“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

Sharing an email from My Era. 

This post (“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”)  finally, helped me make up my mind to write all I wanted to tell you, in hope that perhaps, my experience might be helpful to someone, somewhere.

I have been blogging from over 8 years. My earlier blog was more of a professional one that no longer exists and my current blog is around 4 years old. During my journey as a blogger I came across your (IHM’s) blog around the time when difficulties in my married life were slowly creeping in (around 2009). Slowly but surely, the open-minded discussions on your blog, inspired me to question life and the people in it more often than before. I learnt the importance of paying heed to my heart and not giving up unless my questions met a satisfactory reply.

This phase was very important in my life because it was when, my ex-husband started complaining that I was a changed person altogether. These mild complains in no time turned frequent and on one occasion when I was adamant to know what exactly he meant by me changing, I received a startling reply.

“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

I have to admit that it took me a long time to realize what he was truly hinting at. While my ex-husband was aware of the existence of my blog, he was never inclined to reading it, owing to the fact, he was least interested in any of the topics that interested me.

However, at the time when I had discovered your blog I was so excited that I used to discuss at length all the points of view I read here with him. His usual ‘hmmm’ held a deeper meaning that I learnt at a point when my life started to fall apart. Without my ever doubting so, he had gradually started checking my browsing history and actually spent time to read the blogs I had slowly begun frequenting when I was not at home.

Much later, when our marriage was on the rocks and our divorce case was in the court, in one of the hearings he told the Magistrate, that ‘I had lost my mind, forgotten the duties of being a ‘good’ wife because I was being brain-washed by the anti-social blogs that I read.’ These were his exact words, which not only left me flabbergasted, but made the Magistrate give me a ‘look’. After a brief pause, my ex-husband took the privilege to actually blame our divorce on my habit of blogging.

Needless to say, I never gave up blogging despite these insane allegations and ended up with a divorce.

Today, looking back at those events after reading the letter shared on your blog, I was tempted to tell the letter writer, that if someone is ‘disturbed’ after reading your blog, that holds account of the real you; it is definitely a red flag.

I say so, because the person is actually expressing his dislike for the person he has encountered in the pages of your blog. He seems to not only find your being openly expressive as objectionable but is also trying to re-frame your approach to life, attempting to remould you.

In my limited life experiences, I have learnt that though people may learn to adjust, seldom do they change from their core beliefs. Trying to mould our lives, thought process, and everything else just to suit someone’s liking ( whom you know for hardly 10 days, are not in love or in a relationship with, is a big ask or rather too much an ask to even consider obliging for) is not worth it.

What has started on the note of expressing ‘dislike’ towards your freedom of expression at this stage, is a sure sign that you are heading on a road where ‘freedom of expression’ or making choices you like, will not be considered acceptable.

Moreover, I feel your best friend is quite right in saying that this man will never be at peace with your past about which he has read at length on your blog. For someone, what his sister thinks about you holds such paramount importance at this stage, ‘Log kya kahenge’ will be a weapon that he’ll blatantly use against you at every point in life from here on.

If for a minute, we assume, that you make your blog private and are happy to accommodate his request to not write a public blog in future, what is the guarantee that this is not just the tip of the iceberg of requests asking you to change as per his perception of a ‘good wife’?

Mind you, we are yet to give due thought to your happiness, peace of mind and integrity staying alive and healthy now and in future (if we consider you marry him).

I have learnt in life that there can never be enough sacrifices a girl can make to please her husband and in-laws in an arranged marriage setup. No-matter what you’ll do (killing the real you) it will be seen as expected from you as a ‘sanskari’ DIL.

Before you take a plunge into the endless pit of ‘adjustments’ please reflect on where your happiness truly lies. The usual norm of believing ‘Shaadi ke baad sab theek ho jayega’ is a blindfold our families tie on our rational minds, to let them decide everything for us, that opens at a time when major damages have been done.

Wishing you the best in your life and hoping you’ll pay heed to your inner voice that has already set the alarm off.

Warm Regards,

My Era

( https://theerailivedin.wordpress.com/ )

Related Posts:

To an Anonymous DIL

An email: He says what am I expecting out of this marriage if I cant even make him happy.

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”

Changing Someone (or oneself)

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

Who would you never ask for advice?

What are you criticised the most for?

Does loving someone mean we should improve them?

 

 

37 thoughts on ““Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

  1. This is so similar to the kind of things that are said about gender/women’s studies departments in universities in India by men who feel threatened by anything that challenges the insurance of their writ. My former HOD used to tell me that the very existence of such departments are threat to happy marriages because all they do is create fights in households. Ha.

