“His parents had already found a girl from his community who they feel is ‘perfect’ for him.”

Sharing an email.

HI IHM!

I have been a fan of your blog since long. The comments and the discussion that happens on each post it truly a very eye-opening. The point of view of the commentators are so different and unique that really helps the readers in similar situation.

Of late, I have been in treading in similar waters and would like to share my problem with you and your readers for solutions.

I am in a relationship with a guy from different community since two years. We came in touch during our masters, we did our post graduation from the same college. He helped me through some difficult times and now, we live in different cities, but the relationship is still strong.

Now, we have decided to take the relationship to next level and get married. Personlly I cant wait to get married and I know this sounds cheezy, but I have this weird vision of both of us being 80 year olds and still being happily married.🙂

His parents had been already searching for a girl in his community since even before we had met. But we did not want to enter into a marriage just because of this, so we took our time to get to know each other and understand each other.

Meanwhile his parents had already found a girl from his community whom they feel is ‘perfect’ for him. His family is quite traditional so they expect him to meet her once and decide if he wants to marry her or not.

So, he decided to tell about me at his place. On hearing about me, his dad started crying and stopped talking to him. He said that my guy (lets call him ‘L’) had hurt him. L went to his native and tried to convince his family in every way possible. He gave examples of couples who had previously gotten married outside caste and are happy, his family believes a lot in religion, so he gave examples from Gita, Guru Nanak, Radha Krishna etc all that said love marriages were ok.

We even surfed various blogs on this and pointed it out to his dad.
But nomatter what points L put in front of his dad, his dad only said one thing: ‘ All you say is fine but she is not from our caste.  She will not fit into our lifestyle. She will make you go away from us. Marry the girl we choose for you and you will forget her as the girl we have choosen is from our caste and can easily mix with our family” All this even without meeting me!

Now, L lives alone in another city, and I will be joining him there after marriage. Currently his mom used to live with him as she suffers from dipression and his dad visits him once a month for couple of days.

He even said that I have lived with people of various castes and creed and got on well with everyone. And that I will most definately get on well with the family, provided ofcourse, that the family will also make an effort to be cordial to me.

L even said that he does not want to be tied down in a marriage with a stranger and face all things that his parents and grandparents had to face. To which his dad replied that he was being selfish for seeing only his happiness.

Even I tried talking to his dad yesterday, but no matter what I said his answer remaind the same. “Beta we have to stay in samaaj. I cant go against Samaaj. If you get married than samaaj will make fun of me and I dont want to face that.”

Now finally he has told L, “Do whatever you want. You will have my blessings. But if you marry her, I will have to break all contacts with you, and next time you come back, we will ask the girl that we have choosen for you to come and decide everything for final time”

Now L and I do not want to get married against the parents wishes. We want them to be with us on our big day.

What we want from IHM’s readers is that if someone had faced a similar issue that how they tackled it? How they convinced the parents?

We really tried everything we could think of but still we whatever we say, the answer always is the same: Caste. How to solve it.

IHM, please post this on your blog, we really are at a wit’s end here.

Regards

D.

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75 thoughts on ““His parents had already found a girl from his community who they feel is ‘perfect’ for him.”

  1. I’ll share my comment with two experience, one is my own and one of my friend.

    I faced similar resistance from my parents. They weren’t ready to accept it. I tried convincing them for a month or so and then gave up. I got married to my girlfriend and moved on. We moved to a different city and are living happily. My parents are taking to me now, however some relatives have stopped.

    My friend faced similar dilemma but what he did was, broke of with girl or took a break for a year, left his job and everything else. Moved into his family house and stopped eating. Finally a year later, parents agreed and they got married

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  2. Let me be brutally honest. Are sure you can live with people who are bent upon making DIL adjust to their customs, beliefs, daily routine, dressing up, people who think DIL is for them. And not for their son? Also are you taking a transfer or leaving your job to be with him? Are you ready to give up your individuality to make his parents accept you?

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    • I feel so too. It happened with me- was into a relationship with a guy whose parents did not agree at all. Mine did. His parents absolutely refused saying that i wont suit their family, life -however hard i tried to fit in. My ex tried convincing a lot but they did not agree. I too spoke to them- they were rude to me, my parents tried and they inturn were rude to my parents. I had enough -i couldnt stand anyone ill treating my parents so voiced it out to my ex. He did not have the guts to stand by me and buckled like a coward. He went ahead and married the girl whom his parents(hastily) chose for him. I guess he is happy(?). Anyways, i am happy that i am out of it. What is the point in marrying into a family where you will be always treated as a second class citizen? Will his parents ever treat you truly as family? Food for thought..

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  3. Looks like you have done whatever is humanly possible to convince them about your relationship and they are not relenting. I’m not going to give my opinion on the whole situation, as you have asked for examples, if any, of similar situations known. So here goes:

    One of my friends fell in love with a guy from college who was of a different caste, and her parents absolutely refused to agree to the match (his parents were cool with it).
    She, in turn, refused to meet anyone her parents brought forward, and said she would wait till they were ready to accept her boyfriend before she got married. She waited 6 years. They were initially together in one city, and then she moved to another country for higher studies, and he followed her there after a while.
    After 6 years, her parents got worried that she was getting too old, and finally relented. They now love the guy, and the couple even lived at the girl’s parents’ house for two years before moving out. They also have a healthy baby now.

    I also know of another friend of mine who waited 4 years, didn’t get her parents approval, and so, tired of waiting, decided to get married to her guy anyway. The guy’s family did not have a problem with the girl, and they helped plan the wedding, though the couple insisted on paying for the entire wedding themselves. The girl informed her parents and her close family that she was getting married. On the day before the wedding, some of her relatives turned up for her wedding, including her mother and siblings. The father did not turn up. but the couple still got married and are living happily together. They also have a baby now.

    Then there’s the other girl I know. She fell in love with a guy who didn’t have it in him to stand up to his parents. So they broke up, and he got married to someone his parents chose, moved countries to get away from his ex-girlfriend, and is living (happily?) with his wife and their baby.

    So… 3 scenarios to choose from.🙂

    Good luck!

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  4. I think his parents not agreeing to marriage is the least of your problems. His parents thinking DILs can take away the son from him and that son belongs to parents, DIL has to fit into their life style, the guy’s father sending his depressed wife to son and washing his hands off her! Wow! It only gets worse from here.

