“I have met a lot of Indian guys who say their parents have done a lot for them so they can’t leave them now…”

” …So what about the girls? Haven’t their parents done a lot for them?”

 

Sharing an email from ‘A born feminist’. 

Dear IHM,

I hope you will post my letter. I would love to read all the responses that I get from the readers and I think it will help me a lot in making my decisions.

I think I am a born feminist. From the time I was a child I was highly ambitious and demanded equality. I somehow had a natural knack of
observing and analysing inequality between men and women in my  surroundings. To my great amazement and frustration this was treated
as something ” normal” by everyone.

I remember seeing when I was 7 or 8, I used to visit my Bua’s (dad’s older sister) place and saw that my bhabhi (cousin’s wife) would finish her job, come home, take a quick shower and help my bua in the kitchen. She then sat down with her kid to help with the homework and stuff like that. I remember her being busy from morning till night. On the other hand, my cousin who had his own business and worked from home most of the time didn’t have to do anything once he was done with his job. He came home and ordered for tea while watching TV. This was considered to be completely normal by everyone.

I think here I got the first taste of my growing feminism when I asked my mother why didn’t my cousin help his wife in the kitchen? Why didn’t she get to rest and watch her favourite shows? What made him special? I was amazed that no one questioned it. I was a little disappointed in my parents for not questioning the inequality. However, I was young and soon forgot all
about it.

As I grew older, I noticed a lot of things around me which just didn’t feel right to me. My mum comes from a small town and I remember spending the best times there with my cousins during my summer holidays. I also noticed all my female cousins helping their mums with housework while my male cousins worked in their shops and hung out with their friends. But atleast my male cousins had weekends off. The town was apparently not safe for young women after 8 pm when all the young boys would go out in their bikes in a big group and create a ruckus all over town. This made me mad because I was not allowed to go out because parents did not have control over their 20 something years old boys.

When I was 14 my mum suddenly decided that it was time for me to learn
how to cook and let me tell you it didn’t go down well with me. There were more tears and clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen than actual cooking. If only my mother had said that cooking was a skill that every individual should have rather than something that a girl needs to start learning when she hits puberty in order to prepare her for marriage. I have no regrets not learning and learnt all on my own when I realised I needed to cook for my own survival as a freshman in a new country.

When I was 25 and decided that I was now ready to settle down with a “Nice, Indian boy” one of my criteria was that I didn’t want to live with In-laws.

I am now 28 and let me tell you, all of the men that I have met over these three years have been utterly shocked by me not willing to live with in-laws. I think they consider me self centered and selfish. Here are the reasons why I am justified in not wanting to live with in-laws.

1) I am expected to not live with my parents so how do the boy’s
parents become more special?
2) I have no intentions of living with my parents either after marriage
3) I am ready to give my 100% to my parents and in-laws when they need
me (emotional support, during illness or disability) and I will be more than happy for them to live with us.
4) I want my freedom with my husband.  I have no issues with them visiting us whenever they like.
5) I have no expectations from my parents or my in-laws to help me out
in any way.
6) I want to create a lifestyle with my husband where we create the
way we want to eat, sleep, travel, decorate our house, watch TV, raise
our kids, use our money
7) I don’t expect my husband to be better in any way. I want us to work
together, save together, make plans together, cook and clean together.
I am ready to work hard with him. [link]

So how do the above seven points make me selfish in any way? I have met a lot of Indian guys who say their parents have done a lot for them so they can’t leave them now. So what about the girls? Haven’t their parents done a lot for them? Doesn’t it then, make the girl selfish to leave her parents who have done so much for her and live with a new family she
hardly knows just for her own happiness?

I clearly don’t understand the Indian marriage system and the rules of
patriarchy. I find them very archaic and suffocating. Even if my in
laws are uber modern and supercool why should I have to live with
them? Why cant my ubercool in laws just visit my new family with my
husband over the weekend? I wouldn’t want to live with my MIL even if
she was Sonia Gandhi or Hema Malini. Does it make me selfish?

Related Posts:

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

Is your relationship healthy?

“I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.”

“…it’s better if he is NOT a family guy. Extra points to the one who hates kids.”

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”

“I thought it would indeed be wonderful to live with my in-laws.”

An email: Salary of the prospective groom must be 3-6 times more than the salary of the prospective bride.

An email: “My in laws want me to stay here with them while my husband works in another city.”

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

An email: What worries me is, will we be able to find guys who have a similar thinking process?

“I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

111 thoughts on ““I have met a lot of Indian guys who say their parents have done a lot for them so they can’t leave them now…”

  1. What a post! Very well written.
    A real emotions and feelings of a girl who is planning for a marriage or looking for a partner through arranged marriage. I totally agree with you and all your 7 points. And really , it doesn’t not make you or any other Indian girl selfish at all.
    I am so glad that I found your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been there, done that. And the reasons they give to justify living with parents leave me with a feeling that these boys who call themselves modern or in-line with the current times suddenly want to become ‘shravan kumars’ when it comes to arranged marriage. These are the same boys who will defy the rules made my their own parents when they want to play it cool or do the things they like, ofcourse without letting the parents know. But, when it comes to standing up for the girl, they will always be ‘shravan kumars’ and expect the same from the girl – to do these things for his parents and not for her own. There is a thin line between respecting parents and agreeing blindly to everything they say only when it is about the girl they are married to/going to marry.

    The part about not leaving the parents house also has something to do with leving their comfort zones. In a new home, they might be expected to do equal housework – which they are not used to doing. They might not be served water and asked to help around in the kitchen when they get back from work. The same situation might not arise in the parent’s house where they are the apple of the eye and not expected to help around in any way. Also, if the girl they marry demands help, she might be ridiculed of inefficiency rather than the boy being asked to lend a hand. You get the drift?

    Also, living rent free in a house and not even helping around is way too much to give up for a girl or a marriage where the guy would be expected to be involved in things he doesn’t want to. I have learnt it the hard way, but this is hypocricy at its best and it’s not going to change unless we treat young boys and young girls equally. Most of the boys of our generation have it imbibed in them that they are superior beings – and that is what the whole trouble is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great points! Really made me think. I have in some cases (not all) a little empathy for the men too because they’re raised to please their parents – our society puts pressure on it’s men too to respect their parents wishes and tolerate their meddling as a ‘dutiful’ son should. But you bring up a great point about many of these men who will gladly revolt against their parents in certain matters e.g. clothing, smoking, drinking etc but only when it comes to the DIL will they become ‘shravan kumars’. Double standards and a bit of social conditioning there… but as always, geared towards exploiting women and not men.

      Like

  3. Sadly, this is the Indian society we live in. Exactly the questions I have asked thousand of times and have not got any ans. Hopefully, the guys following this blog might have some better answers to share. Good News – You are still unmarried and you know your expectations and what you want. Though how much help it will do to you in finding the right person is debatable. Would suggest you to look for a non-indian guy as I have not seen any indian guy who can understand these points. And I am only saying ‘Understand’ : he might not think alike but to find a guy who can emphasize and understand this inequality is also a rare species in our society. Dont make the same mistake I did. Got married to a guy thinking that he is open minded and understands at least some things but here I am 5 years down the line and fighting the same old battle everyday.

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      • Dear IHM,

        Somehow we assume that patriarchy is an Indian phenomenon. I read your blog and stories you post and I can say to you without hesitation that we live in a dream world vis a vis our understanding of the west!

        I am married to a European. After several years of marriage and living in India, we “moved” to Europe on very very short notice so we spent the first three years at my inlaws. It was an eye opener for me – they were the typical inlaws we hear of in India. Whether it was an expectation to rise early and wait on my husband at the breakfast table or their endless meddling in how to raise our kids……….I can assure you that there was nothing I could ever do right. We had to perpetually “feel grateful” that we could live with them. If I go through your list of articles that are tagged with this article, I find so many similarities of experiences. It has been a challenge that has taken a toll, over me as a person and definitely on our relationship as a couple. I do however want to share that inspite of all the pressure from his own family, my husband has not stopped helping with the household chores! Patriarchy will probably remain a challenge though, as such ideas are so deep rooted and our human egos prevent us from being more compassionate in relationships.- here is what my younger daughter said to her father recently when I swapped my tea cup with his coffee – “If you were a man, you would have taken your coffee back from mom!” Wonder where that came from!

        Great list and good luck to the young woman whose email you have shared. Selfishness is good, if it is not to harm anyone. Infact, why should setting limits be selfishness in the first place? Why should we put our selves second?

        Love to you all out there, who are making a difference, even if in small ways.

        Like

    • “Would suggest you to look for a non-indian guy as I have not seen any indian guy who can understand these points.”

