“I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother.”

Hello IHM,

I’d like to thank you immensely for your blog which has truly been the guiding force for the women oppressed by the Indian Patriarchy. I read it daily and I believe you and the contributors can help me with issues pertaining to my married life.

I have been married since last 2 years. It was an arranged marriage and we had met through an internet matrimonial website. The engagement period was 8 months long. Things were really good initially. He was loving, caring and kind. He had mentioned that his family was “traditional”. After two years, I now understand what Traditional means i.e. backward and oppressive. But at that time, I was naïve and had these expectations of happy married life.

My in-laws consist of his parents and a (elder) sister-in-law who is married with two kids. After our marriage ceremony and honeymoon got over, his parents started living with us and the worst nightmare of my life started.

They are really backward with religious superstitions about menstruation, bathing etc. I was forced to take early morning baths and then only to enter kitchen, of course, to cook for all of them. I’m an IT professional and I’m working, so my workload increased drastically. I had to cook twice, daily. His mother is extremely rigid and dumb and it’s impossible to have any rational conversation with her. She is so fixated in her beliefs and rituals that she doesn’t even seem like human, she is rather a patriarchal animal. I was isolated during my menstruation and I found it very humiliating. But for my husband, it was all “normal”. Letting “everyone” know about what is occurring in your privates for few days is apparently “normal” for them! I come from a liberated, well-educated family, so all this non-sense was extremely hard to cope with. I tried to adjust for few months but later, my parents had to intervene. My parents spoke to my in-laws and they finally left to live at their house, which is in another town.

I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother. He forced me to adhere to the rituals which his mother had designed for our house. I cooked daily, kept the house and I’m working as well but if he got annoyed because of arguments, my failing to call his mother/sister, he started giving silent treatment to me. Sometimes, this silent-treatment used to last for 10-20 days. During this period, he’d cut-off all the contact with me, despite living in the same house. He even refuses to eat meals prepared by me and behaves like a stranger.

The sister in law stays in another town but when she comes to stay at my place or when we need to visit their place, things get really nasty. My husband is very “attached” with his sister, so she brainwashes him over petty matters which result in fights between the two of us and again, the silent treatment starts. After each stay with his mother/sister, I have to tolerate this mental torture for months. Once, their effects fade, he is really nice and caring person but I never know, when his mood might change because of a petty matter.

It’s been 2 years since I have been dealing with this emotional abuse/silent treatment. I’m fed up and I now know that chances of him or his family changing are nil. I’m 33 years old and I have a desire to start my family in future. But considering the sorry state of situation, it seems like a distant dream. Is there anyone out there who is subjected to this sort of emotional abuse? Can anyone guide me? What should I do?

An emotionally abused wife

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70 thoughts on ““I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother.”

  1. I have faced this abuse, and from my own mother. Ever since I attained puberty, three days in a month would be set aside for isolation. No entering the kitchen, no touching any clothes and disposing of soiled sanitary napkins became a headache too because you can’t touch it after you wash your hair, and obviously, you can’t keep it around till the next time. There have been occasions when my mother has made me take off the curtains and put them in the machine because ‘I got too near them’. None of it made any logical sense to me ever.

    As a teen, I put up with it because I had no choice. My parents were quite loving and reasonable in most things, so it wasn’t totally unbearable. But as an adult, I refused to adhere to these norms merely out of principle even though mum tried to make things easier for me. My mother knows how I feel about it and we have reached a happy compromise of her not complaining about it in my home and I will adhere to it in her home. So now, we both check the calendar before we visit each other.

    I am telling you here and now that your MIL will never let go of these practices. You can try logic, you can try discussing the humanitarian and feminist aspects of it. If she is the nice type, she would agree with you in discussions but the ritual will never change. EVER. So understand and accept this. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to make logical explanations to her.

    As for your husband, I would advise the following steps:

    1. Stop cooking daily. Stop keeping the house clean. If husband objects, present him with the 50% rule. Just simply put a full stop to it. This really is the first step. As long as you allow victimisation, your husband will continue to do it.

    2. Stop following rituals you don’t want to. Don’t enter into lengthy explanations. They really don’t serve the purpose and your husband will just catch on to some irrelevant thing and you’ll find yourself arguing about it. Just tell him you are not going to do this and that’s that.

    3. Don’t fight or argue when your husband acts irrationally. It’s obviously not improving the situation and you are just harming your health.

    4. Silent treatment is ABUSE. Recognise it, accept it and react accordingly.

    5. Understand that your husband is not a ‘nice and caring person’. He is a manipulative bastard who wants his own way in everything. He wants a puppet wife who will dance to his tunes.

    6. Ask yourself why you are even in this relationship. If I were you, I’d pack my bags and leave.

    7. Leave. This really is the best advice I can give. This man and his family are abusive and there is no way he can make things right for you.

    Liked by 7 people

    • In our house, my mom was pretty liberal with menstruation ! Me and my sisters never had any rules as such to follow like not entering kitchen etc ! My mom was only protective about her pickles which she made !
      So,yeah there are vast range of views on this !
      Just stop explaining to your husband your likes,dislikes etc !
      Just stop pandering to his volatile silent treatment !

      Like

      • Lol even my mom was posessive abt her pickles….just to test I used to intentionally handle the pickles during periods without telling mom of course…..It never got spoiled🙂

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      • In my house, what irritated me was that these rules magically appeared AFTER my mom got her hysterectomy- when she would no longer be subject to them. I compensated by being unbelievably lazy and simply refusing to do anything at all, after which the sanctions were lifted🙂

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        • @Anita,

          Just imagine how sad she was and felt out of control once her prime identifier of being a woman, her reproductive organ was gone. She had to device some mechanism to deal with this loss and relative deprivation.
          If I don’t have it and others do then it is definitely not good, so it must be dirty.
          After life changing losses people do device rituals to compensate for their loss and relative deprivation.

          Peace,
          DG

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        • @DG

          That’s a thoughtful response. I was so irritated by the whole thing that I didnt bother to wonder why she was doing it.
          More than the perceived loss of fertility, I think your point about her regarding it as “dirty” is spot on. She was extremely happy after her hysterectomy because she was really sick of her painful periods. She used to tell me how her grandparents used to isolate her during her periods and how she hated it. Now I realise that while she hated the practice,she does believe that menstruation IS dirty. And since she is forever free from it,she no longer feels guilty about making others follow rules.