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  2. I’m astounded that “reading blogs” can even be brought up in court. Can’t we just have “no fault” divorces where you don’t have to justify your reasons for wanting to separate? Just irretrievable breakdown – that’s it. The whys and hows are none of the court’s business.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Not sure if it exist but this needs to be added in. Judicial system has so no say in people’s personal choices or acting as a moral advisor unless it infringes or harms the right of the other citizen in a tangible way.

      Our system needs a major overhaul in terms of marriage sections
      1. One civil marriage act for all irrespective of caste religion etc.
      2. Divorce should be easy. Judges should not be preaching women to be like sita and stay in the marriage.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you Bhagwad that ‘hows and whys’ is actually none of court’s business, but the family court trials are far from that. In hindsight, I am glad that the above statements were said in the Magistrate’s chamber during the final hearing of our case, cutting out the lawyers and other people who I judge faster than the judge.

      The worst bit is the sad scene where the judicial staff (including the lawyers) laugh, make fun and pass lewd remarks during the case proceedings in family courts.

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      • The irony is that the internet is swarming with angry “men’s rights activists” who are convinced that Indian divorce laws and our judiciary is strongly biased in favor of women.

        Anyone who has actually filed for, and obtained a divorce in Indian courts would know how pernicious the influence of “family values” is.

        In my case, my first ex-husband had a major meltdown during the proceedings.

        Frothing at the mouth, he accused me of being “a terrible wife” because I “did not cook” and because “I provoked fights and arguments”.

        Everyone present, including the female lawyers, looked balefully at me.

        The fact that in the year leading up to the divorce, I was suffering from clinical depression caused by throid issues, was seen as “an excuse” to shirk my “wifely duties”.

        The fact is that the courts treat women seeking divorce as “evil homebreakers” whose shrewish ways have unjustly victimised the hapless husband.

        The husband is always treated as “an innocent victim” in Indian family courts.

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  3. You are absolutely right!
    Family members have wild reactions to the change in us after reading IHM !
    My poor father doesn’t say much except ‘aisa nahi hota hai’ ,’a isa hota hair society mein ‘ to ‘ dimaag kharab ho raha hai – padh padh ke’ !
    Don’t bother so much ! Its unfortunate that your ex clutched at blog reading as an excuse and couldn’t reconcile !
    Here’s what I do – l no longer talk about radical ideas as a rant or even explanations ! I quietly and subtly change!
    I don’t explain myself to people !
    I only talk about these new POV from IHM if I have understood them entirely and properly and if convinced!
    You need to remember that brainwashing is so tight and deep for people ,change is very difficult for them!
    And men benefit from patriarchal practices and so do some strata of women ,…..why will they change the status quo ??

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  4. Frankly it is creepy that your partner would read your blog and later use it against you! And he actually gave that reason for divorce?! Well, more power to such “anti-social” blogs, I say!

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    • I’d like to clarify here that blogging was NOT the reason for divorce, but was actually used to define my ‘non-sanskari bahu’ behavior and how I was in constant touch with the anti-social ideology provoking blogs that had led to the breakdown of cultural values in yours truly.
      All these statements were used to divert attention from the main issues that had led us to file for a divorce.

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  5. It is sad but this is thr thruth… i blog but havent really announced it to the family and inlaws… This is for the same reasons….probably not to the extremeity of a divorce..

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  6. @Myera – It is so low that someone would use the bloody blogs as an excuse in a divorce proceeding.

    Of course many people are not happy with such blogs because they are losing “perfectly programmed Indian bahus and wives” and losing in the power play.

    At least we have progressed from blaming the west for all the evils in the society to blaming Indian blogs for brainwashing. Or have we?

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    • I couldn’t agree more on this @Boiling. Statements like these made by my ex actually reaffirmed my belief that I was actually doing right by divorcing him/ Having seen and heard the ‘Devil’ in him LIVE, I couldn’t share the same space with him for a few minutes, let alone waste any precious day of my life as his wife.

      Such people and their thoughts should be talked about more often, so that others can pick red flags every time they hear someone say such things & many innocent lives can be saved.

