“I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

Sharing an email.

Subject: Thoughts on how my life improved_Publish this to thank all the readers for their support.

I had written an email about a year back about being a DIL in the joint family:

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?

I am happy to share my current state and how the quality of my life has improved as a whole.

We (Hubby and me) have slowly worked things out and turned the tide around  the house. As discussed in my previous post, I was struggling against the gender discrimination in my marital home.

There came a time when my parents returned from US (after visiting my sister) and visited my town as well, on the way. I informed my inlaws about them being in town. But against my hopes they dint bother inviting them home. This hurt me badly. My parents on their part sent lots of US chocolates for my inlaws even though they were uninvited to their own daughter’s home. The inlaws accepted the sweets without even a  thank you. I embarrased them further by telling that my parents have enquired the health of everyone at home and sent their regards for the same (in a sarcastic way). Their attitude started having a profound affect on me and my hubby and we realised my shoddy existance in the house, the scant respect for my parents etc

This attitude of theirs made us (hubby and me) more united,more rebellious.

Finally there came a time when my dad visited my town yet again and had to stay in a lodge (because he was unwelcome at my place). I found it ridiculous that the in laws,who have taken loads of dowry from this man, the same man who even provided the plates and spoons you eat in everyday, is not even eligible to share a tea with you and meet his daughter. Hubby said enough is enough and slowly and gradually we stopped participating in the inlaws kitchen and started our independent life upstairs. We cooked what we wanted, we ate out when we were lazy, slept when we felt like and wore what we wished.

It was awesome and liberating. Of course there were many awkward moments with the inlaws, where the whole family had food in one kitchen and just us in another.

But it was worth it. The inlaws were cold initially but gradually warmed up to us. It was a clear case of them doing things wrong and facing the consequences

We would meet and greet them, would visit them and talk to them but never get lured by their hints of asking us to come back and depend on them

Eating together can in many ways enable inlaws to control their child and child-in-law’s life.  Every time we wish to eat out, we need to inform them, every time we come home late(for dinner) we need to inform them, we need to participate in the kitchen chores and this makes us stay before their eyes and less time together/any other activities of our choice.We are bound to a routine and little chance of exercising any deviation from the set routine. If after a tiring work week we wish to unwind by going out for breakfast,a spontaneous long drive later, a fun cooking activity of trying new recipies etc are discouraged by this eat together culture. Basically we can’t do anything unplanned, exciting and thrilling.

Eating a snack outside becomes a crime. Not to mention rising early on weekends to cook and slog out for the whole family. Cooking (for 7-8 people 3 versatile meals a day) becomes the primary activity of life.

We can as well meet without having to compulsorily ‘eat’. The family was very rigid in terms of the ‘bahus’ slogging and everyone else enjoying. Father in law proudly claims that the family has to eat atleast one meal together a day. If that is the case why does discrimination creep in, in terms of who cooks that one meal. Why does he (along with his son/daughter) shy away from cooking? Why only eat together? Why not all cook together, work together and then eat together. I was considered the house breaker who changed the son, took him away and broke the family.

But by moving out of the kitchen, I have rediscovered myself and really enjoying my marital life. It takes one firm strong step. My funda has been ‘be polite’ but ‘be firm’. Learn to say ‘no’ in a smiling way.They may blame you , say all sorts of nasty things but it is only so much they can do. Rise above it, sometimes without reacting to it, in a calm and composed way. Do what you believe is right, but be nice to them.They also have their own insecurities.They are also scared of the society .They also will not go out on a war with the son cause they also need him and value his relationship with them. But they ‘try’, try to see how much the controlling can happen ,and raise the bar each time we are quiet.

As a result of this, my whole family has visited our home multiple times.

They also go visit our in laws and have a cup of tea with them. We also hinted to our in laws that if any uncomfortable vibes are passed during any of my family visits then we may leave the town or shift to a neutral home where both sets of families are equally welcome. Fearing this, they treat my family well. When my family visits, we all visit my in laws first, have a cup of tea and then move on to my floor where my parents spend their rest of the time.

Every mature educated couple unfortunately goes through a vicious cycle after marriage.The cycle begins with the parents of the boys trying to play around with the bahu by placing expectations on her shoulder, inch by inch, level by level, and see how she deals with it.Usually in India, the bahu is new,shy,coy bride and is testing the waters so does not resist initially.This encourages them and her discomfort increases. At this time she is not even on a completely comfortable platform to discuss these issues with her husband because they are also still getting to know each other. Mutual trust is still not strong enough for her to liberally complain against his own folks to him. When she finally does, it is a bit of a surprise for him also, he has never seen his parents in bad light before, never felt his parents can be wrong. But if he is a mature guy, he slowly sees all the discrimination, all the wrong. He takes time to come to terms to it, validate it, and agree to act against it, but things start going out of hands by than. And his struggle to gather guts to fight his parents, the actual showdowns,the emotional blackmail are very stressful for the couple, especially him. This is because for her, she knows her wrongdoers easily, but for him its his own people,who have always wished him well till he gets married.The people who behave irrationally are your own people, you have to fight for justice and risk losing all ties with them .

Once the showdown happens, ultimatums given/received the marriage and also the relationship with the in-laws reach some stable state.

All this I have written about is true if husband is a fair,mature guy. I don’t even want to think what happens otherwise.The sad part is,every couple goes through all this, reinvents the wheel each time. Most in-laws try to fit old marriage templates to new modern women. There is struggle, friction as a result. Its high time new customs, relevant for today’s youth are popularised.

We need powerful mediums for that.The religious leaders (who are of this generation) should speak out about such things. The media also needs to grow up to cater to the new lifestyle. I don’t see a single popular soap where the bahu is working in a challenging profession and the Indian families adapting to it. We need to telecast everyday lifestyle changes in positive light.This would solve the major stress problems every couple invariably goes through. I hope to see such soaps/films which educate the society to rise to the modern day demands rather than spewing patriarchy nauseatingly.

IHM’s blog  is the first step which has achieved this purpose in a fearless way. Thanks IHM for your efforts in solving the major concern the Indian youth is facing.

Related Posts:

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?

“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

Say it Loud, Say it Clear – Dew Drops

Stay Hungry. Stay Oppressed. – There and Their

 

 

106 thoughts on ““I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

  1. It is great to know that you and your husband have handled the issues in such a mature way. You are so right about inlaws exercising control over a couple by imposing the cooking routine(which is meant only for the bahu who is lowest in the pecking order). what is the point in slogging away on weekdays to earn a paycheck which you cant enjoy on weekends. Weekends should be relaxing and fun and not a compulsory community activity.

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    • Well said, there should be no expectation for only the woman to slog in the kitchen all weekend after she has already worked all week. Weekends are for chilling, enjoying, relaxing so you can go back to work next week refreshed. Are the husbands expected to work all weekend in the kitchen? Nope, never, they are pampered mommy’s boys. Then why expect that from a DIL? If it was me and anyone asked me to cook all weekend, I would flat out refuse, sleep in till noon and get a heavy brunch outside with unlimited bloody marys. Those who wish me to cook can figure a way out to feed themselves, no in-law ever died of starvation because their ideal DIL refused to slog in the kitchen.

