What exactly is Misuse of Freedom and Trust? Why is choosing one’s life partner seen as a ‘betrayal’ by many Indian families/parents?
Sharing an email.
I am back again asking for your help regarding a problem. Would be grateful if you could post this on your blog – I would like to know what people who have been in such situations have to say.
My husband and me had a love marriage – we are from different religions/caste/language and different states. We waited and fought for 3 years for approval from his side – which never came. He was given an ultimatum to go and lead his life or forget me and stay in the family. My husband chose the former and we have been so happy ever since. His folks (mom and 3 sisters & their husbands) gave more importance to society and relatives approval and “what will people say” rather than his happiness. But within a few months they back tracked and accepted him back into the household because his mom couldn’t be without seeing him. He lost his father a few years before we even became good friends… (and that also was brought in as a reason to oppose our union). His 3 elder sisters and family are cordial and warm to him. It’s going to be 10 yrs since we’ve been married, but I have not been accepted into the family. His nieces had not been told about his marriage, but as 4 of them grew into adults, they came to know of of the matter. But no one talks about it and the family prefers to brush anything regarding us under the carpet. “We” are never talked about, but assumptions are made by them on how we lead our life. We are more than happy to be away from all this family politics and orthodox values, superstitious beliefs etc.
Now coming to the real issue – his 1st niece is in the USA. She went there 3 yrs back to do her MS and is now working there. She is in love with her good friend there. He is of a different caste-and that is the only difference. She has known him for the last 3 years and they have been going steady for the past 1 year. He is a good boy, with equal education, a great job and from a good family. The last couple of months her parents have been pressurizing her with proposals and when she could take it no more, informed her mom about her love last month. The nightmares have started since then, her mom doing the crying, lamenting, not talking phases, emotional blackmail, threatens and everything else.
They are playing the caste card, the boy being a non-Brahmin. They claim that relatives will desert them, no one will talk to them, marriages of the other 5 girls (her own sister and 4 cousins) will be a problem, how will they face the world etc etc. Another important fact – “how can we agree for this when we opposed your Uncle’s marriage?”. The same accusations and reasons and fights that took place 13 yrs ago is repeating itself. Horoscope, society, caste and everything else matters more. None of them have changed even a bit. It’s like living through all that emotional abuse all over again. She has tried in all her conversations to explain that he will keep her happy and her happiness should be important for them and how their interests, goals and likes match and how they will make a good couple. But none of this matters – the parents say “our happiness should be more important to you than yours”!!!!
Another problem – this girl’s younger sister just got her visa for her MS and will be going to the same city that her sister stays. The parents and aunts (mother’s sisters) have started to blackmail and brainwash the younger one asking her how is she going to stay with her sister because she has fallen in love, she will not take care of you. Why can’t you not go there now, do your PG here in India”, etc etc. They are trying to turn the younger one against the older stating that “she is doing a favour by spending for you, because she wants our approval in return. She has become rude because she in earning in $’s in the USA” etc etc. The sisters are very close to each other and are stunned by this divide and rule and lies and twisting of stories from the parents side.
Both of them are not putting up their views very strongly fearing that their parents will not allow the younger one to travel. It’s another torture to listen to all the arguments and emotional abuse and blackmail and not voice their opinions.
A few days back the parents laid down conditions to the younger one – that if they send her to the USA
1. You have to go and try change your sister’s mind
2. You have to come back after 2 years of studies
3. You have to work and repay your study loan yourself (as in not take money from the elder one)
4. You cannot think of having a love marriage.
The parents are in a fix because the elder one will not be coming down to India anytime soon, because she just had her visa status changed. They feel she is so far away and is out of their hands, so they are trying to guilt trip her into accepting that because of what she did (falling in love) she is responsible for spoiling her sister’s future if her parents decide not to send her to the USA.
They are definitely not going to accept this and I fear the boy’s situation would become the same as mine – a son-law who’s not accepted though they might accept the daughter back, in case they go ahead and get married by themselves.
All the years of growing up, achieving in studies, being a good child – all this apparently becomes of no use because you fall in love and choose your own partner. Why is it that parents think that their happiness lies in only whom their children marry whom they are told to marry? They do everything for their children, but when the real time comes to support them in their happiness, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.
I want your readers to please advice on what they should do and how should they react to all this emotional drama and assumptions and mental torture. There might be many who have been through such situations…..I need their expert advice.
1. These are not some illiterate, from the village type parents. These are educated and young parents in their 50’s.
2. The boy’s side is very liberal and broad minded. His sister also had a love marriage and there is no problem from the boy’s side.
Thanks in advance to you IHM and all your readers.