An email : I married him with complete knowledge of him staying in a joint family.

Sharing an anonymous email.

Dear IHM,

6 months later here I am writing another letter to you seeking views on how to handle the situation.

Since the last time, things have slightly changed, I moved from the family business to a corporate which is going good for me. The profile suited my requirements, the pay matched up to my expectations and it ensures that I stay out of home for 10 hours everyday at peace.

Meanwhile my in laws have not changed, their habits and mannerisms remain the same and the constant discomfort of staying in someone else’s house as per their terms disgusts me. Now, my first sister in law and her family are shifting to the same city(possibly to the same house as well).The level of interference will increase exponentially. My second sister in law is also coming over for 6 months from the US.

Now, these things are normal for my in-laws, they impose all kinds of responsibilities on my husband and he is bound to do everything possible for his family.

Lately, when we discussed that it will be very difficult to stay with so many people and so much of interference, he agreed to move out of the house and tried to discuss the same with his parents. They started to lecture on how families are supposed to operate with the son taking all responsibilities, in fact my FIL also mentioned how guys need to earn and their wives need to manage household work.

The same does not apply to their daughters though and they are clearly hypocrites of the highest order. His sisters and relatives have also mentioned that it is his responsibility to take care of the family and hence, he must do everything possible.

Now, my husband feels that moving out of the house is not possible and I have no option but to live in that house forever.

Ours was a love marriage and we still love each other, so I cant think of a separation yet. I married him with complete knowledge of him staying in a joint family. I do not know what to do. It is so difficult to hurt him yet I have no option but to scream at him every single day.
The fact that I will never have a home to myself, never get to have complete privacy with my husband haunts me.

Please should I do?

16 thoughts on “An email : I married him with complete knowledge of him staying in a joint family.

  1. I think it is okay to change your mind once you try something and discover that you don’t like it. I can barely think of 1 person who enjoys living with their in laws and they are a rare species. So, stop beating yourself over it.

    Looks like your husband cannot come up with arguments for moving out and you guys need to discuss and come up with valid logical points for everything before bringing it up again.

    Another option could be renting out a small flat nearby and you move out and ask your husband to stay with you for few days in the beginning and maybe he will enjoy the freedom and wish to move out.

    As your previous letter is not linked, I am not sure what the exact situation is. If you cannot move out, then stop giving a damn about restrictions and do what you please in the house. YOu have every right to be there as long as you contribute to the household financially (reasonable amounts) and help out like you would with any housemates. Don’t do more. Stop letting them dictate what you can wear, what you can do with your money. If they oppose or your husband complains to you, tell him you want to move out.

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  2. Dear Letter Writer,
    I completely understand your frustration, as I was in a similar situation. Though my in-laws were totally non-intruding, space was a constraint. To add to that, my in-laws are quite old (80 and 70) and really depend on us financially and emotionally. I lived with them for 4 years, took time to convince my husband that we need our own space. Initially, it wasn’t feasible at all. But slowly, after seeing his friends and their families have their space, my husband got convinced that we need our space (Thank god). Because I also got into this fully knowing I had to live with them and really have a great relationship with him to leave him. Now we live in the 3rd floor of the same apartment, where my in-laws live on first floor. It is a bit of financial drain for us, but we took it up fully knowing what we are bargaining for. Freedom is truly amazing. Now my husband is happier too, to get his space.

    So, I think the only way for you is to coax your husband, slowly with logic and rationale. Since he has spoken with his parents once, he is somewhere convinced about it, but too scared of hurting his parents. You will have to take time to hammer it in his mind that what you are asking for is your right to live as an individual as you please, but need to do it in a nice manner, because there lies win-win for you. Worst case, he will have to tell his parents that it is not working out for him and needs to gather courage to do it. You will need to support him and stand by him without having prejudice towards his family (I know its tough). Do not blame his family, stick to space and freedom issues and what you need as an individual to lead a peaceful life. That’s only a fair ask right?