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    • What is meat to one, might be poison to another. How can one size fit all? Each one is made differently with different needs. The joint family system only suits those who call the shots. It is obvious that the lowest one in the joint family hierarchy will never want to be a part of this system as she will be the biggest loser.

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  2. Good to hear that things worked out so well for you!!!
    You very rightly pointed that if the husband is a fair and mature guy he would definitely understand sooner or later.

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    • A lot of good things can happen in everyone’s benefit if only the husband can stand up for his own rights. One is not talking of disowning or discarding parents. One is talking about personal space and boundaries of everyone concerned.

      Even the MILs can enjoy her freedom/ autonomy and pursue her own interests. Or does her only interest lie in harassing her DIL? Controlling someone and making them do our bidding calls for so much of effort and waste of precious time, which can be put to better use.

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      • Hi Badnaam bahu,

        I am another badnaam bahu of an orthodox family.

        Your words could as well have been mine. I have triumphed in a similar situation though not exactly the same.

        Many people here have taken on the other side of the story as to why you weren’t firm, why you banked on your husband’s sympathy so much etc.

        Fact is, most of us belong to a category that is somewhere in between, as regards societal approval and individualistic living. That is just the way we are.

        Maybe some men and women don’t mind cutting off ties with people, who on a random occasion dare to TELL them what to wear.

        It’s NOT wrong, but it’s THEIR ideology. There is no necessity that EVERYONE must find it offensive. There is NO practical reason the people who DO NOT find that offensive lack self-respect, independence or courage. Most often for these mid-zone people, it just is not a serious-enough issue.

        Chastising others based on your own “liberated” ideas is silly, harassing and as bad as the other extreme. They are only blaming the victim instead of supporting them.

        Example:
        “If my husband did that…”

        You can NEVER be in someone else’s shoes. I used to think the same way before I was married. It is only when you suffer that you realize that things like this don’t just happen to other women and in films/serials; they can also happen to you. Just because you are a feminist, you ARE NOT IMMUNE. And boy, when it HAPPENS, trust me, not many of the bold ones would be as courageous as on pen and paper. Then again, I say “not many”.

        Most of us Asians DO NOT start out with individualistic living. We have lived as a part of the society, while also exploring our own needs. Somewhere along the line, most of us Indians have found our own comfort zone between the two extremes.

        The modern Indian today does not completely dash off on their own the moment they turn 18. Nor do they totally fall servile to the older generation. Almost all modern Indians have a mode of living, shall we say, a comfort zone, that is somewhere in between. They may wear jeans, but they might prefer a kurta over it rather than T-shirt (this is just an example of people finding their own comfort zones, not a general rule). Again, there are some people who are comfortable in either extreme. So, as long as they are comfortable and happy, what the heck???

        For a successful marriage, ideally couples must have a similar comfort zone. If not, at least their comfort bands must overlap to a large extent. For example, if one likes to have a glass of whiskey after a meal, the spouse must at least not mind others’ drinking, if not doing it themselves. If one likes wearing western outfits, the spouse should not find it objectionable, no matter what. If they don’t like the partners’ likes, the partners have the option of foregoing these pleasures or walking out of the marriage. Both options are equally good. People for whom these things aren’t a priority will not mind doing the former. People who seriously mind will do the latter.

        No option is better or worse if you are GENUINELY HAPPY doing something. And please DO NOT OBJECT or express shock if someone DOES FIND the first option a HAPPIER option. You are you and others are others.

        That said, I am glad you found your comfort zone. But do note that with modernity, increasing gender equality and feminism, some of your ideas could soon fall out of line with the rest of your peers. If you are still comfortable with that, all the best!

        Cheers
        Family vamp

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  3. Here i would not say much just wish u best, for all u deserve…. i wish i would have been introduced with such a husband and we would have stayed happily….. i wish we would have been enough strong and mature to handle and respect the situation….. In end i would only say….. its true no one can clap with one hand…….

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  4. This is so positive! It’s nice to see people being able to stand up for themselves, people being supportive of each other, people understanding basic human rights. I love how you say be polite but firm, and do things with a smile. Kudos to you and your husband for establishing mutual love and respect for both sides of your family. On another note, like popular characters say ‘The day Indian serials start portraying Indian working women and families adapting, I’ll change my name’!🙂 I don’t have any hopes of that happening. Star Plus had started one soap where the female protagonist wanted to be an IAS officer and the husband was supportive. This was at least an year ago. Last I heard she’s still not one yet and is giving up the dream because the MIL has given an ultimatum. I have no hopes for progressive thinking in Indian soaps. Instead, I’ll pin my hopes on folks like you🙂

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    • Deepa, that soap Diya aur Baati started off on a promising note. I thought the female protagonist, Sandhya Beendani (SB), will achieve her goal. And I stopped watching after I felt there seemed to be no progress whatsoever in achieving her goals. All she did was to find ways to please bhabho. And SB’s husband Suraj Sa did nothing much, other than smile, make sweets and listen to whatever Bhabho had to say. With such a pace, I dont think he can help SB achieve her goal in her life time. After a gap of more than a year, I recently watched one episode out of hope that I could see SB as the IAS officer. No such thing. Bhabho justifies her acts by telling her husband only a righteous girl like SB can hold the family members together and uphold family values and that is why the great Bhabho is not keen on letting Sandhya beedhani go elsewhere to achieve her dream. I give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • I think the son in the serial has left the joint family to start a life on his own with his wife. But don’t ask me the reason for his leaving home. The less said on that, the better. But one does have to give credit to the boy for supporting his wife at every step as well as trying to not hurt his mother. A good attempt!

      According to some survey, it seems that villages in India are witnessing the winds of change because of role models like Anandi, Suraj, Shivraj Shekhar and the new Kalyani Devi who has evolved into a more progressive woman.

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  5. Dear LW, So glad to see a positive turn of life and such a good experience. All cheers to you and your supportive husband who clearly saw the wrong. I hope all men grow up to see things as they are and support the right side instead of staying in neutral zone.
    However, I have one question. What would you have done in case your husband didn’t see things this way? I am just curious to know, since you sound very mature and wise even.

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  6. Great to know how you have turned the tide. Have a happy married life ahead. But my dear you battle was already half won with a supportive hubby who could differentiate btw wrong and right. And wasn’t just a puppet in his parents hands. I can’t believe that his parents wouldn’t have tried to poison him but he used to mind and reason.
    Real struggle is for those who aren’t as lucky and their partners

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  7. Good to know you have been able to change the tide of your life to put yourself in a more comfortable position. I hope this will teach parents not to give any kind of dowry or money or furniture or gold to another family in the hopes of your daughter being treated well.

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  8. Very happy for you, LW. I hope your husband and you will continue to stand up for yourselves. Glad to know that everything worked well for you.

