‘I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?’

Sharing an email.
Hi IHM
I’ve come across your site 2 days ago and wondered why I had never googled about the plight of Indian Brides before. It’s wonderful to know that lots of people are sharing their experiences and feelings and know that you are not alone in what you feel.
I am hoping that you post my story as I have not yet reached an end or a new beginning.
I am 30 years old, married for 3 years to a wonderful man who I had been seeing for 9 years and living in a joint family. I was born in India but brought up in the middleeast so I was fairly liberal and knew exactly what I wanted in life. I completed my Masters abroad after completing my Bachelors in India ( which is where I met my hubby) He completed his Masters too from the same Uni. We both got good jobs with fairly decent salaries, but my hubby was unhappy having to work for someone else and he missed home. So he set up his own business back home and which is now going very well. I on the other hand worked abroad a little while longer and decided to give it up as the next thing on the cards was marriage. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. Yes it would be a change, something new, which could not be predicted but hey sometimes change is good and a part of life.
We did have the talk before me moving back- actually me just telling him that I would not be suited to living in a joint family and I would rather we get our own place but somehow that was not acceptable as my in-laws live in the center of a metropolitan city and space was no issue. They expected us to move in with them and my husband doesn’t like to hurt them in any way. He could hurt me telling me that I should adjust. I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?
There were always little things – like my marriage for instance. Make note it was a love-cum-arranged marriage so it would seem they shouldn’t be any problems. However, every little ritual or circumstance was a struggle. Most things you can compromise but it’s your wedding day, supposedly the most important day of your life,- a new beginning and when you are forced to undergo things you don’t like or are uncomfortable with in the name of tradition and culture it sort of scares me now as to what sort of life was I agreeing into.
Don’t get me wrong my PILs are not horrible people they just worry too much about society and what they would think if they didn’t do something “the proper way”. So I did get married and moved in with my in-laws and their second son. (My husband is the eldest which makes me the eldest bahu).
Married life isn’t so bad. I mostly get to live the way I want because I choose not to heed every advice or good and proper thing that needs to be done now that I am married. My MIL is a very sweet and understanding lady but she is set in her own ways,does every thing that she can for her family and never complains. When I mean everything, it means everything, cooking, cleaning, sorting, arranging – everything other than actually feeding them! She herself says she spoon feeds them! God forbid if her sons need to do any work when she or I’m around.
I mentioned earlier I’m liberal. I think everyone must help in household work it is not the “duty” of only women in the house. Though my husband used to help out when we lived abroad (for a couple of months after we got married) at his parents’ house he is king. Meaning what so many other working DILs complain about. Both of them work but husband can come back and relax but the wife is expected to cook and clean even though she is equally tired. My MIL actually believes that to cook and serve your family is a duty from GOD! Seriously, this is 2014 for Godsakes! My FIL is also generally a nice man but he is very picky about what he eats and complains almost everyday that the food is not tasty, concluding that its not been fried in oil enough. If I wanted to make something I like it was always opposed saying so and so would not like it. My husband likes the food I like. So I make our food separately now – with less oil. Family traditions must be followed – no questions asked. Nothing should be done differently – there is only “one correct way”. I come from a different background and we did things differently but I can adjust to that as well. I have OCD. I like things to be in a certain way, extra clean and not to make a mess. Whereas everyone at my home is generally messy, don’t really care if it is messy and ignore it. I can’t ignore it. Seeing a mess makes me want to clean it and I hate cleaning! My MIL does clean after making a huge mess which in my mind is a waste of time and energy.
However, the main problem is after 3 years I still feel feel like a guest in my own home and I just have a room( like an other post I read on your blog recently). I try to be silent on things I do not agree with and have to obey blindly, but I feel I’m losing myself somewhere in this whole situation. There has never been any major argument or issue with my in-laws. but I fight almost everyday with my husband. All these issues seem petty to him. He says that I should not care about them too much, they are not life changing and it’s been three years you should have changed how you feel and adjusted by now. So is it my fault for “failing to adjust”?
I’ve always wanted to live on my own with my husband and my little family, make my own decisions even if it is what to have for dinner. The loss of freedom after living on my own for 11 years to this is what I can’t define in words. It makes me very unhappy and therefore the arguments with my husband.
I am not sure what to do as my husband refuses to talk about it as it always leads to an argument ending in telling me that I’m unreasonable to want what I want.
Am I being unreasonable and selfish to not want to live with his parents?
Sure Joint families can be great with regards to child support and child care and values but I am 30 and I have a dream of a certain kind of life. Life is too short I think to waste on things that make you unhappy. Again am I being selfish to want to be happy?
His parents expect us to stay with them. No one asks me what I want. My husband does like to be around people because he grew up in a joint family. I only want a place of my own to have the freedom one comes to expect in a marriage. It can be close to our in-laws. So he can visit anytime or they can visit anytime.
I am really at breaking point and do not know what to do or who to talk to. My husband refuses to listen. I can’t really talk to my in-laws. They would not understand why I am being the rebel when they treat me quite well. They would be hurt, generally view it negatively and worry about what the society would think. Somewhere inside I think like that too and worry I might upset them if I do tell them what I want.

But is this any way to live? Go about life like your in-laws and ending up like them? I definitely don’t want to end up like my MIL, my mom or my aunt who are basically housewives who have to put their family’s happiness before their own. I do not want to lose myself.

You can call me Maha.

And then I saw this on twitter this morning. IHM

Related Posts:

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

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

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

Display of respect to those in power, in Indian culture.

58 thoughts on “‘I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?’

  1. ” I do not want to lose myself” – This is what most of us struggle with today. Although there is a great difference in the social conditions of this writer and the LW in the previous post, it all boils down to “Please just let me be me!” I don’t know why does our society make it so difficult for people to just be.

    Like

  2. People don’t get that things like sharing of household chores, not living with in-laws, etc are important. Typically everyone would say, they/he don’t beat you or abuse you right? so they cannot even see the problem at least people around me. I guess its the majority of the people, is this your experience too?

    Like

  3. Dear LW,

    If you have read the comments too, on similar posts, you may have a hunch about the sort of advice we are likely to give. To put it short: (a) Stop listening to and bothering about others/ society. (b) Have a firm conversation on moving out of joint family with husband. If you care about him so much, try couple’s therapy. (c) If he doesn’t listen, move out. You are independent and you don’t need to put up with this. You need to choose your happiness.

    1) To answer your question, it is not at all unreasonable to want to be happy and live the way you like in your own home. Selfish, yes, but who said selfishness is bad? I think selfishness is very good, and to be clear, your ILs and husband are selfish too – in fact, they are selfish at the expense of your happiness. And Indian brides are conditioned to believe that it is their ‘duty’ to adjust no matter what, to enable abusers (read husband & ILs) can easily control them.

