“What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the marriage, however unhappy they may be…?”

“…but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship?”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I have a question here.

Reading through posts after posts, I see women fighting it out in bad marriages. Quitting doesn’t seem to be an option, at least not an immediate one. And every post from such a troubled woman invariably has an attempt to bring out the positives too – “….but my husband is otherwise very caring and loving” or “….there is no other problem but the in-laws” etc etc. Essentially, these women are consoling themselves and justifying to themselves why they shouldn’t leave such marriages. The attitude seems to be: “Marriages are sacrosanct. You can’t break them.”  Then why is it that pre-marriage relationships are not as sacrosanct?

Let me give some examples before I ask the question that has been bothering me.

Case 1:

7 years old relationship. It was well understood and discussed that the two will marry. Families were aware and were supportive. The guy was 3 years older to the girl and so he was settled in his career while the girl was still studying. It was agreed that they would wait till the girl’s education was over and would marry thereafter. 6 months before the education was over, her mind changed and she dumped him. Her reason – “She wasn’t happy with him”. She could never point a finger at what exactly was making her unhappy. She wasn’t willing to meet and talk and sort out the mess. She just wanted an out. She knew very well how much planning of a joint life had been done. She knew all the marriage proposals that would come to the guy’s parents who would politely turn them down saying our son had decided whom he wanted to marry. The guy had even bought a flat keeping her wishes in mind. She had suggested what kind of a house she would like to live in and the guy bought that, even though financially it was a stretch for him. Now of course, none of this should create an obligation for anyone to stay in the relationship but it only showed how deeply intertwined the two lives were for a long period of time. That there was total faith and trust and a patient waiting for commencement of a new joint life. But within a span of a month the trust of 7 years was shattered to pieces, she dumped him and got married to someone else within next 9 months. The guy is still unmarried today, grappling with the hurt and the inability to trust anyone. A 7 years old relationship destroyed by her based on reasons which even she couldn’t articulate. Not a thought spared on what a mess was being created of the guy’s life.

Case 2:

Girl and guy keen. Girl’s father not so keen. Caste, culture, financial background – everything similar. On paper, there couldn’t have been a better match. And in reality, the couple was as compatible as one could get. Every single person – the girl’s siblings, friends, extended family – all extremely supportive of the relationship. But the girl’s father had a problem with the predictions made by his astrologer. And so he kept on resisting the relationship for a year and made it a huge ego battle, during which several times the girl gave up and dumped the guy saying “I can’t hurt my parents”. The guy stayed patient every single time and supported the girl in her battles at home. After a break-up that lasted 3 months, she wanted one more chance, to which the guy agreed because he did love her and felt the relationship was beautiful enough to be fought one more time for. This time it worked. Engagement date was agreed. A month before the due date, the father threw a tantrum again and she withdrew saying “I can’t do this to my parents. I would rather suffer myself than make them suffer”. So, here was an adult needing daddy’s permission to fall in love and when that permission was denied, she dumped the guy unceremoniously even after the engagement was fixed. Is it that simple to walk in and walk out of a relationship as if it was a revolving door? Is your word / commitment of no value? The girl above, if she now gets as husband a “mama’s boy” who puts his mother before his wife, should she ever complain? After all, she did become a “daddy’s girl” and broke a relationship without sparing a thought on how it would shatter her partner.

I know a few more such instances. Someone wanted to walk out a month before the wedding date (6 years old beautiful committed relationship which involved a very rich guy and a middle class girl) saying “The guy’s family is too rich. I think I want a middle class life” (good sense prevailed and she came back in time. Happily married now, comfortably leading a lavish life, and does admit “what was I thinking then”). Someone else walked out of a 4 years old relationship (great relationship, guy deeply in love with the girl, was a constant pillar of strength and support when the girl’s father passed away abruptly) realizing suddenly that she wanted to be with a more dominating guy (more manly?) and is now in a marriage where she is completely dominated by the husband.

Therefore, IHM, my question is: What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, few perambulations round a fire, a legal certificate, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the “marriage”, however bad it may be, but before marriage it takes lot less for them to walk out of a relationship? After all, no one is perfect and once you spend years with a person, and a rocky patch comes in a relationship (it invariably does), one must at least make sincere attempts to make things work again rather than running out of the door at the first hint of trouble. Shouldn’t commitment be a virtue even in relationships?

Now, of course, both men and women walk out of relationships. At times unfairly. But I am surrounded by so many instances where the woman dumped the guy and I do know both sides of the stories to be able to feel it wasn’t right on part of the woman to not give the relationship a chance.

To be completely fair, I do know of strongly committed women too – the ones who fought their families for years but never gave up the side of the guy. I am attending one such wedding next week – girl’s father resisted for 5 years just because the guy is a Christian and the girl a Hindu. The girl didn’t budge and eventually they are getting married. But so many broken relationships around me have the woman packing her bags and leaving. And I wonder, women are capable of caring only for what they want in their relationships, are capable of walking out unilaterally from a very long term relationship when something is not to their liking without acknowledging the good parts which made them be in the relationship for so long in the first place, then post marriage why do women try so hard to “see the positives as well”, why do they try so hard to “make it work”? What’s in a marriage ceremony that instills so much of commitment in these women? Is it all the fear of society that makes women so sticky in marriages? Of course, I understand those women who do it for the sake of kids or who do it because they are not financially independent. But others, I fail to understand. My own exes, sisters, cousins, friends have walked out of long term relationships for a fraction of what they are now tolerating in their marriages.

Yes this is a feminist blog and so I will perhaps be roasted here for this post of mine. But I really admire the maturity and intelligence of commentators here and so I guess even though I will face brickbats, there will be a decent debate on this matter. For I really need to understand – what is it with women and marriages? Won’t give up easily on marriages but will give up on relationships easily without giving a thought on the impact it would have on their partner?

Related Posts:

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Closing that chapter – just as if nothing happened – Careless Chronicles

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

‘In our families, we don’t take this kind of thing outside,’

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123 thoughts on ““What is it in a ceremony of a few hours, that makes women fight tooth and nail to preserve the marriage, however unhappy they may be…?”

  1. This is a question that has plagued me for years. I have seen several such instances where both men and women have deserted their partners weeks or months before the wedding, apparently for no real reason. Sometimes they have just found someone else. But people in marriages are slumming it out despite being in abusive relationships.

    When I married Mister, my parents didn’t approve that he had been married and divorced) twice before. They said he was the kinda guy who “just leaves” – they didn’t care that technically I had done exactly the same – walked out on two people (a long-term boyfriend and a husband). Somehow, his sins were greater than mine.

    I fought with them for months, trying to explain that marriage was no different from long-term
    relationships, and that true commitment doesn’t need legal validation, but they still don’t get it.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say about this!

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    • I also know of women who were not able to convince their parents to cancel the weddings and were hence married against their wishes (atleast in one case it was still officially a ‘love marriage’). One of these ended in divorce after some years of unhappiness, but the rest remain unhappily married.

      One reason could be that we look at ‘marriages’ as ‘required’, as the final goal in women’s lives, and hence deserving of being saved. We look upon relationships outside of marriage as wrong, immoral, ‘defiance by the young who do not respect their elders’ better judgment’.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I would like to bring to your notice that Male Life is also not considered fulfilled as far as he has at least not ruined one or more lives in terms of wife and child.

        He is under constant pressure 360 degree orientation to get married and produce kids, make money and then pay for all what he has created for whole life.

        Woman can at least complain with in her circle, parents ( may be to no avail, she can ) and no body will say she is being weak.

        God forbid a guy do so and first and foremost he will be declared impotent.

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    • As someone who walked out of a six year old relationship weeks before the wedding, I can talk about my case. I am sure everyone has their own reasons.

      We had been office colleagues and friends for years, I thought I knew him well. But when the wedding talks started, I suddenly saw a different side of my fiance – one who will side with his family as they behave as “ladkewale”, make subtle demands (“karnewale to bahut kuchh kar hain, aap itna hi kar dijiye” – said his mom when asking us to host the wedding at the costliest 5-star in the city!), and so on. They also wanted us to hide my age in front of their relatives (I was older than him), which was not practical. I expected my fiance to oppose all this. I was increasingly unhappy and alarmed at the way the wedding talks were happening. He simply did not understand my point of view. We had “your family vs my family” fights, finally I backed out.

      It’s been three years since, but I think I made a good decision. Maybe people who knew us both say I was not committed enough, or wonder why I left such a great guy. One never knows, as a third party, what really went wrong between a couple.

      Liked by 5 people

    • I’m a young male (yet to hit the 25 year mark) software engineer working in the USA (studied bachelors/masters and working here). Looks like the dynamics of NRIs are quite different than back home in India, women definitely feel more empowered to call it quits.

      From my local desi circles, I see men staying on in bad marriages (I wish 2 of my buddies called it quits:-/ ), while women walk out – be it pre-marriage/into the marriage (of course, the resistance is higher when they are married since it involves a lot more legal procedure/VISA issues etc).

      A few times, I feel the women did the right thing (abusive partner/family and various other controversies). More often that not, I feel the reasons are alarming or even silly at some points:
      – One figured her old boyfriend was a better match, wanted to call it quits and go back to India. I helped them through the divorce, the woman had no real interest in the marriage from the start
      – Another lied, came to the USA to abandon the husband, and live with her boyfriend in the same city. Threatened to file a dowry case when confronted with a divorce
      – Another has lost clarity why she came to the USA when she really wanted to live in India. Wants the guy to return to India, or wants to return, herself
      – Another found a job in a different city, and likes the new found freedom (she’s never worked before, she’s straight out of college). Not willing to work with husband on a common city they can live in.

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      • Is it possible that the ‘silly’ reasons are actually excuses, because they maybe can’t quite explain (or don’t care to explain or the reasons are not the reasons women gave but what others have guessed are the ‘reasons’)?

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        • Indian Homemaker, I have to say I find this blog gut wrenching. I feel the comments are have various shades of bias against men.

          How do you justify walking out of a marriage without quoting appropriate reasons? He/she’s your spouse, for godsakes! It’s either incredibly immature (like a schoolchild), or incredibly arrogant, neither of which is good.

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      • I don’t think these are silly reasons. What these women did was wrong, no doubt, but it was their ticket to freedom. Marry a guy, get a visa which your parents might never have allowed you to get otherwise, go to USA and hey presto! Freedom in your hands suddenly! It’s the parents’ fault, if anything.

        I agree with the men being stuck in bad and abusive marriages too. Abuse, whether of men or women, is very hard to leave, especially when you care about society.

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        • I’ve helped through 2 of the divorces and have listened to arguments from both sides. I feel the women didn’t do due diligence before they got married, they were pretty careless.

          I find it gut wrenching that you think it’s not criminal to get married and walk away as a ticket to freedom. What about the poor guy? What about the financial and emotional investments he has made into the marriage?

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        • Careless is not a crime. Yes, it is terrible that men have to deal with this abandonment. That is why we need to empower women so that they don’t have to depend on men.

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        • Fem, how on earth can you justify a woman marrying a man under false pretenses simply to get a Green Card? Whether it was their “ticket to freedom” or not it was deceitful and underhanded and frankly, wrong. I feel like you’re jumping through hoops here.