      Indian men who ‘get’ true equality are probably a rare species , as you say, but of course they do exist. Trying to find such a man in an arranged marriage , while looking exclusively in one caste is what makes them seem even rarer.
      I disagree with your premise that a non-Indian man is by default some sort of pro-equality champion, in my experience this is a silly assumption to make, as plenty of patriarchal thinking also abounds in the West.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In my experience, I’ve seen some American men being sexist and/or patriarchal but the whole in-laws baggage is non-existent. To date, I’ve never met an American man who feels guilty about deserting his parents every time he is nice/sweet/helpful to his wife/girl friend. I haven’t seen any emotional blackmail from parents either. Americans treasure their independence so some of these problems (that LW mentions) are purely Indian/Asian and unique to co-dependent cultures.

        So to answer the LW’s question, “Should I look for a non-Indian man?” my answer would be, “If you did and he’s American or Canadian, you can (and should) evaluate him for who he is as an individual without worrying about his entire clan.”
        If he is European, the answer would be complicated – different parts have different cultures.

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        • I generally agree with your comment except the ‘non existent’ in law troubles part.
          There are plenty of american communities with family structures similar to Indian families ( italian americans, orthodox jews) where in law trouble can potentially crop up, although it would not approach the degree seen in our culture.

          There was even an American movie called Monster-in-law about an MIL/DIL relationship🙂

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        • Desi Daaru, did you actually see the movie you are referencing?

          Do you think any Indian MIL would be described as a monster-in-law for behaving the way the MIL in that movie behaved? On the contrary. She would be pretty much a saint by Indian standards. Just for example, the MIL in that movie did not have any issues with the DIL drinking alcohol, wearing “skimpy” clothes, or even not being a virgin before meeting her son. Can you imagine?!

          Let’s not be in too much of a hurry to say the rest of the world is just as bad as us. Patriarchy exists everywhere, true, but it’s also true that some parts of the world are way worse than others.

          India, for your information, is one of the world’s five worst countries for women. Every time you are tempted to think that your (and my) very privileged freedoms are “normal”, let’s remember that we are the 1%. We have no right to erase the struggles of Indian women just because we think it’s not so bad for us.

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      • Just because a guy is a non Indian does not mean he is going to be pro equality. That would be an erroneous assumption. However, I do feel that it is relatively difficult to find an Indian guy who is independent of his family.

        Generally, I have noticed that in laws interference is definitely negligible outside of Asia and slightly lesser in east Asia as well. Even if there are movies made on it, it does not mean that the phenomenon is widespread. Also, outside Asia, the in-laws interference goes both sides unlike in South Asia where it is mostly the guys parents dictating stuff to the DIL.

        At the end of the day, I feel it depends on your spouse and how much they will stand up to their parents. In Asia, children are taught to obey while in the west, parents expect their children to rebel. So, parents slowlys learn to let their children go even if they do not want to because kids can and will rebel.

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  4. The title of this post is the exact reason for the breakdown of my 4 year relationship, putting everything aside what it came down to was that they wanted a daughter in law to live and serve, if he married me that wouldn’t happen and he would be living in a different country, and ultimately because his parents had looked after him his whole life, ‘done a lot for him’ he felt to go against their wish was betrayal – putting his own wishes and dreams aside for them.

    I am not a selfish person, but on the same account I couldn’t live a miserable life to please others. However, I don’t feel anyone who cares for me would even put me into that situation in the first place!

    I pray from his own experience that he doesn’t put the same pressure on his own children’s shoulders in the future…. Although I fear he will through bitterness and regret of the life he gave up x

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh this is Brilliant ! I should also blame the parents for not kicking their kids out when they are old enough to end for themselves. I know a lot of parents who exert a lot of indirect pressure by telling the kids that they need them, and they should not leave their parents in their “Budhapa”. A lot of guys end up bowing under this sort fo pressure. If the kids are there to help the parents in case of need (point 3) Why cant the kids be allowed to live the way they want.

    Like

  6. No you are not selfish. This is plain double standards and the men do not want to leave because they are benefiting from the situation as well.

    Why not look for someone who has lived abroad or is living abroad because it could change your perspective and they may be used to doing things on their own.

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  7. I have always wanted to ask this question. I am a guy. What if I told an Indian woman that I want to stay at home and cook and clean and raise kids while she goes out to work? What are the chances Indian women will call me lazy?

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    • I don’t get your point. Are you trying to convey that men don’t have a choice either or that women who stay home to “cook and clean and raise kids” get an easy deal?

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      • Definitely didn’t say women who cook and clean get an easy deal. The point I am making is that a man wishing to take up a traditionally female gender role faces much much more resistance than a woman wishing to take up a traditionally male gender role.

        Society pressurizes both men and women into gender roles. This is called patriarchy; fighting patriarchy is supposed to be the intellectual basis for feminism. And while I see Indian feminists talk extensively on how women’s choices are denied (and rightfully so!), there is little to nothing said about how men are denied choices by the same patriarchy. At best the denial of men’s choices is a disclaimer or a footnote, with one mention of men for every 100 mentions of women.

        Answer this question honestly: what are you more likely to see in Indian society today: people who are supportive of a little girl wanting to become an engineer or people who are supportive of a little boy wanting to be a homemaker?

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        • Honestly, I would not support anyone’s choice of being a homemaker, unless they absolutely have to – for example, if they have elderly relatives and cannot afford full time healthcare, etc. Otherwise, my support goes for everyone getting the opportunities to follow their hobbies and dreams, be educated in the field of their choice, work hard at a career of their choice and be paid well enough for a basic standard of life. I am not saying all these ideas are practical today, but I think that’s what we should be working towards.

          Labour laws must be more realistic and considerate of the ground realities of inflation and social obligations. Support system in the form of funded and safe day care facilities for children and nursing facilities for elderly must be set up. Food for everyone, shelter for all.

          Sorry for the utopian comment, but that’s where we should be heading. There is no actual need for most people to “make homes”, imo. The world won’t come end if the bedsheets don’t get ironed or if a 3 course meal isn’t being cooked every single day. Unless you like to cook, then you can start a catering business and help out other people who hate to cook!

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        • Your “Poor Men!” comment may have a point but the fact remains that the Patriarchy is constructed to help men (and their families) and not women. When you ask how a boy who wants to be a homemaker will be received by a society; why don’t you consider a fact that it’s so rare to come across such boys since they can so easily have a ready-made domestic slave (wife) for themselves?

          Besides, being a homemaker doesn’t yield any monetary benefits. Homemaking is not something anyone aspires to “become”. It’s a situation choice for most women who opt for it. If they had necessary support and conducive environment, they’d probably do something more with their lives.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ok, understood.🙂 I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better in online discussions to clarify rather than assume either way.

          Anyway, I agree with you. It appears to me as well that Indian feminists do not, on an average, champion the cause of men as their primary goal. Even I view it as a happy side-effect of my main battle. Let me illustrate why this is with a few examples:

          My friend’s maid’s husband and son not only “stay home” but also don’t take care of the home and kids. They’re basically unemployed alcoholics who leeches off this woman and frequently physically abuse her.

          Many women who write here have been physically and mentally tortured. Their lives are in danger unless they escape

          Young girls are frequently deprived of food and education so that their brothers might benefit.

          Consider yourself a doctor in an ER. Would you treat a heart attack first or a sprained ankle first? Granted they’re both legitimate problems and both patients are suffering, one can wait, the other cannot.

          I can sense an objection coming through. hang on. I’m not done🙂

          However, when it’s a systemic problem, we have to address it systemically. Women can’t advance in the workplace unless men step up at home. Men can’t pursue their passions unless we lift the pressure on them to be breadwinners. So men are an important part of the picture too. IMO, the first place to start will be with some level of de-conditioning. If men who think like you stepped up, you can make a difference.

          Unlike the MRA’s who frequent this site, I sense that you understand feminism is a win-win proposition. We’re not looking to take away something from men (other than a sense of entitlement over another human being’s choices). We’re looking for a fairer, more equal society. So go ahead as you have done. Highlight the issues. Chances are, people would have never thought about it. I for one think the world needs more vocal male feminists🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Chaiwallah, You make an excellent point. Yes, Feminism should support a little boy wanting to be a homemaker.
          You hear more about women’s issues because more women are active in Feminism and are talking about their needs. Women are fighting for eqaulity – only after they get what they want can they then start looking at what men want. So what we need is more men to embrace and be active in Feminist activities and make their voice heard.