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  7. All kinds of things goes on in our socity in the name of patriarchy. My sister’s in-laws are nasty nasty people whose primary job has been to draw a wedge between their son and my sister since the day they got married. Mind you, they do not want my sister to ever divorce him but wanted to never develop a close bond and friendship. As a person, my sister is quite, very disciplined, hardworking, and non-confrontational to a fault. You would not come across too many people with her degree of work ethic and softness. So naturally it is difficult to point mistakes in such people on a day to day basis. Even with such a scenario, the in laws when they come to US to stay with my sister, they constantly used to tell the son about something or the other that would have made her explain herself to no avail. Things turned so sour and unbearable for her, she started expressing what she is going through with us, her side of family. Obviously, everyone in our family was agitated and my father, uncles, and aunts confronted them when they went back to India. When my people asked for reasons for such hostile behavior from MIL, she said my sister spends too much time gardening instead of taking care of her kids, husband, and them. Shocking, isn’t it. I have never seen anyone with kids with a full time job in the US, no maids or household help wakes up at 4.30 AM every day, cooks fresh food for kids daycare, cooks delicious food in the evening (in-laws wait for her to come back home to cook) to take some time out of their weekend schedule for gardening and cook for the family (esp. kids) proudly from the produce. Me and at least 3 friends of mine were so inspired by her, and started our own small veggie gardens. Now these people have this as a reason for the differences between husband and wife and for their constant reprimanding of her. Such is the sorry state of affairs that as a country we have got ourselves in, all in the name of tradition. Now the only good part to this story is the in-laws can visit her only for 6 months in a year in US due to visa rules. But there would be enough wedge between wife and husband (who gets brainwashed every day via phone calls from India) that will last for the time they are not here.
    My sisters story is much bigger to share in this space, but my heart always get wretched to see her living a life with no joy. In my book, she is a people pleaser and non-confrontational to fault. I believe we have to establish firm boundaries from the beginning and confront situations instead of wishing them away. More often than not, I pick up her fights and try to reason with her brain washed husband, yell at her in-laws and establish rules to my entire side of family that no one should feel obligated to do serve or be extra polite to our in-laws (mine and my sisters) just because they are girls side. Every family should give respect only as much as they get. For example, they do not have to be dropped at or picked up from airport just because of us. They should only do that if they are returned every courtesy they are extended. I keep reminding everyone there is no room for feelings of obligation from the girls side. I believe we can may be help ourselves, and our future generations if we start first by respecting ourselves, and stop feeling obligated.

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    • I am amazed each time.
      In laws brainwashing the husband – really??
      The husband is a child who doesn’t have sound reasoning skills ?
      No accountability the husband holds ??
      Then may be time to dump the husband and move on.

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      • Absolutely, the husband holds the entire responsibility. He is the one my sister is married to. The bloody a–h— has to just grow a spine, recognize right and wrong, and stand up to the emotional manipulation his he subjected to, and pure evilness my sister is subjected to. Instead, he choose to do the easy thing by nodding to whatever his mother, and leaving my sister to fend for herself. Though he come across as soft guy and a loving parent, he is ingrained with typical patriarchal beliefs. It is my sister’s fault too, in this day and age, with kind of education and families we have, she is also one of the few people I know who lives a life of subjugation. I do not know, how it happened that we (two sisters and one brother) are brought up by same parents, in the same household; she has such a dependent mindset (mind you inspite of earning close to six digits in dollars) and me and brother can stand up to ourselves, to our parents, or spouses and assert ourselves. I keep analyzing it again and again, I wonder if there is really something like a middle child syndrome. I just keep praying she finds herself somewhere along the way.

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    • Also 6 months at a time? Dear Lord, I wouldnt be able to survive with anyones parents for that long especially in a foreign nation where the in-laws dont have a social life.

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    • I feel so sorry for your sister, Rea. I have often noticed extra nice people seem to trigger sadism in some people, probably people who have an inferiority complex.

      Even gentle souls should learn to keep boundaries.

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      • This! I have been a people pleaser for a very long time.

        I am extra-nice to people partly because of a deep desire to cultivate relationships, and partly because I genuinely feel that the world has more than its fair share of nasty, mean folks.

        I have always found that many people interpret “being nice” as “being a pushover” and “being weak”.

        I am nice, I am soft-spoken and mild-mannered, but I don’t see that as a sign of weakness or submissiveness.

        This is especially true in highly traditional, patriarchal families which have a strict code of behaviour for women.

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  8. Ha! That sounds a bit like why traditionalists don’t want girls to be educated.. things like ‘girls should marry early, zyaada padh legi to ‘adjust’ nah karegi’. Education (whether from blogs, books, degrees) makes one aware of the world, of their own rights and of justice.. and makes them confident enough to demand justice. Uneducated people can be kept slaves forever as they don’t even understand the terms of their slavery. Shame that any court would allow such statements.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very poised post My Era. You have explained the unraveling in your relationship with such quiet sensitivity and the reasons for your decisions with unwavering logic.

    It would make me really angry if someone told me not to read something or write about something. I do not even tell my children that. The right to access information and the right to expression are fundamental human rights.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Parts of two comments caught my attention:
    Ramya: “..It is sad but this is the truth… i blog but havent really announced it to the family and inlaws… This is for the same reasons….probably not to the extremity of a divorce…..”

