Sharing an email.
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
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.”