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        • @Chaiwallah,

          Wao, you are still stuck in this question if Feminism in India speaks about male oppression. we settled that question in early 1990s before heading to ICPD Beijing. Jagori did a series on easy to understand books written by Kamla Bhasin in both Hindi and English
          That was a time realization had settled women’s empowerment is impossible without empowering men who were equally stuck as in order to keep women on the lowest rung of social ladder men had to stand on women on the lower rung, they could not move. If they had to move they had to let women move too.
          This is one reason Grameen Banks, moved from women only to men too coz’ even though men were greater defaulters of loans and wasted money that women used to feed the families but would not let women function coz’ their masculinity and male pride was bruised.
          5 Reasons Why Muhammad Yunus Focuses on Lending to Women
          http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2014/01/5-Reasons-Why-Muhammad-Yunus-Focuses-on-Lending-to-Women#.VYLJuUbYqQw
          https://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/reswkpap/pdf/rwp10-11.pdf

          What is Patriarchy? Kali for Women, 1993.
          Pitrsatta kya Hai ? Jagori 1994
          Bhala ye Gender Kya Hai?
          Nariwad: Yeh Akhir Hai Kya ?
          Ladki Kya Hai, Ladka Kya Hai. Jagori, 1998.

          Here on the last page you can see list of few of her writings.
          http://azimpremjifoundation.org/sites/default/files/userfiles/files/New_Arrivals_Bks_16_21Dec_2013.pdf

          Best read on contemporary oppression of Indian men with be Radhika Chopra’s, South Asian Masculinities (2004) http://www.amazon.ca/South-Asian-Masculinities-Context-Continuity/dp/8186706755

          Oh, you’ll contend what about middle class privileged women all DG has talked about is under privileged “Ablaa Naris of Bharat,” please read all the resources provided here you’ll learn a thing or two about middle class too.
          Please educate yourself before you make blanket statements.
          Peace,
          Desi Girl

          Like

        • Saying that I have a problem doesn’t minimize your problem. Do you expect me to make a customary mention of Chaiwallah’s problem everytime I express my issue? You’re basically annoyed over that. This very website brings up this issue time again as you’ll find if you look through archives.

          But seriously, you honestly think the Indian man has it as bad as the Indian woman? Are you so self absorbed that you cannot see how much worse the women around you have it? You not being able to stay at home is just the same as women getting routinely beaten up, not being able to decide their own clothes, not being able to decide how to raise their own kids? Really?

          Like

        • Why is it that every time a woman talks about how patriarchy is being unfair to women there is at least one guy trying to derail/hijack the discussion with the classic unhelpful line ‘Men also have it bad; why don’t you talk about them?’

          Why do you raise the ‘Men also treated unfairly by patriarchy’ stuff only as a reply to women who complain about patriarchy? Is that supposed to console women or what? Are you trying to tell us that we should just suck it up because men also do?

          Why should this always be turned into a ‘Who suffers more due to patriarchy: Men or Women?’ kind of discussion?

          The LW has specifically observed inequality around her concerning WOMEN and has written to IHM’s blog asking for opinions. Maybe because she is a woman she can identify more with women’s struggles. There is nothing wrong in that. Has she anywhere mentioned that men have it all?

          If you have also observed inequality concerning men (like male homemakers being looked down by society) or feel strongly about unfair male stereotypes then why don’t you start a separate discussion or write to IHM raising this topic? Then you will see comments relevant to that!

          These ‘Indian Feminists’ that you talk about are people like you, me, LW, IHM and the commenters here. We write to IHM, discuss about various aspects of gender equality based on OUR life experiences. If more men like you would come out openly and talk about patriarchy’s unfair pressure on men then you will see much more discussion happening around this in the media, internet etc.
          Anyway, most of the commenters here always advise the LW (be it a man or woman) to live their lives free of gender stereotypes doing what they love and believe in and stand up for themselves.

          And to answer your question: Yes, I feel society will be more supportive of a little girl wanting to be an engineer. Your point?

          Liked by 1 person

        • @Fem. Your capitalist soldier’s utopia makes me shudder. Fortunately some people are willing to invest time and effort to take care of the young, the old and the sick. Why should you support their dream ? Because one day you will be frail and old and dependant upon this type of individuals.

          Liked by 1 person

        • @Porcupine,

          Huh, where did I say no one should take care of elderly and young?! If you actually read my post, you would know I was talking about the necessity of there being resources for people to help with these things, especially if you also want to have a life of your own. Thought that was pretty clear.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Chaiwallah, how can women fight men’s fights?

          As women, we have broken with traditions, made hard and difficult choices, and support men who also wish to break with traditions.

          What we cannot do is fight the battle on men’s behalf.

          They will have to do this themselves.

          Like

        • “The point I am making is that a man wishing to take up a traditionally female gender role faces much much more resistance than a woman wishing to take up a traditionally male gender role. ”

          Chaiwallah you are so wrong.

          Have you ever seen an Indian woman *really* try to take up a male gender role? Don’t think going to work and earning money alone is taking up a male gender role. Oh no.

          The male gender role in India is:

          – Expecting to go to work whenever and however long you please. Traveling if necessary, as much as you want. Moving if you want and knowing your family will definitely move with you without question.

          – Relaxing after coming home. Being served chai and coffee and juice and beer by your spouse while you rest.

          – Your kids’ bathing, cleaning, clothes, health, food, tantrums, homework, school work, birthday parties, social circle, activities, emotional needs, etc ALL being taken care of by your spouse alone, and you get to just play with them

          – Taking on a leadership role in the workplace and at home, with nobody thinking that’s weird or crazy or ballbusting

          – Having your spouse move in to your house, no questions asked, and caring for, feeding, and serving your parents at the expense of their time & energy, no questions asked

          – Being topless whenever

          – Being priests in almost all temples, and religious leaders in mosques and churches too

          – Catcalling and sexually harassing people of the other sex every day while loitering on the streets

          – Expecting spouse to take your name after marriage, and passing on your name on to your kids

          … I could go on forever, but you get the idea. THAT is the male gender role. How easily do you think women can actually do all that?

          On the contrary, dude, it is actually much MUCH easier for you to become a stay at home husband and wear a dress if you like than for a woman to do any of the above.

          Like

    • Just like how the LW is being called selfish, you will be branded lazy. But I think that should not deter you. It is welcome decision if that is how you and partner plan it out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am an indian woman and I will not call you lazy.
      The scenario you say is not that prevalent and it is not right.
      In my extended family, there is just a single couple from previous generation with this set-up and they have a great life. Their set-up is not because of some circumstances, but because of the choice they made.
      The husband hated office work. So when his wife started earning quite well, he left his job.
      What I wanted to say is that this is possible.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why would be considered lazy if you want to be a stay at home dad ? Housework, taking care of kids – it is no joke !!!! True that it is not much valued and appreciated but it does not make a home-maker lazy.
      For marriage to work you need to find a partner who wants the same things at you. You need to find a wife who wants to build a career ( building a career is different from having a job) and who would appreciate having someone at home to take care of house and kids.
      At my work place they encourgae women to take up leadership positions. The ones who can do that are the ones who husbands take over the house. Basically it is the same principle !!!!!
      However the vast majority of us women are juggling home, kids and our jobs.
      Even if my husband would offer to stay at home so that I can concentrate my career – I guess that is not something I would want – not bercause I think he is lazy but because I want to be with my child as much as possible. Most women are geared that way but of course people are different.

      Like

    • If the woman were half as lazy as I am, she’d be more than happy to let you take care of the house.😛 (My only concern even then would be boredom and the monotony, though maybe not once kids enter the picture).

      On a more serious note, I think as long as you’re comfortable with it (dealing with society, the jeering or whatever), and your partner if okay with it, the question of being labeled ‘lazy’ does not arise. It is just a personal choice that you as a couple have chosen to make.

      Like

  8. @ Chaiwallah high-five from another guy.

    Dear author, be careful in stating your expectations. Someone might just trick you.
    // 4) I want my freedom with my husband. I have no issues with them visiting us whenever they like.
    What if your in-laws decide to visit you and stay for months altogether? So perhaps, you should put another condition that in-laws can visit anytime, but they shouldn’t stay with us for more than few weeks unless it’s a medical emergency.

    Like

    • What the author is demanding in this case is just plain equality. If the in-laws decide to visit and stay for months, maybe the couple should talk about it first and then decide what is fit for them as well as how they can live in harmony with parents. And when I say parents, I mean both set of parents ( the boy’s AND the girl’s)

      It is another matter altogether that if the girl’s parents want to visit and then stay for few months, most Indian families won’t approve of that. But then everyone feels it’s completely normal for the boy’s paretns to do so. And we talk of equality. Ha!