          I think many of us feel “yucky” during our periods, but the way that our society enforces taboos on menstruating women and treats them as “unclean” can be seriously damaging.

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    • Like point 1 – He can be so insensitive and yet get all the comforts of home aye? Ready meals on the platter, Clean home. Why should he want to change? Sort it out before you start a family. From personal experience I can say – you don’t want your child to grow up seeing this kind of bullshit.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent advice Fem.

      In addition, I would like LW to consider:

      – Hiring help – as a working professional and mom, I can’t tell you the difference it has made in my life to have a cook, a housekeeper and a part time nanny. They give me the bandwidth to be a better person. Many people advise that you shouldn’t have another person cook your food, or handle your child. These are personal opinions, which on balance for me don’t matter. Time is most important and irretrievable; I would rather spend it with my daughter or reading. I do enjoy cooking, so that’s been a loss. No one comes in on Sunday, so I enjoy one day of keeping house.

      – Husband chores : for me, a loving and caring husband understands that running a house is no different from working. It requires physical exertion, organization and time. He needs to respect that and contribute to it.

      Do not let your fear of not having a family at the “right” time, distract from deciding if this man should be the father.

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  2. Hi LW,

    Feeling sad for your state. Since you have asked for guidance I will try to suggest something. I am not sure whether it will help you or not or even its practical solution for you.

    1. Stop believing that your husband is loving and caring: as I can sense from your letter that he acts as per his natal family . It means his love and care is towards his family and don’t want their feelings to be offended . There is no concern for your feelings and needs.

    2. Stop following rules: don’t follow any rules set by MIL or any one . Fight will happen but as you have mentioned fights are happening, it will take off burden from your mind. You will not be under constant pressure that you are not supposed to break rules.

    Lots of drama will happen . Again both family will have meeting at that point make it clear that no rules is acceptable to you.

    3.Be aloof with your husband: if he is really caring and loving then he will sense your aloofness. Ask him whether he wants to make marriage work or not . Be emotionally strong so that you can make your husband to see situation.

    I am not sure whether my advice are practical or not . But one thing I strongly notice that even there is no support fromhusband but still every one writes that there husband are loving and caring . If the person is not able to understand my point of view then how he or she is loving towards me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sort-of understand how it would feel like to walk on top of egg shells. I think your life is more valuable than wasting it in the hands of abusers. If it was me, I would calmly talk to my husband about how I feel and give little time for him to digest it and see how he reacts then. That might give better clarity about what to do.

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  4. No use staying in an emotionally frustrated environment. It will directly lead you to depression. React to your circumstances. Get help from your family, people you know, confide to your friends and ask them for a solution, meet a counselor/therapist for help. There may be better options but all I can say is you need to react firmly.

    Good luck!

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  5. Silent treatment of this sort is a weapon!when used in close relationship especially without warning or explanation it shows immaturity and inability to talk things out !
    I am happy you see it as abuse because refusal to talk things out makes the other person keep guessing,questioning ! So its even manipulative !
    At the earliest, remain unfazed at his silent treatment, don’t ask him anymore about ‘what’s wrong’ etc !
    Tell him you are not happy with him and either he seeks help or you need to rethink this relationship !
    Keep a timeframe for all this !
    If counselling doesn’t work,start thinking seriously about leaving him !
    Manipulative men and women who use silent treatment are worst to deal with especially in a context of marriage !
    Don’t get a child into this !!

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  6. What on earth is wrong with you girls. First learn to recognize abuse. He is not loving and caring, being nice to another human us decency and expected, all the time. Especially the spouse.
    I don’t hear a word of love, support, trust, passion, partnership, friend, joy etc . Those are what I would use to describe a marriage.
    Why is he even concerned about your period? In your separate household.
    And why is his sister interfering, do you go chat up her husband, after all you are bound by a common Inlaw tag.

    Be clear and tell him to use his brain to think, not mummy’s or sisters . Tell his sister to buzz off. And tell your mil you don’t believe in such things.
    If they persist, pack your bags and leave or if you are braver pack his.
    Would you take this kind of abuse from your friend? No then what makes him so special! Just because he signed a paper??

    Liked by 5 people

    • Agree with you Radha all the post related to MIL-In Law-DIL relationship has one thing constant that my husband is loving and caring. However from content of letter it is always clear there is no action from husband side which is in favor of letter writers or reduces there stress.

      In MIL-IN Law relationship almost all LW expect nothing from their husband. It is the husband who has married but the charge is always toward Monster In Law but never toward husband who doesn’t want to grow up in relationship.

      May be this because of the fact that women are always taught to keep husband at Number 1 position in all relationship they have in life.

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    • I normally dont comment on MIL-DIL posts because I am a single woman and whenever I tried to help my friends in shitty situations like this I get ‘Its easy for YOU to say. You dont know how it is.’

      Absolutely agree that husband should stand up for the wife and support unconditionally because they are after all partners.

      I canNOT move in with anybodys parents. No compromise on that. But again people can be naive regarding this becs of conditioning. No judgments there.

      And if I was in this ‘remote-controlled’ situation I would give the husband another option. That is if my hubby s kinda reluctant to confront his parents (we have to accept that not everyone can do this) on my behalf, I would tell him to stay away from these issues and let me handle them the way I want. That’d translate to doing what I think is right and living my life my way regardless of in-law’s . If he cannot help by supporting me openly just dont come to acting as his parents’ lawyer. He’d get it from me then.

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      • @Nidaa
        I’ve often got the “You dont know how it is.” comments as well.

        Truth is, you don’t really need to be in a romantic relationship to understand personal space and boundary issues – we deal with various forms of this everyday,everywhere -with parents/friends/work.

        I wish more people would get that.

