“About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.”

“They say that they don’t have any problem with the guy, but don’t like his family!”

It’s possible that the email writer’s parents believe that when an Indian woman marries a man, she marries his family. Do the email writer and the man she wishes to marry believe that too?

Sharing an email. Emphasis (in bold) is mine – I would not ignore any of these issues, specially since the email writer plans to live with this family. Why is a daughter in law in the family unhappy/unfriendly/unwelcoming? Why the lack of clarity about where she would be living with the family when she marries into this family? Why not meet all the family members she would be living with? How are the parents to be financially supported – who earns, invests and spends, and how much?

* * *

Hi,

I have just joined this group to have some emotional support. I am being asked to choose between my parents and the guy I love. But the twist here is that, neither of them are wrong. Then how do I choose who is right?

The situation: I met a guy in college (same engg batch), and have been with him since then (approx 2.5 yrs). He immediately made me meet his fun-loving family, who adored me and loved me madly! His parents are not educated, but are very loving, open-minded and modern. Over the time, I came to know their lifestyle. I was made aware that a long time back, uncle’s eatery business suffered, due to which they had to sell their house to support the finances and their children, but are recovering now. They already live a very good lifestyle.

My parents are educated and Himachali brahmins by caste. So naturally, when i told my mom about my guy, she was apprehensive and shocked (majorly due to caste difference as he is Punjabi, and scared of my father’s and extended family’s reaction). However, surprisingly, 3 months back, my parents met him, and liked him!

🙂 I even told my parents about the financial problem his family faced, and that they are living in a rented house at the moment, and will soon buy their new house by middle of this year. They did not have any problem, and decided to slowly and gently inform my extended family whenever the time was right. All seemed to be going fine then!

Now, 2 months back, my eldest mamuji (mother’s eldest bro) came to visit us. While I was in office in evening, my mom decided to inform her brother about us, and after listening to her, my mamuji decided to visit my guy’s parents the next morning. They went there, met his parents and came back. I and my guy were waiting with bated breaths about the decision. But, we were just not prepared for what was to follow! 😦

My mom and mamuji did not like his household at all! I’ll list down their opinions in short summaries –

1) They did not like the rented house his parents are currently staying in. Even though they know that they’ll shift into their own house mid-year, but still, their first impression was not good.

2) Due to the cultural and educational difference, my mother felt that the household and people are entirely different than what we are. She feels that she and my dad can never talk to them due to communication gap and different mentality level.

3) His mom, maybe in some nervousness or what (i don’t know), gave vague answers (maybe she did not want to share it before actually moving in there). Like when my mom asked about the family’s plans to shift to their own house, she said that they are still deciding on the place, and will shift mid year. My mom assumed, that the family has lied, and has no plans of shifting at all (infact at this point of time, they have already paid the down payment of their new house). In another instance, while being asked about household financial status, his parents replied in a way to show that now they have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons. My mom interpreted it to be that the parents have no money at all, and are dependent on children (which is not wrong, I would love my parents to be dependent on me as well). She feels that the family is under some financial trouble, despite my best attempts to expel and negate that thought!

4) His bhabhi (sister in law) created the max problem. She is very very VERY reserved, and even though coming from an extremely rich household and possessing a MDS degree, does not talk or smile much. They say its her nature, and that she was like this even at her own house. But I think she should have the brains to know what when there are guests at home, she ought to smile and greet them warmly, which she didn’t! She just kept quiet! My folks interpreted it that she is NOT happy about me coming in that household. My guy and his family are ready to apologize for her behavior, but my parents don’t want that now.

5) Last but not the least, I thought our horoscopes match (we already matched them on various authentic sites). We score 19/36. But now, my mamuji says that he has a very low mangal dosha, and that some other traits don’t match! I don’t believe in horoscopes. But he put the doubt in my family’s mind.

My guy and his family basically live as a joint family with other family members as well, who are in general very very rich. Its just that his parents wanted that my family know them first, before going on to meet the rest. Now the current status is that my parents are having second thoughts about my guy. They have asked me to take 6 months, and decide if indeed this is the family for me! At one point of time, my mom would tease me using my guy’s name, today she doesn’t like hearing his name! and then they say, that they don’t have any problem with the guy, but don’t like his family! His family is on the verge of giving the down-payment of their new house, and shift there in the next 2 months, but my mom is not having any of it!

I cannot dream of living without my guy, ‘cos he’s everything that any girl could ask for! And the fact that my parents liked him too, before having a biased opinion now, is not helping me either! I am not those sorts to run away with him, or hang a sword on my parents’ neck, ordering me to get married to him and no one else! But at the same time, my parents should understand that it is ME who’s going to stay with the family, and that I love the family! I understand their concerns, but they cannot ask me to leave the guy just ‘cos they think they cannot have a proper communication with his parents due to educational difference and mentality (both can speak awesome Punjabi though)! I love my parents, and cannot see them unhappy, but I love him too, and will have an extreeeeeemely miserable life if its not with him!

Please help! I am having a depression+nervous breakdown cos of this! Is it worth it to stand for my love, and argue this down with my parents? Will they ever forgive me? Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society? (that’s what they tell me)! Or should I listen to my parents thinking that whatever they do will be for my benefit!?? Please please help me!

S

I request this email writer to take a look at these posts,

1. A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

2. 18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

3. What would you not change for love?

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

5. An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

And, Please watch Queen.

Related Posts:

“My in-laws don’t hate me at all. But ‘love’ isn’t about all this. ‘Love’ is about letting your loved one ‘live’.”

The invisible family member in the saas-bahu post.

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

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

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

Supreme court has made it clear that a girl above 18 can marry or live with anyone of her choice.

An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

155 thoughts on ““About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.”

  1. a. Do your own checks. You seem to be too focused on your parents impression.
    b. how important is the financial bit to you? Having clarity is important, but beyond that, is it very important to you that his parents finances recover? What happens if they don’t?
    c. You don’t seem to have thought through the implications of living in a large joint family of this nature. If the family finances don’t recover, will that impact how your and your bf spend your money? Nothing right or wrong, but these are things you need to think through.

    I feel it’s important for you understand what you want , given that you yourself seem to particular about things like rented house, class, etc.

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  2. Can we for once acknowledge the elitism and classism on this site please.

    I have commented so many times about it and have been ignored on this site.

    If feminism and women’s rights are to go anywhere in India it needs to be an inclusive movement.

    Im not from India and read and comment on western based feminist sites. However, as a woman of colour of indian descent i feel exluded. So i found this blog which I LOVE. However I feel kind of exluded here too. I come from a working class background. My parents are not educated nor are they well to do. They are extremely open minded and supportive of womens rights.

    This lw writer needs to first examine her and her family’s class bias.

    Her parents look down on the family because they are currently living in a rental. So what? Does that make them beneath them. I think the mother was out of line asking about their housing plans. Its none of her business.

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    • I agree it is so weird that the parents asked them about their finances. If someone asked me I would give vague answers too. whenever i go to India, people ask me how much I make and I say “enough to pay the bills”. It’s nobody’s business what I make.

      Having said that I don’t think there is a class bias on IHM’s blog. The LW said “she has just joined this group” so I’m guessing she stumbled upon it.

      Finances are extremely important to discuss before marriage but that should be between the couple. Not girls parents asking guys parents. Or guys family apologizing for the bhabhi. Or girls uncle meddling in the decision.

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    • Agreed it is none of her business as such to ask about the housing plans, but considering that her daughter is going to live in the joint family and therefore in the same house, so isn’t it justified for her to know so that she can provide her opinion to her daughter?

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      • I agree, and what is happening here is typical of ‘love cum arranged marriages’, horoscopes are being matched, parental approval is being sought etc, so finances being discussed by the parents is a part of the ‘negotiations’. They even plan to live in a joint family, and parents plan to be supported by the husband (or the couple) – so finances should definitely be discussed. A part of what she earns would probably be used for the Joint finances – or not, but this should be discussed.

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    • “Can we for once acknowledge the elitism and classism on this site please.”

      I have seen neither elitism nor classism from IHM, ever.

      The parents of the OP are elitist and classist, yes. It bothered me to read the matter-of-fact way the OP accepted her parent’s “complaints” and even wonders “Will they ever forgive me? Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society?” Sigh.

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      • Speaking as a long time reader and commenter here, I haven’t seen a trace of elitism or classism from IHM either but I have seen it in a lot of comments lately. I think a good example would be the post on the BA ad about a couple’s trip to London.

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    • I suppose the elitism that you find on this blog is more or less unconscious and unexamined.

      Speaking for myself, I have generally found a strong correlation between socio-economic and education levels and the freedom given to women.

      I have found that sexism is more muted in families where women have been educated for more than two generations.

      I personally use certain markers to avoid sexist people of both genders. One marker is the ability of women in the family to participate in all decision-making, large or small.

      I think that the elitism that you complain of is due to an unconscious assumption that people of lower socio-economic-educational backgrounds are unlikely to support women’s autonomy and freedom

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    • I’m replying to my own comment, I wanted to add a few things about things said by the letter writer.

      “They did not like the rented house his parents are currently staying in.”

      This sounds incredibly shallow and superficial. What didn’t they like about it, was it too small, not extravagant, not decorated to their taste.

      “Due to the cultural and educational difference, my mother felt that the household and people are entirely different than what we are. She feels that she and my dad can never talk to them due to communication gap and different mentality level.”

      This is pure and simple classism. Why can’t they communicate together? because they are different castes? better educated? richer?

      I have friends who are wealthier than me, less wealthy, different race, ethnicity, less and more educated than me etc. You know what? I can communicate with them all because our friendships aren’t based on castes, class and status. We have other things in common. Shared interests, values and hobbies.

      “His bhabhi (sister in law) created the max problem. She is very very VERY reserved, and even though coming from an extremely rich household and possessing a MDS degree, does not talk or smile much. They say its her nature, and that she was like this even at her own house. But I think she should have the brains to know what when there are guests at home, she ought to smile and greet them warmly, which she didn’t! She just kept quiet! My folks interpreted it that she is NOT happy about me coming in that household. My guy and his family are ready to apologize for her behavior, but my parents don’t want that now.”

      You know what, even being very educated, coming from wealth, and having a high status job a person can still be very shy and introverted. I am painfully shy and when my parents have friends or guests over that I have not met or don’t know very well I am extremely quiet. I will say hello and sit quietly unless I am spoken to because I am shy and a bit awkward so I sometimes I don’t know what to say. You are also being very sexist. The sister-in-law was not deliberately rude she was just quiet. Women are always expected to be “on” by smiling constantly and chatty. Did your mother ever think that maybe she was sick, tired, stressed out, sad about something.

      You are also holding her to a higher standard because like you said she is wealthy and well educated and should know better. This may be hard for you to believe but poor and uneducated people aren’t stupid barbarians. They know how to be hospitable and greet others.

      ” His parents are not educated, but are very loving, open-minded and modern.”

      Education in India honestly mean nothing in regards to modernity. The Indian education system does promote critical thinking, or teach about equality, justice and fairness. Yet, people on this site will make these type of remarks all the time. “the family is rich, educated blah blah blah and I cant believe they are so conservative”.

      My uneducated and working class parents are extremely open minded and intelligent people.

      Why must we always mention wealth and education when it comes to people’s attitudes. Some poor uneducated people are incredibly amazing people and some rich and educated people are narrow minded sexist awful people and vice versa.

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      • @anon–I believe that we do not disagree, at all, that the LW is using classist language. At the same time, I do not believe that there’s a ‘class bias’ on this blog. Sure, certain comments and letter can sometimes can be classist (I’m sure mine came across that way in the BA ad blog post)–but that doesn’t mean that the entire blog is biased.

        You do state below that you’ve been largely told that there is no classism–I’m kind of curious as to where, on this blog, have you encountered this attitude (not of the classism itself but people telling you that there’s no classism). Such a strong claim would be better understood if you were to provide examples.

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        • Did you not read the comments in the post I linked. There were comments made about the classism in the letter and her classist beliefs and a bunch of commenters said they did not see and classism in the letter and IHM agreed.

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        • @anon–I’m immune to snark so the ‘did you even read the comments’ part was ineffective. If you want to have an open dialogue, snarkiness and sarcasm don’t help.

          I did read the comments in the link that you provided. I found quite the opposite of what you’ve written here unless you’re talking about the ‘class hatred’ comment (it would help if you could specify which comments). I agree with the other commenters who say that the letter was about an abusive relationship in which the man lied (this isn’t the equivalent of people saying that classism doesn’t exist or that the letter didn’t have an undercurrent of classism). I do not think that this is indicative of the entire blog displaying a ‘class bias.’

          Once again, I do not see a single situation in which other commenters have told you, that too largely, that classism does not exist.

          I definitely agree that we (whether we’re commenters or LWs) should be more aware of the undercurrent of classism that’s prevalent in us. But to say that the entire blog displays a ‘class bias’ is inaccurate.

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      • “Why must we always mention wealth and education when it comes to people’s attitudes. Some poor uneducated people are incredibly amazing people and some rich and educated people are narrow minded sexist awful people and vice versa.”

