“Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?”

What if romance and marriage were seen as options, and self reliance was considered an unavoidable goal – for women too? 

Sharing an email. 

“His mother has been very clear that she wants me to come home soon because she cannot work. I know, I need to do household work, at least not burden them with my responsibility.”


The email: 

I need your advice.

I liked someone enough to introduce him to my parents, so I did, our parents met and decided last year that we would get married this year.

In the beginning guy’s parents told me they do not need anything and they would be really happy even if it is a simple marriage and I was more than happy about it. However, as this year came by and our parents met again, they had apparently changed their mind about it, and I was fine with it.

However, they said that they would be bringing 200 people whereas my father had requested them to bring 100 people or so, so that the marriage could be organised in an upscale venue. They remained adamant about it and finally my parents gave in and said it is okay  if baraat is between 100-150.

Before this I had tried in vain to convince my bf about our limitations but he did not seem to consider and thinking it is not a big deal I did not think much into it.

I thought it was all fine now, but the date which was fixed after consulting the pandit needed to be reshuffled again as pandit had made a mistake and said that this date was not suitable. He gave two other dates, we all thought it will be fine, but his parents again became adamant that they did not want those dates and said that the wedding needed to be postponed for next year. And IHM, I had already booked the venue by paying the advance since I wanted to help my parents by bearing the cost of the wedding. Since my salary is not much, I had to save for 5 months to pay the advance.

Again my bf did not say anything I understand that he must have pressure from his parents, but should he not consider my family at one point? I understand they must give a lot of importance to traditions and ceremonies, and I was ready to do it happily too. Is it too much of inconvenience to shift the wedding 7 days back? I understand it could be their limitation, so I asked my father to let it be and give them time and shift it.

But right now, I have serious doubts. Marriage is about supporting each other. On one side I feel that bf is not supporting me, on the other I feel even more scared as to how will I be treated by his parents. His mother has been very clear that she wants me to come home soon because she cannot work. I know, I need to do household work, at least not burden them with my responsibility. I feel caught up between so many things. My heart says, yes he is a nice person, but at the same time I don’t feel loved the way I wish to be. Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?

I am very confused.

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The danger signs and what’s non negotiable.

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“I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

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

An email: “When I met my husband, the first impression I had was that he was a male-chauvinist”

An email: I was a person who thought Indian husbands will (and can) dominate their wives and there is nothing unnatural in that.


55 thoughts on ““Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?”

  1. Listen to your gut. It’s telling you all the right things. You are not expecting too much. They are exhibiting classic “ladke-wale” behavior, and if your BF was more supportive before but isn’t now, he may have bought into the guilt they (probably) laid on him, that by choosing whom to marry by himself, he has disgraced them in some way. No excuse either way – having made the choice, you are entitled to his support, as much as he is of yours – and while things *may* improve with time, I would be very leery of this marriage.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maith, have you been married in India? I doubt you’re feeding the OP with correct advice.

      Wedding times are horrendous – with all sorts of pressure. You have to know the partner well enough that you can get by this time period. My BF and I just made it through to the wedding without calling it off.

      There are faults on every single side, no point singling out the guy or his family.

      Although I do think the guy’s mom trying to decide when the girl comes home is completely wrong. Hopefully the OP knows the guy well enough that she believes this is solvable. Otherwise, no point getting married.


      • Nithya – What makes you think only someone unfamiliar with Indian weddings would have this opinion – this applies to treating a woman’s opinion as worthy, nothing to do with weddings and the associated tensions. And FWIW, yes, I am married, our wedding was in India, 20 years ago. Still married to the same guy, and I even have a great relationship with my ILs. Excusing the specific concerns this woman has, with the tired reason that all kinds of things happen during weddings is extremely unfair IMO. It trivializes her lived experiences – something that happens one way or another to way too many women – and one of the reasons so many women are reluctant to come forward with their stories.

        The LW’s concerns relate to much deeper questions of the respect she is entitled to from her fiance and his family. And I think she’s asking the right questions.


        • I agree, take control out of parents’ hands. Invite them to your wedding instead of having them run the show. The OP has ceded control, and the ride ended up being rough

          That’s what my friend did, and it was smooth.


  2. “Before this I had tried in vain to convince my bf about our limitations but he did not seem to consider and thinking it is not a big deal I did not think much into it.”

    The fact that he did not *consider* your *limitations* is a VERY BIG deal indeed. There are too many bells ringing very loudly in warning in this email.


  3. My dear LW,

    I think your gut is telling you something is wrong. You are a responsible adult, who is helping organise and setup her wedding to a man she likes. He is a mamma’s boy who is following his parents. He has no say in how many guests will attend his wedding or in when it should take place. He does not think of you or your parents’ inconvenience or of your finances. You are worried- and rightfully so.

    If you wish to share a life with this man, as 2 adults in a relationship, you need to talk to him now. You need to figure out what is going on in his head. girlsguidetosurvival has listed many brilliant points about your rights in relationships and I refer to them for myself and my friends. I urge you to do the same (thanks so much DG!; and IHM through whose blog I reached the former’s). Read other letters and testimonials on IHM’s blog – there are many stories, which are often the same story recurring. If you feel you misread him, either right now or before, you have time to consider your decision again. People don’t change unless they want to. If he is a certain way, know that he will remain so once you are married.

