An email: “I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say.”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I’m writing this letter mainly to pour my heart out. I’m broken and I don’t know who to speak to.

I’m on the verge of filing for a divorce. I got married in 2012, when I wasn’t even 23. I’ve given more than three years of my life to this relationship and I have nothing left.

I’m tired of taunts, insults and indirect demands by my in laws. My husband does not support me. He does not earn anything as he is involved in his dad’s business, and we depend upon his father financially. Their business is not doing well at all and at the time of marriage, they lied to my family about their income.

My FIL taunts me all the time and my husband has the audacity to say that taunting suits his dad’s personality. My FIL has asked my dad for money a few times but I never let my dad help.

I’m tired. My husband is a spineless fool and I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say. Please help me.

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24 thoughts on “An email: “I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say.”

  1. Hmm! I would say weigh the pros and cons. But, at the same time, I believe that if it’s not working and if your husband don’t support you, follow your heart. Don’t let this log kya kahenge affect your decision. It’s about your life and individuality. Perhaps, you can have a honest chat with your husband and if he still can’t see reason, better move out and grow as a human being. That’s my 2 cent on your situation, assuming that I don’t know exactly what you’ve been through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why on earth people marry before 25. Even when u start a career after simply doing graduation/B.tech/ any other professional course you are about 21-22 and it takes 3-4 yrs to build a career which gives you confidence, taste of real life, exposure to people , different point of views , provides a base on which you can make your decision apart from money. It helps the person exploring themselves on their own terms.

    But still most of girls will follow traditional way by mary by 23 , kids by 25 and life is set then you are yourself putting you in a vulnerable situation. Traditional way of living comes with traditional dangers. Controlling in laws, nagging relatives , log kya kahenge attitude etc. Girls/women should pay attention on their independence so that they can put their foot down.

    For you I will suggest pick up a job and plan your career. It will be very difficult in these situation but without having a solid plan even your parents will not support you.

    On another note if you are thinking so much of log kya kahenge then I can just wonder how your parents will think of log kya kahenge.

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  3. Are these people going to pay your bills? Stop FIL’s taunts? Soothe your soul? If not, you have your answer. Hugs. Be good to yourself. Show others how to treat you. Be around people who love, value and enrich you. They exist, just not where you live right now.

    Think about “people”. Who are they? Neighbours? Friends? Relatives? They are all human beings capable of love, support and empathy. Don’t automatically assume they will blame or scapegoat you. “People” have busy lives of their own and aren’t all mean and judgmental. They may even lend a hand of support to you. Don’t be scared of the bogeyman called “people”. When both my parents passed away when I was young, these random “people” came out of the woodwork to help and support me. May of them are twice my age, not related to me in any way, shape or form. These are “people” I love with all my heart.

    There will be some negative ones, but don’t let the fear of what they say rule your life. In general, don’t fear “people” except those who are abusing you. There is no unified entity called “people”. Each one is different. Most are good.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If things have reached to the point where you feel “Husband is a spineless fool” then there is contempt already brewing in your mind. This marriage wont work unless both of you get some kind of professional counselling. While the ground realities in terms of your emotions, your resilience, your convictions, your financial situation are going to be a big factor in how you will handle this present situation, I suggest the following – 1. Make a decision on whether or not you want to stay in this marriage for sure. 2. Stick by that decision no matter what anyone says at a later date, dont fall for their “this will work out if” stories. 3. Before you say anything about divorce to anyone around you, please plan out the logistics of what you want to do with your life, where you will stay until you find your find, how you will support yourself financially, how you will build yourself(via exercise, doing something that is of value for you etc.) 4. Take the time to get out. 5. If you have a kid make sure you have all the relevant details of custody rights, support rights and enforcement of the same. 6. If you dont have kids, please start on a contraceptive right now, you dont need another life to have the scars of your pain to perpetuate into the world. And not having a kid will give you the additional strength of your divorced family never having ANY Rights on you or your time.

    These are what I can think of right now. Please talk to someone you trust for legal advice, social and emotional support. You will need it until your feel confident enough to Live the way you want. Wishing you the best what ever you decide.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear LW,

    If one has to bear emotional and verbal abuse in any relationship then one should consider discontinuing it. You are NOT wrong in thinking like this. But if and when you want to leave the marriage is only for you to decide.The presence of taunts and insults erode away the self esteem to such an extent that it takes a lot of effort and time to get one’s confidence back. If you have made up your mind about filing a divorce and the only reason you are still there, is negative societal reaction then most of us here will tell you not to give any importance to people’s reactions.

    I will write what I have written here before: People will always judge you. We do that because it is one of the easiest things to do. If you don’t get judged for being a divorcee, you may be judged for being single or a widow or a scientist or because you belong to a specific religion, caste or region. These judgements will keep coming. Always. Therefore we cannot base our decisions on these judgements.

    What you can do from here on is to get the following for yourself, irrespective of whether you stay in the marriage or not):
    1. Financial independence
    2. A handful of supportive people who will not put you down
    3. A place to live (in case you decide to end the marriage)
    4. All identification documents, gradesheets and certificates kept safely

    Love yourself. Be hopeful about the future and try to make efforts towards getting your confidence back. You are about 26 and you write that “I have nothing left.” Please re-think on this. You have your whole life ahead of you and if you take charge of your own life then you can have whatever opportunities you now believe you will never have.