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  7. I don’t have much advice to give you unfortunately on how to handle the situation. But I’ll say one thing. Please don’t bring children into this situation! You can wait and see if your marriage can be salavaged and take your time if you wish (although leaving now isn’t a bad idea either!), but definitely don’t start a family now. It’ll be that much harder to leave and to bear the abuse and you’ll end up bringing children into an abusive atmosphere. That would be a total lose-lose situation.
    You’re educated and smart and have supportive parents. Just know that you have options. And I agree with the above commentors who say that a) you’re being subject to abuse and b) your husband is “seemingly loving/caring” only when it’s convenient to him. Don’t mistake that as being a good person.
    I don’t understand why your husband would place petty matters being perpetrated by parents/siblings over personal relationships and happiness.

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  8. Dear LW

    All you have to do is to stop complying to all his family rules and rituals. Just be yourself and do what you believe in, even if that causes your husband to give you slient treatment. Be strong and dont pay attention when he goes silent and dont eat food cooked by you. When he goes silent, just cook food for yourself and eat it, dont cook anything for him. The more you give importance to his slient treatment and ponder, more it ll strengthen his attitude. Just stop paying attention and behave as if you dont care. When he goes slient, go for shopping, go for dinners with friends.
    And about his parents, take things in your hands, set a rule for your house, its YOUR home now. Your house do not belong to his parents or his sister. Your house, your rules. Make different rules about your house and your rituals. Stop paying attention when he behaves like a remote-controlled husband and focus on shopping, dinners and other activities. The more importance you give to them, more they’ll try to suppress you.
    Divide household chores with your husband. He is equally responsible for maintaing the house, not just you. Give him laundry and cleaning/dusting, you do cooking and dish washing. Start taming him and start taming your household as a bold strong woman would do.
    Dont give up. Once they know what kind of woman are you who would not take shit from anyone, they would curtail thier own actions. If they still dont stop manipluting your husband, ask your parents to intervene and when your hsuband complains about your parents, give him tit for tat reply as this is what his own parents are doing so he should be okay when your parents do that to him.
    Be bold, strong, lay down YOUR rules for YOUR house. Go for TIT for TAT approach.
    All will be well soon.

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    • Hi FS,

      Please help me understand how do you think “All will be well soon”, if the only suggestion that you have for the LW is to ‘tame’ her husband and his household!

      We can all see from the note of the LW that her husband is not supporting her. Shouldn’t her first course of action be to talk to him, explain what she wants and hear what his response is? If two people in a marriage can’t agree on anything, is ‘taming’ and ‘not paying attention’ the perfect solution? Why not be clear as to what you want and discuss it with him? If he is not willing to accommodate your demands, he clearly is not interested in saving the relationship. The next option should be to get separated from him. There is no need to be ‘passive aggressive’ and give him ‘silent treatment’ and what not!….Please why are you hell bent on creating more havoc in LW’s life?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes because separation/divorce is not easy for many Indian woman as you have made it to sound like. When woman talks about divorce/separation, very first objection would come from her own parents. The only thing they would say to support their arguement is ” husband is not physically abusive and only stops talking when he is angry”. I am saying this because I have gone through this myself.
        What works in most cases is to make other person realize how does it feel when their places are switched. My father never understood my mom’s plight about MIL-DIL issues but when I got married and faced similar stuff, then my father understood how does it feel when he saw her own daughter suffering at the hanf of partriarchy.
        Tit for Tat approach sometimes put the person in right place and in right head and helped him to understand his own faults. Most husband see their mother as some goddess and his wife as some evil story-writer who just cooks up stories about his goddess mother. How would you men react if you were to stay at your in-laws places and made to wear shirt-pants in scorching 48 degrees, wake up at 6 am in morning and do all household chores and listen to all the taunts of your MIL. I am sure you men wont complain ever😛
        In europe, women’s mother stay with daughter and son-in-law, and they have same horror stories of bad MILs but guess who is at the receiving end, MEN !
        Men crib/complain/whine about their wife’s mother because wife mother’s treat her son-in-law as some lowlife and made him feel that her daughter deserved better. This is the story in most of the households in Europe.
        Story goes both ways…just the different gender at recieveing end because of centuries old rotten culture.

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        • FS: I agree with you that divorce is really difficult for women in Indian society. And I also agree with you when you recommend the letter writer be more assertive.But I also agree with Abhi. What is the end goal of all these efforts? Is it worth the letter writer having to work so hard to save a marriage that, in the end, may not be worth saving? What will she get, in the end? A lifetime of trying to adjust living in a marriage in which she will get no love, and will get respect only if she has a aggressively demand it? I believe such a marriage will wear her down emotionally, in the end. Might it not be better for Indian society to work towards actually making divorce less of such scary boogeyman?

          Liked by 1 person

        • So separation/divorce is not easy for many Indian women and hence we should train them on how to manipulate, be ‘passive aggressive’ and adopt a ‘Tit for Tat’ approach to ‘fix’ their relationships. That sounds like a toxic cocktail for me. I thought we were trying to get women to be independent when it came to their choices about marriage, kids or separation/divorce. Granted that there would be objections to her choice of getting divorce but it’s her decision and she shouldn’t get influenced by her parents.
          I agree with your analysis of the problems that she is facing, even with your analysis of why she is facing these issues. What I do not agree with is your suggestion of ‘taming’ and adopting a ‘tit for tat’ approach to get her husband to love her (I don’t believe he loves her) and support her. What I believe she needs to have is an honest conversation with her husband and if he is not willing to listen to her, she should walk out of the marriage. I get your example of husbands feeling the same way if they were to stay with their in laws. So let’s recognize that it’s an issue and she needs to resolve it by fair means not by manipulating people.
          I would like to ask some others on this blog whom I see suggesting more practical and sensible approaches to these problems as to what they think about your approach of ‘taming’ and ‘tit for tat’ instead of talking and separating if nothing works out.
          @Fem/IHM – Do you agree with FS that women should manipulate men and ‘tame’ them instead of having an honest conversation and resolving issues with the help of a therapist. Should they not go for divorce/separation just because their parents would oppose it?

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      • And yes dont you think she must have tried talking to him already? and when that didnt work, she resorted to IHM blogs to take our advices. What makes you think she hasn’t tried her best.

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        • I may be absolutely wrong in making that assumption but I have only assumed that based on what I have read. She hasn’t mentioned about having conversations with her husband about the issues. Her parents had to interfere to get her moved to a different place. Are we encouraging interference by parents in spousal relationships? Shouldn’t it be about the husband and the wife only?

