on.

    I’ve seen the other side of marrying someone as the compromise spouse (was blind to the fact, then) and trust me, the blackmail never ends and because you’re the one who already cares, you’ll end being a whole lot more manipulated than you can possibly imagine.

    So don’t let the tears and the story get to you. Better to be with someone who cares for you as well than a martyr in a one sided situation.

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  10. you are a stand-up guy and you deserve better🙂 She’s an adult, and she needs to sort out her own problems and priorities. You can’t marry someone as a favour. Her parental pressure apart; one would think that having met you and known you, she’d be put at ease…but that’s not the case. She’s not in the same place as you are…and that’s a good reason to bow out.

    Your decision is right – don’t feel guilty, and don’t allow her to make you feel guilty. She has no right to make anyone ‘marry’ her to ‘save’ her…if she gets a ‘worse’ partner…it is entirely her making. You can’t be responsible for someone else’s life…I mean probably a year ago…you did not even know she existed. If you do go ahead…i see a future of massive gaslighting on her part – always throwing emotional tantrums, and expecting the world to solve her problems while she plays the victim. And you’ll end up walking on eggshells all the time…lest you upset her and have to wait out her silent sulks for days together. a case of aa bhail mujhe maar.

    Move on with your life – all I can say is (again) you seem like a decent bloke and you’ll definitely meet someone who will reciprocate in equal (or more) measure.

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  11. Have a premonition that I might end up being the punching bag for the whole lot of people who’re supporting your decision but will put forth my logic anyways.

    IMO the prospective bride does not intend to blackmail the LW, she could easily have hidden from him the fact that she is being forced to marry. Also the LW has himself stated that he likes the girl and she likes him. It’s just that the girl is unwilling to marry right now.

    So, given that the girl is willing to reconcile they could reach an arrangement where both can wait it out for a couple of more years and see how suitable they are for each other.

    Neither the LW nor his prospective bride are very eager to marry right now, so both might inform there respective parents that they like each other and provided they feel the same way after a few years could marry.

    This way no-one gets forced to do what s/he doesn’t want to do.

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    • The girl wants the LW to be waiting for her to decide what she wants to do because she is not sure. She feels she is marrying him because another would be worse. What she wants is a convenient scapegoat who should have no expectations himself but should be waiting for her to decide what should happen to the relationship. So, it is she will call ALL the shots! Run man run, as fast as you legs can take you. If you stay a day longer you are sure to get deeper and deeper into her trap. She does not deserve even your friendship. And what took her five months to show you it was a compromise?

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    • Swarup, your suggesions would work if the girl were in the least bit clear about her goals and her needs. She appears to be confused and is marrying under pressure from her parents. Not only is she ambivalent about marriage, she’s also not sure whether the LW is The One or not.

      To many of us, that is mother of all red flags. If it was that she was not ready for marriage per se and wished to delay it, then your suggestions would make eminent sense.

      She’s agreed to marry the LW because he’s good enough, according to her. The LW deserves to marry somebody who is willing to reciprocate his affections fully and unequivocally, without hidden motives.

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    • Ummm,what if the girl’s parents are unwilling to wait for couple of years, what if they want to see a grand child within 1 year and blackmail the girl again? What if the dad threatens to eat rat poison if the marriage is delayed by two years? We are back in square one,right?

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  12. The problem is that she is a trap smartly laid by the family. It’s emotional blackmail at its best and I think she need to move away like be in a different city for a while, doing job stuffs, meet new people and get exposure so that she may grow as a person. It’s double standards by traditional families. It’s a crap situation.
    Vishal

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  13. Tough as it sounds, people need to stand up for themselves and not give in to emotional blackmail. I know there are many even here who think that emotional blackmail is somehow as serious as real blackmail, but they’re not. Emotional arm twisting can be resisted simply by saying “no”.

    The girl is an adult. She should behave like one. Her parents are adults. She should treat them in the same manner. If her parents commit suicide it’s because they choose to. Not because of her.

    If this girl (tragically) commits suicide it will be because she chose to. Not because of you.

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    • Emotional arm twisting can be resisted simply by saying “no”.

      This reminds me of the ‘just say no’ anti-drug campaigns that were in great vogue until very recently. No one was holding a gun to college kids’ heads, telling them to succumb to drug (ab)use. Yet, they did precisely that. Why couldn’t they just say no?

      It’s legalistic, binary thinking, applied to complex human situations, and it just doesn’t work. It might work in a court of law, but not many places besides.

      People do indeed need to stand up for themselves, but since people are deeply invested in their emotional well-being (just as they are invested in their physical well-being), it’s not always as easy as simply refusing. When your parent is threatening to kill himself if you don’t do X, it’s extremely difficult for even the strongest people to simply walk away. It’s rather easy for a stranger to coldly (and correctly) assert that it happened because they chose to do it, but dealing with the emotional consequences of such an event can be a draining, lifelong ordeal. Such blackmail is very ‘serious’ and real indeed for the person being subjected to it. People are indeed legally responsible for their actions regardless of emotional pressures, but ethical/moral responsibility is a whole different can of worms, and pinning it on someone requires considering a host of other factors beyond mere physical force (or threats of it).

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      • I’m afraid comparing this to the drug situation you mentioned is a false analogy for two reasons.

        1. If you’re talking about minors, then they’re not qualified to give valid consent and are not legally or conceptually regarded as capable of making informed choices. That’s an entirely different matter. Let’s restrict ourselves to only talking about adults.

        Personally I feel that adults should have access to drugs if they wish. But even if not, it’s been factually shown that drugs have a physical impact on a person’s brain, leading to a loss of discretion or whatever. It’s a grey area, and like I said I believe an adult should be allowed to do whatever they want, but there is at least some kind of justification for the restricted sale of drugs.

