“So I had a fancy wedding and moved to a business family ready to stay with in laws.”

Sharing an email. 

In ‘Astitva’ (a Hindi movie) an Indian woman turned down her would have been father in law’s offer to find her some job in the same family business where the son also worked. What made it possible for her to turn down that offer?

My answer at the bottom of this post. 

Also, what can give any woman the confidence to turn down any such offer that she does not want to accept? What can make anybody trust their own judgement?  

How easy are these choices for most women seeing that getting married, making the marriage work, family and parenthood have traditionally been viewed as almost solely a woman’s concerns? 

What do you think could the email writer have done? What would you recommend now?


I came across this blog a couple of days back. It is funny how I arrived on this page searching for “woes of an Indian daughter in law” on a search engine. Funny because I never really thought I would have to look for a solution to such grievance ever in my life. I grew up in a family where we were continuously taught to focus on how to get a good career which shall lead to an independent(financially and otherwise) life. Never really bothered much about learning to cook or do household chores. My mother was an academician and evidently those values were instilled in me and my sister since a very young age. Both us eventually got through good colleges, completed MBA from Tier 1 school and landed up with good jobs.

My sister went for an arranged marriage settled in a different city with completely non interfering in laws. All these years, I had been dating this guy (who did his courses from the same B School) until last year when I decided to get married to him. By then, I had switched 2 fancy corporate jobs, lived independently, managed my own investments and was fairly satisfied with my life.

My husband decided to join his father’s business in our hometown despite having the opportunity to crack MNCs in campus. It was his decision (not sure if influenced by his parents) and I respected it.

When the time came to discuss our marriage, it was understood that one of us had to quit and move. His being a very established business, I was given an option to join family business (after all they were not asking me to be a housewife). Discussions went on for months and finally I gave in. He has been the best thing to happen to me, I could have made that SACRIFICE and I did for the sake of our marriage.

So I had a fancy wedding and moved to a business family ready to stay with in laws. There were so many who warned me against it but I thought nothing could really impact me as long as I’m working and I have my husband by my side.

Days passed, I joined work but realised slowly how my work is not acknowledged or appreciated as much as I expected it to be. My mother in law is a very quiet lady, does not socialize much and is totally obsessed with her children. She sits at home entire day, constantly seeking attention from every family member and reacts vehemently when others do not reciprocate. I tried to manage her mood swings for months giving her company during the evenings, managing her fights with the domestic help. I was uncomfortable but I thought she does no harm to me, so I should be more considerate.

My father in law is a complete extrovert to the extent of being an absolute braggart, sometimes even lying or creating false stories of his fake glory. It was always hard to digest because I grew up in a completely different environment.

Now months have passed and things have not changed, only gotten worse. They have relatives coming in from the village who would stay for months and comment on the way I dress (Oh, the bahu in jeans or a suit minus the dupatta?), would want to evaluate my culinary skills and also question me on the knowledge of customs/rituals. My in laws are extremely traditional, they never really forced me to follow anything but the expectations are very clear. Both of them are in the habit of chewing tobacco, which I absolutely detest. There are many other things that makes my day to day life unbearable but I have no other option.

Although my husband is extremely supportive, I hate to share these problems everyday with him. He is torn between me and his parents. Another house is out of question as long as we stay in the same city (log kya kahenge?) and moving to another city is very difficult for him since he has been managing the business for 4 years now. Corporate options are limited in this city and even if I move to a company here, it leaves me with the same house and same set of people. My husband and I dreamt of a very different life and I truly feel am transported several decades back in time, away for the progressive world.


Related Posts:

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

2. 18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

3. What would you not change for love?

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

5. An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

6. Please watch Queen.

7. “Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai! These are trivialities, not social problems.”

8. “Although my in laws maintain a facade of being content with what they have and never asking the girl’s side for anything…”

9. An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

10. “I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

And the answer to the question I asked above: Only one thing – she valued her happiness and freedom more than she wanted to get married.


21 thoughts on ““So I had a fancy wedding and moved to a business family ready to stay with in laws.”

  1. It’s understandable you don’t want to live with people with whom you don’t have much in common. You could try out a few things, especially if your husband is supportive.

    1. You can move to a separate floor with separate kitchens and facilities and minimum contact with the in-laws. This is not ideal but better than someone sitting on your head all day long. If your in-laws don’t like this, expect there to be constant dramas all year long.