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        • @Abhi : I am recommending Tit for Tat approach based on my personal experience. And Taming is not manipulating. Lot of big tv actors/stars have confessed that they were tamed (in positive way) by their star wives as they were totally a untied bull before marriage. Even few of my make friends confessed that…in a positive way. They were reckless and insensitive before they got married, but marriage( read Wives) taught them to become more sensitive towards other’s emotions and needs. Please dont assume that I meant manipulation when I said Tame your husband.
          Secondly, lets ask the LW if she is thinking along the divorce/separation lines, if she says yes , then its totally upto her, But if she is not thinking at all about separation, then she ll have to resort to Tit for Tat approach.
          What i did to make my husband realize that he was unfair in making wrong decisions under his mother’s influence, is to confide in everything to our common friends…..so whenever they would come to our place, they would pass wise remarks on how to handle marital issues and how to handle wives&mother issues….they also complained about their husbands and MILs and how their husbands handled the situations in a more mature way. My husband understood and slowly started becoming better in handling his mother.
          In most the MIL-DIL issues, its the husband’s responsibility to behave as a stand alone system than operating as a client to mother-server😛

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        • FS – I don’t think I am impressed with your rationalization of what would be called as ‘pressurizing’ and ‘manipulation’ by anyone modern age liberal person. I would think the first principle for a successful relationship between two consenting adults (assuming we are talking about adults here) is being honest with each other and let the feelings develop naturally. I am afraid we can’t take relationship tips from ‘star wives’ (no disrespect to them) who believe in and practice taming their husbands. For God’s sake we are talking about adults here, not pets!

          I am not sure I agree with your confrontational approach (Tit for Tat) that you are suggesting the LW to adopt in case she doesn’t want separation. Why are so scared to talk about divorces/separations? There is no point in getting someone to stay with you by manipulating or taming. If he loves her, he would listen to reason; if he doesn’t, she has options. Are we not for encouraging young people to mingle, date and then decide if their relationship is something that they would want to go ahead with. Why treat marriage differently than a relationship. If it’s not working out, so be it. I am sure the LW can find many men worthy of her love.

          I don’t want to comment on how you succeeded in ‘taming your husband’ (pun intended).  But I would rather be honest in a relationship rather than put pressure on someone to yield. The resultant love out of the ‘taming tactics’ wouldn’t seem natural to me!

          I get your point about the expectation for the husband ‘to behave as a stand alone system than operating as a client to mother-server’. What’s happening here is that two different issues have gotten mixed together. The husband should:

          • Clearly get LW’s issues with his mother, and she and he should be on the same page.
          • Listen to her concerns without getting defensive or protective of his mother (even when he may not completely agree with her).
          • Her husband and LW should come up with solutions together to make the situation with his mother better.
          • The husband should be expected to be more of a sounding board than to fix the problem.
          It becomes a marital issue when:
          • You want (or expect) your husband to fix his mother or fix the problem.
          • You start arguing about his mother, but then the fight spreads to other issues between the two of you.
          • As you start talking about the issue you have with his mother, you become keenly aware of how much you’re losing respect for your husband.
          • You want to cut off all ties to his side of the family, and you’re angry with him when he refuses to do so.
          If you have a marital issue, addressing that first will put the LW in a better position to work on the mother-in-law issue. Here are three things that come to my mind without starting World War III:
          1. Figure out what you want from your husband. Do you just want to vent, do you want him to truly understand your emotional pain, or do you want something else entirely? (Sorry, he cannot fix it for you.) Get clear on this first, because after all, if you don’t know what it is you want from him, how can he know?
          2. Let him in on this early on. Begin the conversation by letting him know right up front what you want from him. How you word your request is critical to getting what you’re after. If you’re berating his mother or blaming him, you are not going to get what you want — even if you think it makes you feel better.
          3. Keep the focus on the two of you — not on your mother-in-law. Remember, you are working on getting closer to your spouse right now — his mother just happens to be the catalyst. For the time being, keep her out of it!

          Liked by 1 person

        • @Abhi : You still did not understand what taming meant. Clearly shows you are here only to talk and not to listen. Also, you talk as if you are living in ideal world and everyone has idealistic attitude and everyone husbad, wife and MIL will listen to each other issues patiently and will act on them for the betterment of the relationship.
          The example I gave in my previous comment about confiding in my friends and friends dropping wise hints on how to handle marital issues seemed manipulation to you? If thats so, then you really need to introspect on your thought processs.
          and please go ahead ask everyone on IHM blog,

          Like

        • FS – I would be happy to listen to you explain what you meant by taming. All I have tried to convey is that I take exception to your approach of somehow pressurizing a spouse to yield to a certain position. I am not necessarily trying to speaking for the husband here but my limited point is that if you have to put psychological pressure on someone or have to be manipulative to get him to love you, it ain’t worth it. People don’t’ love that way. Love is a natural process and I am sure there are better persons out there for the LW or anyone else who desires to seek.

          I live in the same world as you and that’s precisely the reason I suggested a practical approach rather than asking the LW to apply coercion or undue influence in order to fix her husband. Nothing wrong in that if that’s what one wants but that’s not the kind of relationship I would like to be in. To me, that would be induced love and not natural. Again, I am, not trying to judge your choice by any means.

          On your personal charge of me not being here to listen, all I can say is that if didn’t listen, I wouldn’t have cared to type such long responses.   I guess we can keep ourselves on the topic for discussion and not digress to personal attacks. I would love to hear more on your approach. And the only reason I asked others to pitch in that I felt the advice you gave was not in line with what others like Fem or IHM normally recommend for women.

          Lastly, about confiding in friends and having them provide suggestions, my approach would be to talk to my spouse or my partner directly. I would respect him/her that much.

          Like

  9. I don’t want to sound judgmental here, but I still wonder why people get into marriages without fully understanding the other family. It sounds to me like the lady in question has drastically different ideas from the guy’s family.

    Dear friend, try all best you can to change them. If they are regressive and stupid (and there will be such people forever!), they will continue to do so, as far as they can. Try to push back as much as you can.