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    • Agree! Sounds pretty toxic to me. I would wonder if the guy you want to marry will have similar expectations from you. Have you discussed this? Do you want to change your wardrobe/ lifestyle/ mannerisms/ independence after you marry? Does he want you to? He might be a world away from his father, or he might believe that after marriage, things have to change and fall into a status quo, like his parent’s marriage. You REALLY need to be on the same page about this before you marry to ever have a chance at realising your dream of being happy 80 year olds together.

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    • ‘It only gets worse from here’.
      This.
      My contributory example is a little disturbing. The guy, my friend, was from a different caste to his girlfriend. They were both Haryanvis, and it took them 2 years to convince the parents. . Anyhow, the wedding took place, somewhat reluctantly.
      We were obviously thrilled for them and duly turned up in our friend ‘native place’ in Haryana to visit them . What I saw unsettled me- the girl had decided to give up working, was in full ghoonghat, in the kitchen with his mom, while the guy was happily gushing on about how he was so happy to have finally married her.
      This was a girl who was a dentist, who had left this native place to study dentistry in a big city. It’s entirely possible that she was doing the whole ‘bahu’ routine completely by ‘choice’- but knowing her a bit, I don’t think this was the case.
      TL,DR
      Dear D- A love marriage into a conservative and traditional family that insists on the DIL ‘changing’ will NOT be easy.The wedding will be the start of a whole new set of problems- which is something your BF needs to recognise.

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  5. I’ve rarely come across a love marriage that was initially opposed, and then later ended with ‘And they lived happily ever after’ with everyone posing for a group photograph. Even in arranged marriages where ‘all elders agreed’…it is fraught with power plays and relationship issues.

    In your case, I’m sorry, even if you guys get married, I foresee years and years of severe emotional blackmail. Make no mistake, godforbid any misfortune that can befall your L’s family – be it health issues or anything at all – it will be squarely placed on you, the DIL, and the ‘ill destined’ marriage. Your husband will constantly be under pressure. You may live apart now – but it looks like there is an expectation that your inlaws would like to live with their son sometime in the future. Given so much of friction, this is not going to be easy on either of you.

    It is great that both of you have tried your best in ‘convincing’ them – but perhaps it is time to understand that it is pointless. They will never ‘happily’ bless you. And believe me this blessing business is overrated. The only question that remains is – can both of you build a life that has good boundaries? When I say boundaries, it means being there for both sets of parents, but at the same time, not allowing any emotional drama/blackmail to completely rule your lives. It is not going to be easy. The worst thing that can happen is both of you turning against each other. You need to promise yourselves that no matter what – the two of you will be on the same side of the team.

    Sorry for such a bleak picture. Of course, there is also the chance that his parents can have a change of heart in due course of time, and reconcile. But it aint going to happen for your wedding day – I’m talking years. Decades.

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  6. I’m ambivalent about the concept of ‘love marriage’ in India from what I’ve read on this site and other similar sites. I’ve read about many instances where the boy seems to be very ‘modern’ and compassionate, and does a complete 180 flip after getting married. In this case, it’s great that the letter writer has known him for two years and he’s been consistent throughout.

    However, there are things that still stand out as little red flags to me. For example:

    “He even said that I have lived with people of various castes and creed and got on well with everyone.”

    I’m wary that the onus of ‘getting along’ is on the letter writer. You have to ask yourself the question, how far will you go to ‘get along’ with his family? What if they’re miserably horrible to you after you get married? Or even during the wedding? What if they demand that the woman’s family has to pay for the wedding (and dowry/gifts etc) according to their ‘tradition’? What if their attitude is ‘we let you marry our son, now you and your family has to bow down to our every whim’?

    Speaking of family, you don’t mention your parents at all. Are they okay with you getting married to your boyfriend?

    “Now L and I do not want to get married against the parents wishes. We want them to be with us on our big day.”

    What if they never accept you? Or even if they do accept you, what if they only do so on certain conditions which are unfair? Will both of you be able to say ‘screw it, they’re being unreasonable, we’ll just go ahead and do our own thing’ then?

    Sometimes parents are unreasonable, and if you guys don’t have the strength to fight with that head on, then getting married might be disastrous.

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    • In my experience, the determining factor here is not love/ arranged. There are arranged marriages where everyone comes across nice to begin with and then turns 180 post-marriage and ‘love’ marriages where no one changes and life carries on as usual. It’s not so much about arranged or love, it’s about what sort of a family you marry into and what your partner’s views are. Sometimes it’s impossible to judge this correctly before marriage of course.

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      • “it’s about what sort of a family you marry into and what your partner’s views are. Sometimes it’s impossible to judge this correctly before marriage of course.” Precisely!

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      • “It’s not so much about arranged or love, it’s about what sort of a family you marry into and what your partner’s views are. Sometimes it’s impossible to judge this correctly before marriage of course.”

        That’s the million dollar mystery. In an Indian context, where divorce is so stigmatised, most families assume that the DIL will eventually submit rather than break the marriage. Once married, they expect the bride to fall into line, will nilly. Most women do, after years of resisting pressure.

        Most families will show their best side pre-marriage. The real picture only emerges after the knot is safely tied. My advice to young women contemplating marriage: please be careful, very, very careful. Spend extended amounts of time with the future in-laws and ask detailed questions about hidded/unspoken expectations.

        A cousin of mine had an intercaste marriage and knew her husband for years before she married him.

        During all that time, it never occurred to her husband to tell her that after marriage, the MIL expected the wife to stay confined to her bedroom during her period; where she would be served food separately and would drink out of a separate glass. The first month after marriage, when my cousin got her period, all hell broke loose.

        The MIL was in full form — separate bed linen, no touching anybody lest she contaminate others — all this in a tiny two-bedroom flat in Mumbai. She acted as if my cousin was the first woman ever to commit this unforgiveable crime.

        My cousin cries every month for the sheer humiliation of being put through this. The husband? Well he plays the helpless victim. He didn’t know his mother would do this to her, he claims. So ladies, thrash it all out before you marry the man (and his family).

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      • I agree that it’s impossible to judge sometimes, but I’d rather err on the side of caution if I was the letter writer. The boyfriend in this case, seems to be too focused on getting his parents to ‘accept’ his girlfriend on the basis that she’ll do everything she can to get along with them–that spells disaster to me.