    2) You can only get out of this when you understand that you don’t have to fit in with society’s standards of what is expected, when the society’s standards are so unfair to you. You have to judge for yourself if this whole twisted system is fair, and you have to stop fitting in with society’s / others’ expectations.

    3) My husband’s family description fits with what you mentioned about yours, only me and my husband stay in a different city than my ILs. The reason why I am telling you this is to make you feel that you are not alone in feeling the way you do and that it is very natural to feel that way. My short visits to their place and their first visit to ours gave me a glimpse of how my life would have been if we lived with our ILs.

    4) // They would be hurt, generally view it negatively and worry about what the society would think. Somewhere inside I think like that too and worry I might upset them if I do tell them what I want. // This is the root cause of all your problems, this is what is stopping you from standing up for yourself. Most of us are conditioned to feel guilty even when we ask for basic things like freedom (at our own home).

    5) So ‘what inside’ is making you feel guilty? Imagine role-reversal. If you were to have a son, would you expect your son and DIL to live with you? Would you have behaved differently with your DIL? Then why are making excuses for your ILs? All this while, they took you for granted while pretending as if they are doing you a big favor by being ‘nice’ to you. They will be upset, and that will get them in touch with reality for good.

    6) I used to feel guilty at the beginning too, but gradually realized that I am simply asking for what is mine. My life, my choices – nobody else has a say in it. If it concerns me and my husband, only the two of us have a say in it. Nobody else. You need to get over this guilt-trip and stand up for yourself.

    7) What is wonderful about your husband when he is not even listening to your problems? If you don’t expect him to support you in fighting against control, what is it that you expect from him? If you plan to have kids, is it healthy for your kids to grow up in this ‘sons are kings’ environment? You are upset because people are prescribing you duties at your own home, and your husband thinks you are asking for ‘too much’? Really, has he ever bothered to think if it is ‘too much’ for him to expect you to do the entire housework without his contribution? What is wonderful about this person? You need a reality check.

    8) Have a strong conversation with your husband and tell them that this is not the kind of life you want to share with him. If he really cares, he needs to listen first and support your decision in moving out. Help him in communicating this decision to ILs.

    9) If all discussions don’t work out, I can only say you need to make a choice about your happiness. You may have to rethink about continuing with this marriage when your partner doesn’t care for your rights and happiness.

    Like

    • GV Sir,

      I respectfully disagree with some portions of your comment.

      If she was ‘happily married, she wouldn’t have said this: // I definitely don’t want to end up like my MIL, my mom or my aunt who are basically housewives who have to put their family’s happiness before their own. I do not want to lose myself. //

      You said // She also knew before marrying that she would have to live in a joint family, even if she preferred her own set up. She didn’t refuse then. // – May be she misjudged and didn’t see what was coming, but this is no reason for her to put up with unhappiness when she discovered what she is giving up in this system.

      // So, there seems to be no really serious problem except those that are natural and inevitable when two families live under the same roof. // – I think what is ‘natural and inevitable’ is very unfair if a new member of the household to change her way of living, likes and dislikes and ‘adapt’ to her spouse’s family’s way of living, without any ‘adaptation’ from the family’s side. In fact, I find this whole concept of woman having to live with ILs as ‘natural and inevitable’ as a very debatable one. I am sure you didn’t imply this – But I’ve said this before on a similar discussion. Just because she agreed to it before marriage doesn’t mean there is some binding contract which stops her from wanting to stay separately when she discovers what she has to give up in this system.

      // I don’t see any problem with “adjusting” as long as this adjustment is not totally one sided. // – I think adjustment in personal aspects is a personal choice, and tolerance for it differs from person to person. If you’re not happy about adjusting, you have every right to stop doing that, only don’t expect anyone else to ‘adjust’ in their personal aspects. This should be fine by the LW, because she is not the one insisting that ILs should eat low-fat food which she likes or asking her FIL to help her MIL in her house-work. She wants control over what food she eats and no interference in decisions related to her and her husband (who should do the chores?)

      // When everybody, not just the wife, adjusts, there is peace and happiness. I can’t accept the claim that only she is adjusting and no one else in the family is adjusting. // – From my personal experience, in joint families (or generally in most married families), there is an unwritten hierarchy which prevents the DILs from speaking up. There is an unwritten rule that the ILs are allowed to give free (unsolicited advice) on personal aspects of your life, and there is an unwritten rule that you have no choice but to follow the ‘advice’. Their intrusion in your personal aspects is not seen as offense, but your rejection, however politely expressed is (by your husband, parents and society in general). Examples: Whose ‘duty’ should household work be? Shouldn’t husband and wife decide internally how their chores should be divided? When you should have children? Should you serve rice first or curry first when serving food? Should your bed-room cots face East or North? Should you make coffee for your husband in the morning? And the list goes on. I detest this, because this ‘advice’ is given based on the premise that the other person is in no position to refuse it. I mean, if you really want to have a ‘conversation’ as an ‘equal’ (no hierarchy involved), then try hearing ‘no’ from her for a while and respect her disagreements without being offended. I am sure most ‘open to adjust’ ILs won’t be able to do this.

      // When a daughter in law comes into the family, every other family member including parents in law do adjust to make place for her in most Indian families. // I am sure many ILs claim to adjust. They do “adjust” in matters such as: (i) “allowing” the DIL to wear what she likes (my MIL will claim that she has “adjusted” by “allowing” me to not wear a mangal-sutra) (ii) “allowing” the DIL to work etc. I would like to state this radical fact here (radical to many ILs): Not exercising control over personal aspects of someone else’s life is not an ‘adjustment’ on your part, it is a basic expectation in a civilized society. Changing personal aspects of your life, lifestyle, likes and dislikes does count as ‘adjustment’. Please don’t equate the ‘adjustments’ from ILs with what DILs go through.

      Like

  4. The story of the majority of women in India.😦
    “All these issues seem petty to him. He says that I should not care about them too much”
    Ask him to imagine staying in your house and having to follow the ways of your family. Would he find that ‘reasonable’? Then why should your issues seem ‘unreasonable’?!!

    Like

    • Inner voice will tell us to purify our vision before trying to fix the world. That addiction to crime news and to blaming have to be overcome first.

      Like

  5. Hi Maha,

    Let me first point out that you made mistakes, which is why you are now in this position. I am not doing this because I want to blame you or mock you for your bad decisions, but simply so that in future at least some women reading this blog will think many times before taking similar decisions.

    You said you were liberal and had liberal values. And yet, you gave up a nice career and freedom to get married to suit your husband’s lifestyle. That was the first mistake. Second mistake was originally agreeing to make the family part of the marriage. As you said, it was your wedding and if you were not happy with the rituals, you should have threatened to not go ahead with it. Third and worst mistake was moving in with his family. This is when you proclaimed that you were a mere thing without any independent agency. I do not understand how liberal persons get into such situations.

