“Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

Sharing an email..

Dear IndianHomeMaker,

I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am to you, for your blog has been an eye opener to me and a solace in my times of sadness.

To begin my story, I am a well educated, 32 year old woman working in the software industry for the past ten years. I am doing very well for myself and consider myself to be successful as well as grounded. I come from an upper middle class family where education was of prime importance. I am the youngest of 5 siblings and as result was a very pampered kid.  My parents are traditional as well as modern. My dad has been specially very progressive, as a result, all his kids were well educated and settled well. I grew up in a very open household which was full of opinions, joys, fights, arguments etc. Everything was welcome in my house. Craziness, Bad moods, guests, friends, decisions, everything from every kid was welcomed with open arms. There was always guidance, chiding, scolding, beating, but at the same time there was freedom and acceptance.

I have been living on my own after my graduation away from my parents and my hometown (all my elder siblings were away by then owing to their careers and families). Living alone has only added to my fierce feelings of independence and equality. I have been a responsible and a conscious person also.

My parents started looking for a guy for me after I hit 25. While I worked, I never really had any relationship or looked at anyone with the intention of marriage. So a love marriage was out of question for me. And the proposals for arranged marriages were not interesting enough or I was rejected one way or other.

My parents gracefully accepted my views and kept sending me new proposals, it was a cycle of constantly meeting guys and their families and sometimes talk to a few men away from families for a while and then reach a not so positive conclusion.

Years passed and I was still unmarried and happy in my own life and my friends.

Once I hit 30, my mother was specially stressed because of my unmarried status. She is the more traditional of the two. Relatives and the rest were continuously inundating my parents with unwarranted hints , analysis and advice as to why their daughter is still unmarried. In my community, frankly even the most broad minded and educated ones would find 30 year old spinster unacceptable.

My siblings and parents wanted me to get serious about marriage and make a decision for myself in favor of marriage. So I decided to give it a try on my own and registered on a matrimonial site.

Within a few days, I got talking to a man, in whom I almost found my replica. We started meeting and interacting and liked each other. He had lived in the US and had returned to India for good. It was just a family of 2 brothers and his youngest brother was married to a housewife.

My FIL was an educated govt officer and my MIL was a housewife. From what I got to know from him, they seemed like a normal family. My husband and I shared lot of common views about religion, marriage, kids etc which totally got us into each other. We told our parents and were happily married soon.

After my marriage, when I started living with them, it was tough for me to adjust to the new surroundings. I had to wear salwars only with a dupatta on always even at home (I was mostly a chick who wore jeans and shorts but I agreed to forego it because I felt for any traditional family to accept such stuff was a bit asking for too much), wear bangles (no one in my house wears bangles other than my mom wearing some simple 2 bangles), wake up early (I was living alone and woke up at 11), cannot stay out alone after 7 (I have been out till 10, alone, sometimes), cannot watch irrational(??) TV programs, and most importantly, I realized, to my sadness, they hated vocal behavior of any kind. No one speaks up against wrong in this house. Specially the ladies are supposed to shut their mouths, no matter what they think. Elders should always be treated with respect. Husbands have the last word. My FIL ruled the roost.

My husband I are atheists by choice and we do not follow any religious rituals. The rest the family is very religious, they pray and fast… blah blah.

My in laws are very nice people. On a general note, they never interfere in our lives, they are never rude or mean and they don’t impose religious restrictions on us. They have been good to my family and appreciate me whenever applicable. They are not fake or pretentious people. But one has to abide by the unspoken rules/culture in the house that I mentioned above.

My younger BIl is someone who probably has no character or any personality. He is just going with the flow and very much aligned to his parents and their way of life. I barely ever interact with him. But more or less, on some occasions, I see my PILs (Parents in law) side with him or prefer him over my husband. I understand that to be because my husband was away from them for many prime years and they were just more closer to their younger son. My FIL feels my husband is Americanized and he hates it.

My Husband supports the finances and my BIL also contributes to the household expenses.

My BIL’s wife is a young housewife related to my MIL through her sister.

She was married before me into the household. When I initially came into the house, it was very clear that she was immensely insecure about me. She has ill treated me on several occasions which I casually ignored thinking that she is young and immature. She sees competition with me in every single thing. I find this very annoying. If anyone praises me for any reason, her face goes all black and blue. She simply cannot see me getting better attention from my PILs. Many times she even did her fake praising B***S*** to me too, which I clearly expressed (not in words) was a useless act on her part.

She does not have any god forsaken opinion of her own. She is always ass-licking my MIL. Every decision (even when she will go to take a shower) about her, she consults my MIL and then does it. I feel as if my MIL secretly enjoys the control over this chick. Her hobbies are those that my MIL’s are. She has nice things to say about my MIL/FIL every minute. She will not eat a meal if my MIL is also skipping a meal. She has even gone to the extent of impressing my PILs by saying that her life has changed into great betterment after she married into this house. Basically meaning that her married life and family is much better than her previous one. I mean, Dude, which stupid girl on earth would think/say that!

I also got to know that she got some electronics as gifts (read dowry) from her house when she was married. I was severely disappointed in them after knowing this. Had I known this earlier, probably my decision to get married into this household would have been different.

Anyway I never claim/do such things. I am on my own. I don’t come in their way and they don’t come in mine. I did not get anything as dowry.  I am polite and nice and keep myself in my room most of the time.  I never give my ideas or opinions unless asked for. I don’t ask for permissions, have my own ideas in place and make my own choices. My husband claims that my PILs really like me a lot and find me to be a genuine, honest and well balanced person.

I accepted everything because I knew my husband was on my side an he was my kind.  We shared a great relationship anyway. I found solace in the thought that my husband did not have any such views. My friends and family told me that my husband matters to me in the long run and not the others. I thought that I need to make some adjustments for his sake.

Eventually I began finding it very tough to tolerate my super buttering fake and liar co-sister and my MIL’s submissiveness. My MIl made sure her submissiveness is very well inherited by her DILs also. I am never ready for it but I do not confront or argue. I just ignore it. I was given all the cooking responsibilities. My co -sis does the other activities (sorting out groceries/crockery/vegetables, arranging the table, monitoring the maids). my MIl helps wherever needed (this is super rare, only when we are making some new dish). We have maids in our house for all house work and the cooking is not exactly tough or taxing. But waking up according to their timings (Am a chronic insomniac, they know it) and putting up a happy face and cooking whatever they want, even when I am tired after my long day in the office, while my co-sis sits in front of the TV and passes orders to me in the kitchen, really took a toll on me. While I make non stop dosas and rotis for everyone at the dining table, I am alone in the kitchen dishing it out to them, I cant stop feeling like nothing but a maid/cook. Staying in my room all the time in the house got into me. I found it completely unfair that I had more domestic work to do even though I am a working woman, while my co-sister naps all day at home and does not do much other than trying to impress people with her sugar coated senseless talks. My husband still claims that his mother has distributed the work equally among the two.

I turned sour, angry, began having mood swings and vented out at my husband. He would try to empathize initially, but after some time, I could see him getting irritated. I realized that complaining/pointing out problems to someone about their family is something no one will like.

I missed the freedom to go out whenever i wanted, eat/cook/clean whenever I wanted. I missed the freedom to just be myself, feel happy/sad/excited at my own will and at my own times.

I could see our relationship suffering too. It was clear that he thought that I was not adjusting to his house. He made it clear many times that I could have ended in a much worse situation and expecting an open house like my parents’ or a free life like my single life is simply not done. This is my secret disappointment in him.

Within a year, I am tired of the kitchen politics, of the subdued life, of the skewed morals and unspoken and unreasonable expectations. I seem to have changed myself so much now, that nothing seems to make me happy now. Am not ambitious now, put my career on a total back burner, worrying that I might have to spend a lot of time in office if I take up more responsibilities,  rarely wish to meet people now, am always grumpy and sad for no good reason with feelings of regret and depression (I signed up for all this) always looming over me. I am just unable to make myself happy and feel like my dream of a happy marriage has crashed. Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. As a matter of fact, am simply over sentimental now (Totally opposite of what I was and seriously stupid) and lack clear views now.

My husband is also tired of this women issues at his place and he wants out separately.

But the problem is, I feel very guilty to do it. I just cannot see myself separating him from his family and living in the same city. Am sure he will be sad about it. I don’t feel like hurting his parents at all as they have treated me well enough.

It also scares me that I will be blamed for it and I will be seen as a villain in the family.

What should I do?

How do I get over these feelings and figure out the right thing to do in this situation.

Please help.

– katchick

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“When there are guests I don’t get to talk to them because I am in the kitchen all the time …even wearing a Nighty is considered indecent.”

“If a girl has done MBBS or IAS, I can understand that she did not get time to learn cooking. But it’s strange how you, a mere journalism post graduate, failed to do so.”

“I have to seek permission for visiting parents. My phone bill has to be reasonable. My expenses nominal. And my desires non-existent.”

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”


171 thoughts on ““Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

  1. The first half of your letter felt as though I am writing it… And when you say “Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.” it kind of confirms my fears I have with regards to marriage.

    I don’t think I’m in any position to give you any advice or anything since I haven’t experienced what you are going through (I’m not married yet) however it seems to me that it would be best if you did live away from them for a while & re-kindle your relationship with your husband & start to love yourself again. Because only if you love yourself, will you be able to love others more. You need to take your issues of depression seriously & deal with that first. It may get worse if you feel worse by continuing to stay there.
    Besides I have seen many relationships that have become “sweeter” with distance. This may turn out to be good thing.
    Try not to feel too guilty. Once you live apart & things get better, your husband wouldn’t feel sad & neither will you. It may be a good decision!


      • Shekhar, The woman was separated from her family too. That is what adults do. They establish their own lives. I doubt if he will resent separation as much as he will resent having to share household responsibilities once all the women in his parents’ home are no longer available at his every beck and call. It is such a convenient arrangement for him, why would he ever leave?



          Being an adult is about learning about being self sufficient , taking responsibility and being accountable.. and a lot of other character traits
          Separation is a method to teach these things … NOT the end result of becoming an adult.
          I would seriously question whether somone is grown-up if they fail to have these things irrespective of where they stay.

          As for your second point.. I agree with that the situation might be beneficial to the guy.. but she is a 30 year old who knew and agreed to a marriage under these circumstances. That pretty much finishes the argument for me.
          These things according to me needs to be dealt before not after


        • Shekhar,

          You definitely have a point. But there are two things.

          1) A person has the right to try something out and change their mind if they don’t like it. This is not to say that their partner has to like it, but it’s a situation that calls for discussion, compromise, and if nothing else, then separation.

          2) The man is feeling entitled in this case. He seems to think he can stay with his parents while the woman happily leaves her parents, he need not do any housework and have the women run rings around him, and calling all this ‘women’s issues’ when he is right at the middle of it. She was conned into this situation by the society and she has every right to try and correct the balance between the partners in her marriage. Too bad if the husband doesn’t like it!


        • “Being an adult is about learning about being self sufficient , taking responsibility and being accountable.. and a lot of other character traits
          Separation is a method to teach these things … NOT the end result of becoming an adult.” – Absolutely. In this instance, is she really able to be independent in what is supposed to be her own house? She has adult responsibilities, but does she have the rights of an adult? Not so much.