    And if you feel you made a wrong decision, don’t beat yourself up over it – it’s not because you are reading too many books. We want to fall in love, it’s a wonderful state of being and we all deserve it! When we find someone attractive, spend time with them, we fall in love with them. If, over time they reveal parts of themselves that are unacceptable to us, that early-stage calf-love isn’t enough. And if you don’t feel loved, that is a reason to think long and hard about whether to continue a relationship.


    • Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality” NO, longing and expecting love is not a matter of a fiction or non fiction story. Most women like myself want to feel loved and protected.

      The problem we encounter at times is not choosing our partners wisely, getting carried away by our hopes/plans for the future, and forgetting that in a wedding everyone in both families wants to have a voice or make decisions.

      It is completely selfish of your ILs to change the date to fit their needs without taking YOU into consideration! It is also completely disrespectful that they decided to invite more guests than what your dad first proposed… If they want to invite more people, I would ask them for help $ (some might think this is an outrageous idea, frankly I don’t think it is).

      I also think that your future MIL is beginning to ask too much of you already… “she wants me to come home soon because she cannot work”
      – Will she suddenly get cripple or handicapped?
      She seems to want a house maid, not a DIL to give her company and grandchildren. From my point of view this is already a bad start.

      According to your letter, you should have a serious conversation with your boyfriend before you get married… In your place I would cover these main topics
      – He needs to start standing up for you, beginning with his family.
      – Tell him that you are getting married to him, to have a pleasant life together, and not to be his family’s new maid.
      – Point out that your family is just as important as his.
      If he loves you, then he’ll understand and emotionally support you.


  4. This will probably not be a popular comment, but I think you should give it a chance. I’ve been through this (14 years ago) and if you can negotiate this, you will both be the better for it and have set up a good line of communication. This is your first attempt at dialogue that will be very important through the marriage.

    You must tell your boyfriend what’s on your mind and see if he is willing to share a portion of the expense. Do not expect him to read your mind. Try not to see yourself/the other person as a representative of their family. Do not threaten to break-up. Just clearly state your need and if the person you are with is unable to participate in an adult discussion, far better to find out now and walk away than after the wedding.

    All best wishes


    • Hi LW !
      Your take on the situation is very much justified. Decisions need to be taken with mutual agreement of all the parties involved and the ‘”ladke-wallah” privilege needs to die, no contest there.

      However, as ‘JK’ said in his/her comment:
      “You must tell your boyfriend what’s on your mind and see if he is willing to share a portion of the expense. Do not expect him to read your mind. Try not to see yourself/the other person as a representative of their family.”

      Communicate clearly and argue dispassionately.

      And if even after this, the situation doesn’t improve I say reconsider the decision.

      Best wishes !


  5. Books and movies have made us believe that the standoffish emotionally unavailable guy is worth running behind. The reality is that relationships are a partnership between two people who are willing to give and take mutual respect and understanding. It’s not merely about feeling that spark and hitting it off… It’s about sustaining it so that two individuals can build a beautiful future together. You need to set expectations with him to shoulder some of the financial burden and responsibility now. Tradition aside, we’re in a brave new world now where the bride’s side should certainly not be expected to pay for everything as well as cater to the whims and fancies of the groom’s side.


  6. I think you really need to talk to him and tell him that his non-responsiveness is bothering you. You should communicate your feelings openly. If he understands where you’re coming from, why you are concerned, then I think he will try and make his parents understand. It is possible that he doesn’t really understand your problems because you’re not voicing them. You must voice them. You must tell him what’s on your mind, if he’s the person you want to get married to.

    If you think that he will not support you even after you have discussed your worries with him, then I would seriously urge you to reconsider marrying him. Loving someone is a very painful thing sometimes, but for one reason or another, sometimes we have to let someone go for our own sanity. Like his mother said that you need to leave work and be at home, do you really think that’s what you want in life? If that’s what you want then that’s alright, but if you don’t want it, don’t sacrifice your dreams for a romanticised ideal of love. One day it will fade and you will be left with resentment.

    Also, I think it’s bewildering that his family doesn’t seem to be spending any money for the wedding. I know that’s a common thing in India – for the bride’s family to bear expenses, but it would be a serious red flag for me.


  7. Run a mile, woman. Run TEN miles! Your boyfriend might be a nice guy, but if he can’t/won’t listen to you or take your side now, or see that his parents keep arbitrarily moving the goal posts in respect of your wedding date/preparations etc, causing you financial loss and emotional hurt… well, do you really think you should put your future in his hands? You and your parents are already doing all the compromising without any reciprocal gestures from him or his parents. Sure, he might change in the future – there’s always a chance that people will change for the better – but do you REALLY want to risk your happiness and freedom by marrying into his family? Marry in haste, repent at leisure is a saying that I would sincerely not want you to experience for real.