    Now how to get out of this situation. It is simple. Move out! You are an educated working woman and you have the world at your fingertips. Why are you wasting time? If your husband loves you, he will not try to chain you. Demand an equal marriage. If your husband does not work at home, stop working too. If he cares about you, he will get the answer. If not, you know he only wants a slave.

    What you absolutely must NOT do, is ‘adjust’. Never ‘adjust’. Take your husband to your parents’ home for a holiday and make him ‘adjust’ and then ask him how he feels about it. If he does not want to understand, dump him. I am sorry, but if he does not understand your feelings or your problems, it is time to move on. Life is about being happy, not preserving dead relationships. Make sure he knows you are unhappy enough to consider drastic changes in your life, and that might just not include him.

    Like

  6. Not so fast Fem! Don’t be so trigger happy!

    I suggest she gives diplomacy a chance before declaration of WAR!
    Just as it is prudent to try medication before surgery when we face health problems.

    By her own admission, she is happily married, husband’s business is doing well, Parents in law are nice people, she mostly gets to to live the way she wants etc etc.She also knew before marrying that she would have to live in a joint family, even if she preferred her own set up. She didn’t refuse then.

    So, there seems to be no really serious problem except those that are natural and inevitable when two families live under the same roof. In that respect she is better off than many other Indian wives trapped in joint families.

    I don’t see any problem with “adjusting” as long as this adjustment is not totally one sided.
    When everybody, not just the wife, adjusts, there is peace and happiness. I can’t accept the claim that only she is adjusting and no one else in the family is adjusting. When a daughter in law comes into the family, every other family member including parents in law do adjust to make place for her in most Indian families. How does she know that others have not adjusted after her coming into the family? Does she know the detailed lifestyle of her brother in law, and her parents in law and her husband, living in that same house before she arrived on the scene?

    Life in general would be impossible if no body in the world “adjusts” to circumstances, situations, events, and the habits, practices customs of other people, and societies and groups.

    This appears to a rare case of a successful joint family but if she is totally opposed to joint families in principle, then the right time to put her foot down was before marrying into this family, not afterwards.

    The only solution I see now is to come out into the open with her feelings. She has told only her husband so far and he is refusing to move out. She must now slowly tell her in-laws too. Break the news to them in small doses and tactfully. Possibly, being nice people, they may, for their daughter in law’s sake, themselves take on the job of persuading their son to move out.

    Staying separately and close by and keeping in touch would be the best solution. But if the letter writer is going to keep her feelings and thoughts bottled up there will be no solution. Let her express herself openly first and then let us see what happens.

    So, I will repeat what I started with. She must talk it over and persuade her in laws now, before considering any extreme steps. The husband will of course not like it when she talks to his parents but that is something she must face. He will rant and rave for some time and later cool off. Once he finds his parents are receptive to the idea, his resistance may vanish.

    But he must be given a face saving way out. These male egos are a terrible thing! I suggest she tells her husband and her in-laws that she is keeping in mind the interest of her devar who will get married and there will be too many inconveniences if three couples live under the same roof. I don’t know how her relationship is with her devar . May be she could enlist his support. He has an incentive, after all. There will be more space for him and his future wife, in case they live as joint family and he will be avoiding probable Ekta Kapoor type episodes in the house.

    Let her think over and come up with other plausible reasons that might carry weight without making it appear that she is a selfish person. May be readers can pitch in with good suggestions on how to handle this task.

    I wish her all the best.

    Regards
    GV

    Like

    • “She must talk it over and persuade her in laws now, before considering any extreme steps. The husband will of course not like it when she talks to his parents but that is something she must face. He will rant and rave for some time and later cool off. Once he finds his parents are receptive to the idea, his resistance may vanish.”

      Thank you Mr. GV!🙂 There is a good, happy foundation in this family. It’s not a perfect situation, and there are lots of problematic things within it, but the society we live in is problematic so what else can you expect? And also, I like to think that most in-laws are reasonable people who will listen to logic and persuasion. Of course, at first, the idea won’t sound very good to them, but they do care about her, and they do listen to her. Why destroy that relationship by doing something drastic from the get go?

      Like

    • GV,

      I wasn’t being trigger happy. I generally advice talking it out first before taking action. But in this case, the LW has already spoken to her husband about how she feels. If he is an insensitive jerk, there is nothing more to be said. She HAS taken medication, and that too, very bitter ones.

      She is not happily married at all. Just look at her! There is no happiness in her situation. Husband’s business has nothing to do with HER happiness. Yes, she agreed to a joint family situation (or rather was manoeuvred into one) but it was not set in stone. Complete and absolute subjugation of a woman to the rest of the members of her family seems a very serious problem to me. It does not become less serious just because it happens everywhere.

      I don’t think we can compare her situation and say it’s okay because she is better off from others. In her eyes, she is the best person and requires full happiness. If circumstances are not giving her that, she seems quite capable both emotionally and practically able to change those circumstances.

      There is a reason I used inverted commans for the word. Everyone is not adjusting in this case, though. Only the wife is. Actual adjusting people make to each other and trying to adapt to their situations in life and in relationships is perfectly normal and desirable. When in families, this sort of adjusting is artificially pushed on to one single family member, then it is no longer adjusting – it becomes slavery. Even if the others have adjusted, she is still entitled to say she is unhappy about this and do something about it. When adjusting makes you unhappy, you stop doing it. Hence, no “adjusting”.

      I do not consider this joint family as either successful or happy because one single member of the family is not happy BECAUSE of the flaws of the system. Maha is perfectly eligible to put her foot down at any time she feels is the right time because it is a question of her life. There is no right time in these cases. The only right time is the time you come to your senses and start fighting for your rights.

      Frankly, if she does not have the support of her husband, nothing will work. It is the husband’s responsibility to look after her happiness and to deal with his parents, He is not fulfilling his part of the partnership, hence he is useless as a partner.

      I personally think that we need to stop treating Indian men with kid gloves and baby them by being tactful and diplomatic and patting their heads when they behave well. They are adults with responsibilities they have undertaken and there is no reason for wives to give them a pass and do all the dirty work themselves. Also, I would advise the LW not to pander to the male ego. Why should she? It is a mystery to me why anyone would advise her to do so. Please understand we women also have some self respect. Have you considered that aspect in this case?

      “But if the letter writer is going to keep her feelings and thoughts bottled up there will be no solution. Let her express herself openly first and then let us see what happens.” I really cannot agree more with this. This is the best advice.

