How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be married off?

How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be ‘married off’?

What can make it easier for those who are being forced to get married, to fight back these pressures? 

Sharing an email.

‘But I am scared that I would be forced to marry and by force. I mean it.’


I just turned 26 last week. I worked for three years in an IT company. I have my GMAT scheduled in a week. I am being pestered for marriage at my home. The whole day I hear my mother cribbing about me to relatives. They have got this whole squad behind my ass. My only aim right now is to get admitted to a reputed college in us for MBA. Its got so ugly at home that there is no emotional support for my career. That’s fine I never needed that but there is so much of negativity at this time. I have postponed my exam twice already. This time I know I am going to give it and apply soon. But I am scared that I would be forced to marry and by force I mean it. I have no clue how far the emotional blackmail would go it has already crossed most of its limits. They keep saying stuff that they paid for my education brought me up etc etc but if I had known that the cost would be living my whole life their way even if you don’t like it I would have never grown up lol. Times like this … I really feel like giving up. But I had so many dreams and I try so hard to fill myself with positivity. I try too hard. I can’t find words to pen down that would explain how troubled n lonely I feel right now. I don’t even believe in arranged marriage.

Should I start meeting guys so that at least I land in US?

Related Posts:

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

“I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?


54 thoughts on “How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be married off?

  1. Dear LW,

    Marrying a guy to end up in the US may not be the answer. The answer lies in your self reliance.
    Let’s look at a couple of options –
    – You said, you worked in IT for 3 years. Did you save some money? Will you be able to move out from your parents’ home, rent share a flat with a single friend? Then you can prepare for your GMAT in peace. And tell your parents you are 26, an adult, and they can’t force marriage on you. Just leave it at that. Don’t engage in extended discussions/arguments. Focus on your exam.
    – If you don’t have money saved, consider going back to work. Find a job (since you have IT experience, it should not be that hard) and as soon as you have a job, find a place to stay (again sharing a flat with a friend/room mate). Once you have worked in your job for a year or so and feel financially secure, you can start preparing for your GMAT again.

    The point is – you are 26, you are educated, capable of earning, have worked and earned in the past. So, you DO have the freedom to make your own decisions. What is holding you back? The emotional blackmail? Don’t pay attention to it. The more attention you give it, the more you will feed it. Tune it out and focus on your goals.
    – This is going a bit further, but the 3rd option is to look for a job in another place, to get away from your parents. Your parents really shouldn’t drive you out of town, you should be free to choose where to live. BUT if it is hard for you to handle their emotional blackmail and easier to focus on your goals without them breathing down your neck, then distance may help.
    All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    I had written this almost an year back. I feel grateful to have shared my worries here. There are many like you who are fighting for a life of their own. I still am fighting. I dint leave my job fearing if I get dependant it will be a very tough time for me. I understand what you are going thru. The relatives and family friends have only one concern that is to get you married off as soon as possible. The children in my family are not left near me fearing they too will learn my rebellious attitude. A simple fight among any of the family members ends up wid conclusion that the root of all tensions at home is my marriage. There are so many arguments from past two yrs that I am scared to argue even a bit. And not to forget the emotional blackmail. My family members even convinced my friends who r married or dying to get married , to convince me for marriage. Not even ur friends support u bbcoz their only purpose is to get married n the term ‘goals’ or ‘aspirations’ makes no sense to them. The people in this who r readers of this blog will give u an advice to deal with the situation. I just want to tell u that u r not alone. There are many who have been thru wat u r going thru. There are many fighting too. Do not loose hope. Keep fighting. We are with you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A simple fight among any of the family members ends up wid conclusion that the root of all tensions at home is my marriage…(unquote)
      That is so true !
      My father blamed me for Mom’s cancer just because once she turned 55 I used try to educate her abt self examination and be on her case get mammography done ! Three years later she got cancer ,…and I was blamed for it !
      Ridiculous blaming will not end,it might get less with time but it’ll end only with death !
      So ,LW,don’t hope things will get better on its own such situations take a miracle !
      Also remember that if you at all want to get married in future ,finding right person will be very difficult once you touch 30 ! Love marriages don’t happen when you go looking for love !
      So remember all this before you do anything drastic !
      Leaving alone will come with its own set of problems, eventually your girlfriends will get married and they will not have anytime for you !
      So be prepared for the long haul for lonely battle !
      I suggest keep preparing for GMAT ,give exam,develop a thick skin and then go abroad for education ! Keep talking and assuring your parents !
      I am presuming they are paying for your MBA ,……if yes ,you can’t do much !!
      You save money to pay them back and be free in the real tangible sense !
      Also meet guys politely if they force much ,who knows you might find someone !