    Also please advise all you friends to never marry without understanding what they are getting into. This culture is the first problem in India, IMHO

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    • You know, arrange or love marriage ,sometimes the guy’s family and attitude doesn’t come much into full play until after marriage !
      In my community, we have this system in engagement period where the girl goes and stays with the guy’s family especially during family functions etc,….this period is the trial period! The guy’s family is marking girl and if the girl is taught well and alert she ‘all be marking guy’s family !
      One repeatedly goes in as many functions, short stays in that one year engagement period ! How much ppl will pretend ?? You come to know the in laws if you are smart and not naive !
      In fact, in love marriage, if the guy’s family is against you can never get to know them neither they will know you before marriage !!
      Then there are good actors,shaana people who operate thinking let marriage happen,she’ll adjust,we will make her adjust !!

      Like

  10. Question for Mr. Douchebag. (Sorry, hun, that’s what he is):

    Does he call up your brother and father twice a week to chat them up? Why not? Does he not eat and live in the house where you are expected to be the unpaid maid? Who’s holding a gun to his head forcing him to uphold unfair and humiliating “traditions” that are insulting and abusive to his wife?

    Be prepared to be the bad guy. There is no point trying to please narcissistic misogynists who can never be pleased. Make life uncomfortable for him. Stop being the doormat. Let him do half the household chores. You take care of your food and laundry and let him deal with the rest.

    And if he doesn’t shape up, leave. You should like a great person who deserves a wonderful life.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Regarding silent treatment, I went through that a little bit with my husband too in the initial stages of married life. Here I was, a 22 yr old bride (arranged marriage) from Bangalore with no friends or relatives in US and was being subjected to silent treatment on and off. The first few times it caused a great deal of stress, later on, like fem suggested, I stopped putting food on the table, I would make sure to eat before the hubby would come and leave to the library and be back by 8, eat a snack and go to bed. He would look puzzled, look for food and not find any, see dirty laundry languishing for days in the closet, messy kitchen. He is a neat freak, all this was a bit too much for him, when he confronted me, I fought back. FInally the husband understood his folly, this stupidity got crushed within the 6 months of married life🙂. Now after 16 years of married life and 2 beautiful kids later, it is a lot better. Now, he cannot stay without talking to me, if I try to give him a fake silent treatment, he starts cracking silly jokes just to make me smile and get me to start talking again. Once they know that we give a shit to their stupidity they will slowly change.

    Like

    • Yes, this one is awesome.I absolutely love the old lady’s expression at the end!
      Ads are typically made to appeal to the sensibilities of their target customer : in this case,women. Its so good to see that:
      a: There was enough evidence in the surveys and focus groups that indicated that women had enough of this housework-queen nonsense.
      b: Somewhere out there is a set of copywriters/creatives who actually understand the ludicrousness of the current setup enough to make this ad.
      c: That all the people at the top (who are most likely to be men) actually approved this concept because they believed it would work.

      Like

  12. Dear letter writer: It is obvious, in your letter, that you are not happy in your marriage. I have read some of the responses, which advise you to stand up for yourself, use a tit-for-tat approach, etc. But regardless of what approach you use to temporarily fix the problem, in the end you will have to ask yourself the question- why are you staying in this marriage? I understand how difficult Indian society makes it for people to divorce, specially women. And I am not recommending that a couple break up an otherwise loving relationship over a trivial spat. But it is, in my opinion, impossible to stay in a relationship in which you feel you are being disrespected to the core of your being ,on a regular basis. I can understand your need to see your husband as a loving and caring person- you have so much invested in this relationship and cannot be faulted for some denial or wishful thinking. But, as many posters have pointed out, a person who is manipulative and controlling lacks the emotional maturity to be a long term stable life partner. At this time, you are young and strong and capable. Fast forward 30 years. Can you imagine growing old with this person? Will he be there for you when you are vulnerable? It is better to live alone than to spend a lifetime in a soul- crushing loveless marriage.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Others have already given great advice, there is no doubt that there is a lot of emotional abuse here and I agree the LW needs to stand up for herself and put an end to this unfairness, especially considering she is educated and financially independent.

    What struck me is that the man here is also a victim of abuse – he is being abused by his family by never being allowed to grow up. Insisting his wife sit separately during her period? Why on earth would he worry about what she does during her period? And giving her the silent treatment? He has reduced himself to the state of a petulant child. Letting her do all the cooking, cleaning, then complaining? Now, that’s a bit lame, isn’t it? How can he respect himself when he is behaving so immaturely and irresponsibly? What does he even want from this marriage? Because, clearly he is not happy. Does he even know what he wants? To be married, you must be an adult, be in control of your own life. And he doesn’t seem to be if he is still “attached” to his sister to the point of her interfering and dictating his life. What a sad, pathetic life for him.

    Before women enter marriage, they should judge a man by how much control he has over his own life. You can’t be in a relationship with someone who is not free himself. Being married to a slave will enslave you.

    I hope LW that by standing up for yourself, you will be able to make him see that he really needs to grow up and behave like an adult. I wish you all the best!

    Like

    • Agree with you. It looks like he just moved from one parent to another. His mom and sis used to take care of him before. Now his wife is supposed to…

      Like

  14. LW,

    So, you had a love marriage, moved in with in-laws, tried to “adjust” (God I hate that word), parents had to intervene, they spoke to your in-laws and in-laws finally “left”.
    Then husband “forced you to adhere to the rituals his mother designed and implemented in your house from remote”

    Does that mean you still ‘sat out’ your period days? Never mind answering that.

    You are from a liberated well-educated family, are a working woman, had a love marriage, have access to blogs like this one, and perhaps other fine bloggers who comment here (Fem, Desi Girl’s Guide to Relationship Survival, and many more regulars), and you still don’t know how to do, and what to do?

    What pray does “well-educated” mean?

    Like

    • Sigh, I feel this way too. Every single time, there are the same particulars: “I am from a liberal family but …” or “My husband is a wonderful person but …”. Just how exactly are people liberal if they are following misogynist practices like moving to the husband’s home and stuff? But then again, women are so deeply brainwashed in our society that we can hardly blame them. It’s troublesome.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Even I am not able to understand why all LW claim that there husband are caring and loving when from letter it is clear that they damn care of what there wife is going through.