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        • My point was about “I’m ambivalent about the concept of ‘love marriage’ in India”. Arranged marriages are no better with respect to not having that 180 degree flip. This is not about whether it is a love marriage or arranged. What the MIL does to the DIL in biwo’s story would be identical even if it was an arranged match. Same caste doesn’t automatically mean that the DIL will know what to expect. Every family is different, even within a caste.

          To me, it’s about your partner and their family. What do they expect and does he agree with them? It’s important to find out. I agree with biwo and your comment about the OP’s situation. My advice to the letter writer is the same. Love or arranged – either way, much thought has to be given to what signs you’re seeing now that might make your life miserable. You can’t always see them coming, but in this case there are many red flags.

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        • Oh and just to be clear, in both my comments where I say ‘you can’t always tell’, I am not referring to this particular case (lots of red flags here). I am acknowledging that this disaster is not always avoidable unfortunately.. (even more reason to have a good exit plan available to everyone!).

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        • I think it’s a simple enough question that every woman should ask herself before marriage- Are the guy and his parents MORE conservative than my family?
          Yes? think long and hard about if this relationship will be fraught with tension
          No? You’re good to go🙂
          I don’t know? Find out ASAP.

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  7. If the main issue is caste, perhaps it’s time to face the fact that this something that can’t be fixed (though this as an issue is such an idiotic one I feel). So as I see it you have two options, go forth and realize that you have to choose your happiness and this may mean you have to let go wanting to have his parents there on your big day. OR just let go of the relationship all together, because the only way they are going to grant approval, the only way they are going to stop behaving like petulant little children is if they get their way and marry their golden child off to the girl of “their” dreams….

    However, parents come around, just because they aren’t there for the wedding day, which in the end is really just a day, doesn’t mean that they eventually won’t soften….and if they don’t, whateva…their loss…

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  8. Frankly, this is a choice your guy needs to make. If you are looking for advice, mine would be that you disassociate yourself from the situation and just discuss the matter with your boyfriend. His parents have already disrespected you by making it clear that you will have to be some kind of sheep that would have to follow in their footsteps. You don’t really owe them anything. Ultimately, it’s your life and your boyfriend’s life. You two decide. Give him a final date by which you both need to make a decision. Otherwise, horrible parents like these can sit on your head and dance all their lives, and you would have let them. You have done enough to convince them. If they still want to throw tantrums, their problem really!

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  9. Dear D,

    Sorry to hear what you are going through. Please note that I went through the exact same situation as yours and can totally empathize with you.

    Post our graduation when me and my husband told our families about us interested in getting married to each other, all hell broke loose. Though we were both well-educated, graduating from the top institutions with high grades and scholarships, settled with high paying jobs, though we had never been irresponsible or squandered our parents’ money as students, we were treated like criminals who had probably killed innocent people. We were treated as scum-bags and lowest forms of life. Our siblings were told not to follow our example as we were ‘spoilt’. We woke up each day wondering what had we even remotely done wrong to deserve this treatment.

    Just like you, we tried explaining to our parents how good the partner we have chosen is. But nothing mattered to them more than caste. They would rather have us marry a wastrel from the same caste rather than the person we find worthy.

    Though we had decided that we wont put through any of the nonsense that was heaped on us and marry each other instead of worrying about the ‘society’, in the heart of our hearts we still loved our parents and wanted them to understand that we are adults and happily participate in our wedding.We made this very clear to them.

    Luckily for us a saint my parents strongly believe in and my husband’s brother-in-law tried explaining to our respective families that there is nothing wrong in two adults liking and marrying each other and the so called ‘society’ will gossip about everything and when they are bored about one topic, they hop to another.Hearing to them and seeing how firm we were, our families reluctantly agreed to meet each other. And by God’s grace they really liked each other and seconded our decision.And once our parents whole-heartedly supported us, our relatives had no-say as knowing me they knew I would openly tell them to mind their own business if they interfered. Our wedding took place with mirth and pure bliss everywhere, like a fairy-tale. And Thank God, thank heavens our families are on a cordial terms even post-wedding.*Touchwood*

    All I want to tell you is to stick firm with your decision and not let anyone make you feel sad/guilty about it. You are not worth being judged, just on the basis of caste despite your other excellent qualities. I do hope and pray you will be able to reason with your folks and convince them that they can only give you their opinion but not JUDGEMENT. We made this very clear to our folks.

    Wish you all the very best. I really do hope you are happy with each other when you are 80 years and even beyond🙂

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  10. Oh come on, couldn’t go further than the middle of the mail. You guy should cut the crap and marry you already. No need to convince his father who is merely trying to control him and would not budge. What is this father, a three year old? Furthermore, I really don’t understand why is he wasting time trying to convince his father? If he wants to marry then he should go ahead. Whats got the father to do with it? In my understanding of how these things go , the father is gonna see you twice in a year during family gatherings so how is he affected to be given so much weight to his opinion?

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    • this seems outright ignorant to me.. B, are you trying to act sarcastic and ignorant of the patriarchal system or are you saying that (either set, the groom’s or bride’s)parents’ goodwill is not important at a marriage between two individuals?

      like the saying goes, if the guy chooses to override the feelings of people who has loved him for 20+ years… what will he do some years down the lane when he has a serious conflict of interest with his wife?

      yes, marriage is an intensely personal business between two people.. but i am sure that almost no one who is married will disregard the importance of the extended family.

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      • What will the guy do when he has serious conflict of interst with wife few years down the line? In that case what will his parents do if he is in their good books? Embrace him and throw the dil out? In the long run only husband and wife have to sought out their conflicts. Parents can’t mollycoddle them forever. Goes for both set of parents. What will he do if he has conflict of interst with wife after his parents have passed away?

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  11. I think the odds are loaded against you from the get go. Speaking for myself, the deal-breaker is his parents’ notion that the DIL has to fit into “their” lifestyle. As Purple Sheep pointed out, they believe that a DIL can wrest the son away from his parents, hence the need to handpick their son’s wife.

    The success of this marriage will rest on your husband’s ability to successfully withstand intense emotional pressure from his parents for the rest of his life. He will have to shield you from his family’s unreasonable expectations and demands.