        Secondly, emotional blackmail is merely the presentation of two choices. Whatever choice this girl makes will benefit her. If she values the happiness of her parents more than her own then getting married to satisfy them will obviously give her greater joy than defying them. In either case, she’s getting exactly what she wants.

        You’ve mentioned that legally a person is responsible for their actions. But there are many people who feel this should not be the case. There are many who feel that women for example are not responsible for their actions when they desire the abortion of a female fetus and say that her family is “pressurizing her”. Personally even though it’s politically correct, I feel that all abortions should be legalized – even if it’s a female fetus and the woman doesn’t want a girl child.

        But India has this habit of coddling its citizens and treating them like babies and infants. Well after they’re 18.

        Perhaps we should have two separate laws – one for fully matured people and one for infantalized adults🙂

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        • Bhagwad, things are not always as simple as you make them out to be. The girl might not be trying to blackmail the LW and I’m sure that parents blackmailing their offspring into getting married is a pretty common occurrence in India, the LW has himself succumbed to such methods.

          Also FYI till very recently all types of abortions (e.g. for female fetuses as well) WAS legal, and look where it got us!

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        • Well, I wasn’t really making an analogy, nor was I talking only of minors (most college students in the West are not minors).

          Even so,

          If you’re talking about minors, then they’re not qualified to give valid consent and are not legally or conceptually regarded as capable of making informed choices.

          I take issue with the ‘conceptually’. The legal age of consent is, and will always be, an essentially arbitrary line drawn in the sand, and has validity only for legal purposes.
          Since people mature and gain exposure at different rates, the relationship of this age with the actual age at which an individual becomes capable of making a reasonably informed choice is tenuous at best. I am not aware of any ethical paradigm which postulates a direct relationship between a legal age of consent (which, in any case, varies across jurisdictions for entirely non-biological reasons) and a so-called actual age of maturity.

          In line with that, unless we are willing to accept that no individual below the legal age of consent is capable of making informed choices about drugs, your point stands moot.

          Personally I feel that adults should have access to drugs if they wish.

          Once again, I contend that you are confusing legality with morality. These are not equivalent concepts.

          While many believe that adults should be legally free to buy drugs, few would claim that it is in any way a good thing for society if more people became drug abusers.

          Considering the well-known negative effects that drug abuse has, not just on individuals, but also on communities, it is entirely reasonable that some of us (not necessarily the government) would take it upon ourselves to try and reduce the incidence of such abuse, in the interests of larger society. It was in line with this aim that the ‘just say no’ campaigns were created; they failed miserably because the creators (in this case, bureaucrats and legislators) neglected to take into account the larger social context which facilitates drug abuse.

          Secondly, emotional blackmail is merely the presentation of two choices. Whatever choice this girl makes will benefit her. If she values the happiness of her parents more than her own then getting married to satisfy them will obviously give her greater joy than defying them. In either case, she’s getting exactly what she wants.

          I disagree completely.

          As a matter of fact, she is stuck in a situation where any choice she makes will be damaging to her, or will lead her into doing something she would rather not do. Surely, the concept of picking the lesser of two evils is not foreign to you.
          Getting into a marriage against one’s desires, to prevent one’s father from killing himself is not how I would define ‘getting exactly what I want’. This is rather like arguing that a would-be Chinese dissident, who complies with a gag order, in order to avoid torture, is getting exactly what he wants! Or that a factory worker who tolerates sexual harassment, because she cannot afford to quit or be fired, is getting exactly what she wants.

          Such a position may be sustained, albeit tenuously, in purely legal terms. In ethical terms, it is absolutely untenable.

          Emotional blackmail is certainly not merely the presentation of two choices. Rather, it is the presentation of choices which are carefully designed to manipulate an individual into taking whatever course of action is desired by the blackmailer. It plays upon feelings of guilt, shame and other emotional trauma to essentially force an otherwise unwilling individual into a certain direction.

          There are many who feel that women for example are not responsible for their actions when they desire the abortion of a female fetus and say that her family is “pressurizing her”

          I actually disagree with your viewpoint here, but I think that a discussion about what precisely constitutes ‘responsibility’ in legal terms is something that is best left for another day. I will add though, that this particular debate is not so much legal as it is political – you are arguing for what is essentially a classical libertarian position. Those who disagree with you are arguing for a diluted socialist one. There is no objective ‘correct’ position in politics; merely different paradigms, some of which work better in the real world than others.

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      • I agree with Praveen here. From what I can make out she is not trying to blackmail you emotionally. She is in trouble, conflicted banker. And we all have been in conflict between what we want out of our lives and what we get at some point or the other. Her taking 5 months to tell you this is not the end of the world that you are making it out to be. Yes perhaps she’s not perfect. But who is?
        I think we must learn to recognize signs of genuine trouble. I agree that her not agreeing to friendship at this point is a little surprising considering that she likes you. I think you need to give her time and maybe even give yourself some time. To perhaps understand whether you love her. Or think you love her. There’s a difference.

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      • Comparing emotional blackmail to following gag orders or sexual harassment is a false analogy because those are physical compulsions. We’re only talking emotional compulsions. If you can give me an example of emotional compulsion then perhaps we can examine that. But as soon as physical violence comes into the picture, all equivalence is destroyed.

        While the legal age might be arbitrary, the concept of being a minor is not. It’s true that everyone ages and matures differently. But we can’t have differing age limits and so we’re forced to have a random cut off. But everyone at some point of time is a minor and is unable to be responsible for their actions. So minors are indeed not conceptually responsible for their actions.