        THIS! There is the unconscious assumption that rich people are somehow more open-minded. I have never found that to be the case. I have found that educated people CAN be sometimes more open to new ideas than uneducated people, but it’s not a strict rule. And educated people can be barbarians too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @anon – I read all the comments and also the link shared by you including all the comments and what I found disturbing was the fact that off the abuse that the particular LW had mentioned in the letter how could there be any classist remarks. What needs to be kept in mind while reading what LW’s write to this forum is that all of them have or are undergoing severe emotional trauma and whatever they write is what they have undergone or are still undergoing. It is not upto the commentators to brand and judge them as classist etc… They write seeking some support and help. Especially in the link that you pasted, the LW was 19 or 20 and was badly mistreated by the man and abused and as a result hurt. I did not find anything in the letter where she said that “because the man belonged to a low class he behaved like that”, she wrote all that only to portray the lies that he was saying.
        Also as far as this LW is concerned, she is living in a bubble thinking about some real life version of “Hum Aapke Hai Kaun” or some such stuff and as quickly as she has described her family she has also said the BF’s family is very open minded and treat her like a princess. All this without ever living in that house on a day to day basis. So her parents have just expressed their worry as this girl seems to be totally at a loss and is just looking at the world with tinted glasses.
        Like a lot of people have said below, it does not mean that if she is independent she can manage, in most cases when living in a joint family things always look rosy, infact I totally second IHM and a lot of others who have said that the SIL behavior cannot be ignored.
        Being friends is different from being in a relationship and these two are totally different from being married and living in house full of people. You don’t live with friends everyday of your life, but you live with your husband every day of your life and if he does not have a spine and is unwilling to support and is concealing information and is not clear about his family financial status then life will be hell for sure.

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    • Finances are a legitimate concern when living in a joint family setting in India (IMO). This isn’t the Western world where two people can work min wage jobs and still live a non-poverty stricken lifestyle–without adequate money, life in India can be super difficult. I can definitely understand why money makes such a big difference here.

      I do agree with the fact that the LW’s family has no business asking her BF’s family about their financial situation. If the LW decides to marry into this joint family setting, then it’s up to her to ask the difficult questions and take a call herself.

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      • @ Kay
        I disagree. This girl says she’s studying to be an engineer. An engineer can make enough to support herself and live a nice lifestyle in India with or without a family. So should all women be after rich men to take care of them since “money makes a big difference here”. Should we not encourage women to be focused on their own earning potential and not others.

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        • @anon–“Should we not encourage women to be focused on their own earning potential and not others.”

          I do not know where you got that line out of what I’ve written. Yes, I can understand why her parents would be concerned if she’s going to live in a joint family setting and share her finances with, not only her future/hypothetical husband but his entire family. At the same time, I also think her mother and uncle were super rude.

          Do I think every engineer in India earns enough to live a comfortable life here? No–but that’s my opinion. Support oneself–sure, but comfortable lifestyle? Not necessarily. But that doesn’t have anything to do with this particular LW’s situation. Regardless of whether she earns enough or not, she’s going to be joining up her finances with his entire family–that is a major point of concern IMO.

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    • I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you. Are you saying that upper class, educated people should not feature in this blog? If you have a viewpoint to offer from the perspective of the working class, why not just put it forward instead of complaining?

      If it is about the LW that you are complaining then I agree. The class bias is there but that is just representative of India (or the world, for that matter).

      The housing plans are the LW’s business if she plans to leave her comfortable life and shack in with a huge joint family. She needs to be aware of what is going to happen and accordingly make decisions. Everyone wants a certain standard of living and they are entitled to it, if they work hard to bring it about.

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      • I’m not saying that the upper class and educated should not be featured on this blog. Its the language that the letter writers and commenters use on this site when referring to people of different classes and educational levels that bothers me. I do offer my viewpoint but its largely ignored or I am told that there is no classism.

        And I was mostly referring to this letter writer. I didnt say that the housing plans aren’t her business. It’s none of her mother’s business and prying into others financial backgrounds is rude. The letter writer has every right to discuss it with her boyfriend.

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        • “It’s none of her mother’s business and prying into others financial backgrounds is rude.”

          I agree.

          The mother is concerned because she still probably subscribes to the notion that she is going to have to “give” her daughter away to these people, and that her daughter will have to live with ALL of these people after marriage.
          So her intrusiveness arises from concern, not from trying to be classist.

          Given how terms and conditions of marriage are unfavourable to women in India(and even to this LW), it’s not surprising that a woman’s ‘guardians’ by default will gravitate towards trying to offset some of the gendered disadvantage with material wealth!

          This assumption of guardianship (by the parents and also, looming up ahead, by the in-laws) is the real problem here.

          I’m sure the mom would not care so much if her daughter was going to move into her own place with her husband after marriage- to me this seems like a good solution to the impasse.

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        • @Anon,

          I completely get your point and I understand your concern. That tone might be here because that is the society we live in and are often unconscious of it. Maybe it will help to raise awareness if you keep pointing it out. I agree with you that very often there is a class bias. At the same time, I probably am one of those people too. It is sometimes difficult to identify with the ‘other’ which is why dialogue is so necessary.

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        • @anon–you’re pointing out classism that’s present in the letter. You haven’t pointed out where other commenters have argued that there is no classism (or an instance where you were told that there is no classism).

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    • “If feminism and women’s rights are to go anywhere in India it needs to be an inclusive movement.”

      100% wholeheartedly agree. And often times, we have to look at the solutions we offer as well, and see if they are truly possible for women across all the lines rather than just one specific subsection of upper-class, well-educated women with jobs and a livelihood. Equality needs to extend across the board to all women, irrespective of what their financial status is, and solutions should be put forth to facilitate that.🙂

      “This lw writer needs to first examine her and her family’s class bias.”

      Agreed with this too. People often operate under the mistaken impression that oppression only exists in clear cut boxes separate from one another. This isn’t the case. Where there is sexism and discrimination against women, you will often also find classism, homophobia, discrimination against those with mental illnesses, and so forth. Oppression is intertwined, and you often can’t examine one without examining the other.

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      • “100% wholeheartedly agree. And often times, we have to look at the solutions we offer as well, and see if they are truly possible for women across all the lines rather than just one specific subsection of upper-class, well-educated women with jobs and a livelihood. Equality needs to extend across the board to all women, irrespective of what their financial status is, and solutions should be put forth to facilitate that.”

        A huge critique of second wave feminism in North America is that it was only concerned with middle class white women. It was not inclusive and many women of colour and women from the working class did not identify with feminism.

        If feminism in India wants equality for women it needs to be concerned with advancing ALL women. Not just catering to a very small privileged group of women.

        “People often operate under the mistaken impression that oppression only exists in clear cut boxes separate from one another. This isn’t the case. Where there is sexism and discrimination against women, you will often also find classism, homophobia, discrimination against those with mental illnesses, and so forth. Oppression is intertwined, and you often can’t examine one without examining the other.”

        Exactly, if a poor family has two children (a boy and a girl) and can only afford to educate one of them they will most likely choose the boy. If we take out the issue of gender inequality we are still left with the problem that this family has only enough money to educate one of their children so who or how will they choose.

        Poor women in India are not only oppressed because of their gender but because of their economic position.

        I was also surprised that the Khobrade nanny scandal was not discussed on this blog. Khobrade, an Indian diplomat was charged with paying her nanny only $3.30 an hour (way below minimum wage. Ironically this women was a champion for women’s rights while she was exploiting a women in her own home.

        Its IHM’s blog and she can post and not post whatever she wishes but it was odd because this was breaking news and a huge story in both America and India

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        • “A huge critique of second wave feminism in North America is that it was only concerned with middle class white women. It was not inclusive and many women of colour and women from the working class did not identify with feminism.”

          Admittedly, second wave feminism in NA never resonated with me for precisely this reason. Is it empowering? Yes. For the women who created it and branded it. But for me, as a first generation Indian immigrant, who is subject to two different cultures each with its own modes of oppression? I could identify with the struggles, but definitely not the solutions provided.

          “Poor women in India are not only oppressed because of their gender but because of their economic position.”

          ^ This x 100. It’s not just poor women either. People seem to think that finding economic independence is as easy as finding a job. What if you’re still in school? What if it’s a question of having a decent future and a roof over your head vs. being kicked out to the street and not being able to pay next semester’s tuition? Women in these conditions are oppressed too, and often, and the solutions for them are not as easy as, “Find a job and get out.”

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        • Hi Anon,
          I follow this blog regularly and in my opinion, IHM is not looking for popular news items which she can associate with feminism. The Khobragade issue is a very popular one, neither one was oppressed there. The maid voluntarily got into an agreement in India and then decided to do her will in NY. They both cheated the system. If somebody should get punished, they both should.

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    • Dear Anon, I’m someone who has lived outside of India for a very long time, long enough to understand Indian as well as several nonIndian cultures on a personal level. I understand completely what you mean when you talk about the classism expressed often by letter writers and commenters, and I know how huge and jarring that is for someone who has never lived in India.

      However, I do think you are misinterpreting the classism. Indian culture is simply very very different from other cultures. It is wrong to apply the lens of whatever culture you are from to what people are saying on this blog, because it’s wrong to analyze culture A through the lens of culture B. What you find unacceptable might not be what Indians find unacceptable, AND RIGHTLY SO given the realities which Indians live in.

      For example, I find that American feminist groups that I hang out in really just don’t get it when it comes to abortion rights. Just because abortion rights are constantly under threat in their country, and they feel the need to assert an absolute right to abortion for any reason in order to fight back, they start to argue that sex selective abortions in India must also be legalised. It’s absolutely nuts. They are so thoroughly wedded to their culture and their reality and their experience that they turn that same lens onto sex selective abortions in India and force their viewpoint onto an issue they can’t even begin to understand.

      Another example: muslim women in America who voluntarily choose to wear hijabs and other veils. They go on all kinds of big media networks here talking about how just because they chose to wear hijab freely, feminists shouldn’t say hijab is an oppressive practice. But again, they’re so wedded to their own viewpoint and experience that they fail to see that the vast majority of hijabis (and veiled women of every other culture and religion) are coerced into veiling, for them it isn’t a choice but a patriarchal tool of oppression. But you can’t do that. You can’t erase the reality of other cultures.

      YOU are erasing the realities of Indian culture when you call Indians’ obsession with education classism. In the context of India, it is often not in the least classist to focus on someone’s education or lack thereof and condemn them as “uneducated”. It is a measure of someone’s ability to survive. Let me remind you this is India we are speaking of, not a cushy first world country with welfare and poor people owning cars. I use the word survival in its most literal sense. You are applying a very western lens to the issue of lack of education; it means very different things to be a 12th-pass in UK or the US than it does in India.

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    • THANK YOU!!!

      SUCHHH classism OMG it boggles the mind!

      Himachali brahmins? Who cares?!! It should be made illegal to mention one’s caste and any discussion based on it deemed irrelevant.

      How is this girl even saying “the twist is that neither are wrong”?!!
      Her family is being elitist and judgemental.
      People should just be adults and learn to respect and be civil to people from different backgrounds.

      And hello, what gives this girl the right to say how her future sis in law should behave? If the woman is reserved by nature, how can she ask her to change?

      Bending over backwards to suit another person is not cool.

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    • You are right! The semantics are quite glaring. Like fem says, it needs to be called out as often for people to stop being oblivious to it.
      Quite disappointed that IHM did not call out on the casteism/classism in the prelude to this letter.

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  3. As ridiculous as I find your parents’ concern—I think the major issue here is the fact that you’re going to be living in the same household as a gazillion different people. Do you even want to live in a joint family setting after the wedding? It doesn’t matter that that’s what your BF’s family wants—is that what you want?

    The emphasis that you’ve put on the word ‘rich’ is really distasteful to say the least because it really doesn’t add anything to the back story. So your future SIL is rich, so what? So some other extended family members are rich, so what? How is this supposed to be a plus point or a negative point?

    I’m going to echo your mom’s thoughts and say give it some time—not to decide whether this is the family for you but jesus girl, you got some growing up to do before you commit yourself to this man that you say is everything a girl could wish for.

    “My parents are educated and Himachali brahmins by caste.”

    Half the concerns they have don’t really sound very educated to me. There’s a difference between being literate and educated—IMO, what I call educated people do not rely on things like castes and horoscopes.

    “Like when my mom asked about the family’s plans to shift to their own house, she said that they are still deciding on the place, and will shift mid year. My mom assumed, that the family has lied…”

    That is none of your mother’s business. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to move into a joint family setting (generally joint family means joint finances)—so it’s up to you to decide whether you want to put yourself in such a financial situation, not your mom and your uncle. I suggest you tell them that you want to take responsibility for your own life instead of getting them to fight your battles.

    “She is very very VERY reserved, and even though coming from an extremely rich household and possessing a MDS degree, does not talk or smile much.”

    She probably thought your mom and uncle were rude jerks. I wouldn’t have smiled at them either if they came to my house adn started asking intrusive financial questions. Also, what does being from a rich background have anything to do with smiling and greeting people?

    “Is it worth it to stand for my love, and argue this down with my parents?”
    What do you think?
    “Will they ever forgive me?”
    They’re your parents, we don’t know them more than you do.
    “Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society? (that’s what they tell me)!”
    Do you care if it does?
    “Or should I listen to my parents thinking that whatever they do will be for my benefit!?? Please please help me!”