    They seem to think that since they produced the son, he is now indebted to them and has to pay with lifelong gratitude and obedience.

    The family dynamics appear to be very unhealthy. There’s no respect for the son’s indivuduality. If they can’t his respect his personal rights, will they respect yours? I doubt it.

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  12. Interesting…but not surprising….

    Everything you said , i and my husband have gone through. In my case it was inter religious. My parents opposed more than his but his parents also took their time to accept it. We ultimately got married without the presence of my family. we have heard all the dialogues you have said and i think many in the same situation still do.

    It’s more than 2 years after marriage and we are happy. Happy because it was our decision. Relatives are relenting. People who love you will be there no matter what, those who don’t, its better not to have them in your life anyhow. Parents will take time to adjust, As long as you both understand that you are a team, you both can make it work.You and he might have to hear some nonsense at times, so it will be good to develop a thick skin and a clean passage from one ear to another so that stupid comments will pass through without entering your brain.I will not say it’s a bed of roses and a happily ever after thing. There will definitely be consequences, emotional scars but if the commitment is there and both understand that the other is not to blame for the negatives of love marriage then it will work out.

    Think , know your pros and cons, decide to deal with whatever comes your way together , after all you guys have to live with each other and grow old together,not your parents.

    My view is, even if it is a mistake, better to make your own mistakes than live with the mistake that you allowed others to make for you. You have to think as to what your philosophy of life is.

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    • Congragulations on your decision.

      I myself have a marriage like yours . In 14 years my marriage was never accepted by my husbands parents. After my husband’s fathers death, on the day of the shradd, my husband’s relatives ( uncles and aunts ) met me for the first time. The relatives had heard about the marriage from my husband over the phone over the years . It was a great day – when I met everybody. My SIL who never accepted our marriage was aghast ! that the relatives were glad to meet me. she said that the despite the uncles being conservative, they were glad to meet me. !! She literally used the word “shocked” of the relatives and my – ” happy meeting”.

      MY MIL never has introduced me to the relatives or said I am her DIL , (this was considered rude by her other 2 SIL’s . I didnt mind, because I did not expect anything better ) but she wants to live with her son that her husband is no more . I remember many years ago when I begged my husbands parents to visit us in the US , but my SIL told me later that it was her decision not to send because I would not respect them ! Currently my MIL stays with her daughter and fly who has come to stay with her since the last few years and constantly whines about her SIL. MY BIL was never told of our marriage and in my eyes he is a darling and runs around for everything. He himself has aging parents and has come to live with his wife’s parents because his wife ( my husband’s sister ) does not get along wiht his parents .

      Moral of the story – Those who whine and want to find faults will continue to do the same everywhere with everyone and everything.

      Others will seek joy everywhere and with everyone.

      These ” war stories ” will continue to go on . In fact with interreligious , it is more brisique (others would think ) but really it is not.

      Thoughts mired with cobwebs will continue to stagnate and be abandoned. That is what has happened to my MIL and the SIL who continues to play games with me. But how does it matter – I have a truck load of my husband’s uncles and aunts , and cousins on my side and my husbands, that almost scares my SIL and feels threatened that they will be abandoned by their brother, but I have assured them that it will never happen.

      Let me tell you, I am not the traditional type and still ultra conservative people have accepted me in a matter of minutes . EVEN My husband tells – ” You have more credibility with my uncles and aunts than my own SIL “. It is all about how human we are and how humane we treat others !!

      Chow !

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  13. Ah, the father it trying to blackmail the husband by saying he will cut all ties. He is also trying to already bully you by saying things like the DIL has to fir into their ‘way of life’. Stop trying to please his father, otherwise you will find the father dictating terms of your life after you marry.. you know, since you set this precedence of wanting to please him in your decisions!

    First of all, you and your boyfriend need to talk about what getting married means. Does he expect you to ‘fits into’ their ‘samaj’s’ expectations? Do you want to? Does he realise that this is what this father expects from you, does he agree with his father? Are you both on the same page about letting/ not letting his father interfere in your personal life, what you wear/ eat/ say/ do etc? These notions of wanting the DIL to ‘adjust’ with the family and transform into a mute and docile doormat are very very dangerous. It is possible that the son expects the same from marriage.. or will want you to do it to make his parents happy.. you need to be clear about this before you even think about marrying.

    People can get along without being clones of each other. It’s as much their responsibility to ‘adjust’ with you as it is yours! Marriage is not necessarily you joining his family, it can be both of you coming together to become each other’s family. This is not about his father and don’t let the father make it about himself! Trying to placate the father will only encourage his behaviour because it it yielding the desired result of controlling everyone.

    You need to make it clear to everyone (and yourselves) that you and your boyfriend will not be running your personal relationship/ marriage to make his father happy. He says your boyfriend is being selfish and thinking only of his own happiness, well the people being married NEED to be happy in that marriage before anyone else. The father seems to have decided who his son will marry, without the son’s ‘blessings’.. that is unacceptable. You and your boyfriend need to make your decision, with or without the father’s blessings.. and tell the father that this is what you are doing.

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  14. hmmmmmm… like everyone here has pointed out… you need to evaluate how you will fit in with this family if you do get married, what are your boundaries , what are you willing to do to adjust and where you draw the line…. and most importantly you need to discuss these issues with your bf and ensure he understands that handling his family is mostly his job.

    but besides that since you asked for examples…

    I had a couple of friends from college from different religions who fell in love. Both sets of parents were against it, so they both said ok… we wont marry, but we wont break up either and basically went about their lives. moved out to diff country , moved back, moved in with each other, and after 6 years the parents just gave up. They got married now.

    My cousin from my very very orthodox family, had a boyfriend from a different caste… and her parents did everything they could to prevent her, including forcing her leave her job and go back to their village. She finally just ran away, got married. the entire village discussed this for about a few months … and a couple of years later everyone reconciled. That was 12 years ago… now no one even remembers.

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  15. I am not sure how much help it will be but yes, I did go through something like this. Sort of.

    I am from a very conservative Jat family in Haryana and once I found out that the ‘normal’ age for marriage was supposed to be 17 or thereabouts, I asked my Dad to let me study till the point I wanted to study. I had a whole host of arguments but didn’t get to use any as Dad agreed. So while younger cousins got married all around me, I was busy studying and getting my degrees.