        “Once again, I contend that you are confusing legality with morality. These are not equivalent concepts.”

        This isn’t something I understand. For me morality means only one thing – don’t hurt others physically or financially. There are ways of defining this and nuances, but the basic concept is easily understood. If no one is being physically or financially hurt, there is no concept of morality for me.

        With “emotional blackmail” no one is being physically forced to do anything. And without physical force or a violation of property, the entire issue is beyond the realm of morality. The woman still has free choice. As I said your example of avoiding torture or sexual harassment is invalid because they breach the “physical” barrier.

        “It plays upon feelings of guilt, shame and other emotional trauma to essentially force an otherwise unwilling individual into a certain direction.

        Tough for them, but it’s their problem to deal with. Everyone puts emotional pressure on everyone else for something or the other all the time. It’s part of life.

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        • bhagwad, but there is a physical threat involved in the above example. Consider the following scenario.

          A woman is blackmailed by someone into doing something failing which he threatens to murder her child.

          How is this different from a case where the same person threatens to murder her father?

          And how is the above different from the case where the father threatens to kill himself?

          The ‘pressure’ on the woman in each of the scenarios is the threat to the life of someone near and dear irrespective of who is giving the threat.

          You didn’t actually understand the problem when you said – “If her parents commit suicide it’s because they choose to. Not because of her.”

          Here, the woman may not be getting pressurized because of the guilt of her father’s death. She may be pressurized by the fear of losing a loved one. One can accept guilt in a case where the woman hates her father. But losing a family member is always one of the biggest fears that forces people into being blackmailed.

          Going by your logic, if a stranger blackmails a woman by threatening to murder her father, she should calmly refuse his demands and expect her father to take care of his own life. Too bad if he really gets murdered. Right?

          Though in such a scenario, one can legally report against such a threat and get the person arrested. But what if the blackmailer is her father himself? Should she get her father arrested for threatening to suicide? One can but usually doesn’t. It is invariably a reflex reaction to give in whenever the life of a family member is at stake irrespective of who the blackmailer is.

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        • But as soon as physical violence comes into the picture, all equivalence is destroyed.

          You make that assertion repeatedly, but offer no justifications for it. Are you suggesting that this is some sort of axiomatic statement?

          If so, are you also suggesting that there is a general consensus on this, or is it merely your isolated opinion?

          . But everyone at some point of time is a minor and is unable to be responsible for their actions. So minors are indeed not conceptually responsible for their actions.

          The second statement does not follow. The most that can be said is that all people, at some age below the age of legal majority, are not responsible for their actions.

          This does not imply that all minors are incapable of taking considered, informed decisions (an implication that must be established, of course, in order to defeat my premise).

          This isn’t something I understand.

          The distinction is easily understood.

          Morality represents the subjective differentiation of human activities into categories such as ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘neutral’. It is something we all do every day.

          Law, on the other hand, is a formalized system of rules which are enforced through some sort of dedicated judicial mechanism.

          For me morality means only one thing – don’t hurt others physically or financially. There are ways of defining this and nuances, but the basic concept is easily understood. If no one is being physically or financially hurt, there is no concept of morality for me.

          Implying, of course, that you are perfectly fine with insulting people verbally (with or without valid cause), or, for example, with making sexist/racist/xenophobic remarks in public, or even trying to intentionally harm a person’s reputation and social image.

          Perhaps these are fine with you, personally, but the modern consensus on social ethics renders them unacceptable to most people (and in many jurisdictions, actually illegal).

          And without physical force or a violation of property, the entire issue is beyond the realm of morality

          Once again, you make a sweeping axiomatic assertion without justification. Please do justify it.

          For what it’s worth, I actually disagree completely, and emphasize that morality, by virtue of dealing with everyday human situations that arise in social groups, brings under its realm a whole host of issues that do not involve violations of property or physical integrity.

          The woman still has free choice

          ‘Free’ from a strictly legalistic perspective, perhaps, but that is not how one defines free in ordinary language.

          Tough for them, but it’s their problem to deal with. Everyone puts emotional pressure on everyone else for something or the other all the time. It’s part of life.

          I don’t see your point.

          Just because it is ‘part of life’ does not mean it is not a serious issue (which is what your original premise was, and which is what I originally objected to). Nor does your generalization establish that all emotional pressures are equal. Threatening to sulk for a day is one kind of emotional pressure; threatening to commit suicide is a rather different ball park.

          It may or may not be merely ‘their problem to deal with’ (misogynists frequently make the same argument about sexism, by the way), but at least you do acknowledge, in a round-about manner, that it is a problem and not merely a presentation of free choices, choosing any of which would get the protagonist ‘what they want’.

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      • It’s pretty obvious why physical harm is on a completely different level. But if one is looking for a full explanation, here is a blog post I had written a while ago explaining why: http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2012/rights-and-freedoms/physical-harm-is-more-serious-than-emotional-harm.html/

        and here: http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2010/rights-and-freedoms/stop-harming-me.html/

        This is the fundamental point of disagreement and all other issues are predicated on that.

        To summarize the above two articles: Physical harm is more serious and important than emotional harm because anyone can use free will to walk away from emotional harm. You cannot walk away and exert your free will when someone is hitting you or swinging an axe at you.

        Physical violence removes choice. “Emotional violence” preserves it.

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        • Well, unless someone has got you tied up before they start hitting you or swinging an axe at you, you not only *can* walk away, prudence dictates that you run away. Fast.

          Having said that, and going only by your words in this comment, your argument is valid only on the assumption that the one being harmed *knows* that they are being harmed. Then, and only then, does it become a matter of choice.

