“He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.”

If we truly valued our happiness and our peace of mind more than we valued other people’s opinion of what our priorities should be – how would our lives change? 

Sharing an email.

“I will have a nervous breakdown or sink into depression.  Imagine as an Indian woman… 2nd divorce isn’t an option.”

Hello,

I would like you to post this on your website and I am looking for advice and opinions as I feel just so stuck.

I got married 7 months ago, against my better judgment I fear. This is my second marriage, I was married for 5 years previously but we didn’t have any children. It was a turbulent marriage from start to finish and I was so happy once I managed to get out of it.

I never thought I would marry again, or have children and I was happy to finally have my freedom to see my parents and friends as and when I liked. To dress as I liked to drive my career and just be me.

However, a year after I left my ex-husband I met another man who was just lovely, simple and gentle in nature. Sensitive and caring and just someone I loved being with. I had a boyfriend I was content until he started talking about marriage/wedding etc. He was ready to settle down and he thought he found what he needed in me.

I couldn’t fathom the thought, also he was from a privileged family whereas my were less well off. They were well known in their community and mix with other rich and prominent people in their community. My sisters-in-law is still single and lives at home. My father-in-law retired many years ago, and my mother-in-law is a very backward, narrow minded and traditional woman. She is impressed by superficial things namely money, be it hers or other people’s, she is easily regaled with stories of people with successful businesses. My young sister in law warned me that her mother was superficial, that she didn’t care much for the love between her son and me, and she would only be interested in what people think, about how I dress and behave.

I just fobbed this off as her being a little silly but now I am married into this family and lo and behold, it is true.

It has been a pretty bumpy 7 months. I genuinely don’t like my MIL.  She is old fashioned, narrow minded and VERY petty. She wants to tell me what to wear and when and how I should do things… there is an endless amount of unsolicited advice and criticism and snipping at every turn. I keep my mouth shut because if I don’t it would be pretty unpleasant. I have a temper but I have kept it well hidden from her, I use my husband as a sounding board and he usually understands.

So we live in a joint set up. My husband, my sister in law and mother in law and myself – we live in a big and beautiful house but it isn’t a warm and loving house. Never mind I am here now and I have to make the most of a bad situation. My husband has been troubled by the degree of distance and lack of cohesiveness between his mother and me and he has acknowledged that she is a difficult character and unfair etc (he even said before marriage that if it became unbearable living with her we would move out). It is definitely a different tune now.

She has complained to him about my room, my décor, my lighting, my blinds, my clothes, my jewellery, my personality, my behaviour, my existence essentially. She doesn’t like that I am not from their community and she doesn’t like all the clothes I chose to wear. He has complained about what people will think and that I just don’t look right to go into her society or community dressed as I do.

I should also add that we are older than the average couple; I am 36 about to be 37 and my husband is 38. He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I before we start again. Until I dress and behave how she wants we won’t try for a baby. This has crushed my world and I feel more trapped and stuck than when I was in my previous marriage. I am starting to hate him, I don’t want to look at him and I have to share a bed with him every night. We no longer have long chats and giggle about nothing nor do we hug the night away like a couple in love. It feels destroyed, I feel destroyed and I don’t trust him and never will again.

He says if I do all the things he asks for to please his mother and if she still complains we will move out but this doesn’t make me happy because all I think about is that fact that he has used my greatest desire against me and he is preventing us from having a family. We have had some fertility tests and I am still fine but he has a low sperm count so we’re not even sure we’ll be able to conceive naturally.

What do I do… is it fair that our marriage be contingent on the mood and misgivings of my mother-in-law? Do I give up the dream of having a family of my own?

I desperately need advice as I feel like I will have a nervous breakdown or sink into depression.

Imagine as an Indian woman… 2nd divorce isn’t an option.

Please help, advise and guide.

Sincerely, most desperate

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52 thoughts on ““He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.”