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yep,especially ifvone wants to marry in same community and religion !in fact in my community, its difficult to fine right person afterv25 especially if one is too fat,too tall,too something !If you fall in average bandwidth, its easier !
          Guys especially educated ones earning a lot don’t want smart,independent earning too much or doing too well !
          So so enough,if your standards are high its more difficult after certain age !
          Naseeb and of course good looks may increase one’s chances !!!


        • Thanks,… I do have depressive moments and lot of loneliness but its OK .Things could have been much worse for me because I am short tempered,nondiplomatic,opinionated person who does what she wants !
          Sometimes stupidly !!!!
          The only thing I have to learn well is to take good care of my brain,learn to manage stress ,anxieties and of course physical health !Then I will be truly OK !


      • what sort of parent would blame their daughter for developing cancer.
        Sorry to be blunt, but really, did they blame you? How agonizing that must be for you. And you still live with them? how could you live in a place like this?
        I could not even stand the thought of it….if my family blames for my mother illness.
        Sorry Cosettez, but I think you should move out and live separately.


  3. DG thanks her stars for supportive parents who have not once forced anything on her. Yes, teenage was battle of giants. Anyway, blackmail is normal desi tactic and it works coz’ the blackmailed has no way of refuting the obligations he/she presumes to have. This is toxic family environment, if DG were you, she’ll get out ASAP and be as far away as possible for own sanity. Yes, meeting guys would be a good idea to get them off your back for now. Focus on GMAT should be the ultimate aim facilitated by blocking out everything and everyone. Here is read the truth of emotional blackmail and get some perspective on how to fight it off.

    All the best with everything, stay strong your are not the first and you won’t be the last.
    Desi Girl


  4. You must learn to put your foot down. That’s the only solution. It is easier said than done.

    Talk to your parents. Tell them that all the money and effort they spent on educating you has raised you as an independent woman who has her own dreams. Tell them that the purpose of a good and solid education is to enable an individual to think on her own and take decisions with confidence and that is what you are trying to do. Explain that a marriage is not something you are confident on now. Tell them you are not sure if you will be able to make it work. Ask them if they will be able to handle the possible additional trauma of their girl going through a wrong marriage. Make them understand that a good marriage will need two people to make it work and there are high chances you may not be able to contribute to make it work. Tell them you need time to marry and that you are not denying that you will indeed get married sometime ( if that’s what you want). Ask them if they really want relatives to bitch about their daughters life. At this point, stay away from your opinions on arranged marriages. If you bring that up, it gives a new tangent and they are likely to assume you have other plans.

    Your parents seem like the average middle – class ones who wish best for their kids. If they have spent thoughts and efforts to educate you, they will understand your empowerment. Show them you are very focused on your MBA plans and work on it. Make them realize that you studying is not a selfish goal but something you wish to do because of all that they have given you too.

    Some times, all these may not work. hey may just be stubborn and stupid. In that case, drop the gun and just say you are moving out. Stop all drama, cut your connections with them, don’t pick calls, go cold turkey and move out. This is very hard but is the most viable option. It may be hard esp for you since you seem to harbor some guilt from all the drama at home. Also, you have your exam in 2 weeks, so the additional hassle of shifting etc.

    Don’t think moving to the U.S will help.It has helped some girls in the past, but you never know how things will turn out to be in your case. Also, there are too many variables – the visa, the city you will be in, the city you want to do your MBA in etc. Forget that idea.

    Another is to see if your company can move you to a different city. Try to talk to your company and check.

    Whatever you do, do not give in. Talk, Talk, make them understand.. Else learn to be alone and face your battles. You no longer need your parents validation for every single task. You are 26, empowered, earning and educated. There are not many girls in India as lucky as you are. You can have the world at your feet if you choose to. Be calm, be focused and good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My sister has been pranking away prospective guys for years now 😀 even I used to do tht till I found the right one of my choice….you shld not have given up ur job….if possible get back into work force….being in IT has its advantage….grab the first onsite opp u get and run abroad ASAP….marrying a us based guy to just land in US is not a good option although I knw many girls who did tht just to gain their freedom….its funny our society is so scrwed up tht getting married is a way to gain freedom for some people.But it has it risks…..arrange marriage is a gamble u can get a worse deal later on….


  6. Dear LW,
    First get a job. In this kind of situation financial independence will help you in taking your stand.
    Second this drama from your parents won’t stop because 4 log kya kahenge is more important than what you are saying.
    Third concentrate on your GMAT get admission in US or any good Western University. Prepare yourself for Bank loan in case you need funding.

    Go there and enjoy because there 4 log are more interested in their own life rather than commenting on what others are doing.

    And don’t worry , even I am in similar kind of situation. Many are there who are in similar situation. Its a life time question so dont give up.