          Y’see, physical harm is not open to interpretation. A broken arm is a broken arm, a severed limb is a severed limb. It is impossible to wonder if either is actually something as trivial as a pimple on the nose.

          Emotional harm caused by manipulation is not only more insidious, it is also something that is inflicted in privacy, thereby making it hard to get an unbiased objective opinion. And since what it undermines is the sense of self, each successive bit of harm makes it that much harder to classify the behaviour as harm inflicted on self. And in cases like the one under discussion, when a child has been raised by emotionally manipulative person, the child in question has no template of a healthy relationship and thus doesn’t really know that they are being harmed. Leave alone to what extent.

          So not only does emotional violence not preserve choice, it actually can be debilitating enough to preclude the recognition that choice exists.

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        • Your arguments would have been appropriate if the discussion was predicated on empathy-less psychopaths, or perhaps self-aware robots.

          As it happens, it is not ‘obvious’ at all while dealing with ordinary human beings, who are not always guided by logic, and for whom the occasional irrationalism is key to survival. You ignore this irrationalism only at the cost of making your own theories and opinions rather irrelevant when applied to real-world situations.

          Let’s leave it at that.

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      • @NK

        If the father chooses to take his own life, she should respect his wishes. It’s absurd to compare murder and suicide. Murder is wrong since the life being taken doesn’t belong to the murderer. Suicide is ok because you’re only playing with your own life.

        If your parents threaten to take their own life there’s nothing you can do about it except talk them out of it. I know that if my parents threatened to do that or force me to get married, I would have done exactly what I wanted to do with no guilt whatsoever. It’s their choice.

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        • bhagwad, again you have repeated the misplaced factor of guilt in case of a suicide by someone dear.

          A person does not necessarily get affected by a suicide threat by his or her parents because of the fear of guilt. It is the loss of a beloved family member’s life that affects people.

          “Suicide is ok because you’re only playing with your own life.”

          It would be ok for someone who is absolutely alone. Not for someone who has emotional attachments with other people.

          If a stranger comes up to someone and threatens to commit suicide if one doesn’t give in to his demands, would that person react in the same way if his father threatened to commit suicide? Think about it.

          “I know that if my parents threatened to do that or force me to get married, I would have done exactly what I wanted to do with no guilt whatsoever. It’s their choice.”

          Statements like that constitute a disorder known as ‘affective blindness’ which may even be due to the complete absence of the ‘amygdala’ from the human brain.

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  14. How old is she? certainly over 21 i assume.
    Young man, you need to run and run fast🙂 tell your parents whatever you want, i wouldnt wash her dirty laundry in public, but if you need a reason, ” she is not ready fir marriage” is one of them.
    She didn’t ask for advise so no point giving her one. but if she comes to you, tell her marriage is NOT a sacrifice or best bet, or known devil etc., etc., it is a partner ship built on love, friendship, trust, respect and a healthy dose of passion thrown in.

    let her go, be her friend, i doubt you can be anything more. and i’d suggest she move away from her blackmailing family, have a heart to heart with her brother and clear his way to the alter if need be and enjoy this one life she has been blessed with till she is ready to share her life.

    I wish i knew her parents , i would without any qualms point out that getting her married now is a guaranteed recipe for a divorce later. what kind of idiotic parents are those. she is old enough to be married but nor old enough to decide when? when did giving birth to a child give one the right to force the childs destiny. ? sad some people should never have kids.

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  15. I’d cut off all contact with her if I were you. She’s in a mess and while that’s quite sad, it’s not your fight to fight. The keyword here is : run!

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  16. She’s messed up. Alright she has a situation at home, but all the mood swings, etc you talked about… well, hysteria works in 80’s films, its time is up now. It’s a sign you are not dealing with a grown up – prone to blackmailing by her own parents means they don’t have great communication in their relationship; that she chooses to blackmail you into a relationship, means it runs in the family; I don’t want to be as charitable as others who’ve pointed out that she at least told you before marriage – yeah, but after she wierded out on you so many times. You should listen to your heart with conviction, i can’t say it in black/white whether you should’ve married her or not, but if you feel turned of by her behaviour, your doubts are probably more solid than you give them credit. While we are responsible for how we act, we are not responsible for how others feel.

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  17. Well, if you want to have the in-laws from Hell & suffer through their continuous tantrums AND her tantrums- Marry her!
    If not, well you did the right thing.

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  18. Conflicted Banker,

    This lady (whether she realizes it or not) is manipulating you. I know it’s hard to be objective when you are so emotionally involved. Sometimes it helps to play out the scenario in your head as an outsider. Pretend for a minute that a guy at work tells you this –
    – my parents are threatening to commit suicide if I don’t marry
    – I don’t want to marry but am feeling pressured
    – I met this guy and I’m planning to marry him to get away from this pressure
    Now, what would your response be to that?? You’d say, “Don’t mess up that girls life! Resolve your own problems. I can help you, support you, as a friend. But please don’t make her the scapegoat.”

    I also want to share my personal experience with you here – my cousin, 32, doesn’t want to get married. His parents at first thought he doesn’t want to get married ‘right now’. They waited. Then they thought ‘he is in love with someone’. He told them he doesn’t believe in the idea of marriage. He said, “I’m not in love with anyone right now. I’m very focused on my career. I dream of becoming a stock broker. That’s what I’m passionate about. Why does everyone have to get married. I just don’t see myself with a wife and kids – it’s not something that interests me.” His parents are simply unable to accept this. They’ve been fighting with him for the last 2 years, and the whole family is impacted. The father stopped talking to his son. They were so close all their life, and it can hurt like hell.