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        • There needs to be some basic decency as a human being. Some ethics one needs to live by. Let’s not blame the parents here please. They may have been controlling, restrictive and strict with the woman. But if she was feeling so suffocated she should have had balls to run away from home rather than using her marriage to achieve that end. Creating a mess of the unsuspecting guy’s life (even if temporary) was cruel, cheap and disgusting. And my view wouldn’t have been different even if the genders were reversed. It isn’t about being a man or a woman here – it is about being a human. Least we can do here is to call a spade a spade – the woman was wrong and was to be blamed. Her parents may too have been at fault. But she was the primary culprit. Women aren’t always victims. They can be perpetrators too. Coz they too are humans. And humans have an incredible capacity to be evil, when it suits their needs!

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        • B, I was not justifying it at all. I think it is a terrible thing to do. I am just pointing out WHY these things happen and the solution is empowerment of girls.

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      • First case – Men do that too, no? Arrange marry someone else when they have been with someone else for ages. Later on, cheat on their arranged marriage wife or leave them?
        Third – I think this is bound to happen in some cases. If men were expected to up and leave their towns/cities/lives the way women are, this would be common coming from the other gender too.
        Fourth – I am very wary of people not used to freedom (physical, financial, etc). Is it really so hard to imagine that some people might prefer being able to do what they want, when they want, being able to spend the money they make how they please? In a few years they may realise, wait, I want someone to come home to but that may take a while

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      • 1. Likes old boyfriend better – extremely annoying for the partner, but would you rather that she stayed in the relationship and lied?

        2. Criminal intent. Seems to be a really really horrible woman

        3. Wants to go back to India – Is there some reason why only wives should follow husbands around and not vice versa? This isn’t silly at all.

        4.Found job in different city – Again, why should only she make the sacrifice? Relationship can be saved if the husband moves right?

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        • Hi Anita, I think you’re responding to your interpretation of the comments.

          (3) – she moved to the USA really with the intention of a holiday. Never did think twice about losing her cultural touch, or her weekly temple visits, or the fact that she can’t eat mom’s food. I call that silly because these are simply due diligence anyone should do agreeing to move to another country. The agreement was that the husband wants to live in the USA
          (4) She works in a small town where there are no jobs for her husband (at all!, think Nebraska). They are trying to move to a common town, and she doesn’t want that.

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        • Mathru, I’m responding to your framing of the comments , not my “interpretation”

          That aside:
          (3) Alright, she didn’t think it through and now she wants to go back home.This is quite common,happens to a lot of people. So now we have two conflicting opinions – husband wants to stay, she wants to go.She thought it would be fine, now she hates living there, so what ?you want her to suck it up and live through it so that her husband is not hurt by the break up? If it matters so much to him, why cant HE make the sacrifice?Why does she have to be the only one to give up what she wants for the sake of the relationship? Mind you, I’d say the same thing if the positions were reversed i.e. the husband wanted to go home and you were sticking up for the wife.

          (4)Classic case. Relationships are HARD. Its really difficult for two people to sync their career goals and personal desires. Previous argument holds good here too.
          My point is why do you think divorce is a BAD thing? Some people choose personal happiness over a relationship, what on earth is wrong with that?

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        • There’s more to life than gender equality.

          (3) I completely agree the man can make the sacrifice. Of course, but the scales are tipped in his investments.
          – Wedding expenses to the tune of 25,000$ (more than half the cost), including loans from various family members
          – Housing loan into which he has invested in excess of 100,000$

          It makes no sense for him to leave. The couple’ll have a monster debt of 30+ lakhs and the woman will have her way. Totally impractical

          (4) This isn’t a classic case. He’s been a single earner for a long time now, and she selfishly wants her way? He’s willing to move for her, can you make this any harder for the man?

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        • @Mathru
          You’re simply not getting the point.
          What I’m saying is that you simply can’t expect people to put their relationships above their personal desires. In order for them to do that, the relationship has to be strong enough.
          You say that these are “silly” reasons to break up. Pray tell, what according to you is a “legitimate” reason to break up? Do you think divorce should only be restricted to cases of physical abuse?Aren’t all the instances you mentioned a basic illustration of incompatibility? Where both parties believe that their personal desires (be it money/freedom/whatever) outweigh the relationship?

          This is how incompatibility shows up – fights over supposedly “silly” things. My comments showing the other side of the argument was to showcase the fact that both parties HAD options to save the relationship but CHOSE to do differently.

          Just as the husband can say “I invested so much money and she couldn’t even stay in the marriage” , the wife can also say ” I followed him to another country and he couldn’t even switch jobs/ do the same for me”.

          And if someone is unhappy in an adult relationship and believes that it cannot work, they should have an out,period.

          PS – Its easy for you to say that there is “more to life than gender equality”. Do understand that several people go through life fighting for the right to be taken seriously, to be treated as an equal.

          Like

      • @ Mathru

        Okey here I tell you a case, a girl in our neighborhood married a NRI, they made an agreement that the guy will help her in getting green card n girl’s family will pay them 13 lac Rs. So the girl’s family paid half amount during engagement ceremony, half during marriage. After few years girl n guy divorced. Girl came here married her bf of long time n take her bf with herself to U.S.

        So do you think the guy would have told his friends that he took 13 lacs in exchange for marriage agreement to get green card for girl?

        I am not saying that would have happened in the case you described but there r hundreds of such cases in North India specially Punjab, where men took money from girl’s family in exchange for a foreign citizenship and even in some cases they dint take their wives there.

        Don’t tell me only girls make such deals, men are also doing such acts. It is you who haven’t seen such cases around you. but if you haven’t seen or known something it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        And secondly talking about this blog post n women walking out of relationship:

        If relationships also don’t let this option of walking out, then what is the difference between a relationship and an arrange marriage without a divorce option?

        Relationships give us a time to understand the person, it can be 1 year for someone or it can be 7 years for other. If it doesn’t work out, then person can leave.

        Marriage is the next step to relationship which should happen when two people think they are compatible enough to share their rest of life. Still, some marriages don’t work, that’s why we have divorce option.

        Both persons involved in a relationship have this right equally, regardless of their gender.

        Like

      • I don’t think being feminist means one is saying all women are angelic. On the contrary, I believe women are human and some can be mean/selfish, just as some men are.

        The women you’ve cited seem to be selfish/self-centered. Having said that, you may THINK you know all sides of the story, but my belief is that only the two people involved really do. Explanations given to others are often superficial.

        Like

  2. Commenting here as someone who dumped a partner after a long relationship. I’m pretty sure folks like you would have seen me as cruel and uncaring. Nope. 10 years later, I think I took the right decision that saved us both a lot of heartache in the long term. And no, it wasn’t “easy” to drop the relationship, even though we weren’t married. Parents knew of it, grandparents knew of it, the neighbours knew of it…in short, there was a tremendous amount of pressure to stay committed. I loved my then bf still in many ways, but 6 years together had taught me we would be deeply unhappy together. I did care about him, just not enough to sacrifice myself at that altar.

    I guess what I am trying to say is – the reasons people opt out of relationships are rarely evident to anyone outside the two people. In my own case, even my closest friends know only the surface – I just didn’t feel like sharing them. So, please don’t be so quick to judge. On the contrary, while there will be heartbreak now, be happy that the break-up came earlier than later on.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t understand the thumbs down here.
      I think its a very honest and sensible comment .
      I’m a somewhat over attached ,clingy, needy person who always tends to idealize relationships but even I agree perfectly with what you say.

      Like

  3. Also, this bit: “My own exes, sisters, cousins, friends have walked out of long term relationships for a fraction of what they are now tolerating in their marriages.”

    In general, I believe both men and women invest more in a marriage – whether one agrees is correct or not, a marriage is seen as binding in ways that a relationship isn’t. Usually,both families are also more invested in it, which makes a difference. Also, practically, more married couples have a kid, own a house together, share finances, share a daily routine – that adds up to a certain shared life which usually relationships do not (at least not in India, where we have few live-ins yet). This shared life is tougher to dismantle. Now, I am not saying this is necc right or wrong – just the way it currently is.

    Are you saying *more* women walk out of relationships than men? Is it just your own experience that leads you to say this? Not saying this to *roast* you, but am curious. IMO, as many men walk out of relationships. I don’t see women as leaving relationships more easily than men, though both may leave them more easily than they do marriages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To “Would prefer to stay anonymous”
      You say that you did the “right” thing because in the long term you two would have been “deeply” unhappy. I would humbly say that no one knows that for a fact. These are all hypothesis. How life would have turned out if you were still with him is anybody’s guess. People change with time and life is prone to taking such unpredictable turns that it is perhaps preposterous to claim that one knows exactly how life would have been if XYZ had happened or not happened. So it’s perhaps best to say that you did the “right” thing based on circumstances that prevailed at that point of time and your resultant perception of things when you took the decision.

      However, I struggle to understand the insufficiency of compassion when immense suffering is imposed on a human being with whom one shared several years of life and whom one encouraged to dream of a life together. Perhaps, being a victim myself and having gone through the immense suffering, I am unable to see the other side of the story. I can only tell you that such break-ups are perhaps as bad as divorce (emotionally) and can break a person down.

      I therefore feel that serious, long term relationships should be treated with as much respect and commitment as we reserve for marriages. Even when the tangible costs of breaking them up are low, the emotional costs can be debilitating for the person who, against his/her wishes, was shown the door.

      I have no statistical data but around me, I have seen more instances of women walking out. Against 7 such instances, I know of only one instance where guy dumped the woman because his parents wouldn’t agree to an intercaste marriage. Perhaps, men have greater leeway for choice marriages in our society and face less resistance at home, they have been afforded more independence from early days of their life in our society has a role to play here. And also because, roast me here perhaps, but I feel women have far higher expectations – of a perfect relationship.

      -Vihar

      Like

      • 1.”I would humbly say that no one knows that for a fact. These are all hypothesis. How life would have turned out if you were still with him is anybody’s guess. ”

        To the contrary, a lot of people with emotional intelligence are extremely good at predicting how things would turn out. And why on earth would you even want to stay in a relationship that you don’t believe in?

        2. “However, I struggle to understand the insufficiency of compassion when immense suffering is imposed on a human being with whom one shared several years of life and whom one encouraged to dream of a life together.”

        When you don’t want a relationship, you can’t simply stay in there for someone else’s sake. I definitely think that any decent person should follow up and make sure that the other party is all right, but to simply put off a decision because you’re worried your partner may be hurt? Not the best way to live.

        3.” I can only tell you that such break-ups are perhaps as bad as divorce (emotionally) and can break a person down.”

        You’re forgetting the additional legal troubles, housing issues and social stigma associated with divorce. Its one thing to have a relationship go to hell. Its another thing to have your entire life go up in smoke. The emotional impact is ten times as much .

        4.”I therefore feel that serious, long term relationships should be treated with as much respect and commitment as we reserve for marriages”

        I definitely agree. But hard as it may be to fathom, people change all the time. It is very possible for people to simply grow out of a relationship or a marriage.You can’t force them to stay in there.

        5. “Against 7 such instances, I know of only one instance where guy dumped the woman because his parents wouldn’t agree to an intercaste marriage. ”

        Biased. This happens to both boys and girls. It happened to my sister as well. Also if you look at prior posts on this blog, you’ll find that many men also expect their wives to behave as per family norms-whether or not the wives are happy. This is akin to emotional desertion.

        6. “Perhaps, men have greater leeway for choice marriages in our society and face less resistance at home, they have been afforded more independence from early days of their life in our society has a role to play here.”

        “Perhaps”?! Being rather blind to truths aren’t we? But men still do these things – thanks to the shitty Indian family system.