  7. Been there, done that. Here are a few pointers gained from my own experience.

    1) Keep the communication links in your hands. For instance, feel free to visit your family or call them but the moment they bring up something you don’t like, walk out or put the phone down. It will take a few years but they will eventually get the message.

    2) Financial independence is important. Hang on to your job with both hands and do not rely on your parents to give you roti, kapda, makaan. You are educated enough to be able to work, use the privileges you have to bring a change in your own life.

    3) Compromise might be required. It is possible that without financial and emotional support, you might have to push back your MBA plans, but while career is important, self worth and freedom are far more important. It is also possible you might never get around to doing some things you wanted because of the lack of support, but everything you achieve in life will be your own. Trust me, it’s worth it.

    4) Move out and put a physical distance between your family and yourself. I don’t know many people who can withstand the assault that is euphemistically called “pressure to get married” in our society. Recognise that they are abusing their status as parents. They are abusing you. Recognise and acknowledge the fact.

    5) Understand that you don’t owe anyone any explanation. I am sure you have already stated your stance to your parents and your extended family once. If not, do it ONCE. They are required to accept your decision on your life and explain why they think they have a better right to decide, not put the burden of explanation on you. Put an end to all discussions. You have stated your decision once, everyone else is required to accept it. Refuse to discuss the matter with anyone at all.

    6) The Internet. You will find that most of your RL friends will side with your parents. They might be supportive but they will never put your parents in the wrong (which they are) because they all may think that your parents are just fulfilling their duty. Make new friends. Internet forums like this one are lifesavers.

    7) Speak out. There is often a misplaced sense of loyalty towards one’s parents even when they are abusing you. If someone brings up the topic, make sure you complain and firmly express your feelings on the issue. No one wants to get dragged into a family drama and people will soon stop supporting your parents if you go public with your grievances. Throw all shame in the garbage can. You can’t afford the luxury.

    It’s going to be tough, but you’ll come out of it strong and powerful. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fem,I doubt most women can be so cut and dry but you are right at certain points .Personal freedom comes at a large expense and sacrifices ! The LW may end up without MBA,support and maybe be lonely !


      • Never said it was going to be easy. 😦

        Regarding the lonely thing, her parents are more at risk because of their age. The LW could always make a lot of friends, get married when she finds Mr (or Ms) Right, have kids, etc. So if her parents are not worried that they are alienating their own daughter, she really has nothing to fear on that head.


    • Agree with whatever Fem said.
      Though, I am a bit of a nerdy bird, so all I could think of was the GMAT in a week’s time 🙂 So my 50 paise on this –

      1. Tell your parents what you told us – that their marriage pressure is affecting your preparation. Tell them to give it a rest till your exam is over atleast (!)
      2.If they still don’t back off, go to a friend’s place/relative’s place/library to study. Try to spend most of your day outside of your home, keeping your interactions with your parents to a bare minimum.
      3.Even though it’s hard, put all of the angst aside till your exam is over. Study hard.
      4.If you feel sufficiently prepared, GIVE your exam this time without re-scheduling. US grad school admissions have their own time-lines, and poste-poning your GMAT time and again may make you miss application deadlines for Spring/Fall 2015
      5. Worry about the REST- how you will pay for your degree, moving out, getting a job AFTER the exam.

      All these are valid and important issues, but thinking about all these things right now will do no good, and only overwhelm you. So find another place to study, get your exam done with and then begin to sort everything else out based on the excellent advice that other commentators have given here. Take a deep breath, and all the best.


  8. Dear LW,
    Like many other Indian girls in your age group, I have been through the same hell that you are going through many many years ago. What got me through are the following things –
    – an IT job that paid well, and had strong prospects for a job opportunity in the US. The moment that opportunity came, I grabbed it like a lifeline and left the toxic atmosphere at home.
    – ample savings to enable me to rent an apt on my own or with roommates – I had started exploring this avenue, when the US opportunity came by
    – a firm, unshakeable, high self esteem. I was confident about my future job prospects, my desire to work and live abroad. I was confident that I was not doing anything wrong by not marrying some unknown stranger per my parents wishes or at the age they thought was suitable. Knowing that you are right, gives you the strength to handle any confrontation.
    – Reverse blackmail 🙂 I will admit, I am not proud of this. When the parental blackmailing got too much, I warned my parents that if they pushed me too much into a corner, Inwould hurt myself physically or do something worse than that. Honestly, I had no intention of doing anything like that – I love myself too much for that :). But this helped a bit in that the parents backed off somewhat after this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hit the ‘Post Comment’ button before I was done 🙂
      What I would advise you is to be strong and follow your goals with confidence and with a strong sense of purpose. Being financially independent is a huge advantage, so please do give it a strong consideration. You are an adult – no one, not even your parents have the right to force you to do anything against your wishes – keep this in mind every time you find yourself on the defensive. Have faith in yourself and give yourself a fighting chance.
      I look back on those years of my life and feel good about the way I handled that phase. You will too. Good luck!


