My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I came across your blog while doing a Google search on how to deal with problems with Indian MIL. Ever since I got married a lot of my searches have been along the lines of ‘arranged marriage nightmare’, ‘possessive mother in law’, ‘dominating mother in law’, ‘cure for depression’….It is not the best state of mind to be in and I cannot tell you how much better I felt when I read about women having similar experiences on your blog.

I wanted to share my story so that someone else out there may too feel better after reading it. I am in a moral dilemma about my future so I would be very grateful if you could post it so I may receive input from others here.

I am a 25 yr old Software Engineer working in the USA. I grew up in India but moved here for my studies, so I think I am in that sweet spot wherein I respect our values but having lived independently for so many years have a fairly liberal outlook.

I had an arranged marriage last year after which I moved into the house with my in laws. They seemed nice enough in the beginning, but once I started living there the problems started.

My mother in law never graduated beyond 5th grade in India so she worked on all other areas to make up for that. She is an excellent cook, really good at stitching and knitting. I on the other hand am an average cook at best and certainly don’t see myself cooking for 10 people. (She regularly does that on every other weekend). She likes to have complete control over everyone. She repeatedly tells my husband that we should not make any decisions whatsoever without consulting her and FIL.

They were expecting a subservient docile daughter in law and although I have tried my best to be one, my initial months with them were a prison because of her constant interference. Case in point:

1.       When I was taking a shower one time, she knocked on my door and said I should hurry up because in her words ‘ladies of the house should not shower for more than 10 minutes’

2.       When I asked my hubby for his laptop, she told me that we do not share electronics here and that we should get a separate one for myself.

3.       When she spotted my hubby making our bed one morning, she marched in our bedroom and yanked the bedsheet from him saying that ‘she should be able to do all this’

4.       They have a rule that everyone has to have breakfast together on weekends so I have to be out of my bed by 9 and have tea/snacks with the whole family. (Now granted some of you may think well is this a really big deal. It is not like I want to live like a slob, but being a working woman, I think I deserve some days when I just want to relax and do things on my own time)

5.       They absolutely do not like it if I talk to my parents, especially my mother. I cannot call my mother every day, even if I make a call I am supposed to talk only in front of them and only for a short while.

6.       I work 40 hours a week and so I obviously cannot cook for 4 people everyday. So she will keep a mound of dough ready for me so I have to make chapattis for all of them after coming from work. (around 30). The said chapattis must be made in a timely manner and be perfect concentric circles.

7.       One time me and my husband had just had a flight back from my family’s place. My husband knew I was tired so he suggested I take a nap. When my MIL heard this she said ‘No no no..It is not good to get tired so easily. Us Ladies have to face so many struggles and we have to take care of so many people in the future so this is not a good sign blah blah.’

8.       I am a shy introvert person by nature, so there are times when I am quiet. Both MIL and FIL are always complaining about this. They say things like ‘She needs to be more mixing with us… she looks very lost….” The way my MIL invites people over and cooks for 10-15 people , they expect me to do the same for my husband’s friends.

9.       When I went to visit my family, my FIL called me and yelled at me and my family because I had not called them for 4 days. He said that ‘when you are in trouble over here your family is not going to be there for you, we are the ones you need so you cannot forget us like that’. After that I had to make a phone call to my MIL every single day of my stay. Every evening I would call and say ‘how are you?’…..’how is everyone at home?’…

This continued for about 4 months. Luckily since their current home is small, I and my DH decided to move into an apartment. Once we made the move and had our own place, there was a remarkable change in the quality of our life. I started having fewer fights with my husband. There were no misunderstandings and we could resolve our disagreements with rational discussions and compromise. We got time to know each other. I was finally able to sleep peacefully after coping with months of insomnia.

However, my MIL was overcome with insecurity. She was afraid that we would have more autonomy of our lives and since then she has been insisting that we move into a bigger house with them.

When my hubby had to go away for a few days for work, my MIL said that I have to stay with them for that period. I was looking forward to spending some time by myself and fix things up in what I consider to be my own place.  So I said that I would like to stay by myself since I sleep better here. They took it as insult and came over to our place and had a big fight. They called up my parents and told them what an insolent bahu I was. They also brought up past issues that they have with me basically that I am not behaving as a married woman should and not shouldering my responsibilities. FYI both FIL and MIL have no health issues and I have never interfered in my husband’s relation with them. I never even ask him whether he gives any money to them and on top of that I shelled out money so that they could things fixed up in their house. My MIL wants me to call her up every single day ( I do so once a week). She wants us to come over to their place twice a week. (we go there once a weekend)

They feel so insulted that I refused to go stay over there when my hubby was not here that they have now told me that I am not allowed to go see my family again this year. I understand that they are trying to derive pleasure out of exacting retribution for what they perceive to be an affront. But I am an adult and I simply can’t digest the fact that as an adult I have to ask for their permission to see my family. When I talk to my husband about this, he gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

On top of this, they would like us to buy a bigger house and all live together like we used to before. Right now I cannot even stand to look at them let alone live with them. I have given us living together a shot in the past, but based on my experience I really don’t think I will be able to go through with it without losing my mind..

Please advise what should I do… For the sake of my sanity and in order to salvage my relationship with my husband,  I want to stand my ground and stay separately ….

Related Posts:

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From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

“He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

“My Mother in law is very patient towards all the doings of the Males in the family.”

“Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai! These are trivialities, not social problems.”

95 thoughts on “My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

  1. OK I read through the first few points and had to make this comment. Your MIL is wayyyy to interfering. If your hubby is not being co-operative, you really need to rethink about continuing with this marriage.
    And I hope I made it to the first comment🙂

    Like

  2. How long have you been married to this ‘family’ if I may ask?
    For the life of me I will never understand the ‘control freak’ aspect of some Indian family relationships.
    Why does ANYONE need this much control over ANYONE?
    Seriously, I’d stand my ground with both MIL & FIL & demand my own household.
    Neither of them are reasonable nor rational (from what you have stated) so there really isn’t much point discussing anything with either of them.

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    • Thank you Samrara!..have been married for less than 1 year,feels like a million years though.😦 .Yes I have decided that putting distance between them is the only viable solution here…It is unlikely that they will change at this age…I need to do whats best for me…If hubby decides to choose them over me than I think my marriage is a failure anyways & not worth saving….

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  3. You already know the only solution to this problem! Stand firm, have a thorough talk with your husband.
    Go visit your family this year either way. I would certainly never stand for that sort of interference, and you shouldn’t either! The more you let them “punish” you, the more power they have over you, and the worse their behaviour will get.
    You will HAVE to fight back, be firm and face talk. They will definitely call you insolent, etc, etc. But you make it clear that YOUR family matters to you as much as your husband’s family matters to him. Talk to him, make this clear.
    Set boundaries. Set a limit to how much you are willing to do for your in laws. Stick to that limit.

    I find this behaviour of your husband abhorrent also by the way. Does he have no heart? What sort of a person visits their own parents once every week, and also plans to live forever with them, but feels entitled to deny their partner visits to THEIR family?