        7. “I feel women have far higher expectations – of a perfect relationship.”

        How big a role do you think societal expectations, lack of career options, stereotyping of successful but single career women and plain old bollywood play in this?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes I agree with this, “I can only tell you that such break-ups are perhaps as bad as divorce (emotionally) and can break a person down.”
        But this is a part of relationships🙂 Happiness and sorrow is a part of life. and relationships are as good as marriages. For some people those rounds around fire may change something, for eg couples who say no pre-marital sex but after marriage an utter strange person can jump in bed with a girl.

        If you think breakups are as bad as divorces, then think u divorced instead of broke up. It is upto you how you take it.

        In movie QUEEN if he had not canceled the wedding, she would had never been able to find herself.

        I have seen many guys who have fun in many relationships but also tell their friends, “I will marry with my parents’ choice”.

        And yes, societal pressure is higher on girls than on boys. Also some people have relationships for time pass, some feel committed. A long relationship doesn’t also mean it would be healthy or trustworthy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree with you.

        My friends had long term and long distance relationship and it was not college love that everything is rosy or your in wonderland. They shared real life by always discussing issues at workplace and home with each other. They also trusted each other at lot and had no issues between them. But one day because of parental pressure the guys broke up with them. Left them alone for no reason. Simply left and gone. One of them got married in December and told to my friend about this in November. He was engaged before November. And when I asked him “He said my parents fixed what could I have done.”

        When people don’t care about the emotional consequences on their partner then why they will care about the emotion of partner in marriage. Why they will suddenly change their behavior? We have so many letters here in which somebody is forcing custom, somebody is forcing marriage, somebody is forcing child, somebody is forcing elder care etc. Why?
        Or is it our social condition which makes us to change our attitude? T

        And regarding cost we don’t view human as human? Son: Better ROI so invest more. Daughter : Bad investment so discontinue her.

        We don’t care about emotion at all.

        Like

      • “You say that you did the “right” thing because in the long term you two would have been “deeply” unhappy. I would humbly say that no one knows that for a fact. These are all hypothesis.”

        They’re not hypothesis. She clearly says:

        ‘6 years together had taught me we would be deeply unhappy together. I did care about him, just not enough to sacrifice myself at that altar.’

        So obviously these were not happy 6 years. Feeling like you have to sacrifice yourself to be with someone sounds like a failed relationship by any measure. No one breaks up a happy relationship for no reason.. but they don’t need to justify the reason to the world.

        Also: “I have no statistical data but around me, I have seen more instances of women walking out.”
        First of all, that’s anecdotal. Secondly, it’s called confirmation bias. You see more of what you look for. Buy a new car and you’ll start seeing it on every road the next day. There’s tons of research on this, you don’t have to take my word.

        “I therefore feel that serious, long term relationships should be treated with as much respect and commitment as we reserve for marriages.”
        Yes and people should feel free to walk out of a failed marriage as much as a failed relationship.

        I’m not roasting you by the way. We all have our biases. You only have to go through emails on this blog to see women whose partners wanted to break-up with them for their parents. Don’t let your biases blind you.

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        • Carvaka, you had my heart aflutter at confirmation bias❤ Will you be my blog valentine?🙂

          Seriously and totally off topic, though, I had a thought recently. Whenever I read comments on this blog, I come across so many terms that I rarely encounter in real life – Stockholm syndrome, confirmation bias, strawman arguments, ad hominem attacks, so much logical, fact based reasoning – yet we are told so frequently that women don't have an "aptitude for these things" or that it doesn't come easily to women or that it's just un-womanly to take an interest in them.

          Does that make us freaks of nature, then? That's not likely since there are so many of us. Therefore, can you imagine how many more women there are out there who prefer to think logically and just generally enjoy intelligent conversations, who have either been silenced or been denied resources just because smart articulate women don't fit the stereotype?

          Why do we (or at least I) have to struggle to find such company in real life?

          Sorry for the hijack…

          Liked by 2 people

      • SHe couldnt have possibly married him and then left him just to show she was committed to the relationship. And then she has said she had it difficult to make that choice, it wasnt simply up and go. I agree its probably a lot more difficult to walk away from a marriage than walk away from a relationship in an Indian society because of legalities, societal stigma and the lack of a support system when one walks out of a marriage.

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      • Vihar, none of us being omniscient, all we have to work with is the knowledge we have of people and situations at a given point in time. So, yes, while I take your point that it was my assessment of the situation, isn’t that all anyone has?

        Second, responding to this: “However, I struggle to understand the insufficiency of compassion when immense suffering is imposed on a human being with whom one shared several years of life and whom one encouraged to dream of a life together.”

        It is wrong to say that. I felt extremely sorry and my own heart was breaking too. Yet, pity and compassion are not good enough factors to stay on in a relationship. Again, it is important not to put 2 and 2 together, and assume that someone lacks compassion because they are moving out of a relationship. If anything, I would say I saved both of us from a lifetime of misery – and while this was *my* assessment, 10 years on, I am quite sure it was fairly correct.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Minor correction: Pity and compassion are two of the worst reasons to stay in a relationship. Forget about being the one who chooses to stay out of pity. Can you imagine spending your life with someone who pities you?

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    • Actually I agree, I don’t see men walking out. In fact, I’ve almost never seen the guy walk out, even though the situations are quite severe. One of my buddies doesn’t get to sleep at his house if he returns from work later than 7pm. The wife is pretty harsh on him.

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      • That may be your experience. I’ve seen both men and women walk out. But why is walking out getting such a bad rap? Some relationships work and some don’t. There is no 100% success guarantee, after all we are complicated imperfect human beings, not programmed robots or clones. Let’s not idealize ‘not walking out’ – because it really is something the person feels is right for her or him, and that person is the best judge of that.

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      • ‘ One of my buddies doesn’t get to sleep at his house if he returns from work later than 7pm’ – I think your buddy should consider thinking about whether the relationship is worth it if he thinks the arrangement is bad ..

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      • Mathru – I don’t think anyone here would say that is ok. Just as it is alright for a woman to walk out of such an abusive marriage, so should a man too! So bringing this here is not an argument for asking women to stay on in relationships they don’t want to!

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  4. Its all about social acceptance.

    Love relationship have no social acceptance. In our world they don not exist. If you have it then you are doing a sin. And in relationship the situation is same for girls and boys. If you are ready to leave relationship then you are good girl/good guy. You respect your elders and you are not going against them. Everybody will praise you that you made left the person and have came back on right path. But nobody will realize that you have cheated and back stabbed somebody. But when you try to fight for your love relationship then your own family will fight you and reject you. You will be humiliated and called characterless. you are not accepted in society.

    However when it comes to marriage then it is one way. Pressure of breaking love relationship is equal on both man and woman but pressure of saving marriage is only on women and that’s the reason man and his family behaves recklessly in marriage. If a woman is a ready to leave marriage then she is called with names. Her own parents will reject her and you are not accepted in society. However if you are taking up abuse then everyone will praise you and you will be glorified.

    We Indians are so low on confidence that we always need social approval to decide whether we are doing right or wrong.

    And personally I hate such people who break their long term relation under pressure from parents or without any reason. They damn care what will happen to other person. I have seen my two friends (girls) who have cried out their eyes and heat because there boyfriends ditched them under parental pressure. It broke them completely and they can’t even ask family for support only friends lend their shoulders to them.

    Saving abuse is glorified. Seriously are we cultured ????

    Liked by 3 people

  5. http://indianwomanhasarrived.blogspot.in/2011/09/blog-post_04.html
    comfort zone is the reason behind woman fighting tooth and nail to stay in a marriage and basically its the same comfort zone that they have with their parents and feel that if they marry displeasing their parents then “IF” something goes wrong in marriage they will never be able to “blame ” their parents for a wrong marriage .
    on the above link i had long back posted the reason why Won’t give up easily on marriages
    the link is in hindi i may inform the readers before hand and i know my comment and post wont be digested easily

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    • I hear this every where!! and sick and tired of this!! Why do you want to blame someone for your bad marriage? Why to get married under pressure just so that you can blame your parents? Why can’t you just walk out of a marriage ‘if’ it is bad?

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  6. It’s not that women in particular fight to save their marriages much more than relationships (compared to men). Our culture, overall, tends to view marriage as sacrosanct. Since women pay a much bigger price than men in the case of divorce (greater stigma, greater social isolation, lesser chance of remarrying, non-existent chance of a non-marital relationship to feel connected to some human being, greater rejection from parents and siblings, lowered financial status due to not having been given the same educational and training opportunities), compared to men, it follows that women fight harder to save what they see is an uncomfortable but inevitable and exceedingly common situation (an unequal marriage).
    I agree with you that a long term committed relationship is no different or any less than a committed marriage. I also agree that the sacrosanct view of marriage (manufactured to favor the existing power structure) is irrational and keeps many women locked in abusive marriages. A marriage is just a relationship between two ordinary humans and one that humans invented, so either it works or it doesn’t. But notice how not only has such an ordinary relationship been endowed with so much ‘greatness’ and glorified to the hilt, the consequences of deserting this ‘venerable institution’ are extremely punitive (carrot and stick strategy to market something).

    Liked by 3 people

    • “….it follows that women fight harder to save what they see is an uncomfortable but inevitable and exceedingly common situation (an unequal marriage).”
      This is so true.

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    • Also, we have enough stigma and social barriers against women walking out on a marriage. Please let’s not create the same barriers for women walking out of breakups. As someone here pointed out, only the 2 people involved understand why they should stay together or why they should breakup. You can’t judge someone for breaking up. That is an inalienable right. Yes, sometimes it hurts the other person, but it is between the 2 people involved. A relationship is not between the 2 people and their siblings and friends and neighbors and random strangers. It is between 2 people, period. Let them decide what is right for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This bothers me a lot too, but I think there is a variety of reasons.

    1. There is a lot of social validation for women in a marriage. If you are married, you have a certain social status in life that would immediately be snatched away if you leave. It’s not the same for live-in or long-term relationships.

    2. Once married, there is the fact that leaving is practically impossible if you have even an iota of sensitivity. There is enormous social pressure to stay. And these come from your own family and even friends, who think “aise hi hota hai” and that you should “adjust”.

    3. Self-created relationships are frowned upon and usually it is a huge struggle just to get married and it is not surprising that women often wonder if all this is even worth it. Just the emotional blackmail would get someone down.

    4. It does not help that grown men and women stay with their families until they marry. In this case, it is easier for the family to brainwash their children into doing what they want them to do. The constant presence of the naysayer is bound to wear women down.

    5. Women are taught to be obedient to social norms and parental restrictions from childhood. This does not lead to critical thinking and decision making skills.

    6. There is a glory attached to self-sacrifice. Without emotional maturity, a lot of youngsters might think of making the sacrifice so that they could keep throwing it in their parents’ faces all their lives. This actually happened with a male cousin of mine.

    7. Romantic relationships prior to marriage are simply not afforded the same kind of visibility or acceptance as a marriage because a marriage has “responsibilities”. Ridiculous, but very common.

    8. Age factor plays a role too. Many of the cases you mention are women who are very young and don’t seem very mature. For instance, the girl who insisted on a bigger house than the guy could buy seems very immature. I don’t think these people are very ready for a responsible marriage yet. The older women get, the more confident they are in their own decision making and consequently, brook lesser interference.