    During that time, I met the man I would marry one day. We started out as friends and then when he asked me out on a date, I told him that it might be a bad idea. I was not going to marry without my parents’ blessings [that was important for me] and there was no point investing time and emotion in someone who might just dump him if she couldn’t secure her parents’ blessings for the match. He thought about it for a few days and said he’d be willing to risk it. And so we dated.

    Then came the time when I was finishing my PhD thesis and the rents started looking around for a groom. I didn’t know it then but apparently none of the men the rents considered struck them as a good fit for me. Apparently they were too conservative, too controlling, not educated enough, not equipped to deal with an independent partner, too focused on outward stuff [mum once turned down a couple whose only requirement was that their DIL be beautiful – she told them that I was much more than my face and she didn’t think they’d value the important bits about me if their only requirement was physical beauty].

    Anyway. One evening we had a family conference and I was told that they had been trying to find me a groom but couldn’t find me one. So if there was someone I could imagine marrying, I should speak now. So I said that there was only one person I could think of marrying and they named this guy [I had been talking about him at home for years]. When I said yes they said that they needed a bit of time to think about it as he was not from the same caste, belonged to a different religion and was the citizen of a different country. I told them there was no rush, no pressure. I will not marry without their whole hearted approval and blessings. And if they can’t accept him, then I won’t mope or throw a fuss. They asked what about my promises to him. I told them that I had made none – had always told him that I will marry only with their approval. Offered to not see him for as long as it took for them to decide. They said there was no need to be that dramatic.

    The matter was not discussed again. No drama, no hard feelings. We just went on with life as usual. 8 months later, Dad called me at my hostel and asked if they could meet his parents. And that was that.

    Like

      • I’ve been blessed with lovely parents.🙂

        They’re rock solid, decent-to-the core folks – loving, fair, principled, wedded to the basic concepts of individualism.🙂

        When my marriage fell apart, there were no questions, nothing about ‘adjusting’ or ‘what will people say’, no pressure about providing details. They just asked if I was sure, or if I wanted them to intercede. When I said that there is no point in intercession and that I was sure, all they asked was how they could help. Years later, when I had healed enough to talk a bit about what had happened to make me walk out, their only response was “Well, you tried your best and that is all anyone can ever do.”

        Like

    • The only reason that I can think that this comment got a downvote is because the reader couldn’t figure out that ‘rents’ meant ‘parents’.

      Took me a while😛

      Like

  16. Hi Letter Writer,

    Me and my husband went through the same situation – only difference my MIL and my sister-in-laws and their husbands were the ones trying to separate us. This is my story and hope it helps you.

    I am a Malayali Christian who fell in love and married a Telugu Brahmin boy. We are from different states and everything about our culture, tradition to food are different.

    We waited for 3 years for approval from his folks and when we did not get it, we decided to go ahead and get married. I had the approval from my parents (I must say it’s mostly the girl’s parents who give in, because they come to realize that their daughter’s happiness is more important). But that is MOSTLY not the case with the boy’s family. They talk of society, what they will think, how can we accept somebody from a another caste and it goes on and on and on.

    In my case, his father expired a few years back, so it was all the more “what will people think, they will say I have not brought you up properly, you are doing things on your own” yada yada yada. It’s the fear what people will say rather than what their son wants. My husband has 3 elder sisters, all of them married, but none of them or their husbands wanted to support him or try and help to convince his mother. Why? Because – if something happened in the future and we have trouble in our marriage they would be blamed. It was a typical cat on the wall ploy. His sisters and BIL’s said “If mom agrees, we will agree” His mother said “If they all agree, then we will see”.

    But, my husband could not take in the emotional blackmail, the tears, the blame game, the way they made him feel guilty–he finally walked out. They said “if you want to marry her, you go and do what you want”. His mother, sisters and their husbands met me once when I had come to see him and made it very clear that they will never agree to our marriage. They quoted religion, caste, customs, their orthodox family and that I will never be a part of them.

    It’s going to be 9 years now this July since our marriage and his folks have still not accepted me. He goes to his mom’s home every Sunday evening-his mother could not bear to be without seeing him and she told him HE could come home (a month after our marriage!!). No mention of me. She wanted to cook and feed him at least once a week. Sometimes when he is unable to make it and tells her he is not coming home, she gets so upset. But whenever he is at home, they never discuss me, never ask about me, don’t even acknowledge that he is married.

    He has 6 nieces and they have not informed them about his (their only maternal and favourite Uncle’s marriage), lest their minds get corrupted!! But the new generation is not one to be cowed down. They got to know about me and 3 out of this 6 nieces are good friends with me (without the family’s knowledge ofcourse). I would’ve loved to have such a huge extended family, but neither me nor my husband would’ve accepted living with my MIL under the same roof. His mother is tooo orthodox and compromising would have only made our lives hell.

    My husband is nothing like his family–he is not orthodox, not traditional, so caring, loving and puts me before everything else, though he always says this his mother is his responsibility too, which I agree.I never hold him back when he spends for his family, sisters nieces etc. Even now when we discuss about all this, he asks me “would you be able to adjust to everything if we lived together with my mother? We would have had to compromise a lot and that would only make us so unhappy. We both are happy now and that is what matters. Don’t worry that they have not accepted you. Maybe its better this way”. He is so practical and makes sense.

    What I’m trying to say is..this might been your life. His father seems to have the upper hand and will always be the decision maker in such families. You both might not have the freedom to live your own lives. You should definitely discuss all this and all the possibilities with your fiancé. He should also understand that it is not going to be easy. He should support you at all times and also know how to tackle his parents. Because, even after marriage and a few years later, even if they come around and accept you, it might not be whole heartedly and you will always be the girl who tried to take away their son. Both of you should understand this.

    Your fiance should not get carried away and start blaming you later. It is very difficult for a person to tackle emotional blackmail. Also discuss with each other whether you want to live separately or as a joint family. You both do not have to do things or follow tradition and customs just to please anybody. Live your life the way you want to, and also show his parents that you will be there for them-but they should respect you both for what you are.