  9. Parents tend to think you’re their property in ways worse than husbands do. Because they brought you up (and you really didn’t have a choice there, did you) and they made decisions on your behalf, they think they will always be able to do so. Until, of course, they transfer their property to another man who will then make decisions for you.

    From experience, I’d say there are two very easy, very practical steps that you can take.

    1. Get a job and become financially independent. If you’re paying the bills, they will not be in a position to bully you. That’s the ugly truth – you only have a say in family matters or your own life decisions if you have the ‘upper hand’, financially speaking.

    2. At the cost of inviting brickbats, I’d say you’ve to ‘train’ your parents. Start saying ‘no’ politely but firmly. Don’t indulge them too much when it comes to discussions about marriage. Sit down today and write a series of responses. Stick to those when ‘discussions’ happen and say nothing more. They will get used to it soon enough and stop bothering you.

    Sustain these two actions and you should see some changes over time. If nothing else works, you may want to move to a different city and start living independently. Life will be tough, but it will change you in ways you can’t imagine right now.

    Good luck, and I hope you find your peace.


  10. The reason they are not giving you independence is because you choose to be dependent on them. If you are 26 and still living at your parents’ home, you are forcing them to pay for your board and lodging as well. Sorry, but you are also using emotional blackmail of being their daughter to make them pay for you. Would they have paid for you otherwise? You cannot complain of their emotional blackmail to get you married.

    Their roof, their rules.


  11. I have been following some of the entries on the blog for almost 2 years now, and felt like I just had to respond to this one.

    Like so many others who have commented above, I am also a soldier sailing in the same boat.Well. I did what everyone else is telling you here- took up a job in a different city and started living independently. Of course, even the moving out involved a lot of emotional blackmail. But managed to convince them that this (very very regular job that I hate) was JUST what I was looking for and so had to give it a try. Now I am sticking onto it and have no plans of going back.

    Every visit home is disastrous- but I am able to survive it only because I know I will be leaving in a day or two. So yes, keep the communication link in your hands. Brings a lot of mental peace.

    I have tried what you are talking about- met a few guys my parents wanted me to consider. The only good thing that came from it is that I realized I can never see myslef with the kind of guys or ‘famillies’ (as they put it) with. Last visit home, I told them -out and clear- that unless they can find me somebody who will not expect or ask me to give up on anything, make ‘compromises’ e or use the word we all hate – ‘adjust’, I am not going to be a part of the conversation. Well obviously that didn’t sit well because they know it as much as me that that is not possible- given where I come from. And so another level of black mail around blaming their upbringing began.

    The point is, put your foot down and dont budge. Just dont.

    And yes, threatening to hurt yourself ( even though you have no intention to) ALWAYS works 😀


  12. @Wordssetmefreee
    Marrying a guy to end up in the US may not be the answer.
    The answer lies in your self reliance.

    You pulled the words right out of my mouth.

    Plenty of good advice has been given already by you and others.
    I have nothing new to add.


    Quote: “their roof , their rules” Unquote

    But these rules cannot dictate whether she should marry and who she should marry.
    At best they can demand that she supports herself and that she follows the rules of the household as long as she lives with them or helps around house with the chores.

    My suggesstion to the letter writer:
    Become financially independent, right away. As early as possible.
    Till you do that, you will just have to face these barbs.
    Ignore them. Simply brush them off and don’t react.
    Once you empower yourself you can face them boldly.

    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GV,
      Being under their roof gives them leverage. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my own father say things like “As long as you live in my house, you do what I say. When you get married, then you make your own rules”. Not that he forced me to marry or anything(on the contrary, he encouraged me to study further and refused to give in to societal pressures to “marry me off”). But the fact is that when you are dependent on someone, you do have to play nice with them. If LW truly craves independence, she must move out and show them that she’s an adult woman who can take care of her own life. You cannot ask for adult rights without adult responsibilities.

      DO NOT give in to emotional drama. They brought you into this world and raising you was their duty. Don’t let them sell you the “Oh, I sacrificed so much for you, so you owe me this much” – I say this as a mom myself. Your background is perfect to be able to quickly find a job. Take what comes and move out. Wishing you the very best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • krith,
        If good parents talks about their sacrifices or discuss their poorer days and how tough it was what’s wrong with that !
        Children have no real idea how tough it must have been for them !
        Of course ,it was their duty but if parents had not worked hard enough,sacrificed enough and not struggled enough to pay for education ,.…that would have been too ‘fulfilment of their duty ‘ !
        How much is’ duty’ ?? And how much is over and above duty ??? Who can decide that ? Society,peers ,pressures,trends ??
        Is a BA as good as MBA in terms of market value ???