    9. I don’t think it is just women who do this. Men back out too very often, but “decent” men often just forge ahead because dumping a woman at the altar has very serious consequences for her socially than a woman dumping a man at the altar. I’m not saying it should be this way but for many people social perception matters.

    Ultimately, I guess we can just come down to culture, society, upbringing and family.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Forgot to add:

      10. Legal wrangles of getting out of a marriage makes it more difficult than otherwise. Even with the new laws making it simpler to get a divorce, it is still a long road to walk alone. And then you have these moron lawyers who will not touch a divorce case but will provide counselling.

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      • The legal system here is a joke.

        My mutual consent, no give-or-take divorce took two years to settle because the judge wanted to meet my parents. I kept arguing that I was thirty, of sound mind, and legally entitled to a divorce even without my parents’ consent. He wouldn’t listen.

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        • That’s cause no matter how old you get, you will still be your parents ‘baccha’. Your parent have to answer how come their ‘bacchi’ has broken it off. They have to then worry about getting their ‘bacchi’ married again. And here I thought child marriage was banned by law😛

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  8. I really liked this post because everything the author pointed out is so so true and happens almost every other day. I am sure most of us can relate to or have seen such examples..Something similar just happened to my brother who was ditched by this girl…both same caste/status etc…Apparently her parents wanted an engineer and he has done Bcom…
    I am very biased as my brother is going through this now, and what comes to mind is, I think, these girls are fascinated by one or the other movies they have seen and try to live the movie characters life, promising life and death to one another and alll the mushy romantic stuff to each other…..but when reality strikes, and more people are involved and get to know about this relationship, more opinion pour in, the fantasy life that they were trying to live in looks less and less real to them…..somehow, they seamlessly transition into this self proclaimed Martyrdom as what is expected of them…..be it in the movies or in the family or ithe societies too….They don’t realize that it’s a life changing decision for both the boy and gal.
    that being said, sometimes relationships truly don’t work out and girls use family excuse to get out of them so as to not offend the other person involved….My 2 cents!

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    • ” think, these girls are fascinated by one or the other movies”

      You seem to be othering ‘these girls’ as something different to the rest of ‘girls’. Based on what, exactly? I hope you never need to break-up with anyone or you’d be ‘these girls’ as well. So much judgement for someone deciding a relationship was not for them and we wonder why women feel pressured to stay on in marriages!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Te be fair, you did acknowledge you are probably biased because of your brother. It just strikes me as strange so say ‘these women’ and call a break-up as someone being ‘ditched’. Relationships don’t work out sometimes and both parties are entitled to walking out. It’s not ‘ditching’ someone at all, unless say cheating on a partner was involved. We seem wired to assume someone’s fault if there has been a break-up (and if we can’t see a fault then we assume the break-up-er was at fault by ‘ditching’ frivolously).

        Like ‘no-fault’ divorces, we need to understand and accept ‘no-fault’ breakups.

        Liked by 3 people

        • “Like ‘no-fault’ divorces, we need to understand and accept ‘no-fault’ breakups.”

          Said everything I wanted to say!

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        • Well said…:)
          I am too torn by emotions and basically was referring to just that one girl. I think generalizing was a stretch..
          I do believe it ended for good( for both my brother and her) and ya, I do accept no fault breakup’s.

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  9. I think it’s the tag of “divorcee” they are scared of. If somebody leaves her bf, no such tags are there. You tell or you don’t tell about your previous bf(s) is up to you. So yes women are scared how people will react when it’s about a “divorcee”. Oh “what will people say”

    And also in love marriages, many times parents don’t support the girls. So to save their ego, girls keep on struggling in relationship, so that nobody gets know they made a wrong decision. Lot many people are afraid of failures. Oh “what will people say”

    Those women who didn’t stand for themselves n accepted their parents wishes n dumped their bfs, keep on living in marriages again for their parents or they are once again scared of taking a stand.

    Many people just don’t think before saying “yes” to some other person till it’s just a relationship. When it comes to marriage they start thinking about parents, society, finances, and lot more. Relationships can be hidden, marriages are public.

    Probably our dating and marriage system is not so good. For 18 years (or more) girls are prohibited from talking to boys, then suddenly 19th year (or later) parents send a girl to marry a boy n spend rest of her life (around 50-60 years) with a man. And I have seen a lot of girl who say yes to very first proposal arrives to them. First time being interacting a boy closely, they just don’t understand if they are abused controlled or whatever. They don’t understand ALL MEN ARE NOT SAME. This leads to wrong marriage decisions and ultimately a struggle. Those who feel guilty of hurting parents, don’t divorce in love marriage thinking society will say “you married him by choice, you still failed, better you had listen to your parents.”

    We care a lot what others will say. Our parents nurture us putting this thing in our mind.
    1) You scored low marks, “what Mr.A will say?”. his son/daughter scored 80%.
    2) You being friends with a guy, “Hawww what will people say?”.
    3) You wana be a writer, “A doctor’s child should be a doctor” if not, “What will people say?”.
    4) You wana wear jeans, “Hawwwwww what will people say?”.
    5) You wana marry a boy from other religion, “what will people say?”.
    6) You wana divorce, “make it work girl, what will people say?”.

    If a girl leaves her bf for her parents, that’s called sacrifice in our culture, If she leave her husband even though he was violent/controlling/dominating, she is a bitch/characterless (“uss ka kahin aur chakar chal raha hoga, wo dikhne mein hi aisi lagti hai”) etc. etc.

    The day people/girls/boys start giving more importance to what they want instead of what others will say, things will be alot different.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And this is about LW too. I think we don’t need to interfere who dumps whom and after how long. The main thing of concern is “If somebody is dumping his/her gf/bf under somebody else’s influence”.

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    • Agree.
      Also, we teach our kids to do the right thing and be good boy/girl so that so-and-so uncle/aunty will call you a good boy/girl, but not because it is RIGHT.
      Women are taught not to expect anything from marriage. They are taught only one thing – that sacrifice is the be all and end all.They are brainwashed to be always giving. And to ignore and forgive the faults of her partner and in laws.

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      • I so loved your words – “we teach our kids to do the right thing and be good boy/girl so that so-and-so uncle/aunty will call you a good boy/girl, but not because it is RIGHT.”…….this is the basis of fear of society.. ‘Char log kya kahenge’ becomes more important than what’s right!

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  10. First of all, please know that you have no idea what goes on in a relationship between two people. You are judging women for walking out of ‘beautiful relationships’.. well obviously they did not think these relationships were beautiful. Your opinion of how good/ bad the relationships as doesn’t count.

    Now coming to your question. It’s simple, isn’t it?. No one wants to end up alone in life, especially women in a patriarchal culture that decrees their safety and social position based on marital status. Being divorced in India still has a huge social stigma attached for you and your parents. Many women are also financially dependent on their marriage. The common feeling is ‘divorcee! ab isse kaun shadi karega’. This a scary place to be.

    A break-out implies none of these. Your parents still see your financial and general support as their duty. In most cases, ‘society’ doesn’t even know you were in a relationship. The general feeling is that you’ll find someone else. Not nearly as scary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh and ten years does not imply a beautiful relationship necessarily. Sometimes people move on or grow apart or realise that they have grown up and need different things in life. Especially in India, with the general culture of ‘pyaar ek baar hota hai’, people probably grow up and realise that actually they are not in love anymore, were caught in inertia and would like to explore other options.

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      • Carvaka
        I do not disagree with what you are saying. Essentially, what I have felt and what, if I understand you correctly, you are also saying is that the tangible costs of a break-up are minimal where as tangible costs of a divorce are formidable and hence people slog it out in marriages but have fairly low tolerance level in relationships. But isn’t that little selfish – sticking out because one doesn’t want to suffer social stigma vs. not sticking out when the other doesn’t want to suffer emotional trauma?

        What bogs me down (especially because I have been a victim) is:
        – When only one of the two partners feels that the relationship has run its course, is it correct to walk out unilaterally?
        – A mutual break-up / divorce is understandable. But when for one of the two persons in a relationship, the relationship was still worth pursuing, does the other partner not have any commitment / responsibility?
        – Are blood ties or legal ties the only ties that matter? Aren’t emotional ties of equal importance? How’s is that a parental / sibling relationship (blood ties) can be imperfect, a marriage (emotional + legal tie) can be imperfect but a relationship (purely emotional tie) needs to be 100% perfect and is subjected to extremely high bars?
        – When a break-up is not mutual, the suffering of one partner (the one who dumps) is a choice while that of the other (the one was dumped) is what was imposed on him/her. And when such a situation arises after years of togetherness, isn’t it grossly unfair to the one on which such intense trauma was imposed?

        Guess, there is no correct answer. People draw lines differently and assign differing values to commitment. I am someone for whom my word is a word. I will take time to commit myself but once committed, I will not treat a relationship differently from a marriage. I don’t expect perfection of outcomes – I expect only sincerity of efforts. And I don’t expect to be happy all the time – only most of the times. Life isn’t a bed of roses and it can get challenging, even after all the love and respect you may have for your partner. But sticking around only when the going is good would make me just a “fairweather friend” and that’s not what partners are supposed to be.

        -Vihar

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        • Vihar,

          You ask some interesting questions.

          – When only one of the two partners feels that the relationship has run its course, is it correct to walk out unilaterally?

          Yes, no one should be forced to stay in a relationship that is not fulfilling them any longer. This does not mean that they should completely begin to erase the person from their life, but if they no longer want to be a girlfriend or boyfriend of this person, then their wishes should be respected. It is hurtful, of course, but such is life.

          – A mutual break-up / divorce is understandable. But when for one of the two persons in a relationship, the relationship was still worth pursuing, does the other partner not have any commitment / responsibility?

          No, the other partner has no responsibility. Most people do not just leave a partner in whom they have invested emotionally without some major dissatisfaction. One can always try to talk things over and discuss the issue, see if things can change. But in the end, there is literally nothing to do if the other person wants to walk out. It’s sad, but it’s a part of life and one must learn to accept it.

          – Are blood ties or legal ties the only ties that matter? Aren’t emotional ties of equal importance? How’s is that a parental / sibling relationship (blood ties) can be imperfect, a marriage (emotional + legal tie) can be imperfect but a relationship (purely emotional tie) needs to be 100% perfect and is subjected to extremely high bars?

          No one is saying that blood ties and legal ties are more important. We are pointing out that they are more difficult to break. It’s not the same thing at all. All relationships are imperfect, but when the balance tilts towards the negative side, then there are problems. A lot of people are estranged from their siblings or parents, and others keep only minimum contact. What you are saying is not true in real life.

          – When a break-up is not mutual, the suffering of one partner (the one who dumps) is a choice while that of the other (the one was dumped) is what was imposed on him/her. And when such a situation arises after years of togetherness, isn’t it grossly unfair to the one on which such intense trauma was imposed?

          Unfair yes, but life is not fair. What is the alternative? You want to keep a partner in an unwilling relationship? You want to keep someone chained to you even though you know they don’t want you in their life? You want to force someone to love you? It’s simply not possible. In fact, if you are in a position to do any such thing (for instance, in countries where divorce is not easily granted), you might have the person but not his/her love. What’s the point really?

          I think you need to accept that life goes on, people change and you will get over this at some point. Gradually, there will come a time when you will find someone else to share your life with. Don’t think about trying to force someone to be in love with you, as that’s just creepy.