    Whatever you do, I think you should grow up first. Whatever decision you take will create profound consequences in your life—you need to take responsibility for that instead of dumping it on your parents or your BF’s parents.

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    • I completely agree with this comment from Kay. Dear LW, living in a joint family is a big challenge, it looks hunky dory to you at first before marriage, after marriage, you will see the truth come out. May be, your mother’s approach is not agreeable to you, but, at the end of the day, she does have your best interest in her mind.

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    • Well said Kay!
      Dear LW, step back and get to know yourself and what you want from marriage first. It’s great that you have found someone you love. If you two are planning to live separately by yourselves after marriage, then the in-laws current residence, their finances etc should not be as much of a concern. However, If you and your husband plan to live with the in-laws and the joint family, and you are not accustomed to living in a joint family, trust me, it will take a lot of adjustment adapting to it. Are you mentally and physically prepared to handle that?
      From experience I can tell you that when too many people are crowded into a small space for extended periods of time, it is human nature to get crabby and uncomfortable. The women face the highest brunt of it, especially if it’s a family where the women are expected to “adjust” and cook and clean for the family and share resources while doing so. This is just speculation, but the SIL could well be facing the brunt of living in a joint family herself, and that could explain her being quiet.
      Like Kay said, take some time to understand your own needs before committing to sharing your life with another person.

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      • Agree too.
        Also, can we stop calling it ‘adjustment’?

        Joint families made sense when economic resources were scarce and pooling in wealth made life better-at least materially- for everyone.
        It’s high time joint families who exist for the sake of it, for culture and tradition- became extinct.

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        • “It’s high time joint families who exist for the sake of it, for culture and tradition- became extinct.” – and for the convenience of the men and women higher up in the food chain.

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  4. Is it worth it to stand for my love, and argue this down with my parents?

    Yes. Though if you care for him as much as you say you do, you wouldn’t have to wonder if it’s worth it. Definitely wait to marry him until you are absolutely sure!

    Will they ever forgive me?

    They have nothing to forgive. You are an adult, and you are allowed to choose your spouse by law.

    Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society? (that’s what they tell me)!

    Is their love for societal status stronger than their desire to see you happy?

    Or should I listen to my parents thinking that whatever they do will be for my benefit!??

    Welcome to the real world, please leave the rose-colored glasses behind. Parents are just as human, just as full of flaws as we are, and I’m afraid your parents seem both classist and elitist, and seem to care more about society and status than about your happiness. If your parents had expressed concerns about your living in a joint family, I could understand that, but “concern” about a rented house? About whether they were lying about the new house? Wow. Your prospective in-laws should not be worried about apologizing, your parents are the ones who owe the apology.

    That said, please read IHM’s links about joint families and their inherent patriarchal issues. I sincerely hope you will wait until you are financially independent (assuming you are still in college) before you decide to marry.

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    • ” I sincerely hope you will wait until you are financially independent (assuming you are still in college) before you decide to marry.”

      Agreed!

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  5. First of all, I think you need to understand that this is a decision YOU need to make. Once you have made your decision along with your boyfriend, you can set about explaining your position to other people.

    1 – YOU have to live in the rented house. It does not matter if your mother or uncle does not like the house. Do you like it? Do you want to live with these people? Do you think you would be better off having a place of your own? Consider these things and discuss them with your boyfriend. Make sure there is enough space for you in the rented house if you plan to move in there. Personally, I would recommend that you rent a flat of your own with your boyfriend near where you can keep in touch with both sets of parents.

    2 – It is okay if your parents cannot talk to your boyfriends’ parents. It is not necessary. As long as they can manage to be civil to each other at major functions or whatever, there is no need for them to interact at all. The point is whether you can deal with them on a day to day basis? Once again, I would recommend a separate establishment.

    3 – I am sorry to say but there is no way you can know whether your boyfriend’s parents are lying or not at this stage. It is important that you should not end up being dependent on them for anything. Make it clear to your bf that if things don’t go according to plan, you should consider the option of moving out and setting up house separately.

    4 – It is a horrible thought to want your parents dependent on you. Everyone should be independent. Be proud of your parents if they are indeed independent and have been responsible enough to save for their old age.

    5 – And right about here, I really want to emphasise that their financial difficulties should not affect you. Will you only marry a rich man? Why have you got educated then? You are perfectly capable of earning your own money. What is important is whether you and your bf are settled in good jobs before you marry. Are you able to support yourself? If the need arises, would you be able to support your families? If not, you are not yet mature enough to be married.

    6 – Sorry, I am a very reserved person too and I don’t lack brains. If you plan to already despise a member of the family and intend to move in with them, it is definitely not going to work. Don’t expect people to fall over you or your parents. If someone does not want to talk or chat, let them be. Not everyone loves guests or talking to strangers. Your parents think too much about what is not their business.

    7 – If you don’t believe in horoscopes, please don’t give them importance. Go by your own convictions, not that of other people. Ask your uncle if he wants to marry your bf, and if yes, he is free to match horoscopes and find problems. But if not, tell him to stop it and you will marry without horoscope matching.

    8 – I would really be wary of joint families. It is not so much the people themselves, but any newcomer to such a set up would take a long time to be accepted. Living in such a family with one part rich and the other poor is a recipe for disaster. Your mother does have a point here. I really think you should discuss with your boyfriend and suggest separate residence.

    9 – You can live without your guy. That is not the point here. You need to be discussing this matter with your boyfriend. Your parents’ concerns are valid if a little overstated but at the same time, it is you who has to live with them. Many women in the first euphoria of love and weddings do not fully realize the impact of how horrible things might get in a joint family. The relationship with his family is bound to change after marriage, but whether that would be positive or negative, no one can say.

    10 – Finally, you need to be more mature before tying the knot. You don’t seem to be able to understand the implications of your actions. You are more worried about other people. Once again, I recommend you discuss your parents’ issues with your boyfriend. Read up about the problems faced by women in joint families and try to discuss this with him. You can also provide him with some non-negotiables. Please don’t fall over yourself and agree to everything merely because you love this person. There is a lot more to life than submitting to the whims of your loved ones.

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      • Honestly, this – “My guy and his family are ready to apologize for her behavior, but my parents don’t want that now.” is a huge red flag.

        I think it speaks volumes about how this family thinks of a member of their household (who may just be a quiet, possibly shy person) as expendable. Even if she was unhappy and unwelcoming, glossing over her feelings to “make amends” so that the LW’s family may come around is not nice. Not that the other side’s behaviour is any less bewildering. Frankly, the behavior of family member cannot be used as an excuse to dismiss a relationship.

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        • This is what I felt. Why was she so obviously silent and why was her noticeable silence or unfriendliness trivialized as “They say its her nature, and that she was like this even at her own house.” She is a daughter in law in the same family and if she is unhappy or unfriendly, there is a possibility of there being some problems with living in the joint family. I know of one family where the first daughter in law was not permitted to talk to visitors because the family feared she might attempt to ‘wash dirty linen’ – it may or may not be something like that, but there is a difference between being reserved and being ‘very very VERY reserved’. Since (and only if) the couple plans to live with the same Joint Family, I think would not be a bad idea to get to know all the people she is going to be living with.

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        • Why is apologizing for perceived rudeness glossing over the DIL’s feelings?

          Some people are just not chatty. I’m one of those myself. There have been several instances where my mother has made excuses for my perceived taciturnity to her visiting friends/relatives when I retreat into my room after the usual polite greetings and small talk – “She’s busy” or “She’s studying for an exam” etc. My Mother is super social, and as an introvert, I find it draining to have to talk to a lot of people. In her opinion, its “normal” behavior to sit and chat with people when they visit, so she tries to compensate for what she thinks is lacking from me.

          Calling out introversion as a red flag is stereotyping extroverted behavior as normal, and it is unfair to the introverts.

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        • I have been an introvert too, and have had my mom made similar excuses for me. But if she appeared ‘very, very, very reserved’ and if that was seen as a serious problem, maybe she was not just quiet or reserved, maybe she was unhappy? How else would anybody be if they were angry or sad or depressed? As a daughter in law in the joint family, her life/happiness/etc in that joint family could be an indication of what the LW can expect. Does she contribute to family finances? Does she wake up early to cook before leaving before work? Like http://www.wordssetmefree asked above, if she looked angry, or miserable, it does concern LW. Judging her was immature and very wrong of course, but also sort of blind.

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        • They do say “she was like this even at her own house” – to me it seemed more like the girl’s relatives were looking for negatives. Given the OP’s aggressive tone towards the SIL (“If she had brains..”), it’s obvious that they are BLAMING her for rudeness. Also, if the girl’s relatives had noticed her looking angry/miserable, wouldn’t they have told her that “his SIL looks unhappy, I don’t think they treat her well, I’m not sure if you will be happy there” or something to that effect? Isn’t that an even more valid reason to have second thoughts about the marriage?

          But all this is conjecture, we’re going from what the mother and the uncle told the OP – and I can’t help distrusting them. I hope the OP takes time to get to know the real situation before she makes her call.

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    • Completely second Fem’s advice in entirety. I got quite worked up when I read the uncalled for judgement on her SIL. The LW should stop deciding on what people ‘ought to do’ and should understand that everybody’s priority is not to live as per ‘her’ convenience. The SIL does not and will not have any obligation to do things which please the LW or her parents, as long as she is not interfering with their lives. This is just another version of ‘Do as I say so that XYZ’ is not upset. In this case, XYZ is LW’s parents so SIL should do as they please; in an earlier post, a DIL was asked to ‘not upset’ her FIL (who abused his wife). I too recommend reading the links IHM shared, so that the LW understands the implications of what she is getting into.

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      • Adding on, why should your BF’s parents apologize for your SIL’s behaviour? Personally, I would have found it very insulting if my ILs apologized for ‘my’ behavior when I don’t feel apologetic about my behaviour myself. Dear LW, You yourself seem to be very biased and prejudiced. Can you imagine your in-laws, asking you to ‘apologize’ for ‘upsetting’ some random guests after you start living with them? Or apologizing on ‘your behalf’? This is a red flag. I think you have no idea about what you’re getting into, and you have no clue about what you want.

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        • Yes, I’m also concerned by the prospective in-laws’ disloyalty to the SIL. It should make the LW think twice.

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  6. Hi LW,

    I understand the situation you are in. You are in 2 minds because you respect your family’s views & at the same time you love this guy & you want to marry him. So this is what I would recommend.

    1. What does your gut tell you?

    2. Discuss the following points with the guy you want to marry. (These are points that were put across by Priya from http://wordssetmefreee.wordpress.com/ in some other post I happened to read & I saved it for the future🙂 )
    **
    – I would like for both of us to live in our own home, not with parents. Are you okay with that? (Basically your living arrangements)
    – 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?
    (Household chores)
    – 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.?

    These are a couple of points I would like to add since you seem to be on good terms with your would be – in-laws.
    – What are their expectations from you, do they have any? (Like the clothes you wear, living arrangements, working after marriage etc)
    – Do they expect your family to pay for anything in the future?

    I suppose others can add more to these as well.

    ** Not all of the points have to match. You should have your own set of non-negotiables that you just cannot alter because someone asked you too.

    3. These are questions you need to ask yourself. And the answers shouldn’t be influenced by anyone other than yourself.

    – Does his financial condition really bother you?
    – Do you feel that the two of you together, will be able to build a home & earn enough to keep the two of you happy & children (if you have any) in the future?
    -Do you feel he will be able to bring out the best in you & you’ll be able to do that for him?

    4. Regarding the horoscope, 19/36 is Ok. I know you don’t believe in this but if it really is too much of a bother, you can consult some maharaj & do the recommended pooja etc just for your parent’s satisfaction. – But then again, if you don’t wish to & you are certain that he is the one, you don’t have to. This was just a suggestion.

    5. Regarding your guy’s sister-in-law, certain people have a reserved nature wherin they don’t like small talk & smiling etc. I don’t think that should bother you & your family much. Remember, she is a part of the “extended family”. Same goes for your mamuji.

    I guess you should be able to get most of your answers by asking these questions. And the one thing you should know is that every parent (especially of an Indian girl) are quite apprehensive when it comes to their child’s marriage. With so many bad things happening around, they just want to ensure as much as possible that you are getting married in the right home. And not-so-good financial conditions are red flags to them.
    So they tend to rely on things like horoscope matching & the financial status of the family.

    Relay your feelings exactly how they are to your parents & ask them to do any other extensive research on this family for their satisfaction. Once they know that this family is actually a good one, they would agree a little more.
    Plus you & your guy can plan more meetings/casual outings/lunches with your respective families. That might help in easing away any tensions that both families may have.

    Ultimately, if you do happen to get married to your guy & when they see that you are happy, they will be happy too🙂

    Good luck!

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    • I forgot to mention, the reason I thought you could ask your in-laws those questions so that you can understand what kind of people they are from their expressions & answers. Of course like Fem said, you can’t know if they are lying but you may get to know how they are.

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    • Thanks a lot for your opinion. It matters a lot! On a personal note for your last couple of lines to me, I am aiming to come out of my parents’ shadow, as I have been sheltered and protected by them throughout my life. As you may understand, it kind of becomes a duty to have their approval for everything, as they always did; which I believe is wrong. I am definitely going to do something about this🙂

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      • S, There is a difference between respecting your parents and letting them trample over your feelings and rights. I’ve said this time and again and I’ll say it one more time, having a child and raising them is not some great favor parents have done…I say this as I’m pregnant with my first daughter and fully recognizing that having her is something my husband and I are doing for our own happiness primarily. So if your parents ever pull the “we gave up so much for you” on you if you demand your rights as an adult, remember this little fact.