    Like

  17. I and hubby belonged to different castes. My family was cool with it. His parents were not very happy initially since no one they knew had married out of the caste or had a love marriage. Their opinion changed after meeting me and my family, as they realised we are just like them in terms of values, outlook and everything else that matters in life, they really liked us but they still worried about how the relatives would react. Some of the relatives made a huge deal out of it, one of them gave us a hard time even during the wedding by spoiling all the fun at every stage, my mother was almost in tears, I was enraged, my father was so worried. My parents in-law appeared sad throughout the wedding facing their relatives. BUT that was 6 years ago🙂 we are truly happily married. My in-laws and parents get along very well and are very fond of each other. My in-laws adore me and have even said on some occasions that they feel so fortunate to have me as their daughter-in law🙂 I feel the same way about them. I didn’t have to do much to ‘fit in’ I really felt like I was the only missing piece in their family puzzle🙂 my in-laws also accepted me with open arms. Infact my mother in law made my hubby promise her that since I didnt cry at my bidai and had entered their family home with a big smile he will make sure that I never shed a tear while I am here, that he’ll make sure I am truly happy and never stop smiling🙂 he has kept his promise so far. The relatives who everyone worried about only do ‘guest appearances’ anyways on important events, they are not worth worrying about while making important decisions in life. Even today, when we meet some people from my husband’s caste and they inquire about my maiden surname (I wonder why, but anyways!), they give me the ‘looks’. But I brush it off, I really don’t care, I never did.

    A friend had a inter-religion marriage last year. Her parents were cooperative but his warned him that he’ll be boycotted. They still went ahead, a little half heartedly but within 2-3 months the boy’s parents realised that they don’t want to ‘lose their son’ and made them marry once again as per their customs. They however lied to their relatives and guests that she’s from their village (she is not and was born and grew up in the same city as them) and didnt mention religion, they were too ashamed or embaressed to discuss it. All’s well now and since my friend and her hubby do not live with his parents (they are in the same city but different homes) she didnt have to change to fit in. She does participate in their family rituals and fulfills all requirements but they also had to accept her, understand the differences and give her the time to learn, understand and accept.

    It is wrong to expect that only the girl has to ‘adjust’, in a ‘happily ever after’ everyone has to do their bit. Everyone.

    Like

    • I would like to add that it’s a big misconception that if you marry within your caste you have to adjust less. A friend who married in her caste found it very difficult to adjust initially because other than the caste there were very few things alike. The city you grow up in, your environment, family values, education, aspirations, experiences, family rituals and customs, outlook towards life and society, food habits and evolved traditions do not necessarily match because of caste in today’s world because people don’t live together as per their castes anymore or spend the entire lives in their native places, they are spread all over the world and in different professions, lead completely different lives and think differently. Even if one marries within the same distant family there will be quite some adjustment.

      When I was still in my teens, a neighbour was so angry on another neighbour’s daughter who was marrying out of their caste (funny why it mattered so much to them) that I was firmly told by that uncle ‘if you ever fall in love, fall in love within your own caste’. LOL! Don’t know how he dealt with the news of my marriage.

      Like

      • This is so true. I married within my caste in an arranged marriage and with a similar socio-economic background. Mine and my ex-husband’s family were like oil and water.

        Like

  18. One thing I don’t understand is why parents hide behind the “samaaj/society” screen. Why can’t they just stand up for themselves and their children? If the parents say clearly to the samaaj “yes they wanted to get married. We liked the girl/boy and their family and have agreed for their marriage”. What will the others have to say? If there are questions about caste, dowry, etc, they should all the ignored with a broad smile or just “we don’t like to discuss all that”.

    Even if at all there are any problems in a family-I have never seen or heard a family approaching the society to solve their problems. It is mostly brushed under the carpet and hidden from the society. Only the immediate family works towards resolving any issues. So where is the samaaj in all of this–except maybe in remote villages where problems come to the panchayat under a banyan tree with village heads providing a decision/order (like they show in movies).

    The society and other relatives will mind their own business once the parents approve of such marriages. Nowadays no one has the time or energy to bother about others. Each has their own set of problems. Moreover, these people will only be too happy to come and eat the wedding lunch or dinner and would eventually leave you with a gift you din’t want in the first place. Even if you go to them with a problem, they will only try and wriggle away.

    Most important is both of you should not give in and do things you don’t like or believe in-just to please parents, specially in this type of a scenario when one set of parents do not want one of you in the family. That will again become a tool for blackmail and problems. Learn to put your foot down and always support each other. Let them understand that they cannot turn you against each other, because that is the tool which is used most of the time.

    Like

  19. Your BF should tell his parents, “It could be worse. I could be in love with an American girl.”
    I kid, I kid! I’m writing in for support, as my situation was on the other side of the spectrum, but I must confess that seeing letters like this, where both people are Indian, remind me of just how…well, crazy all of this is.

    From my view, the parents in these situations act like children. Caring so much about “what the society will say” and all of that carrying on. I’ve been reading this blog for awhile, and I must say it seems as if Indian society is all about one-upping the next person, holding people down by oppressing them, and having some kind of superiority complex.

    Case in point: your BF’s views about how you would fit into the family. Someone needs to tell this man that his caste, his food, his clothes, his way of life, is not the end all, be all of the world. That we live in a world full of people who do different things, and that you do not have to fit into THEIR way of life. Where the heck does he get off in saying such?

    I agree with everyone here who said you need to have a really good talk with your BF. You need to know where he stands on such issues. You have to find out what this man is made of now.

    I wish we could hear from someone who buckled under the pressure. Is their life “happy” now? Made parents happy, but what about yourself?

    Adds another dimension to the discussion.

    Like

  20. I read the post and all the comments so far.
    Experiences of others seem to be mixed.
    Some have succeeded, others have failed to normalise relations with the in-laws after an inter-caste/inter-religious marriage
    So, it would appear that your chances of happiness are 50-50
    It is a gamble.