    Also, you should talk to your parents with complete privacy. Fight back. Do not let them run over you. Be firm. Have a proper talk.

    You will have to take a stand some day. THEY WILL NOT CHANGE. Things will NOT get better unless you take a stand. It will be unpleasant EITHER way for you. Better you try at least to make things better for you.

    People who have gone through this will know more and will be able to guide you better!

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    • Are you The Kamla Bhat I knew? The Kamla Bhatt, at Kamlashow.com whose podcasts I used to listen to and comment on a few years ago?
      If so Hi, this is GV, remember me? We met at my office a few years ago and you also visited me at my house in Bangalore. Say Hi to your hubby Srinivasan also.

      If you aren’t, sorry, never mind. My apologies.

      Regards
      GV

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    • Thank you Kamla…I feel like my hubby is a different person when he is with me and changes completely around them (reading from some of the posts here this may not be an isolated case)…..We get along fairly well and I feel he cares for me….But yea incidents like this really make wonder where is the sympathy for a fellow human being😦 :(…However, I am not going to sit around waiting for him to understand my plight…I am going to visit my family anyways…Luckily I have the unequivocal support of my folks who dont want me to tolerate this either…

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  4. IHM.. I am at a loss.. if a supposedly independent women puts forward this question of what to do in this scenario, I am shocked beyond words..
    Dear Letter Writer,
    Please do not tolerate any shits from your in laws. Each and every action you have mentioned of them are wrong.. simply wrong and also mounts to abuse.
    Please do not give in them to their demands to control your life.
    I have a question – what is your husband’s role in such situations ? mute spectator ?
    If he gives you the usual sermon mentioned in the title, then I am appalled. The least you can try is have a discussion with him, telling your problems and deciding what to do next. Since you are staying away, may be you can clearly cut off your in laws, preventing them to come over to your place and interfere. But do not give in to their outrageous demands.
    So here goes my two cents.

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  5. You’re not going to like what we have to say here😦 . And for good reason. There aren’t any easy answers. Here are some possible “good” situations:

    1. The ideal would be if you could manage to stay with your husband separate from your in laws. Might not be possible depending on what he wants

    2. Tell your in laws to go suck a lemon. After all, what can they do? Let them shout themselves hoarse (this is what I myself would do in your situation)

    3. While you’re at it, tell your husband to do the same. It doesn’t look as if he’s supporting you at all. (Actually I would personally do this before point 2).

    4. Leave

    Points 2 and 3 might well lead to 4. Depends on how badly your husband wants you in his life and how badly you want to stay with him. But unless you achieve the ideal point 1, there’s nothing else you can do that will solve your problems. Forget trying to reason and “win them over” to your side. You should recognize when you’re fighting a losing battle and not wear yourself out unnecessarily.

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  6. OK now I read the entire post. I won’t tell you what you should do. I rather want to help you see what you can do and what you need not do (if you choose not to):
    1) //I think I am in that sweet spot wherein I respect our values but having lived independently for so many years have a fairly liberal outlook.// Wanted to point out that you have no obligation to respect any values which you perceive to be unfair against you (Examples of such values: Adapting yourself to fit into your in-laws standards; Continuing in an unhappy marriage after losing all hope of redemption). You don’t have to be in that sweet spot if it starts becoming bitter to you. Also, you don’t have to agree that this spot is ‘sweet’ just because others expect you to view it as sweet.
    2) //They were expecting a subservient docile daughter in law and although I have tried my best to be on// You don’t have to confirm to others’ expectations of you, especially when you find those expectations to be unreasonable. Judge for yourself and decide if it’s reasonable for anyone to expect any other independent adult to be a subservient domicile.
    3) //Now granted some of you may think well is this a really big deal// I assure you – most of the commentators on this blog and the blog-writer would see any independent adult’s life being micro-managed by someone else (whoever that other someone is) as an extremely big deal. If I were you, I would have told my husband and MIL that when I wake up is none of their business. If they command me, I wouldn’t even have bothered to justify myself. The fact that this is ‘my life’ would’ve been a justification in itself for me.
    4) //It is not like I want to live like a slob, but being a working woman, I think I deserve some days when I just want to relax and do things on my own time// You don’t have to offer justification to anyone else about your likes, preferences, actions, thoughts, opinions as long as they don’t harm anyone else. The fact that it’s your life is a justification in itself. It’s simply not their business and if you see anything contrary to it happening, it’s because you’re letting it happen. You can choose to not allow them to do this to you – tell them to stop, clearly.
    5) What is your expectation from your life partner? Would you have been on his side and fought against anyone who tries to micro-manage ‘his’ life and take away ‘his’ sense of self? If you would have supported him, isn’t it fair to expect the same from him when you’re confronted with similar situations? About the many incidents which you mentioned where your MIL interfered in personal aspects of you and your husband’s life (who should do the bed etc.) or interfered with personal aspects of your life (whether you should take a nap or not), you have not mentioned your husband’s reaction. Has he simply complied with your MIL? In that case, do you think his actions are in line with your fair expectation of support? If you think they’re not, you can communicate your expectations to him. If he doesn’t agree, you can choose to not continue in a relationship where your expectations are not being fulfilled and your rights are being stifled.
    6) //I am an adult and I simply can’t digest the fact that as an adult I have to ask for their permission to see my family.// You’re 100% right on this. I think you’ve already given them way too much leverage in controlling your life. It would be best if you stop letting them do this to you. You can set the expectations straight once and all for – using the same argument – the exact same argument – about this being ‘your’ life and that you’re an adult who will not be controlled by anyone else – that you’ve every right to do what you want regarding every personal aspect of your life. Don’t explain why you ‘deserve’ rest because you’re tired to anyone else. It’s ‘your’ life and ‘your’ time – you can do anything as long as it doesn’t intrude into anyone else’s life.
    7) //When I talk to my husband about this, he gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon// Do you view marriage as an equal partnership? If you do, judge for yourself how your husband’s sermon fits in an equal partnership where he is expecting you to transform yourself to fit in with his parents’ expectations when he wouldn’t have even considered living with your parents. You can set your expectations right with your husband on this and make it clear to him that you’re not willing to give up on your rights. And that he has no right to expect from you what he himself will not give to this relationship.
    8) //For the sake of my sanity and in order to salvage my relationship with my husband, I want to stand my ground and stay separately// You can stand your ground not just on staying separately but in any event where you feel someone else is trying to control your life. I wish you all the best.

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    • Wanted to add: You don’t have to salvage your relationship with your husband just because others expect you to even when you feel suffocated in your relationship. Judge for yourself and decide if it’s really worth continuing or not after seeing your husband’s reactions to your expectations.

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  7. Hey,
    This indeed is extremely disheartening. Despite them living abroad and exposure your in-laws haven’t been able to change with times. It seems that you share a good relationship with your husband. If he genuinely cares for you and acknowledges the fact that his parents are wrong he will stand by you. You should perhaps try and broach the topic with him and together deal with this. Many years ago when my mother was facing trouble in her with her in-laws my dad stood by my mother and decided to leave the house. It wasn’t easy for him. But he felt it right. Today even though I don’t know my paternal side as well as I would like too, but I’m more than grateful to be brought up by parents who respect and cherish each other.

