My mother in law would accompany me to my job interviews saying I would not be able to find the place on my own.

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I stumbled upon your blog while I was too disturbed with the current state of my so called marriage.

I got married two years ago.

My parents had been looking for a match for me for two years but I couldn’t say a yes to anyone because I had seen so many marriages fail around me. I also have a younger sister, so obviously it was expected of me to get married as soon as possible so she could also be married off. We don’t have a male sibling. Also, I belong to a family where I and my sister were given the freedom of choice and were not controlled by our parents.

Now, when I met this guy, I had made up my mind to marry him because he belonged to a well off decent family or so was portrayed to us. His father made tall claims that they were pretty liberal in letting the daughter in law come home as and when she wishes to, and what not. He also made a phone call to me asking if I would be fine in staying with the joint family since they never ever want to stay separate. I was pretty ok since it didn’t seem like a big deal considering his parents understood that I am very well educated, have a career and belong to a nuclear family. During the courtship I had told him about my education loan which I couldn’t repay since my marriage was fixed soon after my education was over. And he was like I am proud of you that you took your responsibility and that we will take of that together. I also told him if he wants to tell his family, which he said he did. I don’t remember if the loan amount was discussed or not. I also told him that I would want to contribute financially after marriage you know because of my independent nature and high self esteem. I am not the kinds who would want to thrive on anyone else’s money, not even my husband’s.

Even though I had doubts about marrying this guy since he was not as smart as I am and which he himself confessed in a very boorish way, saying his friends call him a ch****a, I was really baffled as I couldn’t comprehend what kind of a man was I marrying. Then, things started becoming bad between us as I started losing respect for him for being what he claimed of himself. I am also short tempered. Just few days before the wedding I visited his place where he tried to dominate me and screamed at me in front of his mother. I was really taken aback. I fought with him the next day and abused him. Also, I said I would divorce him soon after marriage. To which he called both the families and I apologised to him. I, in fact wanted to call off the wedding but was too scared to do that at a very advanced stage.  I couldn’t muster the courage and thought I may have misjudged, and things would fall in place.

After marriage things were not bad. I was gelling well with his parents. However, unfortunately my husband got really busy with his work. Also, since I had to shift to a new place, I left my previous job and became a housewife. This was the only way since my employer did not operate out of the city I moved into. So, I was a housewife, learning the ways of their house. During this time since my husband would work till late night I would not sleep until he would, in order to keep him company. And since he cared for me and my health, he would switch off my alarm in the mornings because of which I would wake up late which irked my MIL.

Also, in the kitchen, she would constantly tell me what to do, how to do, how to peel vegetables how to not use an extra plate to save the maid’s effort, how to dry clothes, etc etc. This, along with citing examples of how other daughters in law take care of their household, are ideal and also work. She would constantly send me whatsapp messages trying to manipulate my psyche of an independent working woman to that of a docile Indian bahu. I would cry my eyes out. She would sometimes snatch things of my hand. She would never let me cook my way. She would never allow me cook something different. It always had to be her way. There were many incidents where she commented things like

1. A girl’s house is also seen before marriage (since mine is a humble house)

2. She said you are not my daughter but daughter in law.

3. Once said ‘Zyada udo mat’ in front of her son.

4. She would constantly remind how they want a baby boy and not girl from that I should not even say that it be a baby girl.

5. She would tell me how much dowry she had brought with her.

6. She would say I wanted a working girl because dowry is one time while the girl will earn for a lifetime. [Link: Dulhan hi dahej hai]

7. Once she said I will fulfill all my wishes with your salary.[An email from an Indian MIL]

8. She also mentioned about other families where the daughters in law would give their salary to the parents in law.

I told my husband all of this and he ignored saying she just has this habit of talking nonsense.

During this time, my father was diagnosed with heart blockage and was advised to undergo a by-pass surgery. In which my in laws really helped me. Though they imposed a lot of things but I ignored.

Everything went of well, my parents stayed with us for 8 days and then left. My parents never wanted to stay with my in laws at the first place stating its a sensitive relationship and they didn’t want to spoil it for my future. But my in laws really imposed hard that my parents should stay with us post my father’s surgery. This because, my parents are from a small town and medical facilities are not so great there.

In the meantime I was also looking for a job. It was very difficult since I was at a high package with few years of experience because of my degree. Finding a similar job was being difficult. Also, not to forget that my mother in law would accompany me to my job interviews saying how would I find the place on my own. This to a person who stayed out of her house for 7 long years, who is treated as one of the smartest females, who is an Engineer and MBA by education. Nevertheless my constant efforts paid off and I finally found a job which was at a start up. I was so frustrated sitting at home that I took it up without thinking twice. That’s when the trouble began. I would cry because of the pressure at work and also because of my mother in law’s constant manipulation had started having an impact on me. I could no longer ignore it. I am an overly sensitive and emotional person. Then, one day I got back late around 9:15 PM. My usual time was 7:30 – 8:00. My MIL got over anxious, waited for me at the roadside outside the society compound stating what would people think if I am entering late all alone.

The next day I told my FIL that please explain MIL to not get worried since my job is such that I may get late sometimes. I told him since my husband would encourage me to discuss my MIL issues as he seemed like DIL supporting. To my surprise, he said this is not acceptable, you should leave home sharp at so and so time and be back by so and so time. Your career is secondary, our son’s career is primary. I was too disturbed, I told my husband and he ignored. I and my husband on a Sunday were watching a late night movie show that my mother in law texted saying be back soon otherwise FIL will be angry if you get up late and are not ready on time. I  was so upset that I showed my husband this text. He also got pissed off. The next day morning when he was leaving for office, he probably did not talk to his parents. When I was packing my tiffin, my MIL asked me why was my husband not talking to her. I was pretty irritated with her that I said ask him directly he is your son, why do you ask me. Hearing this she started fighting with me.

I reached office, I told my husband and my mom about this fight they told me to apologise to MIL, which I did on whatsapp. In the afternoon I got a call from my mom saying my MIL had called her and said how ill mannered is your daughter and said many other things. She also went on to complain to my husband’s grandmom who got out marriage fixed. Also, this was not the first time that she had gone on to complain about me. I would constantly get to know that she bitches about me but I would ignore. She would also bitch about me with the maid, neighbor, her friends and her in laws. I never ever told anyone what was going on at my in law’s place. I felt kind of betrayed. Not just this, when we returned from work that day, she made me, my husband and FIL sit and shouted at me. I also got very angry and retorted. She made remarks about my relatives. She also said that when maid doesn’t come I should do the cleaning of the house and do the utensils. I was never used to do this. Also, I have a back problem. I took it to my heart.

Since bad luck was riding on me, after a month and a half it turned out that the company that I was working for was a fraud one and they asked me to leave without paying a single dime. I was very very disturbed by now.