      Like

      • Excellent response fem, this is absolutely attitude that must be ingrained in Indian women’s mindset instead of useless diplomatic appeasing the in-laws suggested by GV. The LW is unhappy and should do everything in her power to make herself happy, in laws be dammed. And no kid glove for Indian men, they are adults and need to start acting like one. Why does the woman have to waste so much mental energy and effort on dealing with such abusive infantile behavior? Husband in this case doesn’t even acknowledge there is any concern or issue. Look how blinded he is by male privilege. I don’t see any adjustments from anyone except the LW.
        For starters LW, stop cooking and cleaning after coming back from work. Refuse to do it, say you are tired after working all day and won’t do it if you are husband doesn’t share chores equally. That would have been my stance for day 1, but I don’t care if people don’t like me, chilling after long day of work is higher priority than pleasing others.

        Like

      • ” In her eyes, she is the best person and requires full happiness.”

        Very true. She needs to do what is best for the situation, of course, whether that is talking it out diplomatically with her in-laws or something drastic like moving out. LW has to do what makes her happy.

        However–not all situations are starkly black and white that she necessarily needs to respond with taking big measures like packing her bags right away without any attempt at a peaceable solution first. No, she doesn’t have to adjust for the sake of keeping the peace in the house. But it doesn’t seem like LW has truly plucked up the courage to really, firmly approach her in-laws about her living situation and unhappiness. If she can’t even discuss her point of view properly, or even attempt to have such a discussion with her in-laws, then how do you expect her to have the courage to simply pack her bags and move out? People need to start somewhere. For all we know, her in-laws might in fact be perfectly reasonable people who are willing to listen to her and change their minds if they were to talk it out properly, as adults. Why advise her to pack her bags right away and cause all that unneeded strife? Why do that now without trying all the other less drastic options first?

        The fact of the matter is that LW is unhappy. But to her, the situation does not feel unbearable, because she is treated relatively well. This is why you see so many women putting up with such families and such treatment. Forget Indian culture–humanity in general cannot comprehend that someone can be treated kindly, yet inhumanely. This is why those who have their rights taken away often do not speak up about it, because even while they know that the situation is wrong, they see the kind treatment they receive as a “balance” or a “trade off”, when the reality is that it’s not any kind of fair balance at all. And shedding this mentality and all the attached guilt that comes from “hurting” the people who “treat you well” is not easy. It has to be done, but it’s not easy and it’s not a giant leap that most people can take in one day.

        LW has a process in front of her. It’s not a clear cut process that has a clear cut answer. Ultimately she has to do what she feels right, But it’s not going to be as easy or as simple as just packing her bags and moving out, without any kind of preamble first. And that’s something that needs to be addressed as well.

        Like

        • A,

          My advice was based on the simple fact that she has already discussed this matter (or tried to) with her husband. It is clear that he does not value her or her happiness. It has been three years and more that he has shown that he doesn’t give a fig how she feels about life. What more is left?

          I did not recommend immediately moving out, but of first informing her husband of the possibility if things do not change. But she needs to be ready and prepared to follow up with it if required.

          I do not think SHE should be the one to talk to the in-laws. It is the husband’s job to do so. He needs to speak to them or at least they could have a family conference. I think she should not directly speak to the in-laws without her husband’s involvement. It is not her problem that HIS parents are being unreasonable and that HE does not want to hurt HIS parents. Where does the LW come in this equation? As far as I can see, free labour and society slave.

          Like

    • I ended up posting my comment on the wrong thread. Here:

      GV Sir,

      I respectfully disagree with some portions of your comment.

      If she was ‘happily married, she wouldn’t have said this: // I definitely don’t want to end up like my MIL, my mom or my aunt who are basically housewives who have to put their family’s happiness before their own. I do not want to lose myself. //

      You said // She also knew before marrying that she would have to live in a joint family, even if she preferred her own set up. She didn’t refuse then. // – May be she misjudged and didn’t see what was coming, but this is no reason for her to put up with unhappiness when she discovered what she is giving up in this system.

      // So, there seems to be no really serious problem except those that are natural and inevitable when two families live under the same roof. // – I think what is ‘natural and inevitable’ is very unfair if a new member of the household to change her way of living, likes and dislikes and ‘adapt’ to her spouse’s family’s way of living, without any ‘adaptation’ from the family’s side. In fact, I find this whole concept of woman having to live with ILs as ‘natural and inevitable’ as a very debatable one. I am sure you didn’t imply this – But I’ve said this before on a similar discussion. Just because she agreed to it before marriage doesn’t mean there is some binding contract which stops her from wanting to stay separately when she discovers what she has to give up in this system.

      // I don’t see any problem with “adjusting” as long as this adjustment is not totally one sided. // – I think adjustment in personal aspects is a personal choice, and tolerance for it differs from person to person. If you’re not happy about adjusting, you have every right to stop doing that, only don’t expect anyone else to ‘adjust’ in their personal aspects. This should be fine by the LW, because she is not the one insisting that ILs should eat low-fat food which she likes or asking her FIL to help her MIL in her house-work. She wants control over what food she eats and no interference in decisions related to her and her husband (who should do the chores?)

      // When everybody, not just the wife, adjusts, there is peace and happiness. I can’t accept the claim that only she is adjusting and no one else in the family is adjusting. // – From my personal experience, in joint families (or generally in most married families), there is an unwritten hierarchy which prevents the DILs from speaking up. The ILs are allowed to give free (unsolicited advice) on personal aspects of your life, and there is an unwritten rule that you have no choice but to follow the ‘advice’. Their intrusion in your personal aspects is not seen as offense, but your rejection, however politely expressed is (by your husband, parents and society in general). Examples: Whose ‘duty’ should household work be? Shouldn’t husband and wife decide internally how their chores should be divided? Should you serve rice first or curry first when serving food? Should your bed-room cots face East or North? Should you make coffee for your husband in the morning? I detest this, because this ‘advice’ is given based on the premise that the other person is in no position to refuse it. I mean, if you really want to have a ‘conversation’ as an ‘equal’ (no hierarchy involved), then try hearing ‘no’ from her for a while and respect her disagreements without being ‘offended’. I am sure most ‘open to adjust’ ILs won’t be able to do this.

      // When a daughter in law comes into the family, every other family member including parents in law do adjust to make place for her in most Indian families. // I am sure many ILs claim to adjust. They do “adjust” in matters such as: (i) “allowing” the DIL to wear what she likes (my MIL will claim that she has “adjusted” by “allowing” me to not wear a mangal-sutra) (ii) “allowing” the DIL to work etc.

      I would like to state this radical fact here (radical to many ILs): Not exercising control over personal aspects of someone else’s life is not an ‘adjustment’!! As radical as it sounds, it is a basic expectation in a civilized society.

      Like

      • “Not exercising control over personal aspects of someone else’s life is not an ‘adjustment’!! As radical as it sounds, it is a basic expectation in a civilized society.”

        You’d think that older, “wiser” ILs would get this, but no! This basic rule of humanity is flouted big-time under the guise of “tradition” and “culture”. If you let someone be, live as they wish, you aren’t being exceptional; you are just being human.