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  8. I am not married so not in the best position to give any real advise, but what you described in your post just felt wrong and depressing so I had to say something. My two cents: find a job in a different city and move with your husband if possible. The way I see it is that this situation should be handled by your husband. He will have to make some tough choices instead of being a passive mamma’s boy if he wants to be happy. You probably need to have a serious talk with your husband. The way HIS parents are behaving is just not ok. Ask him how many of his friends’ parents interfere so much in their lives like his parents are doing. Ask him if he would want to be treated in the way you are being treated by his parents. He needs to stand up for himself and his wife. This is just plain wrong. Your husband has a lot of growing up to do. This is not acceptable. I mean come on husband, use your f***** brain for once.

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    • @B
      Why should the LW have to go through searching for a new job and relocating to a new place?
      Thats not correct advice. Its wrong to even THINK of asking her to do anything of that sort.That way, you are just saying, look, if you dont relocate, then the only thing left for you to do is sit back and take this shit!!!
      What about the husband growing a spine and resolving the issue?
      Pls red above anubhasarkar’s comment, how her dad handled the situation.

      Like

      • Moving to a different city might provide the independence that this couple needs. I frankly don’t think finding a job in software industry and moving within US is a big deal. It is fun if you have the right attitude for it. No one is going to be able to change the in-laws, so if I would be in this situation, I would definitely look into distancing myself from those stupid ignorant evil people, both literally and figuratively. I agree with you that husband needs to grow a spine/ balls here, and I mentioned that in my original post as well.

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        • Relocating because you want to is one thing.But relocating because you HAVE to is different.You are being driven way, more like.
          What if the parents follow? What if they torment her on phone or by frequent visits?
          Instead of running away, she should stand her ground,be firm and draw boundaries.With her hubby supporting her.
          Yes you did mention the hubby and his spine, or the absence of it.
          I think instead of keeping the in laws at bay and fooling oneself that all is well, the LW must ask the hubby grow up which would solve her problems.Because the in laws are secondary, the main problem is, as you mentioned, the passive mama’s boy that is her hubby.

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  9. Firstly, do not stay wit your in laws or go into people pleasing mode if you think you are independent.

    You lived with in laws, it is shit, then do not move back. Nobody has a right to control you like that and no matter what they say, you do what you please. I don’t get why you bother calling your in laws even once a week. Looks like you are still stuck “as a good dil I should do this and that”.

    Well, what about your family then? Your husband is not married? Is it legal to marry more than 1 person?

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  10. There is only one way to go about it. By being strong, valuing and believing in yourself and not letting anybody’s opinion about you matter to you, not even your husbands.

    From what I have read your husband doesn’t sound very supportive and lacks a spine. You seem to not notice that. He is letting his parents disrespect you and treat you like a slave.

    Please don’t ignore your husband’s role in this. It is he who should be wanting to save his marriage not you. YOU are the victim and they are the abusers including your husband. Sorry but I can’t cut him any slack because he justifies the abuse by telling you that you married his khandan.

    You probably want to save your marriage because
    A. You think your husband is nice. Its only your in laws who are bad
    B. You think divorce is against culture n value.

    I m not asking you to go for a divorce. Just that your husband is not worth all the compromises. Just go about your life the way YOU want. If your husband cares he will follow. Else you are an independent woman. You don’t need them, the entire lot.

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  11. Letter writer, you are working in US as a software engineer, I donot see any reason for some one in your position to put up with this crap for even one day. Forget about Indian culture brainwash that is fed to all women. Someone controlling how long you can sleep, shower, talk or visit your parents is ABUSING you in my book, it is not just beating physically, you are going through emotional abuse and you have every right to say no and do what you want.

    You have infinite patience. If someone demanded me to make 30 concentric circled rotis after coming back from work while they were sitting at home all day long, I would throw the dough in garbage, pack my bags and walk out. I am educated, working and have my emergency savings, I won’t tolerate such shit. For the first time in history, at least some women have power and means to live their life with dignity. We must use that power for our best interest instead of suffering silently like the past generations who never had such choices.

    If your husband gives “you married my family” bullshit lecture, do you even see him as an equal life partner? It was an arranged marriage, are you even in love with him? I won’t have butterflies in my stomach for a guy who won’t stand up for me or a home where I can’t even sleep in on weekends. If it was me, I would definitely divorce this guy and move on, especially if I am living and working in the US. You worked so hard to get there on your own, enjoy the freedom and live your life instead of tolerating crappy MIL issues as if you were still back in India.

    Whatever you do, do not have a child until these issues are resolved to your satisfaction and happiness, having a kid will just trap you even more.

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear IHM,
    Sorry for the long comment..
    Dear LW,
    Exactly my situation last year only difference being I was not married but in a relationship with the guy for 3.5 years so that way I turned out to be lucky, just broke up, cried my heart out to family and friends and then now am happy again. So I have a few questions:
    1. You said that you are in a sweet spot and are liberal – How long did you know the guy before you got married to him? Did you visit his home before marriage and look at things?
    2. When your in laws called and shouted at your parents, what is that your parents did? And you say that after the shouting incident you called your MIL everyday from your parents house – did your parents tell you you should do it? My question here is when your in laws are treating you and family like s**T what are your parents doing? Have they spoken to and asked them to just shut up or are they like all other girls parents just taking the BS and keeping quiet because they are the girls parents?
    3. Your husband does not seem to be supporting you – why is he not talking back when you are asked to make 30 round chapatis or when you are being controlled? Which means he is also part of the game and his statement that you have married my family confirms the same to me.

    I am asking the above questions, because in my case my ex-BF and his family basically thought that I will not have any support from my family and so kept treating like crap because I was trying my level best to accomodate. But, when I could take it no more and my mother came to know of the crap they were doing, she called them and spoke to them and from that day my so called ex-BF is no where to be seen…
    So your in laws and husband must be doing this thinking that you do not have any support system and that you cannot go any where.
    Just sit down and talk to your husband and in laws and ask them what their problem is? If they just expect all this because you are their DIL, then its better you leave because from my experience my ex-BF did not change even after 3.5 years, in fact with each year their expectations only kept growing and the control only increased and these were exactly his words – “My family is important and I cannot hurt them and also once we are married you become part of us”. So give it a try, and if nothing works out just leave before you are completely in a mess and do not bring children into this mess.

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  13. What I cannot make out is why educated, liberal working women in 21st century fall into this trap of marrying the family instead of falling in love and marrying the partner only if there is a heart felt need!!!