Then, I found another job soon enough which was close to my in law’s house. They made it an everyday routine to drop me to office. Everything was fine again and my mom called up my MIL to congratulate on my job and told her that now she will be tension free since she could repay her education loan. This became an issue since my husband hadn’t told his mother about it which I was not aware of. In the same week the maid hadn’t come so I did the entire house’s dusting, brooming and moping. I developed severe back pain. So much so that I had to visit the spinal injury’s center. MIL accompanied us since my husband is scared of visiting hospitals and cant go there without his mom. There we spent 2000 rupees on fee and medicines. The very same day I helped in the kitchen at night and was crying in pain at night. My husband screamed at his mom for asking me to help her. She must have got upset that she barred me from entering the kitchen next day.

The next day, my husband did not eat anything. I constantly kept asking him to eat and talk to his mom but to no avail. I also did not eat. I was so scared the entire day. MIL came to me and asked me to eat and feed DH. I obliged. It was a weekend. In order to have the husband in a better mood I asked to go out so he be normal. While he was taking out the car, FIL called on me very rudely. He started asking me questions about my salary and why had I not given it to him. Why had I not asked him on investment declarations. Also, he said I shouldn’t repay my loan and in his words – “apne baap ko bol fund me se nikal kar tera loan pay kare, aukat kya hai tere ma baap ki, car aur furniture bhi nahi hai tum logon ke paas” (As I said I belong to a humble background. Not like we can’t afford it but my parents chose not to since they invested heavily on my and my sister’s education) He said you lie to us we have proof of you lying. I asked him what lie are you talking about. He said I will tell you later. I said are you spying on me, he said I will. I said since you are older than me doesn’t mean you would insult me like this. This said and he went on and on screaming at me, insulting my parents, hurling abuses at me. In front of my husband. He tried to say things for me, but they were falling on deaf ears. He was siding me but to no avail. I was so dumbstruck that I could not utter a single word. I was so terrified and humiliated that I caught fever. My husband at night said I should apologise to his parents in the morning which I did!

Now, the real problem, my FIL doesn’t work. They had said they have a factory, but it doesn’t run. His mother is a homemaker and his younger brother is also not doing very well financially. Its my husband who is running the entire house. Before marriage we were not told about this. Also, their house is mortgaged. My husband pays the EMI for their house. With my job, they wanted me to give them the entire salary. My husband put his foot down and said he had promised me before marriage on letting me repay my loan. To take this stand he renounced food for a month. He did not talk to them during this period. I also suffered because I did have lunches and dinners at home. I would make some instant food for myself. Husband would say he’d eaten at office. My health deteriorated. During this entire episode, my mother got stroke because of all the issues that I was facing. I went to be with her for a week. I felt extremely guilty for her condition. Also,that place had become a living hell for me because of the hostile environment, the abusive nature of his father, his mother’s non-realistic expectations and my own work related issues. During this time my FIL asked me to give them half my salary and from the remaining half take care of my expenses and my loan amount. I told my husband and we had a major fight on this issue. He was still not eating at home. Then one fine day when I was at work and my husband and his mom at home, she convinced him to eat and talk saying we will do whatever you say. MY DH assured me everything is normal and the issue is taken care of. The next day was a weekend again. He gave his mom some money with extra 10000 saying this is hers. His mom threw it on his face and said we want it from her. I was not aware of this. A major fight happened. His father was not home and from wherever he was he called up my father scolding him. He also called my mother who was recovering from a STROKE! How heartless is that. My sister did not let her take the call though. He also called my grandmom screaming and shouting and what not! They wanted me to show them my salary slips and bank statements, give them half my salary. And this was the day when my husband said, “Do whatever my parents say!” What about all the promises he made!? What about his stand on my issue!?

I was so terrified that I left that house and I am living separately from him now. He helped me move out. He comes to meet me over the weekends. We fight a lot. I asked him to move out and stay with me. It’s been a year. He left me waiting, said he is looking for an accommodation but changed his mind altogether few days back. Now the state is such that everyone is asking me to come back but I am terrified. I have doubts on my husband’s decision making capabilities. His maternal uncle called us at his place and made me understand how normal it was in all the households whatever happened with me. I am just too shattered and can’t even think of moving back in with his family. I am in a fix! What should I do. I even contemplated a divorce. Would that be a good move? I have lost love and respect for my husband as he is easily manipulated by his parents and relatives. He is also of the belief now I should surrender and that what’s the harm in showing my financials to his parents. Where’s the trust factor? What kind of a man is he?


77 thoughts on “My mother in law would accompany me to my job interviews saying I would not be able to find the place on my own.

  1. Only you know if you want to work things out. Then also determine what “working things out” means.

    Can you give on any of the issues?
    Is he willing to give on any of the issues?

    Do you two want any similar things from marriage? Does he have anything left in him to defend you to his parents? Would his parents be willing to give up on having a “perfect dil” ?

    There are a lot of “ifs” here and no one able to commit…


  2. You said: “I belong to a family where I and my sister were given the freedom of choice and were not controlled by our parents. I also have a younger sister, so obviously it was expected of me to get married as soon as possible so she could also be married off.”

    Just curious, what kind of freedom of choice it is? EXPECTED OF ME TO GET MARRIED ASAP so that she could also be married off (a burden to be done with).

    What kind of freedom are we talking about where a young woman cannot honor her instincts that gut feeling creator gave each of us to protect us from not just the big bad world but from ourselves too.
    You were raised confused like most of us

    YOU SAID: “His maternal uncle called us at his place and made me understand how normal it was in all the households whatever happened with me.”
    NO IT IS NOT NORMAL AND COMMON, he is pulling wool over your eyes to accept a myth, sab gharon mein aisa hota hai…

    In-laws had waged a psychological warfare against you just because you are a bahu to break you like a horse in the corral.
    It pays to keep son on his toes

    Your husband is doing to you what his parents are doing to him
    He tried to stand up for you but soon gave up coz’ his folks created so much drama, guilt and discomfort for him that he gave up rather found it easier to ask you to seek their forgiveness every time. You all are adults here not 5yr olds saying sorry every time you assert yourself.

    You guys are in a bind repeating the cycle every now and then

    You need more information about what is being done to you and skills before you can decide anything

    Get educated about yourself, your situation and those around you. You are not alone there is lots of support available.
    Desi Girl


  3. Dear LW,

    I think you have a wonderful husband who fought tooth and nail with his parents to support you. Ultimately he gave up drained of the circumstances and his parents abusive nature. Also you said he works late hrs which means , pressure from both office and home. He gave up. You can try one thing which might be a good compromise for all of your family members. Try to convince your husband to live in the same house with two separate kitchens. I am not sure your financial status as of now, but may be you can build something on the top of the house like a single bedroom or a studio with a kitchen and live there. This way he doesn’t have to live with the guilt of leaving his parents at the same time you both will get some breathing space. Sincerely wish things workout for you.

    Best Wishes.


    • This is a terrible idea. Your in-laws are abusive and it won’t stop if you give in and go back, even if you have separate quarters. You did the right thing by moving out. Don’t give in now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No.stay in dt house only.they r abusive bt still on humanity grounds take care of them.they wull b older and sicker in ur loan also bt help in laws physically.seperate kitchen nd floor is good idea.dnt giv entire salary.gv only hw much u can afford
        Nd ur husband is nt dt bad or coward.try to understand maa baap bure ho to bhi maa baap hi rehte h.