        Like

    • I fail to understand why she must bend over backwards to not appear to be a “selfish ” person. And exactly why is moving out considered an “extreme ” step?
      You’re living separately, not disowning them.
      Almost everyone I know who has been in a joint family has always felt stifled and overwhelmed regardless of age (barring the king pins, who are the source of the misery).
      I think this entire set of conservative people who seem to value THEIR beliefs over other people’s personal freedom need to grow up. No need to sugar coat it, tell them the problem as it is and tell them you cannot continue this way. In the rare case they do offer to change a few things at home to make it better for you, maybe then you can consider “adjusting”,

      Like

    • “But he must be given a face saving way out. These male egos are a terrible thing! ”

      I find this response to be horribly sexist. So, GV, did you skip over the part where she has tried, repeatedly, to talk to her husband and he shuts her down before the conversation even begins? She must continue to experience this instead of taking ‘extreme’ steps?

      She says her inalws are nice people, but do you think they give her an ounce of respect? Do you think someone like the MIL who makes the LW work hand and foot over the family while letting her sons lounge and do no housework is a ‘good’ person? What does someone have to do in order to be considered ‘bad’–burn the bride?

      Like

      • Well said Kay!

        So her feeling are not considered and her wishes are ignored, and she has to go about worrying about the grand “male ego”! So she has to conspire and scheme, and enlist her devar’s help, not take “extreme steps” so nobody (and they are all adults who chose to look the other way because they can) gets their feelings hurt?

        Is she not a person? Is there no end to the amount of guilt we are willing to lay on women?

        Like

    • “These male egos are a terrible thing”. Really GVji? What splendid, spectacular things has the LW’s husband accomplished that he has an ego about being a man?

      In the final analysis, does being male matter so much that one is willing to overlook the real unhappiness of one’s “female” spouse?

      Maybe it’s time the LW’s husband stops acting like a man and act like a human being.

      Like

  7. “Don’t get me wrong my PILs are not horrible people they just worry too much about society and what they would think if they didn’t do something “the proper way”.” & “They would not understand why I am being the rebel when they treat me quite well.”

    And there’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s one thing when they’re horrible people and you can tell clearly that they’re infringing on your rights. But what do you do when it’s done under the guise of love and well intentions? You know clearly that it doesn’t matter how nicely someone takes away your humanity, or how cruelly someone does it. At the end of the day, it’s still toxic and still wrong, and you still have to stand up against it. It’s like someone choking you with a pillow, and then telling you, “At least the pillow is soft!” when you protest. You’re still being choked, and it’s still a bad situation.

    OP, I’m not going to tell you that you brought this upon yourself by making the decision to live as a joint family. You, I think, have always made your stance quite clear. And your husband, who you say has been with you for 9 years, clearly knows you quite well. Which is why it’s puzzling to me that he would disregard your feelings so easily for the sake of keeping his parents happy. It makes me wonder if he truly cares about you for you, or even if he loves you at all. Again, you have been with him for nine years. He has absolutely no excuse for not standing up to you. He knows what you have wanted out of your life. If what he wants is to live with his parents after marriage, then he shouldn’t have married you. It is stupid of him to call you selfish when you were clear throughout your relationship about what you wanted, and he completely disregarded that and made a decision he knew would not make his spouse very happy. He is the selfish one out of the two of you here. Maybe these are harsh words to hear, but it’s the truth. And unfortunately, such selfish behaviour is endemic in our community, especially among men. He is unwilling to talk to his parents, because he doesn’t want to go through the uncomfortable business of having a falling out. So, he is expecting you to be unhappy instead, because after all, you’re a woman and your happiness doesn’t matter, period.

    It’s not easy to stand up to such behaviour, especially when these people actually do love you. It’s not easy to quell that guilt, because sometimes it’s tempting to simply decide that you don’t need freedom since you are loved. And I don’t doubt that your in-laws don’t love you, or that your husband doesn’t care for you. But that love doesn’t mean that what they are doing isn’t wrong, or that they aren’t disregarding your feelings completely. Sometimes intentions matter. Sometimes they don’t. And in this case, they don’t, because ultimately there is no reasonable excuse to tell a 30 year old woman that she can’t have her own home and her freedom to do as she pleases. You have to get this point across to your in-laws. Tell them that you’re happy for what they’ve done for you, but that this living arrangement is simply not making you happy. Be kind, but also be firm and relentless. Don’t give up. Keep bringing up the topic, but in a polite way, so that they can’t accuse you of causing strife. Ask them what is so possibly wrong with you and your husband living together, away from them. You’ve done it for 9 years. Why is now any different? Ask them if they’ve always been happy with following society’s ridiculous rules. Chances are, they haven’t. For now, assume that they are reasonable people. Don’t expect your husband to stand up for you. You have to do this on your own.

    If they continue to refuse, then you will have to escalate the situation and move out on your own. Try small first. Don’t start unnecessary blow outs and confrontations, because that doesn’t end well on any front. Be polite, but hold your ground and stay determined. You know what you want out of life. Don’t be afraid to get it. And if worst comes to worst, be prepared to do that as well. All the best.

    Like

  8. Dear Maha,

    I think you should tell your husband that you are unhappy and want to move out.

    I know you said he refuses to talk to about it, but it is *imperative* that he realises how you feel. Send him an email if that helps you make you point better without getting diverted by emotions/counter arguments.

    Tell him that since you have tried ‘his way’ for 3 years now, and are not happy with how your life is shaping up, he needs to admit that this way of life just isn’t working.

    A reasonable person would either say-
    -I agree but my parents feelings are more important than yours OR
    -I agree, let’s move out.

    Either way, actually having this discussion and hearing his ‘final’ answer will help you take next steps. It will also clarify (to you) how far you are willing to go to lead the life you have envisioned.

    In the meantime, spend as little time at home as possible. Start working towards your happiness from today itself, that will give you the strength to act (if needed) when your husband lays his cards on the table. Have a ‘moving day’ time-line in your head, definitely DO NOT fall for ‘let’s see in x years time’.
    Life is really too short to play the bharatiya bahu🙂

    Like

    • Excellent advice. The email is a good idea, and a deadline is really good in such cases where people don’t even want to acknowledge that you have a problem.

      Like

      • YES! Brilliant POA!
        Another point to add is must tell a friend about it..

        You will find the strength to do it, if you know someone knows about what’s happenning in your life. But has to be a friend who gets exactly what and why you want to do this. and one who can check on the progress periodically, so that you don’t get sucked into the ‘adjusting’.
        Often when you start the process and then “gaslighting” happens – ‘You are over reacting, it’s not so bad, etc’ and then you rethink your decision and this going back and forth takes a lot of time. You need someone to constantly tell you ‘You are worth Happiness’ at least as much as everyone else in the situation is.