        I think that statement of yours is violent and unfair !!!!


        • cosettez,
          Parents talking about sacrifices is fine as long as it is intended to instill a sense of gratitude in their kids for all the privileges that are available to them. But more often than not, these sacrifices are brought up with the sole reason of guilting the children into giving up their own choices. How often have we heard “Oh, we sacrificed so much for you, so you must marry the girl we choose”? As a mom, I will do my absolute best for my daughter because I’m a decent human and love her beyond words can express. However, if I expect her to give up her life for me because I did my duty as a mother, I consider it unfair and selfish.


    • When you are dependent on someone, you are already forcing them to pay your way in the world. And it is clear that LW, a grown up person of 26, is using emotional blackmail to get her parents to pay her way. Surely her parents would not have paid board and lodging for some random woman of 26. She is making her parents pay for her using emotional blackmail: “I am your daughter and you owe it to me even though I am grown up and should be paying my own way”.

      I fail to see how that is any different from her parents emotionally blackmailing her right back: “You are our daughter and you owe it to us to get married asap even though you are grown up and deserve to make your own choices in life”.

      As for the US, I think LW should face facts. A 26 year old living with parents in the US would be subjected to an extreme amount of social ridicule. The reason the US offers freedom is because the US also demands responsibility. LW wants to take one but doesn’t want the other.


      • @sumit,
        You do have point.
        I agree that the letter writer cannot demand rights without shouldering responsibilities.
        But if the letter writer merely expects to be left alone as regards her marriage, she is not being unreasonable Parents cannot extract willingness to marry as a price or their economic support.
        The letter writer’s present predicament (financial dependence on her parents even at 26) is purely temporary.
        But her parents expectation that she should get married may be a permanent predicament for the letter writer.

        There is a way out. I agree that the parents can reasonably expect to stop supporting financially their grown up daughter. The daughter should offer to treat her present temporary dependence on her parents as a “loan” and offer to pay back all the money her parents are now spending on her after she becomes financially independent.

        So many parents have handicapped children and support their children for their entire lifetime. These parents are luckier.

        Let the writer writer redouble her efforts to become economically self reliant.
        The problem will vanish.


    • GV,
      You are right that children cannot be forced for marriage of parents liking even if they live under same roof !
      But guy or girl, if they are not contributing to the house in kind or money,or not paying for themselves its kind of difficult to make tough decisions like this LW is facing!
      Fortunately we have education culture,so parents obsess and spend for children’s education with their savings !
      Courses like MBA are expensive so fighting for it means either you pay for it yourself or pay back to parents !
      I know at least 2 cases where parents took loan for son’s education but now the son has his own life and parents are still paying emis !
      The son and dils are hypocritically nice,upar upar se but they don’t offer to pay ! And nowadays,parents don’t /can’t depend for their old age too on sons because DILs rule with an iron hand especially oversmart,unkind ones !
      In US,at least what I see,people don’t stress so much on college like how its maniacally done in India and China etc !
      Now education is expensive in India too ! And many girls do MBA and earn for themselves or their husband or sit at home and don’t offer to pay back their parents either in kind or money .If parents are super rich its OK but what about others ??
      My both sisters are doing much better than me in terms of money but they have never given a nice gift to my parents in last so many years !Neither they have helped physically !Fortunately, my father is independent yet ! I had decided to help in kind to my parents a long time ago because I use their resources since I am still Unmarried and staying in their house !!I do cooking, cleaning ,all errands and go to work because I am not paying rent to my father ! That is my way because I don’t want free lunch and I earn just for my needs and don’t want to stay alone all by myself on meagre salary !
      Life is pretty bad for single women in India staying alone in any city !One has to be very very lucky to have a smooth sailing life and I know I am not lucky !


        • wow india must have gotten worse since i left, inthe late 1990’s i lived and worked alone in b’lore and was out al times of the day and night doing exactly as i pleased, sure there were gropers but no one ever bothered me for accomodation, etc., My life was quite fun and quite carefree.
          guess india has changed for the worse.


        • MR,
          I don’t know about India getting worse since 1990s but its pretty for all those single women who earn around 2 lakhs per annum or lesser than that ,have to live in dingy or not so good areas of the city for lower rents.No cars ,scooters paid for by parents to make life easier for earning girls out to make a career ! I have lived for a year ,broke at 30 on meagre salary trying to restart a career !
          All my money used to go in food and rent ( paying guest) in 2008 !
          No scooter or car from my parents ! I got tired of living as paying guest at that age !
          With no hope of grand salary increases since I am not in IT or engineer ,or marketing etc , I gave up after I fell sick !And then my mom fell sick !
          So yes, I am happy to give scare mongering advice,…since I don’t know LW’s nature or how khuddar she is !
          If papa is giving car ,paying for clothes, mobile bills and then if you have to only pay rent ,its very easy to stay alone !!!
          I will never advice people in LW situation to go against her parents and fight with them for a MBA when she will go and accept money the moment she goes hungry one night !
          I have seen closely how those front office assistant s,clerks manage staying alone in PG for years and years !
          I had a option ,some don’t have any options !!!
          Besides, LW is 26 ,…what’s wrong in people telling her to think through if she ever want s to get married without making very big compromise s !