  1. Dear LW, it seems your husband is holding you hostage. If you married for love, not for money, convenience, or even status, it’s a very discomforting thing to happen. For, love does not try to trap or cripple people. If it does, it’s not love. It has been my experience that contrary to all we are preached in the name of love, it’s a very fragile thing. Once it bleeds out, there is nothing in this world that can be done to bring it back. It never can be, certainly not in the same form as before. So, if I were you, I’d consider three things possible: 1) talk to him about the distance this problem is creating between the two of you and remind him – calmly – without losing your emotional cool, of his promises (so to say, about living separately) 2) Distance self from MIL’s company, immerse self in work, and play hardball. Let the husband deal with his mother. It’s their ‘*hit’ and let them sort it out, particularly your husband’s. 3) Realise that I got into the relationship with a desire to have a family, and if that is not going to be realised, I must evaluate my options. Out of marriage, it’s less likely you’ll have any; within marriage as this one, it’s again very less likely. So, how does it make a difference? Yes, 2nd time divorcee is pretty hard to justify in our society. You’ll have to evaluate and take risk accordingly. How much are you willing to compromise.
    What I think is, Be judged by others, it doesn’t matter, don’t judge yourself. Why should public opinion matter so? and if it does, look at what all you’ll have to put up with. Especially since the problems are due to escalate on account of “childlessness”.
    Best thing would be, make a choice not to go into a nervous breakdown. Look at things as a distant witness. Love yourself. Don’t betray yourself. Don’t join the side of those who are clearly in the wrong. Go with your conviction. In the end, it’s that which will be truly worth it. Is it possible that your hubby understands how much power he has over you? (2nd marriage, desire for kids, etc) DO you think that by forcing you into submission he is not using you (I’d call it hypocrisy to first state in a critical manner the qualities of my mother that I find irksome, and then force someone to get close to her). Why don’t you suggest to him that instead of yourself, he should be the first port of call and the most abiding support and company to his mother?
    Take your time, keep calm, and keep your friends and well-wishers close. Know what you want and don’t back down. People can make requests in love and we would love to entertain them but love doesn’t mean being forced into things, being tied down, being desperate. Do you love yourself? How much? What would you not do for yourself? Those are the questions I think you should be asking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sweetie, you need to get out. This marriage isn’t working for you and never will, and you already know that.

    A second divorce is obviously not easy considering the social stigma attached to it, but will you carry on with an unfulfilling marriage just for the sake of social approval? If I were you, I’d leave him and never look back.

    Remember – you are free to do what you like with your life when you’re not bound by social stupidity. Stay single and adopt a child. Get a job (if you don’t already have one). Pick up a hobby. Become self-sufficient. True love, if it exists, will find you when you’re in your element.

    Until that happens, be as happy and as content as you can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You really should leave if you’re not happy, and see no future.

      If you don’t want to go to court for a divorce, just separate and stay away, and get on with life. Do things you love, mix with nice people, adopt a child if you love kids, work a fulfilling job… there is so much more to life than a bad marriage. You owe yourself the chance to be happy, and there is no other way, you know.

      Like

  3. This is the classic case of play of power! I am assuming this is your husband’s first marriage. He’s really playing the game against you. This can happen in remarriages (when one of you is unmarried) or in relationships when one forgives your misgivings (for eg an affair) , suddenly some people feel powerful with this strength and the balance of power presumably turns in their favor. This is what you should do – forget this is your second marriage – treat it like the first – but do learn
    from previous mistakes if any – dont let this power bother you – remember if you leave him and go – his marriage also breaks – so dont feel weak.
    Do you really love him – love more things about him than hate ? If yes, take the onus to rekindle the relationship, help him understand your innermost desire to have a child. Does he understand? Ask him to not use it against you. Suggest adoption (I understand he may be aghast given family background of customs/society, blah blah). Tell him – if he is not a willing partner to have the baby – you would love to adopt one (assuming you have many reasons to love him). Remind him of his promise to move out.
    As far as mil is concerned, steer clear, a job, exercise, a hobby, there’s lots you can do to ignore and smile away. The more you allow it to bother you – the more it will.

    If he doesn’t relent – remember you are not bound to this relationship – your needs/desires are important, list them out first – a child, a loving home – go after them.
    All the best!

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  4. Dear LW, I don’t understand the logic of your husband. In my opinion, having a grandchild may mellow your MIL. But it’s not even relevant. If your hubby doesn’t want kids when you want kids and you feel annoyed looking at him, why don’t you tell him in that case you will sleep in a separate bed – and see what happens ?

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  5. Steer clear of ur MIL….Ur SIL seems to be a sensible person even ur hubby is not really bad but he is henpecked by his mother.Dont lose hope I wont say to break this marriage its still too early.Better stay away from your MIL.She is a bully who will never be happy no matter how much you adjust.Even if u turn into her version of dream bahu she would still criticise n nit pick so better stop trying and do what you wish.Get a thick skin n ignore her….put ear phones n listen to music whn she rants n dont give her undue attention.Now coming to your hubby talk to him…..communicate…tell him you want to stay away….convince him to move out….talk about starting a family if u wish to.Relationship building is an ongoing process you cant stall your plans because of that.

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  6. No words – make sure you print this , let your MIL see this and let her know it will reach your friends, family,police in case you have a nervous breakdown . Stand up for yourself . While a second divorce may seem like the worst , living with blackmail is even worse. Don’t allow someone to have this hold over your life – neither your husband nor your MIL .

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  7. Also let you hubby know there will be no baby making until he gets a place of your own – let him site cruelty and try getting a divorce

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  8. Does he love you, Do you love him, Did he get married so his mom can have someone to boss around? did you get married so you can have a child?
    I’m just asking since this is the 3rd instance this week i heard someone say they want to have a kid but could do without the pain of her husband and his mom’s drama. he is holding you hostage int e hope you’ll compromise and peace will reign.
    tell him
    1. having a child is dependednt on him, you, your age and your comfort level in taking care of the kid and mental readuiness. nothing to do with your mom.
    2. the mom issue is separate , deal with her and him together an dask what their expectations are and if you can meet them say you can if not say your terribly sorry but you cant honor their requirements and leav the ball in their court. make it clear that the 2 shall not depend on each other.