    Despite all of this, I’m very proud of my cousin saying, “I’m not going to go and ruin some girl’s life. That would be so unfair.”

    Please be glad your fiance’s issues came out before the marriage. Let her resolve her own issues. No, please don’t offer her support – you will find yourself getting emotionally entangled again and you yourself are struggling to break free – so that would be a bad idea. She needs to find support from her other friends.

    Emotional blackmail, and settling for someone due to parental pressure are the wrong reasons to marry. You sound like an intelligent, caring person. You deserve someone way better.

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  19. My sympathies.

    Here’s the thing: you like her; you have married her otherwise.

    However, after what she told you, you have NO idea if she would have married you absent all of those pressures. She has no idea whether she would have married you of her own free will. (If the answer is no, then you definitely did the right thing.)

    If you had married her, you’d definitely acquire relatives who are into industrial strength manipulation. Think of what that would mean for your lives. Want to move? “Mummy is dying of sadness.” Want to split property? “Your father is threatening to eat rat poison.”

    Once you had married her and that pressure fell off you have no idea whether her view of you would change from savior to “ugh, I’m trapped and my husband is my jailer.”

    My aunt married my uncle under such pressures. She said she was emotionally blackmailed into getting married and my grandmother was dying. I don’t know that they love each other. I mean the last time she talked to me she said something along the lines of “He listens to what I say and he doesn’t beat me”, which is hardly a ringing endorsement. My grandparents loved him to pieces, I know.

    I would keep the offer of friendship open if you do care for her. She desperately needs a friend who doesn’t have some sort of ulterior agenda.

    It’s funny, in my late grandfather’s house there’s a picture of every couple on their wedding day. The men look happy; the women look dazed and grim.

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  20. I feel for you. You love this girl , and want to marry her… She is willing to marry you … And almost perfect scemario And yet you must walk away. You are very strong and have a rational head on your shoulders .

    But I also think what u did is the right thing for reasons that everyone has already mentioned here .

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  21. I was faced with a somewhat similar situation a few months ago and I decided to break up. I’d met this wonderful woman at my workplace. We really liked each other over 6 months, and she hadn’t confessed to me until then that her family was blackmailing her. She’d mentioned me to her family (without informing me), and it appeared her family was opposing it and was blackmailing her. Eventually, the blackmail from her family started telling on her – she was angry without reason, she was frustrated at small things. Eventually she confessed, and told me she couldn’t stand up to her blackmailing parents in a decisive way and wanted to wait it out, hopefully they would see sense one fine day. Funnily enough, this was because the parents were dependent physically and financially on her and she wouldn’t be doing “justice” if she fought them (Indian “society” gives WAY too much freedom to parents to abuse their children).

    I understood my girl didn’t have a very happy childhood growing up in her family and wanted to be her savior and show her what a happy life looks like. I wanted to be her prince handsome. But over a period of time, I realized even though she wanted to be with me badly, her primary affection still lay with her family, and I didn’t see how that would change after marriage.

    I’m firstly concerned about the relationship that you have with the girl’s family. Is the relationship good and fairly mature? I’m asking because they are going to play a part in your life (no matter how liberal you are). If they aren’t behaving very sanely with you, there’s no point in going forward. Her family (which she is SO attached to) will end up being a point of contention between you two – you may object to any particular behavior they exhibit, but you’ll have to remember that same family is the only reason the girl married you, so she isn’t going to be happy about it all.

    For example, since her parents want to see their grandchildren, do they get to blackmail you both over when you have kids? That would be a no-deal if I were the groom. I would lose my peace of mind over such a demand from her parents.

    I can empathize with the girl – this is a very hard situation to be in and my girl was in a similar situation. But as far as her relationship with you goes, I would say since she has no special affection enough to marry you, there’s no business for her to be in that relationship any more. She’s just emotionally blinded and wants to get rid of her problems for the moment. I’m stating this especially since you mentioned she froze at the first sign of physical contact; she doesn’t have much emotional attachment to you, if at all any. I would consider staying in a relationship if you would like to wait for her mind to clear out, but marriage should happen only when both of you truly feel that you are willing to go ahead.

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  22. I knew one girl whose mom threatened her that she will drink poison if she doesnt go for arranged marriage. This girl did not bend and now she is happily married to the guy that “she” wanted. Her mom has finally agreed.
    I dont think you should marry her. Break all contacts with her and marry some girl who “loves” you and wants to marry you, because she likes you. Because you’ll never know. What if today she marries you because her dad threatened her and after an year, she wants to leave you because she doesnt like you?

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  23. All people here sound so self-centred.While I wouldn’t suggest you to marry her, because marriage is not to do favours for someone but you can definitely give her some motivation and strength to help her find a way out of her trap, although, you are not obligated to do this.It is true that she is an adult and blah blah blah but the Indian situation is such that people are conditioned socially in such a way that going beyond certain norms can cost them their lives (like honour killings) or relationships(outcasting them from their family and such).If one wants to stay happy, freedom of choice is very necessary & one cannot live happily with mental and social barriers.Since you have the privilege of knowing what she is going through.Trust me, it is a privilege to be trusted by someone.She trusted you enough to tell her problem.You can choose to help her or otherwise.By help, I don’t mean taking over the responsibilities and owning her troubles.But you can definitely help her by giving her some strength, motivation & good advice to break herself out of this bubble.Because today it is her parents, tomorrow it can be her husband and in-laws who will blackmail her or rather misuse her submissive behaviour.Marry someone who is willing to be a part of your life in trouble & joy. Neither her nor you nor anyone should make themselves a victim of circumstances because people will only tell what to do but will certainly not take responsibility of the problems that come with that.If you make a choice for someone else’s happiness, be ready to face the problems yourself & later not complain about it.Because, even if the choice is not yours, it was your choice to let them choose for you. In short, whatever you do, don’t give anyone the power to hurt you.The day you say “it is because of you I made this choice, I did made so much for you …etc” you have lost the power of ‘keeping you happy’ to someone else. Do anything, don’t complain.Live like a boss🙂. Wish you all happiness in life in whatever choices you make.