          As I’ve said earlier, life changes and couples adapt. You marry someone with some expectations, if they’re not met, you either separate or you figure a way to make your life better. She’s made it clear that her husband is ready for the change as well. Why are you so readily dismissing an idea that very well could’ve originated from her husband? Why so eager to lump it on her head and make her “the one that separated the family”? I live away from my parents but that is NOT the same as “separating from my family”. I didn’t get disowned the day I moved out of my parental home nor did my husband.


        • @ Fem

          Relationships by definition require you to give up a certain amount of independance. Since you have have to care about another person.
          Its GIVE AND TAKE and about building trust. A person in a relationship caring only about their happiness is pretty much taking a wrecking ball to the relationship.
          Hence a person only caring about their happiness is not my idea of someone to have a long relationship with.

          @ krith.. again

          “” As I’ve said earlier, life changes and couples adapt “”
          Where was her adaptation?
          Non-acceptance of family members since they they don’t match up to her standards.. is that adaptation?
          Taking out her self made frustration on her husband.. is that adaptation?
          The guy is agreeing to to leave his parents house for her… that’s adaptation…


        • @Shekhar,

          “Relationships by definition require you to give up a certain amount of independance. Since you have have to care about another person.
          Its GIVE AND TAKE and about building trust.” – But the husband does not seem to be doing any giving, he is only taking. And he has not given up any of his independence. I really don’t understand how you cannot see how unfair this situation is to the wife.


        • @Shekhar,

          You completely avoided replying to ‘the woman is separated form her family too’. So are you saying that living in a different house to their parents is really bad for men but ok for women?


      • Let the guy resent, who cares. Atleast he is not the one who has to wake up to cook for the whole family and then go to work, come back and cook again. He gets his peaceful sleep and relaxed evening, poor wife is the one doing all the heavy lifting. He is an adult, high time he cut the umbilical cord with his mommy and daddy or he can start getting up at 4 am and start cooking and come back from work do the same, see how much fun it is to live with his honorable parents. He will learn the lesson in a day.

        For the LW, stop getting up at 4 am to cook before work, get enough sleep, get ready in the morning and go to work with full energy and rest, focus on work and do a great job. Leave the cooking chores, nobody would starve I guarantee you, they will figure something out. Seriously Indian women need to start demanding and putting their well being, comfort and rest ahead of pleasing and keeping others happy. We need to teach that to girls from kindergarden.


        • How about looking at it the other way? The woman should have cut her umbilical cord and found a guy herself. I don’t trust the type of arranged marriage the girl has gone for.

          Indians shouldn’t marry without dating the partner for a while and making sure the family is good. One girl I dated in the past had a father who had a nice front office, but happened to run some businesses that the average person would be a bit ashamed of. How do such hidden things show up?

          I’ve always been of the opinion that people should come out of their parent’s wom b and date. There will always be losers in the world – both guys and girls.


  2. It’s amazing how we’ve been brainwashed into feeling guilty. How come your husband doesn’t feel guilty about making you leave your folks? How come he doesn’t feel sad that you are sad?

    You tried your best, but you can’t live this way. He has to accept it. Very few people can adjust to a new family’s way of life and be happy in the modern world. Hell, many people can’t adjust to their own families when they become adults.

    Move out, and don’t feel guilty or let him or anyone make you feel guilty. You could have landed up with worse, as he says, or you could have landed up with much better.


    • Absolutely. Why should you feel guilty? Moving out will be peaceful for everyone. And what’s this audacity to say ‘you could’ve landed up with worse’? How does he know that HE couldn’t have landed up with worse if it weren’t for you? Don’t be cajoled into discrediting yourself. Believe in yourself, believe that you’re a good person who deserves happiness and there’s reason why you should give up on that for anyone. Moving out is like ripping a band-aid. It’ll be a pain initially but it’ll work out fine in the long run. It’ll also give out the message to your in-laws that you don’t like to be forced into the lifestyle they’re leading.


      • I have asked this above.. but i ask again..
        What if they move out and the guy resents being separated from his parents.. then what? ( and thus becoming unhappy like the wife currently is )

        After all he married under the assumption that they will stay with his parents…


        • Why is living apart from one’s parents being ‘separated’ from them? :-O. I live away from my family for work, does it mean I am separated from them!? By that logic, marriage ‘separates’ most women from their families and not most men. In any case, a solution that works best for all should be adopted, which in this case is them moving out. If the guy feels pangs of separation from Mommy, sorry, he really needs to grow up. And living apart does not mean fighting with the family. So many families live apart and visit their parents often, keep them updated with all the latest news etc. and still wake up at 11 AM, cook omlettes for dinner and in general be unconstrained.


        • @N ( ie the next post)

          The main problem here is that the letter writer and the husbands family
          don’t get along… do you really expect me to believe that how she feels about his family will go away simply because they move away?

          Considering that she would be minimizing her contact with them.. it would mean he would be forced to choose between spending time with his wife and his family….

          I have a few hundred hostel guys here who would attest that staying separately and staying with parents are vastly different things in terms of emotional closeness
          And seriously… for a grown person it requires far more maturity to stay peacefully with parents than staying alone ( emphasis on staying peacefully)

          And yes i feel that she has been separated from her family.. but she agreed to it.. she should have dealt with this before the marriage… thus giving the guy an option before too..

          I feel that the letter writer here is changing a predecided ( between them) status quo for her happiness at a very possible emotional price being given by her husband.( I’s very evident his first choice was staying with his family and his wife in the same house.. something she agreed to before marriage)
          Thus i feel it is unfair on the husband.


        • Then there will be trouble brewing soon 🙂 See we do everything in good faith, she did stay with them and did go with the initial assumption, she gave it a try but if she cant adjust then what can she do. This is life, people change ,yes she agreed to live with a bunch of people and yes theya re nice but if it doesnt make her happy she cannot sacrifice her happiness just because she said she’d stay with them. As our lives change and priorities change , we reevaluate and move on.
          no need to feel guilty, everyone must have the option to be happy, otherwise it is not really a happy family.
          I know f a sitauaqtion where a friend joined a joint family after marriage, everyone there were busy people , they lived quite happily. till she came doen with some auto immune illness and took a huge toll on everyone else, supporting her, taking her to drs etc., so it was decided that she and her husband move near the hospital, her kids stayed with the family during the week ./exams etc., just so it was easy on everyone else… doesnt mean the family is bad. it’s just that they couldnt deal with this situation and this was better for everyone.
          likewise i dont see whats wrong in moving out, and still maintain a nice relationship.


        • @ IHM

          Ans yes I am totally fine with his decision since, the decision is being made by them both.

          What I am not fine with is that nobody here is even willing to agree that its unfair on the husband !


        • Shekhar, you are talking as if the fact that she originally agreed to stay with his parents was some sort of binding contract. It was not. It was a favor by the LW to her husband. This is not some kind of bonded labor scenario where once she agrees to something, she will have to continue doing that till her death no matter how unhappy she is.

          Just as he expected her to stay with his parents, her pre-requisite, while agreeing to it, would have been that she would be treated properly in his house. Given that she is not being treated fairly, why is his expectation still considered valid?

          She is not doing this for her own selfish goals…she is doing this because she is being denied the basic happiness that everyone is entitled to. I honestly don’t get how this is not obvious.

          The LW has a choice. She can stay in the house and continue to be miserable…or she can move out so that she can breathe a little more freely. She has come to the realization that she needs to move out.

          Now the husband too has a choice. He can continue staying with his parents…or he can move out along with her. He seems to also have come to the realization that he needs to move out as well.

          But in either case, whatever the choice that the LW and her husband choose (together or separately), they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.

          I disagree with the way you are comparing the husband’s possible unhappiness at moving out of his parent’s house with the LW’s unhappiness at staying in her in-laws house. There is no comparison here. If the LW had asked her husband to move in with her parents, obey her parents, change his dressing and behavior to please her parents, do most of the housework at her parents house for a couple of years, then their respective unhappiness would be comparable. As it is now, all she is asking him to do is to live together as equals in a separate house.


        • Any reasonably thinking person will understand that relationships are not drawn out in black and white. Dynamics could change. To be fair to the LW, she has tried to change a lot – she clearly said at the start that she was given to understand that they shared opinions, values etc and that the family was a fairly regular kind of family (now what is regular or normal can vary depending on the perspective of the person who is making that evaluation). She says she accepted a change in her way of dress because the family is conservative, she has been trying to toe the line and do what is clearly an unfair division of labour, she has stopped voicing her opinion ….. what more should she do? She can’t turn into a clone. She is an adult herself with experiences of her own and her own way of thinking and living. We are not dealing here with a 3 year old child who was married off in the crib and then grew up in the IL’s house and learnt to do things their way from the word “go”.

          Now she finds she is losing herself and under these circumstances the husband is being reasonable to consider a separate establishment. That is not a synonym for breaking off relationships with his parents. He might have married under the assumption that they will stay with his parents. But surely he is intelligent enough to understand that people change, circumstances change and no life rule can be written down in black and white. I appreciate his good sense and I do hope he is mature enough not to get into resentment mode. Having been exposed to other ways of living in the West, I do hope he is able to cope well with different circumstances.


        • I’m not surprised that a man could have written something like this.
          Well, as you yourself said a while ago — marriage involves give and take. Please read your own post again.

          It’s time for the LW’s husband to stop taking and start giving. To put his marriage and his wife’s well-being at the top of his agenda


    • @IHM

      By the unfairness against the bride, I assume you mean :
      That she stays in her husband’s house
      She found the guy , she chose to marry him and she did that knowing that she would stay in her husband’s house. Thus this ceases to be unfair on her as she chose it
      ( though in general the idea might be biased against women )

      Its unfair on the guy, because one of the things he assumed about the marriage was that she would stay with him, in his parents house.
      Now he is being pushed to make a hard decision on a matter he trusted to be a non-issue.


      • //Its unfair on the guy, because one of the things he assumed about the marriage was that she would stay with him, in his parents house.//
        Why did he assume that? Is he unaware that a huge number of women people are not willing to live with their in laws? (possibly including himself)

        //Now he is being pushed to make a hard decision on a matter he trusted to be a non-issue.//

        He is an adult who chose to get married and bring another adult to live with his family, but he didn’t seem to have succeeded in his efforts (if he made any) to ensure she was comfortable and not treated like an outsider/maid servant in her new home. He justified her being made to give up her freedom, happiness and leisure hours, and was ‘irritated’ when she complained. He trivialized house work and his parents’ interference in her personal choices as ‘women’s issues’.

        Did he want a life partner for himself or an obedient and hard working daughter in law for his parents? Do you think this husband can be happy in these circumstances? His parents seem to find him ‘americanised’ but unlike her he can get away with his ‘americanisation’ (and that seems to suit him).

        //Thus this ceases to be unfair on her as she chose it
        ( though in general the idea might be biased against women )//

        And it’s not unfair that ‘the idea might be biased against women’? Can there be happiness where there is obvious and blatant injustice? Or, do you think women’s happiness does not matter?