  8. Hello there,

    This is indeed a dilemma, let me make one thing clear as I understand from this post. You might end up being a complete housewife after 6 months/1 year after marriage. I guess that you guys are going to be living in with his parents and if so, it won’t be easy. Especially if the husband is not strong and protective.

    My opinions are based only on your writing above and probably it’s easy for me to cast my opinion and leave but please know that Marriage is a big decision, think very much about it. If your heart says no, then give some more time to analyse the situations 🙂

    I wish you luck and hope you come up with a good solution 🙂 God bless.


  9. 1. Once you are clear about what your non-negotiables are it all becomes simpler.

    2. Reality has to be based on mutual respect, which is something you need to consider. Do you see this as an issue in the longer run?

    3. I would say sit the bf down and in a very clear and firm and polite way explain what your non-negotiables are. After that think again and then decide what to do. You may need to may some tough calls.

    4. Good luck. Not easy but trust me – its doable.


  10. I honeslty dont know what to advice to you. But i have been there, and i understand its very frustrating. And all the more frustration when your boy-friend do not support and can not say a word in front of their parents. What i would suggest you , is to talk to your boy-friend and just tell him that you want to share the expenses 50-50. Whaever the venue booking amount is, you both gotta share 50-50. See his reaction, if he agrees and ready to share the expenses and understands that he is not doing any favour by marrying you , then you can wait for next year. This will also be a test for him, how much he loves you and respects equality. If he doesn’t listen to you, or simply do not stand up, I would say please break up and look for other guy.

    Bfs who can not take a stand before wedding, wont take stand ever ! and this will bring lot of differences in your relationship in future.

    Good Luck !


    • This is the best advice so far. If the boyfriend is willing to share the expenses for the delayed wedding, then it means he has empathy and that there is a genuine need to postpone. If not, you know what type of person he is.


  11. There are SOME ways in which bookish love isn’t like reality. Those ways, for example, are things like the hero and heroine looking 100% gorgeous all the time, with their breath smelling like roses even immediately after waking up in the morning. Or the fact that their story always follows a perfect narrative arc: girl meets boy and likes him, then there is a problem, then problem gets solved and they live HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Real life is not like that. Real life true love is more like, problem gets solved, they’re happy for a while, then another problem crops up, and after solving that they’re happy for a bit more again, and so on until they die.

    But books don’t lie to you about stuff like: how the person you love should treat you (with respect, consideration, and solidarity ALWAYS). Or, how the person you love should deal with their parents when their parents cause problems for you (tell the parents to stop and shut the hell up, ALWAYS, IMMEDIATELY).

    Your man sounds awful, frankly. If he can’t even control his parents before marriage, can you imagine what’s going to happen after? After getting married you will be under even more pressure to keep him and your inlaws happy, and not to let the marriage break up. You think your inlaws are not going to take advantage of that pressure to do as they please with you? To treat you like crap? And given his track record, can you honestly expect your man to stand up for you after the wedding??

    You need to run run run from this guy. If he comes after you and tries to patch up, you need to set some major rules and boundaries – starting with him paying you back your advance, and going back to the earlier agreement of a small wedding. If he even so much as shows a hint of hesitation … let alone try to bargain with you… run run run away and never look back. And even if things work out, you will probably need to be watchful and make sure his family doesn’t take advantage of you. Living away from them separately will be a must!

    Don’t let people doubt you and make you feel like you’re doing something wrong by demanding to be treated with the respect you deserve. Respect is not just for book people. It is for real people too. Your feelings matter! You should be with someone who knows this.


    • //But books don’t lie to you about stuff like: how the person you love should treat you (with respect, consideration, and solidarity ALWAYS).//

      Not if the books in question are Twilight and Fifty Shades trilogy. I think the LW should rather read Anna Karenina.

      Good comment BTW.


  12. You have been shown your worth in this family and in this marriage. Take whatever refund you get from the advance booking and just consider the lost money as a life lesson well learnt. Break off this relationship. You really don’t need people in your life who don’t value you or consider your needs or understand your feelings. If this is happening now, it will be hundred times worse once you are in their power, socially and physically. Don’t fall into their clutches.


    • Sorry, but this advice may not be entirely applicable.

      In my case, what I learnt weeks later is that my parents had offended the guys parents pretty badly. That was returned to them, and my parents were acting one-sided and telling me just one side of the story.

      This caused me to flip off and shout at the guy. He was staying silent and I took that as complicity.

      I am ashamed of my behavior. The OP may be in a similar situation. Please keep away from the parents’ fights. They are stuck in the past


      • That’s not what is happening with the OP, though. She has clearly mentioned that her BF is not standing up for her. If there is a reason behind it, he should come out and clearly say so. Otherwise, once again, the issue of lack of clarity and communication in the relationship comes up and is a big red flag.


  13. Being married recently, I can totally relate to your experiences. Desi families and partners are at their bloody worst during the wedding phase. It’s not as simplistic pressure from family, your BF is being torn apart by all sorts of issues that he won’t talk about for now.