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  7. I think the behaviour of the elder daughter-in-law is a major red flag. If she does not smile or talk much, or is reserved to the extent of giving offense to visitors, chances are she is unhappy/depressed. Coming from a ‘very very rich family’ and having a professional degree do not preclude unhappiness. It is simplistic to gloss it over as just her nature. I was also bothered by the in-laws’ eagerness to apologize on her behalf for her behaviour.

    In fact, I see several red flags but get the feeling that the LW is so eager to tie the knot with her guy that she would rather just ignore them.

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    • “It is simplistic to gloss it over as just her nature.”

      I’m not saying that you could not be correct, but sometimes, it really is that simplistic. I know several people who come off as very standoffish and rude at first glance. It has nothing to do with their current life status, or their happiness level, but does in fact reside in their nature. Depending on how much time LW has spent with her future sister-in-law and family, I feel that she would be a better judge of this situation than any of us could, but you never really know.

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    • Maybe she was just in a bad mood? Or extremely shy/uncomfortable around strangers? Not everyone is super sociable. Why should her behavior be interpreted at all?

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    • This didn’t even occur to me. I suppose I was thinking along the lines that the LW’s potential SIL was introverted. The fact that the BF’s family are going out of their way to explain her behavior is somewhat fishy.

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      • I think they are going so out of their way to apologize because of the way the mom and uncle blew it so out of proportion. They want to apologize but the letter writer says “her parents don’t want that right now” guessing they are still angry. It seems such a stupid thing to be so angry about. The guy may have also pushed his parents to appease them and apologize.

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  8. LW, let me ask you an honest question. If it were anyone else’s parents, who came forward with this set of concerns, would you honestly take them seriously, or laugh it off? And in all honesty, can you actually take your parents’ concerns as serious considerations, or are you only taking them into account because you are afraid of putting your foot wrong in front of them?

    This is not up to your parents. This is up to you, and you alone. You had no problem with your boyfriend and his family prior to this. It’s only after your family went to go see his that you started to have all these doubts. This leads me to believe that you are far far more concerned with pleasing your parents at this point, than you are with following your own heart and conscience. The real question is not whether or not you can come to an amenable conclusion with your parents, but rather, are you willing to think for yourself and put your parents’ happiness to the wayside for a little bit in order to be happy?

    The sad, sad thing about this situation is that at this point, you simply can’t have your cake and eat it too. In a perfect world, your parents would be happy for you no matter what and trust your judgement fully. But this is not a perfect world. Someone’s heart is going to have to break, someone is going to have to compromise, and something has got to give. The only question here is, will it be you who compromises your happiness in order to keep your parents happy, or will it have to be you breaking your parents’ heart for a short while so that you can have a shot at something truly great?

    If you choose to go ahead with marrying your boyfriend, I guarantee 100% that it will be difficult. It will be hard to have your parents, the people who love you and have raised you, be angry at you. It will hurt, but if you choose this, you will have to remain strong and have good faith that your parents will come around. And to me, from what I’ve seen, I honestly think that they will come around in your case. Of course, one can’t be 100% sure, but they have been open to your relationship for so long, and they have tried to make things work with their extended family. I think that them putting the decision in your hands, and asking you to take six months to think about it, is a hugely mature step on their part because they trust you to make this decision by yourself.

    So don’t be afraid of making them unhappy. Do what makes YOU happy. Are you happy, content, and safe with this relationship? If yes, go ahead with it. If no, then the reasons for this should come from you alone, and not from your parents’ ridiculous objections about finances and caste. Making big decisions isn’t easy, it’s always a leap of faith, but have trust in yourself, and best of luck.

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    • “But I think she should have the brains to know what when there are guests at home, she ought to smile and greet them warmly”

      I didn’t notice this in my first read. But, LW, nobody owes you smiles and warmth. Nobody owes those things to strangers, especially not strangers who are coming into her house (it is her house too) with the intention to pry and snoop and dissect her life. Why does she have to be nice to such people? Would you be nice to them? If someone came into my house, spoke to my parents that way, asked them such prying questions, you can bet that it wouldn’t just be me who was acting that way, but also my mother, my sister, and my grandmother. Nobody owes niceness to those who don’t do anything to engender such niceness.

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  9. Reading this letter I get the feeling that some modern women are stuck mid-way in their though process. They want to choose their own partners yet not take the responsibility that accompanies such a major decision….get what they want but not upset any relatives either…have their way but let the parents shoulder the accountability…. ‘can’t live without their boyfriends but discuss important marriage related points with their parents and not their BFs and wonder if its worth …. Be perfectly capable of earning but stay focused on how ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ the BF’s family is… Its like saying I want my cake and eat it too..

    Pls correct me if I have understood the situation incorrectly.

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    • I like your points but have a few counter thoughts. Ours is a society in transition. Unlike western countries, still our parents continue to support us till we are grown up enough (usually 21-25 years of age when people start earning). Even after this age, if not financially dependent, children continue to be quite close to their parents emotionally and discuss major life decisions with them and usually try to take decisions which are acceptable to the parents as well. This is unlike the western setup where kids are completely independent from 16-17 years of age and have comparatively lesser emotional ties. Typically, Indian parents have invested much more than their western counterparts in raising their children. I do not think the LW is wrong in being considerate of her parent’s feelings. I agree that the parents were intrusive in directly asking uncomfortable questions to groom’s family. But there concern is valid. They could have discussed these concerns with their daughter who could in turn have discussed with her boy friend. Of course the final decision has to be hers – she may make a decision which does not make her parents happy but that would come after weighing her own needs against her parents needs instead of being completely oblivious and dismissive of parent’s concerns

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      • I dont agree with the following. — AT ALL
        “This is unlike the western setup where kids are completely independent from 16-17 years of age and have comparatively lesser emotional ties.”
        “Indian parents have invested much more than their western counterparts in raising their children.”

        — just these 2 statements are enough to raise my IRE.. judgemental much eh??

        I have lived in the west for around20 yrs. and
        –i see the parents invest the same as parents around the world, the diff — they dont expect much in return for their investement. ( aka the great indian ponzi scheme)
        — kids have the same ties to their parents anywhere int he world,
        — at 16/17 kids in the west are busy with 11th/12 grade and soccer, college admissions, part time jobs etc., just like indian kids from responsible homes are.
        of course we have the borderline abusive parents, the drug addicts and the useless parents just like we have the idiot parents in india. no diff at all.

        we indian are a very racist, egoistic , judgemental lot. who think our way is the best, our culture is the best ( which is not wrong) but we tack on to that that the other cultures/ways are BAD…sad so sad.
        :

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        • MR, Thanks for bringing up these points. When I hear people dumping on the West for no good reason, it gets my hackles up.
          SP, Are your points about “western countries” anecdotal/personal or is this “general knowledge”? You say :
          “Typically, Indian parents have invested much more than their western counterparts in raising their children”.
          I disagree with this. But even presuming that it’s true, how does it justify this? The parents need to get their pound of flesh, because they’ve invested in them? Are children some kind of long-term insurance then? Must children listen to their parents/be tied to their apron strings because the parents have “invested” so much in them?
          If we think of children repaying the investment, then that thinking leads to the “budhape-ka-sahara” syndrome.

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        • “This is unlike the western setup where kids are completely independent from 16-17 years of age and have comparatively lesser emotional ties.”

          Born and raised in the west. At 17, I was in grade 12 getting ready for university, spending all my spare time at the mall with friends, didn’t have my license yet so my dad was still giving me rides, and I still got an allowance. Completely independent, I think not.

          Very few 18 years old in this day and age are completely independent. 30-40 years ago yes many were completely independent. But it was a different time, a person could find a decent job without a degree, housing prices were reasonable etc.

          Now, a good job without any post-secondary education is completely rare. Even with a degree many young recent grads are having trouble finding jobs. Many young people are working at unpaid internships.

          I’m 24 and still live with my parents as do many of my friends.

          The difference between India and the west is that parents don’t view children as their property. They don’t expect things in return for “investing” in their children. The term “investing” in regards to children is disgusting in itself. Children aren’t stock options or GIC’s. My parents don’t see paying for my education as an investment. They see it as helping me become a successful independent individual.

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        • Ok guys to make some clarifications….

          1) I did not say anywhere in my comment that the Western culture is bad and Indian culture is good. I just stated a difference between the two cultures and how these differences impact our thoughts and behaviors.
          2) Like Anonymous said, till some time back kids in the west used to be independent at a much earlier age. I was coming from there. Regardless, Indian parents continue to support their kids till a much later age..sponsor their weddings – saving money all their lives for the child’s wedding and education. I am not saying that this is right – this attitude will slowly change. If and when I will have a kid, I will do the best possible for him/her but I will not expect anything in return. I will just want him to turn out the best possible and be happy. But I think, most of the parents of our generation have not raised us with this mindset. Above all, parents want love and affection from their children
          3) When I say Indian parents have invested more, I do not mean just financially, but mentally, emotionally, psychologically, etc. Still I am not making a blanket statement that Indian parents invest more…this is my feeling based on some facts and up for discussion
          4) Even if Indian parents invest more in their kids, I do not think that Indian children should listen to their parents or be slave to them just because of this reason. I am all for cutting apron strings, being independent and making decisions independently. My only point is that with the kind of upbringing Indian children have, it is but natural for them to be more concerned about their parent’s feelings and opinions rather than having a “I don’t give a damn” attitude (I do not mean that western kids have this attitude – this is just rhetorical). What bothered me was that many posters said that it is none of the girl’s mother’s business. It seems as if we are not talking of a mother-daughter relation but a stranger. Even if I have a really close friend who I think is not with the right guy (and it is something extreme like the guy is cheating or something), I’ll raise a flag to her. I will not say this is none of my business. It’s because I care for my friend. I am not sure if some may call it meddling
          5) I am not saying that parents should be making decisions for their children but they are not wrong in being concerned. Fem has written in a post below – “My sister is more than a decade younger than me and she often turns to me for guidance. I have gone with the theory that informing a young girl of her options and the consequences of her options and letting her make decisions is the best method”. I believe the same theory is best for healthy parenting as well.
          5) I do agree with all who have said that many Indian parents consider their children personal property and emotionally blackmail them. I do not like this attitude of Indian parents and believe it stops them from being independent. This will hopefully change with time.

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      • Here are the two cents of a western woman: in my country the law rules that parents HAVE to support their child until he or she is financially independent, up to the age of 25. It might be different in the U.S., but in any case it’s complete nonsense to claim teenagers have to battle the world on their own once they turn 18, let alone 16 or 17.
        Besides, if you use arguments like “Indian parents invest more in their children than their Western counterparts”, I would like to see the source for this claim. Do you mean financially? I can guarantee you that thanks to exchange rates and inflation Western parents invest at least as much in their kids as Indians. Or do you mean emotionally? Sorry, but then this statement is nothing short of offensive. Our parents do want us to be independent, but their goal is to see us happy in the lives we chose. It’s not about getting rid of the kids asap, it’s about preparing them to stand on their own feet. Love does NOT equal suffocation.
        And please note that “the West” doesn’t exist. I come from Europe, and even on our little continent there is a badgillion of different cultures and values. To say nothing of the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc. So if you speak of experience, be so kind as to tell us which Western culture you mean instead of just lumping together random countries. More facts and less clichés, please!

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        • Loved your reply. You didn’t hesitate to pack in the punches and call SP out on her/his flimsy generalisations.

          Like

        • When I talk about western countries, I mean primarily US and Western Europe countries such as Germany, France, UK. I know that countries such as Italy, Spain, Mexico, and other Latin America countries value family relationships and bonding much more. I don’t know which country you are from – maybe knowing that will help in understanding where you are coming from.

          In India, there is no law enforcing parents to support children. Children can continue to live with their parents as long as they want and this is not out of a financial compulsion but because of a societal construct. I know Indian parents who continue to support their kids well into their thirties or maybe even their entire life and there is nothing abnormal in this. The only thing bad maybe that individual is not competent enough. Even if financially independent, multiple generations live together.

          Anyways, my whole argument was emerging from the thought that I do not see an Indian parent as wrong in being concerned about their children’s major life decision. But I can see it as normal in U.S./other Western Europe countries. The key reason for this is that these countries are more individualistic and India is not. Indian families continue to live together for a very long time and therefore, tend to take many decisions, sometimes personal ones in consultation with their family members. Therefore, marriage in spite of being a primarily individual decision, gets a buy in of different family members involved. You can always revolt and people do – but the vast majority of people I know are much more happier getting parent’s consent for their marriage rather than marrying against parent’s wishes. In fact, In India, a key factor considered before deciding marriage alliances is the family of the prospective alliance. this is primarily in arranged marriages but also to a certain extent in love marriages. I have seen cases where the parent’s dint approve of the family of their kid’s BF/GF and hence, did not go ahead with marriage plans.