      Like

    • There’s such a thing called discussion. It’s a pretty cool thing that most teams do. Married couples should try it too.

      If my in laws were coming over to stay for months, you bet I’d expect that it be discussed with me. Same rule when my parents visit as well. My home is not their home.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chaiwallah, Not many Indian men have the courage to do what you are proposing. The only thing today’s women demand is that they don’t want to be forced to behave in a certain way, which they don’t find fit, which, in this case, is living with the in-laws. If you want to be a home-maker and raise your kids, it is entirely your choice and no woman can deny you that. You’re not crazy, but you’re doing just what today’s Indian women want – equality to decide for themselves what they want to do or not do.

    Like

    • You are very right when you say all that the Indian woman wants today is the freedom to take her own choices.
      I once met 2 friends of mine – one a stay at home mother. one a full-time career woman. And then me, who has a part-time job.
      Well all of us had to hear from random people why are choice is not right for the family – for the children – for the house and so on. It felt like no matter what you do – you would always be judged.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can relate to this. I am a full time working mother. Once when my daughter, who was then 4 yrs old, fell down in the playground and began crying. As I was walking to her to calm her down, a friend said “see she needs your attention. You should stop going to work”. I stared at her and said “she fell down and cried. What has that go to do with we going to work?”. Yes, many people have an opinion on our personal choices. Wonder why it is so difficult for people to ‘live and let live’.

        Like

  10. I have the same questions, so I agree with you completely. And no, of course you’re not selfish.

    I was discussing this with a male friend and asked him why he expects his wife to move in with his family, would he be willing to live with her family. He said it was a matter of honour & pride, he didn’t want to be called ‘veetoda maapillai’ (groom of the house, literally translating). (His wife initially wanted them to live alone, but now lives with his family – I don’t know how that came about).

    I believe some parents also have a stigma when it comes to staying for extended periods of time, even if their daughter or son-in-law have no problems with it. I do not understand why, though.

    Almost everyone in my family cooks. I learnt cooking rather late (and learnt a bit from my brother!), but mainly to cook for myself the dishes I like🙂 Like you, I believe that cooking is a necessary survival skill. I am no gourmet chef, but I know that I can cook well enough to survive.

    Some of my male friends live on their own, away from other parents. They cook and maintain their houses. I’m not sure how many of them would stop cooking/doing household chores after marriage. Also, I think it’s very unfair that the onus is always on the girl to shift to the guy’s city (if they live in different cities).

    I am much like you in these “expectations”, and I get told not to have so many expectations and to ‘compromise’. I personally believe I’m not all that rigid, but there are some essentials that I do not wish to ‘compromise’ on.

    I wish you luck in finding an equal partner🙂

    Like

    • Musingmaiden. Please don’t compromise on your core beliefs. Your expectations are not unreasonable at all.

      I have a mother-in-law who has refused to have a relationship with me, and has ignored me the few times that she has met me.

      I have clearly told my husband that I will NOT be taking care of her when the time comes, though I will be happy to help in other ways.

      Relationships are a two-way street. I am not obliged to be nice to someone who hasn’t returned the favour.

      So draw your own boundaries. Stick to your guns, no matter what people say.

      Like

      • Thanks for the reassurance, Neha.

        I see my expectations as very reasonable. And I will definitely not compromise on my core beliefs. I’d rather stay single or wait for someone whose values match mine. And selfish as it may sound, my primary relationship would be with my partner, and what is important is that we share the same beliefs/values and are able to communicate openly with each other.

        And once again, thanks for the support🙂

        Like

  11. You are right except the girl being “selfish” for leaving her parents. If you consider girls as individuals, this argument will make sense, but in India, girls are considered as a property, first of her parents and then, of her husband and in-laws. Girls/women in India are expected to live for others. Having mere opinions and choices will project her as self-centered. Women are caricatures of roles associated with them and not even considered human in this country.

    Living with in-laws and living with her parents are two drastically different phenomenons. A girl who lives with her in-laws is expected to “serve” them. If a girl continues to live with her parents after a certain age, it brings so much shame that the parents of girls are overly eager to get them married. In fact, leaving parents and getting married to a “suitable boy” is seen as a fulfillment of a girl’s duty towards her parents. That’s even why, rarely any indian parent feels a sense of loss after “marrying off” a daughter. Instead, it’s considered somewhat as getting rid of their responsibility (burden).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. [QUOTE]I have met a lot of Indian guys who say their parents have done a lot for them so they can’t leave them now. So what about the girls? Haven’t their parents done a lot for them?[/QUOTE]

    LOL, NO, whatever made you think that? They picked us up from the garbage bin. The cat left us there and forgot to take us with it when it went away.

    While this argument held water in the past when child marriages were rife and girls were not sent to school but just married off at the age 4, whereas the boys were sent to school to study – involving expense – it is absurd to make this statement today. Just shows that people just parrot things without sparing a thought to what they talk. Good for them! They put their intelligence or the lack of it on public display.

    Like

    • Well, it benefits them. Most women in middle-class families earn money nowadays.

      Most middle-class women are college-educated professionals. Parents spend as much on a daughter’s education, as they spend on the son’s.

      Yet, after the woman is married, who lays claim to her earnings? Her husband and in-laws.

      My neighbour is a case in point. She brought her in-laws a three-bedroom apartment to put some space between herself and her in-laws.

      She has a high-paying job, but guess who benefits from it? She now works long hours to pay for the apartment, but says it’s entirely worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear LW, The answer to your is NO. No, you are not selfish. It’s reasonable to expect this.

    Stick to your principles and you will surely meet someone who understands your stance and supports you.

    Like

  14. I think not wanting to live with in laws is not a big deal ! But when you outrightly voice it in marriage market your chances of finding a good guy diminishes !
    In India,nobody thinks about girl’s parents- frankly girls’s parents themselves are OK with this ! They don’t demand much from their little girls- except that they should get married !
    I am glad you are thinking about your parents !
    Many girls themselves go away ,get married and say this is fate !
    Keep searching if lucky you will find an equal mate !

    Like

      • There are some guys who don’t want to live with their parents after marriage ….they are ‘good’ too ! Its just that when they make that decision it some how falls in place ! But during meetings if the girls insists on living separately,…. I don’t know something happens to these guys ! But as I said, there is nothing wrong in putting across that you don’t want to live with in laws !
        I know some oldies who don’t want to live with dils too….and they are happy that finally left the house ! Too much natak of dils,they said !
        So living together depends on how people are and the dynamics of the house !

        Like

    • “Good boy” is a different thing for different people. From my experience there are plenty of in-laes who dont want a sond and dil hanging around crimping their style. Yes i mean even the orthodox ones. My MIL for one cant abide her dils staying in her house more than 10 days. even vacations she prefers we leave the kids for her to pamper and son and dil go out .
      she is old and really doesnt want to serve or be served or anything, she just wants to be left alone ot do her thing. so there are MILs out there who really dont want to hang around with a son and dil. me for one cant wait to get my kids off on their own. and travel the world two tkts less🙂

      Like

    • “But when you outrightly voice it in marriage market your chances of finding a good guy diminishes”

      How? By her standard, a good guy would be one who treats her as an equal human being and accepts her wishes of not desiring to live with parents. I’d say it only weeds out the undesirable guys who expect you to move in with their parents even though they wouldn’t want to live with yours.

      Like

  15. Indian parents often remind their adult children of their “sacrifices” and how much they have done for them. Yes, they have, but it’s called parenting, not a “sacrifice”. If I lecture my cat or puppy on how much I “sacrifice” for them, they will look at me funny and stroll off. That, I think, is a valid response to such blackmail.

    Liked by 5 people

    • LMAO at your cat/puppy reference.
      Yes, that is ridiculous. I think we have got it ass backwards in India. The parents choose to have kids and hence owe it to the kids. Whether or not the kids decide to take care of them in their old age is a separate issue. But it is shameful if the parents expect their children to. The sense of duty is from the parents towards the kids, not the reverse.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. There is nothing wrong with your expectations. But, please make sure your prospective partner & family clearly understands your expectations. The person should be some one who can stand for himself and doesn’t get influenced that easily by others opinions.
    You are not selfish but I would say you are more practical.
    I know many of men/women who suffer through joint-family-live-in-setup but they just got used to it and everyone were adjusting. It works for some and it doesn’t for some.

    Some men are open and some don’t. There will be double standards.