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    • Arun, would like to say that the educated, liberal , 21st century women really don’t anticipate the problems the future in-laws throw at them. The Letter Writer mentions that – ” They seemed nice enough in the beginning, but once I started living there the problems started. ”
      When they(in-laws) are nice to you before the wedding or initially after, the bride assumes they would remain the same forever, but in most cases reality strikes later on and she starts seeing the demon in them as day to day life goes on. The demon fuelled by insecurity and possessiveness.
      Sometimes the bride of 20-25 years lacks the maturity too. Everything seems rosy…a fairy tale…She thinks she has an understanding partner and everything will fall in place. In most cases, it doesn’t.
      Indian couples still do not sort questions of their future, before the wedding. Most important matters like – Finances, Kids, Living with in-laws, Religion, Parents visitation rights, supporting aged parents….are not clarified and talked about. Somehow the men assume that the wife would follow his views like a sati-savitri. For at least that’s what happened in the previous generations. There are a lot of assumptions made on both minds, which opens up a box of worms later on.
      A Marriage Preparation Course, before the wedding – wherein every aspect of their future life is discussed and decided can be one of the solutions.

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    • Arun, don’t confuse Education with Literacy…Most Indians(yes all genders and age groups are included) who claim being Educated with long degrees after their name are only just LITERATE, cause they only know how to read what is written, what answer to give in an examination, what to say to please their Boss/In-laws/out-laws, and how to kow-tow to everything. Education is different cause it needs us to critically think through and working out our life in our own Truth… Education happens when we are able to become efficient enough to convert what we read, observed and thought about into an action that serves ourselves and others in a better way(no manipulations, lying, deceit needed)

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  14. Your problem (in my opinion) is primarily your husband, not your in laws.

    Indian families are frequently abusive towards women, nothing new there.
    However, instead of taking your side and being supportive, your so called life partner is siding with your abusers. THAT is enabling them to abuse you more and more.

    If I were you, I would have a long and hard talk with my husband regarding his abusive parents.
    I’d tell him that I was no longer interested in giving into their demands.
    If his reaction was not one of love and support, I would pack my bags and leave.

    Life is too short to waste time and energy on ‘fixing’ relationships with such abusive in-laws and husbands. Please, you are young, independent and living in a society which empowers you- DO NOT PUT UP WITH THIS BS.

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  15. Given all that you have gone through, I feel you should not waste a single minute more of your life with these bullies. Life is precious. Value yourself. Does not look like you can talk with your husband and make him understand your point of view. He cannot look beyond himself and his family.

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  16. Ah…the joys of marrying someone without actually understanding what you are getting into! The problem is not between you and your ILs, it is between you and your husband. Any decent person committed to the well being of their partner would not tolerate such atrocities.

    If your spouse cannot understand that you deserve the same rights as any adult, then there is lot of work right there to begin with. Have an honest conversation with him about how you deserve the same autonomy of over your life that he has over his. And that no one can dictate what you should or should not be doing. If he gets on the boat, then awesome! You can just ignore your ILs and their attempts to get you to live they way they want and just move on with your life.

    If your spouse continues to have the ideas that you mentioned, then no matter what you do, it is going to be a bad situation. Either you will continue to be extremely unhappy, or you standing up for yourself will make your ILs and by extension, you husband unhappy. And I really don’t think a marriage can work when there are unhappy people involved.

    Time and again I keep seeing posts about arranged marriage gone wrong. I can’t believe men and women of today don’t even bother to hash out what their expectations are before jumping into a wedding. People! Take your time…have your checklists….ask questions (however uncomfortable) before making a HUGE life changing commitment.

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  17. @ the LW–I’m kinda confused. Are you still in the US or are you now in India?

    Let’s go with point 1–you’re not in a sweet spot, you’re in a terrible spot. You seem to be able to think liberally for yourself but you can’t act liberally (if you could, IMO, you wouldn’t have gotten an arranged marriage in the first place–but that point’s neither here nor there and not useful so lets move on).

    You say your husband is otherwise a nice guy, but will not fight for you against his parents’ completely irrational demands. You have to ask yourself are you okay with such a relationship? Have you accepted that he’s a very weak person and probably has no self identity? Do you want such a fickle person for your husband? If not, are you willing to walk out of this relationship?

    The way I see it–try sorting it out with your husband, either with couples’ therapy or by yourself. If you guys see eye to eye and can hold the fort against his parents, then you can give the relationship a shot (if you want to, I, personally, would have been sickened by the man’s lack of an identity and would have DTMFA).

    If that doesn’t work, then I hope you have the strength to say good-bye to the douche bag family that your husband says you’ve married into, him included. It’s all a question of sorting out what you want out of life and figuring out whether you can fight for it. Since you’re an educated person who can support herself, I’m sure you can fight for it if you choose to.

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  18. Jesus Christ, letter writer – you seriously have the Indian mother in law from hell!!!!
    WHERE is your husband in all this? How can he watch her treat you like this?
    And one essential word is: BOUNDARIES. When she ripped that sheet off the bed, what did you guys say? Why didn’t you tell her that is ridiculous?!?! I know is it Indian style to “respect elders” and all that, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay silent and tolerate this crap! Toleration is the nail on the coffin!

    Advice from firangi bahu — live separately. Get the hell outta there, girl!!!

    Like

  19. “you-have-not-just-married-me-you-have-married-my-family”

    I think I just threw up.

    No she did not marry his family she married him and she is his family now. If he cant understand that he shouldn’t have gotten married.

    It seems like every man has a severe Oedipus complex in India.

    Like

    • Yes, most Indian men have a full-blown Oedipus complex. It’s to do with geneeations of Indian women treating their sons as surrogate husbands because we are such a uxoriphobic society.
      We want men to get married but then all hell breaks lose once the marriage ceremony is over and there is a real possibility that the man may prefer his wife over his momma.

      Most Indian women have lived stifled, suffocated marital lives; and expect their sons to fulfil the needs that their husbands should have fulfilled

      Like

  20. Please become the most insolant indisciplined nightmare bahu for them…n do wat u wish n let them crib n rant….they will eventually give up.
    If ur hubby is worthy enough he will support u else if he want to be a mama boy he was never worth it.
    Just stop being affected by them…..u will hav to develop a thick skin.

    Like

    • Love this advice. Don’t worry about saving relationships. Just tell yourself that you have nothing to lose if this dysfunction marriage breaks and become fearless.

      To be insolent undisciplined bahu you don’t have to do much. Just do whatever you want to do, get up at whatever time you wish to want on weekends, talk to your mother everyday in front of them, take an hour long shower, make shapless burnt rotis( if they complain tell them that’s best they can get out of you or they can do it themselves), book your tickets to your parents right on their face. If they make a scene you stay calm and tell them you have no idea why they are upset. Good news is thats all they can do. Let them make their own life miserable. They can’t hit you. And you don’t need their good bahu certificate. They have already pronounced you bad so you might as well be yourself anyways.

      Don’t lose your temper. Just treat them like a piece of obsolete furniture or an over grown plant in the house. They don’t deserve a good person like you. Also have a talk with your parents. Everytime they call up your parents to disrespect them tell them to say bye and cut the connection. If your parents don’t agree then you have to grow a thicker skin.