    • Er … what exactly is “wonderful” about the letter writer’s husband? He’s not as bad as some of the horrible husbands that have been highlighted on this blog, but he’s a long way from wonderful. Really, Indian women need to let go of this mindset that as long as their husbands don’t beat them, they’re equivalent to Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

      The LW’s in-laws are disgusting, mercenary people, who wish to extort money from her while simultaneously treating her like crap. I think the only viable way forward for this marriage is for the LW and her husband to form a nuclear household, with the understanding that the LW only has to interact with her in-laws on her own terms. If that isn’t achievable, it’s probably best for the LW to move on.


  4. I would try again with him if he’s willing to live separately, and doesn’t expect you to engage with his family, even if he wants to. About this situation being common, it does sound common just from reading this blog, but it doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. So if you decide not to stay in the marriage, you’d be totally justified.


  5. Dear LW,

    Sorry to hear what you are going through.

    But let me applaud on your brave decision to move out and live on your own. It is the first step and perhaps the most difficult step for most of the people . You recognize the abuse you are underwent and also do not want to go back to that place. That’s the step in the right direction.

    Now please note that there are pretty slim chances of your in-laws changing their mind sets and becoming respectful towards you. Like somebody shared their story on this forum , there is a pretty good chance that they might pretend as though they have changed and become more abusive when you move back.

    One more huge plus for you is your financial independence. So please don’t get entangled in to the web of abuse woven by your in-laws. And like you have interpreted your husband is easily manipulated by his parents and if you are this miserable. You should just move on.

    Change your address /phone number / mobile and ask your parents/mutual friends not to share with your husband or his family . Also ask your family not to meet or pick up calls from your in laws.

    Build yourself a happy life without them. Try to enjoy your professional life for which you have worked so hard towards. Be close to your well meaning family and friends. Do something that makes you happy like going out for hikes/traveling /painting . Also don’t let anyone guilt trip you for not being with your in-laws. They say that it’s the same story everywhere either because they are victims of such abuse themselves who are led to believe it’s all normal or because they haven’t gone through such abuse.


    • Dear Smriti,

      Thank you for the much needed moral support. My biggest fear is the stigma surrounding the much dreaded ‘D’ word.


      • My mom was divorced twice. Once in the ’60s, once in the ’70s. She was not wealthy. Had a middle class job and raised me by herself with pride and dignity. People can stigmatise you only if you consider yourself worthy of stigma.

        My MIL likes to point out how my mother lacked “family values” since she was divorced. Guess what? My mother was a happier, more accomplished, dignified person than my MIL will ever be. MIL is married for 55 years to a man who doesn’t like or respect her. She is a “respectable”, miserable person.

        My mother was a happy, independent person who lived life on her own terms. She also taught me not to take crap from anyone, especially from “respectable” miserable people. This is 2015. Forget about the stigma and take charge of your life.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your mum sounds so much like my own mom! Even my mom divorced my abusive dad when she had absolutely no support from her parents. I am just so proud of her, not because she is my mom, but because of the person she is. I realise now how difficult it must have been for her to go through that alone at that time. She has accomplished so much professionally without any support from anyone and raised 2 awesome daughters 🙂 One only feels as much stigma as it is in ones own mind! I absolutely love people who give a damn about these social norms and toxic customs. Give your mom an extra hug from me! 🙂


      • Ah! This is the society we live in. There is no stigma for beating up consenting adults who are in a hotel room they legally paid for. There is no stigma in beating your own children in name of honor. There is no stigma in not confronting the relative who has abused your own child, just to keep peace in the family. But of course there is huge stigma if a sane individual who has been driven to insanity with unwarranted abuse wishes to opt out of abuse!

        Dear LW. It is up to you to decide what other option you have other than divorce. The people whom you are afraid will wag their tongues when you get a divorce won’t come to your rescue when you are mentally and physically getting tortured. Most of them don’t give a damn about you and their only purpose is to create gossip! Do you really want to throw away your promising life ahead for such people? Moreover you are the victim! If anyone should be ashamed it is the people who abused you.

        Do you really want to live your life as a lowly doormat when you can be the princess of your life? As we have seen in many cases here on the same blog people who continue and bring children in this toxic environment collapse and have been admitted to the hospital due to mental and physical strain.

        There are many supportive forums where women have shaped their life successfully after coming out of abusive marriages. Please do read them and seek help. You are not alone in this . DGs blog mentioned above is a treasure trove of support for you. God bless DG for helping so many in distress.

        My 2 cents:

        1. Go to a well meaning therapist. Professional help is very important. Make sure you go to someone who has an advanced degree and is not a mysogynist himself or herself.

        2. Do explore if there are any certifications/ trainings you can take to further boost your career. These will engage you positively and might help you get raises/promotions and boost your self confidence.

        3. Explore if you can abroad to work. There won’t be pressure from society in a foreign country and you can start a happy life. Since you are so professionally prudent you can even consider doing a PhD abroad if that is something you are interested in.Almost all institutes in the US at least offer tuition waiver abs also pay a stipend. So if you pay your loans soon enough this might be a great boost to your personal or professional life.

        4. Do something fun everyday. Make it a project where end result is you feeling happy about yourself.

        5. Whatever you do, do not quit your job and do not bring a child yet in this toxic environment.

        Praying and wishing the best for you.


  6. First, you really need to understand that your parents are not all that liberal and giving you freedom. They expected you to get married asap so your sister can be married off, they expected you to apologise for being humiliated and abused, and they are not actively advising you on the right steps to take under the circumstances. They did not teach you self respect, whatever else they did.

    Now, I have no idea why you married this idiot and then left your job and moved into a joint family. You claim to be highly educated and independent, yet the thought never occurred in your mind, ‘why me, why not him’? I guess degrees don’t teach you everything.

    Your husband is coming from a toxic background and he does not know how to get out of it. Unless he puts a distance between his crazy parents and himself, he will never get on the path to recovery. Leave him, there is no hope here for you, especially since he is disrespectful of you. Why the hell is he asking you to apologise? And why on earth are you even apologising?

    Regarding your income, a simple rule: pay for what you consume and the rest is yours to do as you please. No need to give it to anyone. If anyone demands it, it’s extortion. If they take it, it’s theft. You are also not required to inform anyone about how much you earn or how you will spend it or whether you have loans or not.

    I think you should cut your losses and move on. This family seems toxic with hunger strikes, fights, manipulation, greed. There is nothing they can offer you. And to answer your final question, yes, divorce would be a great option. In fact, it’s the only option for you.


    • Dear Fem, I don’t know if my parents are really liberal or not but they are not orthodox for sure who would leave their daughter at the mercy of her in laws. My father supported my move. Also, my mom asked me to say sorry in order to not aggravate the matter since I had been rude with my MIL a couple of times since her manipulation was too much to take for me. My mom in fact did not take my MIL’s BS when she called her to complain about me. She in fact said to her in a very firm manner that none of this is true about my daughter.
      But yes, you do make sense. I should have never married to move in to a joint family. I am afraid, this toxic behavior will always be there, since my in laws’ thinking is such that a DIL should only leave the marital house on her bier.