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    • Since I am divorced (after a disastrous arranged marriage), I know first
      hand just how much power social conditioning has on our psyche. I have relatives who do not speak to me just because I walked out.

      Having said that, we are all responsible for own well-being and our own happiness.

      Tara, the LW’s fiance, has to muster the courage to stand up to her own parents. She owes herself this. Taking responsibility for our own lives is an important marker of adulthood. The LW has no moral obligation to rescue her from her blackmailing parents.

      This fight is hers and hers alone. The LW is fully justified in choosing to walk away.

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  24. Listen to your instincts. They warned you, you got the truth and now don’t disregard it. I am so angry with her parents. Do they know they are setting a chain reaction of blackmails. I would lose all respect for my parents if they behaved like this. I would suggest cut contact with no guilt at all. Being friends is setting yourself up for hurt. You mentioned you love her. In that case you are more likely to be played around. The vry first responsibility in our life is towards us. We need to protect ourselves first. Similarly she needs to protect herself. Instead of you helping her with tat direct her to a counsellor. Infant I can suggest good ones in NCR. Once counsellor takes over you can be rest assured that her problem is addressed and you can walk away peacefully. If she refuses to see a counsellor then too you need to walk away because thats all you can do for her. For those who gave her credit for being honest I would disagree. She did not tell him willingly. He got it out of her after much distress. Marriage cannot be based on help, pity, sympathy. My anger is directed towards the parents. playing with other people’s life on their whims and fancies.

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  25. dude, she needs to handle the blackmail and support her own decision of not getting married now.. you have nothing to do in it.. compromise is a strict no no…

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  26. As many people before me said, don’t fall into the saviour trap. The girl is in a harsh situation, no doubt, but trying to manipulate you into taking responsibility for her future is just totally unfair. If she already tries this now, what will your married life be like? Emotional blackmail will be on the card and you and/or your behaviour will be made responsible for how she feels. And besides, who is going to say these parents from hell will quietly withdraw once the two of you are married? They will most likely continue to put pressure on her and thus on you. Soon you will be in the same trap as her and at some point your in-laws might threaten suicide if you don’t toe the line. You don’t deserve that. Don’t feel guilty for not wanting that. You have a healthy instinct for self-preservation and you know what you want in a marriage. If she wants something else, she is not the right partner for you.

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  27. My take on this is – if she is being blackmailed by her father, in some way or the other she is “blackmailing” you. This problem is a no-brainer- go for someone who deserves you and someone you deserve for better reasons, this is marriage and you need someone who can at least stand up for themselves in their lives to make things easier for everyone.
    It looks like “trouble” thru and thru……may be you should consider something better for your life…Good Luck!

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  28. While almost everyone here is agreeing to the opinion that the girl (Tara) is blackmailing the letter writer, no one seems to realize that the letter writer has only himself to blame for walking into this dilemma.

    “I resisted all attempts for about three years. Last year, though, I finally gave in, and agreed to have a look at some of the eligible ‘matches’ my family had received.”

    While it is evident that the girl (Tara) has is being blackmailed by her parents and is in turn blackmailing the letter writer, the letter writer himself “gave in” to the ‘demands’ of his own parents to get married. He seems to be doing well in his career and can decide when he is ready to marry. Why did he allow himself to be blackmailed by his parents?

    If he gives in to his parents’ pressure to get married and meets “eligible matches” through his family, there are bound to be such complicated cases in the arranged marriage scenario. If only the letter writer could stand up to his own parents and tell them that he will marry only when he is ready, and that too preferably someone he finds by himself.

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  29. @ I think I genuinely fell in love with her.

    Sometimes I really wonder what is “Love” all about . I believe if someone loves somebody there should be a sense of protection for that somebody .
    How can some proclaim to love and then walk out just because the partner is unable to cope with emotional trauma
    What was the first reaction when she came out of silence and shared the trauma of emotional black mail ” which in itself make the girl a “product” on shelf

    Now as soon the author realized the “product ” has recipe that he cant handle , he decides to put it back on the shelf and walk around and see if any “other product is available ” which suits his pallet .

    How different is he from others who are already around her . Her parents want rid of her so is the author ,

    She says she may not love him , she may not be interested in marriage as of now but she is not refusing to marry . May be she confided because SHE TRUSTED

    Now if the author does not marry her what about the trust loss she has

    I am not surprised , we all talk of woman as “product ” knowingly and unknowingly and then we we talk of woman empowerment in same breath

    I think the author should MARRY HER and give her a HOME which she is missing and give her time WHICH HER PARENTS ARE UNWILLING TO GIVE

    This is a typical case where woman has no place to call her HOME one is the parental home and other is the husbands home

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    • Rachna he is doing her a favour by not getting married to her which she meh not realise just now. He can certainly protect her by being her friend. I think he is doing right thing by taking into account that she does not love him. How will getting married to her protect her?

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  30. @ I think I genuinely fell in love with her.

    Sometimes I really wonder what is “Love” all about . I believe if someone loves somebody there should be a sense of protection for that somebody .
    How can some proclaim to love and then walk out just because the partner is unable to cope with emotional trauma
    What was the first reaction when she came out of silence and shared the trauma of emotional black mail ”
    To hug her , to cuddle her or to wipe her tears because only such emotions will mean the author loves her
    But for the author she is just a “suitable product ” and nothing more , a “good choice ” which in itself make the girl a “product” on shelf
    Now as soon the author realized the “product ” has recipe that he cant handle , he decides to put it back on the shelf and walk around and see if any “other product is available ” which suits his pallet .