      Don’t agree to live with them. If your husband doesn’t agree he can move in with them. Don’t call your MIL at all. Give them the ultimatum that you will visit them only when they treat you better.

      My MIL too got offended when she went on a trip for a month and I didn’t call her even once. She made nasty remarks about it. But she won’t get my sympathy because she should have built a healthy relationship with me if she wanted my time, concern and respect. She has no right to expect it from me after treating me like a second class citizen. When we just got married and she was out of time she and her daughter made me call her up everyday. She wanted to control what I cooked for her darling son. It took me some time to build boundaries. Now she doesn’t get any attention from me . She can be as nasty she can.

      Like

  21. It’s ridiculous on the part of your in-laws to interfere and insult you like that. They have no right to control your life and believe you are educated, seen the world. Therefore, tell your husband to put a stand to this conservative drama and that too, in today’s world. As far as being married to the family, it’s complete crap and doesn’t make sense to me. I feel you should have a frank talk with your husband and tell him that if doesn’t work, you should bid good bye to a relation that makes you an inferior person. You are a human being and nobody has the right to make you feel like an inferior being. Keep strong and maintain your stand.

    Like

  22. Dear LW,
    Lets imagine that all is hunky dory in your life and that you did not write this post.
    Now imagine you went to visit your parents for a festival with your husband.Hubby is taking a shower and your mom bangs on the bathroom door saying in her house, people are not to take a shower for more than 10 mins.Forget how that would make your hubby feel, but how would that make YOU feel?
    Now my question is, why doesnt your hubby feel the exact same way when its done to you?

    Like

  23. A question for your husband: how come he married ONLY you and not your family while u got to marry his entire Khandaan?

    And *hugs* for having to go through this..I for suffocated just by reading this.

    Like

  24. I have nothing new to add to what so many others have already said.
    May be this quote will help.

    “Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

    One more quote
    “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

    So make a choice now for tomorrow’s benefit.

    Without losing your temper, or getting hysterical, call a meeting at home, tell them calmly that you cannot accept this treatment and insist on living separately or else you are quitting. Be ready and make preparations to back up your threat with action before you venture to do this.

    All the best.
    Regards
    GV

    Like

    • Cannot emphasize the “stay calm” part more. It is so important to be clear, crisp without showing them any sign of weakness. And yes, prepare. Make sure your husband knows that you have better alternatives awaiting you if he’s not prepared to actually fulfill his marital duties towards you.

      Like

  25. We ask more questions while buying a non stick pan than asking right questions before marriage. I strongly believe its important to have very basic conversation with your to be partner whether love marriage or arranged. Men in our society struggle to take a tough decision related to household. Finances, taking care of family, where to stay, who will qork, social life- mind it ita nof as if you are seeking approval. You just get to know better what’s coming in future. And we’ll take it as it comes is the most lame answer.

    Like

  26. LW,
    Too many people say what I too feel, so here’s a blurb just to bolster the numbers giving to the same advice – believe in yourself and what you think is right or wrong. It is absolutely not OK for your MIL to tell you what sort of relationship you should have with your parents. This cannot be ever negotiable under any umbrella of “adjustment”. Today she wants you to move into a bigger house, tomorrow she will hand you an ovulation kit and insist you have sex when you can get pregnant! Your in-laws sound awfully invasive. You are in a difficult spot, not sweet spot. If your parents and husband do not support you, please do not be discouraged. They are giving you advice out of fear if they ask you to accept all this. Many times the argument goes, that since something worse is not happening to you (harassment for more dowry; physical abuse) you must learn to adjust to these idiosyncrasies. This isn’t right. You cannot accept a bad situation simply because it is not the worst situation.
    Your biggest strength is that you are financially independent. Use this power. Make sure that you start squirrling some money away in savings (FD, Mutual Funds at least 20K a month, regularly) in your name only (make it joint with your mother if you must) – do not disclose to husband – so that if you have to leave you have a nice tidy capital to assist.
    In your type of situation I think I would tell my husband that living with his parents is non-negotiable; you may have married his family, but as a DIL & wife, not as a puppet. If they can’t respect you, you can’t respect them. If they move in, I would move out; what my parents, in laws, community think be damned. They can live close by, but not in my house. I wouldn’t cower and give into their demands. I wouldn’t let them into my house to abuse me; let the neighbours think what they want. I would most certainly not have children. Kudos for staying your ground and not moving in with them when you husband was away. More such, ahem, middle-finger acts are required.

    Like

  27. Dear LW, many people have given you sound advice above, so I’ve no more advice to add.
    The question I have is – why? Why in this day and age are young people still opting to live in a joint setup? No, I’m not talking about a young Afgani girl who has zero control over her life, being sold into a family or an 16 year old in a Haryana village married off without finishing her schooling. I’m talking about modern India, about educated people, women with financial independence? Why? Do we not understand the basic definition of a marriage? It is 2 people deciding to come together and starting a life together. How is it possible to do this when the parents (guy’s or girl’s) live in the same house? This is a simple basic first step. I wouldn’t even try to analyze what the in-laws are doing, what kind of people they are, are they mean or nice, etc. First, start your marriage right. Create your own home. It is not too late. You can still do it. All the best.

    Like

  28. The previous post was about the girl’s side making demands and asking questions. How about – instead of obsessing on the guy’s salary – asking the following questions –
    – I would like for both of us to live in our own home, not with parents. Are you okay with that?
    – You and I will decide what is right for our family – working outside the home versus staying home, who will share what and how much of the responsibilities – with cooking, cleaning, other chores – and this might change/evolve over time depending on our situation. Do you agree?
    – I would eventually want children (OR I’m not interested in having children). What are your ideas on this?
    – These are my ideas on parenting. What are yours?
    – This is my approach to money management. What is yours?
    – If we are working in different cities, where will we live? Which one of us will move? Can we ensure that the person who moves can find a job there and will we commit to making sure that the person who moves finds friends and supports in the new city and will be happy?
    – At all times, we will come first to each other. Ours is the primary relationship. We will always love our parents and siblings, but everyone will come after us. Do you feel the same way?
    – We will make joint decisions about the big things – money, parenting, city where we live, etc. but with the smaller/personal things we will make independent choices – how to dress, who to be friends with, what to eat, etc. Do you agree?
    – Can we agree on some fundamental values – we will always be truthful with one another, etc.?

    I’m sure others can add more to the list ….. but the point is, please don’t walk into an arranged marriage without asking questions that matter, questions that affect your life.
    I don’t think anyone would lie when asked such questions because if they disagree with your viewpoints they will be so put off by the questions and may respond with anger or resentment (“look at these modern girls …. so arrogant!”) and that reaction should tell you that’s it’s a clear mismatch.
    Don’t go into an arranged marriage appearing to be traditional. If you are liberal minded, state it clearly and wait for a reaction. Their unwillingness to answer questions or their negative reaction to the questions themselves will convey volumes.