        I completely agree with this part in Fem’s previous comment “Make sure he knows you are unhappy enough to consider drastic changes in your life, and that might just not include him.”

        Like

    • Email is an excellent idea. It might also help Maha frame her state of mind better. Sometimes these conversations with your spouse degenerate to your parents vs me comparison matches, and even if true, they don’t help. It always helps for these type of conversations to choose your words carefully and writing helps with that.

      Like

    • Thank you for the email advice.
      I really should have thought about that earlier- if he was unwilling to listen to me, So I did just that-not my email but the email from the happily married DIL- who expressed her thoughts in words so well and since that was what I felt exactly, showed him that email.
      I hope he understands what I feel better now. Atleast I think he does now anyway. We had a proper conversation after so long and I got him to admit that we can’t really go on living like this for the rest of our lives.
      It’s a beginning but I’m still terrified how all this will go down.

      Like

  9. “Somewhere inside I think like that too and worry I might upset them if I do tell them what I want.”

    I feel that the most important line in this letter is this.

    That is how deeply conditioned our liberated modern woman’s mind is in the patriarchal society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think ‘modern’ Indian women have been conditioned to think like this- if your in-laws are nice people then it is wrong to want to move out and have your own home.
      That’s utter BS.
      You can have the greatest in-laws in the universe and still not want to live with them. It’s OKAY. You’re NOT a villain for wanting to have your own home! You’re just a normal person.

      Plus, moving away will not break or harm a family.
      Being let down by your spouse in fundamental ways will.

      Like

      • “You can have the greatest in-laws in the universe and still not want to live with them. It’s OKAY. You’re NOT a villain for wanting to have your own home! You’re just a normal person.”

        Brilliantly said.

        Like

  10. Dear Maha,

    There is nothing wrong in feeling like this. You are uncomfortable with the strict gender based rules in the family. You feel that you are still a stranger in the family. You do not agree with the family rules and have no authority to influence it.

    It is not your home then, is it?

    And you should explain it to your husband. And not feel guilty about moving out.

    Like

  11. LW,

    Is there a particular reason you’re letting these people walk all over you? You keep saying that you’re worried that you may hurt your ILs feelings. Do they care about your feelings? One does not need to be “modern” or “broad minded” to care about another person’s feelings, they simply need to be human.
    You’re doing no one a favour by being a doormat. Yes, its awkward and unpleasant to bring up these things, but you need to stand up for yourself.
    You can do it in a nice, polite but firm way.( I wouldn’t bother about being polite, but it seems to me that you’re one of those people who worries about keeping other people happy a lot – not a bad trait, but your happiness is important too ,you know)
    Good luck

    Like

  12. “Somewhere inside I think like that too and worry I might upset them if I do tell them what I want.”

    Yep, you will upset them, you will also get to hear how you’ve upset them and how you’ve rocked the boat. What does it mean to you though? Other than the somewhat abstract concept of being a nice person who doesn’t like upsetting other people/hurting their feelings (since this doesn’t seem to be a two ways street. If it were, this you wouldn’t be facing this issue). Is being considered a nice person/dutiful bahu worth more to you than being able to live the live you want? Can you really continue to live this way until god knows when? How do you think it’s going to feel when you wake up after, say, 10 more years of this and realise that it wasn’t a great decision and that you could have done something to change it a while back?

    What you in-laws say doesn’t matter as much as your husband’s opinion. You say you’ve tried talking to him but he doesn’t respond. Try talking to him again and if he is still unwilling to even consider your POV, move out. You need some space to be by yourself and think things through. It’ll do you you good to live by yourself for a while and see what that freedom feels like. It might help you think clearly and find a solution (not that it’s your responsibility to). Mostly though, I think it will be a chance for your husband to really understand what you’re talking about, and realise what life without you could mean for him. It sounds harsh, but there comes a time when only harsh measures will do.

    All the best. And you’ll be okay, just remember that.

    Like

  13. This is the tough thing – everything and everyone being shades of grey and not black or white. Wanting to live with somebody is a choice, not a way to extend their pleasantness. If the ILs treat you well, you can treat them well. That doesn’t mean that you have to ‘adjust’ to their way of life or agree to every principle they hold dear. This situation is tough because your husband, others, sometimes even you yourself will question if this battle is worth it. They are nice people after all. He is a good and a loving husband at the end of the day. But is that enough? For how long? How do you see your life shaping up in these circumstances? From experience I can say one thing – it’s difficult to set a date to start acting on your decisions. That day never comes. If you want to do something about your situation, act now. Others have given some solid suggestions that I don’t want to repeat. All I can add is that make a note of all the strong reasons supporting your decision. It never hurts to remind yourself every now and then what are your interests. Especially when you may fall weak or look ‘petty’ or ‘childish’ or ‘stubborn’ in their eyes for simply following your heart.

    Like

  14. First love and respect yourself. You deserve happiness. Meet your husband outside somewhere and have a long frank talk. Tell him it is not working out for you. If he listens and agrees make sure you decide and agree on a timeline. There might be drama at home. Dont let anybody guilt trap you. If your husband still doesnt agree start looking for a place to rent by yourself. Start spending majority of your rime there and slowly move in there completely. if your husband cares he will move in with you. If he doesnt you know where he stands and how much he values the marriage. In that case tell yourself that you never lost something which wasnt yours anyways. Good luck!

    Like

  15. Dear Maha,

    My mother always reminds us that if we were to agree with Hindu traditional beliefs of life cycles, then human birth comes after a long period of time. If so, we as women, have to ensure that we make something of our lives, live in harmony, but never accept something that does not respect the value of us as people. All this adjustment business will never be ever good enough; some fellow readers have given excellent suggestions.

    Follow your heart and may your journey make you at peace with who you are – a human being worth more than all this useless energy that gets created at the end of the day.

    Hang in there.

    Like

    • That’s a tremendously wise comments.

      I feel sad when I see intelligent, accomplished, talented women weighed down and defeated by petty, one-sided social norms.

      I have seen immensely talented female co-workers quits because the “inlaws don’t like it”

      It’s sad that people do not see the real price women pay for our rigid social norms — the long hours spent crying, struggling, feeling alone, miserable and misunderstood.

      It’s tragic that countless women experience this, year after year, generation after generation.