      • Why is the husband not cooking dinner, and helping clean a couple of rooms in the house? Isn’t that unfair too? Most women here would be all for a joint family in which the cooking and the dishes were done by the men, and the rest of the housework by the women (or vice versa). Or maybe an arrangement where every family member worked, and whoever was home first would supervise the maids? Or some other less unfair arrangement?


      • So using your analogy, if you happened to travel to one of the more lawless parts of the country where you were abducted, held for ransom; you would have in effect consented to the abduction because you chose to visit that area out of your own free will?


  3. Please move out. You and your husband need to live in your own home. It has nothing to do with your in-laws being good or bad. Even the best of people will fight when they live under the same roof. In your case, I don’t find your in-laws to be the best of people, but that’s beside the point. Move out. Period. Find some peace.


    • Now that is not for you to decide – your own home
      Parents’ home isn’t your own home – now that’s sick

      There’ no use compelling the husband to move out the house – pressuring him through any tactics against his free-will.
      It wasn’t as if she was caught unaware about the family arrangement – didn’t she know about it previously, that she was supposed to live with the husband’s family.
      She certainly did and she CHOSE to go ahead with the marriage so one fine day she realises that she don’t want to live with family so shockingly she should take that ‘moving out’ decision for the husband too.
      If she has problems with nice in-laws as admitted her, isn’t it only logical to move out alone rather with her husband following her. Why have such unreasonable expectations from him?

      Moreover, staying with her husband won’t solve any problems – why both have them stay together under one roof too – can’t they manage their relationship long-distance
      because since best of people fight when they are under roof , how did it not occur to you that it can happen to husband-wife sharing the same space?

      It’s better that there is a divorce or she can move out alone without having unrealistic expectations from her husband.

      What suprises me is how she lashes out at the other DIL – so this is a case of DIl being tormented by another DIL of the house, wow

      Now if her co-sister would have complained, cribbed and yelled out expletives at her husband and his parents, then those words would have rung true for the LW.
      Alas, the co-sister didn’t choose to please the LW in her way – her only crime
      How can the LW cast suspicions on the character of the co-sister, doubt the authenticity of her genuine appreciation of her in-laws and call her wicked names.
      Now that’s an insult the LW hurled at the co-sister – that chick ass-licking her mother-in-law
      Seems like something’s burning
      Alteast , she should respect women.


      • Read the letter properly first. The husband is also inclined to move out. The letter-writer is only concerned about the initial pain which he’ll have to suffer through because of this separation. Of course, the husband does have the choice of not moving out with her – at the risk of a permanent separation. He can make that choice but from the letter, it appears very unlikely that he is making that choice (of course, nobody is denying him that choice). It looks like he would prefer to live with his wife to save his marriage even if that means moving out of his family. And secondly, marriage is not a contract where the terms and conditions are rigid. Even if she chose to go ahead with the arranged marriage condition, she has full right to reverse that after marriage when she realizes that she cannot deal with it and it is making her unbearably happy. It’s like you thought you could do something but you couldn’t do it – doesn’t mean you should be penalized for a lifetime right? Nobody can dictate a person to forcefully remain in an unhappy situation when that person has the choice of not doing so.


        • @ freebird

          Whose testimonial are we supposed to believe? The LW’s or her co-sister who doesn’t for once exercise restraint in appreciating her in-laws (a fact acknowledged by the LW herself)
          This is further strengthened by LW’s views herself whereby she admits that her in-laws her nice.
          Are we supposed to cast doubt on the authenticity of the co-sister’s feelings for her in-laws just like the LW because she seems to be appreciating them. Had it been the other way around, many may have lent an ear to those curses and complaints of the co-sister.

          I never pointed out to the arranged marriage so please don’t single it out for love marriage too lead to the same kind of family set-up.

          It doesn’t seem to me that he is keen on moving out with his wife for he says so only an air of resignation. As he says, he doesn’t want to be involved with the women’s issues because he is probably too tired to listen to complaints of his nagging wife, feels tortured and hopes that his life might be peaceful but there’s a catch to it, quite evident from the start.

          Yes, she has a choice and he has it too.
          As you say he should save his marriage but the marital relationship is not the only relationship worth preserving and not at the expense of his other relationships.
          What the LW needs to realise and maybe you too, that her husband has other very beautiful relationships that have been cherished and nurtured for long and it would be cruel of us or anyone for that matter to allow them to be sacrificed at the alter of ‘holy matrimony’. I am not concerned about marriage alone.

          You and others may be of the opinion that ‘moving out/away’ from the joint family is a more desirable way of living in peace. When we say ‘in peace’ we are referring to the well-being of both involved and so that does include the husband.
          Now, here’s the catch for his well-being and peace of mind isn’t being taken into consideration here. The LW has spoken strongly against her co-sister, her BIL’s wife in her letter.
          She even used words like chick and ass-licking which I find so demeaning. LW finds it hard to believe that her co-sister is enjoying her connection/bond with the in-laws who feels better and more comfortable being with them than her own parents. Though it may be hard pill to swallow for the LW, she can’t force the co-sister to have her thoughts for she truly enjoys her time with the in-laws.
          It’s the LW who needs to introspect and think if she isn’t being to incredulous so as to dismiss genuine appreciation as some bull**** from her co-sister. The LW says:

          Many times she (co-sister) even did her fake praising B***S*** to me too, which I clearly expressed (not in words) was a useless act on her part.

          I think she also needs to warm up to other family member and open up to compliments offered by others in the family. She is not doing that, on the contrary she is doubting the intent with which they were offered and making it an uneasy space for everyone. This does create for hard feelings and sooner/later the hurt & angered co-sister would be forced to stop giving compliments and so, would other family members when they see that happening.
          She shouldn’t have spoken to the co-sister in this manner dismissing her compliments to be fake. How very insulting!
          So, the catch is that if the LW continues with such behaviour, the separate domestic space that people are so gushing about as the fabled El Dorado or biblical Eden is already doomed. There’s a high probability that husband wouldn’t be able enjoy a single moment of marital bliss even while living separately because it all boils down to one’s nature.

          The LW also need to introspect on her own failings and the husband doesn’t need to move out with her, she can do so alone and she is free to live ‘that’ life of her choice.


        • If that is the solution to every marriage where there are PIL-DIL problems, there would hardly be any surviving marriages in this country. Most of them would end up in divorces.


      • I am not sure why husbands and wives wanting to build a home together, life together is seen as something negative. Once people get married, shouldn’t it be a given their primary loyalty will sit with their spouse?

        Husbands and wives can have differences. But in a neutral space their views carry similar weighing. When the wife is living with the husband’s parents and sibling, the situation is, by default, biased against the wife.

        She seems to have given this set up a shot. Also, the husband seems to think the optimal solution in the scenario is for them to move out. So why this view point?


        • @Nitesh, you seen to be very unhappy that this girl wants a life of her own. Also you seem to be refuting all her points and claim that her cosister is genuine and innocent. Too much love for her cosis??

          Btw, she never has mentioned about nagging her husband or using expletives about her ILs. So what makes you say that?

          Just because you find the words chick and the rest of them demeaning, the world will not stop using it, will it?
          She is probably frustrated to the extent of using such explicit language,. So what’s the big deal. If you are angry hurt pissed off, will you always and forever use the most respectful and elegant language towards your perpetrators (perceived or actual). So just grow up, let her be human. She is not a ekta kapoor bahu!


      • Are you her husband or MIL by any chance?
        She chose to marry him & start a family with him, the others (MIL, other DIL etc) are people that are a major part of their life but they cannot influence the way they live.
        And instead of helping to make the relationship better, why are you trying to ruin it? She isn’t asking anything unrealistic from her husband. Didn’t she do the same when she left her home to live with his family?


        • She isn’t asking anything unrealistic from her husband. Didn’t she do the same when she left her home to live with his family?

          This argument doesn’t work because the LW knew of it before her marriage and willingly married knowing that the husband would be staying with his parents.
          Now, expecting her husband to move out as per her desire would be completely un-called for as he is being made out to be an unsuspecting victim in this process.

          She was able to make a choice, here he isn’t offered it in this case by compeling him to move out ifor he had no such plans for his future.
          Obviously, his parents are also getting hurt (though their emotions may be of little significance to some here) in this process they never what would be coming up in the future unlike LW’s parents who knew that every well at the time of marriage when she decided to move in with the husband’s.

          It’s very different, indeed.


        • @ MARY

          ”@Nitesh, you seen to be very unhappy that this girl wants a life of her own. Also you seem to be refuting all her points and claim that her cosister is genuine and innocent. Too much love for her cosis??

          Btw, she never has mentioned about nagging her husband or using expletives about her ILs. So what makes you say that?

          Just because you find the words chick and the rest of them demeaning, the world will not stop using it, will it?”

          My ANSWER:

          First things first, I just asked to have basic ‘human’ courtesy which teaches us to reciprocate someone’s compliments with a thanks or atleast a smile on the face.

          If LW can’t do that, the least she could do is refrain from doubting her true intentions and reacting rudely to the co-sister (by clearly expressing how fake it is and she has admitted it). If this is behavioural model you are advocating whereby the compliments should be doubted, then each & every person in this world would be wary of appreciating the other for the fear of being judged unfairly.

          Please let’s not defend the LW just because she happens to be a DIL and we can’t justify her action here.

          Imagine how different your or others reaction might have been, if it would be a MIL instead indulging ill-talk about the co-sister, She would have been blamed as the most mean person on earth.

          The husband feels harassed by the women’s issues so it is quite possible that he would have heard of it from his wife too on several occasions so much so that he has been jolted out of his senses & compelled to take an unwise decision which would only harm him in the future.


        • There is no way to know if the efforts to be pleasant and to pay compliments were patronizing or in some other way offensive or not. If she was doubting the intentions, then why was she doubtful?

          You suspect the LW is being unfair, jealous and prejudiced? Why would that be? Is she insecure? Does she see the co sister as a rival? Why is that? This is what being pressurised to live with people one did not choose, being denied recreation, being denied freedom, not being respected, being treated like they don’t matter does to people. Who can be happy in such circumstances?


        • @Nitesh,

          What the LW’s husband calls ‘women’s issues’ is not really just women’s issues. If everyone, including the male members of the family pitched in equally in the household work, this would not happen. This man married this woman, and she lives in his parents’ home. It is up to him to look after her happiness. It is a marital issue but he is trying to turn away from his responsibility by calling it women’s issues. The very simple act of the husband cooking along with his wife can solve every problem instantly.

          I agree with you that the anger towards the SIL is excessive and serves no purpose. I feel she is doing the same thing to the SIL that her MIL is doing to her.


      • @ Nitesh

        In this forum, we hear only one voice, that of the LW. We may not like what the LW says, but we must respect it and we implicitly trust it. There is really no point in weighing in if you feel that you don’t trust the version presented or do not respect that she has interpreted actions of people they way she has. We are being asked about our opinion on the situation, not on how it has been presented.

        I didn’t see evidence of her tormenting her SIL; she’s just elaborated how she finds her actions. LW has put down her feelings in a frank manner. That requires courage.

        Also, I think that it’s a sign of maturity that she doesn’t want to walk away from the relationship. She’s trying to keep the relationship and thinking of a solution. That’s acting more like a responsible adult.