    Like

    • This is great, we should compile a checklist for things to talk about. And main thing is observe their behaviour. SO easy to talk but difficult putting them in action. HOw about wearing really “modern” clothes before marriage & seeing how the guy’s families react? Does the guy stand up for you or tell you to cover up?

      Like

      • Even better than watching their reaction by wearing really modern clothes as you say, I think it’s better to just ‘be yourself’ and analyze if they (primarily your life partner) are comfortable with that. There are too many stories of ‘it was all ok before marriage, but after marriage they said I can’t wear modern clothes’

        Like

    • Yes, yes and yes. This is essentially the only advice I would point out to anyone who posts issues on the blog. I know I’ve repeated this comment several times, 7/12 people in my arranged marriage search didn’t want to or didn’t see the point of talking more than a few times (~1 week). These were people from BIG cities in India, and one even lived in Singapore. Some of them even mildly ridiculed me for wanting to talk for more than a few weeks.

      This is so wrong!

      @IHM, just curious, do you see the value in trying to have a discussion/poll around why people don’t want to discuss such things before the wedding? I think this is a serious attitude change we need in our society.

      Like

  29. ” ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’

    No, you haven’t.
    Start with clarifying this.
    You can be respectful, cordial to each others’ families, even, in time, come to love them. But you haven’t married them.

    If your husband doesn’t buy into this, your marriage may still survive, but you will never be happy. That’s the harsh truth.

    How come educated women get into arranged marriages without any idea of what the partner even stands for?

    Like

  30. Girl, I feel for you. I was married to someone who just couldn’t cut the apron strings (and a mother who wanted to be a part of everything — i.e. no couple-time and 100% interference) and my life was messed up for the time I was with him. I did have the talk with him, several times, we even tried counseling, but didn’t want to break the cycle and was so guilty of ‘abandoning’ his mother to spend time with me, so I walked out after some months, and I am so much happier for it.

    BUT first: Talk to your man, about moving out into your own turf. You certainly need a separate household. From your mail, your in laws don’t seem to be old and helpless, so they don’t need you both as caretakers i.e. being present in the house 24/7.

    Now, here’s the important part: If the man doesn’t support you, why do you want to live your life doing this? Life is way tooooo precious to waste living it the way you don’t want to.

    It’s not so bad being divorced. I went through it, it’s tough in the beginning especially if you think you have feelings for the person, but you get over that. Focus on work and doing the things you love doing. Today I am married again, and to the most wonderful man on earth (touch wood). If one thing isn’t working out, there is always something else, something else that works better.

    That is not to say, give up on your marriage ASAP. Have the talk first. Try couples’ counseling. If it doesn’t work, you know the only answer. But make your choice soon, every minute spent in misery is a minute of your precious life wasted.

    Like

  31. OK. Where to begin…

    First, your husband is avoiding conflict & confrontation. This is more normal than it ought to be. While he should support you when you’re right & your MIL when he feels she is right, most husbands just try to duck out of supporting anyone properly. They support a peaceful status quo.

    Second, you must go through confrontation yourself. It sounds like you’ve just been lying low and taking it all. Which is fine, but now you’re making fundamental compromises.

    Now here’s the interesting bit. So far, I think every reader on this blog agrees with me. But now I’m going to give you my experience-based approach to confrontation. I used to be a sledgehammer guy. People admired me for being the right person for a fight. There he goes, a guy who takes no nonsense. I was very proud of how direct, firm & clear I could be. I would say, “you’re wrong about this” – “There can be no compromise on this point” – or, “I disagree with you completely”. And guess what? This kind of emphatic wording is dangerous. I strained a lot of relationships. I could have gotten my way far more intelligently.

    There are many ways to engage in confrontation, and in general, one has to attack the issue & the behaviour, not the person. That’s the way to win the conflict without destroying the relationships. Yes, the relationship may still die, but that’s the small risk you gotta take.

    So how do you confront, protecting your interests, without making the other person feel too bad? You need crazy skills. You need to be Zen + Ninja in one. Your moves need to be so graceful, so diplomatic, and yet so direct, that people will be a little confused. Here’s how:

    1. Make a list of everything nice they (from now on, your MIL & FIL & husband are ‘they’) do for you. Say it and appreciate them for it. Praise them lavishly and with specifics. If you don’t like much about them, find something you like a little. (this makes you look awesome. FIL will be won even if MIL is seething inside).

    2. Use a lot of ‘we’ statements to sneak in the values you want to assert. ‘Let us all work towards a good solution without criticizing each other’. ‘Let us all have our freedoms. You don’t want to be controlled by me, and I don’t want to be controlled by anybody. Yet we must all be one happy family’. Here’s a good one: ‘I’m sure we all agree that nobody must be unhappy. You must not be unhappy, I must not be unhappy’. This is the ideal way to start with common ground. This is the Socratic approach (google it) – in short, get everybody saying yes. Who can say no to a question like, “Don’t you want me to be happy?” If they refuse or dodge, repeat. “I want you to be happy. Don’t you want me to be happy”. They’ll say yes, sooner or later.

    What this does is, it makes you sound like a responsible, mature person bringing a quarrelsome children together. Ignore personal comments & attacks and move ahead with your points. Implacably, firmly, in a calm manner – like a glacier. You can’t stop a glacier can you?

    3. Now set out expectations. Say, ‘We both have certain expectations of each other & duties to fulfill. This is normal. This is natural. Let us look at them one by one’. Start with the expectations you have that they fulfill (even if it is as basic as tolerating your company or whatever). Then list the expectations they have that you fulfill. Emphasize that these expectations are met. Be very specific. Then say, ‘See, 90% of your expectations are being met. 90% of your interests are being protected. We are a happy, healthy, affectionate set of folks’. I’m exaggerating the words here, but basically try to convey your agreement with them & their agreement with you. It again makes it hard for people to start the fight without looking like villains.

    4. Now tackle problems. Say, we agreed that we must both be happy. Basic template: now, here is an expectation X which I cannot fulfill without making myself very unhappy. This is the reason it makes me unhappy. What I suggest is this solution Y. For example, I cannot agree to having my bath time limited. This is a fundamental freedom which we agreed on. What I suggest is, if anybody needs to have a bath before me, they can do so, and I can have a luxurious shower later’. Offer the best solution you can & describe how it meets their interests. Feel free to say no to living with them. “I prefer not to. I prefer to be alone with my husband. We will visit you as often as possible because we love you”. Do you see the constant reassurance? It’s damn hard when someone is insulting you, but sooner or later, they give up. Because you’re a rock hard wall of moral certainty. You know you’re good, and you’re doing the right thing.

    5. Inevitably there will be big disagreements. Someone will start fighting. There will be personal attacks. MIL will get emotional. Label the behaviour (attacking, criticizing, negative statement, beating me down etc.). My favourite label: non-constructive behaviour. My fav question: “do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem’. Try this one to turn their own emotional blackmail against them: ‘MIL, I love you. I request you to stop describing incidents. I feel attacked and hurt in front of FIL & husband’.