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  9. It’s always nice to read when someone gets back with updates on their previous emails. I am glad these things worked out for you. At least your children will not face this.

    At the same time, this is possible because your spouse was willing to look at it objectively. HOw many men do that instead of plain refusing to grow up?

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  10. Glad you are out of a tense situation and are living happily, isn’t that our ultimate end goal in life to be happy productive members of earth.

    yes i have issues with some stuff – call me a cranky old woman, but i think we start out the basic premise of a marriage wrong.
    take for example.

    1. “Every mature educated couple unfortunately goes through a vicious cycle after marriage.”
    2. “All this I have written about is true if husband is a fair,mature guy” , “if he is a mature guy, he slowly sees all the discrimination, all the wrong. He takes time to come to terms to it, validate it, and agree to act against it,”
    3. “The religious leaders should speak out about such things”
    etc, etc are some of a few line i take exception too.

    No1. — No they don’t and shouldn’t.. If you are Mature you know to set expectations from each other before you sign the paper. every relationship has a period of adjustment. but this much??? would you ever sign up to work in a place with no pay ? no why not.

    2. Why does it take a man time to figure out right from wrong. my husband was offended by this. sorry, Men as much as women know whatswhat, some men choose not to acknowledge that unless forced too.. IMO not very straightforward men and not very mature either. suppose the man joins a firm and someone mistreats him and abuses him , will he take time to bond with his bond, HR etc., and then think of taking action???

    3. the religious leaders should mind their business and keep to religious stuff. not try mix culture and religion, thank you but I’d rather they not spouting examples of Rama to lead a happy life . we’ve have enough of that in the name of culture. Kids have a mind and I’d rather they use it. they really shouldn’t be following anyone like demented sheep.

    I still dont understand why someone has to go thry so much trouble, insult ones loves ones to finally see light. Yes i’m glad your husband supported you but in my mind ( yes i’m spoiled) that’s to be expected nothing special. further he should have supported you from the day he committed to you, just like you did. if not for what reason did he get married?

    sorry IHM – this is getting just ridiculous, have trouble, slog and plot to get away from trouble, and then try to live in peace while trying to keep peace. maybe i’m from a diff planet, but the day i comitted to my husband, i was by his side, to the exclusion of all others, we were a TEAM, he was the same. we shared our joys and sorrows and money an Passion, if this basic trust is not there i see absolutely no reason to be married.
    we sure as hell need to educate our youngsters on marriage and trust and what it really means, somehow i thnk we’ve evolved ot getting married just because it’s time to poulate the world. again pl ignore the cynical me yakking, my husband thinks i should let today’s kids to flounder they way thru this mess, but i’m worried about my sons, what if they pick wishy washy mates like this, what if their partners are the female half of men like this who take a couple yrs to get their act together??? or dont know what a partnershp means..sigh what can i do but stay on the sidelines and see their lives go up in flames…oh well such is life.

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    • While I am happy to read of the LW’s happy ending, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. The things that we think are part of the solution in this letter are actually a bigger part of the problem. They are the conditioning factors that result in this mess.

      I think arranged marriages (I don’t know if this was on) are just different by nature. The lack of bond between the couple is perfect for controlling in-laws. There is no way I would wait for my man to see sense if my parents were asked to give dowry or barred from visiting or I was being forced to cook. I don’t care if I am a woman, I reject that I must follow his lead as such. But then I dont live in a joint family and I lived with my partner before we married. I didm’t follow of this ‘bahu’ behaviour even in the beginning, nothing changes just because we signed a piece of paper. We were happy before, shared all chores and perks equally and we are exactly the same now. My in-laws might have dreamt of a ‘bahu’ but unless they want their son to be a ‘bahu’ too (which would make our life very bizarre), I would never put up with being bahu-fied, whether my husband agrees with me or not.

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    • I agree with most of your points especially that
      // further he should have supported you from the day he committed to you, just like you did. if not for what reason did he get married? //

      However
      // If you are Mature you know to set expectations from each other before you sign the paper.//
      People do set expectations and both the parties mutually agree too. But the many Indian husbands do a volte face after marriage. There have been times people have been misjudged even after knowing a person for years. Only way to completely sure is by living together for few years before getting married. Just making your expectations clear are not enough.

      I dont really think you can equate/compare a relationship to a job. Its easy to change jobs…there is not much legal/social implications of changing your job. However leaving marriage is a big decision, you have to follow a long legal process. Lets not judge people who accept a husband who has grown to see his parents mistakes and makes amends. Its not easy facing the stigma of being a divorced woman in India.

      Your husband is right everybody should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from it.

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    • ok after reading this comment I think I have a girl crush on you😉 and maybe Carvaka as well…

      if your son has trouble wooing a girl ask him to share some of your comments. she’d think a) this lady would have raised a no-nonsense son and b) yay! no mil troubles at least.

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      • Both my sons tell me they are busy with studies that they don’t have time for girlfriends yet .. but assure me that they will figure it all out and they are not dying of unrequited love just yet🙂 and no we will be very happy to pay for 50% or more of their wedding expenses ( if they choose to get married) and gift them a place to live and travel and pursue our hobbies without a care . It will be a great pleasure to see them and their partners live their lives from afar ..of course I’m game to occasionally feeding them and playing babysitter and giving them some time off if reqd ( no baby diaper changing or overnight stays or raising babies please) or if they choose not to have kids I’m ok with that too. – we have populated the world enough.

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    • Absolutely loved your comment Radha. I was thinking the same thing… If the in laws insulted her parents, why that obligation to first spend some time over a cup of tea with them?! The in laws supposedly being nice to them is just because they are afraid they will move out, and not because they truly understand that what they did was wrong. I think this understanding is more important. Also, Even though her parents can come and meet her (which again, is no big deal…because that should be the default), Do they have the same freedom they might have had to stay with her for any number of days if they were staying in their own house?

      Again, I do realise that the current situation is much much better than what it was before, and I am truly happy for her. But I fail to hail the husband or the in laws in any which way. Where was the husband when so much dowry was exchanged? Didnt he see anything wrong in that? Didnt he see wrong that his wife’s parents had to travel to their city to meet their daughter, whereas he could see his parents, live with them all the time?!

      We really do need to teach our children what marriage truly is.. It should only be for companionship and nothing else. Not because it is convenient, not because parents want it, not because there needs to be someone to look after aging parents and not for money/dowry.

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      • // But I fail to hail the husband or the in laws in any which way. Where was the husband when so much dowry was exchanged? Didnt he see anything wrong in that? Didnt he see wrong that his wife’s parents had to travel to their city to meet their daughter, whereas he could see his parents, live with them all the time?!//

        Yes he did see its wrong. Thats why he was able to support me. My parents have a job in their native (and I was in a hostel b4 wedding)and his parents have retired long ago and are staying with him from the beginning. The husbands’ gestures have to be encouraged.
        We dont see many such husbands in India, do we? if we encourage such behaviour we can see more of this.