  13. Dear LW,

    I know many people say that even if one is dependent one shouldn’t be forced to do anything against her wishes. Well, the thing with dependency is… it is difficult to hold on to that self-esteem.

    I will share my experience. I resigned my job after 1.5 yrs for a short break (which kinda prolonged to 3 months :D). I did freelance work sometimes. Used to a life of absolute freedom in college (like going for a midnight walk or for a piping ht paratha at a dhaba, wearing what I like etc etc), it soon got suffocating. But I couldn’t rebel – a drastic change from someone who has always been a rebel for things that mattered as well as for the heck of it.

    Some of the so-called issues were Mum insisting on kurti+dupatta, freelance work durng day time and not late night and sleeping till 12, reaching home by 6 and of course marriage. I cant believe I used to give in (at least in 6 cases outta 10 though according to them I never listen to them). I even saw a few guys in spite of not believing in arranged marriage, hating myself while doing it.

    Now what made me do all that? Was it emo-blackmailing alone? Nope, they do it even now and Im unaffected. It was mostly my financial dependency. And living with them at the age of 24? So I was giving in to ‘their rules’ as Sumit mentioned above. Did my parents make me feel that way? I dont think so. Its not like they ever acted as if I was a burden. Was it all in my head? Or my self-doubts and insecurities?

    One thing is sure. If there is one thing that can weaken a person’s self-esteem and convictions, it is financial dependence. And I never ever want to feel weak again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But then,I know plenty women who follow most cultural, parental,in laws ,husband rules even though they earn well and well qualified !!Some are hypocritical, no doubt ,but they tread both roads !Passive aggressive ness is another thing many women are ardent followers of !!
      I think in your case it was your thought process probably which with money triggered rebellion !That is common too !
      I am too of that type:money can buy many things,… this day and age where people don’t know their neighbour,don’t help people without any zaroorat of their own,money buys most things !

      Liked by 1 person

  14. your 26 , you need a job. As for marriage, its not too young to think of marriage. Think about it calmly, is marriage in your future? ever? or do you not like the whole marriage deal. if so you need to state that clearly. if it’s just that you dot want to be married now and want to focus on your MBA, thats a good reason too. but set some goals. give your gmat, get admission and study inall it should take about 3+ yrs. you will be 29 and then you will have to work a few yrs to earn back the money . so tell you rparents your time frame. After that time they may not be able to get grroms fo ryou, which is fine the arranged marriage market in india is really age restrictive . so be prepared to keep an open mind and find your own mate. which also means if you find someone in your late 30’s or later yor plans fo rkids may not be possible.
    Again i;m not saying there is a time limit to anything but be clear in your mind what you want to do, have a general time frame plan and present that to your parents. maybe that will help change their mind.?? in the meantime be self reliant.
    i was once in my 20’s and working and parents groom hunting , i had specific expectations, but i kept my options open, i found my own but in some corner of my mind i wanted to be married, i wanted the companionship and i wanted kids. so i did meet the guys my parents lined up, and told them clearly what suited na dwhat didnt. and continued my work and my life. when you meet the one you will know. but dont close yourself to options either. studying for gmat is not a 24X7 task. work, study and have fun and if you dont mind meet the guys too. whats the harm in that. but just set expectations v clearly with your parents.


  15. Dear LW,

    If you plan to get married in future, then go for careful planning. You must fulfil your wishes of studying abroad…tell your parents you want to go abroad, study and marry an Indian guy who lives abraod…..that ways I am sure you can buy some time…..Tell them you wanna marry, but with a guy who lives abroad and not in India.
    My elder sister is 29 yrs old , broke up with her boy-friend with whom she had plans of marrying. Now we are searching for suitable guys for her, but findging it so hard. Its been 8 months of frantic search, she met lot of guys already, as per her, some of them are ‘boring’, ‘immature’ or ‘dont call much’ or “super-busy”, or “not-earning-well-enough”…. etc etc….after couple of meetings, she lose interest……our relatives ask silly questions and my parents keep making excuses… sister and I both feel bad for our parents as they are struggling hard now. Most Indian men get married by 30, men who are still lookign for bride prefer age-group within 25-27 ….so my sister is not in the age-group. I would advise you to think pratically, and what age you wanna get married…if you want to get married by 28-29, then be prepared and tell your parents that you will be ready to meet guys once you go abroad for MBA. Finding right guys will take up lot of your time. So think practically and plan meticulously.