        • @megha.

          What nitesh seems to be saying is that this situation is unfair on the husband in the sense that he married under the assumption that they would stay with his parents and that she was fine with it… I agree with him.

          Also examine this statement:
          “” But the problem is, I feel very guilty to do it. I just cannot see myself separating him from his family and living in the same city. Am sure he will be sad about it. I don’t feel like hurting his parents at all as they have treated me well enough. “”

          Seriously .. if she feels so bad doing it … why does she ?
          Because she is doing it for HER happiness .. not the couple’s happiness HER happiness.
          ( Trying to say that the husband is not being pressured by her is like saying that she was not pressured into marriage by her parents )

          Though despite saying all this … the fact remains that my viewpoint is not right or wrong.. the only real decision makers for that are the couple themselves


        • “This argument doesn’t work because the LW knew of it before her marriage and willingly married knowing that the husband would be staying with his parents.” —

          SO she made a mistake, which is very easy since she has NEVER been married before. She thought she could adjust , but she cant for whatever reason. doesn’t mean she has to live the rest of her life in misery, and no her husband does have a part to play in her unhappiness. he did not make any change in his lifestyle ( yep he’s a better negotiator) but breaking a marriage is not the best choice either.

          So she learnt from her mistake and wants to be happy, if her husband agrees he should move out , e can still take care of his parents. visit weekends etc., and if he cant bear to be parted from them ( obviously he could when he was abroad) then its very simple he has to figure out what he can bear more. missing her or his parents.
          but in the end no one can hold anyone to ” oh you knew you had to stay in a joitn family deal” so what it’s not like a woman can stay for a couple of years with the family and then decide to marry, and for the most part i have seem the extended family be all sweetness and light and laughter till the bride actually steps in after the deed is done, easily to be nice for a few hrs and their true colors show up later, what can one do then???

          marriage – is between 2 people and a lovely passionate,friendly wonderful bond, with your friend, soulmate and partner, a joy. somehow this seems to miss most youngsters now…


        • Shekhar, I’m a little surprised by this statement

          “Seriously .. if she feels so bad doing it … why does she ?
          Because she is doing it for HER happiness .. not the couple’s happiness HER happiness.”

          Are you saying that the wife does not have a right to be happy? She is not doing it just for HER happiness…she is doing it because she is incredibly unhappy…regardless of what she may have agreed upon before marriage, the fact remains that this life is making her miserable. Now where do you think the husband’s priorities should lie? Should he just basically ignore her sadness and go on as if nothing has happened? Or should he try to arrive at a solution that reduces (if not eliminates) the source of her misery?


        • @ RADHA

          I am surprised that you feel that joy is missing in today’s young couples even though there are many who are staying in nuclear set-ups as compared to joint.

          She shouldn’t have made any mistake in the first place because it was a life-changing decision for anyone. However, if she has made any mistake and she feels that her in-laws are responsible for her ‘supposed’ misery (something that I will take with a pinch of salt and I would give the reason later on), she can rectify it by way of divorce but she has no right, whatsoever to compel her husband against his wish to move out with her.

          I think the in-laws have made some attempts to make her feel comfortable but she has thwarted any such attempts made by the in-laws to befriend her. On the contrary, those attempts have been met with her scorn and resistance.

          The LW has admitted to keeping to herself and refrains from mingling with the rest of family members. This can be defended though, if we assume she is an introvert who enjoys solitude to company.
          But, I find it hard to fathom why would the LW cast aspersions on the authenticity of compliments showered on her by the other DIL of the family. Remember, she is not the MIL, had it been her, we could have suspected the MIL’s intentions in being sweet to the LW. It’s very uncivil of her to attack the co-sister in this manner and the cos-sister would surely been offended by the LW’s behaviour.

          It seems that LW is kind of person who can’t be happy in any of her relationships, though her parents must have put with her owing to their blind affection for their daughter, others won’t.
          Anyone would give up after making repeated attempts at appreciating someone if all that person gets is a blame and even, her true intentions are questioned.

          Since you feel marriage is about two and I also feel that way, shouldn’t the husband emotions be considered. Even if he is compelled to leave his parents against his free-will to please his wife. there’s no guarantee that he will ever be happy/content given the eternal fault-finding nature of the LW.

          So, it is in everyone’s interests that the LW should leave her husband and his family and live separately after divorce and she can ‘chase’ her dreams.


      • @ Nitesh- I hate to say the same thing twice on the same thread, but the husband is taking (or getting) the easy way out here. If he actually wanted to stay with his family, he would have offered to wake up early and make breakfast/lunch. He is really getting a good deal, as there is no talk of equal sharing of responsibilities at the new house also. (or maybe the letter mentioned it and I missed it. In which case, I am sorry, LW’s husband. You are cool.)


      • My dear Nitesh, first off, please don’t get married. If you are already married, well my sympathies are with your wife.
        What an outpouring of unabashed hatred and prejudice your comment was.


  4. “He made it clear many times that I could have ended in a much worse situation and expecting an open house like my parents’ or a free life like my single life is simply not done.” …… This is BS

    Everybody deserves to be happy! your marital status does not determine that….. “you could have ended in a much worse situation” – What does he even mean by this ??


    • This is probably an inadvertent admission by LW’s husband that wives/dils are treated very badly in this country and she should be grateful for the few sops if any that she gets.

      It really amazes me that even the present generation thinks that it is the man’s happiness which ultimately counts. What if the LW decides to carry on in the IL’s house and is deeply unhappy? Is that going to make her husband happy? It is very evident that if one were to accept the logic put by some of the respondents on this forum that one or the other spouses would be unhappy and no effort should be made to see that the wife is the one who is happy.

      Well, not surprising at all. Why would men want patriarchy to change in the first place?. No one likes giving up special privileges.

      As for LW’s dislike and mistrust of her sil, that is not the main part of the problem, The whole issue is the fact that she has lost all freedom to dress as she likes, to give her opinions, live according to her comfort which she could do in her own home. If the main grouse had been about her sil, I am sure she would have been told to ignore what she did not like and to be more open.

      Yes, moving out may not guarantee happiness all around. One can’t predict what the future holds. However, one lives on hope. She married on the hope that everything would be fine and she would be happy in that house. That did not work out. So her husband is trying to find a solution (I appreciate that) in the hope that things might be better that way. I am sure both are mature and grown up enough to look for solutions should things need sorting out at a future point.


  5. @ words………..

    So, is he tired of the women’s issue thanks to his nagging wife who should have behaved like a responsible adult – and he wants to leave his parents or is it something that the LW fantasizes or it could well be that she is emotionally blackmailing him.

    LW has to act like a responsible adult and take accountability for her actions. She CHOSE to marry and knew about the family arrangement but then then one fine day, she has a change of thought, then she should be the one should move out alone like an adult (by way of divorce or whatever)

    She is no need of any crutches. And, her husband isn’t her bought slave either. Nor is he a nappy-wearing toddler who needs to be led by his wife.


    • She would have to move out alone IF her husband CHOOSES to not move out even if it means separating from his wife over moving out from his family. And which part of this letter indicates/implies that his husband wants to make that choice and she is forcing him to stay married to him? She herself has mentioned that her husband is also contemplating to move out – She is only worried because of the pain of separation from his family that he has to go through. But please realize that he is PREFERRING to do that (move out) if not doing that means the suffering which he and his wife are enduring (because of different reasons) with this parents. She’s NOT in any manner behaving as a toddler or treating him like a slave – she is treating him as an independent adult with the freedom of choice with respect to his own actions (between moving out and not moving out – each choice comes with a risk with regards to his relationship with others) – But it looks like his choice is to be with her (whether it is with or without his parents). You saying these dialogues doesn’t make them true. And please stop trolling more on this forum.


    • Every person has the right to change their minds. And I don’t think the LW is forcing her husband into anything. Also, you need to consider that the ‘family arrangement’, as you call it, is abusive to the LW, and that’s why she changed her mind.


      • Pray tell me.. how is it abusive to the letter writer?
        She is the one who has the problem with her co-sister.. in her own words her co-sister tried to suck up to her…
        Se is the one with the problem with the MIL….
        She is the one having a problem with her husband not supporting her in everything

        She herself says that there is no physical abuse involved

        Any issues she has are due to her own viewpoints on how her life should be …
        and how she perceives her needs are not being fulfilled.

        The only thing happening here is that her viewpoints on how life should be lived are clashing with those of the grooms family…

        And in my opinion .. calling it abuse is a flagrant misuse of the word


        • Also.. saying that she is not forcing him into anything is like saying she was not pressured by her parents into marriage.

          Despite what u may seem to think … a wife means a lot to quite a few men, enough to say .. dilute his relations with his family for example


        • She never said anything about the co-sister sucking up to her. In fact, she says that her co-sister has always been insecure of her (maybe because she’s an independent adult who lives life her own way?). Abuse does not mean physical abuse alone. Enforcing curfews, dress code etc on her are an infringement on her person and I have no qualms calling that abuse. This kind of abuse can wreck severe mental damage upon a person.


        • ” she perceives her needs are not being fulfilled.” – That alone is good enugh reason to move out. We live once and we should not regret this life, it’s a gift .

          She feels guilty that her husband may be unhappy in a separate setup, does he ever feel guilty that she’s unhappy in the current situation???

          For a mrriage to be satisfying, happy and peaceful, both have to be happy and feel their needs are met. otherwise the whole thing is pointless.


        • Being forced or wear or not wear something is abuse. It means that the person who is making these restrictions is actually invading your privacy. Abuses don’t have to be physical. If it was just a case of her viewpoint clashing with that of the guy’s family, then her MIL would wear a salwar and bangles and she would be free to wear whatever she likes. This is not a clash, this is control, and control of adults is abuse.


        • Abuse to the LW comes from the denial of choices with respect to personal aspects of her life: right from what she must wear at home, whether she should cook at home or eat outside, what work she should do at home, at what time she can/cannot go out and for what reasons, how late she can/cannot stay up at office, where she should rather spend her time/effort/energy in (work or cooking at home), what time she should get up, whether she has the right to speak on any common household decision etc. This is a subtle form of abuse. There is a rule/expectation that she doesn’t have a choice in all these things.


        • @Shekhar Getting married does not guarantee staying with the parents for the guys.On the other hand, protecting your wife and caring for her are def. the vows you take. As a partner,you are supposed to think of the comforts and the happiness of the other partner.If he is so hell bent on staying with the family,he should stand for his wife against the unrealistic and unsaid rules laid down by the family.May be they can also have a maid cook for them instead of expecting the D-I-L to cook for them after a long day at office.Why is this expected as a normal chore from DIL and not from the working son.


        • Wow, you and Nitesh really seem bent upon getting women to live with their abusive in-laws! In agreeing to live with their in-laws, many Indian women sign up for a life of servitude. Why cant everyone around the house pitch in to help? The LW is a working woman; for that matter, even if she wasnt one, it is not the duty of one person to wait hand and foot on another. Once you are over age 15, it is incumbent on you to fend for yourself, whether it is cooking, cleaning, or other chores. It never fails to amaze me that in India, simply by virtue of being a man or an older person you can command servitude/ respect!