    An instance were a friend of mine got married to the only child. She set her expectations straight, that she would want to a) work b) want to stay away in different city from in-laws for at least 2 years and then move into the same building as theirs but have a flat of their own. Live close but not together was her idea. He agreed. They got married.
    Post wedding, when the topic came, he disclosed this arrangement to his mother – then, the hell broke out. They were hardly married but the mother-in-law brain-washed this guy to the extremities. He could not see what a toxic environment got created and created a rift between the newly married couple. The fact that he had to stay with his parents post marriage due to visa issues and the girl has to come back to her job in different country made the matters worse. He liked the idea of the smart, independent working women but did not like her opinions post marriage. Their marriage suffers. The mother thinks that her child is being separated.
    Both sides of the family suffers coz of this marriage.

    Like

  17. You know your post is bang on, I always harbored a wish to never stay with the in-laws after marriage, but, never had the guts to speak out. By sheer stroke of luck, I got married to my husband who was in US at the point of time and had not intention to return. His parents were not interested in settling in US, they visited us three times in the last 16 years and each stay was very pleasant. My SIL is divorced and she met a few indian men through marriage bureaus and very clearly said that she doesn’t want to live with in-laws after marriage as her marriage broke down due to their interference. Till today, no guy has shown any inclination to agree. Every time she meets a guy (a divorcee only as unmarried men do not show much inclination to marry divorced indian women, thanks to our narrow minded mindset), he says that he wants his wife to “adjust” as his first wife never did which is why their marriage broke down. The same discussion happened with 35 men and every single time, she got the exact same response. Now, she has decided not to get married, she was like why the hell should I willingly get into a relationship that will only cause me problems. I fully support her, she is my best friend, more like a sister. I am very protective of her and only her happiness matters to me. I am standing firmly by her side and will do whatever it takes to support her. I have given it back to my so called relatives when they made snide remarks at my SIL’s single status.

    Today, she has great qualifications and she just got an offer from a well known MNC. More power to her and women like her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is great. However, I wonder if the negative responses she gets from guys are a result of going through arranged marriage bureaus and looking for people within the same caste or community.

      I am not saying she has to get married again but clearly as she is interested, why not look to date people irrespective of caste/state/community/country and instead focus on who she likes? Why not westerners where dating divorcees is not a taboo.

      Like

  18. Dear LW

    I have been labelled as Rebel by lot of people for sharing my equality thoughts. I proudly call myself Feminist but have been literally shunned by other women/men who see feminism as some sort of bitchy attitude. When I talk about equality and bride’s parents role in patriarchy and how unfair it is, I have been criticized by highly educated and working class young women (Forget men) as how I am breaking the so called Indian culture. Their comments were liked by almost all men on my FB post.

    Now I have stopped voicing my opinions on FB because most men (almost 90%) would not ever conform to the idea of pre-marital discussion of living separately or equal rights of women.
    When it comes to marriage, they openly support joint family structure as they say they have seen their mother living in joint family set up, no matter whether their mothers cribbed all their life and learnt manipulations of all sorts and imbibed same values in their sons and daughters.

    LW, my advice to you is look for a NRI guy. I honestly dont think your conditions or thoughts will be easily accepted by large section of Indian society, but dont succumb to pressure of living in joint family set up. Live your life the way you want to live, wait for right time and right guy. Also, some men might say that they agree to all your points but change their attitude once they get married, so beware of oath-breakers color-changing chameleons.

    Take all the time in the world before settling down in matrimony. Would love to hear your story once you get married, hope you find your type of guy soon🙂

    Take Care
    FS

    Like

  19. LW, I completely agree with you. Could never get the concept of joint family. Even if the guy’s parents are awesome and super cool, like you said. For this simple reason – if joint families are so awesome, why not build one around the girl’s parents?

    Stick with your principles. The primary goal should be the ability to make an independent living and being happy with yourself. If Mr. Right comes along, then great. If not, you have a great life anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This ! Word !
      “if joint families are so awesome, why not build one around the girl’s parents?”

      Conversely, I have argued [and still do] that if joint family is so awesome, guys would have always gone and lived with in-laws. After all, didn’t they write all the shastram/sampradayam and all that crap?

      “Great minds think alike”🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Regarding the thread on homemakers –
    – a man being discriminated against for being a home maker is certainly wrong. But it’s a separate topic and must be discussed in it’s own right with due consideration. Bringing it up here is making an unhelpful comparison between men’s and women’s suffering in patriarchy. It also takes the focus away from the LW’s questions and derails the discussion.
    – a homemaker’s job is NOT EASY. Most women who are homemakers have to cook 8 meals a day (assuming 4 members lunch and dinner), do dishes (my household generates 3 loads a day), cleaning, laundry (several loads a week), driving on errands, paying the bills, making appointments and visits to doctors, school visits, entertaining guests, supervising repairs and renovations, shopping for groceries and supplies, taking care of sick children, driving them to sports and events, and TON of other stuff to do.
    – When there is a family of 4, sometimes it becomes practical to have this division of labor – one parent earns and the other provides unpaid services that save on the family’s costs and taxes.
    – In the US, the unpaid cost of homemaking (food plus child care plus cleaning alone) can come to several 1000s of dollars. This doesn’t include all the other tasks I mentioned. If one of the parents does a medium/low income job, you pay so much in taxes on the overall income that it is financially smarter for one parent to stay home and avoid the cost of childcare, cleaning, having a cook, etc.
    – Homemaking is therefore a valid, (in many cases financially viable and practical) choice that a family with kids can make. It must of course be a joint decision and both parents must be happy doing what they’re doing. If both partners like to work outside, they must find a different solution. For child-free couples, none of this applies and both are free to pursue their careers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been a homemaker twice for 3 years each for the time when each of my kids were born. I remember juggling hundreds of tasks every day, going to bed worn out, and still thinking of the things I didn’t finish. The rest of the time, I’ve worked either full time or part time. I currently work full time, but in a flexible job. Trust me, none of these roles are easy, and every one of them is packed with work.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. In India, I think if a woman expresses her needs and thoughts she is automatically considered selfish. I went through the same rigmarole of “meeting boys” when I was 23 and I was adamant that I would not live with anyone’s parents. I was told by my own parents that this was not a good condition to put forward and to stop being selfish. Much like your mother, mine also gave me the talk on learn how to cook for marriage. I was given no explanation as to how this was a necessary skill to survive, only that this was a skill a wife needs to have. I did not learn how to cook at that time and like you, learned only after I was living on my own in the United States as a graduate student.

    However, if I had decided to behave like a docile and mindless cow, I would have been praised left, right, and center. “Look how she listens to her parents”. During a phase (which I call my idiot why were you not thinking phase) when I actually bought in to all this patriarchal bs and did vratas you would think I was Sita incarnate the way these older women would praise me.

    However, the minute I got out of this mindset and told an older man that I expected my future husband’s family to pay for their share of the wedding expenses, I was called mentally ill (in case you were wondering, I stuck to my guns and my husband and I paid for our own wedding). I still remember the pin drop silence in a wedding hall when I chose to consume alcohol at a friend’s wedding because, you know, “good” girls don’t consume alcohol.

    Stick to your guns and do not let go of your way of thinking. You are not being selfish, they are.

    Raina.

    Like

    • Lolz ! hats off to you for scandalising people by consuming alcohol. We need lots of such badass women. You go girl !
      I too did not learn to cook until I moved abroad. Still I am not an expert cook but a decent one.
      And kudos to you for sticking to your principles and getting your way in sharing the wedding expenses.

      Like

  22. Warning: Long comment!
    Skip if you are busy.
    ======

    Dear “born feminist”
    No, you are not selfish.
    You are just being what all modern young women should be, and our generation never was except for rare exceptions like me.
    Take your time to find the right person and be honest about your views right in the beginning, so that heartaches are avoided later. Never mind if it takes long to find the right person.
    Just to reassure you, here is my own story

    I am 66 now. I got married at 26. I am one of three sons.
    I never lived with my parents after the age of 18 which was the age at which I left home to stay in a hostel. After my marriage, my parents never lived with me except on short visits every two or three years and that too for never longer than a couple of weeks. I and my wife would visit them once every year or two and stay as long as our jobs permitted.

    They never needed to move in with me for nearly all my married life. They were proudly independent till the last few weeks of their lives when for reasons of ripe old age they just had to move in with me or one of my brothers. They took turns to stay with us for several months at a time. When they left one house to go to my brother’s house, it was never because they were unwanted at one place but only because they wanted a change and they missed the grandchildren in the other house. We brothers lived in different cities.

    My wife is one of four daughters.
    Fil retired a few years after my marriage with two daughters still to be married and no house of his own. He always lived in quarters provided by the company he worked for.
    They moved in with me permanently. They had no choice but to do so. They had no son. Their other married daughter was part of large joint family.