      Like

  16. Hi Maha..I can understand ur situation…There’s a deep fear of society n honour in our previous gen.
    I dont get it how or why its so deep rooted but most ppl of previous gen want to project a TV serial perfect life to others.
    They worship sons n men of the family like Gods.most women including my college principle MIL n my proff Mom believes tht hubbies r pati parmeshwars n its womens job to serve n spoonfeed them….No amount of logic n reasoning can change their view.I sometimes joke abt this with my mom n mil tht ur generation spoiled the men now its harder for us to tame them back🙂

    I dont stay with my in laws but on my short visits I see lot of hipocracy n ridiculous rules to apease the society.Hell !! my MIL is even worried abt her maid’s openion regarding her household !!
    I would suggest hav a polite yet firm approach.Do wat u wish if she objects just say I like things this way n I will contiue doing tht.Become thick skinned n deaf….Soon they will realise tht they cant thrust their openion on u n leave u alone.
    I will give a personal example.Wen I got married my mom suggested me bunch.of crap like “dont sit in front of in laws” “Refer everyone…even 1 yr old babies as AAP in sasural” “not to take hubby’s name”etc….
    Of course I didnt heed her “advice” I continued to refer my hubby by his name n called him “tum” even in front of his grandmother.My mil hinted several.times not to take his name.I just laughed it off…Finally she said ateast in front of her relatives i shld “pretend” to refer him ad AAP n not take his name.
    I asked why this hipocracy ? wen Everyday I call him by name so why shld I pretend something else in front of others? If someone finds my hubby being refered by his own name as offensive they better live with it.I cant change myself for these silly things.I similarly refused wearing bindi n bangles etc too….
    Over time they hav realised tht I wont bend over backwards to please them.My hubby is supportive n he damm cares abt wat I wear.We r similar in this respect we both turn deaf ear to trivial things.
    Its not tht I always defy her.Sometimes I wear her choice of saari or jewellery based on occasion.I m pretty frank person. I told my MIL tht rather than.being my MIL she shld be my frn we both can enjoy together.She is slowly coming around.She had never visited beauty parlor in her life so I took her for a facial.She always wore saaris I convinced her to wear suits.
    Most MILs r not really bad ppl…they hav lived their whole life being supressed n pleasing others, they r unable to see any other way.Just be firm n try to move out with ur hubby…I hav seen seperate housholds hav better relationships rather than joint families.
    Again I m not saying tht u sacrifice ur whole life in trying to change ur in laws.Willingness to change shld be mutual.If they r being thick as mules just leave them to their antics.

    Like

  17. Dear Maha,
    – Have a talk with your husband. Tell him you would like to move out and live in your own home. Tell him you’ve tried the joint family and it’s not working for you. But don’t go into long explanations (then the topic will get diverted to how he can make you happy within the joint family or what you are doing wrong to make yourself unhappy). Simply stick to your stand – you want to live in your own home. Tell him you have nothing against his parents, and their goodness/badness has nothing to do with your decision.
    – Next, if despite a few such talks, he is unwilling, you should move out on your own. (Am assuming, with your education and previous work experience, you can stand on your own feet financially.) Or go and live with your parents temporarily until you can find a job and your own place. This is not divorce, this is separation. You are refusing to live in a joint family and choosing to live in your own space. You are not fighting with your in-laws or bear any ill-will toward them. Do not yell or shout at anyone, including your husband. Tell him calmly that you want to live in your own space.
    – I have a strong feeling that your husband will follow you if take the lead and take a firm stand, and refuse to be derailed into arguments and justifications.

    Like

    • I’ve shared this before on this blog – my sil (husband’s sister) lived with her in-laws for the first 10 years of her marriage. She desperately wanted to move out but no amount of convincing, persuasion worked on her husband. It always came back to her. “My parents are nice people.” “You really shouldn’t complain.” “You should be thankful.” etc. One morning, she simply packed her bags and went to her parents’ house and refused to budge. Her husband started visiting her there. They would talk for hours behind closed doors. Her parents (my in-laws) left them alone. They would talk and talk and he would leave with nothing resolved. A month or two later, they both moved into their own home. They are BOTH happy now.
      Make your life partner take you seriously.

      Like

      • am i crazy if i think the world and everyone will blame me for seprating him from the parents ? And think how cruel am i. The world really doesnt matter but what if he has this regret in his mind that I am the curprit ?

        Like

        • Did he worry about separating you from your parents? If he hasn’t given you that consideration, perhaps you can be forgiven for not doing so either.

          Like

        • If, after 3 years and all the talking, he cannot see how unhappy you are, or how the situation is getting you down, I’m sorry – his opinion doesn’t matter either. It shows clearly that he’s not willing to look out for you, only for himself and what is convenient for him.

          Like

    • I agree with this , i have seen it work in our family, my brother is totally attached to my mom and my mom guilts him and tells everyone that as they get older they need the support of their son etc., my SIL did know the joint setup beforehand , but they also assured her of privacy etc., anyway end story is that she felt she needed a separate home since her folks and sister couldnt visit. her mom travels for work and when she visits her daughters city she stays in a hotel which is not the ideal deal.
      we all suggested for jmday one of marriage and before that they move upstairs and live independently, my brother is quite lazy and didnt want to take on the tasks with an ind family🙂 so he claimed he needed to take care of parents.
      anyway long story shory she had a baby went ot her parents plac and decided to stay there for a while, a loooong while .. she started working and was quite happy, now the same society started asking my mom why her DIl was not coming back. and beng a slave to society my mom pushed my brother out to move upstairs and lo behold she came back and before she even opened her mouth the whole family hastily moved her upstairs…
      they live quite happily there, my mom actually likes the less work ( it’s not wasy feeding a 40yr old all his meals) now the 2 old people barely cook and actually wake late and enjoy life , no one waiting for dinner and lunch etc., the only one who hates this setup is my brother, since he has to help his wife either he deals with the baby or deals with cooking. no mummy to make garmagaram breakfast, get up and get toast or oatmel.. no yummy dosa and chutney waiting for you. yep he’s the only one unhappy and i suggested he get a cook and live happily but that means you spend your money !!! who knows what he will do. int he past 6 months his complaining has come down and his involvement with the baby and cooking etc., has gone up, he actually makes complete meals now and seems ot enjoy taking care of his son…

      Like

  18. I can relate to each and every word you just wrote dear! I have pretty much been living the same life. Same love cum arrange maariage. I ahd an arrangement with my uhusband before i said yes to th emarriage that until we have a child or may be when the child you would 3 4 year ol we will movie with his parents and till then we will stay in bangalore. But Until the day of our enagge,ent arrived he told me i was shifting to delhi and had already given interviews! ANd Bam the reality struck. My inlaws are super nice but the whole dont want to loose myself is what i hear everytime! EVen the food choices are what they want to choose from. Money matters are not independent.

    But you are definitely not wrong when you say you want a free life of your own! You know at my place its like what my si wants is very much important. SO when I say something its discarded , for instance when i wanted to celebrate my first anniversary in a quiet trip abroad they want a celebration. I feel these are things that need my decision bt it doesnt work out./ And my husband goes week in the knees when the PIL’s start crying over such things. SO we dint go newhere and hosted a party for people i dint even know from morning till evening.
    On the other hand when the sil says the same thing she is saying such right words! and her inlaws are so wrong in forcing her to have a party! This is just a neutral example. But don really know when the Indian mentality will change or even don’t really know what to do . So yea i relate to each and every word you say and would even like to know the next step that you follow cz I am equally clueless between loving the husband not disrespecting the elders and want my own life back!