        • Yeah. She agreed to stay with his family under the assumption that she would be happy there and that she won’t be treated like a maid. Since her expectations have failed, she is choosing to move out now. The husband has the full choice to move out or not move out with her. It is entirely upto him – both choices come with some risk and he can use his own discretion.


    • Unless a pre-nup of some sort was written, nobody is bound by rules in a marriage. I married my husband under the assumption that we both will work and will live on our own. I am shortly expecting a baby. If for whatever reason our daughter needs a parent to be with her fulltime, are either of us breaching the “contract” of our marriage by quitting work? Life changes. Couples adapt. But the fact of the matter is, this marriage is being driven by the husband’s family and not by the couple itself. Have you never come across marriages where family situations have been misrepresented?

      Also, the LW clearly expresses that her husband is tired of all the politics and wants out too. It is the conditioning that is making her feel guilty for everyone else’s backbonelessness. One must take charge of their own happiness and that is precisely what she is doing. She is taking action before a major fight erupts and things become irreparable. Anybody with a iota of self respect cannot live in such an arrangement. I know I would want out.


  6. I suggest you move out and live separately. With distance your interactions are limited and thus you get to see the “good”, if not the “best” side of people whenever you meet them. When I got married 2 years ago, my husband’s elder married brother and I (in a paying guest) lived in the same city. My husband’s brother owned a big flat in the city and was living only with his wife. After my marriage, my husband took transfer to my current city and his brother and parents expected us to live with his bro. However, I had made it very clear from the beginning that I would not live in his brother’s place and suggested we could rent out a flat for us close to his brother’s place. Initially my in laws did not like this idea but when I explained to them that I wished to decorate my own house in my way along with my husband (Yes, I did sugar coat my real intentions, remember this is India :D), they understood my point and were even happy about this decision. Slowly I noticed that DH’s elder brother is quite a chauvinistic and dominating man. He had a habit of meddling in our most private matters like which dining table should be bought, how the bed should be placed, which refrigerator and washing machine we should buy !!! Thankfully, the meddling got restricted due to distance and he also understood my dislike about his interference and distanced himself from our matters. I would have had an extremely difficult time had I chosen to stay with them. Now we meet on weekends (not every) and have a good time as a family. My MIL and FIL are very happy because they have not heard of a single unpleasantness in these 2 years. All of this because of ‘the distance’.
    Once you are away from the daily chaos, you will be able to focus your energy on better things in life, your career, your hobbies, your friends and all this will give you a feeling of fulfillment. This will help you ignore the petty issues with your obviously shallow, nothing-much-to-do-in-life co sister. You should feel guilty because you are not taking a strong decision to resolve this situation and not because you want to move out. When you are confident and not depressed you will even find you co-sister’s acts pathetic and laughable. You owe yourself a happy life with hubby, get one. Working in corporate should have made you understood the power of word ‘IGNORE’. Use it in your personal life too. Ignore those who say your decision is selfish. If wanting to have a happy life for you is selfishness, so be it. When your happiness will reflect on your relationship with your in-laws, you will thank yourself for this decision.
    All the best


    • While I agree 100% that living separately will be a win-win situation, I would not totally paint the co-sister as the villain. Just because someone chooses a different view/way of life from us, it is not all evil.


      • I agree with you and even I would not paint the co-sis in an entirely negative light based on what LW has said above. In my opinion, the co-sis is doing whatever is in her domain/capacity to make her life comfortable in her marital home. Even she might be cribbing about her MIL and the LW with her close friends/family but chooses to live her life that way. To each his own !. The part that saddens me is that LW, who had been an independent strong woman and who clearly must be at a high and responsible position in her job (10 years of exp) is getting sucked up in the petty family drama and is completely overwhelmed by it. Had she been happy and involved in her own individual life, she would not have even found time to write this letter. I haven’t seen a family where there isn’t any brainless family politics (including mine and my husband’s). What helps me ignore all of that is the fact that I am so involved in my own life with my DH, my work, my hobbies and my girl friends that I don’t find the time and inclination to even pay attention what some XYZ in either of the family is doing or saying about me. I end up narrating these lame incidents to my friends, have a good laugh at the XYZ’s expense and go about my life. LW needs to get a hold on her life and live the way she wants to live. She is clearly not happy with the adjustments she made and its getting on her nerves. She is a real person, she thought she could live with adjustments but is not able to do so. But just because she tried and failed, it doesn’t mean she has to be penalized for it.She is and will always be entitled to her happiness and she must do whatever she can to be happy. Hence the suggestion of moving out.


  7. Stop feeling guilty about it. From where I stand, it seems the best option for you. And your husband seems to be on board. What would you actually prefer as the solution for this? I cannot seem to think of anything better.


  8. Hello LW,
    Move out. And BTW there’s a total compromise solution which will help with guilt. Move out to a place close by. Where you can still pop in and out of each others lives! When I get tired of visiting my in-laws, I find it easier to meet them at a restaurant. An excuse to take them out to a new place to eat and for me to also enjoy the meeting, instead of feeling that I have to behave a certain way in their house. The harder you try to justify the decision, the more you will vacillate. What you should do carefully is come up with is a good way to break the news – what words to use, who will break it – husband or you, why? Try to come up with diplomatic, non-aggressive words which will not be personal. Is your work place really far away? May be you can use commute as an excuse. Does your IT job require unusual work hours – concalls with the US etc? May be you should push at work for a project that requires travel and odd hours to give you the excuse? You’ll have to draw on your imagination and resist the urge to blame your SIL, how much ever she might be the cause. It’s the she vs us situation that you want to avoid. I hope that women who have taken the decision to move out, will put in their comments and help you think through the logistics. Prepare your mind to receive calmly, petty incidents, rude behaviour and gossip.
    Also, I notice sometimes it’s hard for my husband to acknowledge verbally a situation between his parents and me, because he is really torn. Here, I have to take a decision and show courage to take it forward. My husband will also not admit that it was the right decision but I know that me being uncomfortable, will mean I am crabby and he’s the person I will take it out on. So, ultimately, for the sake of our relationship, it needs to be done. I usually rely on the sensibilities of my mom and sister, to talk through if my decision makes sense. Then you commit to it, don’t waver from it and don’t justify in 50 million ways. Take decision and execute. As you are a software person, you can probably come up with an algorithm to execute once you make up your mind!


    • The LW has to take up odd hours at work so she can live in a situation where she would be treated like a human being? I don’t think that is right. I think she should just firmly state that she is uncomfortable with the restrictions and hence, wants to move out. It does not need to be a fight, or an accusation, simply a statement of fact. If she doesn’t speak out now, this will continue forever.


      • Sometimes, a shake up of your rhythm helps you take a decision that might otherwise be difficult. Please understand it yet another option! I suggested this since she mentioned that she is an insomniac and it is hard for her to wake up in the morning. So, it would not be an odd hour job for her.


      • Totally agree Fern. Best to be open and truthful while being polite. May not keep the other party happy but hey no one said you have to bear the world’s happiness burden on your shoulders.


      • Odd hours are scientifically proven to mess up your body. It can cause long term damage to sleep patterns and as a result to general health. So no, she absolutely must not take up an inconvenient, harmful work arrangement to escape this madness.


        • A comment on odd hours: please understand that scientific studies (I am scientist who reads and performs experiments in this area) are conducted on a cohort of subjects, that you as a scientist decide on. That does not mean that there are no exceptions or it represents the majority of behaviours there are. The recent study that was heavily reported in mainstream media chose to follow people with a certain circardian rhythm, clearly demonstrates that gene expression patterns change with a change in rhythm. However, it does not state or imply, what is the normal rhythm. So, what would be an odd hour for you, may not be for someone else. Such studies report average behaviour; we must be cautious about extrapolating them to individual behaviour.


        • Megha,

          It doesn’t matter what the scientific finds are. The LW should not have to make professional changes in order to be treated as a human being with full constitutional rights as a citizen of a free country. If the in-laws never get told, they would never realise they are doing something wrong, and if they don’t realise it, the cycle will keep perpetuating itself with the next generation or even with outsiders. The time to be frank and honest is NOW. Making unnecessary work changes, changing lifestyles, making up all sorts of excuses and basically trying to spare the feelings of those who never cared a damn about the LW’s feelings, is totally pointless.


        • @ FEM,

          I agree that honesty and frankness are required. But in my experience when people are not ready to accept a different point of view based solely on discussion, it is necessary to come up with a way around. When someone confronts my deeply held beliefs, it will take a lot to convince me. If it is done in the context of an extremely personal tirade, no matter how truthful it is, the very purpose of a discussion would be defeated. In India, face-saving is the preferred way to resolve situations, not rational and calm discussions. Given this context, you trade-off on changes that you make in order to do things that would ultimately result in long-term gains – so for a short while you do a job that’s not fun, but allows you to move out, and then once everyone has accepted the situation you go back to doing a fun job. By this time though, the dynamics have changed and all members in the family can see for themselves how much better they all feel. Status quo is changed! I am not personally comfortable with it, but now that I have learned how to do it, I find that it makes dealing with personal situations a lot more easier. Being aggressive and argumentative on matter of subjective inference in group situations, unnecessarily breed contempt.


        • @ Megha,

          There is no need to come up with a way around. or to convince anyone Just state the facts and ignore the rest. Telling someone that you are not willing to restrict your clothing or slog all day and night is not a personal tirade, it is simply informing someone about the change of situation. This is not called being aggressive and argumentative, but being assertive. This is the main problem with Indians. We don’t understand the difference between aggressive and assertive. Also, contempt has already been bred. What else is this enslavement of the LW by forcing her to do unpaid extra work and controlling her clothing and outings? My point is that the in-laws should understand that their controlling behaviour has led to serious consequences, so they can learn from it.


  9. Dear LW

    First of all listen to yourself. You are NOT happy. Don’t force yourself to be happy in the current situation. At the same time understand that your happiness is IMPORTANT. It is your responsibility towards yourself to makes ourself happy and to love yourself no matter what others have to say about you. Don’t get carried away by your in laws praise. There are only two ways to control someone…carrot and stick. Either you go for approval or you feel guilty and fall in line. When you moved in there is bound to be lot of confusion for you. At times you feel you have no right to protest because those people are being nice to you. At times you feel suffocated because of expectations. There is guilt for not doing enough for people who are nice to you. First of all get rid of all the guilt. Accept that you are unhappy and that you deserve to be happy. Also let others take responsibility for their happiness. They cannot base their happiness on you. If they do that they are bringing it upon themselves to be unhappy.

    You are conditioned to think they are nice because you have set your standards too low. Talking nicely to someone is just basic courtesy not kindness. They are not doing you a favour by not shouting and screaming at you. They are being tolerable towards you because till now you are doing everything they want you to from wearing bangles to getting up early.Your husband is wrong that your MIL has divided the work equally. If she had then he too would be doing half the cooking with you. Why are feeling guilty of living separately? Does your husband feel guilty of not letting you stay with your parents? They are living alone. I can understand your apprehension of not moving out because you think that is only your decision and your husband will resent you for it. In that case insist that your husband do half the chores at home. Get rid of bangles. Get up at whatever time you want to and start wearing clothes other than your shalwar kamel with dupatta. Do not confront anybody yourself but if they ask you deal it with self respect d be assertive, firm and polite. If they shout at you then you can see their true colours. After that you can decide what you want to do.