  16. I think the answer to the question put forth by IHM is, forced marriages CAN NOT be avoided.Because the person is financially dependent on those who are forcing him/her.
    Bottom line – financial independence.
    But, except for those educated few,who can land a job at 21,what about the rest,who either study only till 10th std, or dont even get to go to school?

    I see no hope for them.
    Banks wont give them loans,allowing them to pay for boarding and lodging.
    Parents wont allow them to stay single if they wish to.


  17. I find the comments advocating that the LW meet the men her parents line up for her because ‘there is no harm in it’ extremely problematic. The LW should do what she wants to do and not do what she does not want to do. She has plainly stated that she does not want an arranged marriage. She has also stated that she is currently not interested in getting married at all. Under the circumstances, advising her to meet guys is really wrong. It is extremely harmful as it provides the parents further leverage to exercise their control. It will also mean that the LW is at some point pushed into making a decision that is not entirely her own and then forced to pretend that she did it all on her own. That is wrong. The idea of meeting the guys to keep parents quiet for the time being is also wrong. It only would make her parents think that it is only a matter of time before the LW caves in. Since she has unequivocally stated that she does not want an arranged marriage, she should not meet any men. Her parents should just butt out.

    I also think that we should refrain from indulging in scare tactics like ‘omg, you won’t find a guy after you are 30!’ or ‘good heavens, your future kids are in danger!’. The LW seems pretty well aware of how the system works and has made up her mind. Trying to scare her into confirming is a bad idea.

    LW, don’t confirm. Do exactly what you want to do as long as you don’t have any expectations from your family. Don’t listen to scaremongers. There is every likelihood you will have a loving partner and kids in the future, whatever you choose, so do NOT get scared. If you end up in the USA, you might even find a larger pool to choose from. So take heart and do what you want to, not what you feel you have to.


    • This! Do NOT agree to meet anyone. I’m sharing my story hoping that it will help people understand why that’s not a good idea either. Why going along with your parents on this is not in any way a good idea.

      A year ago my parents launched an intensive emotional blackmail campaign to get me married off before the “deadline” in my horoscope. I was treated to the same old – you’re ruining our life, we raised you, we paid for everything so now pay us back if you won’t do what we tell you to. My mom’s favorite line was “I wish you’d never been born” My dad’s was “You’re destroying this family and my health. Do you know how old we are?” My dad is in his fifties and my mom is in her late forties.

      I tried the calm explanations: I’ll marry eventually, just not right now. I want to marry the right person. I want to make sure I’m marrying for the right reasons. Figure myself out before I become Mrs. Someone else. I want to do this right, and I will if you just wait a couple years for the NEXT date in my horoscope when I CAN get married.

      It didn’t work. My empowerment was a challenge now. I was influenced by western music and culture. I didn’t believe in god. I didn’t go to the temple enough. They wished they’d never let me learn guitar. This from parents who knew that I didn’t even LOOK at boys because I was committed to the idea of an arranged marriage. I’ve never wanted to lose my parents. I gave up an internship opportunity that would have gotten me into illustration/entertainment art – my dream career to pursue accounting because they felt it would have more “value” in the “marriage market”.

      My parents were used to getting their way, and I was used to giving in. I couldn’t take the venom from them anymore and I had nowhere to go. I discussed, and debated, and I screamed and cried. But in the end I gave in. I agreed to “meet some guys”.

      I agreed to marry the first one I met because I just wanted the torture to stop. Because my “marriage deadline” was in two months. Because I didn’t think my parents would continue to support me if I didn’t. Don’t meet anyone ladies. Not unless you have the will of steel.

      I thought everything would be fine now. Right? My parents love me again, surely. I did what they want. That dream shattered when my mom kicked me the night before my engagement because she didn’t think I was paying enough attention to my fiance. Yes she kicked me. Slaps are common place but kicks? At the ripe old age of 24? That’s the night I stopped loving my parents quite so desperately, but listening to them was still a force of habit.

      See even though I was basically getting into this marriage for them, I’d AGREED. So it was no longer them blackmailing me, it was me doing this for my happiness and I was apparently ruining theirs by not doing it right. I could NOT win.

      The two months that I was engaged were the worst of my life. My parents were angry with me because I hadn’t agreed easily and they took it out on me constantly. I was “trained” in cooking and our culture and rangolis and I could do nothing right. I was lazy and I was going to bring shame to our family. I better call my fiance according to the schedule my mom had drawn up.

      I don’t want to go into too many details because this post is about my parents, people I believed in. Not some guy I married even though I knew he was completely wrong for me , or anyone really. A man married me for my parents money and thought I must have had multiple boyfriends (oh the horror)
      To summarize: it didn’t work, I’m heading for a divorce.