    Priya: “… It would make me really angry if someone told me not to read something or write about something. I do not even tell my children that. The right to access information and the right to expression are fundamental human rights. …”

    Let’s say a single woman is a blogger, blogs about herself too. Late-twenties or early thirties. Meets a really cool guy. He reads her blog archives too, and they discuss some of them. He is a strong, confident guy. He then says that he would prefer she not blog about herself any more, at least the parts that link to married life, as that would obviously include parts about him.

    Another case – a woman with really young kid(s) starts blogging. Gathers a following. Husband initially appreciates the blog, but slowly starts to tell he is not comfortable with her sharing their family life stuff on the internet.

    What should the woman in either case do? Should she cite examples of other bloggers, or should she recognize that she has the right to share stuff about herself, not husband or children if they object. Is husband in either case reasonable with his request/preference?

    The husbands are not insecure. They do not think the woman has rebellious ideas or is getting corrupted morally due to blogs/blogging. They simply prefer family stuff not be posted on internet, even without revealing real names, because often in blogs enough details get revealed when posts start to touch mid to high double digit numbers.

    My own opinion – in short, is that blogging after family stuff and married life should happen if spouse is OK with it.

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    • Anonymouse, you bring up an interesting point.

      When my husband and I met, I was already writing articles under my real name. He was comfortable with the idea of me writing about myself. I generally did/do not include details about him but if I used one of our interactions as an example, I would be empathetic, respectful and fair in how I described his side of things. I would also share it with him to ensure he was comfortable with those parts.

      Over time, we’ve developed a sort of trust over what I write. Without checking, he knows I don’t share intimate details but may often use my experiences and interactions in analyzing or trying to get a grip on something. Even in those instances, he understands that said situations will be portrayed objectively and fairly. Blogging is something I started recently. I decided to not use my real name on the internet mainly because of hate comments/spam I get for expressing feminist views or when I criticize Indian culture. My husband has access to my blog, he also is aware I guest blog here on IHM’s. He reads some of my writing and sometimes gives me feedback, especially if I ask – am I being unfair/harsh/myopic, etc.

      You are right, some people are not comfortable sharing anything deep, and that’s okay – both spouses should discuss and decide on what feels comfortable to both. In my case, I can’t be in a relationship with anyone who is not comfortable with expressing myself and writing about my experiences and my husband is comfortable with the manner and extent of my sharing.

      You concluded by saying that “My own opinion – in short, is that blogging after family stuff and married life should happen if spouse is OK with it.”

      I agree in theory but there are exceptions – my friend who was my classmate in India (and lived in the US but they moved back several years ago) is in an emotionally abusive relationship with her husband and in-laws. She blogs about her family life with them and they don’t know about it. I don’t see anything wrong here because – this woman has been denied a voice – the blog is the only place where she can talk about her pain – where she can get some helpful advice and support – the only place where she feels respected, validated, understood. So, in her case, she not telling them is justified. Her discussing them under an anonymous id is an insignificant thing compared to their crime of taking away her identity, her supports (every single friend she had), her respect, her choices, their constant insults/blaming/accusations, their placing restrictions on her, insulting her parents, etc. Blogging does give many oppressed women (or women in difficult situations with zero supports) a VOICE and is an important medium for feminism.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. typo in above comment’s last line:
    My own opinion – in short, is that blogging after marriage about family stuff and married life should happen if spouse is OK with it.

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  12. Excellent post My era.And I love that you never gave up blogging for this farce of a marriage.

    I’m continually amazed by the kind of shitty behaviour that our society condones in the name of relationships.I am my truest,most authentic self when I’m writing and I believe that holds good for a lot of people.When someone dislikes your writing, they dislike YOU.I don’t understand the point of all of this torturous relationships where one partner forces the other to change. What is worse is the people who stay in such relationships. Is being alone really THAT terrifying? What is the point in some stupid farce of “love” where one has to give up what they like,change the way they look,eat,drink,sleep and even the way they think?And what exactly are people deciding compatibility on if not thoughts,emotions and views? It sure as hell isnt sexuality,atleast in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not the fear of being alone, it’s the fear of facing social ridicule, judgment, isolation and stigma.

      Almost every divorced woman I know, myself included, has eventually severed ties with, or has distanced herself, from her extended family and friends.

      If Indian society were not so relentless in their judging and condemnation of divorced women, more women would leave unhappy, restrictive marriages.

      My husband also spent 18 years as a divorced man, but he didn’t experience the social isolation, the blaming and the subtle devaluation that I did.