    On an aside, should we as a society open our eyes to the fact that a lot of men and women who want kids dont necessarily want a husband and we’re just putting pressure ont hem to get married to the wrong person just to have kids.. such a sad state of affairs. of course there’s the other debate going on in my head that i want my kids to have both parents, cant do without either. but then again…

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    • I’m sorry this is not going to be a popular question – but are you, LW, ready for parenthood? Have u considered the family into which this child will grow up? I think you should. In my view, not having a baby until you have sorted out your life is a very good idea. A child is not a “possession”. A child is a living, human being, who is affected a lot by turbulent families and then goes on to torture other ppl as adults.

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  9. Dear LW

    Its a hard hard situation…..2nd marriage for you and 2nd divorce is not an option. Contrary to what few have commented here, I would advise you to stick and not jump onto divorce. I know its hard but it will be harder to go for 2nd divorce in middle class community. You ll have to be very patient with your husband and your MIL. You really really need to develop thick skin for MIL’s remarks and criticism…Give your marriage couple of years…Get a job first, develop a hobby so that you can spend maximum time outside. It will certainly help….Wear anything you like, do anything you want to do…just turn a deaf ear to her criticism and rant. Dont pay attention to her at all as if she doesn’t exist for you in that house….it’ll be difficult I know…but you ll have to make it work by simply ignoring her ! And yes just dont suffer silently, whenevr she says anything bad, respond politely and firmly….just dont listen anything bad that she says….suffering silently will only suffocate you more. Just be polite and be firm while answering. Dont stay silent, get a job and get a hobby.

    Love
    FS

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  10. I can’t believe so many women get trapped into such situations. I think the first fear you need to face is that of a 2nd divorce. If the only reason you are staying on in the marriage is because you are scared of a 2nd divorce, then rest assured that the right decision is to get that 2nd divorce. I have a friend who had two divorces and married a third time (again a jerk, but that’s not the issue here). Single life is not so bad either, at least you will have your self respect intact.

    Another thing regarding a divorce is that the sooner you leave, the faster society will forget it and the faster you will be able to put things behind you. Once you get into the way of making bonds with people around you, make common friends, etc., it will become harder to make a clean cut.

    You need to understand that your feelings are valid. Your husband is using classic gaslighting in your relationship by saying that people telling you things about your own BODY is not significant. That is ABUSE. Sit him down and explain that what he is doing is wrong and that you are not obliged to obey his mother. Tell him that you married him with the view of starting a family and if he is not interested, then the marriage contract is null and void. Tell him that you did him a favour by agreeing to stay with his parents, and you will move out now, whether or not he comes along. Tell him that he does not get to make decisions on your life all by himself. Your husband needs some tough talking, as it seems to me that he is taking you for granted. He is also taking your insecurity of being a divorcee into consideration and manipulating you into submission. You need to make it clear that this is who you are and you don’t intend to change for him or his mother.

    Convey to your husband and his family that you don’t care about society. I know you do care a little, but don’t let them know that. Society is a very strong tool for control, and that’s the gun your husband and his family are holding to your head.

    Finally, if I were in your place, I would move out right away. I would take some initiative on my own life. I would start inquiring about different conception methods. Nowadays, you don’t need a husband to have a child. And finally, I would go for that divorce. I would put my needs and happiness first.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. U r not thinking clearly. Ur fears are clouding ur thinking. Dont jump the gun as yet. Yes, the MIL is a huge problem and ur H looks like one too, but he doesnt seem like a complete fool. It looks like he knows the issue but is choosing to overlook it for some reason. Try talking to him and see if things change. Do not worry or panic, i know how difficult things will be, but do not judge this based on ur past experiences. And problem in the past always seem smaller in hindsight than what they actually were, so just drop that thought of guessing if ur previous marriage was better. It serves no purpose except for saddening u, watever the truth might be. Stay strong..
    Loads of love to u🙂

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  12. Please do not fear a second divorce. What could be more unpleasant for you than the situation you are currently in? Go back and read what you yourself wrote about how after getting out of your first wedding, you were free and did what you pleased. If it comes to that, it comes to that. It’s not the end of the world. Please don’t hold yourself hostage to these old ideas. If you do, you are doing to yourself what they are doing to you.

    Secondly, please take a step back and imagine this was happening to your best friend or sister. You sound like you like your independence and you know yourself. Then why are you putting up with this?