    2. You can move out to a separate flat within the same city, and to hell with ‘log kya kahenge’. If you consider people too much, then you should be doing all the crap they tell you, right? This way, you will alienate useless log you don’t want in your life anyway and your husband can still go to work.

    3. Your husband can make a sacrifice (for a change!) and move to another city to start afresh. If you move first and get a good job with a good pay, he can take some time in re-establishing his business wherever you guys choose to move.

    You need to be pro-active and remember consistently that you gave up an important part of your life (your family, your job, your independence) in the pursuit of happiness. If that happiness is not forthcoming, then it is a futile move. Tell your husband that you have already made sacrifices and things have not worked for you. It’s time for him to make some changes. Just think about it – why does HE get to stay in the same house with the same family and work in the same city at the same company, while you have to give up everything? Now that you are unhappy, it is up to you two to understand this and make joint decisions where you are both gaining, both in terms of personal happiness and freedom, and financially.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. HI LW,

    Based on what you have written in your letter I will suggest you to have a separate space in the house. As you have written in mail , they are financially good then you can have a separate flat where you can live your way.

    Other option is you move out of the joint family and live happily.

    You can also join some other company or option available there.

    There is no point in fighting with In-Laws as it is very difficult to change their point of view. For them this was normal (maybe you can say abuse was normal) and what you are suggesting is abnormal. But you can work on your husband. Ask him to make clear to relatives that they don’t comment on your lifestyle and if they will then they are not welcomed. And then as team draw a line with your PILs.

    Only these ideas came to my mind , maybe it proves helpful or may be not.


  3. If your husband is concerned about “log kya kahenge”, all of you should move, you and your ILs. Move to two houses side by side so that you don’t have them in your face all the time. If he’s not amenable to that either, leave the town for your job (that’s what you did for him) and if he wants to follow you he will.

    Don’t spend the rest of your life miserable. You deserve happiness. If your husband wants to deny it for himself, you don’t have to follow in his footsteps. You have it in you to fight for yourself. Don’t wait until you are completely miserable, worn down and resigned to your fate. Be around people who energise you, not mediocre people who want to drag you down.


  4. 1. Move into a separate floor in the same house with your own kitchen etc.
    2. Move into another house nearby your in laws. Forget what people say. They will move on to another topic soon.
    3. Move to another house faraway in the same town.
    4. Move out of that town to another city.


  5. I agree with the replies above. When the discussions went on for months on who has to sacrifice and move, you should have told your husband, if it doesn’t work, it will be his turn to sacrifice next. Anyway, none of us foresee situations that we fall into. But since you have walked half way, he also has to walk the other half, when required.
    You can move into a new place in the same city and look for a new job or see if you can take charge of a part of family business independently. As mentioned in the comments above, to hell with “log kya lahenge”. Your husband should be more concerned about your happiness than imaginary “log”.
    Explain your situation to your husband, that no matter how nice and un-intruding his parents may be, you won’t feel comfortable. You both are a different family unit now and have your own aspirations, way of living, social circle, etc. Your in-laws should respect that and let you be. It requires a shift in traditional thinking and is not easy to convince traditional in-laws. But if your husband can make up his mind, he can convince them (after a few big dramas). But it is worth it. He should do this for you.
    If you want to skip this whole scene, you can look for a job outside of the city and ask your husband to follow you for some time. After a few years if you want to return to family business, you can return on the condition of living separately.
    In any case, you need to explain your situation to your husband and make him understand your plight. Just being nice to you wont suffice, he has to understand your problems too. This is not worth suffering alone. You are suffering because you made a sacrifice to be with your husband. So, isn’t it his responsibility to resolve this for you?