      • LW, please file a formal police complaint. 498 A covers emotional abuse and harrassment. You can legitimately accuse them of dowry harrassment, since your MIL explicity said that, “dowry is only a one-time windfall, whereas a working DIL provides a lifelong income.”

        Don’t let them off the hook. Get the police involved. It’s the only way such people will learn a lesson. You may divorce Mr Jerkwad, but they’ll just play the victim and get your “replacement”, once the divorce is through. Don’t let them do to another woman, what they did to you.


  7. Honestly, I skimmed through this email because it is too much of a detailed family drama for me.

    My summary of the issues are:
    1. Your in laws are abusive.
    2. Your husband supported you (albeit in a less immature fashion) and now he is tired as well and does not support you.

    1. I think you had very high expectations of how nice your in laws would be but the contrary is true. Accept that.
    2. Good that you moved out. I would cease all contact with in laws and tell your parents to do the same.
    3. Talk to your husband and stay in the marriage only if he moves out pronto because you have been living along for 1 year already.
    4. He can communicate with his parents but they should not be the topic of your discussions. Don’t talk about them.
    5. Stop letting all the chachas and mamas give you advise on what to do in your marriage. And stop others form interfering.
    6. Don’t be a doormat and let your in laws bully you ever again.


    • Haha, I know it was very detailed. My intent was to put things clearly so if there’s anything that I have done which is wrong could be pointed out to me.


      • That’s okay. I appreciate it when people take the time to write it out in a detailed fashion but I am not a very patient person. I phase out when people start telling me family drama in this much detail because it irritates me that women have to put up with such treatment.


  8. Hi LW,

    What you have done about your situation (moving out and living on your own) requires a tremendous amount of courage. And I must applaud you on that.

    I must also point out, as Smriti above as, that the possibility of your in laws changing their mindset is extremely slim. You must understand that. You must also understand that what you went through in their household is nothing but emotional abuse. So kudos to getting yourself out of that situation.

    As for whether you and your husband try to make it work, I feel your only option for doing that is living separately. Is he willing to do that, for you and for you two as a family? A lot depends on that. If he is not, I think that is a chapter closed there, because I really don’t feel like going back is an option. Because things will not change. Your in laws will not change! You know why? Because they think what they are doing is right. You’ll just be shouting to a wall and getting the short end of the stick while at it.

    Your husband doesn’t sound like such a bad guy. He just sounds human, with his weaknesses and strength. The primary question here is of course, will he stand up for you and make this marriage work?

    But I also feel like there is a bigger question that you must ask yourself. Even if he is willing to move out, stand by you and make this work, are you? While reading the whole thing, I kept getting this really strong feeling that you don’t really feel like he is the one for you. The in laws are a major issue, of course (as I said earlier, what they are doing is emotional abuse), but even apart from that, are you and your husband really compatible? Do you love him? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with him? I feel these are the questions that you should be asking yourself as well. And no one but you can answer them for you.

    Just remember, you live only once, so just go ahead and live it on your terms.


    • Well, my husband says gender equality doesn’t exist and can’t exist. While he said before marriage that he will help me with household chores, he categorically refuses now since his mom dint even like him making the bed or bringing water for me at times. I have had on and off feelings for him. To me he is heavily dependent on his parents. He can’t take charge/is not allowed to take charge cause his parents dominate him. I sometimes pity him. Yes, I want to live my life with him because he’s a nice guy but he’s also extremely dominating. He once picked up a fight with me cause I spent a 1000 Rupees on my haircut. I don’t know if that’s love, but yes you get attached to non-living beings also if you spend a good amount of time with them. He would never move out of his parents house cause as his mamu brainwashed him, he would be disowned by his parents, won’t get any share in the property and other emotional blackmail.


      • Sorry to put it so crudely, but from what you described here, your husband is an asshat. He seems to care more for custom and his stare in the property than he does for you, and that is unacceptable. Move on, girl. He’s not worth your time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • He’s not a nice guy, LW. Anawnimiss put it very mildly, I have some more inappropriate words. What is he, the god of you?! I’m afraid your marriage is over. Especially if you want an equitable one. You’ve taken the hardest step of putting distance. Now follow through and find yourself a good life, please.

          Liked by 1 person

        • anawnimiss I sometimes wonder when in such situations women say their husband is nice, does it mean that the man is nice in bed and she do not want to let him go ?
          I mean how can somebody say that the husband is nice in such a scenario ? It might be that the lw thought her husband was nice, however he turned bad.
          So what is wrong with making a wrong decision ? choosing the wrong person ?? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that we can choose the wrong person and it is okay to make wrong choices …


      • If that’s the case, kick his sorry ass out. I’m sorry, but like Indian Warrior’s mum, I have two divorces behind me. In my second marriage, I put up with things that I never imagined that I would ever put up with in my darkest hours.

        I woke up at 5 am, cooked breakfast and lunch, made tea for the whole family even though my ex-husband’s mother and sister stayed home the entire day. I was the DIL, so I was the workhorse.

        I worked ten hours a day, drove 30 kms to and from work, came home and made dinner. On weekends, I cleaned the toilets, did laundry and shopped for groceries. The insults and disrespect never ceased. I had to take permission from my husband and in-laws to make a phone call to my own parents.

        I had to take permission to see my own friends and family. After a year of unending work, unending control and unending criticism and harrassment, I moved out.

        Like you, I was also told by my ex-husband’s family that this was normal. My ex-MIl laughed indugently once and told me that “all women experience this after marriage”.

        That’s gold-standard BS. I don’t know a single DIL in my immediate family that was treated the way I was, and I have a large close-knit family. My brother has been married seven years and his wife is treated just like everyone else is, with affection and respect.

        I divorced my second husband two years after moving out. In the interim, my parents tried to drill some sense into his family, tried to make them understand that a wife and a daughter-in-law is not a slave, to be used and abused.

        Such people DON’T change. You have the following choices:

        1) Accept them the way they are. Move back in with them and live per their dictates and fancies. They will never, repeat never, change. You will be outnumbered and outgunned — it’s three against one.

        2) Negotiate with your husband and stay separately. Tell him that you will not support them financially, but will not prevent him from spending time and money on them. Focus on your career. Build up your savings. Repay your loans and begin investing and saving money for the future. Remember, money is power, education is power, especially for women.

        3) Continue to stay with your parents. Persuade your husband to agree to marriage counselling. Everything else aside, keep communication lines open. Continue to meet him and talk to him. Tell him that the only people who will lose in this sorry episode are you and him. Nobody else gives a rat’s ass about the two of you, least of all the “well-intentioned” maternal uncle.

        4) Talk to a women’s group. Some Indian cities have women’s groups who have some experience in dealing with middle-class women in troubled marriages. Ask for advice and support. Some family courts in the country also offer mediation services. Some private law firms also have trained mediators, though their services are expensive. Explore all these options.

        5) Regardless of all the above, start therapy. Find a competent therapist who is professional enough to not say, “Bacche ke baad sab theek ho jayega”. You need somebody who will listen to you without pasing judgement, and who is not under the thrall of conventional wisdom.

        6) Step back from it all. Push this onto the backburner and focus on your career for some time. Perhaps some time apart will help your husband to cut the umbilical cord, though this is highly doubtful.