    Let me tell you, if he is withholding stuff from you in order to get you to behave within ONE year of marriage, he is not going to stop doing this ever. He will control you using your desires and your dreams initially, later he will control you using stuff much less grand than desires and dreams. He will control the mundane, the banal, the everything. Either wrest your control back or leave him. This will not improve, the control issue. His mom will grow older, and he will not change.

    You are early enough in this marriage that there is time for you to set your boundaries and recognize when you are being used and abused. Please be strong, and see if you can show him that you are not a weak woman who will be played with. Either he will bend out of his ridiculous ways or he will break. Either way, it will be good for you.

    The best of luck to you, sister. Be brave.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I understand you really want a child, LW but children deserve to be born into stable, happy homes. There are kick-ass single parents too but the in-between state where you’re not sure of the relationship with your husband is not the best environment for having a child. Pregnancy is difficult and so is new motherhood. it’s hard to handle them without emotional support. So do consider these practical aspects before choosing to have a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear LW,from personal experience I totally get what you are going through. After 10 years of being disrespected by my MIL , the first few were only for a few days a year since we were abroad and hence easy to ignore, I have actively started putting my foot down at the insults. Living in close quarters like you are, and being judged for every action, dressing, word uttered …it is truly a living hell. I went through it the last couple of years.
    You have to talk to your husband… He can continue respecting/ loving his mother and doing whatever he feels he should do for her, but he cannot expect you to change your entire life around for someone who is , contrary to what they believe , never going to accept and love you as you deserve. Live and let live. I finally made this clear to my husband. I have tried enough and shall not do so again.
    I took my break by travelling to my native town every couple of months for a week…that truly let me come up for air else I would have suffocated. I ignored the snide remarks about why I need to go to my maika so often. I told them that my family needs to see my child too once in a while.. and we can afford the travel so I will do it. Believe me, it was not easy.
    I am a well educated ( I topped my universities at both grad and post grad levels at professional courses) and had a flourishing career even after my divorce. I had no intention of getting married a second time and had even made a house for myself so I will not be dependent on anyone in future.
    A few years into my second marriage, I quit my job voluntarily because I we both had hectic jobs and I wanted to take a break and start a family. I truly regret it now. At least a job would have made me feel appreciated.
    Try to find something outside your home which can keep you happy at least for a few hours. You will garner more strength to overcome the negativity at home, life is too short to be wasted. I tried and tried to get cohesive and have stomach ulcers now to show for it.
    Am sure your husband loves you and he truly believes that heaven will be achieved if you put in the effort. Make it very clear that it will not.
    I wish all the best and truly hope you can work it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Atleast a job would have made me feel appreciated.’
      Appreciated by who? Why is is so difficult to ‘earn’ appreciation without a job?

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      • Appreciated by herself. When you are independent, you know that you have a choice and that choice is far easier than if you were not independent. Having a job, or at least a steady income (could even be inheritance or returns from investments if you are rich), generally makes you more confident in life.

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      • Aarti, on a purely theoretical level, what you are saying about “why is it so difficult to ‘earn’ appreciation without a job?’ is something I understand. I even applaud it, to an extent.
        My mother is a housewife, and I have never once looked down on her or thought that she needs to do something more to earn my respect. But in today’s age, for today’s woman, try being at home as a housewife or a stay-at-home mom and not feel a twinge of wistfulness, a twinge of regret that you wish for something more. It is not easy.

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        • I understand your perspective.
          I have been reading your blog and read your blog post about trying to find employment in the US.

          I completely understand what it is like to look for employment in the US with all the attendent visa restrictions.

          I was in the US on an H4 dependent visa many years ago. I was a television journalist in India before I moved to the US.

          The move was completely unplanned. I had just been married for a year when my then husband decided to move to the US.

          At 26, I was young and still naive enough to believe that my husband, a man who claimed to love me, would stand by me through thick and thin.

          I knew before I moved to the US that it would be difficult to find employment on an H-4 visa. I resisted initially.

          A deep instinct was telling me that it would be unwise to place myself in a position of utter financial and immigration resistance on my husband.

          I realised that it would completely change the dynamics of our marriage. He would have all the power in the relationship and I would have none.

          H4 spouses are in a very tricky position if their marriage heads south.

          Your visa status is completely dependent on your husband’s. You are legally prohibited from seeking employment on an H-4 visa. If your husband decides to not file your visa extension, there is little you can do.

          To return to my story, after much initial resistance, and extreme pressure from both my in-laws and parents, I gave up a promising career in India and moved to the US on an H4 visa.

          The plan was to apply for a graduate degree and hope that I would be employable after that.

          After struggling for a year, I managed to get admitted to an MBA programme.

          I was willing to change careers if that would help me get a work permit and a job.

          Three years and an MBA degree later, I was still unemployed, still on an H4 dependent

          I was in

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  15. Dear LW,
    I think it is important for you and your husband to discuss the bigger picture of your marital future. If you could find a solution to the heartburn caused by the MIL, do you feel you could be in a happy place in your marriage? Do both of you wish to have kids? Calmly, objectively, almost as if you were advising another couple, discuss this.