          Liked by 6 people

        • Fem, you have outdone yourself in this response! Perfectly worded, pragmatic and stating things as they are.
          That being said, I also believe that couples (married or unmarried) need to have a very strong and open line of communication and be tuned to each other. When there is dissatisfaction on either side, instead of harboring it inside and then suddenly calling off the relationship, it is better to talk to each other and let the other know what is bothersome. Whether it’s the feeling that there is no longer a sense of connectedness, or chemistry or romance, or if there is emotional/sexual dissatisfaction, or if the interference of those outside the relationship is scary, I feel this should be communicated, in a kind, sensitive manner and as early on as possible. Both partners need to be mature enough to understand where the other person is coming from. If the dissatisfaction is conveyed early on, there is potential for both partners to work towards what can be done to to set things right, if they can be set right that is.
          Leaving a long term relationship without dialogue and communication is just immature and selfish.

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        • Here we have support for people recklessly behaving in relationship. But then they will be roasted if they recklessly behave in marriage.

          Dissatisfaction doesn’t come up in one day. It grows up slowly in a relationship and people are bound to feel it.

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        • “I will take time to commit myself but once committed, I will not treat a relationship differently from a marriage.”
          Ever consider that perhaps your ex was not as committed as you were to the relationship?
          Unless your relationship was a live-in, with shared finances(or financial goals), resources and most importantly – daily chores, you simply cannot compare it to a marriage.

          Also, harsh as it sounds, I think you’re simply lost in playing the victim. Your ex walked out of a relationship. She did not shoot you, rob you or kill you (even though it may feel that way inside). To put it more melodramatically – love is pain. Rejection is a part and parcel of life. Don’t put yourself and your values on a pedestal on a trip to martyrdom. You can’t use an event like getting dumped to form some sort of myopic view on women and relationships. In fact, I simply don’t understand the weird connection you’ve made with this one specific event with one specific person in your life and the way ALL women deal with marriages.

          Deal with the anger, assert that you deserve better and move on to live the life you want.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Vihar,

          Thanks for your questions. Break-ups are rough (I’ve been there). Fem has answered your questions for me actually. Consider this. What if you really wanted to leave your job and were forced by government to never resign? You’d be shit at your job (because you don’t even want to do it) so the company achieves nothing and you’re not being allowed to pursue other options so you’re basically a miserable slave for life. It’s exactly the same in a relationship except the government is your partner and society at large.

          First of all, I do not think people’s parents should be allowed to make them break-up with their partners. This is coercion, where the parents are essentially holding their offspring prisoner. I also do not think that me or society should make my partner stay on in a relationship that’s dead for them (marriage or relationship). That’s also coercion. There’s simply no other way to look at it without making one person a prisoner. It’s that old cheesy ‘if you love someone, let them go.. if they do not come back, they were never yours’.

          Detail:

          I was with my partner for 8 years before we married. The marriage changed nothing for us. The commitment was already there (we lived together, had bought a house). I make no differentiation in a relationship or marriage. This comes down to one simple principle. Being made to break-up or stay in a relationship against one’s wishes is coercion. That is always wrong as it impinges on basic personal freedom.

          “you are also saying is that the tangible costs of a break-up are minimal where as tangible costs of a divorce are formidable”

          Yes but you and I are deducing the opposite things from this. You’re saying society forces people to stay on in bad marriages but not in bad relationships and I’m saying we need the same freedom to leave both if they don’t work out. Isn’t that the only way to respect your autonomy as an individual (and not treat you as someone owner by their parents or partner)? To me, it’s unfortunate that our legal, social and financial structure are designed to keep people stuck in bad marriages. As Fem said:
          ‘No one is saying that blood ties and legal ties are more important. We are pointing out that they are more difficult to break.’

          Your questions:

          – When only one of the two partners feels that the relationship has run its course, is it correct to walk out unilaterally?
          Me: Yes, always. It is unfortunate for the other partner but it is correct. You should not be forced to stay in a relationship that you have moved on from (for whatever reason). Otherwise you are being held against your will, aren’t you? And forcing you to stay on can not make you love your partner again. Sounds terrible for everyone involved.

          – A mutual break-up / divorce is understandable. But when for one of the two persons in a relationship, the relationship was still worth pursuing, does the other partner not have any commitment / responsibility?
          Me: No, they don’t. How can you force responsibility if the other person does not love you anymore? It is impossible to make them feel what they do not. Also, imagine an abusive partner thinks the relationship/ marriage is worth pursuing.. should the abused be forced to stay and face more abuse?

          – Are blood ties or legal ties the only ties that matter? Aren’t emotional ties of equal importance? How’s is that a parental / sibling relationship (blood ties) can be imperfect,
          Me: Of course blood or legal ties are not more important than emotional ones. The point is that when a person breaks up a relationship, they do not feel that emotional tie anymore. That tie doesn’t exist for them anymore, so of course is not important. The most important ties are those you choose to keep. I am legally and ‘bloodily’ my grandfather’s relative but I have chosen to break all ties with him. On the other other hand I chose to be with my husband (before and after marriage). Choice is the key word.

          a marriage (emotional + legal tie) can be imperfect but a relationship (purely emotional tie) needs to be 100% perfect and is subjected to extremely high bars?
          Me: Who decides the bars for a relationship? The two people involved. What’s 100% good for your might be 100% bad for the other person. So yes, they (and you) should be unilaterally be allowed to leave. If someone wants out, the relationship has failed already and keeping one person prisoner would achieve nothing.

          It should be the same for marriages, of course one needs to settle children’s custody and legal+financial un-entanglement. But there should be no added torture for parents and ‘log kya kahaenge’. Countries that don’t stigmatise divorce as much as ours have a concept of ‘no-fault’ divorce, relationships/ marriages sometimes just don’t work.

          – When a break-up is not mutual, the suffering of one partner (the one who dumps) is a choice while that of the other (the one was dumped) is what was imposed on him/her. And when such a situation arises after years of togetherness, isn’t it grossly unfair to the one on which such intense trauma was imposed?
          Me: It is unfortunate, heartbreaking and rough for one partner – yes. But not unjust. Life is ‘unfair’ in the sense that not all our feelings are reciprocated but the only justice in a relationship is that both partners have equal right to stay or leave. It’s the only answer that respects their rights as individuals. Otherwise we’re saying that once you are in a relationship, your partner owns you more than you own yourself and they decide when you can leave. Like the job example, again, isn’t that slavery?

          Like

  11. I agree with other commentators that no matter how well you know two people, you will never know how they are together in private. That does not discount your observations, but I feel one must be aware of internal biases when we look at other people’s relationships. For e.g., you may think I have a fantastic deal because my husband is great with domestic chores. But he also has the craziest circadian cycle, making it impossible for us to have a meal together any day, any time. As an outside observer, you may rate domestic equality more than dinner together, but for me they don’t even compare. My point: we can’t put a value on other people’s preferences based on our own beliefs.
    I also wanted to share what’s happening in my family: walk outs by women, post-marriage, for what I think is no good reason. (Note! No good reason to me).

    Case 1: incompatibility. She knew he was fat before they got hitched, lived in the same building too, but walked out after 2 months.

    Case 2: refuses to move to US, unless her entire family is enabled immigration. Boy was in US since a decade, it was understood that she would go first and her mom, brother to follow. Now, refuses to go without them. Divorce

    Case 3: files false case of harassment. Boy in merchant navy, cannot go back to work due to court order. Was there harassment? I know factually definitely not. She stayed for 15 days with boy and then filed case.

    Here, social costs don’t seem to matter. Just for the record, all three were arranged marriages with doom-dham wedding celebrations. It didn’t make an iota of difference that they were married already. This was a strong response to a short marriage. What do people make of this? Is this an urban liberal city (Bangalore) phenomenon?

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    • I would like to know how you can assess that there was no harassment with such confidence? Harassment and abuse are very insidious and not always visible to outsiders, sometimes not even to close friends and family members.

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      • @ Fem: Correct. I agree with the caveat. Case # 3 is the only one where I have to go with family history – their daughter is a victim of harrassment so they are quite aware of the emotional and legal aspects of it.
        That still does not take away from the observation that the phenomenon of walking out of relationships is not restricted to pre-marriage situations. I feel there are a growing number of women making decisions based on their needs and not necessarily weighing in the social costs as so many commentators state. And Hurrah for that!

        @ carvaka: Wasn’t sure how to understand if these stands were being taken because these girls are urban, financially independent (they all had jobs) and knew of other situations where women have walked out of relationship. This is pure speculation of course. Rather than “liberal” perhaps I should have gone with “environmental” effect.

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      • @Fem,

        I couldn’t respond to you below your original comment where you gave pointwise responses to my questions and so am responding here.

        Thank you. Each of those responses were brilliant. Especially the sentence on “No one is saying that blood ties and legal ties are more important. We are pointing out that they are more difficult to break.”. This was perhaps the answer I was struggling with. Now in the hindsight, once you have said it so lucidly, it is perhaps obvious that some things being more difficult to break than others is the real reason rather than they being more important than others. Thank you.

        I wish to clarify if I came across as someone who insisted that the partner should stay in the relationship despite having lost interest. No, I don’t subscribe to that ideology. Anyone who isn’t in a relationship with all his/her heart and choice isn’t going to be happy or make the other person happy. And that’s why, when I was shown the door by my exes, I didn’t indulge in pressurising or blackmailing or pleading for them to stay just because they had been with me for a “long” time. I let them go. Yes, I did tell them that I trusted them and I felt betrayed. Yes, I did request them to give things some time, to also look at the beautiful parts of the relationship before so brutally ending it. Of course, they didn’t agree and we parted. But no, I didn’t use “tactics” to stop them from leaving.

        Perhaps, it’s just not me – who would leave my partner to keep my parents happy. Or who would leave my partner of long term in a short span of time. if I spent years building something, I wouldn’t leave it in a month. And hence, I struggle to understand the actions. Perhaps, all of you would have guessed it by now but both the example cases mentioned in my original post happened to my myself. Having suffered the deep scars, I don’t get it how easily can people “grow out of love” and leave a long term partner or how easily can people “prioritise parents over their partner (while acknowledging parents are being irrational)”. And like StayStrong said in response to your comment, an open communication, sensitive approach to breaking a long term relationship is what allows the two people to perhaps get their minds clear, do some mid term course correction – a break-up coming as a bolt from the blue after a long term association can be disastrous for someone.

        -Vihar

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        • Sometimes I think the parents thing might even be an excuse for various reasons that someone might have to break-up. It does suck to be broken up with out of the blue but communication usually has broken down before the actual break-up. So the other person might well have been contemplating it for 6 months but you wouldn’t know.

          I don’t know if there can ever be a ‘good’ way to break-up to be honest, it’s just one of those things in life. I have seen cases where someone tried to break-up nicely and the other person basically refused to leave the relationship and move on. So they had to be cut off all communication lines completely. It was the only way to break-up. She was completely over him, found him extremely manipulative at this point and just wanted to move on. He might have thought it was a great relationship. Break-ups just are like that.

          If two people could agree nicely on how to break-up to cause the least hurt then they probably wouldn’t be breaking-up at all!

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        • I agree with you. On the surface, it seems ridiculous, but having been subject to emotional blackmail to get married, I know how difficult it is to fight it.

          If it helps, I was once dumped by a guy who then went on to marry someone else chosen by his parents. I can only tell you that it hurt for a while, but in the end, you move on. I can promise you that. Life is full of such things, but humans are resilient. Stay strong, and you will survive. Spend time with friends and immerse yourself in things that interest you. Count it as a lovely experience that enriched you rather than left you broken. That’s what I did. Take care!