    How different is he from others who are already around her . Her parents want rid of her so is the author ,

    She says she may not love him , she may not be interested in marriage as of now but she is not refusing to marry . May be she confided because SHE TRUSTED

    Now if the author does not marry her what about the trust loss she has

    I am not surprised , we all talk of woman as “product ” knowingly and unknowingly and then we we talk of woman empowerment in same breath

    I think the author should MARRY HER and give her a HOME which she is missing and give her time WHICH HER PARENTS ARE UNWILLING TO GIVE

    This is a typical case where woman has no place to call her HOME one is the parental home and other is the husbands home

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    • The lady doesn’t want to get married. She spent 6 months dating this guy, and she’s flipping out by the idea of getting married to him.
      How is he marrying her going to help? Marriage is not an escape. It’s unfair to ask this guy to sacrifice his marriage to a woman who clearly doesn’t love him just so he can save her from her parents. She’s an adult. Let her learn to act like one and make her own decisions, stand up to her parents.

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      • Totally agree, Sanjana. What if it was the other way round? If it was a girl who asked for advice here whether she should marry a guy who wants her to save him from his parents’ emotional blackmail? Would anyone here seriously consider telling the girl to play the saviour and marry him? Heck, no! We would tell her to get out while she still can. How unfair is it to expect a guy to do something we would not ask of a woman? Same rights for everyone.

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    • For one thing it is not CB’s responsibility to give her a home. And one-sided love works well only in Bollywood. In real life, a person who doesn’t love you under the circumstances will probably never love you. The problem here is that the woman does not want the man, she just wants a convenient scapegoat who will help her get out of her situation.

      Are you suggesting that giving in to parental blackmail is women empowerment? Or that locking yourself up in a loveless marriage is women empowerment? Or that a man needing to give a woman a home is women empowerment? I don’t agree. To empower the woman, she needs to be taught to fight back the pressure. And she should move out and set up a home herself.

      Her case is sad, but are you honestly suggesting the man make a huge sacrifice to ‘save’ a woman, and then call it women empowerment? I don’t!

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    • Love doesn’t necessarily have to mean a Meena Kumari/Dilip Kumar tragedy where all destroy their own lives in the higher cause of Lurve.

      It can as easily mean a healthy balanced relationship based on the principal of reciprocity – of both effort and emotion.

      And bowing out when you realise that the reciprocity doesn’t exist isn’t a sign of treating the other as a ‘product’. It simply means that you respect yourself enough to choose something other than constant pain as your life.

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    • “I think the author should MARRY HER and give her a HOME which she is missing and give her time WHICH HER PARENTS ARE UNWILLING TO GIVE”

      Do you mean marry her or adopt her? Because what are asking him to do is to be a replacement parent!

      You seem to have missed the bit where she has not said that she ‘loves’ him. Merely that she likes him enough to be a compromise partner for her. Whatever you think people in love should do for each other, do you think they should impose it on a partner who doesn’t love them back? Such fairy tale notions of love create stackers, they do not create happy marriages.

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    • He should marry her? Why? Just to rid her of emotional stress which her parents are putting her through? And then what should he do? Just pat himself on the back for doing a good deed, sit back,relax,and wait for another chance at chivalry? What about the poor guy’s LIFE?

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  31. Dear Banker dude,

    This is not your problem. It’s hers. You care for her, sure, but you cannot “save” her by marrying her. It isn’t right for her to ask you to marry her when you both would be getting into the relationship for different reasons, you for love and she, for escape from her parents’ emotional blackmail. You were seeing each other for 6 months and she doesn’t care enough for you, she only thinks you’re “the known devil”, as you said. Is that what you want to be?

    Do you want to marry someone who genuinely *wants* to marry you and is excited by the prospect of spending the rest of her life with you, or do you want to marry someone to who wants to do it cos she thinks there’s no other alternative? Your duty to her would be to lead her to this site, or others like this, or introduce her to some people who can really help her realize that she has this thing called free will, that if she doesn’t want to marry, she doesn’t have to. Having been brought up the way she has, it is not going to be easy for her to figure this out, so don’t promise friendship if you really can’t be her friend.

    Good luck to you. But more, to her. Poor thing.

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  32. I was just thinking that maybe Tara might have liked him and wanted to get married to him under a different situation. Our mind repells anything that is forced on us. More we force ourselves to like someone/something more we reject it. I don’t think with time she will start liking him enough to get married to him because the pressure of it will make her go in the opposite direction which again will be difficult path for her. Hence more moodswings and reactions. Definitely not a healthy place for both. If her parents had just introduced them with no pressure to say yes to marriage maybe they might have found each other compatible.

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  33. one point which no one else seems to have raised, but after all these years of marriage was the first one to spring out at me: do you really want in laws who threaten to eat rat poison – for the rest of ur life? i read that one line and said, OMG they want a showpiece and u r not one. when u marry her, whether u like it or not, u become a part of the story and are subject to similar or more manipulation.

    hell, no. you do not want that for the rest of ur life. you want a sorted person. you want a marriage and a partnership. and you are only 28. please think about this.

    what you have done is right. if u want to play savior, be her friend, be there for her and help her sort out her emotions. but do NOT marry her at this point. do NOT involve the parents or get involved with them. i think both of u need to step out of ur parents’ influence and be ur own people. not just her.

    in ur place, what would i do? i would say to the girl ” i am sorry, but i am offended. i wanted to marry an adult, not a puppet. while i do feel sorry for you, i do not think anyone other than you can rescue you. when you are ready to be rescued and need a friend to help along, call me. i may or may not come. but next time u meet a guy, pls do not think that withholding this information and manipulating a good catch into marriage is going to make you or your family happy.”

    and after that, i would step firmly out of this girl’s life as a prospective partner.