    How important is having a child to BOTH of you right now? If it’s just you who is craving for a child, but he is not, then you need to hold off on that agenda for now. A child should be brought into the world by a couple only when both desire to do so. If he does not desire children ever, but you do, then you need to re-evaluate your marriage – is being married to him with no children better than being single? Or is it meaningless to continue the relationship? Only you can answer that question based on your own needs and expectations from life.
    If he does want a child in the future, then you should both discuss the potential timeline and it should have nothing to do with your MIL’s relationship with you. Based on my personal experience with infertility and the fertility treatments thereafter, I can tell you first hand that it starts getting very difficult with age to have a baby. For sperm count and quality to improve, a consistent effort is required. I know, because my husband did it diligently before we started the fertility treatments. (We are now parents to a beautiful baby). Perhaps your husband feels insecure about the sperm count results and instead of looking at ways to resolve it, is using the shield of your relationship with MIL as a reason for not having children. Or he simply does not desire a child at this point. Whatever it is, you guys need to sit down and discuss this calmly.
    If moving out of the joint family set up will help strengthen your marriage and help both of you focus on your goal for having a child, then make it your priority before you start trying for a child.
    As for your MIL, it’s a tough situation, but not uncommon. I’d suggest having minimal contact with her, take up hobbies that engage your mind elsewhere and most importantly be confident that you are not the one who is wrong here. Do this until you eventually move out.

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  16. 1. He ‘decided’? What do you mean? Isnt marriage a partnership, where decisions are taken after mutual discussions?
    2.Your primary problem is not your MIL.It is your husband rather.His attitude.You are allowing him to be the dictator by making statements like IF you bow your head to MILs demands , THEN he will move out and facilitate pregnancy.Does this seem right to you?
    3.Even if you toe their(MIL’s and hubby’s) line, would the environment be conducive to raising a child?
    4.Is staying miserable and married better than a 2nd divorce?If yes, then how?

    Cant you deduce the logic behind your hubby’s line of thought? He knows that if you guys try and fail to get pregnant, then all fingers will point to him and him alone.So, he has thrown in the condition of you becoming friends wih his Mom, knowing very well that thats not possible,so that he can be free of the blame of failing to impregnate you.
    Simple!
    Do you still want to live with him?

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  17. Honestly, if it has come to this that you want to avoid a second divorce just because it is a social stigma, I would suggest walk out. Yes, you may have to bear the brunt of family and society for some time, but it is not reason to stay in a marriage which is not giving you any happiness!

    Rest, if you think that you can make your husband understand things, nothing like it. All the best!

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  18. I used to know a woman who would hold out sex when her husband doesnt do what she asks him to do. Its blackmail and its wrong.
    Your husband is holding you back from having a family until you get along with a woman who has no respect for you? Does he even realize how irrational and utterly wrong his request is ?
    If you still love him and have hope in things working out, i would suggest talking to a couples therapist.

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  19. Are you financially independent? Can you move out and live by yourself?

    If you believe that divorce is a negative word, you will include that judgement in your thoughts and responses. It is not. It’s an event. Think of it legally – as a contract, which you have the right to terminate. That doesn’t take away from the emotional aspects of being married or separated. Those feelings are valid. But you do no favours to yourself to think about divorce in terms of it being a “bad” thing. It’s sad, unfortunate maybe, but you value your right to live with dignity and self-respect, right?

    Clearly, you are being emotionally abused – by your husband and MIL. Your husband has no right to unequivocally withdraw from sexual relations (that’s how I read the not ready to have a child bit) as a quid pro quid to adjusting with his mother. Even making such a bargain suggests that he is afraid, and taking the easiest way out – which is to manipulate you.

    I would move out. What can be salvaged, if at all, is your relationship with your husband. Your MIL is not going to change. There is no motivation for her too. Upon moving out, you can set terms for reconciliation and any negotiation, can take place in a neutral place, away from your MIL. You can explore couples’ therapy. ALL this only if you still care for your husband as a human being and not think of him as a sperm bank. It’s OK to prioritize wanting children, but it would be equally unfair for you to impose such a condition, considering his low sperm count and thus, embarrassment over the situation. For all you know, he doesn’t want to undergo fertility treatments, because he is ashamed of his situation. Thus, to deflect from his failure, he is asking you for the impossible, friendship with his mother. This way, when you fail, which you will, for no one can continuously please a demanding person, the entire blame will be on you. Twisted? Just a perspective.

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  20. “So we live in a joint set up.”
    To me this is the start of several problems that LWs have been discussing lately, and perhaps in general.
    My question: Why?
    Why do you agree to start your married life in your in-laws house?
    I can understand if your in-laws are very old, unable to walk or take care of their basic needs, have an illness that needs constant care. Then yes, children will choose to live with their parents and have their parents live with them. That makes perfect sense.
    Why live with you in-laws when they are able to go about their life independently?