    Use lot of “I feel” and ‘me’ statements, to describe the negative impact. Ask them to avoid it, if they love you. Invoke the principles of respect, freedom, love etc. established at the beginning. Be socratic again, if you must. ‘Are you asking me to listen to negativity & feel unhappy? Do you want me to be unhappy? I don’t want you to be unhappy. I’m ready to sit down & find a compromise. Are you ready to compromise? That’s not enough of a compromise for me, it doesn’t protect my freedom’ etc. etc..

    This game of mental chess will break everybody down so much that they’ll just say yes to what you want. The best part is, you’ll sound reasonable. And you’ll sound like a good DIL. And they’ll not want to be such villains anymore. You’ll have to go through several rounds of this. Why? Because you’re trying to change values here. That’s super, super hard to change. And only through such a diplomatic process can you hope to achieve progress. You could of course, have a huge fight, put down your demands right away, and tell your hubby my way or highway. That’s also a way. Use it if all else fails, but don’t use it first.

    I’ve tried both ways on my own parents, and they were super traditional people who wanted to control my life. I strained the relationship to breaking point, but now I see I never needed to.

    Like

    • Oh, here’s another one I forgot. When they say something really, really stupid, like “Good DIL will stay in the house”, just calmly say, “I think what you really mean to say is, you want a responsible DIL (my note: attributing true intention that works for you). And I’m very responsible. These are all the ways in which I am responsible. 1, 2, 3 (specifics). So now I’m sure you see I’m very responsible and dutiful (putting positive labeling of yourself in their mouth). And that whether I’m in the house or not, I promise you that I will continue to be responsible in all these ways mentioned. You never have to worry about that”. The general effect on people is like they’ve been hit by a bus. They’re so confused. They can’t fight with someone who refuses to fight properly, and argue the issue🙂

      Like

    • @ Reinter
      I think your advice, in general, is very useful and constructive when it comes to dealing with relationships in a traditional/difficult household.
      However, I can’t help but feel that this is-
      a. A very time and energy intensive process and
      b. Places the burden of resolution on the youngest, newest member of the family once again.

      While I find your method interesting, I believe it ought to be used by somebody on important relationships worth salvaging.

      IMHO, a less-than-one-year-old relationship with a husband/in-laws (who were strangers before the arranged marriage brought them together) is hardly deserving of this degree of one-sided effort.

      I guess the first question to the LW is- do you think it’s worth it,? Or do you think you would be happier cutting your losses and moving on?

      Like

      • Dear desidaaru, I agree completely. What I am giving is not advice as much as it is a method. LW can take it or leave it, depending on her goals / desires. As you say, it depends on whether this relationship is worth saving – to her.

        I’d also add that the method really works. And it’s backed by all the communication & conflict resolution science we possess. Check out William Ury’s work in Harvard Negotiation Project, as an example. The magic is that the effort would not be one-sided for long. People respond. It relies on primal psychological triggers we can’t help responding to, like reciprocity, consistency, desire to conform to positive labels etc.

        It is a little sad how angry & judgmental some of the other responses have been. I find myself unable to agree with the vehemence of the others on this blog, who seem to be telling LW: “based on what you’ve said, this relationship isn’t worth it”. That’s LW’s call, not ours, no matter how angry we feel on her behalf. Yes, the husband is a wuss who likes compromise too much. Yes, the in-laws are super controlling. Yet from what I read, away from the in-laws, LW is happy with her husband & he’s not a bad guy. Given those facts, it’s not at all obvious that the relationship is not worth saving. It is irresponsible to emphasize divorce to LW when she’s feeling down & vulnerable, unless she arrives at this conclusion herself. We ought to guard ourselves from imposing our preferences upon LW, and should content ourselves with presenting her with options without too much emphasis (including divorce). I have seen many relationships restored to a happy marriage from much worse, without the woman giving up her rights or self-respect. Let her decide if the outcome is worth the means.

        Some of the advice given lacks finesse and is positively dangerous. ‘Tell the in-laws to go suck a lemon’ or ‘go eff themselves’ – these are not viable strategies unless she has already decided to go for open hostility & take its consequences. That’s not the only way a woman can be powerful & assertive. (It sounds more defensive & immature to me). I’m surprised because in general the quality of advice on this blog is very good. Just that in this case, emotions seem to have truly gotten the better of the best of us, and some readers decided the outcome LW should aim for, without giving her sound strategies.

        Like

        • The point is that she shouldn’t have to babysit someone who is sitting on her fundamental freedom! I agree that this approach is very very useful for relationships where there is a disagreement or simply a misunderstanding, but it would never work for a relationship such as this, where there is a basic lack of respect.

          Like

      • I feel reinter has a point, and so does desidaaru12. If LW is feeling down & vulnerable, it will be difficult to maintain this patient & rock-solid approach. Plus, she will need to win her husband over first or at least make it clear that it’s not her versus the three others in one team. That will be too stressful.

        Like

        • Dear fem

          I first came across this method in William Ury’s writing. He is a professional negotiator and mediator. He has applied his methods to negotiations with genocidal ethnic cleansing dictators and warlords. People with blood and rape on their hands. And he is famous for getting those guys to stop the bloodshed or at least reduce it. It struck me that something that works with bloodthirsty, unscrupulous dictators would easily work with domestic conflict too. What I have provided is my own system, improvised from many different communication techniques (so the errors are mine, not William Ury’s).

          The heart of this method is restoring mutual respect where there’s none. So I believe it is most required in such situations. In strong relationships, you can be open and frank without all this work. Of course, I may be wrong🙂

          Like

        • Dear fem,

          I first came across these ideas in William ury’s work. He is a negotiator and mediator who has worked with dictators and warlords to produce peaceful agreements in tense situations. They were hardened people with blood on their hands. It was neither a situation of mutual respect nor agreement. Yet he managed to find a way.

          I have improvised and adopted many techniques into my own system. The errors are mine and nobody else’s. I suggest that this kind of approach is most suited to the situation of LW, where basic understanding is missing. In better relationships, this kind of technique is not required and one can directly disagree. In fact, it will be a little weird. This is my own view and I could be wrong🙂

          Like

        • Whoops submitted comment twice and actually wrote twice cause I thought I had lost first. And im supposed to be working on an important project. Damn! Ihm your blog is super addictive.

          Like

        • Dear fem

          I first came across this method in William Ury’s writing. He is a professional negotiator and mediator. He has applied his methods to negotiations with genocidal ethnic cleansing dictators and warlords. People with blood and rape on their hands. And he is famous for getting those guys to stop the bloodshed or at least reduce it. It struck me that something that works with bloodthirsty, unscrupulous dictators would easily work with domestic conflict too. What I have provided is my own system, improvised from many different communication techniques (so the errors are mine, not William Ury’s).