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  34. Just as you deserve someone who loves you she deserves someone who loves her too. Not someone who thinks he loves her. Poor girl. She needs her self esteem back. I wish her luck. And you too in finding The One.😀

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  35. Now would it be bad if Mr Banker mails this link to the lady( in distress) and her moma-popa to brings out worms from the can?
    The families have met and should meet once more😀
    Huh huh?

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  36. Dear confused banker
    Your decision is right and there are ways to help her as a friend also,marriage in the given circumstances will only be a burden for every one involved.

    I really hope the parents of Tara and other parents who do he same read this.This is one of the worst things a parent can do to a child,blackmail them to do as you please.A percentage with this attitude threaten to hurt themselves and the rest do not hesitate in killing their own in the name of honor.

    And what is appalling is that some one who is educated and independent can be so messed up due to this imagine teenagers in villages who do not have access to education,money or support systems.

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  37. Hi Confused Banker,

    Emotional Blackmail is definitely not a small thing. When her parents are are doing it to her and she can’t stand up for herself, they will start doing the same things to you, as their Son-in-law. It would start as interference in every small thing in your life. She won’t be able to stand up then too and expect you also to give in all the time. Will you be able to take such interference-be it where you both want to go for a holiday, when you need to have babies, how to bring them up, why not change to another company..etc etc. The love and respect will turn into irritation and frustration. The situation you have mentioned about Tara and her family seems like a recipe to disaster.

    She is willing to marry you only to escape from her parents. But there would be no escape. They would continue to live her life and yours.

    If you want to help her, you need to tell her to be more bold and speak to her parents. Actually if she tells her parents “I don’t want you to die because of me. But if that is what you want, then I can only say that I would be free after that. I need not live in so much of fear”. After hearing that, I’m sure her parents will not threaten her. These kind of parents think that they have achieved something great by blackmailing their kids with death. Better is, tell her to read IHM’s blog, page after page and to read comments from people and their advice to writers who are going through such emotional abuse by their parents and in-laws. She will surely get some strength.

    As far as your marriage is concerned, you have taken the right decision. A marriage can only work when there is genuine love for each other, both have a similar wavelength and mindset. The couple should decide to stand for each other, learn from their own mistakes and should never manipulate each other. Compromises are a part of life, it should never become life itself. This also goes for your parents and you need to stand up to them in case of emotional abuse towards you and if they do it to your wife. All the best for your future.

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  38. We always have a tendency to see those things that do not exist and to be blind to the great lessons that are right there before our eyes.” 

    Says Paulo Coelho.
    Your best bet is to leave her to fight her own battles, with a promise to support her as a friend.
    Goodluck.

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  39. I’m going to echo what most people have already stated: you absolutely made the right choice.

    Let’s take the ’emotional’ slice out of the marriage pie and look at it for what it really is: a very serious legal contract. Imagine that you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into creating a successful small business. After some time, you think you want a partner to buy out 50% of the shares and run the business with you (for whatever reason). Would you let someone take over 50% of the shares simply because said person was blackmailed by the parents to be a ‘responsible person’ to start running a business of some sort?

    It’s unfortunate that the girl has such parents, but short of telling her to seek psychological help, there’s nothing you can do about it. She’s an adult, and she has to deal with her life on her own terms. If she’s an investment banker like you, she can easily afford to live by herself, in a top notch flat. She can rescue herself. (And even if she couldn’t, it’s not someone else’s job to rescue her by marrying her).

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  40. This is a very sad situation. You should not settle for someone who is settling for you. Neither one of you will be happy. I am sorry that Tara is being blackmailed, forced into a corner by her parents, but you are not responsible, and if she cannot break away from their control, you are still free, and shouldn’t let anyone back you into a corner either. Best wishes to you both, but not, I hope, as couple.

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

  42. Well it is pretty sad that the banker in question had to face such absurd situation but if we see the reality, isn’t it true that our arranged marriage institution is precisely constructed to find a “Compromise Spouse” for everyone who takes a plunge with it? If you see most of arranged cum love marriages where partners invest some time “to get to know each other”, what they are actually doing is, zeroing in on the “best option” available to them at that time.

    So, I indeed admire the honesty of this girl because If she had continued her pretense, this guy would ultimately have married her!

    If this banker really wants a spouse who’s honest, loving, caring etc, then why is he getting into this “arranged marriage barter” in the first place? Won’t it be better to take life as it comes and then, try finding our love without any “negotiations”?

    Neither of these two are 100% genuine in this scenario because both had their self-interests for getting involved into this. There are marriages in India which are solely based on “negotiated duties” and they still work! Whether you want to get into them, it’s entirely on an individual. Clarity of purpose is the core factor here.

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  43. Pingback: “Everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  44. From LW’s point of view, he did make a right decision but people here are giving one sided judgment here. The girl’s point is definitely wrong when she says she’d go for a best possible compromise but why was she put in such miserable position in the first place? Isn’t it fault of our beliefs, ideologies and upbringing that so many girls and their families go through such trauma and emotional manipulation to get a trophy named “marriage”? It’s easy to conclude that the girl is “trapped” because of the “emotional blackmail”, but there is no assurance that she won’t resort to such a thing with another guy who comes in her way.

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