        Dowry is something I spoke about in my previous post(linked) as well. He was unaware of anything asked, I was partially aware but was silenced with things like part of ritual etc(which was wrong and I totally agreed)

        Yes ,now my parents can visit and stay with me as long as they wish.
        When they visit, my inlaws are like neighbours (cause we live in the same building but different flats) and they invariably face off each other. So, the inlaws invite them and they go and spend some time . This is to put behind all the differences and share some sort of a cordial relationship. No obligation on anybody’s part.

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        • // The husbands’ gestures have to be encouraged.
          We dont see many such husbands in India, do we? if we encourage such behaviour we can see more of this.//

          While your husband came around to see through his parents controlling behavior he is far from a model husband. If that is the example we have to give to the men we would be setting the standards too low. I think we are too quick to give credit to men for conduct which is basic humanity. Just because lot of men lack that doesn’t mean it should be something special and we need to put husbands who possess basic humanity(that too after much drama) on a pedestal.

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        • A few things
          – I have an issue with this statement, and others like it made-“We dont see many such husbands in India, do we? if we encourage such behaviour we can see more of this.”
          Well, if people were more willing to step out of the arranged marriage bubble, and find the nice men, I guess there would be no artificial scarcity of ‘nice men’. Of course, when you impose your caste, a minimum salary. family ‘prestige’ etc as filters, your pool of potential life partners will get much smaller. than if you didn’t.

          -The whole saga , while on the one hand has a somewhat happy ending-which is no doubt brilliant for Confused DIL- seems to still reek of the notion that any Indian marriage is extremely hard work requiring tonnes of time spent on finding a way around and appeasing inlaws. This is simply untrue. It is a feature of traditional marriages.

          Most mature educated couples would know each other (and by know I mean gauge the others value system) well before marriage, and also stay separately.
          These two things obviously do a lot to reduce the ‘vicious cycle’ that the OP thinks ‘most’ Indian men and women go through.

          -I completely agree with Radha and Carvaka. The husband’s support is essential to the marriage contract.Sad to see a supportive husband held up as some shining example of rare specimen of man. The fact is that they are just doing what they promised to do , on the day of the wedding..

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    • I agree 100% radha, glad you laid it out like that….
      It’ like saying I i know what my mom is doing is wrong yet I’ll wait for you to adjust to me and slowly tell her she’s wrong, what has one go to do with the other. mom being wrong is one issue, wife bonding with you is a different issue. the first one requires you to know right from wrong and be willing to act on it and the 2nd makes you get closer together.
      btw how fragile could a mom-son bond be for it to break if the DIl speaks up and the son supports his wife. what kind of bond is that?

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      • “btw how fragile could a mom-son bond be for it to break if the DIl speaks up and the son supports his wife. what kind of bond is that?”
        True.

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      • He never ‘waited’ for me to adjust. We both waited to asses the situation. We (hubby and me)need a strong bond to talk about sensitive/unpleasant issues.
        That bond takes some time to develop.
        I can open up a can of worms to only someone whom I have deep trust in.
        Its easy to say, his mom was wrong and he should have confronted/corrected her on day 1. Similarly, for me to have spoken/acted against all the bad on day 1.
        But in the initial period we are not sure of all this. We are brought up in a very confusing society. We are ill-equipped to handle contraversies and question elders. It took time for us to break out of this. The carrot of the ‘ideal bahu’ has been dinned into evry gal’s head from childhood. Only after the wedding can you know what it actually means becoming bahu-ified.

        The intention of this post was to reduce the confusions/self-questioning every couple goes thru(in various degrees/magnitudes).

        The roles/responsibilities ,expectations of the son,DIL,ILhave to be clear. The onus of bringing this clarity should not be solely on the couple(with its fair share of friction),it should collectively rest on the overall system. The ILs get prejudiced if the son/DIL talks of indiscrimination. Its better accepted if a third party like the media(serials which MILs love) or the religious leaders (whom the society worships) speak out openly about it. I once attended a religious forum of out society, where a young progressive leader, called out every father of a son, to come on stage and take oath in front of the whole community that they wont take dowry. This is commendable, and also better accepted by the elder bandwagon.

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    • Radha and Carvaka, you gals are awesome and articulated exactly how I feel about this situation. Why do these Indian men need so much hand holding and endless efforts by the wife to realize his parents abuse toward the wife and only THEN support her? Why does it have to be so much of a struggle for the woman to convince her own husband, one who promised to be her life partner? Why don’t Indian men make the wife their number 1 priority ahead of the parents? After marriage, wife and husband are the primary family unit, in-laws on both sides are now extended families only. Why do these men get married in the first place if they do not understand what a life partner is?

      This lady is being congratulated as she is lucky that her husband is fair/mature/understanding, what if he was not? Then she will be stuck in life at mercy of the abusive in-laws and their blinded son or bear the stigma of divorce in Indian society. Why do Indians think they have strong family values again that are superior to the west? Strong Indian family values are simply built upon silenced, abused and miserable daughter in-laws, that is the very foundation of Indian culture.

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      • That was perfectly put Radha.

        This statement did not sit very well with me either – Every mature educated couple unfortunately goes through a vicious cycle after marriage.

        Why should they? Everybody has adjustments issue in thier relationship, but this vicious cycle is due to parents/family poking their nose into a marriage and that can stop if people stop considering marriages as between 2 families instead of 2 people. Having to constantly get along with 1 person is tough enough, why do women need to get along with 20 people?

        On the other hand I have learned that most people cannot/will not break out of their conditioning/society/patriarchy or cut it in one stroke with a sword (chop it all off, I would), so the LW’s situation is a happy compromise and how much she is willing to go out of that circle of hers.

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    • You have hit the nail on the head. When so many of us have such experiences, we are tempted to assume that they are normal. Guys blow it off as normal MIL-DIL issues, may even feel sympathy for the girl, but ask her to accept it as normal and move on. It is true that we have to move on if we are in this situation, but It is not ok to go through these experiences even if we do end up making things better. And young girls should not think that this is normal.

      The first years of marriage can be sweet if two people care for each other. Why should they go through this bitter, painful emotional drama? Actually, my own first years of marriage were not good, jealous manipulative MIL, no supportive husband etc. Things are better now after quite a lot of introspection and self-analysis to deal with all the hurt and anger. I really don’t like conflict, I had to learn to handle conflict and still retain my peace of mind.

      But even though I have moved on and things are better now, I still think what happened was wrong and I really wish that this behavior is no longer acceptable. And girls should be made to understand that it is not acceptable so that they stand up for themselves from BEFORE the marriage itself. And don’t tolerate this nonsense from the very beginning.