  10. I’m particularly puzzled by this statement “My in laws are very nice people. On a general note, they never interfere in our lives, they are never rude or mean and they don’t impose religious restrictions on us.”

    Then on the other hand you say you have various restrictions on clothing, timing etc. I’m unable to square these two contradictory opinions here.

    If they were really nice, there would be no problems at all. Being nice and not interfering doesn’t mean that they’re like that only if you conform to their expectations!

    And your husband is expected to side with you especially since he knows the kind of person you are well before marriage. If there is any “advice” to give here, it’s just be yourself and to hell with the customs and traditions of “his home”. It’s your home too now.

    It sounds like you haven’t had children yet. That at least is a good thing. If you find you’re not allowed to be who you want to be, and your husband refuses to move out and accept you, it’s divorce time I’m afraid.


    • I am continuously surprised by these contradictory comments. They are awesome – but they control what I want to wear. They are so open minded – but they wanted me to get married at 25 even when I was not ready. My husband is awesome and understand – but does not lift a finger when I am slogging in the kitchen. Really, are our standards so low?


      • oh yes we scrape rock bottom on the standards scale 🙂
        he doesn’t hit you, lets you spend your hard earned money on your necessities , doesn’t have affairs… Fantastic you landed the mother lode , now go off make hot food and live out your life without complaints….. such is our standard and tolerence for BS.
        In the midst of this mentality , When I’m seen yelling at my husband if he ignores the dishes , you wont believe the stuff I’m called. 🙂 but then again I’m past caring what others think. going to enjoy the rest of my stay on planet earth without a care.


  11. //My friends and family told me that my husband matters to me in the long run and not the others. I thought that I need to make some adjustments for his sake.//

    I don’t know why its only wife’s obligation to make adjustments. What is your husband doing to adjust. Just be on your side? Btw is he really on your side? He feels he and his family are doing you a favor by not letting things be worse? He is not even doing half the chores and calling your problems womens issues.


  12. From my side, let me just ask these questions to you. When you answer these, you may be able to find the path you would like to choose:
    1.) Your husband had told the possibility of you landing in a worse situation. How about the possibility that he might have married a person, who might not have made any attempt even to make the smallest adjustment? Did you ever ask him that?
    2.) From what you have written, i feel that your parents-in-law are fit to do some minimal work at least. Then why are they not sharing any thing related to the household? If their sons’ families were not in India, will they not cook, eat or maintain the house?
    3.) I get a feeling that you are scared to be what you really are. How long can you stop being yourself and wear the mask?
    4.) When you were wearing the mask (not intentionally, but so that you do not offend them), did they crown you and gave the best daughter-in-law award? Forgive my sarcasm.
    5.) If someone is closing their eyes unwilling to see the sufferings of yours and being selfish, why are YOU scared of being selfish?
    6.) For how many days or months, within your earshot, will they talk about you, once you leave their home (with or without husband)?
    7.) How many days will you be regretting if at all, you leave (with or without husband)? One year? Two years? Won’t your career take up your time and distract you? Will life not show a better path for you?

    There is a small comparison of life’s difficulties with a stone…
    – when you keep it close to your eyes, it will loom large in front of you, and stop you from seeing any possibility of things present behind it.
    – when you keep it a little far away, you can still see it, but it will allow you to see the other things in the background too.
    – but when you keep the stone near your feet and kick it hard, you will hit a winning score.

    Now you are in the first stage. Go slowly to the second and third. You can come to a solution. Being within the marital bond or away should not affect the self respect you have for yourself. It is just a phase. We fail in our exams, but our failure can be attributed to many things – our own mistakes, the teacher may have some grudge against you, tough questions for all the candidates, may be you may get a better score in the arrears, etc. We may feel depressed. But we never doubt our capacity as a student to do better the next time. Then why the role of a wife, if it seems to fail, due to many reasons, seen as inability to cope or not being ‘good enough’?
    First learn to respect yourself, which you have temporarily lost, because, there is no one to stand by you. It is as if you are one against four or five. To assert yourself, when some are ready to undermine your efforts, is very tough. But once you start it, never go back, how much ever bad and guilty they make you feel. They do it out of their selfish interest, and really not in your interest !



  13. Good grief! After all this, you are still thinking of how they will feel?! Your post is so full of nonsense, I have to deal with it point by point.

    1 – Your parents are not as open-minded as you seem to think. They educated you and enabled you to work, but when the time came, they turned on you and hurried you into a marriage. What do they think of your situation now? Are they happy having turned their daughter into a slave as dictated by tradition? I don’t call being forced into a marriage (even if you were allowed to choose your own partner) freedom or acceptance.

    2 – You met a man online and married him after a few meetings? Was this wise? You really think you got to know him and his views well in this short time frame? Did you interact with his family and friends? Was it not a red flag to you that his brother’s wife was a housewife?

    3 – You disrespected yourself by leaving your own home and going to someone else’s home simply because you are a woman. Don’t be surprised when others disrespect you! You gave in to all sorts of unreasonable demands and now wonder what went wrong? Bring out the jeans and skirts and start wearing them. Throw away the bangles. Buy yourself a TV and watch ‘irrational’ TV programmes. Go out and party all night with friends. Unless you start to take your life in your own hands, it will not change. Tell them they have no right to restrict your movements or telling you what to wear or not. They don’t have to approve of your lifestyle, but they have no right to interfere.

    4 – Your in-laws are not very nice people either if they are making you unhappy simply because it suits them. They ARE interfering in your lives by insisting on a curfew time for you, by demanding to have a say in your choice of clothes and jewellery and by restricting your free time. Say no to them. Tell them you will live your life as you wish and nothing they say will stop you.

    5 – Your brother in law or his wife is not your problem. Let them handle their own problems and ignore them. If you are clearly expressing ‘not in words’ that her praise is useless, your behaviour comes under passive-aggressive, and you need to stop. You don’t know it was fake. Just gracefully accept and move on with your life. You have internalised the misogyny you see around you and are now targeting your sister in law who is pretty much an innocent in this drama. All this is your husband’s fault.

    6 – You married a household?

    7 – Okay, I have to ask! Who is stupid – a woman who thinks her in-law’s house is better than her parents’ house and so moved in with them or a woman who thinks her parents’ house is better than her in-laws’ house, and YET moved in with the in-laws? Yes, my friend, don’t blame your SIL, she is not the stupid one.

    8 – Your husband is not on your side. You don’t need to make any adjustments for his sake. He is not worth it. You were given all cooking responsibilities. Your co-sis does the groceries, supervision work. May I ask what your HUSBAND does? You are really blaming your sister in law here? You did not marry her, you married your husband. He is the one who needs to share your responsibilities. You say you feel like you are nothing but a maid. That’s because that’s actually what you are. Next time you are asked to cook, ask your husband to join you in the kitchen.

    9 – A free life is totally done. Just dump him and his regressive family and you will be free. This is not a woman’s issue. Your husband is to blame for (i) not supporting you and (ii) not sharing life with you. You seem to be sharing your life with your co-sister! Maybe you should just give him a divorce and marry her instead.

    10 – He separated you from your family and obviously had no qualms doing so. Why do you feel guilty in setting up a separate household? Would he come and live with your parents and put up with their restrictions? If not, why are you doing it?

    My advice to you would be to simply take charge of your life, no matter who likes it or not. If they are hurt, it’s because they have unrealistic expectations, and you have to show them that it’s not done. You don’t need either your husband’s or your in-laws’ approval to life your life your way. I am sorry there is no other way than to grow a backbone and gain some self-respect before expecting others to respect you.


      • All brill points Fern. Nothing more to add.

        Patriarchy is so deeply ingrained even ‘liberated’ women have it in spade-fuls.

        And I will never get this – why are only women ‘assigned’ household jobs?


    • All excellent points…especially the 8th point. The LW is talking about the fact that one of the main reasons for friction is the uneven division of work between her co-sister and her MIL. Why is she comparing only these three people? If she is being overwhelmed in the kitchen, why is her husband not stepping in and helping her out? If he is not bothered about her workload, then his behavior should be her first point of concern.


      • In a place where cooking for an entire family has been dumped onto just one member , how would they perceive distributing the work to MEN? Probably this girl is so suffocated in her domestic expectations that she cannot even fathom offloading anything to a HUSBAND!


    • Yup. This. Your parents are not open minded and neither are you. You simply weren’t socialized to be that way. If you were open minded you wouldn’t feel bitter and angry against your SIL (and please stop using the word co-sister, it makes me think you’re an FLDS woman married to a man with three wives). You would feel pity for her because she is a pitiable person.

      You wouldn’t feel angry towards your in-laws, you’d move out of that house, live your life, and see them when you wanted to and you’d be living a normal life with your husband.


      • Wow Kay, judgemental much? Co-sister is a perfectly valid term in Indian English. Anyone who is Indian gets it. English as a language borrows heavily from all over the world and co-sister is great to distinguish between your brother’s wife and your husband’s brother’s wife.


    • Totally irrelevant to the point. But are you “FeM” or “FeRN”? 😀 The curiosity is killing me and my damn vision isn’t great :S


      • Krith,
        This happens due to text size and font peculiarities.
        It happens more on small screens of Tablets and cell phones.
        When you get a doubt like this, you can find the answer easily.
        Highlight the name with your cursor, Right Click, and choose Copy.
        Go to any text editor, Right click and choose Paste.
        Increase the font size and/or change the font to something more readable
        The word and all the letters will now be clear.
        I once had to find out if a particular letter was “l” (12th letter of the alphabet) or a capital I (9th letter of the alphabet). O and 0 (letter o, and digit zero) also poses difficulties sometimes.

        This trick helped me and I am sharing it for what it is worth.


        • Thank you GV uncle 🙂 So much for being a software engineer eh? Like my mom occasionally reminds me in Tamil “Onnalam padikka vechadu waste di” 😛


    • Brilliant response Fem, you are amazing ! Exactly what I wanted to say, but you write so much better in calm and polite tones but with the right message.


    • Well done, Fem. Based on a ton of comments I see above, I don’t see WHY someone needs to justify wanting to be happy. And no, a relationship with a spouse is not the same as a relationship with parents.


  14. co sis in law is just a foot soldier of patriarchy. But see the animosity against her…..! In patriarchy men escape the wrath of women, while other women feel the brunt of it.


  15. What exactly are you guilt tripping yourself about? Don’t you live separate from your parents now? Does your husband die of guilt over this? Stop fooling yourself! There is no ‘separation’ in living on your own as adults. It’s simply practical. Everyone needs space.

    “Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family.”
    And what do you get out of this contract?

    Move out. You will be happier, your husband will be happier and you’ll be better able to take care of both sets of parents.

    Stop putting your career on the back burner. What for? You should achieve your ambitions if that makes your life more meaningful. Who gains from you holding yourself back, exactly? Your family ends up having a more financially deponent and less happy and fulfilled you. Make yourself happy first or you cannot make anyone happy.