  6. Also as an after thought, I dig deeper into your problem. I am sure you are capable of thinking of the alternatives recommended for you by all of us. Your main problem is not the lack of options, but the mindset. Firstly, of yours, then your husbands and then your in-laws.
    – You need to think of yourself as equals to your husband. You have every right to live separately if you are not happy with your in-laws.
    – Your problems are not yours alone, but your husband’s as well. You both decided to get married and live together, it need not be with his parents. If one of you two isn’t happy, then it requires re-thinking. Our society conditions us to think that it is natural to move into in-laws house. But if you think logically, it is so flawed. why should two grown up people deciding to marry should live with one set of parents? You are old enough to have your own place and live as you please.
    Your happiness and freedom is of utmost importance, there is no question of sacrifice. In your case, no one else has sacrificed anything but only you. And you are also the most miserable person. why? Think about this.
    – I am not sure how much of your problems you have told your husband, As I said above, it is very much his problem and he needs to think about this actively and resolve this for you. In fact, this is his problem, not yours at all. You are just exercising your right, to live as you please as a grown up adult. if he doesn’t consider it to be your right, there you have a problem!
    – Traditional in-laws can’t think much beyond, we are ONE family and all of us have to live together. No matter what you do, you can’t please them. Because they have a problem with their thinking. They expect grown ups to live like their 10 year-olds in their house. Your husband has to stand up and tell them he is old enough to have his family separately. This will break their hearts, but you are not responsible for it, but their own thinking and unwillingness to understand and change.
    Hope this give you some points to ponder! All the best. Hope you take the best decision for yourself.
    Through this blog, one point is clear, Irrespective of level of education, work, social status and earning capability, we all go thru the same crap of joint family, in-laws, expectations from DIL. Gender equality is long way to go!


    • Very well put! Covers everything I wanted to say. I don’t get how the husband is supportive if he doesn’t understand the misery the LW is going through.


    • You’re right QV. Most of the options mentioned here are alternatives we have already thought of.My in laws and the entire clan definitely believe in the ONE FAMILY concept, so strongly that they can’t help but lecture on how their well read daughters have been taking their in laws into confidence(rather seeking permission) for every small-big decisions of their lives. Just to update you on the situation, I got through a good corporate job in the same city(almost Godsent at this time). I am ready to accept the offer, it is a good role and I get to be with my husband until he is ready to move out(He wants 3 years to move out of the business and execute his new B plan in a new city). Now, there are 3 things I’m not really looking forward to – 1)The reaction of my in laws to my decision of moving out of the family business and all that will follow.2)The same day to day problems which will continue till the next few years.3)What if my husband changes his plan in the next couple of years. He is already worried about their health and if I have to move up the ladder, I cannot stay in this city at the same role forever.

      P.S – This morning I was asked to move to US for 2 months to help my sis in law(who is expecting). I can’t even begin to say if I’m baffled or stoned.


      • Dear Cypress,
        I do hope that you have the courage to follow your heart and give yourself a peaceful life you deserve.
        I am glad you found the job that will make you less miserable for atleast half the day.
        About your issues:
        1) Your husband should defend you and tell his parents to leave you alone with your career decisions
        2) Either you need to stand up for yourself and tell your in laws that you don’t want to live with them or take the crap for next 3 years. There is NO other way out. Really.
        3) You need to be very clear with your husband that you both will move out of that city in 2-3 years for your respective career advancement.Otherwise what is the point in living your life for someone else, and how long?
        From your response, it seems to me that you are afraid of your in-laws but equally hate to live with them. Also, in any matter of difference of opinion with in-laws, husbands have to stand up for their wives, otherwise, you will always perceive you to be wrong. Your husband should actively defend you and tell his parents to leave you alone. Yes, you should deal with them through your husband, because they are his parents.

        I hope you said NO to going to US if you don’t want to. Your reaction says you don’t want to. No one has any right to force you to go and help expecting Daughter. It is a bit sensitive issue, but they are taking you for granted and pushing their decision on you instead of asking if you would mind helping her.


  7. Prioritizing: 4 years of managing business in the past vs. many many many years of happiness in future. I considered first option because he has been managing the business for the last 4 years seems to be the biggest hurdle (excuse) in separating from the inlaws.
    Tobacco chewing? Come on!!
    Ditch the in-laws already.


    • Here’ the thing — when a woman signals, like this LW has done, that she is willing to “sacrifice” her well-being, her ambition, her needs and her comfort, for the sake of “getting married and staying married”, then she is setting herself up for years of neglect. There’s a proverb in Hindi that suits LW’s predicament perfectly — “aa bail mujhe maar”.

      Isn’t it stupid to make the same mistake and expect a different outcome? Millions of Indian women move into joint families and forfeit their freedom, their autonomy, their aspirations and desires.

      When LW was considering marrying her boyfriend, why didn’t she pay heed to all the warnings she received?

      I really wonder why so many women make the same mistake, over and over again? Axe, meet foot.