    The beginning of married life is when you and your spouse really need the space and time to bond and build a strong relationship. Even if you dated or knew him from before, marriage is not easy. It requires work, it requires giving up some things to make the big picture work.
    Why would someone take this precious time (the time when you are building the foundation) place it on shaky ground, in an environment where hundreds of other factors come into play and interfere with this delicate process?

    If you are studying for an important exam, what would you do? Find a quiet room, sit at your desk, make yourself free of distractions, have all your materials close by, close the door and study, right? In other words, you SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS.

    Your first job – you work extremely hard, you take on every challenge, you learn as much as you can, you want to impress your boss, you make an effort to know your co-workers – all this effort so you can make a good solid start in the corporate world. Once again, you are setting yourself up for success!

    Same thing with marriage. Why start in an environment that makes it hard for the marriage to be successful? How do you define success in a marriage? The couple bond, understand each other, love and respect each other, care for each other at all times, will stand by each other during difficult times. This is not an easy goal. It takes a tremendous amount of work to form such a high quality relationship. It doesn’t just “happen” after a couple of songs like in Bollywood movies. Human beings are full of weaknesses. Sometimes our own selfishness or insecurities or misunderstandings or lack of communication skills may interfere with this process. Then we work through these problems. We try to remind each other that US is more important that YOU and ME. YOU and ME need recognition and space, but sometimes US takes precedence.

    When such a complicated process is placed in an environment where there are other people’s lives, their needs, problems, their insecurities, their interference, we are SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE and we are in most cases BOUND TO FAIL.

    PLEASE DO THE SENSIBLE THING. SAY NO to joint set ups (except in cases where parents are ill and need constant care). Start your marriage in your own home. Build your foundation on solid ground. The result will be a real bond, a strong bond that will withstand many shocks and challenges. Visit parents on both sides, take care of their needs, but don’t live under the same roof and destroy your relationship with them. You will also be in a much better position to help your parents or have them live with you in the future, as they get older, because of your healthy relationship with your spouse and parents. In the end, everyone’s happier – the married couple and their parents.

    Liked by 4 people

    • We need to educate the girls , or nothing will change, personal example My brother stayed wth my parents actually worked outside the country , made money and coded to come stay WTH parents who were neither old or infirm. I told him he’ d never find a wife with such conditions, guess what ?? Girls agreed in droves, I still cant understand why. Incl his wife who is at war because she can’t stand the setup and she’s a phd… Go figure…

      Like

      • This is true. The reality is that those of us who read IHM’s blog, who think disrespectful mother-in-law behaviour deserves censure and opposition, are a tiny minority in India.

        I am constantly shocked at the extent to which young women are willing to compromise in a marriage because “women MUST adjust, no matter what”.

        I know young women in their mid-twenties who genuinely believe that if a woman is compliant and docile in the initial years of marriage, she “wins” her husband and in-laws’ trust and admiration.

        That’s what good Indian must aspire for, being good, submissive wives and daughters-in-law.

        Any woman who questions these expectations, who refuses to comply with arbitrary controls on dress, behaviour and thought process, is hopelesly deluded and doesn’t know what is good for her.

        I’ve had women 20 years younger than me, look pityingly at me every time I’ve questioned why they need permission to do things that every adult should do without interference fr

        Like

      • I think in arrange marriages girls agree to stay with in laws otherwise prospective MIl and guys might just refuse on that basis alone !
        Girls think they’ll be able to separate later which doesn’t happen in all cases !
        Then there are some women who want to stay with in laws because children can be looked after,housework will be shared,headache of running the house can be lessened etc.Its only later that clashes happen when expectations are not met !

        Like

    • Why can’t I like this comment a hundred times?

      This is basically the root cause of most relationships going sour right at the beginning. There is no reason for women to move in with their in-laws immediately after marriage, even for a brief period. If you comply because it is ‘tradition’, then you are giving in to patriarchy and will suffer the consequences.

      Like

  21. Jeez, why did you even agree to live in a joint family in the first place when the signs were clear that your mil is difficult? It is far more difficult to move out of the house when you live in a joint family than living separately from the very beginning.

    If I were in your situation, I would:
    – Explain to the husband that I married him, not his mom.
    – Refuse to change for the MIL
    -Insist on moving out of the house.
    – Not bring up the topic of his mom at all and keep on complaining about her to him. Not like he is in control of his mom’s actions. At the same time, I will not interact with the MIL at all. No interaction. No drama. Besides, who wants to listen to daily complaining from anyone. Also, your happiness should matter to your spouse. If something makes you deeply unhappy, the spouse should be willing to work on it.
    – If he refuses to budge, I will move out and tell him to move out with me as well.
    – Wait for him to move in.
    – Look for job abroad. If you cannot be in India, divorce and move out.
    – Really examine why you are drawn to abusive types? Every person leaves small signs of their character throughout. What makes one blind to identifying those blind spots?