    If and your man are confident, and don’t need the emotional/social support of your parents, simply go ahead.
    Trust yourselves rather than parents and in laws.
    Don’t bother about relatives.
    Be prepared to live life without support from the previous generation.
    Also have hope that they may reconcile in future particularly after children are born to you. Resistance usually melts after a child arrives but don’t count on it.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.
    Regards
    GV

    Like

  21. If he’s the right guy for you, and you thik it’s the right time go ahead and get married. that’s my take on it. if it doesnt work out it doesnt work out. there are no guarantees in life.

    our case is such one. we both are of the same caste – co-incedentially. my parents were opposed ot the marriage. with the full support of close relatives. his parents were no more. we were both independent. we asked my parents and when they got nasty, i walked out, got married and almost 2 decades later am perfectly fine. dont lack anything, have 2 great sons in college . and apart from my brother no one came ot the wedding, i didnt keep in touch and saw my parents after 18 yrs at my brothers wedding.( which incidently was a love marriage to a girl from a diff state🙂 ) They have tried ot make contact. i’m civil my husband is very respectful. but somehow i have nodesire to be close to them etc., they want access to their grandkids, but since they were absent in the growing yrs, the boys ar enot close ot them. they acknowldge them but dont want to go stay with them. that may change later and that is upto to the boys .
    but thru this all what i had was unconditional support of my spouse. he was there when i walked out, arranged the wedding and constantly tried to contact my parents at every major milestone in our life. kept theminformed and didnt care if they reciprocated.
    my mom told me that she regretted the decision ot oppose us, but i have no such regrets i didnt do anything wrong.
    if you are old enoug to take on the responsibility of a partnership, you are old enough to decide the partner.
    the question for you, is how strong are you and how strong is your future spouse.

    Like

  22. In a relationship called as marriage the most important thing is understanding between the girl and the boy.No one wants to hurt their parents but no one has a right to decide on behalf of an individual regrading the most important aspect of life called as marriage.people can give opinion but they can’t enforce it .It is just one life and there should not be a relationship based on any compromise.What is the fault of other girl who will not get her share of happiness that she expected after marriage since for the the boy she will always be a second choice.If a person has a voting right,right to choose his job then he definitely has a right to choose a Life partner.No matter what, in worst of your time the only person by your side would be your spouse.The only person who will feel you are the most beautiful women even when you turn 80 is your husband.This is the beauty of this relationship.All said and done ,you should be very sure about the person whom you are choosing by keeping everything at stake.One wrong decision can ruin your life.Knowing a person for many years is not important. you should know the person very well .It just not about Love ..I have seen many child hood love stories getting shattered after marriage.So just think about everything ,evaluate the possibilities ,make yourself self dependent ..go ahead and KISS life .May god bless you with all happiness and joy………….

    Like

  23. Dear D,

    This notion that “she won’t fit into our family” is a mistaken one and lays the foundation for many future problems. You don’t have to “fit” into your husband’s family. Is your husband “fitting” into your family? Every family is different. When you get married to someone, we “hope” that we will get along with our in-laws on BOTH sides – that largely depends on all of the people involved, not just the d-i-l. If due to some reason, you don’t get along with your in-laws, that shouldn’t bring your marriage down, if the husband-wife unit is strong.

    Why are you guys giving him so many examples to convince him? You don’t owe him an explanation. It is very much within your right to choose your own life partner. If the father had expressed concerns in a reasonable manner, then it makes sense to try and reassure him. The father saying that he will cut off ties with his son is so immature and childish that I would instantly lose all respect for this person.

    A HUGE red flag is that his mother who is suffering from depression lives with the son and not her husband?? I don’t get this. Why is the older man not concerned and caring for his wife? If for whatever reason, the mother is with the son, what impact does this have on the son’s life? And how will it affect your life if you get married to him? What will your and your husband’s responsibilities be? Have you discussed this clearly with him? Make sure you both understand what’s involved and are willing to support each other with this responsibility.

    Finally, my personal experience – I met my husband, like you, in grad school. I married him against my dad’s wishes. My mom supported me but my dad was very angry. His parents were unhappy. My husband and I made it clear we were not asking for our parents’ permission. We were willing to talk to them and reassure them, but not put up with any tantrums or drama. I did not budge ONLY because I felt my husband was there 100%. If I felt that he wanted me to “fulfill certain conditions” to gain his family’s approval, I would NOT have married him. We have been married for 20 years. My in-laws accepted our marriage about 3 or 4 years after we got married (although we have the usual in-law problems). My father is stubborn – it took him 20 years to change his mind. Only recently he called my husband “a good man”. It’s sad that he lost all that precious time in anger. As his daughter, yes I feel sad sometimes about what we lost over the years. But you can’t change other people until they’re willing to change. And in the meantime, you can’t put your life on hold. You’ve got to do what’s right for you.

    All the best.

    Like

  24. Consider this scenario:
    My son: “I want cookies NOW!”
    Me: “it’s dinner time. We are going to eat rice, curry, and dal. Cookies are for snack.”
    My son throws the curry, falls on the floor, starts crying, screaming for cookies.
    What should I do?
    Beg him to stop crying?
    Convince him about the health benefits of dal and curry?
    Yell at him to eat his food or else?
    Give him the cookies and calm him down?
    If I do any of the following, what do you think he will do at tomorrow’s dinner?
    So, instead I tell him, “I’m sorry you’re so upset about it, but I really can’t give you the cookies. I don’t appreciate you throwing the food either. Let me know when you are hungry and ready to sit down politely and eat dinner.”
    When my son behaves rudely, selfishly, inconsiderately, or throws a tantrum (as all children will at some point), my reaction to it will determine his future behavior.
    It’s no different with Indian parents who throw tantrums.

    Like

  25. Greetings!

    Friend of mine got married to a girl in which case they were in love since college and the girl had to come out of her home as her father mostly, than the mother, wasn’t in agreement with a marriage that was inter-religious. The girl was Hindu (though a believing ‘secret’ Christian of sorts since college), from Delhi and the boy was Christian, family settled someplace in north. To make matters worse, he was basically from south and dark-complexioned. After the marriage, they had their first child, and then it happened that her family, father including, reconciled with her (and SIL) in a matter of year or so. They both live and work in Delhi independently. I mean in this case the girl, intelligent and confident, especially was (has been and is) very strong-willed.

    To come to the matter at hand, let me start by saying that we as a community have a skewed understanding of caste, be it caste in any religion. Our culture, mostly, has been rigid with regard to caste for so long we tend to think of it as unchangeable while the dharmic notion of caste is anything but rigid. Castes, if we must define it from inside, are fluid and becoming. For instance, an ancestrally higher caste person could be functioning at a lower end because he lacks education or character and vice versa. Though it’s not the mainstream understanding of it the fact remains. “An individual with his merit, he can move to another Varna. This depends on the merit of the individual, the eligibility to pursue the function of a Varna.” (For more, http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Varna_Ashrama_Dharma, if that’s of any help. I wish I could quote from scriptures, and I am sure there is much to, but I’ve barely begun my self-education.)