    Like

    • Indian culture will change only when educated and financially independent women like you take a stand. If your husband lied to you about where you would be staying and then went and did something different without your approval, then he is a liar and a cheat. Do you want to be married to such a person? Do not expect any love from this person. From the beginning, he has shown how much he disrespects you. Now please start respecting yourself and take a firm stand. I don’t understand what is so clueless about this!

      Like

    • What is stopping you from telling your husband that you want to move out?
      When you know what makes you happy, you should just go for it. Stand up for you happiness.

      My cousin-in-law posted this on FB:
      If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what gets planned for you? Not much.

      Like

  19. @the LW–I feel like you already know what you should do–it’s just that you haven’t figured out the steps to take to get there.

    There is nothing wrong with being selfish and seeking happiness for yourself (the way you want to)–you only live once and sacrificing that for this extremely uncompromising person (who you say is a wonderful husband) isn’t very prudent. I find it funny that he’s asking you to adjust to his entire family, when he’s refusing to adjust to any of your wishes.

    If possible, I’d suggest couple’s therapy for you and your husband (and individual therapy for you). I’m guessing that your husband is the type to flat out refuse something like this. Frankly, I don’t think he’s worth all this hassle. The man sounds like a whiny, self involved, mommy’s boy who doesn’t respect his own wife enough to help her out with the housework. He sounds like he was different when you guys were abroad, but now that it’s convenient for him to be himself, he’s doing just that.

    You do only live once. You’re really young at 30 and you have an additional 60 years to live hopefully–do you really want to be in this situation for all that time?

    If I were you, I’d separate, live by myself for a while, go through therapy, and then take a call. If this sounds too drastic for you, I’d say start with some individual therapy at the very least.

    Like

  20. Hello Maha,

    Why haven’t you already found an apartment to move into? It can be in the same building – that way you still be close to them. & Samaj – oof! They don’t sleep in your marital bed do they? The more you allow yourself or your in-laws concessions for “samaj”, the more your actions and words would echo these sentiments. You seem to be expecting your in-laws and your husband to be the solution here – they aren’t going to be. Sounds like you are just afraid to be labelled as the trouble-maker/ girl-who-stole-my-son type.
    If it were me, I would have already figured out what I can afford in terms of rent, and found a place for us. Then, one day, when my husband is on his way from office, I would kidnap him before he got home and show him the new apartment, the possibilities and then take him out to dinner to his favourite restaurant ( I would tell my ILs that I wanted to go on a date with husband that night and not to expect us for dinner). At dinner, I would say, “I agreed to live life your way, it doesn’t work; so let’s try living my way. Give this a shot, and see if this agrees with us?” I would set a deadline for *US* to talk to his parents (note: not ask their permission, but inform them of our choice) or move out alone by that deadline if he didn’t have the guts to go through telling his parents.

    Like

  21. Well, Maha, I hate to say it but you set yourself up this. As Maya Angelou says, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” You’ve always known that you didn’t want to live in a joint situation, and your husband always expressed a need to live with his parents. Somewhere along the line you started lying to yourself and either saying that the joint fam situation wouldn’t bother you too much, or you told yourself you could get him to change.

    You were wrong on both accounts. It’s okay, many women have made this mistake before. But now you have one heck of a situation to correct, as there are only two options: either someone has to change, or you will have to go your separate ways.

    Perhaps your husband is wrong for not listening to you, but you also pulled a number on him too. He was all set to live with mom and dad, told you that, and you ignored it, and you acted okay enough with that to marry him. Now, you want something he didn’t agree to.

    Neither one of you is getting what you wanted because you both failed to realize that you had two different ideas of what your marriage would look like.

    Like

  22. Hello from the LW

    I really do thank you all for the wonderful suggestions and for your support. As I mentioned in my previous comment I have taken a step to get my point across. Although it might really be an uphill task to get my inlaws to agree.
    If anyone else is reading this post- it really does help to share your thoughts and feelings, as it helped me to have the courage to fight for what you want and believe.
    I do know what I must do but knowing and implementing them are two different things.I haven’t yet got him to set a date – a sort of deadline but I can see it happening sometime soon.
    There is one thing I must clarify. My letter does sort of make my husband look like a jerk but he is only human. When you have a wife who is complaining all the time you sometimes tend to not listen! ( And I thought that was the only way I could my point across). We did have the same vision but somehow that vision changed when we moved back to India.
    I am just hoping that everything works out well soon!

    Like

    • @the LW–you do say that your husband is expected to come home from work and chill out/do nothing when the wife who comes home from work (I’m assuming that’s you) still has to do all the house work–sure he’s human, but he’s also a jerk here. And you say that you cook your food separately, does he do half the work? If not, he’s definitely a jerk, at least according to my standards. Once again, I’m not saying he’s not human, but he’s definitely being unfair and uncompromising.

      Like

      • You are absolutely right Kay, the husband is a jerk an should not be given a pass, indian men have it too easy. If he comes back from work and sits on his ass while the wife is single handedly doing all the cooking and cleaning after also working all day long and the husband sees no issue with it, he is a damn jerk in my book. This is coming from a guy who lived and studied abroad, not some villager, absolutely unacceptable and grounds for divorce in my opinion. But also what can we do with social conditioning and brainwashing in Indian society that makes this setup seem completely normal?

        Like

        • In a way both of you are right. If they and by they I mean men refuse to help in the household chores they are jerks. But I see someone who did help out before and does sometimes when he feels like it – not often enough for me though. However, when you are living with your parents I think something gets into your head especially if u r a man and are told so every day. If you are conditioned to think like that u start to think like that. Which is why I need to get him to move quickly so he isn’t a lost cause!

          Like

    • Hello Maha,
      I was in a similar situation until a few months back..and then we moved into a separate house about a km away from theirs.
      My inlaws were not bad but somehow it never felt home to be with them..
      The irony was my husband was fully supportive of whatever I did, but it was me who felt guilty on leaving them behind.
      I still do feel guilty but I have started to love myself and my life..
      Earlier I used to feel like someone else is living my life.
      Yes my relation with my ils is not so great but whatever, it wouldnt have been great from my perspective if I had stayed back.
      I still visit them whenever I can.
      Respecting old people doesnt mean that we sacrifice our life.
      But once my husband told them that we are moving out I took the initiative and made the move in around 3 weeks.

      I would say move out before you start resenting them and the relationship gets worse.

      Like

  23. Pingback: “I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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

  25. Pingback: An email from the Accused Guy: ‘I would request all to respond once again after reading the other side of it.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s