  16. What are u feeling guilty about ?? when your husband is fine living away from his parents.Infact I believe he will be much relieved so why are u guilty ???
    If u choose to stay and subject your husband to same torture evryday wont that make you feel guilty ?
    Who is more important your husband…your relationship ? Or scoring few points over ur co sister ?
    I think ur hubby and u will be must happier staying away from ur in laws.I am not saying to break away completely but meet over weekend…visit them…tht should be fine.
    Dont fall for the great Indian joint family gimmick.Real life is not sugar coated barjatya movie.
    Get off ur guilt trip and move away with ur hubby.


  17. Moving away with your husband will solve just a part of your problems. When you will be just with him another problems will appear and you should learn how to speak and to explain what you really want. Do you think you will not have a problem when returning from office you should cook and do the cleaning. When a child will apear your responsabilities in house will increase. Will you be happy in that situation doing all the work alone? Again you will find yourself in almost same situation like today. What you and your husband should learn is to tell each other what you really want and make you happy and also to share the house work. Every couple think if they leave alone their life will be milk and honey but is not true at all. All that a couple is gaining moving alone is privacy but rest of problems will be always there. If you can’t speak now and make yourself respected in this house you will never be able to do in your own house. You are so affraid to talk and to be who you are that you loose yourself. So talk, be what you want to be because is your right. Is not your problem if others don’t like. If don’t like they should suffer, be depressed, leave.


  18. The LW was too naive to think living in a joint family will be easy. Since her husband has lived abroad, it would be best if they can go back again and live as a couple for some years to strengthen the bond. I am surprised some people are commenting that Divorce is an option, she is unhappy with the arrangement and that should and can be altered to make things better, we should not be too quick to cut off relationships, may be they do love each other and that love will grow with nothing else to bother their minds, why throw away that chance.


  19. Actually, I don’t see what is the fuss about her rant towards her co-sister. Co-sister bullying is a very common phenomenon only next to MIL harassment. DILs who are chronologically older in the family all the time become insecure and jealous about the new DILs. They try to exercise seniority and please their PILs just with a sense of competition to the newer DILs. Indian wives go through it all the time. In fact many couples move out of their parents home owing to this issue more, compared to issues of freedom and PILs.


  20. Dear LW–if you feel guilty, you need to seek therapy.

    “So I decided to give it a try on my own and registered on a matrimonial site.”

    So, instead of having a marriage arranged for you, you decided to arrange one for yourself, With a virtual stranger no less. The valuable lesson to take away from this fiasco is to realize that THIS is exactly a potential outcome of an arranged marriage–whether it’s arranged by one’s family or oneself. Regardless of how ‘nice’ a stranger seems when you meet him (or her for that matter), signing a very serious legal agreement with one that could potentially last a life time, is a very, very stupid decision to make.

    However, this doesn’t mean you’re screwed forever. You DO have the choice of moving out of that household with your husband. Or, if that doesn’t work out, moving out yourself and living the single, independent life that you’ve described as a period in life that you liked very much.

    I think the fact that you feel guilty suggests that you’ve been brought up like the rest of the supposedly traditional and non-liberal women that we read about in websites like these. You’re not so different from them. In fact, from where I’m sitting, you’re exactly like them. You have two choices–either accept things as they are and try to live with them while being happy about it, or pull up your ovaries and move out and take charge of your life. There’s no magic solution to fix your life.

    PS–please, for your own dignity, stop insulting your SIL. Perhaps she’s kissing your MIL’s ass to make her own life better. Perhaps she’s genuinely happy with her life. Either which way, you’re the one who’s been supposedly brought up in a liberal household so you’re the one who’s unhappy in the household. Try taking charge of your own life instead of insulting others who are happier than you.


    • Kay while I agree with you on therapy but she needs to be very careful while selecting a therapist. In India therapists are conditioned too. I found that out from my own experience. And I tried more than one. A wrong therapist can do more damage than good.


      • Gosh yes! My ex-friend had major alcohol and abuse issues and went to this psychiatrist. So the abused pregnant wife tagged along too, and guess what? She got told that “All will be well, he wuuuvvvvsss you shoooo mush, he is alwaysh talking about the babie-boo. You just need to shut up and take it for a while longer.” Not in those exact words, but that was the gist of it. Be VERY careful.


      • I absolutely agree. Oddly enough, I’ve had enormous luck with an amazing therapist in Delhi/NCR (nothing to do with traditional values, just my own anxiety issues that I’ve had throughout my life). From my own experience, I’d recommend that the LW go with someone who has a degree from abroad (aka the Western world) and experience from practicing abroad.

        There are some illiterate whack jobs out there as well. I’m particularly talking about the moron ‘psychiatrist’ in the Delhi/NCR papers who said homosexuality is unnatural and nobody should talk about sex. I’m surprised as to how this woman is still legally allowed to be a practicing psychiatrist.


        • I found a wonderful psychiatrist in Madras as well; I think I sort of expected some degree of judginess but there was nothing like that. But yes, I would be careful; one of the worst things is seeking out help and having to defend all your life choices.


  21. “women issues???” I am sorry, but the problem begins with you- why is cooking and cleaning “women issues?” In what way are you unequal to the men in the family? Till the time you recognize that household issues are not women issues and that men bear equal responsibility for everything, you will continue to feel guilty.


    • This is a star comment and sums up the issue.

      Blaming the co-sister or MIL for ‘household work issues’ and giving a free pass to all the men in the house who are watching TV while the women slog in the kitchen. Self-discrimination.


  22. I am not saying it in a judgmental manner but what a confused woman. What the heck does your loser husband do when you make chapatis after your day at work? Goes to do a second job or what? And you call him understanding? And he actually thinks that he is doing some kind of favor by not being “much worse”. What does he mean? Like you could end up burned dead and should be happy that you are not? What a lame loser he is.

    As for your in laws, so they want to restrict all your movements as if your are an inmate and they are still nice to you? Like some jailers who are nice to the prisnors.

    I don’t know about the rest but in my dictionary progressive parenting and beatings do not mix at all. Like at all. If their parents were really progressive and wanted you to be happy with a mate they would have taught you that it is ok and perhaps desirable to look for love in your early twenties, rather than go for rishta hunting and not seeing anyone with “those looks”.

    Please come out of your delusions. Your husband is the one who needs a good spanking to come back to senses. You are giving him too much leverage. You let any human being take advantage of you, including your kids, spouse or parents, they will most likely treat you like a dirt and take you for a ride. I think you have to show your husband some tough love.

    Hope you take a stand. I am quite sure that he will surrender on seeing first signs of resistance. Right now he is just having it too good.


  23. Some things I’ll say here, I’ve already posted on earlier comments but I’ll say it here anyway. Some commentators seem to believe that moving out of the parental home is the same as “separating from family”. If physical proximity is the only thing that satisfy your emotional needs, something is not right. A healthy family is able to maintain a great relationship while being far away. My family and my husband’s family lives in India and we’ve both been in the US for 5 and 10 years respectively. My brother lives at a 4 hour flight journey away from me. Am I any less close to my family than those who still live in their parental home? Absolutely not. It is pure farce to imagine otherwise because those of us who live far away actually take the extra step to express our love and concern. Our families are abreast of any major happenings in our lives and most minor ones. However, we get to lead our own independent lives and make adult decisions. Do we goof up, most certainly. But we have also have the pleasure of making good decisions all by ourselves and watching them reap great results. We’re two fiercely independent individuals who are super close to our families just because we work at it. I have also met couples living with parents who can barely tolerate being in the same room. I’d rather be away and maintain a great relationship and cherish the times we spend together.

    Secondly, what’s the deal with “she knew she was getting into this”? Have your life circumstances never changed and have you never adapted? Do you always recommend couples to separate if one of them has to compromise because something changed or do you recommend them to look at the most optimal solution? For the LW, my recommendation is to move out and try and work on a mutually respectful relationship with your in laws. Being older or being “more experienced” gives nobody the rights to tell you how to live. Experiences are transitional. They teach you some things that are applicable to you but they should never form your worldview of how everyone else should be leading their lives.

    LW, each one to herself. If your sister in law is happy with her arrangement, so be it. If you are unhappy, you need to drop the guilt and act. Don’t drag her into your own unhappiness. You say you were brought up in a liberal household. How do you then call people who treat you like a child “very nice people”? They are seeking to control you. That makes them not very nice, in my humble opinion. And household chores are exactly that – HOUSEHOLD, meaning whoever considers themselves a part of that household takes part(unless there is some type of disability). What exactly is womanly about eating, going to the bathroom etc? Similarly, making sure that those activities are possible are not womanly either. If you continue to stay in this house, be sure to insist that your husband wakes up with you and participates equally in whatever has been “assigned” to you. That may shake up everyone’s ideals but it is literally the only way you can stay on and not want to pluck your hairs out one by one. But let me tell you this, they will consider you the one that came to their home. It is highly unlikely that you’ll ever feel like this house is yours.

    IHM, I apologize for the rant. Please feel free to edit if anything is too repetitive or disrespectful.


    • Krith, you captured everything I wanted to say. Looking at responses like “she already decided to live with his family, now she can’t go back on her decision” …. and some comments about “breaking up his family and bonds” – I felt too tired to respond, where does one even begin with these people?? So, thank you for explaining this so patiently 🙂


    • “Do you always recommend couples to separate if one of them has to compromise because something changed?”

      No, separation is advised only if it’s the man who has to compromise or change anything. Otherwise, it’s okay if the woman has to change her entire life.


      • Seriously, right? To one of my earlier comments, someone questioned where her adaptation to the situation is. The girl has done this for 1 whole year before giving up. If you have any sense of honesty, give her credit for trying. But no, she has to keep adapting to suit her in laws’ twisted world views. I just don’t get it, Fem. I am disappointed to live in this day and age and still have to justify to people my need to live as an individual adult.


    • Loved this comment krith.
      I too was exasperated at commenters that said Hey LW, you CHOSE to live with you partner’s family, now you cant not like living there.You are doomed.
      All I wanted to say to those commenters was-
      She did NOT know there were going to be dress codes on top of which she was going to have to work two jobs,one outside home another as an unpaid cook, so give her a break.
      but in not such a nice way.
      Kudos to your patience krith.


      • Thanks for the kindness guys 🙂 I had to write that to get it out of my system because I was getting so frustrated with reading some of the comments over here.


        • I agree with everything you’ve said, Krith! It was crazy the way people were blaming her, because “she knew what she was getting into”!


  24. I suggest you call a meeting of your family members and that should include you, your husband, your father-in-law and mother-in-law. Keep your co-sister and brother in law out of this.
    Discuss frankly, spell out clearly what you want and explain your feelings.
    If they are all nice people as you say, the solution will come from within the family.
    If it doesn’t work, convince your husband to move out and have an independent life of your own.
    All the best.


    • You know what I wonder? Whether she’ll be taken seriously if she brings up such a discussion. I feel like she’ll be brushed away as yet another rebel who can easily be “tamed” (I find that word being used a lot to control women, especially in Tamil cinema). Unless her husband seriously backs her up and they line out a plan of action that they are in complete agreement with, I highly doubt if her in laws will take her words for just what they mean.