    Like

  22. Did you talk about having children before you married him ? Did he agree explicitly ?
    Have you tried setting limits with MIL instead of hating her ? If yes ,then maybe you can explain to your husband how things are not working out with mil and maybe moving out is a good option !
    Sometimes, people change their mind about having children but will not tell openly and will play games ! People have a right to change their minds,but so do you !
    If you entered this marriage for children , you need to explain this to your husband ! And then based on his response ,you will need to evaluate whether your marriage is good one or not !
    You also need to talk to your Mil and clearly tell her what you are willing to do ,what is acceptable ,how much you are willing to adjust !For that,you need to be clear in your head !
    In the same way,tell your husband too ! Have you tried to co exist with your Mil in last one year as amicably as possible ? Do you take offense at all little things,make mountains out of molehills too ?
    You need to seriously evaluate yourself too !
    If your husband agrees to move out,maybe you may not have to introspect too much !
    2nd divorce will be harder on you ,your parents are older,the brunt will have more edge !
    Even if you don’t care about society,your credibility will take a beating !
    Adjustment and compromise is required even in jobs,friendships etc so when you are living with husband,mil,sil you may need to do your share of adjustment just like they will have to adjust with you !

    Like

    • I am saddened to read that many people here think that a second divorce is the end of the world.

      I have been divorced twice and two years ago, remarried for a third time. I am happily married now and always wonder what my life would have been like if I had stayed married to my second husband, who was emotionally abusive, controlling and a complete mama’s boy.

      After enduring 18 months of an abusive marriage, a marriage where I was denided basic respect, where my parents were harrass and disrespected, I was suicidal.

      At the time, I was convinced that suicide is better than being divorced for a second time. I knew I could not live anymore as a virtual slave in my husband’s house.

      I had an arranged marriage the second time. Like the letter-writer, I too wanted a child desperately.

      I was 35, and had wanted children for as long as I could remember.

      I had married my first husband with the understanding that we would adopt a child because he didn’t want children.

      I was living in the US on a dependent visa, unable to work despite a graduate degree from an American university.

      As our marriage entered the fifth year, I began to put increasing pressure on my first husband for a child.

      Somewhere along the way, he had changed his mind but did not want to be blamed for doing so. He already had a dependent wife, he probably figured it was time to cut his losses.

      Shortly, after our fifth wedding anniversary, he convinced me to return to India for a few months, “for a break”. We, would discuss children after I returned, he said.

      I returned gladly, looking forward to the vacation. Yet a few months turned into six, six turned into a year. My husband had stopped taking my calls, changed his US address and phone number, cut off all contact with me.

      After another year, I sent him notice for a divorce by mutual consent. I had to threaten him with legal measures like having his passport impounded to force him to come to India as I did not want an ex-parte divorce because of the length of time involved.

      After enduring the trauma of a first divorce, I took five years to heal myself and reestablish myself.

      I finished an MBA and began my professional career from scratch again. All through this, I hungered for a child.

      One day, out of the blue, a marriage proposal arrived through a “marriage bureau”.

      I have always wanted a family and since my first marriage had been a love marriage, after having known my ex-husband for seven years, I’d become cynical about choice marriages.

      Blinded by the ticking of my biological clock, I agreed to an arranged marriage after some reservations.

      A week into my second marriage, I discovered that my husband was a complete mama’s boy. As far as he was concerned, I was just a commodity, a service-provider with no rights, only obligations.

      He was confident that a woman who had previously been divorced would stay in the marriage for fear of social disrepute, and treated me with utter contempt. I only existed to fulfil the needs of his family, as a submissive, obedient wife and daughter-in-law.

      I was just a glorified slave; and my parents were treated with similar contempt because they were the “ladkiwale”.

      I endured disrespect, abuse and neglect simply because I was afraid of a second divorce; much like the LW.

      I knew I could not watch silently as my parents were disrespected and abused.

      After 18 months of trying my best to make my marriage work, I admitted to myself that my husband would never treat me like a human being.To him, I was just a possession, a belonging to be used as he pleased.

      In late 2010, I began feeling suicidal. I began to believe that suicide is better than a second divorce.

      Thankfully, I signed up for a yoga and spirituality course just when I was convinced that I would either kill myself or become severely depressed.

      I began meditating regularly, began to focus on my work and prepared myself psychologically for a second divorce.

      Convincing my second husband for second divorce was another uphill task. He put me through one year of uncertainty as he tried to wriggle out for fear of social ridicule.

      I got my divorce decree in April 2012.

      I was emotionally spent, bursting with anger and blind rage for having to live in a society where only women were held responsible for the failure of a marriage.

      I continued to meditate, focussed on my work and eventually met a man that I fell in love with.