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        • Hi Vihar,

          I can understand your situation. As I have mentioned earlier I have seen my friends being dumped this way. One of my friend had break up on her birthday. Can you imagine on one side cake is placed on table and next side my friend is crying. And her bf didn’t had decency to tell her that he got engaged. It was during the call that by mistake it came out of his mouth. He did under his parents pressure.

          But do you think he would have turned into good husband for her or to his current wife. If any person who is in relation doesn’t even lack decency to explain to other partner will be able to be a good partner.

          I know it hurts and hurts very badly. Sometimes it leaves a life long scar. But its life it will force you to move on with passing time whether you like it or not. So its better you also try something to do to move on.

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    • Yea, treating people as autonomous human beings means acknowledging that they can change their minds post marriage too. Especially with an arranged marriage, this is the risk we take. It can’t be like ‘don’t like sleeping with this person for the rest of your life? OOPS, should’ve decided before this arbitrary wedding date. Now do it until you die even if you won’t want to’.

      It’s unfortunate that people feel forced to marry before thinking through things, but that is our system. For all you know, maybe the women didn’t like the sex on the wedding night. Realised there was no chemistry. In an arranged marriage, how would you know before? I personally recommend everyone should live together a good while before getting the legal marriage responsibilities.

      By the way, I know consider Bangalore or any indian city ‘liberal’.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Our marriages, sad to say, are most often based on criteria other than mutual love, affection and respect. The social background, caste, community, looks, earning potential, dowry giving potential etc. take on more importance than more concrete values and factors.

    That being the case, it could well be a case of someone (male or female) finding a more “suitable” partner who takes their fancy and choosing to back out before the relationships is sealed.

    Of course, the person(s) involved might genuinely feel that the relationship is not working out and might choose to walk out before it is “too late”.

    As for why many women still choose to stay in abusive marriages, just take a look at all the consequences they would face as divorcees. I shall not list them, as previous commenters have already done that. Is it surprising that they might feel that their lives are going to be no better outside marriage than in it, especially if they are also financially dependent or have kids?

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  13. People generally are more invested in marriages than bf/gf relationships. Ending a marriage is legally a great hassle even in more liberal countries. Plus many people believe that marriages are sacred/blessed by God/and are unwilling to break the marriage easily. Commitment should be seen as a virtue, upto a point.

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  14. My story – I was in a 7 year relationship with my boyfriend when we declared our relationships to our parents and eventually got married a year later. Things got so rough & ugly in the one year negotiation between the parents that a month before the wedding I stood up to call it off. Somehow, things cooled and the marriage went on. Well not somehow, there were reasons – it was only a month before the wedding, both families had their skin in it, my then boyfriend wasn’t present at the time of the massive outburst so he didn’t even know it happened, my family apologised for my behaviour even though his parents were clearly in the wrong, societal pressure to call off the wedding (esp only a month before and when all my relatives, friends knew of my 7 year relationship). I was too emotionally shattered to think straight and the marriage went ahead. Now that I think back, even when I was dating my husband, there were plenty of issues and disagreements but I continued to ignore the signs. But I was in love with being in love, with the thought of having someone exclusively to myself. I just didn’t see the differences that were highlighted in the months preceding the wedding. That outburst hasn’t been forgotten in the 6 years of marriage and has only widened certain chasms. I now have a one year old daughter and a beautiful life (house, car, quality of life etc…) but that chasm is driving me to a point of no return.
    I didn’t have the courage or sense to call off the relationship with my boyfriend, I didn’t have the courage to call off the wedding once and for all and now I don’t have the courage to walk out of my marriage.
    Part of the blame may be my personality but the bigger influence was that we romanticise relationships (see our bollywood movies – love is forever, not just in this life but for 7 afterlifes) and we hold marriages so sacrosanct that there is no way out.

    There is nothing wrong with breaking up. Our attitude towards love and marriage is abnormal. Western societies accept that we will fall in love with wrong people, suffer heart break, get over it and find new love. It is part of growing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • @NC, Agreed with your last 2 paragraphs. If arrange marriage fails, it is still acceptable, but if a love marriage fails, the girl is mostly accused. And people gets the chance of saying “parents are wiser than kids, so kids should follow parents in marriage decisions”. If parents are always wiser then why arrange marriages fail, why not second,third, fourth or n number of chances of a person to love someone.

      Our society is so opposed to “making mistakes”, that’s why most of people try to play safe, never thinking or doing something out of box. If you do something other than social norms, you may have high chances of failure, if you don’t wana take risk, you will keep reproducing and dying in same tribe n never grow. It reminds me of “two shrimps” in movie HAPPY FEET 1.

      Life is a continuous learning, some learn with the pace and grow, some people’s growth stuck somewhere. There is nothing wrong in letting go such relationships.
      Although you are not bond to give any explanation but yes a relationship involves two people, so yes a decent explanation to your partner can be given, atleast he/she deserves that.

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    • ‘accept that we will fall in love with wrong people, suffer heart break, get over it and find new love’

      This is so important. We hugely mislead our kids by making up this elaborate fantasy of ‘you only fall in love once (and often it co-incidentally happens to be with the person we arrange-marry you with)’.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love this sentence of yours:
      “There is nothing wrong with breaking up. Our attitude towards love and marriage is abnormal. Western societies accept that we will fall in love with wrong people, suffer heart break, get over it and find new love. It is part of growing.”

      This summarizes the entire concept of relations and marriages (love/arranged) in India. Indians are just not equipped to deal with relationships in a mature manner and also have a very very skewed idea of them.
      The basic premise in India seems to be that 1) if in a relationship it has to end in marriage otherwise if the boy has broken it off then the girl is miserable and by mistake if the girl stands up and decides that she does not want the relationship then she will have to bear judgement and comments like this LW thinks, that basically a girl cannot decide to walk out, just how can she use her brain and decide what she wants in life?
      And if by chance, she gathers the courage to leave a relationship, then she is selfish,and worse according to this LW she cannot get married also because he has stated in his letter about a particular case of a girl who “dumped” a “good boy” and went ahead and got married within 9 months!!!! What a cardinal sin!!!!And that too when the poor boy is still unmarried…
      I mean seriously this is the state of affairs in India. Forget about all the women living in abusive marriages, atleast they believe they are upholding some culture or for society etc.. What bothers me is things and people like this LW. The whole notion that men and women like this LW have that no matter what, a long term relationship cannot and should not be broken. Pray can someone explain how this is any different from the whole Indian concept of a marriage cannot be broken. If this is the thought process, then why go for love marriage at all because I thought that people go in for love marriages because there is scope for freedom to understand the partner and if one of the two believes and feels a relationship is not working then they can atleast move on because it’s after all choice right?
      So basically the LW’s problem is that when a woman can stay in an abusive marriage why is she not doing the same by staying in an abusive relationship. I mean, how can a woman decide to leave? How dare she even think on those lines?
      And the worst thing he says is that “mutual break up’s are ok, but how can one person break a relationship?” To me this sentence reeks of abuse and ego.

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      • HG,

        I really have no idea how you interpreted what you did. I don’t think I ever suggested that “a girl cannot decide to walk out” or “how can she use her brain” or “a long term relationship CANNOT be broken” or that “when a woman can stay in an abusive marriage why can’t she stay in an abusive relationship”. Sorry to see you taking such a read from things. Defeats the purpose of a healthy
        debate. And I really don’t understand how some words reeked to you of “abuse”. Anyways, to each per his own.

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    • A commenter ‘a’ says above that we are taught that marriages are blessed by God. Hence we are scared to break them for fear of angering a God.
      How I wish there was a God of break-ups, who will be angered if we do NOT end a shitty relationship!
      I wish it was taught in schools that there is nothing wrong in breaking up.

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    • @NC. Maybe you got the “seven year itch”.

      Marriage is a commitment towards society but more importantly towards oneself. However relationships in or out of wedlock evolve, and both partners have to work on the relationship everyday. There is a saying that goes “a happy marriage is looking together in the same direction”.

      Last month something happened in our family and I am very angry with my husband although he hasn’t changed his behaviour. But this is exactly what annoys me, he refuses to adapt to the situation. So my reasoning is, I’m not going to carry a load for too long. I also have a one year child by the way.

      One commenter said recently you need to “tame” your husband. More often than not (in my experience at least), the woman is the one who gives the impulse and direction of things.

      In any case, have you considered counselling, NC ?

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  15. LW,

    1. First off your comment
    ” Yes this is a feminist blog and so I will perhaps be roasted here for this post of mine.”
    Feminism is about gender equality, it is not about female superiority. I think this is very well illustrated on this blog – for every post , there are comments arguing for both sides. So please , enough with this portrayal of feminism as pro women and anti-men. It’s one of those stupid Indian stereotypes and quite frankly its tiring.

    2. This “my family will not accept you so lets break up” nonsense is done by men as well. Men, who can move out and find a house far more easily than women. Men, who’ll still inherit property, no matter what. Men, who’re more likely to be commended when they rebel than us dirty feminist women.When most Indian men refuse to anger their families (and mind you, most of the time, the consequences are not that high for them) how can you expect women – who already have a shaky financial and social status to begin with to rebel?

    3. For most people in India, a long term relationship is based on assumed compatibility which hasn’t been put to the test at all.Living together to figure it out is not an easy option. The logistics of live-in relationships in India are hard. Which flat owner will allow an unmarried couple to stay together? Which self-respecting parent WOULDN’T die of shame if they heard of their children doing such things?
    So therefore, you have to make a leap from “like each other, go out, talk on phone” to ” stuck together for life”.
    The end result being that most people end up doing things that actually MAKE a deep bond such as – living together, having sex, managing money only AFTER they are married.
    So YES, in the Indian context , for most people it IS ten times harder to walk out of a marriage than a pre-marital relationship.

    3. I went to a job interview yesterday. At the end of it, the dude says “oh you’re 28! So what about marriage and kids?You’ll have to take time off and maybe move away?”
    As irritating as the question was, I realised what it says about societies expectations of the average woman. They give up so many basic things just for the sake of marriage. So when you’ve given up your family, your career, your self respect for something – of course, you’re going to try to make it work. And of course, since you’re expected to do this,you’ll want to be doubly sure that you get SOMETHING out of it.

    Personally, I have no intention of getting married or having kids EVER. But I cant ever express a view like that can I? Because marriage is something that we as women are all supposed to aspire to. We’re supposed to bend over backwards and give up jobs & families for it?
    Otherwise I’d be one of those “feminist” women no? The selfish home wreckers who roast dissenting voices on blogs?

    4. As one of those “oh we will live together eternally happily ever after our souls melded into forever” type of people, the best thing I have learnt in life is to accept rejection. Not everyone wants the same things as we do, especially the ones we love.
    Why is it that only men are allowed to be commitment phobic? Don’t women have the right to change their minds as well? To decide what’s right for them and what’s not? Yes, changing your mind about a relationship is never easy, its messy and people get hurt. But do you pretend to be something you’re not just to avoid hurting people?

    Note: I definitely agree with the point that a relationship does not need marriage in order to be sarcosanct. I have had many male friends who’ve had their hearts broken this way, and I completely empathize. But I also have seen the same thing happen to women because “mummy-ji wont like gals who wear jeans”.
    Your one sided presentation of this issue as some sort of commentary on the “shallow-ness” of women is just wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

    • One point in the LW’s mail that I haven’t seen discussed – Unless the same women who broke up relationships, are dealing with less than satisfactory marriages, you aren’t really comparing apples to apples here.