        7) File for divorce. I did this when all of the above measures failed in my second marriage. By then, I was convinced that I had all that was humanly possible to salvage my marriage. So I filed for divorce with complete clarity, and no regrets. I had also mentally prepared myself by then to make peace with being single lifelong, if need be, but never allow another man, and another family, to treat me like shit.

        Once you achieve clarity within yourself, once you discover your own inner strength and resovle, everything else just falls into place.


        • Dear LW,

          Please talk to more people like this woman. This comment mentions everything that is applicable in your situation and it comes from someone who has been through it.

          Dear Neha,

          Your comment is not only useful and presents facts clearly but what I like most about it is how carefully you have chosen your words and not blamed her for the situation. Self blame and guilt could be so very harmful for someone who is already going through a low phase. The harshest truths can be conveyed using positive words. Your comment is proof of that.


  9. For God’s sake leave the entire household and carry on with your life. I really cannot see any reason why you would want to go back or join your husband. Sorry for being rude, but this sounds like it will remain a never-ending headache for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Readers,

    Thank you so much all of you for letting me know your thoughts. My husband most recently told me that moving out for him is just not an option and he can let go of me but can’t leave his parents ever. He also said what if my father hits you and abuses you what will you do in that case (given I move back in with them). He also said he may not be able to protect me since when he tried his attempts were all vain. For the entire year I just waited for my husband to finally decide on coming out of that house (which he said he is considering). Now his parents are constantly putting blame on my parents that they haven’t communicated to them for this long and whatever. My parents just want my happiness. They are ok with the idea of me getting divorced, it’s just me who is not ready yet because of all the stigma attached to it.


    • That makes everything clear. Now you know what to do. You have already written that its your idea about divorce that you need to work on. Please read up more on this. Go for counseling if you think your beliefs about divorce are very deep-rooted. If possible please talk to divorced men and women to understand how they went through with their divorces – legal, financial, emotional aspects. You will gain more confidence as you move ahead. Good luck.


    • Darling if only I had known you personally I would have shown you at least 10 people I personally know who have just blossomed after their divorce (both men and women). A bad marriage is a whirlpool that sucks happiness from every aspect of your life. You can’t even perform in your job and opportunities just pass you by. People I am talking about are happier personally, rocking their work life because of which they are getting awesome opportunities to travel the world and doing great financially. A 26 year old just brought a flat worth 55 lakhs all by herself!!! She is traveling to US every other month bcz of the great work she is doing. And all this while her ex-ass-of-an-husband refuses to turn up for divorce court hearings to delay the process so she can be tortured! She looks much prettier now because her nights are not spent crying. In short her divorce has truly turned her life around in the best possible way. The choice is now yours. Do you want to spend it trying to make sense of the marriage mess and searching for help online or you want to dust it off and spend it doing awesome things that life has to offer you?


    • Darling, wish I had known you personally, then I would have been able to introduce you to at lease 10 people who are much much happier after their divorce (both men and women). A screwed up marriage is a whirlpool that sucks the happiness from every aspect of your life, you start performing bad in your work and opportunities just pass you by. Leaving such a marriage can only bring happiness, better job performance and financial success. A 26 year old just bought a flat worth 50 lakhs all by herself, is traveling to US every other month because of the great work she is doing in her job and looks much prettier because her nights are not spent crying. And all this while she is trying to get out of her 3 year old marriage because her ex-ass-of-an-husband doesn’t turn up for divorce court proceedings to delay the whole process with the intent of torturing her!!!! But she is not getting tortured, she is blossoming. She is one of the top performers at work and got the topmost rating+hike for this year! Whereas, while she was married she had to take a one-year break because she went in acute depression due to her horrible marriage. This is just one person I am talking about…

      Now the choice lies with you – You want to spend your life making sense of this mess that the world calls ‘marriage’, seeking help online, talking to strangers about what you should do OR you want to dust it off and do all those wonderful things life has to offer you; reading, traveling, dressing up, looking pretty, adventure sports, investing in property, enjoying your money and basically doing anything, anything at all that makes you happy? Do the maths, its really that simple 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I second you. I am much happier today than when I was stuck in a bad marriage. I have spent precious years mired in emotional turmoil. I contemplated suicide several time when I was with my two exes.

        Most times, you don’t find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I lucked out. After two divorces, I did find somebody who treated me like a human being, and not a possession.

        I have to say though, that my experiences have left a bitter after taste. I am firmly convinced that most Indian men DO NOT make good husbands, if your idea of a husband is somebody who respects you, stands by you and who “gets” you.

        It’s just not something that many Indian men have the skills for. I’ve really begun to wonder if marriage is worth it at all, if you are a woman who wants an equitable marriage, and a partner and companion, not an overbearing feudal overlord.


  11. Go back for what? So you can give them half your salary AND be the replacement maid when she’s off? Why were you expected to do the maid’s duty when she wasn’t around? Why does your FIL think its ok to scream and yell at you? Why does your MIL have a say in what time you wake up? If some mama thinks this is normal then I pity him because his life must truly have been horrible!

    On your part, maybe you need to de-condition yourself from patriarchal beliefs too. Why would you think it is a woman’s obligation to ‘get married off’ soon after her education is done? As long as you follow ‘some’ patriarchal beliefs, they will make you follow the rest too! If you didn’t think its your obligation to apologise to your in laws after being humiliated, they might never have had the courage to humiliate you further.

    Respect yourself. Treat yourself equal to your husband in your marriage. You decide what to contribute towards the household, your in laws are not entitled to your pay slips. If you both contribute some money towards the household, then you both should share chores like dishes, dusting, etc too.

    Also, don’t go back! That’s a recipe for disaster. Your in laws will only get worse as they realise that they still have enough control on you to ‘bring you back’! If your husband moves out, fine, otherwise move on.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You only have one solution to all your problems and that is : Ask your husband to live with you, if doesn’t agree with living with you separately, then leave him. Or best look for a job in a different city and then tell him to move in with you to different city and advise him to look for a job there. That way, his family can not crib much about his moving to different city on the pretext of job.
    If he doesn’t agree , then he is not worth it. You’ll be better off alone


  13. Your husband is a dumbass and you will be yet another dumbass if you move back again and live in a family of dumbasses. The most educated and sane and self respecting thing you have done for yourself is moving out of that &*%$ of a place. Now learn to live a new life woman. You are educated, you have the best thing in the world, the power and the tool of an extremely good education. Your parents sacrificed so much on this tool and its finally time for you to use it. use it to build your career, use it to make money and make your family (parents younger sister) and yourself happy. Use it to build your health and getting fit, use it to getting sorted with the help of a psychiatrist or personal coach. Use this time and money away to reclaim and relive all your lost dreams. Get into spirituality, get into Yoga, get into something for yourself.

    You married an idiot. Men who say they cant leave their parents at the same time are OK with you to leave your family are hypocritical and idiots. Don’t expect any support from him. All he has been doing is asking you to apologise to his parents.

    Get out of negative thinking of what this happens, what if that happens??? Nothing will happen. You will only be suffering if you go back him thinking of a fake security to make the people around you happy who don’t care.