          You ask my sources of these notions. I do not have first-hand experience of living on a long term basis in any of these countries but I have had multiple short business trips and internships where I have interacted with people from these countries. Besides, there is media (internet, U.S. TV series and movies, etc.), anecdotes from close friends who have been studying or working there for a long time. When “The Big Bang Theory” makes fun of Howard, a 30 year old man, for living with his mother, they may be exaggerating, but remember David Letterman or Jay Leno asking Aishwarya Rai, the leading bollywood star of India, in his show – “Do you still live with your parents?” Well this is a perfectly normal scenario in India, and nothing to be frowned upon. I repeat once again, this is not because of financial obligations. Is that the case in the West? Of course, there are exceptions, like in Germany I met a 33 year old guy who was still living with his parents. In TV series, “Friends”, Monica’s parents spend her wedding fund on a leisure trip or some other similar purpose. I am not sure if the depiction in sitcom is exaggeration but this scenario has next to impossible likelihood in India. In fact, the child’s education and marriage are the primary goals of Indian parents. Remember, the insurance advertisements in India are primarily focused on these themes rather than saving for a holiday.

          Another question, how often do grown up kids (people in their 20’s, even early thirties) in the west speak with their parents? In India, most people I know speak at least once a day and many call their parents multiple times a day. This may be a cliché but I have read multiple online forums/websites recommending parents to call their married children only at fixed times and fixed frequency. This advice does not fit well into the Indian construct.

          Such is the construct and fabric in India. And one cannot completely erase that. One is bound to be impacted by the societal norms and the conditioning of the country/region one is living in. The LW and her parents are products of this society only so they will have some influences of this society. Given that background, I think the mother is not wrong in being concerned or guiding her daughter. Although I do agree that the mother was intrusive and overbearing. My intent is not to measure which country’s parents are investing more in their children. This was not the essence of my earlier message. And I am certainly not interested in nitpicking if the children are becoming independent at 16, 17, or 18. My message was bigger than that.

          Another reason, why the LW’s mother is justified in being concerned is that the stigma of failed relationships/divorce, pregnancy out of wedlock, divorce, lost virginity is much higher in India and therefore, it is natural for parents to be more concerned.

          Having said all of this, I do not endorse the current system, but we need to understand that our behaviors will be a function of the system that we have been brought up in.

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  10. Fem and Kay have already covered most of the points that I could think of after reading this LW’s post.

    But I would like to add one thing.

    I would be offended if my partner, his parents and relatives decoded my mother’s inability to answer things during interrogation, her mentality, culture, education, communication – my bhabhi’s inability to talk and smile, my rented house, financial situation, kundali, dosha etc. As parents it is right to be concerned about what their children are getting into. But this is another level of intrusion. Its disrespectful too.

    It is ‘you’ who has to decide whether or not you can live in that house with the joint family. It is ‘you’ who has to decide whether they are lying or if there is something fishy. But don’t go looking for a stamp of approval from your educated parents on everything.

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    • You hit the nail on the head. I would be offended if my parents judged my future spouse like that. Financial stability is very crucial but how about they trust their own daughter to provide that stability in the relationship as opposed to pressuring her boyfriend and top it off, his family to provide her with security?

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  11. Hey, I am sorry but I tend to agree with those people who are advising you to grow up before you get married.
    -You seem to be naive thinking that financial problems do not matter, also wanting your parents dependent on you. Why would you want that?
    -You seem to judge your potential future SIL harshly just because your family found it so? In that case, I tend to assume your worldview might quite match your parents. If that is the case, then the concerns your parents have are legitimate in your case. Think these through.. How are you going to be happy in a household where
    – your finances will be used for joint family needs, not for your needs
    – you would have to live alongside your “rude” SIL, especially when living in the same joint family conditions

    Watch Queen, grow up before whatever decision you make.

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  12. Dear LW, I liked the way you are concerned about your parent’s feelings. But as an educated girl and moreover as a daughter of “educated parents” you must possess/develop enough confidence to handle situations. By this I do not mean the current situation you are in, which I am sure you will come over, but situations any girl faces after she gets married. Remember there always will be a difference between the way you think and your parents think. They are going to be practical because they have seen life and ups and downs of it. But as a young girl you are entitled to your feelings too. Those feelings are priceless. Enjoy these feelings. The happiness of being with a guy you like, being liked and accepted by the family of that guy, you liking the family etc. are all so many positive things about this relationship and which cannot be valued in terms of money. Don’t get much bogged down with what your parents think. Don’t judge the guy you have chosen and his family with the glasses of your parents. Use your own glasses with which you can see things your parents cant see. Ditch the walker your parents want you to use. Walk on your own.

    Go girl go.. Cheer up.. Life is beautiful.. enjoy it with your guy..

    God Bless you.

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    • You have put down my dilemma in exact words in the beginning of your comments. Thanks a lot for understanding. Yes, I do agree I am posting too much, maybe more than too much of faith on my parents, and ignoring my own thought processes, simply because my parents feel am to “inexperienced” about life. Thanks again.

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      • S, if you too feel that you are inexperienced and unable to make serious decisions on your own life, perhaps it’s too early for you to get married. Please get married ONLY when you can take control of your own life. Otherwise, I only see complete disaster ahead.

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  13. To answer IHM’s questions, yes the LW and her parents beleive that she is marrying the entire family.LW’s guy too seems to think the same because nowhere has he mentioned that they set up a separate home for themselves after the wedding.

    Coming to the LWs points,
    Point no.4 in the email just can NOT be ignored. What does LW mean when she writes that the Bhabhi created ‘max problem’. What exactly did she DO to cause a MAX problem? She was simply silent.How come that is a ‘max’ problem? Hasn’t the LW ever come across a shy, reserved person? Or did the Bhabhi smile and chat nicely with her in laws but refused to acknowledge the guests while pointedly ignoring them?
    What is the connection between riches, degree and a persons nature? Not all rich people are outgoing in nature.You simply can not put people in boxes and assign certain qualities to them like Rich = Talkative, Poor = Shy, or Graduate = Chatty and PostGradhate = Extroverted.

    Why should the guy and his folks even apologise? They seem to have accepted the girl’s nature but why apologise? Just to appease your parents?
    If tomorrow, some guests come to your place and find your demeanour unacceptable, will you be asked to apologise for being yourself?
    Are we missing something? Are your parents or the guy’s parents withholding information from you?
    There is nothing wrong with waiting for 6 months.
    And dear LW, please think twice about a guy being ‘everything a girl could ask for’ and before saying that you love their family.
    I do not want to undermine your love for your guy’s family but will you be honestly able to say that you love them after living with them? For example, if you have to wake up at 5AM, prepare breakfast for everyone,pack lunches for those who work outside the home, go to work and then come home, cook dinner for the entire family, tidy up, pick up after them,and then repeat the entire routine for the next day and so on? Have you though of that?
    Has your guy spoken to you about expectations from a new bahu once she enters his home! Is he OK to set up a separate home with you if the need arises?
    Or is he under the impression that you will automatically ‘adjust’?

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        • If the LW doesn’t like her SIL due to whatever reasons, she has every right to weigh it in when deciding on this marriage, especially when she may have to live in a joint family. Whether she chooses to marry this guy or not is not the point here, which is entirely her decision. I am completely against the LW specifying what others ‘ought to do’ and what others ‘ought to know’. Women have enough constraints coming from every quarter on how they ‘ought to’ behave, look and live already. The LW could do well by not adding to the list on how people ‘ought to smile and welcome guests warmly’. And yeah watching Queen is a good starting point for her.

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        • Purely on the basis of what LW has written about her SIL in the post (Her point number 4) and the level of immaturity displayed, I don’t think so she has concerns of that nature (about her SIL being unhappy etc) that has been raised by IHM and some other people over here. What the LW wanted was a conflict-free & confrontation-free alliance and she wanted everyone to ‘co-operate’ and make it easy for her. But the SIL created the MAX problem by not smiling and talking!😀

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    • “I do not want to undermine your love for your guy’s family but will you be honestly able to say that you love them after living with them? For example, if you have to wake up at 5AM, prepare breakfast for everyone,pack lunches for those who work outside the home, go to work and then come home, cook dinner for the entire family, tidy up, pick up after them,and then repeat the entire routine for the next day and so on? Have you though of that?”

      Please please LW, if you do move into this joint family, refuse to be 5 am cook described above right from day one no matter how much you love the guy. That should be a non-negotiatble for any working women considering living in a joint family, only other alternative is to walk out.

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  14. Bhabi did not create ‘maximum problem’. It is LW who is creating ‘maximum problems’ for herself because its high time she understands that other people will not act according to what she thinks is appropriate which is twisted anyways. Wake up…the whole world is not going to base their behavior on making you and your parents happy. I guess you and your parents are not important enough for her to smile and greet. So live with it.

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  15. To the LW :

    You fell in love with the guy, You decided to marry the guy , did you check with your parents, his parents, his SIL and your mamu before doing that.
    NO? then why the sudden need to throw responsibility on someone else.
    Also considering the indian context and most ( not all) but most indian parents cant stand love ( for some vague reason) how come no guilt for falling in love then?

    First decide if YOU want to be with him, in all circumstances. next decide if HE wants to be with you in all circumstances.
    Both of you need to decide if you rate no.1 on each others list.

    next you need to keep your parents out of poking their noses in your future in-laws business. You need to rely on your an dyour husbands earning capacity to support your lifestyle. You need to depend on yourself and to a certain level your husband for happiness and peace.

    if you can do this and are comfortable with the result go ahead and get married. fortunes come and go, is your mom and maamu going to monitor their financial position for the rest of your married life. or are they only worried about how it will LOOK to the other relatives if your potential in-laws dont have an own home…

    If you dont want joint finances YOU must tell your in-laws and husband and decide your parents have no business investigating anything.

    sometimes i think we women want to be liberated , treated equally yet want parents money, help, approval and to be treated as a baby when push comes to shove.

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      • thanks shail , with 2 sons in college ,one one hand i look forward to their future, see who they meet nd what choices they make and blunder their way thru love and then on the other hand i’m silently worrying about the immature choices . kids these days need to do a lot of growing up….
        as an example i know of 2 girls who were madly in love with one of my sons at diff times and then moved on. of course they wont know if it’s love or not till they work it out but one’s mom actually spoke to me about marriage. i was shocked to put it mildly. first it’s their decision, 2nd they both were in college and third the boy was under age🙂 apparently they just wanted to book him for future ( like train tickets i assume) 🙂
        luckily sense prevailed….. why cant 2 youg people go out and have fun without thinking deep thoughts atleast till they are independent , and mature…. it didnt bother the lady at all, the fact that he was in med college and his parents were loaded with a house was enough to propose marriage . oh i forgot same caste too !!!! i was blown away. bartering your daughters life like some tatkal ticket…

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        • Not just the parents but girls & boys also do the same things. I rem when I joined college a group of girls in my batch were making this list of ‘eligible’ boys in final year. Atleast 2 yrs of age gap- check. same caste – check. good looks – check. So that everything goes smooth when they plan to introduce the guy to parents. This even before asking the name. And no, nothing like compatibility, character etc featured on this list.
          Same thing happened when we were in final year and the guys eyeing the junior girls with their own (misogynistic) list. Some ended up tying the knot while some tied rakhi and some remained secrets.

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        • Hi,
          Since you speak from a different viewpoint as most of us (ie parents – of young, uncommitted sons), I wanted to ask you, would your opinion be any different if your child had been a girl? Would you rest easy, if you knew that – “2 young people going out and having fun” may include sex? And in case a relationship that did include sex did not work out (which is probably what the girl’s mom worried about) – your daughter could be viciously shamed (by extended family, “society) and labelled as a slut. This could even impact any future relationship (love, arranged or whatever) she has, more importantly, her emotional strength and confidence as well.

          Now, as a feminist myself, and on a feminist blog, I know the theoretical answers to these questions – why should we care? Extended family and society’s opinions matter zilch to me. However, as a 25-yr old, if I had suddenly lost the affection of a favourite Mamu or the concerned phone calls from my grandma, it would not have been very easy to brush it off. What specific steps can you take to equip your daughter to deal with these possibilities – atleast until the general Indian mindset evolves to be on par with the West?

          Another aspect as well – emotional entanglements could take the focus of both the boy and girl away from their career, and this could negatively impact their future as well. (In fact, this was my primary concern during my growing up years).

          What are your thoughts?

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        • @Dee,

          That is actually an interesting question and I have often observed discrepancies in what people say they believe in and what they actually practice with their daughters.

          My sister is more than a decade younger than me and she often turns to me for guidance. I have gone with the theory that informing a young girl of her options and the consequences of her options and letting her make decisions is the best method. So when my sister goes out, she knows to inform me even though she is technically an adult now. I meet her boyfriends and know what is going on. This ensures she doesn’t get abused. When family members are REALLY part of the girl’s life, they can help guide the relationship / fling. If it has to be kept secret, we all know where it will end.

          If some guy is going to judge my sister on her past relationships, she is better off without them. We both think that way. And no one would tell her anything because I don’t let crap pass.

          Also, Radha’s sons are no more emotionally strong than my sister simply on account of being males. I think we do not give enough space and time for relationships while growing up. Growing up is a learning phase and it does not hurt to learn about how to handle different sorts of relationships during this time along with studies and career plans. I believe in a balanced life.