      Others have pointed out the very valid reasons relationships might seem easier to break out of, so won’t repeat that – but will add what is emotionally unacceptable to one woman may be run-of-the-mill to another, and no, you cannot, as an outsider, co-opt one woman’s response.

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      • “you aren’t really comparing apples to apples here.”
        Excellent point! The more I read this letter, the less sense it makes.
        His experience and his conclusive question simply don’t match.

        To put it bluntly, this is not about marriage Vs. long term relationships AT ALL.
        It definitely has stirred up an interesting debate, with a lot of valid comments.

        But unless the SAME women threw away long term relationships but hung on to marriages, there’s simply no argument there.

        Basically, he had a horrible experience(which I empathise with completely) and he’s grasping at straws to make some sense out of it.

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    • Perfect response Anita! Exactly what I wanted to say.

      I am sad about your job interview question. If you can help it, don’t take that offer – more often than not such behavior from top management reflects the company’s culture.

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  16. i don’t believe that only marriage is a commitment but I also understand the prevailing conditions I think this is because
    1. It’s hard to break a marriage legally , takes time, money effort.
    2. The tag of divorcee is harder on a woman , she’d prefer the tag of breaker of relationship .
    3. There are financial ramifications to breaking a marriage, none if you are simply in a relationship.

    In all this makes me think I’d much rather have my kids in a committed relationship than sign anything with anyone. Cynical I know but such is life

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  17. Also, we have enough stigma and social barriers against women walking out on a marriage. Please let’s not create the same barriers for women walking out of breakups. As someone here pointed out, only the 2 people involved understand why they should stay together or why they should breakup. You can’t judge someone for breaking up. That is an inalienable right. Yes, sometimes it hurts the other person, but it is between the 2 people involved. A relationship is not between the 2 people and their siblings and friends and neighbors and random strangers. It is between 2 people, period. Let them decide what is right for themselves.

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  18. -Of course you know about the abandoned relationships because the wedding did not occur; you are able to collect that data. But you have zero knowledge about the weddings where the women (not girls) had reservations but decided to go through with it anyway, because they won’t tell you about doubts. You cannot assume that all relationships that culminate in weddings involve women who are certain they are making the right choice, because they will not reveal doubts. No data does not mean no occurrence; it means you did not have access to that data.

    -Marriage as it is now construed requires an asymmetric level of self-sacrifice for women. Most women I know were extremely ambivalent about taking the final step to marriage because they have observed in actual marriages the woman always has to give up things. In India it may be her family, her residence, her job, or her independence to do what the hell she wants. But it is the same here in the U.S. While women do not expect to give up their personal relationships here, their jobs are almost always compromised when children or career moves enter the picture. To willingly agree to submerge your identity is so outrageous an expectation, that I predict fewer and fewer educated self-aware women will agree to marriage as their economic prospects improve. This is already the case in Western European countries which have far lower rates of marriage and birth than other countries. Now if patriarchy lessens and the organization of society changes to truly support all stages of family life, that may not come to pass.

    -The last point I’ll make: any person who has made a deliberate choice will really resist thinking their freely-made decision was a poor one. It is so difficult for most people to accept they are wrong about anything, that only self-enlightenment can change that. Who amongst us will be content admitting “I made a giant mistake?” Even in trivial things, our brains find all sorts of rationales to convince us our world view is correct. To make someone admit they are wrong is so crushing it is better for their self-esteem to not have to admit it. So once a woman makes an internal commitment to formalize a relationship, especially in the face of so many logical reasons to stay single, she will do what she can to maintain the marriage. To have to admit “the life partner that I chose was a bad choice” is to acknowledge you have failed at the most important decision in your life. I don’t wonder that most people would rather keep quiet and carry on.

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    • Lower birth rate in the Western Europe is probably due to easy access to contraception methods and high cost of living/education. Then in Western Europe many children are born out of wedlock. And so breakups from live-in relationships are just as hard as divorces.

      But more and more women are earning more money than their partner.

      If you expect and wait for societal support, you’re in for a disappointment. The core issue is self confidence.

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  19. Every human being always selects the course of action that he/she thinks results in greatest happiness/satisfaction at that point in time.Even actions of sacrifice/adjustment /self destruction are chosen as they think it is a more satisfying course of action compared to the impact/outcome of other courses of action occupying his/her mind space . Only a legal situation involved in breaking of relationships ( married/unmarried/live in etc) can be evaluated objectively and that too from legal stand point. If we make it an ethical question, it will be ALWAYS subjective and an argument can be put forth on either side. Coming to why they do it differently prior to or after marriage, the reason is no different than why they choose certain course of action for any other situation in life . The selfish pursuit of satisfaction/happiness is the only reality and limited words in language hinder our ability to understand/assess the situations /emotions for which words do not exist. 

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  20. Completely agree with the writer. But you are missing the point about the so-called “Indian” culture. Women are raised to please everyone who her parents think are important. This sometimes makes her lost and behave unlike her own self. A lot of pressure from everyone around her and lack of any strong support for her choices kills her. This is the only reason she is ready to break her relationship that her parents do not approve of or stay in an unhappy marriage that her parents arranged for. The Indian society is just so cruel that she has no freedom to be in a loving relationship.

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    • Same goes for men. Boys are raised to please their parents and behave like momm’s obediant child even when they turn 30 and even when their parents talk insensitive or illogical stuff. Indian culture makes everyone dependent on each other

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  21. I completely agree with SSN.
    But on this post first time I have witnessed double standards. Take this post and response. How the given situation is different from Case 2 (only more details is provided).
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/an-email-he-made-it-clear-to-them-he-will-not-marry-me-without-their-support-he-will-not-leave-them-behind-ever/
    Why nobody wrote he simply grown out of love?? People can decide unilaterally to leave the relationship?? The guy in question has no responsibility in case he breaks up??

    This post is similar to Case 1. Here also the person is liked initially and accepted in marriage but is rejected afterwards.
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/an-email-from-a-newly-wed-wife-now-they-dont-like-me/
    Here nobody said they have outgrown? Life is unfair what to do? Etc.

    And I have one question: If people give a damn care about partner in a relationship then why do you think they will give damn care about life partner in marriage???

    And I am not in favor of that relationship break up should made equally difficult like divorce in marriage. In fact marriage should become more like love relationship. In relationship men and women both are much open for analysis in general. They analyze behavior and many times because of different expectation relation fades away. It starts happening from both side as they are not able to achieve common ground.

    Marriage should not be glorified as it is currently happening in India. And relationship should be respected.

    And I have issues with two grounds of breakup as it is motivated from our patriarchal conditioning.
    1. My parents are against it— Then please don’t fall in love or marriage. You haven’t grown yet that you should be married.
    2. Money i.e men going for dowries and women going for provider— Then please don’t fall in love or marriage. You have not understood about the contribution made by women in family so you want dowry compensation. You are making a stereotype choice where man is provider then you can only expect stereotype unequal relationship.

    And what I have experienced it’s the reason 1 that many people simply back out in relationship and then we expect them to fight against the same when they are married.

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    • You have to be kidding me! The links you have provided are women who are facing outright abuse and coercion in how to live their lives. It is not the same as an amicable end to a relationship.

      Coercion and force = Abuse
      Breaking up and divorce ≠ Abuse
      Falling out of love ≠ Automatically start abusing

      You need lessons in logic!

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      • I want to laugh on this. Just change gender and everything is changed. Case 2 was equal to the link I gave. Only difference was the Letter described situation in detail which is not given in current post.

        For Case 1 , I didn’t find something exactly. But it was close to it.Since a lot of explanation was not given I take it that they would have different thinking.

        Relationships are also very serious affairs.And yes everybody should be able to leave over the issues which they think is non-negotiable to them. But people should have decency to come clear to their partner. Manipulation in marriage is bad so is manipulation in relationship.

        Again I will say same thing: If people give a damn care about partner in a relationship then why do you think they will give damn care about life partner in marriage??? When they don’t have decency to come clean then why the hell they will follow it in marriage?

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        • Maybe you should go ahead and laugh because you are being ridiculous.

          Case 1 is a clear case of abuse and I am amazed you are even defending it!

          In Case 2, the advice was to let the man go as he was not ready for a relationship, which is not too different from what people are saying in this post. There is also abuse here because the woman was made to wear Indian clothes and act like a slave in order to please her in-laws. A lot of commenters told her not to do that.

          The OP here, on the contrary, has asked whether it is right for one party to opt out of the relationship, the answer to which is yes. I don’t see the problem. If he was made to wear certain clothes or make aloo gobhi or whatever to please other people, that’s a different issue we have not yet heard about. The OP here also has not mentioned if the girlfriends have abused him. We cannot comment or advise the OP on any abuse because he has mentioned none. Instead, he has put all women in one box and makes a false case for their infidelity.

          It’s really troublesome if you see the two cases as similar, and are calling people hypocritical on some mythical grounds.

          Like

        • This is in response to Fem’s comment below.

          Dear Fem,

          Even I do feel that case 2 has similarities that the link regarding American woman that Tulika posted. Don’t both involve two adults getting together with the intention to marry, forge a strong emotional bond but ultimately part ways because one person’s parents were opposed (on not exactly rational grounds) and the person chose to honour parent’s wishes over his commitment? I had earlier gone through all three posts and all comments therein related to that matter and I did feel that the responses on those threads were quite different from what I was reading here. Albeit, I had hardly provided any details and also I had asked a different question. So, fair enough.

          Anyways, to clarify some of the points you raised – no I didn’t feel “abused”. If at all anyone was abused, I think the woman was – emotionally by her parents. Because she too wanted to be in the relationship but had to give up for their sake. I only felt betrayed and dejected and exasperated at the level of control parents seem to inflict on adult childrens’ lives.

          And also, I don’t quite agree with the use of word “infidelity” by you. That’s not what I suggested that women are “infidel” in relationships but not in marriages. Perhaps, you and I interpret the word differently – I take it as cheating / adultery. I only “observed” that women seem to work harder on marriages (even when they are abusive) vis-a-vis what they would do in relationships (non-abusive though imperfect). It wasn’t a comment on womens’ “character” but a curious query on “drivers / motivations” behind their approach to a partnership with a fellow human pre and post a religious / legal ceremony.

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        • Vihar,

          As I pointed out in my previous comment, the details of the break-up included abuse, hence the responses also varied. You yourself claim that you were never abused or forced to do stuff because parents, so obviously you got different replies. While outwardly it is about two adults parting ways because of parental involvement, the addition of abuse makes those cases completely different. This is not to say we do not empathise with you. In fact, the only thing everyone objected to is your random classification of what women do and don’t do, based just on your personal experiences.

          Like

      • I agree with you Fem,
        I think some people do break up under some other persons’ influence, they are not grown out of love but given up in abuse and manipulation.
        I also think people should give many thoughts when they say “yes” to some person, why only before marriage saying “my parents won’t accept or aren’t accepting” and then giving up.

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    • @Tulika
      I agree with this:”My parents are against it— Then please don’t fall in love or marriage. You haven’t grown yet that you should be married.
      2. Money i.e men going for dowries and women going for provider”

      I have seen this so often “My parents are against it” and that too when it comes to marriage.