    Its time for you to be a selfish bitch. Yes, be a selfish bitch and give yourself some love. Sacrifice and putting others first has falsely been idolised in the Indian culture and spoilt many lives. Its difficult to be assertive and ask for what you want when you have been raised to do otherwise but start slow. You don’t have to be mean or rude but I you have to come up with reasons for why you are asking for what you are asking. Very calmly and firmly. Not only with your husband but with your parents and in laws. You are no more a princess, you a grown woman and adult with her own mind and individuality. You should not be apologetic about it not should anyone expect it to be taken away


  14. do not more trust in your husband. he is fattu only. once you came out to your mil house. do not entre again .if husband not stay with you ,why you are waiting for him . you are educated and enough smart as well as sanskari . he is darpok type of patidev .mumma’s boy ,mumma ke liye duniya choddenge. but not a single word to say parents..
    भगवानका शुक्र है .मुझे बेटा नही है । वैसे भी आजकल के लडको में खुद्दारी वाली बात ही नही रही ।


  15. Dear LW,

    I wish to address two points here:
    (1) Future options (2) The stigma of divorce, in case you go for it

    What you have done is commendable. To not take any form of abuse is ideal but things do not work that way many-a-times. You were trying to give it your best/your everything. We call it “adjustment in relationships” in popular terms. In doing that, things went bad. It happens to very strong, confident women sometimes but its great that now you have decided to draw the line. Your husband like many others has been conditioned into living the way he is living, the way he has behaved so far. That is of course no excuse to continue to behave like that. If he is intelligent, rational and progressive minded then he will change his way of thinking. But that is clearly not in your control. The only thing that is in your control is what you chose to do with your life. I could think of the following reasons for staying married or getting a divorce:

    Option (a): Since your husband did support you somewhat in whatever ways he could (hampered greatly by his upbringing and socialization process), staying with him away from your in-laws might be a workable solution. You could continue staying the way you are staying now*** if you still love him enough and you are still willing to work on this marriage. If he decides to join you, your marriage could continue this way. In that case both of you have to discuss some of the negotiable and non-negotiable terms of this marriage. It is not possible to discuss everything as life is so unpredictable but the essential ones such as how you interact with both sets of in-laws, whether you will visit them or they will visit you, what happens in case of emergency situations etc definitely needs to be discussed

    *** For how long you chose to stay this way and wait for him to make up his mind is something that only you can decide. It has already been quite sometime. You could set a deadline for this mentally for yourself, or give him a deadline.

    Option (b): If you think you have had enough and would like to spend the rest your life away from such people and begin anew, divorce is then a practical solution. But this decision should be yours alone. There will be lots of suggestions from well meaning and not-so-well meaning relatives and friends. And some from strangers on blogs 😉 Some of it might be useful but only you know what will work for you.

    Stigma of Divorce -You write: “My biggest fear is the stigma surrounding the much dreaded ‘D’ word”
    In your words this is a stigma; and a stigma is nothing more than just that. It is not what you have to believe in. We chose to believe or not believe in it. People will judge you, that really cannot be avoided. Judging people is one of the most easiest things in this world. That is why we do that. Some people may go out of the way to create trouble for you. Try to minimize your interactions with them. There will be others who will not judge you for being divorced but then they might judge you for being a woman, for being an engineer, for being wealthy, for being poor, tall, fair, thin, dark, atheist, religious…keep adding to that. There is no end to these judgement/stigmas/labels, isn’t it? But you can still live with these if you love and respect yourself despite these labels.

    In the meantime, please take care of your health, and try to focus on work. Also being involved with activities that make you happy or add meaning to your life is always helpful. Do not hesitate to ask for anything – counseling, suggestions, favors from those you trust.
    Be strong. Good luck. Thank you for sharing this with us.


  16. Everyone wants a happy life. married or not. Everyone wants to be respected. everyone wants to be loved and treated well.
    You are no exception. These are things that as a human being one expects. your married state does not matter at all. If you dont get these things then that place is not for you, if you dont get these baics from a relationship then that relationship is not for you, be it husband, mom, mil, fil ,sister,friend etc.,

    IMP, we are here once, its is our responsibility to live happily and contribute positively to society , everything else comes after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you who ever you are! I have written down your comment. You have summed it precisely. I had the same thoughts but couldn’t express them as simply. 🙂


  17. This whole situation is bonkers. LW, you said you are short-tempered but in my opinion you are not short-tempered enough. You should be angry that your in-laws are abusing you. You should be angry that your husband is not willing to stand up for you. Good for you for leaving. Your in-laws want your paycheque, want to control your movements, make you work while you’re in pain (!) – these people do not care about you. Why on earth would you go back?! Your husband too does not seem dependable. Please re-evaluate your relationship – is your life better or worse because your husband is in it? Maternal uncle is correct, this stuff is common, but that does not make it right.


  18. The sheer number of letters posted in this blog with the exact same topic and exact same scenarios of in-laws abuse and spineless husbands make me wonder how the Indian society with its joint family system is decayed beyond belief. Who are these abusive people in real life ? There are perhaps several known to us but whom we don’t know the truth about. Maybe the goody goody MIL in the joint family next door who has arrived and taken over and ruling her DIL who meekly lives around her ‘mummyji’ now ?Who knows what the reality is?

    Anyway, LW, there isn’t much to be said here. Give the mama’s boy an ultimatum. He either moves in with you away from his parents or it is adios. You have already wasted a year of your life. Looks like he has already made his choice and spelled it out to you.So what are you waiting for ? Move on and put this behind you as a nightmare. Time heals everything , so by delaying the inevitable of making a clean break, you are just delaying your healing.

    And one more thing, go public with the abuse you have been subjected to by this nasty family, don’t let them go scot free. Tell it as it is to friends/neighbors and shame them. Chances are that the relatives will still think they did nothing wrong, but this will at least help some of the masks come off and maybe save another girl from being trapped like you as they will definitely start looking for the next bakra once you move on.


    • You know, sometimes I wonder if all Indian in-laws secretly attend some workshop where they are taught the same manipulative, abusive behaviours.

      Says a lot about the current state of our “respectabe, middle-class” society.


  19. These patriarchal setups are the backbone of our culture. 99% of people I know think their d-i-l must fit into their mold – and they attempt to enforce it to a lesser or greater degree. We see so many of these letters here because people are more open about their problems when they can be anonymous. I’m glad Indian women have this place where they can share their problems and get sensible advice.