        Like

      • LW and husband moved in to his home. It was hell. LW’s parents had to step in. She got married at 30 or 31, and is now 33. Presumably husband is of similar age. They didn’t learn from that?

        I am sorry and will get many thumbs down, but I believe both are getting the marriage they deserve. Their state cannot be blamed on misogynist practices or brainwashing of/by society.

        Sorry, after so many saas bahu serials, and so much education, and after holding one’s own at college and at work, and after parents have already helped once, after having freedom to access professional help, a person writes a letter like LW did, in particular the last paragraph, and signs off as “An emotionally abused wife”, I run short on patience.

        Like

        • They didn’t learn from what exactly? She did not repeat the same mistake of moving in with the in-laws again. Their condition can be placed squarely on misogynist practices which dictates that a girl from her childhood is taught never to raise questions when it comes to her marriage and her in-laws and simply follow traditions. Every girl is taught this; some are able to shake it off, some are not. And the fact that a boy is taught that he has to look after his parents and provide support to his mother, no matter what. If you don’t recognise the problem, you are unlikely to solve it. So please stop blaming the victim.

          You think everyone watches serials or realises they are based on reality? Which college course teaches you to deal with in-laws or how to break tradition? Do people abuse you emotionally at work and if that happens, do people tell you to ‘adjust’? I have no clue what on earth you are talking about here.

          Yes, the helplessness shown by women can be irritating and frustrating, but it’s not entirely their fault. As long as a woman is willing to take their lives in their hands and make a go of it, we (as a collective feminist group) should be able to provide emotional support. It’s those women who don’t want to act but want things to become normal automatically who try my patience. The LW is not like that.

          Liked by 2 people

    • I get your point.
      I think this has a lot to do with social ostracism along with brainwashing. A large portion of Indian society sees feminists(specifically women against gender inequality) as bitter losers – pathetic rejects who got dumped by a man and are acting out. NOBODY wants to belong to the group of losers.
      While many women may read these blogs and agree with the ideas, somewhere inside they desperately hope that they never have to implement any of this in their own lives.
      Due to this desire to “belong” to the popular,socially acceptable, happily married wife club, they often ignore basic obvious facts about their relationship because they don’t want to be one of those “pessimistic ” feminists.
      Acknowledging that they’re being abused (and the fact that they don’t want to live with it) is difficult because that would make them one of those “dented and painted” women.

      Of course,I don’t intend to turn this into some commentary on the LW’s situtation – I think its good that she has acknowledged the problem and I hope things work out for her.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymouse, while I do understand some of your impatience and frustration, I also want to address some of the things that surprise you, but when you think about them, they shouldn’t:

      “So, you had a love marriage” – don’t assume that a ‘love marriage’ is actually that – in a rigidly patriarchal society, the same stereotypical roles are played out even in “love marriages” – woman adjusts, moves into man’s house, does all the house work, etc. I have even seen some live in couples who play into man woman stereotypes which sometimes even leads to abuse (lest we tend to think, oh they are so modern because they’re in a live in relationship). Heck I’ve seen lots of American couples (in what I thought is the land of freedom) where the woman is in a very unhealthy, dependent, borderline abusive relationship with the man.

      “parents had to intervene” – where in the LW’s life was she ever allowed to handle problems on her own? I don’t know the LW personally, but going by general Indian parenting, parents are all over you doing helicopter parenting. They are there to fight your battles at every step, even in instances when you don’t see it as a battle. So, once again (even as adults), the married couple turn to their parents to resolve their conflicts.

      “You are from a liberated well-educated family” – What exactly is ‘liberated’? How many Indian parents allow their children to have relationships prior to marriage? How many of them treat their adult children like adults? How many of them teach them about sex education or finances? How many would be able to handle it if their child turned out gay?

      What does ‘well-educated’ mean in our society? From my schooling and college in India, I learnt nothing of value. I learnt a lot of math and physics, that’s about it. I did not learn critical thinking, problem solving, prioritizing, budgeting, resourcefulness, working with others. None of these things are required in Indian schools and colleges. I certainly didn’t learn to stand up for myself.

      “have access to blogs like this one” – well, we may all read great blogs but we still tend to read posts from our own lens, from a perspective that has been shaped by our parents, friends, and our experiences. Yes, we can grow over time, and reading does influence us over time, but it does take time. Recently, a regular here shared that when she first started reading IHM’s blog, she hated all the comments and the commenters. Now, she is one of the active commenters who always has some great perspective to offer. To me, this alone is reason enough to keep writing here, to keep sharing our thoughts.

      Right or wrong, the LW came here for help. And help is what we must offer. If she already has everything figured out, there is no need for this blog. God knows, I’ve made my share of mistakes. We all learn something new everyday. If the LW leaves this callous, immature man and finds a fantastic life for herself, that is the ultimate win. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If she decides that she cannot handle that, so be it. If she decides she will stay in this marriage, I hope we can help her find for her within the confines of her life the meaning, dignity, and autonomy that she deserves like everyone else.

      Liked by 4 people

      • When you studied and earn your own living, you have no excuse if you let people walk over you – I guess this is what Anonymouse means. If you give too much credit to sociological studies then you forget that each person has freedom of will. Casting people as victims is of little help to them, Remebering people they are warriors who can fight their own battles, is much better.

        Like

  15. A lot of sensible advice above. I feel both of the people in the marriage are behaving like kids. Why do you need to complain to your parents and have them interfere because your in laws are not nice and make them move out. If it is okay, that your parents can interfere, why are you shocked that his family is interfering in your marriage?

    First of all, sit down and think how you want to run your house.
    Outright refuse to overdo stuff – from cooking to cleaning
    No rituals or anything
    Stop running to your parents every time you have a problem in the marriage
    Discuss with your husband as to how this kind of behaviour is abuse and will not be tolerated and you will leave if this contunues.
    Stop communicating with his family.
    Stop visiting his family or letting his family stay over until you sort out your issues.
    Don’t have kids.
    If things don’t improve, leave this relationship.
    Stick to your guns and don’t say one thing and do another.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. LW, I think the responses above address your situation so much better than what I could ever provide.
    However, I would like to elaborate a bit on one of your problems. It’s often dismissed as petty, but often it has the potential to make or break a marriage – Housework.