    In your case, you both are postgraduates and hence are by any and all means equals. It is going to be hard to convince the society/family and we don’t change all that easily (and much less quickly) but you must exhaust all the options you’ve got.

    I hope I haven’t given a sense of false hope, my intention here being sharing something that I know so as to strengthen the confidence you already have. It’s going be a tough one out there, I understand, and all the same (and so all the more) wish you guys the very best.

    Like

    • I wish we could completely eliminate our caste and religious identities. They are mostly used to divide people. Politicians use them for vote banks, village leaders use them to kill people in the name of honor, parents/elders use them to retain control over patriarchal families. At the end of the day, 2 good people from 2 different castes/religions share the same values. And 2 bad people from 2 different communities just want to kill each other; a Hindu fanatic and a Muslim fanatic claim to be different and hate each other, but they are identical. These differences don’t add value, are dangerous, and are dividing Indian society into a million different cliques.

      Like

      • I wish we could know what marriage of two souls mean!… we have made it more of a business today… why do parents ask for price in any form in return for their blessings…just imagine the amount of respect they get from children if they face social ire today for the sake of their children…is it a big deal? which is more important- respect and love from their own children or social prestige?…

        Like

  26. I would like to know,if I were 5he LW,why the mother is depreseed.Does it have anything to do with her husband?Is she being givenany medical attention for her depression? It might be important to find these out first.

    Like

  27. I know of a couple, who tried convincing their respective parents. The girl’s parents relented, but not the boy’s. The couple went ahead and got married. Not a single soul from the boy’s family attended the wedding, not even the parents. It is two years now. The parents of the boy are still not speaking to them. But the couple themselves? They are living happily together.

    Like

  28. -Can you guys live with the fact that his family may never accept you? Can you both go ahead with that in the marriage?
    – Does your bf expect you to change to every whim of his family?
    – Would his parents live with you after marriage? (this will create more drama, if they do not like you and even if it is an arranged marriage)
    – are you willing to give up who you are?
    – Can you bf tolerate the emotional drama and guilt tripping which will ensue if he marries you?

    Different people have different tolerance levels. Some women may adjust a bit, some a bit more, some don’t want to.

    Looks like the guy’s family will not treat you with respect. It is upto both of you if you can live with this and choose your compromise levels.

    Like

  29. It all depends of the two of you…. if you both are firm and don’t buckle to blackmail (which is what this guy’s father and mother are both doing)…. it can work.

    Like

  30. I have 2 very close friends from grad school who went against their parents wishes to marry. One of this friend married his batchmate (also a friend of mine) outside caste. His dad did not attend his wedding and he was fine with it. Both of them tried to convince the guy’s dad for 5 years but he did not budge. So in the end only the girl’s side family and the guy’s mom and rest of his family attended their wedding. The guy’s dad talks to him on everything else apart from his DIL. This was obviously not the best of the results, but they have made peace with the fact that the father may never accept his son’s wife as his DIL. But kudos to my friends for sticking with each other through all this and finally doing what they wanted to do.

    The other friend, knows his fiancee since the 10th standard. Even in their case, the guy’s father is the wall. Now this friend of mine and his dad never got along with each other and it was no surprise that his father objected to his choice (reason in this case was horoscope). Even this couple tried to reason with him for years. Finally he told his dad that he is going to get married even if he does not attend the wedding. And they are getting married this this May.

    The point to note in both these cases is that any sort of logical discussion with the dad did not help. There cannot be any counter logic which can be given against arguments like “what will samaj think of us”. And whatever logic that was given to them was not understood.
    So it can very well be possible that his parents might never agree with your logic. You guys should talk about this possibility as well. What will be your action plan in this case? Is your guy ready for break ties with his dad like my 2 friends did? How important is it for you to get acceptance from his parents? Are your parents fine with the fact that his parents are not ready to accept you as their DIL?
    I wish all these questions never surfaced in a marriage, but unfortunately they do and you gotta address them. Good luck!! I hope it works out🙂

    Like

  31. Erma Bombeck, i think, summed it up best : A mother in law who wears a black wrist band to the wedding is utterly dispensible.

    I agree with some of the others above – its not the current fight. its the life long poisoning – the “look what you did” and “if only you were here”s that will kill ur marriage. its not abt how to convince them now. its abt how to stay convinced abt each other in the face of such amazing politics.

    u havent spoken abt the attitude of his mother, but i see a big red flag there. u do realise that by walking into his life, u r taking away her one support system out of depression?

    forget abt convincing the parents. have a long hard chat with each other first. abt how u r going to handle specifics – geriatric care for both sets of parents, finances, and this whole “fitting in” business.

    sorry, me a pessimist. but i see big red flags here.

    Like

  32. The story of L & D is exactly my life right now. The words L’s father said.. were quote what my father said. How do we deal with parents like this? Eventually my guy- A .. decided that we should elope and eventually at some point my parents will take us back.. but I know my father, once he’ll disown.. he’ll disown and I don’t have the courage to hurt him becoz of his health. But the question here is, is society “samaj” really worth all that? They are never really there for when you need them the most, and the point is.. they’ll always talk. Whether you do good or bad.. so why are our older generations striving to prove worthy to them? Who cares about what they think.. if your family approves and if everyone is happy, isn’t that the objective really? How do you convince them about the reality of this situation? You are the one who has to live eventually not your family, not the society.. why is that so hard to discern? The youth today is raised in a multi-cultural society and is largely facing the intercultural/inter-caste issues.

    Like

  33. Pingback: “Your comments did help me in getting out of this solution, though not in a way that I had hoped for…” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  36. I wanna knw smthn frm u guys y evryone sufferin frm dis prob m also sufferin frm dis prob m also in a love wid a guy who belongs frm haryana he is a jatt n we both are in luv wid each other wen we cm into d reltnshp he said dat our marriage is nt possibl i was lyk ok bt now m crazy fr him we both cnt liv without each other n we also don go against our family dan wat cn we do now i wanna knw guys plzzz help me to cm out frm dis situation how shud i chng d mentalty of ma guy n his family hw shud i cnvince him
    Plzzz help me

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