    I’m a little surprised nobody counseled you through this. Months before our wedding, my BF and I were told to prepare for fights, misunderstandings and all sorts of inexplicable things between two families. We were told *not* to step into the wedding planning, except where we care.
    We had so many fights that we stopped talking for 2-3 weeks before our wedding and started having our doubts whether we should call off the wedding.

    The only thing that stands out is his mom telling you to come home early. That is a bad sign and needs to be resolved with your BF, but it can possibly be worked out with time.

    I’m going to straight out say that anyone who says these fights aren’t normal hasn’t been married in India, or is plain lucky. I’m yet to hear from a couple that didn’t go through hell before wedding.
    The best advice I heard from anyone is don’t try to understand the fights of the previous generation, they’ll fight and get back together like nothing happened, and you’ll be left wondering why.


    • “We were told *not* to step into the wedding planning, except where we care.”

      It’s HER wedding, her’s and the guy she is marrying. Everything should be THEIR decision. If someone else is interfering, it’s WRONG. Frankly, that advice sounds really awful. If I ever get married, I would want to be part of the preparations. In fact, everything would be MY decision because guess who is getting married? ME? I don’t think parents have the right to take away your special day from you and in the bargain, also spoil your relationship with the one person you mean to spend you life with. Also, normal does not mean right. If it’s not right, it must not be encouraged.


      • I disagree, your advice doesn’t make sense in the Indian context.
        If it’s ‘their’ decision, why take it to parents and ask them to conduct the wedding? Just get married and invite parents to it!


        • That’s ridiculous. Choosing to involve your parents in the wedding preparations does not necessarily have to mean that you choose to accept drama, unreasonable demands or complete takeover of the wedding. As far as Indian context goes, I think it ought to be perfectly possible for those getting married to expect support and assistance from their families regarding the wedding, and not drama, divisions and unnecessary fights. If that is outside the Indian context, then the Indian context needs to be changed. Just because something is normal, does not make it right.


    • > I’m going to straight out say that anyone who says these fights aren’t normal hasn’t been married in India, or is plain lucky.

      I’m one of the “lucky” ones, except it was NOTHING to do with luck, and everything to do with courage and self-respect and good judgement. From the very beginning, I made it clear I wasn’t going to take anybody’s shit. I was loud and fighty and “bitchy” and to this day no elders ever dare to mess with me. This is not luck! It’s a constant struggle. But it is worth it, because I live like a human instead of like a dog.

      Isn’t this what we should be telling this young woman to do? Forgive me, but saying “you can deal with these problems in time” just makes it more acceptable for people to continue treating her like shit *now*. She needs to stand up for herself and set her boundaries and demand to be treated like a human.


      • I’m only saying my BF was treated worse than I was – it had nothing to do with being a woman – it was the complexities of the situation.

        After the wedding, I realized how much worse he had – I had it far better.

        IMHO, this sort of confusion has nothing to do with being a man or woman.


    • “I’m going to straight out say that anyone who says these fights aren’t normal hasn’t been married in India, or is plain lucky.”
      I have been married in India to an Indian, am still married to the same guy. This was 20 plus years ago when traditions were even stronger and adult children were vehemently discouraged from speaking up. We both belong to traditional middle class families. I chose to speak up.
      If more of us speak up against this, we can change the system. If we advice people to see disrespect as the norm and accept it, then there’s no chance of change.


  14. Breaking some close one’s heart by not inviting him/her to your wedding for the sake of an ‘upscale wedding’ — this is a discussion topic in itself.


    • Note that the groom’s parents want the bride’s parents to not “break the heart” of someone whom the bride parents probably don’t even know. Invite 2 million guests if you need to, but do not foist the bill on someone else.


    • 200 people close to heart and yet not spending a single penny to facilitate feeding those lose to heart. Hmm expecting the bride and the parents to fund the wedding so 200 people close to the grooms heart can attend…. Hmmm good ..


  15. “However, as this year came by and our parents met again, they had apparently changed their mind about it, and I was fine with it.

    However, they said that they would be bringing 200 people whereas my father had requested them to bring 100 people or so, so that the marriage could be organised in an upscale venue. They remained adamant about it and finally my parents gave in and said it is okay if baraat is between 100-150.”

    Why were you fine with this? What did your fiancé have to say about any of this? Is this money you have saved up personally? Or is it a financial burden on your parents’, and unexpected one at that?

    “Again my bf did not say anything I understand that he must have pressure from his parents, but should he not consider my family at one point?”

    Yes, any decent human being would have had far more sympathy and empathy for you and your family. I think he’s a douche who’s like many other douches that I’ve read about on this blog—a wimp with no functioning brain, who’ll make your life miserable once you marry him.

    “My heart says, yes he is a nice person, but at the same time I don’t feel loved the way I wish to be. Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?”

    What does one have to do to be a ‘bad’ person in your eyes? Beat you? Isn’t not supporting you enough? Does he need to do something extra terrible for you to say he isn’t a good person?

    Personally, I don’t think he’s a good person. If he’s happily putting unnecessary financial burdens on his fiancé and her family, he’s an undeserving ass. Sure, he may have some nice qualities, but for me, this would be more than enough to dump the man. So I’d advise you to do the same.