      This time, I did not act from a place of fear and desperation. I spent a lot of time getting to know my husband, explaining my emotional baggage and building trust and respect.

      I married again six months ago. My third marriage is nothing like my first two.

      I was always walking on eggshells around the first two husbands. I was nervous, scared and could never shake off a feeling of inadequacy.

      I felt controlled, unhappy and disrespected. In my present marriage, I sleep easy at night knowing that I will never be forced to do anything that causes me discomfort.

      I feel so light and relaxed. I don’t have to give up important parts of my identity for the sake of my marriage. I am not forced to tolearte disrespect.

      I still have an abusive mother-in-law, but my current husband and his extended family ensure that I never have to deal with her.

      I have written such a long comment here because I want the LW to know that nothing is the end of the world.

      NOBODY has the right to tell you to endure disrespect and abuse just because a second divorce is social frowned upon in our society.

      It’s YOUR life LW, do what is in your best interest. Don’t allow anyone to browbeat you.

      Don’t allow anyone to convince you that you should endure disrespect just because a second divorce is not an option.

      ALL your options are open for you, just like they were one year ago, when you were not yet married.

      Gather your strength, spend a long time thinking what your priorities are, what you truly desire.

      People will gossip for a few months if you were to divorce again, some people will choose not to associate with you. Good riddance.

      Don’t stay in this marriage if your only motivation is fear of social disapproval.

      Remember, you only live once. Nobody will give you a medal if you stay on in an unhappy, restrictive, oppressive marriage.

      Before you know it, your best years will be behind you, and you will be left with a lifetime of regrets.

      Whatever decisionyoutakeshouldcome from a place of confidence and conviction, not fear and desperation.

      Live life with your head high. No one has power over you unless you give it to them.
      All the best!

      Like

  23. @Neha,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I am so sorry that you had to undergo all that you did, with giving up your promising career and everything afterward. Unfortunately, even “liberal” families balk at the idea of the fiance quitting his job and relocating to be in the same city as the fiancee. It just doesn’t happen.
    I wish you are in a better place now, and a much happier one.

    Like

  24. What do you fear more, getting divorced a second time or never having a child?
    That will inform your actions.
    You cannot compromise in the area of having children because you’ll either have them or you won’t.
    Also your mother in law will be your child’s grandmother, with all that implies.

    Like

  25. It seems that your MIL is only concerned about superficial things that have nothing to do with you or your character. It seems like she concentrates on the dress, the style etc. and she doesn’t even know you as a person. I am so sorry that you are going through this, the constant criticism must be hard.
    Your husband needs to realize that as a newcomer to the family, you are not equipped to deal with someone like that or know how to handle them. He himself admitted he knows how she is, so why should he expect you to know how to deal with her? I am sorry, but it is not your responsibility to get along with her. SHE needs to learn to get to know YOU, who you are, not your dress and stupid things like that. I feel like she is using this criticism as a means of controlling you and also wrecking the marriage. And both of you are letting her. However, at that age – I doubt she will change.
    Your husband needs to stand up for himself and you as his wife. How can a loved one put up with their spouse being torn apart right in front of them? It is not right. It is his failure as a husband.
    Lesson 1: You will never please her.
    Lesson 2: If you both want to save the marriage you guys will have to move out for your sanity; and your husband needs to stop putting ultimatums on you because you are a grown woman.
    Also, do you think her criticism will get easier once you have a kid? Think again. She will boss you around worse when it comes to the grandbaby which she will think of as “hers”…

    Like

    • P.S. you do not need a man to have children. You can adopt or IVF etc. Don’t compromise yourself like that. The marriage needs fixing first and foremost, forget the MIL, it is your husband with the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: “I am saddened to read that many people here think that a second divorce is the end of the world.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  27. Dear, I have been in a similar situation. When we were newly weds. My husband did the same thing to me, because he later confessed was the earlier thing to do than to deal with his mother.

    We had a emotional fight and I cried bitterly because I felt trapped, wasted my best years in a relationship with this man, am feeling betrayed and ready to divorce him but fear the social implication in my conservative Chinese community.

    It was then did he pled with me to forgive him. He was careless and had low emotional quotient, and did not know how to deal with the mil issue. He did not know he hurt me so until he saw me cry so bitterly for the first time.

    We later moved out. And are now very happy. And I am so glad we are going through fertility challenge not in her house. Because, even when we are staying in different countries, she will call and pay unannounced visit to hound us about her grandson project progress.

    Babe, I don’t think you married the wrong guy. Just speak heart to heart. Don’t clam up to protect yourself now. Open up clear the misunderstandings.

    Blessings for you!

    Like

  28. Pingback: ‘Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, …’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  29. Pingback: And here is why women are so helpless in marriage issues and in their martial home. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  30. Pingback: “I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  31. Pingback: An email: “He told my MIL that he doesn’t like me. I knew he was depressed so I tried to console him.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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