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      • Mol you are absolutely right. Its time we stop assuming its normal. Its common but its definitely not normal. Its unhealthy. Slavery was never normal. When and if everything turns out fine after some time we have reasons to be happy with current situation but we cannot go back and justify the nonsense we experienced in the beginning as normal and mandatory to reach the current state. Unfortunately this is conditioning too. I changed two counselors because i found them very culturally conditioned to be fair. 80 percent of the advice was for me though it was suppose to be marriage counseling. Some of the gems from the counselors:

        1. I always tell girls that first year of marriage is toughest. You are going to cry every single night on your pillow.

        2.You have to become like them to have your own way.(isn’t that an oxymoron?)Why are so scared of losing your individuality? You will not change as a person just by adapting to them.

        3. Dont say you dont want to have children. Children are the biggest blessings for a woman.say that it is not the right time to have children because you need to concentrate on being financially independent. I would not advice you to children right away but don’t ever say you don’t want to ever have children.

        4. Try to understand your husband’s position. He is stuck between his mother and wife

        5. First year of marriage is only of giving. You give as much as you can to the family members. Only after first year its your turn to receive and believe me you will receive lots.

        6. I dont think you should go through divorce because you will not adapt with anyone. You will still face problems and bigger ones. You should stop expecting your husband to move out of your MIL’s house. He will not. Just accept it. You can make your life miserable over it or you can accept it. You also have to accept that MIL will be a permanent fixture in your life. Even if your husband has to move out for work he will make you stay with her.(I wanted to scream he CANT. I would rather stay with my family or alone)

        There are lot more…maybe I can write a post on them. Needless to say i walked out on both of them during a session

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        • I want to stop the ‘crying on the pillow every night’ part. Do you think we can? Is there a realistic, practical, implementable solution ?

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        • Holy cow, I would fire the counselor for this bullshit advice, did she get her psychology degree from “school of Indian MIL”?

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        • Wow, I got exactly this bunch of advice as well, albeit from various sources, as compared to your two! This came from ‘well-wishers’ (especially females) including neighbours (Point # 1), male colleague – in his fifties (Point # 5), relatives (Point # 4), maid (Point # 1 & 5), family doctor (Point # 2), other doctor (Point # 3 & 6 partly), … Well, I guess this is a standard set of advice to be dished out to any DIL in distress…

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        • Wow, just Incredible! I agree with you, if the husband won’t move out, I would rather move out or go live with my family. Another thing is that people claim that children are so very important. How can it be good for the children to keep the mother in an unhappy and hostile environment? If they think children are so important, then first advise and help the woman to move out of these stressful situations and possibly get the husband in and give him a hard talk. Involve her parents also in helping the woman recover. These counselors need some serious counseling.

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  11. All your points hold true in an ideal situation.But India is far from ideal. It’s evolving,we need to give time for evolution. We can’t define every minute detail before the wedding. We can only sense if the future spouse is fair,mature ,indiscriminate and sensible .We can’t play act every future situation before saying I do. Since the couple needs time to understand who stands where, I told we need time.

    About comparing office situation to home, I think it’s not a fair comparison. Even if at the office I sense something is wrong, again,I take time to validate and be doubly sure of the wrong before going all out in a bull headed manner. At worst I resign and walk away never to see their faces again. But home is a different playing ground. I wish to preserve relationships ,I don’t wish to see my husband losing ties with his family. It’s only defining the boundaries in the relationship without breaking them. Maintaing the marital relationships without giving up myself needs tact,time and patience . It’s all about priorities. If you wish to break all ties then you can mindlessly rebel from day one and lose relationships forever. I dont want my hubby to lose his parents bond just cos they are bad to me. Instead I shall let him keep the bond without them being bad to me. I took time to delicately set things straight and m happy about the choice I made.Even with what I endured.

    I only took the religious leaders example because what they say still has a profound effect on our elders. So they might as well use this to impact the society in a meaningful way rather than talking about mythology which is fascinating but irrelevant .

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    • You are right one cannot plan out each and every detail before getting married. No matter how much we try we can never have situations tailor made. I think it is okay for people to experiment with trial and error, share and be receptive to ideas before they decide what works for them and how to bring about changes smoothly.

      However I do have problems with

      // I wish to preserve relationships ,I don’t wish to see my husband losing ties with his family.//
      When will the guy’s parents also wish to preserve relationships and not wish to see their son losing ties with his family(wife).

      //Maintaing the marital relationships without giving up myself needs tact,time and patience .//
      Marital relationship is with husband. It is his work to deal with his parents incase they have issues with you both.

      //It’s all about priorities. If you wish to break all ties then you can mindlessly rebel from day one and lose relationships forever.//
      Yes it is about priorities. If the relationship is toxic it is better to end it. it is not mindless. Nobody should have to rebel. People rebel when things are forced on them. What is wrong in refusing from day one than waste precious time and energy on relationships. Relationships are to be maintained by both, its not just DIL’s work.

      //I dont want my hubby to lose his parents bond just cos they are bad to me. Instead I shall let him keep the bond without them being bad to me. I took time to delicately set things straight and m happy about the choice I made.Even with what I endured.//
      I wish parents would also want their son to not lose(or form ) his bond with his wife. Why should a DIL have to ‘let him keep his bond’. What kind of bond a person wishes to keep with his parents should be his/her prerogative (without expecting the same bond from his/her spouse)

      But I am glad things worked out for you. You both figured out what worked for you. However for some women their husbands do not turn around with time.for some people rebelling from day one works and that is not mindless. Things that you have accepted and endured might be deal breakers for some and they are happy too by rebelling, walking out and breaking off unnecessary relationships. Please do not call them mindless

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      • I agree to your point purple sheep.Everybody has their own style of working things out. Some will go all out from day one,some handle it diplomatically/tactfully and take some crap till things stabalise and some meekly stick on till the end. My comment was a reply to Radha who questioned my style and was judgemental about how I handled things.

        If the inlaws are miffed with me, invariably this passes on to their son as well(cos the son is supporting my behaviour). If I dont support my husband in such a scenario and say,ur parents u deal with them,then I am not being a supportive partner. That too when the bone of contentions are all issues related to me.

        He never asked me to love his parents, its me who wanted to preserve atleast a civil relationship with them.

        And who wants to preserve relationships and who want to lose is entirely dependent on the individual and neither the DIL or MIL’s obligation.

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    • Sorry to point out but I did not read we, us or our anywhere.

      //I wish to preserve relationships
      I don’t wish to see my husband losing ties with his family.
      Instead I shall let him keep the bond without them being bad to me.
      I took time to delicately set things straight and
      m happy about the choice I made
      .Even with what I endured.//

      i wonder what is your husband doing when YOU are are enduring, making choices, delicately setting things straight.

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      • Exactly ! the husband was sitting around as an innocent mommy’s boy getting pampered while the wife was going through all the struggles and doing all this hard work. This is exactly why Indian men are totally worthless marriage material, too attached to their mommies.

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        • The truth is that the Indian woman is so used to taking lots of bullshit, that when she gets some crumbs, she feels happy. Our bar is that low. We have to first learn to love and respect ourselves.