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    • Thanks, we are trying to explore the option of building our own space on the top floor in the same house. Unfortunately, we cant gather the courage to say it upfront that it is because we need our own space. My in-laws are so orthodox they can’t even begin to imagine that we might need our own space(It’s appalling, I know). For now it has been said that more space is needed to accommodate more people, but sooner or later we have to say it – That we are a married couple and deserve to have our own setup.

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      • Engaging with the orthodox people are the worst. There’s no way you can reason with them w/o instigating a huge fight. Always easier to stay separate from them.

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  3. This may be of little help but you can give a try. Few years ago we were on a rented house my owner was an elderly retired bank manager . He had built separate floor for son and daughter in law so that they can stay together still can lead their own life. The upper floor had own kitchen , garden , terrace and even separate gates to enter house. But as owner’s son had moved to US he had rented out to us. But i really liked the idea in that way we can still look after our elderly parents/parents in law in same time we can have some private time also. Because sooner or later there will be a time when you may have to take care of them.

    And IHM i have a question …When daughters are calming for paternal property , are not they equally responsible to take care of their parents? why son and daughter in law are always accountable …

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    • This is what I call pseudo feminism…. They want all rights and no responsibilities. Actually they … daughters with brothers…. want best of both worlds… traditional ‘gifts’ a bhaiduj n rakhi n any other excuse …from brother n inheritance. …. but taking care of parents… that’s brothers job.

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      • No. Daughters VERY much WANT & LOVE to take care of their parents, since they are more emotionally attached to their parents than their brothers are. But the husband & in-laws oppose this – they want all of their DIL’s resources (money, work) solely for themselves. A married woman does not have the freedom to spend on her parents & will have to request & hope for her husband’s permission to do so. Sad part is that parents themselves teach this to daughters saying “take care of your marriage – don’t ever cross your husband or inlaws, staying married is the most important” blah blah.
        My mother is a widow & I am the only daughter. Inspite of this my mother tried to instill the above said “values” (yikes!!) into me. Somehow thank God my brain completely repelled it – she was such a loving, caring, sacrificing mom, and I simply couldn’t stand the thought of orphaning her because of some stupid “cultural” “values” or any other BS. When I finished my education & started working, she was even suggesting that she can join an old age home (it was under construction then) which was being built by a missionary after getting me married since it was “inappropriate” to “interfere” in a daughter’s husband’s wish (Daughter’s wish is to take care, but that doesn’t figure anywhere). It was APPALLING to say the very very least. When proposals came, I was frank that I would like to keep my physically fragile (and very docile and soft) mom staying with me. But this sounded like asking for the moon for almost all the suitors. Only 2 families had agreed – I rejected the first one as they kept changing their talks suspiciously and also because I would have to resign my job & relocate. I got married to the second one who was in the same city. Later that turned to be a nightmarish marriage that lasted 5 months, during which he wanted my mom to turn over ALL her saving to him, and also wanted me to give him all my salary, since that is the “norm” and I’m even more obliged because he has **so very graciously consented to allow a wife’s mother to stay under his roof – something which, according to him, even the biggest fool on earth wouldn’t have allowed.**
        To cut a long story short, after 5 months of violence (I mean hitting, punching, slapping & death threats, not just verbal/emotional violence), one sudden morning it took a radical turn, and I had to either slip out & run away from that house or get killed. During the few precious moments I got, I whispered to my mom that he is going to kill me & I’m running away & “stand in the hall near the exit door, and keep the door unlatched, run away if he tries to hurt you or if he is moving towards the door”, and ran for my life with my office badge & bag hoping he won’t kill my mom. By God’s grace a lot of friends helped me & God Himself helped my mom. We are alive now.
        Now, that’s the story of a daughter trying to take care of her parents.
        Another colleague is an only daughter. Her husband was acting ok for a few years – till she helped him ay off all his educational loans. After all his loans were done, he showed his real colors. Her husband’s words were not much different – he hit her & when her father questioned it, he said “I should have put you folks in your places right from the start. It is my biggest mistake letting you guys in my house. You don’t deserve to stay here.” (If this is how wife’s father is treated, don’t even imagine how her mother would have been treated if he was not around.)