    Fil passed away three years ago, after after living with me for the last 32 years of his long life. Mil is still living with me 90 percent of the time and briefly spends a couple of weeks every two years or so with her other daughters.

    My youngest sis in law right from senior school to her graduation and marriage lived with me and wife along with her parents.

    My parents never made an issue of me supporting my in laws.
    Only some jealous relatives (of my wife) used to pass sarcastic remarks that I had been practically “kidnapped” by my laws from my own family.
    I just laughed it off though my wife would of course bristle with rage.

    My parents and in laws had the best of relations. Father and Fil were from the same village and knew each other since childhood. There were short periods when the house was full , with my parents and in-laws living with me and my children. The atmosphere during these short stays was festive and my children would have a whale of time being pampered by both sets of grandparents.

    My wife started to work at a full time job when my daughter was four years old. I actually helped her in getting that job and encouraged her all along.
    She could go to work without any worries as my in laws lived with us full time and took care of the house and would also baby sit my children. I used to go on frequent tours and would also take up short postings too at project sites, living alone, without worrying about the family.

    I built a 2200 square feet, two storied 4 bedroom / three bathroom house in Bangalore when I was 35. I could not have afforded it on my Public Sector salary. But with my wife’s earnings to look forward to, we put in just 25 percent of our savings. I took a loan for another 25 percent. My parents pitched in with 25 percent and the last 25 percent came from my in-laws who gave me all they were left with after they had got all their daughters married and the unsaid condition was that their security was here after my responsibility. I have discharged that responsibility. Today that house which I built for just 5 lakhs and lived in for over 20yers is worth over a crore and half and the rent from it meets my needs. I live in another apartment nearby. I am acutely aware that I would never have able to own that property without all the support that I got from my wife, parents and in laws, at that time, way back in 1985.

    I have shared house work with my wife. But she does not allow me to cook saying I am too lavish with the ingredients in the kitchen..Besides with two women in the house already (wife and Mil) I was clearly an intrusion. So I was content to peel and cut vegetables, roll chappaaties, and help do the dishes when the maid servant played truant. I also would dry the clothes in our terrace and bring them down after they were dry. Transporting my wife to her place of work and back was also my responsibility for all the 19 years she worked till she opted for VRS to stay at home.

    Today, after my retirement I am a house-husband. My parents are no more. Fil is also no more. Mil stays with us. My married daughter(settled in California) sent out an SOS when she conceived in 2012, saying she needed us . She is a busy career woman and has invited us over for long stays here in California to help cope up with housework and also baby sit my little grandson who is now 2 years and 8 months old.

    There are no servants here and my wife and I do the cooking and manage the household completely and do all the chores and also keep the little grandson amused when he gets back from the day care center. I am fortunate that my son in laws parents share this responsibility and we take turns to come here and live with them for six months at a time, which is what visa regulations permit. This has been going on since 2012, and I expect probably just one more visit like this before the little fellow starts going to day school and they will manage on their own.

    My son is unmarried and has been in UK for the last eight years and it looks like he may settle there. We have assured hm that he is free to settle anywhere, marry anyone he chooses and that we will not be dependent on him.

    While I discharged my duties towards my in laws and to a limited extent whenever needed to my parents too, I have no such expectations “in return” from the next generation. I am reconciled to modern conditions and circumstances.. With my children’s support, I have booked my place in a good retirement home that is coming up near Bangalore Airport and will be moving in there in a couple of years.

    Reading all these horror stories at IHM”s blog sometimes makes me feel : Am I weird or what?

    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 10 people

    • GV jee ,
      This is such a lovely story to share , thanks for letting us readers know how balance works out in a marriage. Future planning , current responsibilities and the so called societal norms .. everything taken care of in such a good way.

      Like

      • Me too. Men like u are hard to find in today’s times. The more educated and privileged they get, the more entitled they feel. The semi literate (mostly) mothers of these men too like to hold onto them more as in our generation it was a one or max two child norm. So they donot have multiple kids to cling onto and latch onto their sons.

        Like

    • GV ji,

      I’ve read your comments on IHM’s blog for a long time, but never really had occasion to respond before. Today, though, I want to thank you for sharing your story. It gives me so much hope and inspiration. I’m really glad your kids and grandson have role models such as you and your wife in front of them.🙂

      Cheers,

      Star

      Like

    • What a life….u discharged ur duties very efficiently n religiously to stay alone in a GOOD Retirement Home…..towards the end of ur life!!!….Very selfless service to ur next generation. …..Is it what our generation supposed to with their elders?

      Like

      • I think he is being independent by moving to a retirement home, and please note it is a modern retirement home–not a traditional “old-age” home.

        Like

        • Right!
          Those who know the details actually envy me.
          I spoke about it earlier too in one of my comments
          Quite a few wanted to know more about the facilities and costs and I had given them full details.
          Any one can email me if interested.
          My email address will be available if you click on my profile picture and read my profile
          Regards
          GV

          Like

      • Did you consider the possibility that he enjoys the company of like minded and similarly aged people? Or maybe he enjoys all the facilities a retirement home will provide?

        Like

        • GV ji, your wife and you and your entire family are role models to the current generation and generations to come. You should be shown as a guiding example to those families in which family members fight amongst themselves in the name of roles, responsibilities, superiority , ‘in-laws (read parents of boys) come first’, ‘women should stay home to cook’, ‘men who help at home are not manly enough’ (yes I have actually heard such comments), ‘parents are to be taken care of by children during their sunset years’ etc. Sadly, in many Indian families, somehow, parents of girls are relegated to the background while parents of boys are put on high pedestal. I once asked my friend if her parents visited Singapore (our country of residence). She said apparently her parents could visit her only after her in-laws visited. So parents of the guy are entitled to visit their son before the parents of the girl do. I hadn’t heard of their weird ‘tradition’ but unfortunately such ‘traditions’ still exist.

          Like

    • Thanks for sharing this. It is good to know what other people are doing and what are the various options available.

      I have to say that you are an exceptional case because I have not heard of people looking after their wive’s parents unless they are related in some way (like they are the husband’s mama or something like that).

      Like

  23. @ LW
    No, your expectations are extremely rational and sensible.
    Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you that you are selfish for wanting equality in your life and your marriage- and I hope you will get what you want, and soon🙂

    Like

  24. Dear LW, you are not at all being selfish. I am married since 3 years and dated for 5 before marriage. In the early years of our relationship somehow this point came up. He had just assumed that we will be living together with his parents after marriage. When I told him it is out of question for me he got the biggest shock of his life. He didn’t really understand how can I say something like this. Basically men have been programmed from childhood in this way. They saw all the ladies of their family complying to this idea without even a word. Anyway, he used the classic ,”they have done a lot for me… yada, yada”. When I said that my parents too have done a lot for me and for this reason they should live with us too, he readily agreed! I almost had a heart attack. He was not able to understand the disaster it would lead to. It was very slowly that he saw the point I was trying to make, why we need to build a separate home for our family. I told him it would be fine for me to have his parents live near our house in a separate house, and I am even ready to pay for it in case they can’t afford. The same applies to my parents. It took him a really long time to wrap his head around this idea but he finally understood. Unconsciously, his guy friends made this even worse for us as they all come from the same school of thought and their wives are complying with the rules of the society. This makes me a bad girl too but I don’t care. Please do not let anyone tell you this is a wrong expectation. It might take time to find such a person but they are out there🙂

    Like

    • In Indian society if a woman is considered a “bad girl” it must mean that we are rational, thinking human beings and we are actually using our brains. Yay for bad girls I say🙂.

      Raina.

      Like

      • @Raina – “Yay back”!! Reminded me of the poster ‘ek buri ladki’ that went viral on FB😀

        @LW – One more point I want to put up. There are many parents who are equally afraid of giving up their freedom if they stay with their son and DIL. My parents are one of those who actually have a very active social life and love living on their own. My brother wants them to stay with him but they have no intention of leaving their style of living. In fact most of the people who live in the gated community where my parents live are retired couples who love their life there. They all have a great social life and don’t want to stay with their kids – be it daughter or son. They openly say “we want to go from this world while we are healthy and not dependent on the kids. This is our time to enjoy our life🙂 ”
        If there is a way you can get to know what the parents of the guys feel about living with kids, it might help you take a sound decision!

        Like

  25. Hi,

    NOOO………… you are NOT AT ALL selfish. I think you have laid out your thoughts neatly and standing up for equality. Way to go and kudos! Wish I had thought as clearly as you when I was younger. I stumbled and mumbled making my case back when and lucky I didn’t succumb to pressure. Stay strong and you will never regret it. Keep enjoying your life and exploring.