      And this money thing, I wonder when well qualified working women leave jobs, why? because they are marrying or married in a rich family. 1) they are lazy and don’t wana work. 2) It is like a standard to have a MBA/MCA/Msc etc qualified daughter-in-law/wife but it is degrading the standard of family if she will work.
      (Again QUEEN movie’s example, he wanted a modern wife but earlier he was himself discouraging her from having a job.)

      Even my cousin’s family, my cousin is well qualified girl but her parents say to every prospective match “She won’t work, what for then we will provide you with dowry if she will still work”. It is a thing of shame for them if even after being so rich their daughter will work. (Note here, she won’t get any portion of her parents’ property)

      Like

    • Tulika I think what you’re pointing out is different from this situation.
      1. In both those situations , most of the people asked the LWs to forget about the relationship. Forget “growing out of love” , most comments seem to imply that they were never in love in the first place.(which I agree with). Both LWs were asking what to do when they were being emotionally abused. And the comments say “forget it,move on”.

      2. THIS guy, is trying to stereotype ALL women based on his personal experience. I think everyone agrees that what the girl did in case 2 is quite mean; I agree with your “don’t fall in love if you have to listen to your parents all the time” – but she walked out, end of story. If instead they had continued, and he had written about it, I think most commentors would have told HIM to break it off,

      As for case 1, we really cant judge – it could’ve been anything. Now if LW had simply left it at that, I think he’d have gotten a lot of sympathy(its such a heart rending situation)

      But NO. He’s saying no one should ever leave him. That people should not walk out of a relationship unless the other agrees as well. How ridiculous it that?! Even if a woman said that(and some of them do), I’d say she was nuts.

      There are no double standards in the comments, because the situation is different. To the other LWs, the summary of the comments is “if its not working, walk out”. Both in the case of the marriage and the relationship.
      Here it is “it was not working, it ended. So MOVE ON!!”

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Dear LW

    This is what I caught myself thinking the other day. Thanks for putting my thoughts in your letter. I have seen both men and women walking out few months before marriage. Its either girl’s parents or boy’s parents who are mainly responsible for the fall out. Subtle demands from boy’s side, or high-pride being ladkewale, or guy’s inability to support the right thing when his parents comes into picture. I went through all these emotions in my Love marriage and felt like giving all up once for all. I broke up and was 100% sure that he is the not the right guy but my parents loved him so much that they convinced me. I was also hurt to see him hurt. Now that I married him, have lot of issues with his parents but I know I love him and will always do. He is slowly transforming into this not-a-mommy’s-boy-anymore and I am glad and really thankful to God.
    But not all girls can tolerate and not all girl’s family can tolerate. My family tolerated my in-laws awful attitude and made all efforts to unite us as they knew I ll fly abroad and wont have to live with my in laws. Lot of girls/girl’s family gets frightended and gets disappointed by the same guy’s behaviour’s whom they loved and had been in relationship with as they dont have the option of flying abroad or living away from in laws. They know they have to live with their inlaws who are throwing awful attitude before marriage and it totally freaks them out. 95% times it depends on boy’s family attitude that just frightens the girl. And sometimes its girl’s family attitude which is the reason behind breakups like inter-caste, or boy’s not earning well.
    And once you get married, social stigma of Divorce/separation frightens the couple. Its not a rocket science, it just that girl/girl’s family do not tell their reasons in public for breaking up with the guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with this as atleast that was the case in my situation. My ex-b and I dated for 3.5 years and during this time while he was working and I was studying, I still paid most of the bills as we had a cell plan together and even when we ate out or went for movies all the time my expenses were equal to his. He had lied to me about his education (said he was B. E. but turned out to be B.Sc ) but even then I thought that the person is important not the degree.
      Anyway his family was ok from the beginning but my family was not but eventually when things came around then started the whole drama of “market rate ” for the guy. His sister would always manage to tell my parents that this is the market rate for my brother but we are foregoing it as he loves her so much and then generally families are ready to give as many gifts as possible etc.. Then started the whole thing about how I should dress, which profile I should take up once I finish studies (a job profile that would help me earn at the same time come back home and cook etc) and this was sugar coated as “we don’t want the girl to struggle when the boy is earning so much” and about how I cannot hang out with my friends etc. Now all this came out slowly one after the other and I had no choice but to cancel the wedding. Then came the major twist in the story: My psycho ex-bf was so furious that my mother called and told their family that we have decided to call of the wedding that he told the whole world about how I was characterless as I had physical relations with him when I had not, and he wrote mails to all our common friends saying this and that how he wanted to honor that and marry me but now he cannot do anything but back out as I was misbehaving.
      So, Mr. Vihar and Mathru (the NRI ) according to whom men don’t walk out, what are your thoughts on this?
      And then there is more to it, this guy said he will commit suicide if he does not marry me but now he is getting married next month (all this happened 5 months back) and has written to all of us again praising the new girl whom he’s getting married to. So now while I am left dealing with all this, I cannot help but wonder as to why I did not listen to my parents when they said he was not the correct person for me? So now should I start saying that all MEN are like this only?
      I cannot believe that this LW, who comes across as person with so much clarity of thought and such good writing skills actually is blaming women just because of 7 cases he saw around himself? LW,do you even know how big the world is?
      I understand you are heartbroken, but this is not the way to deal with it. When I first read the letter, I thought he was asking good questions but when I read his responses and again re-read the letter, it makes no sense to me at all.
      I do not know whether I should laugh or be angry at this ” How can one person walk out of the relationship”? This coming from a man who seems quite educated and with a clear thought process and more so not a teenager in college who does not understand things? I am sorry LW, but the initial sympathy I had for you after first reading the letter has vanished. I just pity the state of affairs in this massive democratic country that we belong to where even in a love relationship one person does not have the right to walk out.
      In my opinion, a person can and should be able to leave a relationship if they want to and the reason can be anything. It just means they do not want to be in the relationship and they are not bound to explain it to everyone and justify it. The partner should be told the reason but again it’s not needed to justify it. Do we ever justify the reasons we fall in love with to our partners? Also, I have nothing against people who break up because of parental pressure because that itself signifies that their value system is very different from their partners and so it does not make sense to proceed. To each their own. Ultimately, we must realize that people fall in love for various reasons but in the long run love itself is not enough, love is needed but more than that respect for the other person and their wishes is needed. Atleast this is what I have learnt from my experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “In my opinion, a person can and should be able to leave a relationship if they want to and the reason can be anything. It just means they do not want to be in the relationship and they are not bound to explain it to everyone and justify it. The partner should be told the reason but again it’s not needed to justify it. ”

        Well said Anon. According to me, your case is way more serious than the ones these two have quoted because it involves harassment – the whole writing letters to your friends etc.

        I’d also like to add to your comments- if you’re not even ready for the possibility that a relationship might not work out, you simply aren’t ready for a relationship,period.

        Like

  23. I hope now we begin to address the issue of why this happens versus whether it is men or women who do it. I think marriage and that ceremony is where it becomes real for many people. Until then, there is always the option of walking out without bothering many people other than themselves. Now it is legal, there is some kind of officialdom to contend with and lots of other people in the know, more ‘grown up’.

    I would much rather people think things through like this before and if walking out is the thing to do for them, then so be it. If women are finally doing it, I salute that strength. It is hard in our society and high time people take power into their hands. On that note –

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Bareilly/Groom-unwell-bride-weds-guest-in-fit-of-rage/articleshow/46277810.cms

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  24. My thoughts:
    The period leading up to a wedding is stressful. Pretty much all my friends have reconsidered their relationship/impending marriage during that time. A lot of red flags can suddenly pop up too. I guess how you deal with it as a couple determines whether you make it to the other side or not.

    A wedding is a milestone, it is confronting. You are making a choice, a solid commitment. So you are a lot more likely to react in binary at that wedding-planning stage than when you are just swimming along in a long term relationship.

    I would expect people that get together really young to suddenly vocalise what they have in a relationship is not what they want. It can be beautiful if two people manage to grow up together and grow in the same direction. But I think it should be expected that they may change in very different ways or different speeds.

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  25. Courtships, at least in India are extremely private affairs. As in most of the parents, relatives (if they are in the know) will care to ask only the basics. But marriage gives the right to the extended family to pretty much ‘roast’ the other side, covertly, if not always overtly. It is almost everyones right to have an opinion and repeat it until the wedding the day, sometimes later as well.

    And that is why many relationships fail to reach marriage- when their relationship is subjected to minute dissection by all. It is pretty much the litmus test for courting Indian couples, and especially so if they from different castes/communities. The pre-wedding days bring out the worst in us and our partners- our individual fears, demons, insecurities , even philosophies. It can be a moment of insight, or sheer frustration that can make it easier to call it off. If u make it to the wedding day, you have just cleared level 1.

    Level 2 now (the post marriage phase) is another zone altogether. It brings with it loads of obligations, rituals, patriarchal mindsets and of course the constant negotation with the “other woman” (MILs). There is just too much going on for the first few years to even think and analyse it. Most women tend to think and rationalise that it will get better with time. People will change. And give it all they have in terms of time, energy and most importantly,emotionally.

    And one fine day it hits you- that u didnt sign up for this! All you wanted was a life with the person you loved. But these free add on marriage are energy suckers on most days.

    But here is where we must keep in mind one of the most common fundas of economics- sunk cost fallacy. Even if we have invested (emotionally, i mean), if its not giving us rich dividends, we better stop our investment.

    The number of variables increase exponentially after marriage to make this decision to call it off. And that is why some people hang on in marriages i guess. But then, just remember of the sunk cost fallacy and it will become easier 🙂

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  26. Great post! Here’s my two cents:
    Marriage fundamentally and across the world is a social institution. Essentially you call everyone you know and their sister, stand in front of them and promise to be with each other for life. I imagine that back in the stone age or whenever this was invented, the intent pretty much was to put pressure on the couple to work things out or face some level of ‘social shame’. It might seem like a few perambulations around a fire and chanting a few mantras but it is a powerful thing. In some ways, I think there is a benefit to people treating marriage like something that one must fight for to preserve. In many cases, that is what makes people tough it out during rough times and keeps families together. Add to that legal issues, alimonies, custody battles, and woefully low rates of divorcee marriages in our country and it makes people fight for it that much longer. Honestly, I don’t think this is limited to Indian society, it would be true for most societies. However where we may differ (I don’t have stats to support this) is that perhaps more women in our society stay in unhappy marriages than in others. Just to be clear, I’m not supporting staying in an unhappy or abusive marriage because someone took ‘pheras’ together, just trying to answer the poster’s question about why people walk out of relationships more easily than marriages.

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  27. The problem is not about what men do or women do. The problem is that we Indian adults never grow up enough to draw boundaries around us, which not even our parents should overstep.

    It’s hard enough for two people to work upon a relationship, without having families and relatives stepping over each others’ feet. The Indian family system absolutely sucks, and I am filled with disgust and anger every time I read about grown men and women willingly letting themselves be puppeteered by parents and in laws.

    The thing is, humans are self serving by nature. And parents are human, therefore (*drumroll)* our godlike Indian parents are self serving, just like any human being. They DO manipulate their children for their own fulfillment, a lot. As is evident by all the articles than come up here.

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  28. It’s OK to leave a relationship, no matter what stage it is at. It many not be nice, or fair, or even logical, but if one person wants out (man or woman), then that’s reason enough to go. It hurts, but there you are.

    Yes, if the other person or children are dependent, then arrangements for support should be worked out accordingly – mutually or by legal recourse.

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  29. Pingback: Relationships – Making Someone Happy | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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