  25. Hey, why should you feel the need to judge your co-sister? What you call ass-licking might be something completely different – besides, she is free to ass-lick if she so wants. You should look at the fact that your ILs don’t treat you poorly. Why should you feel the need to judge your ILs on what they did when your co-sister got married to their son. They are playing nice by you, be cool with that. As for other “rules’ of the house, you may feel stifled, your co-sis doesn’t and this just means that you and she are different. The boys are conditioned and won’t feel weird about these things – as is natural. Forget the guilt also because it’s not the first time their son would be moving away – he spent some time away in the US and all. I think you are very very confused. I also think that you did not factor in the changes that would follow from giving up your “independent” status. While adjustment takes time, it won’t happen really if you are experiencing a distinct sense of loss and bitterness over it. You are used to making your own rules and you are that way – accepting that will surely lift a lot of burdens. Secondly, bring the focus back on your work. That’s probably a huge part of who you are. Household chores can be outsourced – besides, understand that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Most importantly, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Don’t feel intimidated about sayinng – I was okay about this thing yesterday, today I’ve changed my mind. You signed a contract doesn’t mean it can’t be renegotiated to suit your changing needs. Don’t take the blame game on your head. Relax. Let go. Don’t compare yourself with your co-sis or for that matter anyone else. Be compassionate to everyone – starting with your husband. And again, he ought not to brush your troubles away saying it’s “women’s thing”. And in that case, ask him if he’d rather you live the way you are accustomed to and leave him to face all the music from his family. Finally, take charge!


  26. Nitesh, Shekhar

    A person need not choose to live separately only when they have ILs that cross a certain abuse level. They can have the most wonderful ILs and still choose to live separately because thats what makes them more comfortable. So yes, the fact that the LW is unhappy is sufficient enough reason for her to move out. Whether you agree that the ILs are being controlling is irrelevant because the bottom line is her happiness and her partner’s.

    Infact, I would go a step further and say that growing up means carving out a SEPARATE space for yourself – as a person with distinct personality, opinions, priorities and ideas that may or may not coincide with what your parents think. When you become an adult, your relationship with your parents changes from that of a dependent child to an equal. And two equals can certainly love and respect each other. Happens all the time.

    Parents who do not give their kids enough space to grow into individuals and children who refuse to grow up and step away from the shadows need counselling.


  27. To Nitesh, Shekhar and the likes.

    Yes. She agreed to marry him knowing that he lives in a joint family. Provided that family allows her to live HAPPILY and treated FAIRLY.

    Had she known that
    – She will have to cook alone for the rest and generally treated as a mere help/servant without any real concern for her feelings and well being,
    She WOULD NOT marry then.

    So does it make sense to you now?

    In all probability, her husband himself did not know what will be the scene after the marriage.


  28. I have been an avid reader of this forum and think that people who write in their grievances are most importantly seeking support and compassion.

    But after noticing some comments here, I wonder how much supported they feel.
    Of course, everything has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Even some positive comments have a derogatory/condescending tone to it.
    Say what you want to say, but atleast be compassionate.

    I don’t think every person is a born feminist/open minded/modern etc etc. They evolve into being all of it and mind you, it is continuous process. Today you are progressive, tomorrow you might much more progressive. So it is an ongoing process. So here is one LW who is probably far behind all those chip-on-your-shoulder open minded-liberated-feminist-commentators in all those terms, but she is willing to understand and respond. Maybe from her view point, she might feel that her parents were being progressive in letting her be single till she was well over 30. No harm in feeling that way. After all, this is all relative. If you are in a surrounding which is well behind what you are provided with, who will not be happy and grateful towards their parents.

    If she was all that that you guys want her to be, why would she reach out to IHM at all? Why would we even be discussing this problem at all?
    So let people be human with limitations and imperfections while the rest perfect mortals can be reasonable towards them.


    • All that’s fine, and you have a point about relativity. But she has so many misconceptions and delusions about herself and her behaviour. Do you advise everyone to not point out these things? Unless you point out the mistakes, how will they understand why they are being treated the way they are? It constantly surprises me how some women agree to be doormats and then wonder why they are being treated like one. How do you answer these people without giving them a hard shake by the shoulders?

      Besides, in this case, the LW is a victim of patriarchy, but her incessant bitching about her SIL for no reason has put off many people as that too is perpetrating patriarchy.


  29. Let’s leave aside all peripheral issues like the ILs, the sil etc. Let them indulge in mutual back slapping.

    Your real concerns are about the way you are having to live – home-bound, unfair distribution of housework and basically not being able to recognize yourself in the mirror. These are the more serious, worrisome concerns.

    As you say your sil is related to your mil through her sister. She is an expert in keeping the MIL happy. So be it. You cannot be like her and there is no need to be. You have spoken to your husband and he is considering moving out.

    Celebrate lady, celebrate! Most women have a problem with getting their husbands to set up independent establishments. There is no “separating” your husband from his parents. He is an adult who has got married and now has a life and a wife of his own. You too left your parents’ home and came. Would they not have been sad to see you go? Did you not feel bad leaving them? But one can’t go on living with the parents all the time. Birds do have to fly the nest to seek out their own grain and to build their own nests. Besides living separately does not mean he has to forsake his parents. Both of you can be around for them whenever they need it. That does not require you to be bound to them by fevicol. Think of it this way – you live separately, you live your life the way you like, they live their life the way they like, your sil stops being so insecure about you, the overall relationship with the family takes a turn for the better – distance makes the heart grow fonder. Your PIL are not all alone (I don’t know how old they are – do they really need to be “looked after” at this stage of their life?) – they have your BIL as well as his wife to be with them. You too can visit them frequently. You could choose to get a place down the road or not too far from them.

    Practical problems need practical solutions. Being emotional does not solve issues.


  30. Moving out is no solution becoz once u are just two of you , and still unhappiness in u continues then where will u move out ? Will u then separate and liv alone . U have to accept that u are u and similarly fil, mil and all others are what they r . U made wrong decision of getting married after a long happily unmarried life style . Most girls do it under parental pressure but once a choice is made then the issue should be to move out from married life to individual single life . Changing houses will not change any thing becoz when u get pregnant again it will be u who would have to forgo job or do double duty , once u have the kid u will be expected to take leave and look after them . If u don’t want all this take a deep breath and think whether u want this so called happy settled life or u will be more happy by just being with ur own self


    • Huh. I don’t see your point. Why make that assumption that her life alone will change if and when she gets pregnant? How about her husband actually being a considerate spouse who shares household responsibilities equally? Married life need not and should not mean selling off your individuality to a group of bullies. Your comment seems to indicate that you just need to accept the current situation and continue to be bullied. Did you not read the part about where her husband wants to move out too? I hope she completely disregards your comment.


  31. I know of a certain son and his wife who moved out because they had long working hours and still had to come home and do a lot of household chores. The set up was absolutely similar. 25 years have passed and the relationship between parents and the son/DIL is absolutely awesome. They chose to love and support the parents from a separate house in the neighbourhood and everyone lived happily ever after.
    Ofcourse things are little strange in the beginning. There will be a lot of bitterness at the start. But like someone mentioned, it is like ripping off a band-aid. Slowly things become normal and everyone accepts the situation.
    It seems clear that you have tried to adjust but are not happy. If everything is good between you and your husband, then you need to make quick decisions before things start getting ugly at that front as well. Goodluck to you!


  32. This is like the case of chamcha giri we see in the offices to climb up the ladder. People get riled up by such colleagues and they also harbor unintentional ill will towards their bosses.

    I come from a north indian middle class family. My elder sil was married 8 years before my younger sil(all cousin’s wives). She was a housewife and the younger was a doctor. After many years, we got to know that the eldest one has ill-treated and abused the younger one throughout her stay. And guess what ,the pils had no idea what was going on in the house because she was so good in front them. One incident, when she schemed and plotted like a mega bollywood flick against the younger one, she exploded finally and barged out of our house. Since then they live seperately and hopefully they are happy also.


  33. Lw – don’t feel guilty, then you’ll end up taking the blame for even a small thing that happens, when you have taken a decision, think over all possibilities of what could happen and be prepared to face it, you have your husbands agreement to move out and live separately, this WILL definitely help as you both will have to focus on each other and your careers as well as plan your future together! Please don’t think you have separated him from his family, it is not the case, it’s going to help you build your relationship with each other and strengthen that bond with each other! All the best, think through before you decide, but don’t look back if ever it goes wrong ok?


  34. I don’t know if any of you is facing the same kind of irritating behaviour by Nitesh. He has spammed my blog with 5 of his responses to this thread – responses to other posters as well as to mine. He seems to be too impatient to wait till his posts here are moderated and published. This is just not done. He seems to think everyone has to accept his arguments and not have to say anything against them. Seems to be a troll with a personal agenda.


    • Oh ! what a disappointment!
      I received a copy of four of his unpublished comments and initially wondered why he was sending them to me at all.
      I then patted myself on the back and assumed that he valued me highly as a reader and was honoring me with a copy of his unpublished comments so that I don’t miss out on anything.

      If he has been sending his unpublished comments to others too then I have fallen from my self built pedestal.
      It looks like. for him, I am just another “pair of eyeballs” along with all of you and not someone special!

      I did write to him a polite reply thanking him for sending me his unpublished comments.and explaining possible reasons for his comments not appearing.
      I hope I receive no more.


    • Oh, then his real name is Raghav. He has been doing this for months now, spamming people’s blogs with irrelevant comments. Block him. He seems to have some mental issues.


    • This is most likely the same troll who got obsessed with the outdoor plumbing + mom joke and spammed everyone blog with bizarre comments. I’d say hit the spam button and ignore.


    • Thumsdown on swati’s comments that her blog is getting is getting spammed by another commenter. Lol. Now we know who is the thubsdowner on this post.


  35. Reading this it felt like I was reading my own story! I had a love marriage and yes went in knowing fully well that I will be staying with my in laws. They knew from the start I would be working yet there were all these added expectations, same as you, cooking, cleaning and so on. Well, things got very sour and it affected me pretty much the same way as it affected you. What did we do? We moved out. 8 years on and I am closer to my in laws than I ever was, we meet them every few days, talk every single day and they make awesome grandparents to my little 2.5 year old. Yes there was a lot of bitterness initially but it has all been forgotten and we are a very happy family now. Stay strong and I do hope things work out for you!


  36. Advice from the Firangi Bahu…
    1. Move out with hubby – live separately
    2. You don’t have to “pretend” to like anyone – this is people-pleasing
    3. “much worse situation” –> You are in it!!!!!
    4. 30 is NOT old or a spinster, (tell that to my cousins who married at 45). That is total brain wash. He acts like he did a favor by marrying you! WTF


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  41. People’ one question- Is it a given that a decision once taken is binding on the person? So what if she chose to live in a joint family and latter realised that it is not her cup of tea- whatever the reasons. Shouldn’t she be able to maintain some distance, gain some perspective, he mental equilibrium and then maybe learn to appreciate some points in the in laws which maybe eluding her now? why is it necessary to stay with the family to show that you care?


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  45. if women marring for serving other family why they are very particular about boy salary, property. whereas men should not expect what a Indian society. if women feels it is for serving, they should not marry.


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  47. Pingback: An email: “I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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