  20. LW,

    There are two sides to your story. The first part is the easy to decipher, your in laws are horrible people and your husband also is not great. I appreciate the fact that he supported you, but summary of the story is that he is just an average Indian man.
    Coming to the second part and the most important part of this : YOU. I read your letter 4-5 times and I have some observations to make:
    1. You seem to really have a very superior view about yourself. You have mentioned 2-3 times how you are extremely smart, very highly educated, very high paying job etc. Above all what struck me was how you said that within a few meetings you felt that you were way smarter than your husband . So to begin with you felt that you are superior to him and one thing I know for sure is that any relationship that you begin thinking that you are superior than the other person is bound to go downhill because there is no respect in it. Where there is respect there is equality and sadly in your case this is not there.
    2. By agreeing to move into a joint family just because they knew how educated you are is probably not something “a very smart” person like you will do. You again gave a lot of importance here to your education and thought they were accepting you despite knowing your education. I mean I still do not understand this relation to education that you kept bringing up throughout the mail.
    3.The smart person that you are, I don’t know how you quit your job. Also, you quit after telling your husband that you want to contribute for the expenses. So how do these match?
    So I personally feel that you are extremely confused about your perception of yourself. On one hand you feel very superior because you are an Engineer and MBA on the other hand you felt the need\obligation to a) get married as you have a younger sister and no make sibling b) moving into joint family c) quit your job because of marriage
    To top it all you took all the above steps despite not respecting the man you were getting married to in the first place.Your statement “When I met him I had decided to marry” shows how immature you are and how you take decisions in life without any reasoning. Why are you blaming him for your problems when to begin with you have so many problems within yourself?
    You are saying your husband is not taking a stand; did you take a stand? You went shouted in his house that you will divorce him immediately after marriage, can you really be honest about whether you would have married someone who shouted in your house and threatened divorce even before getting married? After all the drama, you backed out because you were scared and got married. So why can’t your husband be scared?Why this difference between your fears and his fears? Why should he stand up but you who is supposedly more smarter than him not stand up for your own choices.So basically you laid the foundation for all of this. You threatened, then got scared about the threat went and got married, quit your job and basically did everything that a normal traditional patriarchy believing girl would do. Forget about how crazy your in laws are, its your behavior that’s a bothering factor here. You seem to have severe temperamental issues.
    Whether to divorce him or not is ultimately your call and decision and indeed your in laws are abusive people and even your husband is being abused by them. Now whether he will see through all of this is his problem.
    But you please go to a therapist and get an understanding of yourself and if you get divorced then before you enter into any relationship in future please spend a lot of time to think if you really respect the other person and consider that person worthy.
    In your current scenario, my opinion is a divorce, because honestly you have no respect for your husband right from before the wedding for whatever reasons. You don’t have to explain those reasons to anyone but your husband because now you are married to him. So just cut your losses, go to a good therapist, find out what your issues are and deal with them and then you will really find someone who is good for you according to you.
    All the best!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Context.

      “Just few days before the wedding I visited his place where he tried to dominate me and screamed at me in front of his mother. I was really taken aback. I fought with him the next day and abused him. Also, I said I would divorce him soon after marriage. To which he called both the families and I apologised to him. I, in fact wanted to call off the wedding but was too scared to do that at a very advanced stage. I couldn’t muster the courage and thought I may have misjudged, and things would fall in place.”

      1. Mr. Douchenozzle has never had to apologise for anything.

      2. Yes, she abused him, but nowhere does it say she did it in his house.

      3. When the whole world including your parents are on your case to marry the first guy who comes along, even the smartest person can be overwhelmed. She held out for two years and I suspect, just got tired of standing up to the constant pressure.

      4. As for “respecting” him, I don’t think he earned it. But them why did she marry him? That’s a good question.

      I suspect it’s because in India, people around you just wear you down and it’s often not the person who you are most compatible with that you marry in an arranged marriage, it’s the least negative choice. Then you have the rest of your life to regret it, and of course, then, no one care, ‘cos you don’t matter much to them.

      Why did she agree to live in a joint family? Why did she give up her job when he moved? That part baffles me too.


      • To answer the last two questions – I moved into a joint family so my future children could be taken care of. I don’t know if that’s right way to think. They came across as literate and well meaning people and some of my friends had good experience living with their in laws. This apart my then fiance said his parents are very cool they don’t expect a regular dil. You are not expected to do household chores we have maid for that.
        Why I moved to a different city, this so I could stay close to my parents also.
        I also bagged four jobs in a duration of 1 year.


    • Hi RM, thank you for pointing out what others ignored. I put that incident deliberately to show my stupid and irrational side as well. This side came out when my then fiance claimed him of being non smart. I in no way think of myself as superior. It was my husband who said I was smarter than him. My MIL herself said this.This smartness bit i wrote because she was being a paradox when she would accompany me to the interviews.
      When I highlighted my education I wanted to convey that my work is demanding and not just regular 9-5 one. Which they understood before marriage but were trying to change it after marriage. Dictating my schedule for me.

      And before marriage while all these thoughts were crossing my mind I tried and study him and I found none of his statements true at least as per my definition.
      Also, I was promised a job by my seniors at my previous company at the new location which of course did not materialize. This is how I promised him to contribute.
      I realize my mistakes and do repent for them. I am probably not good at decision making ..


      • Dear Letter Writer,

        First of all, you are being abused and you should initiate divorce proceedings ASAP.

        The second thing is, you need to take some time and get to know yourself. Maybe find a good therapist and see why you make decisions the way you do. As far as I can see, most of the pressure to first get married and then to stay married has been generated by you.Sometimes we just don’t realise how much we are conditioned by society and that often we are just as patriarchal as the society we want to rebel against. I think that is what has happened to you.


        • THIS. It should be framed on every bedroom wall. As I grow older, I realise just how conditioned I was when I was younger. Even when I was in an unequal marriage, with incessant criticiasm and disrespect, I spent months thinking that it was MY fault. I should adjust more, forgive more, change more.

          I read Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer in college. I was so confident that I wasn’t like those “typical India women”. I would never tolerate injustice and disrespect, but I did, twice!

          Where does this subtle programming come from? In my case, I think it was all the “aunty conversations” I listended to, growing up. In these conversations, submissive, docile and approval-seeking girls were always praised, while independent, opinionated, confident, forthright women were always criticised.

          I remeber how I consciously began to change myself in college — I modelled myself on the submissive Bollywood heroines of the 80s — women who endured injustice with a brave smile. You know, films like “Mehendi Rang Layegi”, “Sautan” and “Dulhan Wahi Joh Piya Man Bhaye”.

          Regressive portrayals of women have a corrosive impact on the thought processes of young girls, as do ordinary conversations about some DIL who is evil because “she talks back to her in-laws”.


  21. I really hope things sort out for you soon. I have been harassed by in-laws so I know how it feels. Take care. In the meantime maybe you can ponder over a few points:
    1. This to a person who stayed out of her house for 7 long years, who is treated as one of the smartest females, who is an Engineer and MBA by education: I get the staying out of the house part, but how does an educational degree make one independent? People can be independent even without being an engineer and vice versa.
    2. “apne baap ko bol fund me se nikal kar tera loan pay kare, aukat kya hai tere ma baap ki, car aur furniture bhi nahi hai tum logon ke paas” (As I said I belong to a humble background. Not like we can’t afford it but my parents chose not to since they invested heavily on my and my sister’s education) : I dont really get this. Does this suggest that education also is a commodity like furniture that got picked? Like its ROI is better than the other choices in the list which was why all funds was invested in it? “Invested heavily” just doesnt sound right.

    The New Indian Dahej (Dowry) : Bahu with a Big Fat Paycheck


    • I think words could be easily picked and played around with. You have all the right to.
      But I hope you understand how Indian middle class works. They have to make choices. It could either have been our education or the luxuries of the world for themselves. We had limited means.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry LW. We have all made decisions that didn’t turn out to be great with hindsight. I think your parents made a very sensible choice. Education is far more valuable, and far more useful, than furniture and other luxuries.