      • Neha: You just wrote what was in my mind.. Honestly, I fail to see the logic behind such decisions and later the cribbing. I might come across as rude and insensitive but really why blame the man or men when women who are as educated as them are themselves ready to leave everything behind and follow someone just because it’s supposed to be the thing to do. So when a woman is supposed to leave her whole life behind and go, a man is also supposed to treat her like garbage; that’s how its always been right so why or what makes women think that somehow miraculously their situation will be different from their predecessors?
        It’s like going to a sushi place and expecting Indian thali to be served. It just means that you did not do proper research and now are cribbing about something that was always the same.
        Even in this case, LW what made you think that you have to leave everything for the love of your life or for the best thing that happened to you? Are you not the best thing that happened to your husband as well? Why was your well paying corporate job lesser or how was it less than your husband’s family business? How did you decide or even now you are giving more importance to his business saying that its a well established business for the last 4 years, was your career not well established or did you get it very easily and only he struggled to establish his business? You are talking about his parents, what about your parents? Did they not struggle to bring you up? Or did you just grow up like randomly? If your parents have also struggled hard then is it not your responsibility to think about them?Since you are MBA and helping the business, I want to know if before quitting your everything did you even bother to check if there will be any ROI on it, or at least if you will break even? Will you run your professional business like how you took decisions in your personal life?
        As long as we women treat our lives and careers as less important, we will never ever find a man who will treat us equally because to begin with despite all the education it’s the women who thinks she or her career or family is secondary. This blame game should stop and women should start taking responsibility for their actions.
        I see this has become a trend, where all highly educated and well earning women quit their jobs and then start blaming the husband’s for their miseries and then claim to be highly educated and what not when finally they give in to the society, quit their jobs and move into joint families, so why blame men when they are also behaving as society expects them to behave? Why this double standards?
        Honestly, initially I used to really sympathize, but later on I realized that as long as women yield men will take advantage. So its not the man’s fault but the woman’s for treating herself less.
        LW, I have no solution for your problem but just questions that I have written above. I think if you answer those questions, you will get an answer.


        • R- The mistake is already done. The purpose of writing this post was not to crib(and my man does not treat me like garbage). The idea behind writing this was to figure out what best can be done NOW.


      • Hi Neha,honestly I did not foresee managing the family business would come with so many such issues which I’m facing on an everyday basis now. Yes, the purpose was definitely to “get married to the person I love” and what followed was worse than what I had expected.I will be glad if you come up with some suggestions on how to deal with it now.


  8. LW – Your FIL sounds like a narcissist and your MIL codependent. Your husband is also likely one or the other, and if not, at least severely damaged. Please read about NPD/codependency and see if you can relate.
    Everything else I wanted to say has already been said.


    • I looked it up on the net. Absolutely correct. I can totally relate to it – My FIL does not even let the other person talk during discussions – only stories of his grandeur and his children’s success. Almost like he has an inferiority complex somewhere which he has to compensate with such stories. And my MIL is a classic case of Codependency.I only wish we had stayed away from them right from the beginning, unaware of their limitations maintaining a healthy relationship.


      • This is going to be hard to accept, but your husband OBVIOUSLY has serious issues too. He was raised by people with serious issues (likely personality disorders), and the only way to live under the same roof day in and day out is to develop a complementary dysfunction. It’s almost a coping mechanism and kids don’t KNOW it’s happening to them. Which brings me to my next point – why have YOU been in a relationship with this guy for all this while? Forget about before/after marriage or the presence of in-laws. You chose to be with this (damaged) person, and it’s your responsibility alone to figure out why. Otherwise you’ll repeat the same cycle in any future relationship. You’ll be attracted to the same kind of person – as in the same kind of dysfunction, even though habits and behaviors might be different – and after a while find yourself in the middle of very similar problems. You CANNOT change this family. Do not even waste your time and energy by trying. But see if you can talk to a therapist and figure out YOUR dysfunction. You’ll begin to see all your conflict with a new pair of eyes, and that’s when you’ll know whether you really want to spend your life with this guy or not. His parents are not the problem, I promise. He and you are. And if that can’t be resolved, even if his parents leave their house and business to you and start living like ascetics in the Himalayas, you won’t be happy.

        PS: In most of this comment, by “you” I meant me.


        • I completely agree with RK. You have to sort your and your husband’s issues first. Otherwise you will never be happy. Please take professional help. There are no shortcuts for these things.


  9. 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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