          The only way to actually prevent these things from happening is to raise your daughter the right way. Right from the beginning, make it clear to people that they have no right to pass judgements on her. Defend every action of hers, whether or not you agree with her (except if it hurts others). If people know you aren’t going to take crap, they will stop talking crap and moreover, they will stop expecting things from your daughter.

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    • “sometimes i think we women want to be liberated , treated equally yet want parents money, help, approval and to be treated as a baby when push comes to shove.” EXACTLY Mam!!!

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      • @DEE,

        I fell in love, decided he was the guy for me and when my parents asked ot choose i choose my choice .🙂 so yes if it was my daughter i would act the same especially since my husband was not my first date neither was he my first crush , neither was he the first friend of the opp sex i had 🙂
        he is however my love and companion and friend. This i figured out after i knew after having numerous male friends, a few borderline crush and a case of hero worshiping. you need to see it all before you can figure out what exactly it is you want.

        In these days if that includes experimenting with sexual compatibility then i only have one thing to say ‘ PLEASE BE SAFE – PROTECT YOURSELF’
        i have no other advise for my sons and if i had my daughter the advise would be the same.

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  16. 1. Is your mom planning to live with them after your marriage? if not her opinion on place of residence doesn’t matter.
    2. Your mom and dad dont have to talk with your in-laws freely, although i don’t think cultural and educational differences stopped anyone from communicating.infact their superior culture and education should aid them in being able to talk with everyone.
    3. You and your future spouse need to discuss finance. not your mom and maamu. how old are you guys 15? if you are old enough to get married and procreate you dont need mummy to manage finances. Again your in-laws may be rich, dirt poor, lying and totally dependent, you need to talk ad set expectations with your future spouse.
    4. Seriously!!! his SIL’s behavior is none of your business. definitely not your moms. again you need to talk to your future spouse about living arrangements and then decide where she pictures in this scenario.
    5. if you believe in horoscope, you should have matched it before sucking the poor sod into this unholy mess. either ignore it or dump him, dont walk on the fence and torment everyone.

    It doesnt matter if his extended family is v rich or v.poor unless you are expecting a share inthe riches ( bad taste) or you are expected to earn and contribute to lifting them above poverty ( bad state).

    You need to keep, Class, caste, richess,poverty, culture aside and focus on the practical side of living, like
    1. where do we stay
    2. with whom
    3. whom do we share finances
    4. how do we share work etc.,

    I may sound harsh i dont know about your spouse or you, but from what you have written , your mom seems to be a judgmental lady . if my sons future in-laws came and judged my home and it’s occupants I’d kick them to the kerb , again it’s another matter that i dont want a grown son and DIl living in my house.

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  17. I read the email and the one thing I noticed is that you have said that the guy’s family has paid the down payment however elsewhere you have said that they will soon make the down payment. So which one is it? I am asking you this because own v/s rented home seems like an important factor for you and you might want to get your facts right before you decide to get married.

    With that out of the way, my advice would be to follow your gut instinct. In case you have even a flicker of doubt, then don’t get married till its resolved. Secondly, do you currently live in a joint family or do you have any experience with a joint family from up close? I ask because even though i have never lived in a joint family, my maternal uncles and cousins were in a joint family setup till a few years back, and as much as I love them.. I always I knew that I never wanted to get married in a joint family.

    Even if all seems well and everyone seems to get along, there are always undercurrents of family politics and the family elders generally try to control the younger generation.

    Ofcourse his family could be an exception, or you might fit into the whole set up like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece.. But please take this decision as a responsible adult, and if you are convinced that the doubts that your parents have are baseless and you really love this guy, then you should take the relationship forward.

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  18. My thought from reading this post is the LW is just desperate to get married to this guy. She is on a ride to fix some people (bhabhi), satisfy some people in the name of affection, bring all those who think like her to apoligize to someone – in the process not think of what it really means to her. I am sure she is going to freak out if the future in-laws dont want to tag into this and say, we cant help in dealing with ur parents.
    LW, you really need to grow up!! You are in love and want to move forward, agreed. Take a deep breath🙂 .

    You are no one to judge the SIL in the name of education, rich blah blah.., she is as independent a girl as you and is there by her choice. She doesnt have to come and please u or ur parents..no way. Matter of fact, no family needs to please each other here. You all would be “faking” in the name of affection and wont last long. In this typical love-cum arranged marriages in our places,, some families support, some dont, some are ok..this is reality.

    You are going out of the way to think of ideas to satisfy ur mom’s list. Your mom sounds very judgemental too. will you allow ur mom to talk in detail abt her family’s finance to another family in first meeting?? Thats none of anyone’s business. These list only grow, dont waste ur time n life on satisfying people around you.

    first of all its all only your choice. If you expect every parent to say “Wow, i love everything abt ur choice”, it doesnt happen. They dont have to and STILL you can live happily. This is where u need to grow up!! You guys have to cross a lot of emotional blackmail to go thru this. You seem to be in love with ur future IL only because they seem to be happy with this. You wouldnt have handled a family that would have talked like your mom!!

    From my own experience, you need a lot of patience, some diplomacy – yeah really, and stay strong in your love for the person irrespective of whats going on.. You will get over and be happy!!

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    • //will you allow ur mom to talk in detail abt her family’s finance to another family in first meeting??That’s none of anyone’s business. //

      I think the LW should have this discussion with the family she is going to start living with, because she will be required to contribute to these finances once she is married.

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  19. Am commenting in a hurry and so I will be brief:
    To: the letter writer.


    My gut feeling:
    Wait! Don’t be in a hurry to marry now.
    Decide after year or two.
    Watch how the situations and circumstances unfold during this period.

    Read many recent posts here, on this blog detailing the experiences of young women marrying and then being obliged to live with their in-laws in a joint family arrangement.
    I see many red flags in your letter and I share your parent’s concern.
    And this is not due to any class bias, I assure you.

    The boy may be fine.
    But, accepting the boy’s family also. to live with under the same roof, must be a carefully considered decision which is better made after a couple of years.
    During this time, see if you can have an independent establishment of your own or work towards it. Tell the boy and see what he says. He might say, “If you want me, you will have to accept my family too”. Thereafter it will be your own decision, good or bad, to live with for the rest of your married life with this boy.

    In 1975, as the junior most executive in a moderately paying public sector undertaking I could marry and support a non-working wife and live in my own rented house.
    Why is this so difficult these days, when young couples earn more than what their parents retired on?

    All the best.
    Regards
    GV

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    • Inflation GV sir…..salary increased but the prices rose to the skies…..see any metro city a humble 3BHK costs atleast a karor.Ur were lucky Sir to be born in the 60s🙂

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      • @Neha
        Luckier still. Born in the late forties! Married in 1975.
        Total Salary Rs 750 per month.
        Rent for 1 BHK apartment was Rs 180 in Bangalore, Jayanagar 7th Block.(teak wood finish, mosaic floors)
        Electricity Rs 20. per month. Milk Rs 1.15 per litre.
        Petrol Rs 3 per litre. Autorickshaw fare 45 paise per KM.
        Maidservant Rs 20 per month. Vegetables Budget s 60 per month.
        Bus fare to office 25 paise.
        Price of new Yezdi motorcycle purchased in 1976 Rs 6250/- (with a loan from the company)
        Movie balcony ticket at an air-conditioned theatre Rs 3.
        Chaay/Coffee at a wayside stall 35 paise!
        Thali meal at a Grade II restaurant Rs 1.50 to Rs 2.00

        हाय! वो भी क्या ज़माना था!

        Regards
        GV

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        • I lived in a tier 2 city on my own as an intern in 2010 on a stipend of 6000 rupees a month. Main expenditure- rent (2000 rupees for a room with attached bathroom in a slightly undesirable part of town).

          Honestly, couples who don’t move out of the house do it for reasons other than economics. Most people with a college degree will definitely make enough to lead an independent life.

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        • ha ha GVji, good you remember the numbers, I stayed in the 90’s in b’lore alone and spent 3000 for a pg acco room and 1 meal and as s intern making under 5K still survived very well, living what i thought was a luxurious life and more importantly a fun one. oh the reok’s up and down malleshwaram 8th main…lots of walking , lots

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        • Your post made me smile – you remember everything in such detail, such sweet nostalgia.🙂

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        • I agree re the finances. Even today, a dual earning couple at the beginning of their careers can live a comfortable, if not lavish life. Of course, one has to prioritise.

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      • why does a young couple need a 3BHK?
        Any young couple especially 2 member earning nowadays can easily live separately, sure you cant have the crorepathi house adn the latest car and gadgets, but I’d suggest earning them immense joy in that🙂

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        • In 2004,right out of college I shared a 1 BHK (rent 6000) in Bangalore with 2 other girls.We had all joined a software company and were on stipends. We had no beds(just mattresses) and had 1 TV.We literally had no furniture.Our kitchen had 1 of those portable stoves and no microwave or fridge.We didn’t a fridge as we polished off any food we made. We had no maid either.None of that mattered then. But this was literally the happiest time of our lives as this was the first time that any of us had lived an independent life!

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    • Amazing home truths! My grandparents too lived for a long time on their own on a measly government pension. Now they have moved into my mama’s house due to extreme ill health. My parents live alone now. I agree with you. Why is it difficult for two earning adults to find and share a home today?

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  20. Hello All,

    I would first like to thank ALL of you who have chosen to respond back to my letter. I have read through each of the comments given here, and am feeling more than humbled to realize that, in your own way, you do care about me, as one human to another. There are a few things I would just like to include here in response to the points listed here –

    1) Am turning 25 this month. I am concerned and worried as my parents are already hinting towards searching for other guys for me, without even thinking about this guy, whom I want to be with. Even if I do suggest to talk about him, it usually disintegrates into an emotional blackmail speech. Which leads me to point 2.

    2) Thankfully, as some kind readers did figure it out here, I am pretty sure about marrying this guy. The only thing is that I love my parents, and just never wished to hurt their feelings in any way. They are considerate enough to grant me 6 months to finalize my choice, but are not ready to look at the positive outcomes of marrying him. I haven’t ever stayed out of my house (no hostel at all..sad i know!), have constantly been watched over and protected; so yes, I feel that they should atleast have a positive outlook regarding my relationship, considering that it is my first ever. I may always be a child to them, but I am an adult individual in my own right; this is something they have to accept! For this, I again accept my fault, as I agree with the readers here, that I need to move out of my parents’ shadow and make my own decisions.

    3) Hailing from a nuclear family, and then meeting his gregarious joint family, I have absolutely NO doubts about adjusting with them. I doubt if I’ll ever be treated so lovingly in any other household as in this one. My parents doubt so, ‘cos I think they never saw the functioning of a joint family, and the only time they did see, they do not have pleasant stories to tell about it. So I can understand their reluctance.

    4) At the time I wrote this letter, I was majorly facing an emotional moment, due to which I, subconsciously, used harsh words for his bhabhi. I apologize to all regarding this. I share a cordial (if formal) relationship with her. Yes, I agree, I became judgmental after listening about her behavior by my mother and uncle (they were harsher). But somewhere, I just thought, that greeting a guest at home with a smile, or even just asking how my mother is (as in “how are you?”) would have sufficed. I am an introvert myself, by-the-way.

    5) About classicism in my letter, I DISAGREE. Atleast I ain’t classicist. I knew the truth about his family culture and ‘financial status’ right at the beginning of the relationship, and yet chose to be with the guy. He is not some down-trodden guy. He belongs to an average middle class family. Heck, I did not even bother about all this at all. He, his family made me feel like a princess, loved and cherished, and that’s all that mattered. But yes, with all due to respect to my parents, I feel my parents do have a little classicism outlook, which brings me to point 6.

    6) I agree that a typical Indian girl’s parents will inquire everything about the guy’s family (background, education, finance etc). But I would agree to some of the readers here, that I just felt it was wrong on my folks’ part to be so intrusive downright! Before this debacle, I was 99.99% sure that my family would love his family, for the simple reason that they adore me! I thought my parents’ worry about in-laws not bonding well with DIL (as per the general perception in arranged marriage..) would disappear. I just was not prepared for this vehement refusal.

    I have always held my family and his family in highest regard. Being an introvert myself, it was never my intention to be harsh while talking about his SIL. Being home-bound my entire life, I just felt that it would have been better if my parents showed even a little bit of acceptance and compassion. Apologizing for conveying the wrong emotion, it was purely un-intentional.

    As for the last lines “Will they ever forgive me? Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society? (that’s what they tell me)”…This came out of my mouth ‘cos this is what I have been hearing since the last 2 months, every day after that meeting (including today).. All I just needed was a little bit of assurance, considering that I dont have anyone in my family to talk to regarding this, and my marriage might be the first love marriage of my generation in my family. To anyone and everyone who have felt offended or hurt or pissed off by certain words or expressions in my earlier post, I extend my heartfelt apology.

    Like

    • @the LW–for what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re a classist. I think you’ve used classist language to a certain extent in your letter, but I don’t think that makes you a classist at all.

      In your mom and uncle’s case–I can understand that they are concerned. Being concerned about money doesn’t automatically make one a classist, especially in a country where it’s so necessary to live a half way decent lifestyle. I do think, on the other hand, that they were extremely rude to your BF’s family. They have no business asking such personal questions (it’s up to you to ask these questions if you’re going to be joining up your finances with them).