    1.Cooking/cleaning/washing are not lowly tasks that are to be given to a lesser person. They are basic things that every adult should do for themselves.

    2.Unless you are heavily financially dependant on your husband, it is not okay for you to be doing both his and your share.

    3.Given that you are in IT,I can guarantee you that this sort of load will eventually drive you nuts.
    Can you imagine a man getting back from a 12 hour day and doing all the housework, while his wife routinely chills out in front of the tv? If its not okay for a man, why is it okay for you?

    4. If you are planning to work it out with your husband – MAKE HIM LEARN COOKING. And washing, And cleaning, Split everything – either day wise /chore wise/person wise.

    5. If you are planning to move out and find someone else – MAKE HIM LEARN COOKING. And washing, And cleaning, Split everything – either day wise /chore wise/person wise.

    5. DO NOT have children until the housework problem is sorted out. Children mean MORE work.
    Yes, our great grandmothers did all this and more but they also endured physical abuse and burnt themselves at their husband’s pyres.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am sorry, Anita but it may not work ! Grown up men learn cooking only when they are broke, tired of eating outside not for wife and children in India !
      For Indian men ,chores are one time gala affair to be done when feeling light and happy !
      With maids becoming costly and added risks of live in maids ,middle class doesn’t know what to do ! In middle class, wives and mothers are maids ! And I squarely blame mothers for not letting sons do their own cleaning ! My well to do friends bringing up one son each are still not broaching housework or teaching their sons that ! Modern women are not teaching their sons’ about doing housework !!!
      In my extended, family , men don’t do any cleaning tasks,…..they see that as maids job or wife’s jobs !
      I mean,men give excuses of work and business and don’t even wash their own clothes ,in a washing machine !!
      Nobody questions this in India because maids are available ! Once you go to america and UK ,load gets bigger,wife starts opening her mouth !! Why ? No maid !!!
      People think I am mad when I keep saying housework is going to break marriages in modern India !
      Men just don’t understand drudgery of day to day cleaning, washing clothes and cooking !! These jobs require skills and practice too !

      Like

      • The point Anita is making is this (at least I think so): If husband is not cooking for wife, then wife too does not cook for husband. There is no in-built mechanism in women that states they can’t eat out as well. As long as it takes.

        Like

      • Cosettez, that’s a very accurate description of the current state of affairs.
        What I’m saying is that we need to change this whole “oh if I don’t do it then who will” attitude that seems to be ingrained in women.
        If the maid doesnt show up, it automatically falls on the woman to do the work, even if she earns as much as her husband.
        There is no stigma against men who refuse to do their part and dump it all on someone else.

        As for husbands who refuse to do this….well, women should either stick to doing their share or simply walk out.What is the point of marrying a man who thinks housework is below his dignity?Who is okay with other people cleaning up his messes?Sounds like a lousy person to me.
        Women should stop putting up with that. As Fem says,its perfectly possible for a woman to eat out as well (and do only HER laundry, clean only HER half)

        It’s only when women eventually start saying “no” to cleaning up after their husbands that mothers will finally start making their sons do some work.

        And I think you should continue talking about this aspect,no matter what people say.

        Like

  17. RIght.. first of all why are you calling your in laws backwards or dumb etc etc , just because they follow some tradition, that is not right they want to follow what they have been brought up with , Same as You want to follow what you been brought up, or you WILL expect your kids to grow up with..

    YES what they are doing is Wrong they should not be forcing their traditions on you, BUT then you were told before the wedding that they are traditional..

    Pardon me as usual I read a few comments and again feel the hypocracy of people but that is another matter .. So coming to this post ..

    The Easiest choice is .. Ask yourself are you Happy in the Relation – if the answer is “NO” then no use keeping the relation. End it now rather than asking the same question again and again .. That way you can have a happy life and your in laws can find someone else for their son who is also traditional.

    The husbands treatment well is Wrong, he should not behave like that, In my eyes he should be standing with you and try to sort out issues and bring you and the in laws to a common point where all can live happily ..

    So I think the whole situation is in your hands , You got to decide what you want , if you are not happy then I am sure you know what to do.. my best wishes and All the best

    Like

    • I agree with everything else you said except this part:
      “first of all why are you calling your in laws backwards or dumb etc etc , just because they follow some tradition, that is not right they want to follow what they have been brought up with”

      “Traditions” which involve isolation during menstruation ARE backward & dumb.
      They belong in the dustbin along with casteism, sati and child marriage.
      Please lets not defend these hideous things which have been used to oppress people for centuries simply because they are “traditions”.

      Like

      • Hello .. first of all THANK YOU on agreeing to something otherwise I usually find things other way round.

        the reason why i said , why is she mentioning all that is because I am 100% sure you cant change the mindset of the people, the in laws are the way they are, Can they change NO. So no use talking about .. THat is how they have been brought up and they will continue doing so ..

        WHAT We can do is .. make sure that these traditions are not carried on, or get stopped with US.. we have to bear the brunt at least not let our kids have them , which means we need to change..

        I am not defending any of the traditions , I believe that anything that is related to RELIGION needs to be banned because 101% of the problems arise from religion look at what is happening in the world..

        That is the only reason I said she should not ..

        Thank you.

        Like

  18. Dear letter writer: I agree 100% with the posters who have advised not to “bring children into the mix” unless you have decided to stay in the marriage. It is not true that having a child with someone strengthens a relationship. A person who is an unfit spouse will very likely also be an unfit parent. From a woman’s perspective- having a child with a husband you are not happy with will present with several problems. It will make it even more difficult for you to leave the marriage. If you stay, you will still be treated the same way. As the wife in a ” traditional ” marriage, you will be expected to continue to shoulder the usual household responsibilities and also single- handedly take care of the children. You will most likely find your spouse to be either absent in the parenting, or be an overly intrusive and controlling parent. Children who grow up watching their mother being slighted very often are not able to escape emotional damage themselves. If you decide to divorce after having children, that is not easy either. You will not be able to make a ” clean break”:- the shared children will keep an abusive ex-spouse attached to you like a ball- and- chain.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Has anyone wondered how is it that parents think it’s OK to put so much strain on their child’s marriage and personal happiness for the sake of random traditions and such? I mean, what parent places ANYTHING above their child’s happiness? I see this a lot with Indian parents and simply don’t understand why. For instance, I’m sure this guy’s parents were ‘good’ parents in at least some ways – provided and cared for him, saved and paid for his education, even loved him etc etc. But why is it that when it comes to marriage and their son’s partner in life they do a 180 and turn into control freaks and try to poison their happiness? Is it some kind of insecurity that they’re losing their #1 position in their son’s life? I don’t know. Possibly deserves a post of it’s own to dissect this!