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  6. It’s people’s job to say something one way or another. What will they say? They will can you names, they will blame you for the marriage that failed, they will emotionally blackmail your father etc. But that’s the normal pattern, they will do this anyways irrespective of your divorce,if your marriage is not working. So move on. Consult a lawyer before opening up to your husband. Incase he suddenly gets a spine and decides to stop you using force. Get a lawyer on your sides, divorce is a financial affair, start planning for it. Figure out how you will manage the cash flow as the case drags on. Everyone has the right to live happy, the way they want, you do too. Go for it.

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  7. Dear LW

    I am sorry you are going through this. There are few questions I would like to ask which could help you in deciding the next step.

    A. Do you have a job?
    B. Are your parents supportive?

    If your parents are supportive you could take a break from your in laws house, go to your parents house, start therapy and then decide your next step. The therapist will help you discover why you are so scared of ‘people’ and their opinions and how to overcome this by developing your confidence. Once you are able to build your confidence then you can decide whether you want a divorce and give a rat’s ass to what people say or go back and stay with your husband and learnt to build strong boundaries where they also face consequences of not respecting you.

    If you have a job you can move out and start living independently. You can take help from supportive friends in finding an accommodation. After that if you still feel the need to work out things between you and your husband you can put the onus on him to leave his father’s business, move in with you and take a job. Else you can go ahead with the divorce and keep going for therapy to keep yourself strong.

    If you have neither of the two I would suggest making efforts to acquire atleast one of them. Try to stay positive. Exercising, long walks, drinking plenty of water, listening to good music will help you while you look for a job and develop a thick skin.

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  8. Dear Letter Writer,
    You are very young and you have got married before even realizing what it is to have a committed relationship like marriage and what it is to live with a family.
    I think you should forget it as a bad dream. You have your whole life in front of you. If you think, you can’t live with your husband and in-laws, leave them. But make sure, you don’t go back to your parents and wait to get married to a better person a year later. Considering that you got married before 23, I assume there would be some pressure from your parents to marry you off again.
    Find an interest, not sure of your education. Either pursue your education, do a masters or find a job or both (one could be part time). Work hard and build your future. Don’t wait for a man to provide you what you want from life.
    And the question of what will people say. If you think about this question, no woman would ever get divorced in India. Because, everybody faces this. What will people say, if you don’t get married, if you get married, if you get divorced, if you don’t have kids, there is no end to these people’s comments no matter what you do. So forget about them, give a damn and move on.
    You are very young, find a counselor who can help put things in the right perspective. If you don’t find one, speak to people on this forum, whose words you agree with.
    All the best and wish you a bright future.

    Regards,
    V

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  9. Hey there,

    Have one last hat with hubby and explain for one last time why you feel the way you feel. And let him know that he has to choose – you or his parents – an ultimatum. You need to put your foot down. It is not easy but given that you have reached the breaking point, you have to go beyond “what will people say?”. Believe me, years after you will look back and thank yourself for being bold. Seeing a therapist is not a bad idea. That will be one more option.

    Good luck & best wishes. Stay strong.

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  10. You need 3 things right now:

    1) A source of income:
    Do you have a job or can you get one?
    Will your parents/siblings support you financially until you get a job?

    2) A non-judgemental support person:
    This can be your mother,father,sister,friend. They should listen to you with an open mind. Don’t expect them to agree with everything you say though.

    3) A break of at least a day, where you can sit and think about 1 and 2.

    After all this, make a decision. You sound very overwhelmed right now. Take a break and think clearly.

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  11. If you think your husband is a ‘spineless fool’ that’s not a good sign🙂 its more a sign that you need out.
    Trust , love ,respect, passion, care and happiness is essential in a marriage. If you don’t have that then what is the purpose of staying in it.
    Leave and move forward.
    I don’t think it has anything to do with age, sure nowadays marrying young is frowned upon, i dont think there is one set age , it differs for different people. it is what make you happy. look at this like you would anything else in life, some things work out some don’t.
    move on. there is a world out there for everyone.you just need to reach out and grab it

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  12. “I cannot stay in this marriage anymore ….” You already know what you want to do.

    But you are afraid of society. That is a fear that is ingrained in us early on. On some level, we may understand that this fear is in direct conflict with our personal happiness. Everything “society” insists on for women (a certain face, shape, color, behavior, roles, etc.) turns out to be unhealthy literally and emotionally for us. How do we get over this fear of society then?

    Different people overcome it in different ways. Some of us are by nature defiant/strong and quickly reject external pressure. Some of us take a little longer to find our inner strength. Some of us may have supportive people in our lives to encourage us in the right direction. And some of us may have a life changing experience that takes us to the very depths and forces us to swim back to the surface gasping for breath.

    You must find your own way out of this fear, LW. I hope you have supportive parents. I hope you find your inner strength. Once you are brave and strong, the practical hurdles can be overcome (education, finding a job, a place to live, etc.). Finding your courage is the key. Once you have that, you will tide over anything that comes your way.