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      • I told ‘I’ cos I was writing the letter . Lot of this lets handle with care is again my funda , all part of my personality to avoid contraversy/confrontation, especially in relationships and especially in new relationships(IL relationships are deemed antagonsitic in nature from the beginning). I was scared to tread on this war ground. My mindset was to try to be good to the inlaws ,cos of the endless soaps I have watched about ‘scheming’ bahus. I , as a teenager/early twenties was fed with endless community talks(all BS) of educated bahus ‘breaking’ the house.I had to unlearn what I was conditioned to. I had to relearn what is fair. I want this cycle to be avoided for other new couples.
        //i wonder what is your husband doing when YOU are are enduring, making choices, delicately setting things straight.//

        He was encouraging me to stand up , asking me to face it and doing the same himself. He was reassuring my parents that he will solve these issue, validating that his parents are wrong, discussing with me on how to take our lives forward, trying to set things straight without giving anything up, but minimum wear and tear on the relationships with his parents,

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        • Confused DIL, what you wanted was just fairness. It is your birthright. You chose your style and I respect that. After all we are Indian women who have been conditioned to adjust, to be silent and subservient. Within these conditions, what you achieved was admirable.

          I achieved the very same things only after cutting off each and every inlaw/outlaw…and that too after 30 years of marriage. Thanks to my children who supported me all the way!

          I wasn’t as lucky as you because my husband never cared about what happened to me or my children, as long as his relatives were off his back and he could be at peace. He himself was too scared to confront them and played a “yes man” all his life. Even now he is the same and is playing the same role, but my children and I have managed to escape their clutches by showing them our strength.

          My advice to girls who are planning to get married….”look before you leap”. Give yourself enough time before marriage, do your homework well and try to see the red flags. Despite doing all this, if the marriage is a misery, walk out and find your peace. I could not do that (for various reasons), but hope you can!

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    • I am in no position to criticize you for your choices, because my choices are more or less the same.🙂 I went through difficult first few years, I became firmer and things got gradually better. The children and I are much happier even though MIL is not very happy and husband is still not fully over his dependency on his mother.

      But I disagree with your views that one should tolerate this for a few years for the sake of the husband’s relationships. Most of us tolerate this because we are conditioned to be docile and fearful about what will happen if we kick up a big fuss. For me, it took a long time to understand and change my emotional reactions. I am still working on it. The pattern for any relationship is set from the first day. Once we let the husband/IL dominate and control our lives, it will cause a lot of resentment when we try to change things.

      I also believe in relationships. That is why I feel that joint families are abnormal. I firmly believe that it is not normal to alienate a young woman from her family. I live separately from IL. I help out MIL if she is ill, take her to the doctor if her sons are at work, cook her food etc. When my mom fell sick, I am able to invite her to come stay with me so that I can take care of her also. Joint families seem to attempt to break the girl’s relationships, so I am against them. In your case, your husband was supportive. In most cases, the husband is either not supportive or half-hearted in his support.

      I will never advise a girl to tolerate controlling or manipulative behaviour in the beginning of her relationship. If we really value relationships then we have to be more concerned
      1. With the new relationship between husband and wife
      2. The girl’s relationship with her family, because their involvement can often be a deterrent to abuse.
      3. Impact on children. It is extremely unhealthy for children to see their mother disrespected or to be part of all kinds of petty games.

      Actually religious leaders speaking out against this patriarchal culture will be great because they have an impact on the perceptions of Indian culture. But I can’t believe anyone will have the guts. I love the egalitarian parts of our culture that focuses on inner growth, but it is usually surrounded by so much narrow-mindedness and prejudice that most broad-minded people will feel disgusted. Meditation is a really great exercise, though. Helped me a lot.

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      • I too am going through similar dynamics. If my husband does smell the coffee and wake up I would still not glorify him. Maybe life would be easier and peaceful but that cannot wash away all that I was made to go through in the beginning of our marriage. I would not give my husband’s example to young men to model their relationships on.

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        • I dont want to glorify my husband or myself that we solved it and this is the best way to handle things. We are NOT a model couple.I am just saying that we went thru a lot. Even though we both have a fair ,indiscriminate mindset(to some extent) . I was focussing on what interfered with our mindsets. How conditioning blinded our vision(for both of us) Why this should not happen. And how can we solve it for others?

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      • I shall also never ask a gal to tolerate any BS. She should not. But hw do we protect her, in case she is in this situation? Ask her to leave? Maybe.But more importantly,I want to address the root cause Can we have individual tailor made tips for each of MIL,FIL,son and DIL before marriage? Can we have short role plays(of say the MIL), the old minded and the modern minded,fair(much needed) MIL?
        Can we have good TV programs that help all of them to get a fair perspective ?

        I see some good books coming out(one is 24*7 marriage guide,which I read)
        Can we make short movies that popularise fair ,anti-patriarchial practices?
        Can we have anecdotes that shows that bahus need not be bahus but humans with the same make, as everyone else?
        Can we have some daily ads on tv which shows the wife having coffee(bru,kothas etc) prepared by the MIL/husband? Or the PIL serving nice snacks (made with dhara oil or something) to his bahu?

        I want such attitudes to blend into everyday lifestyles, at every step. ble?
        I want a perspective change. Do we think its possi

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        • Confused DIL, media can play a very important role in helping with this change but they are more interested in the TRP and the ads that pay them.

          But I do see ads that show how a woman needs to care for herself pre and post pregnancy. Also how she is supposed to care for her baby. If only something can be done for changing women’s lives for the better! Any ideas, anyone?

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        • I agree, it’s hard to change the existing mindset. Why are we trying to create ideal patriarchal joint families which are removing the girls’ family ties and making her dependent on the whims of the husband and ILs? Why put her at their mercy? Why not show that the husband and wife living together and treating both sets of parents equally with love and respect? Why not show the husband bonding with his father-in-law for a change? Only by showing the the husband also loving accepting his wife and ILs, this society’s mindset can be changed

          They say that Indian marriages are between families. But actually it is not. It is about one family (the boy’s family) breaking all the ties of the girl’s family. Things will only change when married women speak up against this destructive system instead of saying that it is ok to put up with it. I am openly feminist and I openly say that feminism is about family values, and that “Indian culture” is fake and against nature and family relationships. I say this to my husband/ILs (they used to fume, but have now accepted it), as well as all my relatives/friends. I don’t fight with them, I am happy cheerful and try to do all my work, but on my own terms. But I stand strongly by my feelings and refuse to be fake or a hypocrite. That’s all I can do. For the rest, we have to wait till this society slooooooowly changes.

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  12. My hubby and me are a team,enjoy the pleasures of life just like you. He needed time to absorb what was happening to him,his parents,the family dynamics etc. Let me illustrate with an example.
    Say you have a daughter who has been a model girl all her life, loving ,caring ,innocent and affectionate . She suddenly transforms into manipulative,deceitful and cunning adult. Wont you tray to fathom what went wrong,why this sudden transformation.Or just ask her to get out, cos she is bad now. She is an adult,can think for herself ,but has suddenly started behaving irrationaly. You try to understand her, and that takes time. You never support her behaviour even the first time,express dissatisfaction,but wont you be shocked to see what happend to the good girl? My husband also took time to absorb that his parents have changed,after his wedding. He loved them and still loves them,but he was sad that his dear people have turned bad. In this entire cycle, we always forget the guy’s role. His role is the toughest. He knows his people are wrong,jealous etc . In the fight for justice, he loses bonds with them which he had so taken for granted before the wedding.This is sad.He loses a lot in this game.