      Before my marriage my parents were constantly telling me that they would support me if I wanted to leave my husband if he turned out to be abusive. I believed this. Given everything that had happened I’m not sure why.

      Instead of supporting me my parents tried to arbitrate, tried to fix something that was unfixable. Tried to blackmail me into going back by crying and screaming, alternatively. One moment they were taking away my phone, the next they were reasonably telling me how I was ruining my life.

      “It’s not like he raped you, or beat you.” No I suppose emotional abuse doesn’t count when you’re a much bigger offender when it comes to that than he is. And if I think that the situation would escalate to violence eventually, that the seeds were there – well what do I know. What have I seen of life and the world.

      I stood my ground, for once in my life. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. Where was their malleable, agreeable daughter?

      My husband insulted them. That was the cherry on top, I suppose.

      They stopped trying and they haven’t mentioned him since. I’m waiting a year so I can file for a divorce. My parents have accepted this and they’re supporting me now. They’re trying to fix our relationship, and I’m pretending everything is fine. I’m sitting here laughing (since I’m so sick of crying) because my mother told me today that when I remarry, it will have to be someone from our caste or she and dad won’t come visit.

      I’ll get a job and be financially independent, probably even well off. I’ll have the education for it by next year. They’ve destroyed the part of me that wanted to please them. What incentive do I have left to do what they want me to? Do they not realize that I’m THEIR daughter? That I can be just as selfish as them if I want to?

      To anyone else in my situation, I don’t know what you can do to fix things. But I know what you SHOULDN’T do. Don’t marry to make your parents happy. Talk to your parents but be ready for it if they turn into scary, violent strangers once you assert yourself.

      It’s human nature I think to float along with the tide and hope that if you just wait long enough the river will dry up and all your problems will go away. It won’t happen. You’ll have to make a stand. If you’re lucky your parents are just bullies who will back off once you grow a backbone. Most are.

      Ruining your relationship with your parents might seem like the end of the world but it isn’t. Ruining YOUR life is. They deserve your consideration, but not at the cost of your personal happiness. They aren’t worth it, as terrible as that is to accept.


      • Horror!

        Dear Kavita, why did you put up with all this shit for so long? My heart goes out to you. My parents stopped hitting me when I grew up like I when I entered my teens. But slapping or kicking at 24 yrs of age?? Gosh, it can never be right.
        Beating kids can never be right…..Again I am asking why did you put up with their nasty shit
        Lot of children have this innate feeling of pleasing their parents to get approval of some sort…I too had….but I recognized it and corrected it….even today I find myself doing things to get their approval or my ILs approval….But then I keep fighting with that emotion, and I continue to tell myself that their approval is not important for my growth.Its a constant battle but I thank my stars that at least I realize it and continue to fight it
        Leave your parents house AT ALL COST, live separately and marry the person of your choice. In fact its in your best interest if they don’t come to your wedding or dont give approval to your choice. You already have seen their choice and their attitude, you dont need it again in your life.
        Oh yes did you say you mother is in her forties and father is in his fifties? They are fully capable of producing and nurturing a child, they are not old, they are healthy middle-aged adults.
        Live your single life, wait for the right guy, pursue hobbies and spread happiness all around, remove toxic people from your life AND NEVER EVER give in to your parental pressures again.


  18. You should do what you want, and must neallowed to lead your life the way you see fit. for that
    1. you need to get a job and be self reliant.
    2. communicate clearly to your parents that you will not have an arranged marriage .
    3. be prepared to support your own education including going ot US.
    4. finally if nothng works moving out.
    you should not..
    1. postpone your exams

    you may need to take a few loans to go abroad and study but lots of people do that.


  19. One colleague financed her MBA herself, she took a big loan from the bank, and when she got the degree she was really stressed out because she needed to repay the bank every month, but in the end she found a high earning but very stressful job, met a guy and had a child.

    I doubt you can prepare a marriage and an MBA at the same time, and since both are very costly, it makes me wonder if your parents are willing to finance an MBA to you or not.


  20. Pingback: What about girls who are not very academic? Must they be condemned to forced marriages? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  21. You know what all you can do right now is develop a thick skin and turn deaf ear to whatever bullshit they say. To distract them, meet guys and tell your parents you didnt like them. At the same time, keep searching for good colleges secretively. Once you get the call from a good B-school in US, then only tell your parents, get your loan sanctioned and leave.
    Continue working no matter what happens, don’t leave your job. If parents can manipulate things, so can you.
    If things get nastier at home, then simply move out and reduce the communication with them. They themselves will get exhausted soon and will bug you less


  22. Pingback: “A Delhi court has refused alimony and advised the wife to find a job. Now that’s Equality.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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