    Perhaps you are confusing bookish kind of love with reality, but girl, this guy is no Mr. Darcy.


  16. I would gladly tell u that there should be ZERO tolerance for this high-handed, doing-as-they-please behavior of ‘ladke-walas’, notorious and deliberate, wimpish and childish, only to assert their superiority. And that if ur boyfriend can’t stand up for u now, how can u trust him with ur life? But I know where we live and how we’ve been brought up….always suspecting our own expectations, thinking ‘it’s not that bad’. Well my dear girl… ‘Not that bad’ does not equal ‘good’. And there is my point. If u go for this guy, u may spend ur life feeling ‘not that bad’. But if u want it ‘Good’ or ‘great’, u have to step back here. It’s ur life. Your decision. Love should never get cagey. It should be freeing. Wedding should be a happy experience, not a doubtful, resentful one. U r the judge, my friend. U deserve the best. Always remember.


  17. Hey LW! I admire your clarity, sense of purpose, and sense of fairness the way you have gone ahead to shoulder responsibility, which would traditionally fall upon your parents in its entirety. Tch, tch that your BF is not on the board. I have always experienced that a man as a BF is different from the man he becomes once you are married. Same with in-laws. It has everything to do with power situation at play, sadly. And even if you may think such issues have nothing to do with ‘family’, it’s just not true. So, power up. You will power up by not looking to eager to please. Also, bowing down now will work as “default settings” to your relationship, which you will find difficult to “reset” later. I suggest you coolly and calmly take their offer for delaying the wedding (it’s just money you’ll lose, not self-respect, not your job, not your life). I reckon that itself should give your BF cold feet. Don’t talk about your “limitations” because you don’t earn much, can’t spend much. Sounds negative. When it comes to money and such things, there’s no such thing as enough. So, let go of the idea and take this new funda: “My circumstances allow me to host these many people and if you want more, we split the bill according to percentages.” Your parents did not raise such a mature and independent girl to kowtow in front of your would-be in-laws. Talk to the boy first, honestly, tell him what struggles you are facing and that you are counting on him to play his part here. Try not to break down or raise yoru voice in case words are thrown around so that they end up hurting you. Material constraints are real constraints. Also the easiest to adjust with, you see. If your BF cannot see eye to eye on such important issues, my guess is you will spend your married life quarreling about power, responsibilities at home, money, and all that matters. Besides, your MIL wants you to come soon ‘coz she can’t handle work!? How insensitive is that. For work, hire a maid/assistant/butler. Think about it. Forget what books say. I can show you books that will enrage every single woman on the planet. Think about what you want. And there is nothing wrong about fighting for it. After all, what do you think your BF and his family are doing?


  18. Dear LW

    I understand your apprehensions, and surprise at your boyfriend’s behavior. Welcome to the bandwagon.

    It’s a huge misconception that good boyfriends can make good husbands. In this country, you will hardly ever find men who are the same, be it the presence of their parents, friends and/or you.

    Grown men who continue acting as extensions of their parents have been classified as Homo sapiens sapiens shravanus kumarus according to the Linnean nomenclature and are commonly known as Shravan Kumars in India an Momma’s Boys in many parts of the western world.

    Shravan Kumars are basically male Homo sapiens sapiens Linn. or human beings who branched off normal Darwinian human evolution. While normal human males also continued developing basic survival skills, individuality, self-confidence, ability to stand up for their own rights, empathy for other fellow human beings, and finally, a backbone, Shravan Kumars ceased evolving these traits some time in the past. Social historians haven’t been able to pin down the exact date of their evolutionary stasis, and the stasis was not uniform throughout the civilized world.

    IHM has a whole slew of posts tagged under Shravan Kumar. You can read these blogs to understand the characteristics, habitat, social behavior, feeding and reproductive habits of this species.

    Despite the odds, Shravan Kumars have been able to thrive as a separate species out of tandem with the rest of the civilized world. Patriarchy, a social order established and propagated by an even more ancient sub species of human beings is one of the root causes of the remarkable ability of Shravan Kumars to thrive in the modern world, which they are totally not adapted to live in. Some theorists also speculate that Shravan Kumars and Patriarchs are a mutually intermingling species just like prehistoric humans and Neanderthals.

    However, due to the increasing popularity of gender egalitarianism and feminism in the environment surrounding them, a high rate of entropy is introduced within this species. Therefore, you will find individual species members diffusing with the more rational, thoughtful and practical external environment. Not all Shravan Kumars possess this evolutionary gene and not all of them are able to express this gene.

    So, I don’t know for sure as I have no scientific evidence, but going by the general characteristics, it seems that your boyfriend is indeed a Shravan Kumar. However, I also speculate that since he chose his own mate instead of having his parents do it for him, he does have some genetic possibility to evolve into a normal human being.

    Here is where your work comes in. Rational Shravan Kumars have been documented to respond to open-talk, counseling, and direct confrontation, especially from their spouses. Cases have been established where Shravan Kumars have an active will against Patriarchy, but lack the survival skills to fight it. Maybe you can help him evolve. Survival skills like speaking up for one’s mate, mate’s family and independent decision-making cannot evolve overnight, but are rather acquired and learned behaviors which your boyfriend can learn by example or by communication.