    Hope you have seen this :
    http://blog.indhuja.com/2015/03/the-aftermath-timeline.html

    Like

  26. all what I would have said has already been said above. Just one thing- its absolutely ok to tell the guy upfront that you will not want to stay with his parents. Just that, keep your population set open. As in do not look for guys just in your own community/ caste- because, it is still rare to find men who will understand this. What they extrapolate from this requirement is that- this female is very selfish, and if she is so upfront in refusing to stay in the same house, she will have no respect for the in-laws, and will snatch their son away from them and these two will never be there for us in our times of need. Basically the inlaws are dumped!! therefore, do away with the practice of same caste/ horoscope match etc etc if they exist in your case…else the hunt can be terribly painful and long.

    Like

  27. I am a guy and I don’t think boys are any more special than girls. I firmly believe that both are equal and should be treated as such. You are spot on on all the points / questions you have written. However not everything is black and white.

    I personally believe there needs to be a mindset and a lifestyle change for husbands and wive’s to live as a nuclear family in their own home. But the typical mindset and culture seen in India is a little family oriented.

    Parents in India will do all they can to ensure their child gets the best education, even though it might cost a fortune. Also a lot of parents try for a boy child (this might not be true today) because they believed the boy will take care of them in their old age and the girl will marry and carry on <– This is a mind set.

    I have spoken with some parents in the Western world and they believe they will do everything to give their child a primary education (which is state funded) and the child will take a loan or work and pay for his college education. They will save for their retirement first and then save for a college fund. This allows them to let go of their child and live their own lives. If this happens in India then I suppose forming nuclear families will be a lot more easier.

    In India where parents have done so much, the boys sometimes feel obligated to take care of them. Girls also should feel the same way – not doubt about it. However parents from a very early age start telling the girl that she will be married off and their son will take care of them. It all comes down to changing the mindset and evolving. There also might be cost factors – the son might not want to maintain 2 houses (parents and his own) and the other costs as well. The wife may be accommodating at first but as the family grows and costs go up, it might becomes a sour point. After children, a lot of Indians take their parents for granted as the baby sitters as well – this also needs to change.

    Would love to hear your thoughts / comments on this as well.

    Like

    • First off where I live , most parents pay for college education. Kids work and supplement for room etc. so not all western parents expect their kids to do it alone.
      Imo and mine only I don’t believe indian parents do any more than parents elsewhere. Parents are same everywhere.

      I don’t think living with either or both sets of parents works without someone compromising. I think before we tell people to marry and have kids we have to teach them to be self sufficient and take care of their retirement. Kids are not an investment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, I disagree with you here. From what I have seen, Asian parents, whether they are Indian or Chinese or Malay, do a lot more for their kids after their kids are 18 or so. For example, my British friend who wants to go to Vietnam had to work for it during uni–her parents refused to pay for such “luxuries” after she turned 18. They take out student loans on their own, and if they want to go on holiday they do that on their own. Of course, in Western countries they have systems like that in place.

        Like

    • @Daniel
      “But the typical mindset and culture seen in India is a little family oriented”.
      Meaning ‘boys family oriented’. Right?

      Like

      • Correct. Boys’ family oriented. Indian parents also don’t get that when an adult gets married, he/she is starting his/her own family and parents are extended family.

        Your son’s/daughter’s house is not your house, no matter how close you are. You don’t get to waltz in and control their lives.

        Indian young adults too need to accept that after they are adults, their parents’ home is not their home and their spouse will never ever truly feel at home there no matter how nice and accepting the parents are.

        Like

    • Daniel, I understand that men feel indebted to their parents because of all the “sacrifices” that they make.

      My problem is this — as a woman, I am expected to move in with my husband’s parents, make every “adjustment” demanded, tolerate intrusive, controlling behaviour, AND provide the husband’s parents with care and support in their sunset years.

      While I am busy taking care of my husband’s parents, who takes care of my parents?

      The typical Indian in-laws firmly discourage the DIL from taking care of her OWN parents, yes, that’s right — those two people who gave birth to the woman and educated her.

      Even when Indian women earn their own income, they are still discouraged from supporting their OWN parents.

      All the while, they are expected to love and care for their husband’s parents, selflessly, unquestioningly.

      Does the husband have ANY similar moral obligation to support his wife’s parents? No sireebob, tauba, tauba, not on your life!

      Is it any wonder then that we have falling sex ratios across the country?

      What do the parents of a daughter get? They have to clothe, feed and educate the daughter. Then, they have to relinquish ALL rights over her, just because she’s married — paraya dhan and all that $//&.

      Such customs are not only unfair, they are the root cause of a whole host of social evils that women endure in India.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Neha, this is exactly my point too, once my husband and I had a big fight on this, I said that once my parents are in seventies, we need to get them to live with us, he was like, your duty is to take care of my parents. I was shocked to say the least, I said, your parents are your responsibility, mine are my responsibility. I will not do a thing to your parents if you do not support me. He has since then changed.

        Like

    • “It all comes down to changing the mindset and evolving. There also might be cost factors – the son might not want to maintain 2 houses (parents and his own) and the other costs as well.”

      Why would parents expect sons to finance their lifestyle after he has a family of his own? It boggles my mind, and yes, I grew up in India.

      Like

    • Daniel

      Even Desi parents here do not pay much for their children for their university or college degrees. Because loans are easier and interest rates are quiet low for citizens. It doesn’t make sense here for parents to shell out all their savings on their kids when loans are easily available, with very low interest rates. Like in my province, education loans are available and if the kid completes the course in due time with more than average grades,30% of the loan is waved off. Also, you could continue to re-pay for 15 years.
      I understand that parents shell out their savings on kids. but they also try hard to milk their sons before marrying him.

      My aunt got her NRI son married and didnt allow her new DIL to leave India with her son on the pretext of visa issue. Instead of sending her DL to her son abroad, she and her husband went to live with her son for 3 months, leaving her new DIL with her other children back in INdia. There were lot of talks and rumors about my aunt , that why she went abroad instead of sending her DIL, people who know her said she wanted to milk her son dry, to make sure he doesn’t have penny left to spend on her newly wedded wife.

      Sons/Daughters are not future investment. If they want future investment, best is not to have children and save all their money for retirement.

      Like

  28. Hello All,

    I really loved GV sir’s reply and would like to talk about my own case here too as my case seems to be really different and going by what is being written about Indian parents etc, I am shocked and also I have got a lot of clarity in life.
    So I am a 24 year old girl, working in MNC like millions of others and basically live my parents and grandmother i.e. maternal. My family structure though similar to Mr. GV, but my dad had to take care of his parents and then a few years after the death of my paternal grandparents my maternal grandfather became very sick and after being hospitalized the otherwise brave man lost all hope. My maternal grandparents have no sons and so my dad told my grandfather that they can move in with us. We asked our tenants to vacate and my grandparents moved in but stayed separately in the ground floor. My dad who is now 57 has always helped in the house, my mom used to work for an NGO that required her to stay away from home for months together and during this time my dad took care of the house and me and my brother. It was never an issue and I seldom saw them have any arguments. All the time in my house except for a few years we have always had either set of grandparents and sometimes both sets of grandparents living with us. My father and mother worked and gave us a very good life.
    Growing up like this I thought that this was the case in all families as in school all my friends had working parents and a similar set up to mine. I grew up and then started listening to stories of abusive marriages and etc and thought that it had nothing to do with me as these men existed only in stories for me. I soon fell in love with a man and expected to lead a life that I had known and never understood in all the 3 years why he was so concerned about my father’s assets, how much my house was worth, will my father give me a share, what salary will my degree fetch and then all of a sudden I realized that I had been trapped by a male chauvinist. I broke up with him finally the day he said that I must leave my family and come as my father did not agree for our wedding but he was not ready to leave anyone in his family as according to him ” a girl anyway leaves her family, so why are you so bothered about your dad”. That is when I recollected my life, when my mom and dad would tell me that I should never agree to live with in laws, that I should always have my own earnings and I always thought and was rather confused as to why my parents are asking me to be selfish when they themselves are serving parents and living in joint families.
    But today I understand that my parents are very different, they have always told me and my brother that they do not have any expectations from us, that we must be responsible for our own happiness and be self sufficient and that they do not want to ever live with us. My mother has openly told us that she and my dad want have decided to live on their own just like GV sir and that they will help us when we need them provided they are in a position to do it.

    Like

    • Salute to your parents. They are wonderful🙂

      My paternal granny too lived with us, and my mother had to bear all sort of tantrums and taunts but my mother doesn’t want to live with DIL in future. She says she prefers living alone with dad and my brother should live independently with DIL. I guess that is because she knows MIL-DIL relationships are always complicated and she doesn’t want to cause any unnecessary trouble.