      His friends stood by him, his family stood by him and his colleagues stood by him.

      The opposite happens for divorced women — friends, extended family and even colleagues treat you with either contempt or pity, but never with respect and empathy.

      The penalty for breaking social norms is harsher for women than it is for men.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So Indians want us to become ‘independent, and have careers’, but forbid us to explore further into the world, learn to reason and have a rational mind all in terms that they want to keep “culture and tradition” intact. And so therefore reading a blog just to get a new perspective and idea is bad?

    This is why I never tell anyone I read and am on blogs. God forbid.

    *shakes head*

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  14. When i started reading IHMs blog some 4-5 years ago , It was as If my thoughts got reasoning . I always used to stand up for issues but never had enough arguments to support it . Now I learnt to logically point out on problems , how they impact a person and spoil the whole system.

    I started sharing this to my mom and she also loves this blog . I also learnt a lot from DGs blog . which gave step by step solutions to some problems we all go through our relationships. My dad does tend to fall back on patriarchal mindset once in a while , me and mom just pull him back again .

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    • I agree. Reading these blogs help you to get out of your comfort zone and fight when needed. It helps to and make you realize that life aint perfect and that you must learn to challenge and fight against it. You can’t be walked all over. I feel no one will realize this till they live themselves with no family around.

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  15. Education gives you wings and creativity gives a life to your soul. Human kind has thrived all these years because of its yearning for learning, creativity and innovation. But alas, Indian society thrives on suppression, control and servitude. And hence there is no room for individual expression. The worst part is when our life partners, parents and others close to us do not appreciate our form of expression. If they find shame in just simple written expression, imagine their plight if one was to be a bit more radical!
    Shame on such people that limit the potential of others and curb their creativity and kill their soul in the process!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have always believed that a blog exposes the true person we often tried to hide in fear of the society. I did not know this until one day during a meeting my client mentioned (rather blushing) about reading my blog. He made a fairly good judgement about me without knowing me before that meeting.

    While reading your post i realized that perhaps the blog also exposes the inner person of the reader too?
    Your ex husband read the blog and was not willing to accept things as they were but then perhaps he faced a mirror in looking at your blog, a physical entity that summed his fears?

    Won’t it be really cool if writing a blog is made compulsory for arrange marriage?

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    • You raised an interesting point there @Sid
      I agree that blogging does bring out the real us in one form or the other, especially when a number of posts are read.

      To add to your line of thought, I’d like to add that before my divorce I never ever shared any bits of my personal life on the Internet. It was mainly because my then blog was not a personal one. Despite this fact, my ex-husband had qualms with the blogs I had started reading (IHM & DG’s blogs in particular) because he probably had begun seeing the flaws in his and his family’s thought process and actions.

      I started my current blog to purge the pent up hurt and frustration that had been suffocating me at that time. I wish to give full credit to the love, guidance and support of the many wonderful people I have met in my journey as a blogger to be where I am in life post my divorce

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      • I can relate to this.

        I married for the first time when I was 26.

        While I had begun reading feminist theory in college, especially Germaine Greer and Simone De Beauvoir (may be incorrectly spelt), I did not connect my academic study of feminist theory with the conditions of my own life.

        Marriage opened my eyes to the structural inequality between men and women in India.

        Suddenly, my rights as an individual depended on the whims and fancies of my husband and in-laws.

        I found the “adjustment process” very traumatic and I simmered in silence at all the little injustices I was forced to endure.

        I could not discuss my misgivings and frustrations with anyone I knew.

        Most of my female friends brushed it off and called my quest for an equal marriage “immature” and “dangerous”.

        Then I discovered Ms magazine’s website and their discussion boards. This was in 2002, and personal blogs were rare to come by.

        My then husband was very displeases with the sudden revival of my interest in feminism.

        We were in the US, and I would check out books on feminism from the local library. He’d take one look at the pile of books and glower in anger.

        My then husband conveniently blamed my sudden assertiveness on my reading.

        We were in marriage therapy briefly and my reading was the first things he brought up during the session. He said it made me “angry” and “anti-men”.

        Thankfully, the American therapist tactfully told him that it wasn’t healthy to control a spouse’s reading habits. So that was that.

        An Indian therapist would have probably reacted very differently.

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  17. Incidents like these prove that the blog is indeed making a difference and a big one. Thanks for the blog IHM. Earlier, there were so many things I found wrong but I couldn’t quite put a finger on what about it is wrong or even if I could, I wasn’t able to articulate it well. The blog helped me with both. Plus it was great to know, here is a community of like-minded logical being who could talk rationally.

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