    Have you heard of chimpanzees and Orang-utans solving Rubik cubes? Shravan Kumars are far more intelligent on an average, so with proper training and guidance, they can also pick up new skills. So don’t lose heart.

    Since you are have a huge evolutionary distance between yourself and the Patriarchs (his parents, especially his mother), I don’t think you can or ever will get assimilated into their society provided you do not devolve into Sanskaari Bahu, the female members of Homo sapiens sapiens shravanus kumarus.

    The best option, if you want to stay at your present evolutionarily advanced level and also keep evolving, is to establish clear territory rules with both these species. You are obviously a more intelligent species, so you can call the shots. Do not get threatened.

    Researcher Jade Goodall who worked extensively with apes and chimps, has documented ape behavior when they feel their dominion is threatened. Apes frown, cry, pout, bare their teeth and even throw filth at whatever or whoever threatens them.

    Having evolved from apes, human beings and the sub species Shravan Kumars and Patriarchs are also very similar. The only difference is normal human beings do not occupy unreasonable space in other fellow beings’ lives whereas Patriarchs thrive by that very social order.

    So, you can actually venture into their territory, but if they look threatening, carry enough tranquillizers and weapons to shoot them down. If it becomes too much to handle, get out at once.

    This species has also evolved immense abilities at brainwashing and emotional manipulation to compensate for their lack of intelligence compared to human beings, so you will need to be strong enough not to fall in.

    Meanwhile, resume training the Shravan Kumar you like. That is the only way he can survive the modern world. However, as a normal mentally evolved human being, it is up to you if you want to decide if all the effort is worth it.

    Whenever you feel intimidated, remember that you are a woman. Nature made you smart for a reason.



  19. There are warning bells are you need to listen to them. First of all, you need to sit down and have a serious talk with your BF. Maybe you have not been clear and he did not understand your concerns…let us give him the benefit of doubt first and just once.

    He needs to support you ALWAYS and not succumb to pressure from his parents. At this day and age most youngsters would want to share the marriage expenses and not burden their parents….at least contribute some money to the parents. when the issue of the number of people to be invited and wedding date came up-make it clear to him that you expected him to reason with his parents and convince them. How will be stand up for you in much graver things after the wedding? You both need to talk and agree on a lot of things where you would not want both sets of parents to intervene. You should have the freedom to decide about your life and need to stand up and support each other.

    This thing about your future MIL wanting you to come home asap as she can’t work anymore???? what does that mean exactly? That she wants you to do all the house work from the time you step into the house? That she doesn’t want you to work after the wedding? Get these things cleared if you are a person who wants to work after marriage too. Agreeing for everything thinking we can change it after marriage is a BIG NO. Make things clear to your BF and his family and yours.

    There will be many occasions where you both come up with a decision and at the last minute might be struck down by his folks. He needs to stand up and convince his people–if he is going to say “I cannot argue with my parents and what they say will always be right”, then you have to worry about your future. It’s your life and most decisions will have to be made by both of you.

    Yes, you have loved him and he is a nice person. But if he is going to be spineless in front of his parents (who seems to have changed suddenly) and always ask you to compromise and adjust for everything–that is going to create a lot of problems in future. Both of you need to respect and love both sets of your parents-that is to be made clear too.

    If after voicing out all your concerns and talking heart to heart does not bring out any response in him – then its time to put an end to this relationship where there is not going to be any equality and respect. On the other hand if he agrees with you and assures you of his support and love and wants a compatible, healthy, equal life – then you both will be happy can overcome anything together.

    Please go through the 18 questions for boys/girls link posted by IHM.

    This is a shorter version that a boy/girl should also discuss and be clear about. Somebody had posted this before

    – I would like for both of us to live in our own home, not with parents. Are you okay with that? (Its always better for newly marrieds to start by living alone. Only then will u be able to get to know each other, manage your own finances etc. I strongly stand for it myself). Again depends on what both you and the boy want and agree on-if you want to live with his parents, then you should be clear on that and how your life will be. Will you both be able to stand constant scrutiny and calls for adjustments in everything? Will you both be able to stand others making all the decisions for you? Will he support you when you go to him regarding a problem which may come up – or about something your not comfortable doing in a joint family.
    – You and I will decide what is right for our family – working outside the home versus staying home, who will share what and how much of the responsibilities – with cooking, cleaning, other chores – and this might change/evolve over time depending on our situation. Do you agree?
    – I would eventually want children (OR I’m not interested in having children). What are your ideas on this?
    – These…so and so….. 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.?

    Good luck in making the right decision and all the best for your future.


  20. Too many bells ringing.Too many red flags.
    Please do not ignore them.
    Please educate yourself by reading all the related posts listed, including comments section.