    Pls dont get me wrong. I am not for once saying that the inlaws behaviour is justified,or the husband should support them even if they are wrong Its only that his life undergoes a lot of upheaveal.The society is such that it has implicitly pitted DIL and MIL against each other.

    Jealousy is a common emotion for the MIL against the DIL. But hurts to accept that your mom has turned jealous and manipulative. This is because of the patriarchial family equations in India.

    The MIL also all her life has lived on hope that she will reign one day. But when this hope turns false all manipulations play.Its a horrible cycle where the abused turns the abuser. Its a repressed society which has been handing over repression from one generation to the next. We are attempting to break this. It takes time. .

    My hubby never for once refused to support me or tried to defend the discrimination. But it internally hurt him. But still he did it. I am thankful to him for that,even though its a duty he needs to do. When you know ur child is wrong u punish the kid,but u also feel hurt. Same thing,applies here

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    • I don’t believe a person’s personality can change overnight, unless they have some physiological disorder or they are teenagers ( raging hormones to some extent can be the culprit) . Otherwise characteristics like jealousy, insecurity always show up before son’s marriage in other aspects of life. I don’t think you can be so completely blind to your parents’ personalities. For example, you can always tell if your parents have more traditional ideas, what role your mom and dad played in the family, and then get an accurate picture of how they are going to behave after you are married.

      Then the onus falls on you to set the expectations right. For example, my aunt is a very traditional lady and my cousin started setting expectations even before he started dating anyone about what his mom can be involved in and what she cannot be involved in. This made things much easier when he did get them to meet his girlfriend because the boundaries were very clearly defined by him.

      Instead, if he had not done any groundwork, I am sure there would have been major drama that his girlfriend would have faced.

      I agree that it hurts to see our near and dear ones misbehave. And that you cannot completely cast them away. But you can always set boundaries while still loving them. It is better for everyone that way.

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      • There is a saying in north karnataka region. Even if you label a stick lying in a corner as “MIL”,it will start jumping around on its own.
        The role is potrayed like that. Powerful,villaneous. I have seen perfectly mature individuals change when in power. People change when they get power. I am talking of this power and how it changed my otherwise normal inlaws. This perspective of getting power of being the ladke wale,which the patriarchial system as a whole showers on them,that needs change.
        My MIL went thru a lot of hardship in life. The society at those hard times has soothed her telling, dont worry u will get two bahus, ur life shall improve. This made her assume she shall become the boss, with two reportees(chuckle)

        The way the society dinned into her mind these thought is wrong. The way the society dinned into my mind that I have to be a well behaved bahu is wrong. I know we have our own brains and can use our judgement .But our judgements can at times get clouded(if we are fed the same funda all around us). Families,society,community,history,media,religion etc all preach the same theory. It takes effort to break all this. I dont want others to put in so much efforts. I want to simplify things for them.

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      • Clueless, I feel a man should talk out things with his parents before getting married. They should know what to expect from him. They have been so used to bossing around their children, that they feel they have the same right with the new entry. The onus of making rules clear rests on the man. If he makes boundaries clear, then probably the parents will have to respect that.

        In my case when my husband could not take the shit handed to him by his people, he just yelled at everyone and then escaped to his workplace and found his peace there. I, the wife was left to face the music with the inlaws. There were many of them.one big gang waiting to pounce on me. According to them I was instigating my husband against them.

        But on the other hand my BIL made rules clear after he got married. He told his mom and married sister (who created trouble for everyone in the family) who also stayed with him for sometime that they would not talk directly to his wife. That they would communicate with him and not her. They had two domestic fulltime helps…one who did the common work and one who did jobs only for my BIL, his wife and child.

        Surprisingly the same people who managed to torture me all along were tamed into submission by a few firm rules. It is ambiguity that leads to so much heartache.

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    • I agree with clueless. He was hurt that his parents turned bad overnight. No, they did not. They were patriarchal and still are. The thing is he never bothered about it or thought about it till he got married because he did not have to put up with it. Just because you sit inside a room with blinds on for 2 days does not mean that sun never came up.

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        • Only when people wear the shoes, do they know where and how it pinches. It is obvious that the SIL would have told her husband about the wrong doings towards them and opened his eyes. The younger BIL would have been oblivious towards all the happenings. It is only when he gets married, and his wife goes through the same thing and discusses them with her husband does his eyes open. What to do, Indian men are like that. They need a wife to enter his family and learn about the family dynamics from her.

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    • It is sweet of you to feel for your husband so much. And very good that he supports you.

      You mentioned “the patriarchal family equations in India”. That is the problem. It is not normal. It leaves women and children very vulnerable. If your husband had not supported you, as in so many cases, what would be your plight? Is it right that young women should be exposed to the risk of abuse in these patriarchal/joint family systems. And at the mercy of the man’s sympathy and understanding where he is forced to support his wife against his parents. And what happens if he does not support her? And do you think think it is good for the children if their mother is forced to live in an environment where she is hurt and unhappy?

      People consider these situations to be normal MIL-DIL problems. I think it is more about young womens’ right to human integrity and relationships. Isn’t it unnatural that she should be deprived of the right to the company and support of her own family? Are not children better off in an environment where the mother is relaxed and happy?

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      • True, children need a peaceful environment to grow. But the MIL who might have gone through a similar fate is now waiting for her turn to gain power, which almost most women get as they grow old. She is also waiting to wield her power over her DIL, who she views as her adversary who will snatch her son away from her if she does not do something about it. Why this insecurity?

        If the old give their youngsters their space and privacy, there is no reason why the young will shy away from them. And if they still do that, so be it. People should treat every bit of attention they get as bonus and not expect it as birthright.

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        • If the MIL is waiting for these power games, then it is better that the DIL remove herself from her environment or use whatever means she can to ensure that she is in a comfortable non-abusive place. If necessary, she should involve her family and friends also to interfere.

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  13. This is so true. When I got married I didn’t know what my mother in law was like. Fortunately I’m a fairly strong individual myself as well and she realised within the first six months who she was up against. There even came a time when I used to get up and go every time she came and sat down in a common area. Since they’re afraid of social stigma, this did the trick. She started being nice to me, and refrained from attacking me in public because very sweetly and diplomatically I used to put her down as well.

    So I completely understand and relate to what you’re saying.🙂

    Cheers and warmest,

    J.

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  14. I just want to reiterate – i dont want anyone ot break bonds/ marriage etc., All i ask is why one individual male/female in a team ( i.e if you think of marriage as a team) needs more time to distinguish right form wrong .