      Such parents are rare and are truly gem.

      Like

  29. Questions:
    In your search, do you or your family do any/all of the following?
    1) Have caste based filters?
    2) Match horoscopes?
    3) Reject mangaliks solely because they are mangaliks?
    4) Give a lot of emphasis on “family wealth” and guy’s salary?
    5) Insist that the guy has a house of his own?
    6) Reject guys who do not earn considerably more than you?
    7) Reject someone because they aren’t “pure blood” – one of the two parents isn’t of the same caste as the one you are looking for?
    8) Reject someone if any of their siblings are divorced?
    9) Prefer someone who is not the sole brother to a handful of sisters? (Indicates that he will have to be involved and spend a lot on social occasions for those sisters and their families)
    10) Prefer someone who is not the only son? (In-laws responsibility will not be shared if he is)

    etc. etc.

    If answer to most of the questions above is NO, then I feel your expectation of a modern day, equal marriage is justified and please stick to it. There are enough guys around (including me) who are more than happy to start a new life in a new house with their wife and believe in drawing a line between parents and their own new family of wife + kids.

    But if answer to most of the questions above is YES, then there are double standards at play. You and your family, while applying your own filters for your spouse search, are sticking to age old traditional methods and criteria and yet want something not-so-traditional from the guy and his family. It doesn’t work that way. It cannot be about what’s convenient to you/your family. So, if your own approach to and criteria for a partner search is traditional, it should be no surprise that the other party’s approach and expectations will be traditional too. If you want a modern, equal partnership kind of a marriage, then you need to look for it differently, with different guys, with different criteria.

    Like

    • Bravo. Well said. Indian women in arranged marriages cannot demand equality when they want to use stereotypes when it suits them.

      That’s primarily why arranged marriages aren’t conducive to equality – they reinforce traditional roles and stereotypes.

      Like

    • Vijay,

      Double standards are deep-rooted in Indian culture and its very clear from the all the points you mentioned, that men suffers from patriarchy too.
      First three points are not only followed by girl’s parents , even boy’s family look for horoscopes and manglik dosh.
      Rest I fully agree to what you said🙂

      Like

  30. All kids have to leave their parents some point in life. One thing I don’t like is this adjustment thing. Yes there are some things that we have to adjust for, but not in terms of changing our being, self interests and follow ridiculous demands of the other family (it’ll take your whole life away) . Other day, my mom was saying there is divorce everywhere because the girl does not “behave” in a certain way..ie learn to please others, obey what they say and yet it’s ok they control, manipulate, emotionally blackmail you? So women can’t stand up for themselves and stop inhumane behavior because it’s considered “bad behavior”?. I easily give equal respect to everyone and learned when I was away that you can’t let people sit on your head (my aunt always says this). However when people try to control and manipulate, that respect is gone I will not bother with you anymore. .I had some life’s circumstances and somehow realize instead of blaming ..etc find a solution to it. According to Indian society I ruined my life. Here I am 26, unmarried, still going for education, when I’m supposed to be married and have kids soon. I told my dad the other day life will be better if you stay unmarried than deal with that shit. I’m not opposed to marriage, but with a backwards thinking family, it’s not worth the time and effort.

    Like

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

  32. Commenting a little late & I too agree that it is extremely difficult to find such a guy, especially if you mention this “wanting to live nuclear” outright. Ironically, many men(including my father, my mama, my best friend’s dad etc) have moved into nuclear families a few years after marriage & their wives were keener on this than they were. But I am going through a divorce due to some other personal reasons(not this living with in laws thing) & I completely empathize, its difficult to find such men. Maybe one can try to stay nuclear a few years post marriage, but I hate deceit of any sort & it would be morally wrong to insist on living nuclear if they guy has made it extremely clear before marriage that he would only like to live with his parents(also it might lead to a divorce, being on the “remarriage market” now, amongst all the divorcees I’m meeting, in 8 out of 10 cases, the men & their moms mention the desire of their wives to live nuclear as the main or a big contributory reason for divorce).

    These are some men you can try, who live nuclear & would want to live nuclear, often not even by choice.

    1) Men from multi son families, often such families, while they want one “budhape ka sahara” don’t want more than one, they often lack space in their homes for 2-3 sons, DIL’s & grandkids, hence some sons are often encouraged to move out. I have a colleague who’s marrying the younger son of such a family, her elder BIL & SIL live with in laws, but her MIL wanted her & her husband to live nuclear.

    2) Which city of India do you come from? If its any of the big metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad etc, there’re quite a few men in such cities who live alone & who would be living nuclear post marriage. Of course, the sense of entitlement of Indian men & parents of sons means many such FIL’s & MIL’s happily move to the city their sons work in & make a joint family there(they give excuses like “if we’d remained in our hometown our son would have to keep coming there, hence the move”) but many such men, especially if they have a son living in their hometown with them, actually make a fully nuclear family. My cousin’s SIL & BIL live in Bangalore, her in laws live in Durgapur, a small town near Kolkata, her BIL works in Bangalore & her SIL’s parents are based in Bangalore. As the couple work, its her SIL’s mom who makes breakfast/dinner for them, they have somehow become a matrifocal family, & after her SIL gave birth to twin sons, they actually moved in with her parents to best look after the babies. Of course, the Indian conditioning is such that, he was a bit apologetic about living with her in laws, repeatedly kept tellling us its a temporary arrangement, as if its some crime to live with the girl’s parents. I’ve also come across such a divorced man, his parents live in a small town near my city with her elder brother & SIL & he also says that he wants to find some girl whose family lives in our city.

    3) This is tougher, but there’re a few men who’re orphans/lost both parents & who’d like to live nuclear or even matrilocally. My mom’s cousin lost his father in a car accident when he was a toddler, his mom subsequently remarried, he remained with his nana nani & after marriage moved in to a separate flat. His wife had a brother but his wife’s bhabhi was very unhapppy living with in laws so he actually insisted his in laws move in with him. You’re 28, if you try men over 35, maybe you’ll find more such men

    Of course, if you’re looking for men with a salary of a particular range/ education/ caste/ community/looks etc & willing to live nuclear, it gets very difficult

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  33. Pingback: An email from the Accused Guy: ‘I would request all to respond once again after reading the other side of it.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  34. Made some good points …!!
    Specially in regard to Indian middle class family. I can totally see these things around me but I can assure you there are still some understanding guys. As you said if you are willing to provide the support when needed than I don’t see any problem there from my point of view.
    And cooking is fun and a very essential activity for every human being. Both men and women should participate equally in it.
    I am unmarried though but I think after marriage both the parents should be given equal importance and they should all live as a family . having said that it doesn’t mean that they need to stay in the same place. I am out of my home since the age of 15 but still they are the only people that I love in the whole planet. And hopefully I will treat my future partner’s parent in the same way.
    My point being that you should not see your or your partner’s parents as burden or baggage (as mentioned in some comments).
    In my case and probably in most of the cases they are probably the only person that you can really trust and rely upon.
    And I might be wrong but I find this idea of men not doing household work a little over exaggerated in present scenario. I mean yes there will always be some men like this, but again the choice is yours to make.
    And designing your house the way you want , planning your evenings, going on random trips together, reading for each other, cooking together, trying new recipies. It’s pretty damn cool. I mean its far far better than just sitting on a couch and watching random stupid shit on t.v.
    You might just wait till you find the right guy. And as a suggestion I would like to add that the kind of guy you are looking for must sure shot be an intellectual. So may be you can try developing some of those skills . So that when you find him you’ll make sure that he is attracted to you.

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  35. Absolutely spot on. I call myself a 200% feminist but failed on one count- my weakness for my parents. My parents are extremely controlling since I am an only child and dictated to me that I have to stay with my in laws. I complied because I have never been able to refuse them ever. My husband is absolutely the sweetest and wanted to move out from day 1. 8 months into the living with Inlaws I couldn’t take their archaic shit anymore and we moved out. Now we are happy and I put my foot down with my parents at last. My Inlaws thought they were entitled to our lives just because they have a son and feel cheated. But like I give a dawn about anybody now.!

    Like

  36. I can completely relate to your feelings about the flaws we can so clearly see in our marriage system. I too came across guys who are mentally fixed upon staying with their parents even after marriage. I seriously don’t understand why they don’t realize that we are leaving our parents behind too, only because we want to put our independent efforts in the marriage and we expect the same thing. I didn’t find anything wrong in what you wrote because they are facts which I hope people understand.

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