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  4. I had this experience a few times. The Indian men are wonderful but when it comes to their families, it’s a disaster. I always chose to end the relationship with such guys whose families are unbearable, because indian men are too close to their families, unable to stand up for themselves and the woman they love. I know of exceptions, but they are rare. The end result is indian women giving in on the situation and spending the rest of her life bickering, getting stressed and unhappy. We deserve so much more! Don’t we? All these years I have been really feeling sorry for the Indian woman, but then I had a close look at the Indian man and feel equally bad for them. Parents here bring up their sons as if they are an investment, and a comment here and a taunt there is always passed to remind him of his responsibilities. The indian man is trapped. Why is asking for privacy with your woman too much to ask in our system even in the 21st century? Dear LW, there are only 2 options: either you leave him because he will never change OR compromise for the rest of your life by accepting things as they are, and make changes to your own attitude. Maybe if you are lucky, and when you have made up your mind to leave him, he will find courage to step out of his home to make a nest with you. But such an outcome is a miracle! And I wish you a miracle LW! Be happy!

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  5. If you cant move out, do what you can do and ignore the rest. If it’s relly important to them they will do it themselves. Sure they can nag but tell you guys do just what you can and ignore. How long will they impose stuff on you when you don’t follow. Even if they do dont listen to them. get a bad name so what. let them lecture.
    Soon when they realise you guys wont listen they will back off. they have to or live with their tasks not done.

    I dont know what else to tell you. Its either this or both of you put your foot down ignore everyone and move out.

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  6. Dear anonymous,

    I am glad to read that you are still in love with your husband. I really am, because this kind of situation can take a serious toll of one’s relationship. Please take note that this kind of behaviour is less likely to change in the coming time. Focus on you both and the space you want to build and share. It will require a lot of tact and patience but it is possible that it will happen.

    Worst case, just ask your family to move in too….more the merrier! After all, it’s an equal world and you have to do your bit for your parents and siblings (and here’so hoping you have many). Also, find something that you do for yourself. Yoga and mindfulness have been good for my peace of mind as I struggled through family issues.

    Wishing you luck. Take care.

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  7. Well ask your husband, when you can get the courage of saying your parents that “i wanna marry this guy, leave your home and go live with him” then why can’t he take the courage to say the same to his parents? Is he not strong enough? Doesn’t he love you enough? His parents are parents but yours not? His parents love him but doesn’t yours’ love you too?
    You are his family. He has to have the courage. If he can’t do anything when you are suffering then his fear of parents is much bigger than his love for you. Would you really like to spend rest of your life with such person?

    There is nothing wrong in asking for your own space, specially when its you both who gonna pay for it.

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  8. Its very difficult to reason with orthodox people. However when you are stating that your sister in law will leave with your PILs then I guess your PIL are unreasonable. Why they are unreasonable because your husband’s behavior is encouraging them. They know that they can get away as your husband will not stop them and will not support you in case if u try to stop them.
    I can only suggest one thing thatask your PIL and hubby that if there daughter alongwith her husband can live with her parents then why can’t you. If there daughter can be good DIL even after living away from your PIL then why cant you. Clearly tell them if your SIL is moving in for whatever xyz reason your moving out for abc reason. If they are not living with in laws for def reason you will also not live with ijk reason.
    By this I dont want to give impression that your life depends on SIL choice. I stated this to have a point of discussion (however any sich discussion is fruitless) but this may open your husband’s brain that there are good son who can stay with their PIL or independently.
    You have to show your teeth that you can do something if you dont like it to your husband and PIL ,that you can bite. Since women dont take any decision husband dont pay attention as they know she will not do anything. Same goes with In-Laws.

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