    Like

  20. I would like to respond to Bikramjit’s comment :

    “YES what they are doing is Wrong they should not be forcing their traditions on you, BUT then you were told before the wedding that they are traditional.. ”

    As the old saying goes- we live our lives forward and examine it looking back” Very few of us have the wisdom in our 20’s and 30’s that we may have in our 50’s. The Indian way of marriage really puts young people at a serious disadvantage. Young men and women are not allowed to mingle. Pre-marital relations are frowned upon. Young men and women enter the marriage ” scene” with very little ( or no) experience in relationships that make a marriage. Is it a surprise so many arranged marriages are so troubled? I am assuming that the letter writer, like many young women, did not understand the full implication of what the gentleman meant by his family being ” traditional”. If she had , I am sure she would turned and ran for the hills! Now she is in a tough spot, and is trying to figure out what to do. I give her credit for that.

    And she is calling their traditions for what they are- dumb. No tradition is automatically worthy of respect just because it is- well- tradition. Her inlaws’ traditions are backward and misogynistic. Good for her for calling them what they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for responding my my comment ..

      it would have been good had you read the whole comment and not taken Two lines .. BUT never mind..

      I would actually beg to pardon here but in our indian culture arranged marriages are more Successfull then the Love marriages or the live in relations .. so lets not go on to that tangent ..

      20-30 Well if you think that , that is not the right age to get married then My rationale would be to Tell that to your parents who are hell bent on getting you married .. RATHER then get married and then find the issues..

      and it is not ROCKET science to know that our traditions are dumb we all know that, if you think it was good for her to say it like that , THEN yes it is VERY GOOD..

      but I dont think thats what the LW asked , I ma sure if you read she is asking for advice or someone to guide her.. WHICH in my books only those can guide who are or have been in the situation.. the rest are merely firing arrows into the dark if it works then fine and if not then not their fault .. That again I find very amusing..

      Thank you.

      Like

      • Bikramjit

        Can you please show us some facts regarding love or arrange marriages which one is more successful? Marriages which do not have indulgence from both parents, is more successful If I put it the right way. Husband and wife should be left to live alone for 5-10 years to make their bond stronger and then if both agree to live with guys/girl’s parents, they can make their choice.
        Most marriages are troubled rigth from the day 1 because parents intervene alot, impose silly customs/traditions and try to control the newly marrieds out of their insecurities. I am not denying that it could be girl’s parents sometimes who are more of intervening types, but in 80% cases, its the boy’s parents. So to avoid any sort of mess, husband and wife should live separately for at least 10 years.

        If they fight alot and are living under great stress even whey they are living separately then their love or arrange marriage is unsucessful and they should go their seperate ways.

        Like

  21. I am in a similar situation than yours. Only more complicated, now that I have a child in a marriage of 6 years and a relationship of 14. I’ll tell you my strategy for 2015-

    1. So far I avoided standing up, arguing, putting my foot down on non-negotiables and in turn lived an unhappy, disgruntled life. I have set myself a deadline to speak up, and do what’s right for me. Test my relationship’s limits and that will give me the answer. What do we fear when we don’t stand up? I feared end of a relationship, social ostracisation, heartache, battles, being alone. But I don’t know whether it will come to that unless I try and test and find out for myself. So rule no. 1 is I WILL STAND UP IF MY NON-NEGOTIABLES ARE CHALLENGED. If I become a doormat, I can’t blame others for stepping on me.

    2. Deadline – I have set myself a deadline. 2015 is the year I will find out where my relationship will go, either way. And I will decide what price I’d rather pay. If it comes down to separation, well that may be at the cost of a life of loneliness or maybe a price to pay for a life of freedom. I have to determine that balance and decide. It’s hard, but I have to.

    3. Relationship – I will give my relationship 6 months of good effort. Try everything to make it better (except the non-negotiables). We do not spend enough time together and have lost the spark and the love. I have to make an effort to find out if it can come back. Husbands can be idiots and not realise how to fix it. I felt that my partner felt the same loneliness I felt and a little bit of effort from me helped. Like avoiding arguments over frivolous matters, little things where I can show that I care for him too. I will do the little things to help and in return I have seen him make some effort, even if marginal.

    4. Challenge him to STEP UP – Most of my problems stem from differences between the families. So I need him to step up and and stand up for what’s fair. I will not allow him to fight my battles anymore. Previously, if there was a contentious issue, I’d send him to the battle front with his parents (who are bullies) and he’d come back battered, angry, hurt and resentful towards me Now, I will fight my battles on my own but need him to stand up when things cross lines.

    No one can decide for me. Some of my friends said – Leave. Others said, well its not that bad – look at those poor girls. But my boundaries and thresholds are mine. I have to decide, understand the consequences and prepare myself for them. I cannot let fear cloud my judgement. If like me, fear is your driver, I say give my strategy a try and set yourself a deadline.

    Like

  22. I live in a joint family with my husband and yes its all a big fussy mess, had to be taken to the doctor for psychological counselling. This Doc spoke to me as well as my husband and may be it brought some changes.May be 2%. Please go to a counselor once, if you think he is loving and caring (I highly doubt it according to you post) he will agree.
    Also invite his friends and their wives etc for dinner, understand the kind of friends he has and the kind of lives they live. Show him examples of a better living without really pin pointing.
    If you feel that it still does not work then lady walk out – and do this early , do not wait . You just might not know when to stop waiting .
    And the child part – do not bring the child in when you and your husband are not on the same page. He would want you to instill the same values his mother added in him.
    You dont want to fight a custody battle , and please save money .

    Like

  23. 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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