  21. OK I read the post completely now and see only red flags…
    His mom asking you to come home early is one HUGE red flag.
    Do not expect such in-laws to
    1.respect you as a human being
    2.treat their son as an adult capable of living independently
    3.respect your relationship with your parents post marriage,

    Does the son currently come home after work and do house work? Or do they have a maid who looks after the household chores(which are never ending , beleive you me.No weekends.) Do they plan to get rid of the maid once the son brings home the bride? Or do they all chip in to housework for the time being seeing as the mom isnt capable of household work and are they planning to load you wih this entire burden after marriage and relax in front of the TV?What if you have to work overtime some days, who will,do the hoisework then? Are they going to wait for you to come home at 10pm and finish chores?
    Questions you should be discussing with all of them.
    You mentioned in the email that you know hou need to do housework and not burden themmwih your responsibility.Do they share similar sentiments? Are they all ready to pitch in and do their share of chores and nit burden YOU with THEIR responsibilities?

    Women need more than nice guys as husbands.They need guys with spine.
    What use is a nice guy if he cant make you feel comfortable about joining his family now? If you do nit discuss these issues and confusions right now, he will never ever consider them once you become his bride and enter his home.


  22. I think when we think about love and marriage, and read about it in books, we get the whole range emotional and social aspects related to it; and somehow the monetary aspect, though large in the practical scheme, is always treated confidentially, softly, like a matter that requires discretion. It does not. Your BF and you should discuss financial matters frankly. As should your parents and you. Based on expectations, neither you or your family should compromise on your budget. Often, “tradition” is quoted as a convenient excuse to let yourself go. You know the value of money – you saved for 5 months just to pay the advance for the marriage venue. If your BF cannot understand your limitations now, it doesn’t suggest that things would be better after you start sharing his home and bed. I also feel that if you can’t talk about money, practically, without taking things personally, the marriage will be difficult. Love on the other hand, is a different ball game. You can experience book-described love and it might not cost you a thing. Marriage on the other hand, is a costly affair!


  23. Dear LW, your boyfriend’s parents want to postpone the wedding by one year, and your boyfriend isn’t saying anything, not even in private ? Unless you are in a live-in relationship, it sounds like your boyfriend and his parents are not very enthusiastic about this relationship…

    You say he is nice, and likeable enough, maybe this is a poetic way of saying you are in love, or maybe he simply is not Mr Right. Is it a love marriage you want by the way, it is not very clear from your letter.

    On the positive side, postponing the marriage date gives you more time to think if you really want to go ahead or call the whole thing off.

    I think if your love story doesn’t have any ressemblance to romances in books, films and songs even before marriage, then that is not very auspicious.


  24. Dear Confused,

    The problem with making things symbolic is that the same thing might be symbolic of different things to different people. Losing a deposit might mean something else to you and your bf. Do you know for sure that he means to brush aside your feelings? About increasing guest lists – is this sheer inconsideration or is it something unavoidable as the actual guest list was made? The only way to know is to ask.

    Some things are straight forward – helping with housework is acceptable. Having a “transfer of ownership” is not.

    As for reading too many books and spoiling your mind, depends on what you are reading!

    I really don’t think internet strangers can read into a situation any more than you can. I just want to say that every response here (including mine or even IHM’s) is the result of some conscious or sub-conscious biases we have. But we all wish you the best.

    ~ SB


  25. Fight it out. Tell him what you expect of him. He’ll either support you and fight for you, or you’ll break up. Either way, you’ll get to lead the life you want to lead. And if it does work out and you do get married, try not to live with your in-laws. They seem to be very controlling and you will have daily battles which will wear you all down so that eventually you’ll give in to patriarchy and in-laws demands, get angry with your husband, say nothing, keep the peace and be unhappy. NOW is the time to say something.


  26. I am not going to repeat as most of the commenters here have given sound advice as they always do. My only suggestion for you is to read “The indian mother-in-law”, this is written by Veena Venugopal, that will probably help steer you in the right direction.
    My sister went through the exact same experience, her in-laws first stated that they wanted a simple wedding (1 day affair), a month before the wedding date, they stated that they changed their mind and wanted it to be a lavish 4 day affair. Sister’s fiance did nothing but nod at his mom’s never ending requests. I requested my sister to call off the wedding, she blasted me and asked me to shut up. 9 years and 3 miscarriages and several physical and mental abuses later, she feels that she should have called off the wedding when she had a chance. I am not stating that you will face the same problems, all I am saying is that you need to be careful and wary of your would be in-laws and run while you can. Living with in-laws is not going to be a hunky dory affair. I was lucky to get a husband who is a true partner in every sense and I never had to deal with living with my in-laws. I wish you all the best, I hope you take sound decision and get the happiness that you truly deserve.


  27. The husband should be he level headed and impartial man between the wife and mom, your bf seems to be taking sides with his parents, so I’m not sure if you could talk and sort out the issues after wedding. You have doubts whethe this will work out.. So speak now, find out if he is really the one who can support you, if not now is the time to break up your engagement.


  28. No you are not confusing bookish kind of love with reality. Reality needs to be just as respectful and considerate and loving as the bookish love is. Probably more.

    Talk to him about his cold responses and that he comes across as inconsiderate. You can also try “what if it happened to you” scenario.