    All the best and hugs to you. Keep in touch and let us know how things are going. Talking and sharing always helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I wonder how many Indian women would actually choose a traditional marriage were it not for the tremendous pressure they are put under to “adjust”.

      As I grow older; I see many women who stay married not because they want to, but because they have no other option.

      Sometimes I think that this pressure on women to “get married and stay married” is the biggest reason behind Indian women marrying.

      I have seen so many women stuck in bad marriages — all because of societal pressure. If Indian women could live independent lives outside marriage, I have no doubt that many would choose this, and not a life of perpetual servitude to husband and in-laws.

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      • Yes, and “marriage” as we define it in traditional Indian terms is a no-win, bad proposition for women. It’s good marketing for a bad product.
        If women want to get married, they must re-define it as a relationship between EQUALS. They must ensure they understand what “marriage” means to both parties before entering such a relationship – is the other person seeing it as a patriarchal, hierarchical relationship or an equal one? How it is viewed changes everything.

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  13. He does not earn anything as he is involved in his dad’s business, and we depend upon his father financially.
    Leave. Seriously, what is the point of a traditional marriage if he cannot support you, let alone a child? I’m guessing they all see you as a source of capital (dowry) and free labor. You will shut up about them when you leave if they shut up. If not, let it be known widely they cannot pay their bills. They will seek to find another bride for their “innocent divorcee”. Leave while you do not have children. Squirrel away any money you have from other sources so they cannot reach or access it.

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  14. I agree with Radha,

    No point in marriage if there’s no mutual respect and support, it’s going to end up in ruins anyway. And to be honest, you should try to stop worrying about what society thinks. They are not you and not living your life as the things affecting are only affecting you, not anyone else. I used to be like you, worrying about what others think and to be honest, now I don’t give two hoots about it becaue I learned on my own that you won’t always please everyone no matter what you do to make them happy. People are always going to complain about one thing or the other, even on petty and irrelevant things (which have been discussed here before). Like one of my aunts say, if they don’t like it..too bad ! I honestly feel you should leave the marriage only for the sake of your safety and security.

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  15. Sometimes I wonder why Indian women marry at all. For too many Indian women, marriage means nothing more than a life of perpetual servitude to husband and in-laws.

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  16. After living for 10-20 years in this marriage just coz “what will people say”, you will regret why did you do it, but the past won’t come back. No one else gonna live your life, no one else gonna pass through the misery you are/will going/go through. It is your life, all the pain and unhappiness that you will have, only you have to bear it. None of these so called “log” gonna take a share of your pain, then is it wise to spoil your life for these “people”?

    You are scared of misery coz of what will people say after your divorce, but you are not happy now either, then why not take a chance to improve your life?

    It is your life, don’t waste it on what anybody’s gonna say. Nobody’s gonna care. People may talk, talk for a while and then find some new hot topic. Plus trust me society is changing. Moreover, we make the society, set an example for other women, don’t force yourself into an unhappy marriage.

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  17. Leave your husband. As for the people who want to talk, let them and let me tell you why. My wedding fell through a couple weeks before the big day for a variety of reasons. Like you, one of my first thoughts as a 23 year old was “what will people say?” This was the best thing to happen to me because it helped me distinguish between people who were not gossip mongers and people who genuinely liked me versus people who were happy about the wedding getting cancelled and just malicious people in general. The latter group I cut out of my life completely. Going through this situation will help bring immense clarity regarding what is really important to you in life- listen to your instinct and go with it.

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  18. A few random thoughts, questions, suggestions I request you to ponder over:

    1. Will the people whose opinion you are concerned about, come and help you out of your situation now?

    2. How many lives do we get to live? If we don’t live the one life we have now the way we want, in a way that we and our dear ones are happy, when else will we?

    3. You are educated. I’m assuming you are not employed. Sorry if I’m wrong. Please find yourself an employment ASAP. If you are already employed, great. I’m asking this because, there is no joy moving from the shelter of one provider to another, even if they are our own parents/siblings. Financial independence alters a lot of equations. You will feel more empowered.

    4. If it is in you, and if you and your husband want to make it work, I think it is time you put your foot down and not succumb to any taunts and demands. If it is not worth the effort of making things work, it makes sense to walk out of the relationship.

    No matter what you decide, it is very important to respect yourself. No one is doing you any favors. No one should talk you down. Marriage is not an end to anything! Society is what we make it to be. You, me, the rest of us constitute the society. We have as much responsibility of changing its makeup as anybody else. How about starting by standing up for ourselves? No matter how many suggestions, advice, and counselling we get, unless we don’t stand up for ourselves, we won’t make progress. What the rest of us, specially women here, can do is help you see things in the right light, and boost up your confidence. And also with resources of where you can reach for help. Like IHM, help voice your trouble. Please go and claim back your life and your happiness!

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  19. Any updates on this marraige?
    I would say, if you don’t want to leave, at least you and your hubby, should live separately and learn to fend for yourselves. THis joint family is receipe for disaster. Seems like you are punching bag for all their problems.

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  20. Pingback: An email: “I am 32, Going through a very messy divorce…” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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