      All the best🙂

      Like

    • Dear LW,

      You must put your foot down and explain clearly you do not intend to be bulldozed into some sham marriage.The earlier you do it, the better it will be and the LESS your relationship will suffer with your parents. If they are indeed resorting to emotional blackmail already, consider getting a job and moving out to a separate flat. This might actually even help you get some space away from the drama and concentrate on what you really want. If you haven’t stayed away from family control, this might be the best time to start

      You must understand that your parents have no right to grant you 6 months or 1 year or whatever. That is not considerate, it’s called control. YOU need to give yourself whatever time you feel necessary to make a decision. You love you parents, but do they love you unconditionally? Apparently not!

      Many girls in your position end up pushing for an early marriage and later regret it. My friend was really not interested in having an arranged marriage, so she quickly married her boyfriend without taking time to understand the repercussions she might face. It’s not a good relationship today.

      Personally, I think you are in for a rude shock. Real life is not Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. In real life, joint families mean more friction and the kind of family you have outlined seems really scary to me. It is not about the people, it is about the setup itself. It’s not just the close relatives but also all sorts of extended relatives. Consider yourself chained from now. I think you should discuss with your bf the option of moving out in case you are unable to adjust. Don’t be blind in your desperation to get married.

      Like

    • After reading LW’s comments I feel she doesn’t even want to grow up. She writes about coming out of her parents shadow but wants to go into a joint family because they treat her like a princess and cherish her. Well I would advise her to learn from her protective parents that too much pampering comes at a cost. The cost is your freedom. Why not learn to be independent,not be soo needy for others love and acceptance and then make a decision?

      Like

    • You say you come from a nuclear family. Do you even know how a joint family works? Families are very pleasant as long as you meet them over samosa and chai but can be a whole different ballgame when you have to live with them. I say this as someone who’s been away from my parents since I was 20 years old. I married my boyfriend of 4 years at 24 and yet there were moments of doubt after we started living together. We did have the benefit of the love we shared and that helped us sail over all that initial friction.

      Now extrapolate the same situation with not just the guy you love but his entire clan. You’re in for a whole lot of friction and “adjustment”. This isn’t to diss all joint families but friction can start with things as simple as sleeping in late over the weekend, eating Maggi for dinner and other seemingly small things you may need approval for.

      Others have said this, but PLEASE take your time and figure out what you want from life before marrying. Your parents are not being “open-minded” by granting you 6 months. I can’t even figure out a vacation destination in 6 months let alone deciding how I want to live my life! You seem like a sincere person caught between a rock and a hard place. Take your time. Try and find opportunities to live on your own if possible and then decide about marriage.

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  21. LW,

    It is hard for me to give any kind of advice here as you are eager to participate in a system that will put you at great disadvantage. I’m talking about the joint family system. I do not see a single positive in this system. Why are you willingly opting for it? I can understand if women with no education or job skills who have no choices, and are ‘married off’ into some family. But why you? You are an engineer, capable of earning, and are from an upper middle class family. You do have a choice.

    On top of that, this family’s finances are so vague – they are “living with rich relatives”, they “may buy a house”, they are “passing the baton”, etc. Whatever you earn will go into this vague mess of finances, with zero accountability. There are no clear boundaries – some people are earning, some are spending, some are entitled, some are not – it’s all so undefinable it’s bound to lead to lots of conflict.

    Do not hold other people responsible for your financial future. If the guy’s parents want to rent, depend on rich relatives, etc., it really is their decision. Your financial future must only be a function of your and your husband’s earnings. You must not expect any money from your in-laws nor should you judge them, their lifestyle, etc.

    Also, your decision to marry this guy must be yours and his. It’s great to have parental support/suggestions etc. but they cannot be the primary decision makers nor should you try and “please” them. You and your future husband must drive. Right now your families are driving.

    Talk to the guy and see how he feels about living in your own home, building your own finances, and being responsible for yourselves. I feel that both of you (assuming the guy is also eager to tie the knot) are not yet ready for marriage. You need to grow up, take charge of your own lives, have clear ideas about what you want from your marriage, before taking the step. So that when you do marry him, you will both be responsible for your own happiness. I wish you all the best.

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  22. Gosh I hope the santabanta agony aunt posters stay there instead of trying to come out to IHM for advice. I am an introvert and do not appreciate this girls obnoxious attitude

    Like

  23. Many people commented that the mom has no right to evaluate or judge the in-law’s finances. While I agree in principle, what is happening here is – the girl’s parents are playing into an age old system – where the girl is “given” to the boy’s family to “cherish and protect”. Traditionally, the girl is incapable of fending for herself (having been denied an education, skills, and bred as a slave). So, she is still very much a “child” to be taken care of by her “new family”. In this context, the hawk-like evaluation is understandable and even necessary to ensure this “child”‘s survival and happiness.
    This regressive view of a girl child is wrong, denying her an education and confidence in herself is wrong, which leads to excessive parental protection which is also wrong. So, the system itself is flawed here, and every action that tries to fit in with the system, will therefore be naturally flawed.
    We are going through growing pains with our culture. Girls are getting more educated and are working/earning, but parents still treat them like china dolls. They are trying to assert themselves but are made to feel guilty for displeasing parents. Eventually, women will need to step out of the home, take risks, date, marry outside their community, dress as they please, manage their own finances, and do everything that adults are expected to do, to overcome their “child” status. These “love cum arranged marriages” are the first step in that direction, hopefully, and help young people learn about ourselves, what’s right, what’s wrong, and what they need to change.

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  24. The LW chooses her own partner and now wants to listen to what her parents say about the guy’s household? Why? Why not depend on her own opinions regarding that too?

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  25. By ur description ur guy’s family seem to unrealistic…like sugar coated big happy joint family….
    I agree with ur mom in one aspect …first analyse the dynamics of the family.There’s no prob with the joint family if each person is matured n give each other enough space….being rich has nothing to do with happiness.U can be miserable in a rich family as well.most members hav already given u good suggestions….I wld suggest u analyse these things too.

    Will u be expected to wake up at 5 am…do pooja n cook n clean ? Do they hav a maid ?

    Will they hav any objection if u want to work post marriage? there’s no prob in being a homemaker but it shld be ur choice.

    Will they expect same amount of housework even if ur working?

    Wat abt dress ? Do they expect u to remain saari clad bahu? Will jeans be banned for u ?

    Wat abt interference ? will ur in laws hav say in all ur decisions ? like wen to sleep..wwn to wake up ? wen to have a baby preferably male.o

    Are they expecting dowry ? No one asks for dowry openly but there will be hidden hints for”gifts” wats the current scenario? Do they accept gift at special occasion frm the elder DIL ?

    Will they allow u n ur hubby to stay seperately in diff house ?

    wat abt travel ? wat if u n ur hubby plan a holiday.Do u hav to tag along the entire family ?

    Most imp of all.Is ur bf a mama’s boy ? will he support u against his family’s wishes ?

    Abt the finances.how much do u n ur guy need to contribute in the family ? Do they expect u to handover the entire salary to them

    These things might seem trivial now but these are really important for ur survival.
    Think and analyse everything before marrying.There’s no prob in adjusting for minor things but it shld be mutual.Ur guy’s family shld also be ready for some adjustments instead of thrusting their lifestyle on u.
    Once u are convinced go ahead n marry him.U r an adult u dont need anyone’s consent.If ur parents hav issues they will hav to live with it.

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  26. Dear LW
    I understand exactly how you feel having been in the same boat 10 years ago. Sharing my personal experience to hopefully give you a perspective. I was exactly the same age as you at 25, seeing my college sweetheart for 4 yrs and very certain he was the guy for me. I too had never lived outside of my home and never had to worry about finances. My mother, a single Mom who raised 2 daughters is a self-made business woman who and she had reservations about the guy being the same age as me and coming from a middle class service family. His family too had reservations about me not being from their community but always displayed a very ‘modern’ outlook of accepting their son’s choice. I am educated and was working so was also fully confident that any opposition would not matter to us as a couple since we were financially independent. Given the intense opposition & ultimately due to inability on both parents side to conclude on the marriage plans, we had to elope. I too was very. very concerned about keeping my mother happy but in the end decided that I had to be responsible for my own choices in life. So I get your dilemma.
    While we were immediately accepted by both sides (given the flimsy grounds of the opposition and the fact that both families feared losing their children given that they had no way to control us) , then came the ‘adjustment’ to a patriarchal mindset of the family which was large and close knit but thankfully did not live in a joint family set-up. His family, once they accepted the marriage, were always very warm and welcoming towards me. They showered me with gifts and it always seemed like so much fun being a part of a large extended north Indian family that enjoyed itself in every way. This was a revelation to me coming from a nuclear set-up and a much more ‘serious’ family so I can relate to the attraction you feel to your BF’s family. I loved visiting with them.
    At no point have I lived with them in their house except on vacations. But for 1.5 years we were in the same city as them. That’s when it fully hit me what a patriarchal families expectations are from a DIL. You are expected to put their needs ahead of yours at all times. All occasions and weekends were to be spent with them despite the fact that we lived separately. There was clear pecking order in the household where decision making on the smallest aspects was concerned like where would the weekend outing be, what restaurant we would eat at. And if eating at home it was understood that you can’t eat when you are hungry but only when the whole family decided to eat. My husband was expected to be at available when they felt it necessary to pick up relatives at odd hours from the airport or ferry cousins on their visits to our city all in the name of they are family and this is the least we can do. It might not sound like a lot but when you have spent a lifetime taking decisions on your own and doing as you please, these adjustments take some dealing with. Also constantly leading a life in way that cramps your style can get stifling after a point. Luckily we got a chance to move out of the city due to our careers and now I have to deal with all of this only on visits. But mind you, even after a decade the family’s mindset does has not changed but my initial euphoria of being part of such a ‘fun’ set-up surely has.
    Also at no point were we expected to financially contribute to the household and yet their behavior got intrusive. In your case, you will most likely be required to make a financial contribution so you have to think harder about what’s best for you in the long run. This might sound selfish, but as many in this group have pointed out, taking financial responsibility of the family in a situation that is vague, at best, needs loads of maturity and an ability to look beyond the immediate need to be with the guy you love.
    And it also is a matter of making a life-long choice of marrying into a joint family with a traditional outlook as every decision of yours may be judged and you may feel obligated to justify every choice you make. A decade on, while I still love my husband and think it was the best for us to have made the choice we did, it has come at a price of being part of a traditional family who accept me but who always have ‘expectations’ from me that I may not always be wont to fulfill.
    So my advice like many others here will be to wait a while, if you can, and then decide to marry. A lot of things may be clearer with time. And if possible, aim for a separate living arrangement as that makes any adjustments/compromises far easier to deal with. Living in a join family may not always come with a doomsday scenario but sometimes comes with many, many adjustments that chip away at your being.

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    • Good advice.
      I agree. I had advised the same.
      Briefly: Tarry before you marry.
      Regards
      GV
      (One who has experienced alternatively, several cycles of Joint family living and living as a nuclear family )

      Like

  27. Dear LW,

    Marriage is a bond between two people and should not be affected whether they live in a rented place or otherwise. If you both trust each other and are very very clear on what you expect from each other, then other issues can be taken care of. And also, neither set of parents should poke their noses in the couple’s life and also others’ lives.

    However, I’m afraid that this dream bubble of “his gregarious joint family, I have absolutely NO doubts about adjusting with them” would burst sooner or later. “Living happily forever with his family” is the biggest myth most girls have. I may sound very pessimistic, but having lived in a joint family for 14 years (and still continuing), I would never ever suggest a joint family setup to anyone. Till this date, I’ve not met even one single married woman who has been living in a joint family setup and is happy about it (these women include myself, my SILs, neighbours and friends). Beneath the smiling and non-smiling faces (like that of your future SIL) lies a soul that is forever in search of freedom (to dress, eat, meet friends, pursue hobbies). I’m very clear that my grown up son and his future partner would never live with us.

    All the best!

    Like

    • Agree.
      Even with couples of my generation (when wives mostly stayed at home) joint families were a compulsion, either due to tradition in the community or economics, rarely ever a choice.
      Today, when women are financially independent, it will be even more difficult to live happily as a joint family after the honey moon period is over.

      I recall my mother’s long harrowing years living in a joint family during the early years of her marriage. She never tired of telling us in detail about those experiences. She brought up three sons (including me) telling me, she would never stay with any of her daughters in law and we must be able to live on our own before we married. My parents actually helped us financially in this matter. Later, only in the final years of their lives,they moved in with us for health reasons and there being no alternative. But this last stage joint family arrangement was free from family politics and patriarchal attitudes.

      I have no issue with the boy’s family, being of a different caste/class and financial status and not measuring up to the girl’s family standards. If it is not an issue with the letter writer, it should not be an issue for the girls mother and her uncle. What I am distinctly uncomfortable with is that a modern girl agrees to live in a joint family after marriage possibly as a price to pay for marrying someone she loves. I hope this is not a condition put forward by the boy. If so, this is the Biggest Red Flag. She must be able to marry him without this condition.

      Tarrying before marrying is the best advice I can give. This issue needs to be sorted out before she goes ahead.
      Regards
      GV

      Like

      • Sir, what is your recommendation if the guy has indeed put this condition and the girl is so madly in love that she is willing to agree to BF’s demand in order to marry him?