        I don’t understand why people are upset that education is seen as an “investment”. Of course it’s an investment. We are middle-class folks. For us, education is a ticket to a better life, so yes it IS an investment, especially when one has a limited income.

        Your parents made the right choice in choosing to spend on the children’s education, and not on furniture. You should be proud of them. You have a crappy husband, but wonderful parents. Hold your head high.


    • Education is a commodity,in the sense that a good education usually costs a great deal of money, time and energy. The ROI of a college degree is obviously better than that of furniture or a car. Any sensible person would see that and prioritise accordingly. I mean, would you rather pay your child’s school fees or buy him a bicycle? “Investing” in education is quite a common term, especially in middle class india.
      What is so confusing? The letter writer’s parents did the best they could with limited funds.


    • Education is exactly a commodity that gets picked, pay for med school or buy a house, pay for engg school or buy a car..
      If i get my child a engg degree will be support himself in future or is it better if i buy a house in his name and then e can live off the rent.. Should i fund my daughters med school expensive education and will her in-laws pick off her earnings or will she be able to enjoy it ??such are the decisions middle class india takes on a daily basis. 🙂


  22. Dear LW,

    I guess reading your story and others’ response is an eye opener because I was having a lot of thoughts regarding this. I was just wondering, how long did you know your husband before tying the knot with him? Because it takes A LOT of time to know someone. A relative of mine did the arranged marriage thing where he (yes it was the male who suffered in the marriage and being abused by his own wife-he was brought up outside India while the wife was from India) knew his wife for only a week after being convinced she was the one due to her outgoing personality, ‘great talents’ (cooks, cleans, sings, dances..etc), but was obviously blinded by her ‘other’ side had no idea he was in deep waters until she was taking control of him along with her parents. The marriage ended in less than a year-sadly. I think what I’m trying to say is perhaps when spending time with him and his family, you missed some red flags that popped up, but just didn’t notice it and ignored them. Sometimes it takes a while to notice these flags, which I think can be turned to green if you have healthy family discussions, talk about things that you can tolerate and cannot tolerate, can adjust too..etc. Most importantly, I really think that you should NOT HIDE ANYTHING from your future spouse, and your future spouse should do the same. It’s obviously hard to do, but perhaps it prevents one from feeling cheated. I feel for you and wish I could keep you company, but I would say just don’t go back if your in laws cannot agree to talk and have a discussion regarding on how they are treating you. But that’s typical Indian society where the concept of mutual respect is still lacking and probably won’t change until a good majority of us take a stand against it. It may sound unfortunate to divorce as marriage should be something meaningful, but in circumstances like this, this is the best option if you want to prevent further havoc. Stay strong, and will be thinking of you x.


  23. Housework does not cause backaches ! In fact sitting on haunches and mopping is exercise ! Its probably sitting coupled with poor muscle development and/stomach fat/diet which causes weakening of back ! If you maintain good posture while sitting,standing,picking up weights from floor and exercise regimen for overall muscle development which might help in long run!
    Men who have beer bellies,who keep sitting and don’t do any physical work have back aches ! Women are most prone to backackes post delivery ….?.well because we have poor muscles !
    If physical housework would cause backaches,maids are worse off both in terms of diet,and health …..poor people live on maida,rice and carbs with very little vegetables nowadays ! They aspire for pizzas and burgers ! Nothing wrong ….its just the way it is !
    Physical work will not kill you prolonged sitting probably will !


    • A progressive buildup of muscle strength and endurance is recommended, not a sudden outburst of activity. Plus, when you are already in pain (as she was on one incident she described), the best strategy is to rest until the pain subsides and then work on fixing the problem (which may be poor ergonomics, spine pathology, poor posture, muscle imbalance (strength/ tightness issues), or any combinations of these. BTW, backpains are more complex than we think. Perfectly fit and people who exercise regularly have back problems too. Besides, the letter writer’s whole point was she was treated like a second class citizen in that household.

      PS: What’s up with the exclamation mark at the end of each and every sentence (well, except one)?


      • Thanks for pointing out exclamation mark after every sentence. I had not realised that and was unconsciously and wrongly using it .
        And you are right about backaches in fit people .Too much exercising and sports cause injuries too !
        But in the post she talks about not being used to doing any housework and when she did she got sick ! Urban people tend to blame housework a d chores when the cause could be prolonged poor lifestyle and lack of any physical activity !
        If one is not physically active at all ,chances of having aches and pain by any physical labour is natural !


        • Frankly,urban household who are even middle class don’t force sweeping and mopping on dils or even daughters on daily basis because old Mils themselves have not done an ounce of work in their lives . It comes and falls on head of dil when maid is on chutti .

          IHM: What did they do before they brought home a DIL?

          Ideally, family members should chip in with chores or do without it .Nobody can do it all ! But since men don’t do even basic chores the absence of maid makes chores like cleaning fall on younger people, presumably healthier dil than old mil.

          IHM: Meaning the DIL can be forced to do everybody’s share? Right? Otherwise what prevents the rest of the family from doing their share? Why can’t they be forced to do their share? Is there an intention to share the work? If there is, then nobody need force the DIL to do their share.
          I think the DIL is an easy victim, which is why the Supreme Court had to point out, Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

          I don’t think any urban dil is so innocent that she can be forced to do any housework except maybe cooking on daily basis.

          IHM: Refusing to be bullied means one is not innocent? Educated, confident people can be manipulated to believe that what is expected of them is their duty and refusing is ‘disrespectful’ to the person demanding it.
          Indian DILs are also known to be forced to give up careers, have male children, sex select, wear traditional clothing, take permission before visiting friends, adjust their eating habits, sleeping habits etc … but they can’t be forced to do any house work?

          My mom had cleaning keeda which none of us has inherited.I never helped her when I was in college or even working but I had habit of cooking,washing my own clothes ! When maid disappeared without informing,she use to ask us to clean the house because she had developed joint pains .I did when I wanted sometimes I made excuses .My mom couldn’t force me or my sisters .All said and done,I do more chores now than ever because I can’t sit twiddling my thumbs till maid arrives or ignore a dirty house .

          IHM: That’s fine because (and if) you are not forcing someone else to do your share of work

          When we didn’t listen to mom or do our share of work even after all grown up ,she simply stopped doing them and put the responsibility squarely on our head .That’s how we learnt ! How many moms do that with their sons or daughters ?

          IHM: Traditionally, Indian mothers raised their girl children to do their brothers’ and fathers’ and other family members’ (male or older or anybody higher in the family hierarchy) share of work.


        • No, in the post, she talks about having a back problem which was aggravated because of the emotional and physical stress. This is not about urban vs, rural or east vs. west. Those distinctions are too blurred now-a-days anyway. This is about abusive in-laws and husband. Plus, back pain or not, expecting LW to do a major load of chores (+her day job) is simply not justified.


  24. Pingback: “A Delhi court has refused alimony and advised the wife to find a job. Now that’s Equality.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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