    I’m very happy the letter writer settled this issue amicable, and thats wonderful.
    My question is for the general thinking these days. I also agree that one cannot actually read someone’s mind, you will know the person fully only after you start living together in a dayin and day out basis BUT, supposing i got married and my MIL said i was to cook and clean even if i was tired after a long day at work and serve my husband. 1. I would speak up and tell her I’m tired. 2. offer options to get said food procured and 3 my husband would be right in the situation and know what his mom is asking of me is wrong, especially if it is not being asked of him.

    this much i expect without a BOND. i expect this as a human courtesy.
    Now when my parents come from a long way and bearing gifts and they are not invited to my residence by specifically told no to by another member in the residence ( MIL,FIL,anyone) I know it’s wrong, i expect to speak up and my husband knows it’s wrong. ( basic human decency) and more important he makes sure his mom is corrected immedietly, the guests are welcomed and treated as human beings.

    All this does not need bonding it needs a good moral compass on the husbands side and No there are plenty of men who have this right. I know of a so many cases where there was a hostile MIL and in days that changed as soon as the husband found out. yes they still live in joint families and everyone respects others and their boundaries. so no not all indian men are like this. there are a select few who take time to get up to speed and a select few who never come up to speed. and it is my belief it is not the chore of the wife to educate and enlighten grown adult men and point them towards light.

    If being fair is not possible i wouldn’t blame anyone for the marriage to fail, not the girl or the boy or the mil, it’s just built on loose sand , that’s all.

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    • Agree. Wrong is wrong. Unfair is unfair. And as you say, Radha, all you need is a moral compass to recognise gender discrimination ,and some conviction + courage to speak out against it.

      And I do find it difficult to believe that a fully grown adult male cannot anticipate the kind of inlaws his parents will make after his marriage.
      You can be realistic about the kind of people your parents are despite loving them.
      Sorry, Confused DIL, I would personally never buy this ‘ I did not know my parents were like this’ BS. ESPECIALLY in India, where the BS begins MUCH before the wedding. It’s another free pass to avoid conflict. And let the wife take all the heat.

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  15. Okay after reading all the comments and reading the post again made me ponder on few things. These are just my thoughts:

    1. Why does marriage have to be such a complicated web of relationship between the couple, dil, mil, the two families and everybody is walking on eggshells trying to make sub relationships within relationships. The DIL is trying to fix husband’s relationship with his parents as an obligation for him to stand up for her, Husband is trying to convince his parents to respect girl’s parents, the girl’s parents are paying dowry and waiting for their daughter’s in laws to invite them to meet THEIR daughter. Why cant we just focus on relationship which is primary that is between the couples. Doesn’t this ‘delicate balancing’ take out all the fun and bonding between the couple.

    2. // I found it ridiculous that the in laws,who have taken loads of dowry from this man, the same man who even provided the plates and spoons you eat in everyday, is not even eligible to share a tea with you and meet his daughter.//

    Yes it is rude of your in laws to not invite them but sorry for being blunt your parents set themselves up for it. By giving dowry they have accepted a lower position of someone who is ‘giving away’ his daughter and has to pay dowry as gratitude. Giving dowry does not mean visitation rights. On the other hand it means they have given away their daughter for better or for worse.

    Why could YOU not invite your own father. First you had to wait for your husband to see that your father was not invited, he had to convince/give ultimatums to his parents to invite them. Its their right to whomsoever they wish/not wish to invite. Similarly you have every right to invite whom you want to. Why go about in such a roundabout way just to invite your father. Also you live on a separate floor so your father does not even have to be uncomfortable with others members around.

    3. //If I dont support my husband in such a scenario and say,ur parents u deal with them,then I am not being a supportive partner.
    I don’t wish to see my husband losing ties with his family. It’s all about priorities. If you wish to break all ties then you can mindlessly rebel from day one and lose relationships forever. I dont want my hubby to lose his parents bond just cos they are bad to me. Instead I shall let him keep the bond without them being bad to me. I took time to delicately set things straight and m happy about the choice I made.Even with what I endured.//

    ^ That disturbed me. Supporting your husband coming to terms with his parents change in behavior is one thing but to decide for him to maintain a bond with his parents is another. Is your husband not a strong individual who can make his own decisions whether he wants to keep a bond with his parents. I had an abusive father. After my mother’s death I broke all bonds with him and lived with my mother’s parents(I was 9). Now if my husband would want me to have a bond with my father I would ask him to get lost. It doesnt matter what the bone of contention is.

    4. I am happy for LW that she is in a comfortable place now and enjoying her married life. However I wish she would answer the question asked by Wanderer

    //However, I have one question. What would you have done in case your husband didn’t see things this way?//

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    • Exactly. You’ve said it all. And Wanderer’s question sums it up. The fact is that the woman is at the mercy of the husband’s sympathy. And that’s why she is forced to bend over backwards to get his sympathy. Putting his feelings and relationships over hers and hoping that he will someday be pleased with her and smile on her and take her side. And what if despite all that, he isn’t supportive? Suffer through hell? And if he is supportive, shed tears of gratitude? The whole scene is a disgrace to humanity.

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    • Wonderful critical analysis purple sheep, so well put together. These dysfunctional Indian family dynamics are a complete waste of time and energy in my opinion. Must be so mentally draining and exhausting, how do people ever find time to do anything meaningful with their lives ? (especially the educated working folks who don’t have to worry about their next meal). This is probably why India will never invent the next google, apple or einstein, we are too busy dealing with MIL, FIL, immature husbands and other related bullshit.. Just sheer wasted potential.

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      • AnnonDiva, women/wives aren’t perfect either in that regard. Let’s stick to saying family/cultural issues. How many times have you heard of a wife disapproving of her husband starting a business just because she wants the financial security that she can’t get herself.

        My aunt threatened my uncle with divorce and stayed separate when he started his business. She came back to him with a seriously sorry face when it turned out well. What do you make of this? Ridiculous stuff we men have to put up with, too!

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        • Niketan I am sure men too suffer but this is no comparison. Your aunt walked out but in case a women tries to do something which is not approved by husband AND HIS FAMILY they dont walk out on her. They throw her out or better still put all kinds of barriers like cooking three course meal thrice a day, wash and clean. They just make sure she has no time and energy left to do anything she would want to. Walking out on someone you dont agree with is not equivalent of being forced to give up.

          As for your aunt not being able to get that security for herself could be for that very reason.

          Like

    • Excellent reply. I particularly agree with why can’t she invite her parents over. Because she still does not consider it her house to invite whoever she wants over (of course if you are living with someone, I would INFORM them that so & so is coming, okay with you?) not wait for permission to invite my own family & wait for husband to approve of them coming when he himself lives in close proximity to his family.

      His ties are important but your family ties are not?

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  16. While it turned out all well for LW in the end but I would not glorify the husband’s role here. What if his parents had invited LW’s parents for tea? Would she be still sweating it out in community kitchen?

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