          The heart of this method is restoring mutual respect where there’s none. So I believe it is most required in such situations. In strong relationships, you can be open and frank without all this work. Of course, I may be wrong🙂

          Like

  32. Dear LW,
    Please stand up to your in-laws. What they are doing is NOT right. They are controlling you and are abusing you. It is impossible to change your in-laws – bending over backwards to please them will only result you in being bent over permanently with zero change or appreciation from them. If you cannot get your husband to support you and stand up to them as well, it is time to rethink your marriage. As it stands now, it seems like your husband thinks your marriage to him is just incidental and is a distant second to your “marriage” to his family. I doubt that was your expectation when you agreed to marry him.

    Stay strong! Sending positive vibes your way.

    p.s. Like other commentators have pointed out, please, please make 200% sure that you do not bring kids into the picture till this is sorted out. Good luck!

    Like

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  34. Lots of good advice given,won’t pile on that.

    I just can’t digest why people (especially in-laws) feel the need to interfere in others’ life to feel happy. Wouldn’t it be much better to have their own life..? Go join a class, learn a language, read a book, bake a cake,travel,blog,volunteer..whatever..how come people have so much spare time to interfere in the life of an adult son/daughter and their spouse !!

    Of course it’s not LW’s responsibility to educate them. If the husband is not ready to grow up,it’s time to say good bye !

    Like

  35. Hi, it is very easy to say get separated etc….the way out is, you should make your husband realize the difficulties you are facing and drive home the point that you are never going to live together with your in laws again….I am sure this will work out….

    other option , try to change job to different location, where your in laws might not think of moving ..

    From my experience I can tell this..if your MIL realizes that what she does is not liked by her son, she will not do it….

    Like

  36. What I don’t get is, after going through a lot of trouble of finding a “Suitable Bride” for their son, why are they hell bent on ruining the marriage too?
    What do they get by being so controlling? Do they feel the sky will fall on their heads if their son tends to his new family too? The son is also at a fix here… I mean, he doesn’t want to disrespect his parents but at the same time wants to ensure the best for his wife. I just hope & wish in such cases the man chooses to care for his wife rather than his parents.

    Like

  37. Hi Girl🙂 I read the first couple of comments only so it is possible I might repeat something someone has already said. But the gist of what I am about to say is this : you have nothing to fear. You are financially independent and smart. You are capable of living by yourself. You don’t need these people or their drama around you. So just do as you please! Family should treat each other well, but it is not a one way street🙂 Let them learn to respect you, your space and your choices first. There is no real reason WHY you should be enduring this control. You are different from the dependent, uneducated, housebound Bahus who were UPS’ed to the US on a magic carpet along with a sorry excuse for a wedding ring🙂 You are not dependent on them for anything.
    What’s the worst that could happen ? Divorce ? In today’s day and age that means nothing. And it’s probably not literally the “worst” thing to be divorced from this life. Indian families do not know how to differentiate between “happiness” and “marriage”. To them, if you are unmarried it means you are unhappy, even if you are happy, Anyway, I digress. You are removed from India and it’s social pressures. You can live your life the way YOU want.

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  38. Pingback: Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer, ‘I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  39. I can’t believe that you have done all of those things asked of you. For me, I would have made sure the torture ended with point #2: not allowed to share electronics. You are an adult. Being “allowed” or “not allowed” should not be in your dictionary other than from a legal/ethical point of view🙂 Your in-laws are completely in the wrong. You are aiding and abetting their control freak-typical Indian traditional family-Ekta Kapoor serial type family by constant submission and by letting it affect your marriage. Stand up and represent. What’s the worst that could happen? Think about it and figure it out if that side seems better than going through all this nonsense day in day out, year after year. While I do think couples can make their way to hell and back, I must say it cannot be done single-handedly. Your husband has to be there for you. He needs to understand your needs and he needs to be able to meet those, largely. You need to stop kowtowing to Her Ladyship the Mother-in-law and His Excellency the Father-in-law. Simple. You’re smart, independent, you deserve better than moping around by yourself… The sooner you decide this, the better!

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  40. Pingback: Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile… | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  41. I took a break from reading IHM thanks to my lil one and came back to something SO CLOSE to my heart. I live in the US myself, am considered a feminist by everyone around me and have observed so many cases of different expectations for educated married US women as far as husband’s families are concerned. While people think educated families treat women equally and people pride themselves in having a ‘ghar ki lakshmi’ it is still amazing to see how the wife’s career, freedom, her birth family and her individuality is all dispensable. The natural expectation is for the girl to somehow take a bigger chunk of compromise because thats the way it is. Women need to demand fairness in all of these matters and this cannot be unearthed in a few meetings before marriage. Couples need to interact enough to be able to ascertain how they feel about each other’s role, their families and how they will stand up for each other if need be. When i got married, i was supposed to board the flight back to the US from the city where my husband lived. I simply went home and left all my documents in my Dad’s usual safe and forgot about it until the day we boarded the flight because i didnt think that leaving home would be any different. Of course, everyone made such a big deal about how it was fate that told my Dad to come and say goodbye and hand over the documents in time for our international flight but nobody really thought why it had happened. I still am very fair to my husband’s family but will not let my name transfer onto my FIL’s ration card or somehow transfer allegiance to them. I wish the in-laws treated the girl not like their daughter as they say but as if the husband was the daughter and the wife was their son in law. Sit and think and see if they would have been ok ‘parting’ with their son. Of course change can ONLY happen if we dont repeat it all over again. I never understood this Kyonki Saas bhi Bahu thi business. Will we ever change from our experience? I tell my mom in law clearly if i dont like something and also told my in laws that i would never like to be an unhappy menace to my kids complaining about my depressing life and i want to act on it right now!!!!! I find it suprising that parents desire their sons to get educated in premiere institutes in the country or abroad and somehow not let the exposure affect other areas of their personality. My husband had a radical change of personality and grew into a very independent broad minded and fair adult thanks to his hostel and graduate life. While the academic achievements are often exalted, the automatic byproduct of such an experience i.e the desire for his own space and thoughts and to find an intellectually interesting life partner with similar ideas is not accepted and therefore, the repercussions of a global education/work experience isnt appreciated at all.

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  42. Pingback: “About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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

  44. Pingback: “He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  45. Pingback: ‘Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, …’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  46. Pingback: Simple methods, recommended to anybody else, coping with any other kind of abuse, are forbidden to Indian daughters in law. Forbidden by whom? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  47. Pingback: “And on the other hand, we have this section of women who seem content and even happy with the current set-up. This seems akin to a freedom struggle going on here.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  48. 1) Try to really convince the in laws, try sweet talk, try being nice
    2) If the above doesn’t work, tell your husband all the problems and decide what to do.
    Its better to be independently living with your husband, if you have so many problems with your in laws.

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  49. Hi,
    We women actually forget to live our lives in our own terms most of the time. I would say please do not live your husband’s life . After marriage , the couple should stay separately from their in laws . Otherwise it will affect the bonding between the husband and wife even if you are lucky enough to get the best of the in laws:-). In some situation , you can not do so (like if your hubby does not want to or you MIL/FIL is completely dependent on you). In that case , you need to make sure you set boundaries with in laws regarding interfering in any personal stuff; they should never forget that this is the family of their son and wife , not of theirs, they have already lived their time.
    Hope this helps .

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