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        • love is not conditional, — simple.
          If you love someone you want the best for them, not the best for your entire family and adjustment for them…

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        • @SP
          What can I possibly recommend to someone “madly” in love?

          I can only hope and pray that our fears were misplaced and that she will be happy in future. The most optimistic scenario I can envisage is that all will be well, she will be part of the husbands joint family, her own family will accept her decision with grace and not get antagonized, and that she will earn the affection and appreciation of her husband for agreeing to marry him and be part of his family and that she will ingratiate herself with her husband and his family, get their support for pursuing her career after marriage and their help in bringing up her children while she is out the whole day, not experience jealousy and rivalry from her Bhaabi, earn enough to be able to afford another separate home after a few years, and finally, with the family’s blessings and approval, move out to live happily ever after in a nuclear family with her husband and children.

          A pessimistic scenario I can envisage is that a few years down the line, there may be another letter from her telling us about her sad joint family experiences after the marriage and telling us all that she wished she had listened to the advice most of the readers gave her when she first asked for opinions and advice.

          I wish her luck in whatever she decides.
          Regards
          GV

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        • Dump the BF if his condition of marrying is living in a joint family. I would absolutely do that, not dealing with all this messy family khit pit and wasting my time and energy. I work hard, long hours, want to come home and chill and have to answer any damn soul. If the BF has a problem with it, he can get the hell out. Please girls, don’t be blinded by love, it is ridiculous. Even if in love, put you self interest and well being above all else. And I can’t imagine anyone ever being happy, comfortable, relaxed and chill in a joint family setup, impossible.

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  28. Dear LW,

    I was harsh about your remarks on your SIL. After reading your mail and your comment, this is what I suggest:

    1) Please don’t let your parents overrule your marital decisions or any decisions. Tell them strongly and calmly that you don’t want to think about any other marriage prospects for some months. Learning to judge for yourself and take decisions on your own, and when you really feel you are right, learn to stand by them.

    2) That said, I agree with your mom on taking a few months break and re-evaluating your decision about your BF. I am saying this because you still are weighing in your parents’ concerns. So if you are in any doubt now, it’s best to not hurry into marriage.

    3) Tell your parents to keep all marriage moves on hold, including furthering discussions with this guy/family or looking out for other guys. Explain that you need some time-off for yourself to re-think and plan your future. Also make it clear that at the end, it will be entirely your decision.

    4) During these months, I suggest you to focus on your career. I can’t stress this enough: Marriage comes in later, financial independence is a pre-requisite. Please build and plan for a strong career, when time is in your favour. Agree with wordssetmefree, your finances post-marriage are only a function of your and your husband’s earnings.

    5) If you have more time, focus on your personal interests outside your family and your BF. It’s best for you to have some ‘me-time’ now and understand what you want in life. In fact, it’s healthy for everyone to have some personal interests outside family, like dance/art/blogs etc.

    6) Once you start understanding yourself and your priorities, and are free from your family’s or your BF’s influence through this time-off, you will be in a position to think through your concerns and expectations from marriage. Discuss all your concerns freely with your BF, and if you have the rapport, you and BF can bring them up with his family.

    7) For ‘thinking through marriage’, I suggest you to spend some more time on this blog, and watch Queen. There are several posts on this and other blogs which suggest how to go about marriage, especially for Indian women to ensure marriage doesn’t compromise their freedom:

    – Look at neha’s comment above – discuss all those questions on dowry, finances, interference etc.
    – Go through the links which IHM shared.
    http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/ask-before-marrying/
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/my-husband-gives-me-the-usual-you-have-not-just-married-me-you-have-married-my-family-sermon/#comment-234511

    All the best!!!

    Like

  29. Hi LW,
    I think it is most important that you give a good thought to whether YOU will be happy (and not just adjust) with your guy’s family in the long run. As many have already said, are you fine living in a joint family setup and what is your BF’s perspective on joint family vs. living separately? This can be a deal clincher for many couples.

    I disagree with most of the responses here that parents are crossing a line and it is not there business. It is true that ultimately this is YOUR decision but from what you have written, it seems you are currently driven by emotions and not practical thinking. Therefore, I think its fine for your parents to at least make you aware of the long term repercussions of the choices that you will make. In the initial flushes of love, one is often not able to weigh things objectively and that’s why many people end up facing severe problems of incompatibility after marriage. Now I am not saying that this will happen in your case but you should at least evaluate that possibility.

    The difference in caste, education levels, and general social status may have real implications, especially if living in a joint family setup. I will give you examples from my own experience. You should consider the implications of these differences between both the families (many of these points will be moot if you plan for a nuclear setup):
    1. Inter-caste marriage: Different caste means different traditions, day to day style, food habits, way of celebrating festivals, clothing style, and eventually different mindsets. These may be trivial things but at times these small things can also make a difference. The biggest thing that irks me in inter-caste marriages is that the girl is told she has taken the caste/religion of her husband after marriage. So in your case, you will be told repeatedly that you have become a Punjabi now. Some may be fine with this but it bothers me that how can a girl lose her regional identity after marriage (some part of every one’s identity is where that person comes from). I considered myself secular and had equal place for all castes/religions in my heart (to the extent that I would vehemently fight with my parent whenever they would bring up Hindu Muslim stuff). But after marriage, when my husband’s family’s traditions were thrust on me – they thump their chests to say that their community is the best – well these things have made me resent their community and I find it quite obnoxious. Anytime when I would do something from my own culture, my in-laws and other relatives would point out that this is not there custom. It just makes you feel like an outsider and even tougher to feel part of the family. Are you prepared for such things happening to you. What I am telling is mild – girls face much worse than this in inter-caste marriages to the extent of being forbidden to follow any of their old practices
    2. Education levels: In terms of different in education levels, while your family may value education, the boy’s family may not see it as so important in building career. Generally speaking, business oriented communities do not value education and jobs. I am not saying this is wrong – just a different mindset. Business oriented communities are usually more entrepreneurial where as education and academics oriented families many times shun business people and value people with cushy jobs. This may not seem important right now but may have implications. What if tomorrow you feel like pursuing higher studies. Will your husband and in-laws be comfortable with that? It also depends what kind of an environment you want at home and want to pass on to your kids. Do you want an academic environment, a chilled-out easy going, family oriented environment, commercially driven, etc. I am not saying that all of these are mutually exclusive but just some of the vibes many homes have. Would your in-laws and you be on the same page regarding the overall family atmosphere?
    3. Financial status difference: To me this is not that big a problem unless there is a huge gap in the two families and one of the individuals is generally materialistic. But still consider, will there be significant difference in lifestyle. If yes, how will that impact you? You should be cognizant of what are plans for taking the new house if that matters to you. Further, you should certainly sort out the financial structure if going to live in joint family. Also, people here have suggested that you shouldn’t be bothered with financial status since you are a financially independent girl. Just one question. Will your guy and his family be fine if you significantly outperform him in future (in terms of salary, career, education, etc.)?
    Regarding your point no. 4 for the bhabhi, I would not read too much into it. What you said in your initial hypothesis may be true, what other commentators have said here may also be true. I am more concerned about when you call your prospective in-laws as “open-minded and modern”. How are you deciding that? I have come across multiple examples where the in-laws seemed open minded before marriage but all kind of absurd things started after marriage. Just the fact that they are positioning the bhabhi as “she is like this only”, does not come across as open minded to me. If I were truly open minded, I would say that something like – “Yes she is quiet and a gem at heart” or I might say that “She is our daughter in law and we respect her personality the way it is”. It just seems slightly demeaning to talk of the bhabhi like this, that too to a girl who is not even a family member yet.
    It is always a plus point if the parents can get along well too. But the most important is the relationship between you two and then your relationship with each other’s parents. I think there is absolutely no harm in waiting for 6 months and evaluating the situation. You don’t want to marry in haste and repent at leisure!

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  30. IHM –

    “It’s possible that the email writer’s parents believe that when an Indian woman marries a man, she marries his family. Do the email writer and the man she wishes to marry believe that too?”

    I think it is a fact that the girl is marrying the family if she is going to live in a joint family setup. She has to think about not only her compatibility with the guy but the entire family. Its not just she and her BF who need to have a similar value system but her value system needs to match with those of in-laws as well. Else there will be constant friction and pain. I just have a hunch that the guy in this case is a family oriented guy and will have a tough time when he sees altercations between his wife and mother/other family members. If tomorrow, the couple needs to live separately because of any issues, I feel the guy will be deeply wounded and disturbed. Probably the LW can throw more light on the BF’s personality and what is his take on all these issues. No where have we heard the BF’s perspective on the issues that are going on in the LW’s mind.

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  31. Now that you both are in love, there is nothing to worry. You need to follow what your mind says.What you have written is all your family’s worries. Life is yours only. You surely will feel differences between your and the guy’s family. You been coming from a nuclear family, can take it as a blessing that you are going to get the love from a large family. Sure lot of adjustment will be needed, but there are merits too.

    Like

    • plz tell me ur joking !!
      Of course it will take LOT I mean LOTS of adjusments but only from the girl….She will hav to adjust herself and mould to the point tht her spirits will break she wont be able to recognise her real self anymore.
      LW I really dont want to break ur happy hum saath saath hai happy joint family bubble but thts far away from truth. Till date I havent met a single women who has been happy in a joint family…some pretend happiness but finally breakdown n confide their sorrow.
      Dont do this …..If u still want to marry tht guy go ahead but never stay in a joint family.

      Like

  32. It might be worth having a one-on-one chat with your elder SIL-to-be. Ask her what her experience has been like, what issues she dealt with, how was she dealt with them. The more you know, the better able you are to make an informed decision. And do have a talk with your boyfriend about concerns, expectations and so forth on things, like others have suggested above. It’s important that you present a united front to both your families once you’re both on the same page about what to expect and how you’d deal with any of it.

    Good luck!

    Like

  33. Dear LW, I hope that you have a very happy life ahead of you. Here are a few things though :

    3) Hailing from a nuclear family, and then meeting his gregarious joint family, I have absolutely NO doubts about adjusting with them. I doubt if I’ll ever be treated so lovingly in any other household as in this one.

    I hope for your sake that this is true. But when someone talks in absolutes like this (“NO doubts”) – it makes me doubt their maturity. I know you’d said that they treat you like a princess, and while that’s nice, I’d be wary – princesses can fall from grace very quickly, especially if they are the lowest in the pecking order and they have opinions of their own.

    4) At the time I wrote this letter, I was majorly facing an emotional moment, due to which I, subconsciously, used harsh words for his bhabhi.

    You (and your in-laws) seem to be subconsciously dumping on the bhabhi, which doesn’t do you credit. If you want to be respected as a young woman, you must respect other women too. If your in-laws are so ready to apologize for your bhabhi because someone says she did something wrong, note that you might be in her boat very soon – i.e.; they might be upset with you because someone else said you did something wrong.

    “I cannot dream of living without my guy, ‘cos he’s everything that any girl could ask for!”

    Maybe you are a naturally effusive person and that’s coming out in your writing or maybe you are really in love, but your above statement is worrying. Have you been in relationships before? Why is this guy so great? Maybe he actually is all that – your absolute surety worries me though because, no offence here, it shows your naiveté. Going into a joint family with heady expectations like these, sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Be careful.

    Like

  34. Advice from Firangi Bahu – stop taking advice from your parents. It is your life and your decision.
    I am a Canadian girl married to a Tamil Brahmin and our families could not be more different!
    I would also suggest living separately for the first few years of marriage. By separately I mean: no joint family. It is easier that way.
    Also get to know your SIL better. See what makes her tick. See if you guys have any common interests like books or movies.
    And who gives a shit about astrology?

    Like

  35. To All,
    Thanks a lot for your thoughts regarding my problem. And apologies for not being active in between due to some family issues regarding the same (thankfully its nothing serious).

    The first thing I have done at the moment, for my own mental happiness, is that I have moved out into a small 1BHK near my office, just so that I have some time to think things through, and like many of you rightly said, I can think with some clarity.

    To all those kind hearts who have highlighted the pros and cons of a joint family, I had a word about this with my guy as well. We will not be staying with the family per se, as he plans to move into a separate house himself in a separate state. But ofcourse, things will be different when we visit them, it’ll be then when I’ll be seeing his entire family.

    To many other who suggested I am behaving like a child, BINGO! I am feeling the same too🙂 However, as stated before, this is my first relationship, and had I have any sort of empathy or support from a family member or friend, I might have a li’l bit more sense regarding the dynamics of this issue and our families. That is the reason I penned my thoughts here.

    His family has never stopped their children for moving out into another house. They are all up for it, and they believe that every couple should start their life afresh. So, I guess I’ll have a li’l liberty there!

    The most dominant point mentioned in almost 99% of the comments is to DECIDE BY MYSELF. This is the thing I haven’t done just yet, cos I never had the liberty to choose/follow something that my parents thought was not correct (according to them). So yes, my lack of decisiveness probably stems from there, thinking that they always know best (my uncle’s wordings). But if this is not an issue worth standing up for, then what will be?

    Thanks a lot for all your words of caution and encouragement. I am not blinded by love (trust me), but its just that I dont want to give up something just because it may have not been worth it in my parents’ eyes.

    Like

  36. Pingback: 27 ways in which Patriarchy harms men. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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