    In most cases like this, it takes some years to change the effect of years of social conditioning – that ladkewale have to be accommodated (hence the need to go to the extent of seeking accommodation of inconsiderate requests) and only then, they can conclude that they are respected by ladkiwale. Utter rubbish. You don’t have to put yourself and your parents at a disadvantage by letting them do this to you.

    This will set a precedence – girl does things under pressure from boy and well, the boy is ours, we can pressurize him any day.

    First things first – boyfriend has to understand. Only then, all of this is worth the trouble.


  29. Indian men (with some rare exceptions) do not speak during or after marriage, they are afraid to go against wishes of their parents. Expecting something otherwise is futile.


  30. well i got married in india too, and no there were no demands, sure there were small issues, e.g they wanted 2 brass lamps lit we didnt have those, we had humungous silver lamps . so my dad polietly told them it was time for the ceremony and it was raining and he didnt want to send anyone running around for brass lamps and if it was very important perhaps they had a pair we could use?? so we ignored it and that was that. of course my husband was very strict about anyone ruining his wedding day ( oh yes his 🙂 ) and warned his family and extended family against drama of any kind.
    so no it’s not common in all indian wedding, most wedding i have been to have no issues, the few that have have had issues even after the wedding, so IMO this is a red flag. a big red flag. stop take stock and reevaluate.


  31. You sound like a responsible adult – you are pitching in, thinking, analyzing, communicating, problem solving. He sounds very immature – doesn’t take responsibility, doesn’t get involved, doesn’t acknowledge the problem, doesn’t communicate. This seems like a very incompatible relationship. Better to break it off now than later.
    It is okay to expect love, respect, equality, understanding, sharing of responsibility, and cooperation in a marriage – none of which I see here from him – this is not bookish romance, these are necessary ingredients for any happy marriage or any happy relationship.


  32. TIM (Traditional Indian Marriage) Rules
    – Vast sums of money will be spent on food, decorations, and venue to please a large number of strangers who will have zero impact on the well-being of the married couple.
    – All of the expenses will be borne by the bride’s family, who will be expected to deplete a big chunk of their entire life’s savings.
    – Despite the fact that both bride and groom and adults, they will not bear any financial responsibility for their own wedding. They will also be eliminated from all or most of the decision making.
    – All decision making will be done by the groom’s parents and the consequences of these decisions will be borne by the bride’s parents.
    – The above decisions will be arbitrary, subject to several last-minute changes, at the whim and fancy of the groom’s parents, and even the extended family such as the 4th cousin or a great-great-aunt.
    – Bride and her family must put up with any demands, last-minute changes, unreasonable behavior, walk-outs, huffing and puffing, or tantrums with a smile because the daughter’s happiness is of utmost importance. Her happiness is tied to keeping the in-laws happy. To keep the in-laws happy, pleading, begging, appeasing, falling on feet, consoling, reassuring, convincing, bargaining, are all acceptable.
    – The marriage must thus begin with a foundation of unfairness, fiscal irresponsibility, greed, mistrust, and desperation to make the deal go through at any cost.
    – No thought must be given to fairness (sharing the cost of the wedding), mutual respect, understanding, and love – the very values that might help build a healthy marital relationship. These values must be dubbed as “Western” (how convenient!) and must be carefully avoided to preserve our culture (so we continue to have an excuse to exercise in greed and unfairness).

    Who can stop this system from continuing? Only the young women and men who are marrying. Who are choosing to follow these rules. Who are not questioning these rules despite being free citizens. Despite being adults fully capable of thinking. Despite earning and being financially independent.

    Question these rules. Understand that they defy common sense. Understand that the terms ‘culture and tradition’ are being used to feed the greed and selfishness. Refuse to follow this system. Think for yourself. Be an intelligent, rational human being. Act on your own beliefs and value system, one that is founded on the principles of fairness, responsibility, logic and common sense.


  33. The Internet has the habit of diagnozing brain cancer when you search ‘headache’.

    I’d really like to caution the OP that you are the best judge of your situation. Reading life advice from people who know one email worth about your life isn’t a panacea.


  34. You can already see several red flags in the relationship. You may not be consciously aware of it, but your instinct has already sensed that there’s something wrong with the way your BF perceives relationships.

    That’s why you have misgivings and a sense of foreboding. Please do NOT ignore your gut feeling, it will save you from a lifetime of misery.

    Do NOT marry until you have laid all your doubts to rest. Have detailed, frequent discussions from your boyfriend and voice your misgivings openly and explicitly.

    You come across as a person who is willing to put others first, even at the cost of your own well-being. Remember, you teach others how to treat you. If you allow other people to control you, then they will.

    Do NOT give your power away so easily. Why are you bending over backwards to please his family? You are setting up expectations that you will have trouble with later.

    Don’t give in to your inlaws’ unreasonable demands. You give them an inch, and they will take a mile. They appear to be hung up on being treated as the “ladkewale”. Tell them no can do, politely but firmly.

    Draw your boundaries and insist that they respect them. No one can disrespect you without your permission.


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