​Sharing an email I received. Please help and advise.

Sharing an email I received. Please help and advise.

I’m not asking if I’m right or wrong. I know this might not be as bad as what some of you have experienced.
I just ask for support. Please do not judge me. I can’t find that kind of support here because Americans don’t know what it is like to be an Indian DIL.
Am I crazy? Am I really self-serving? Is name calling verbal abuse?
Why do I constantly feel like I’m a horrible person for not being able to forgive?

 

Hi IHM,

I’m 30 yrs old working as a Software Engineer in USA. I’m an only child and my parents have gone out of their way for my education and dreams. They raised me with great pride. Growing up I figured I wouldn’t get married because most guys only want to look after their own parents. And if I did get married, I wouldn’t live with my in-laws. I got married about 5 months ago to someone from different cultural background and broke all my rules. And I had never dreamt in my life that that would be the undoing of my life.

My husband is born and raised in USA. When I met him he came across like a level headed, calm, liberal, and progressive. What I did not realize or chose to ignore until I couldn’t anymore that he is a complete mama’s boy. His dad is a recovering alcoholic and growing up his family was dysfunctional. He had told me that we would be living with his family from the beginning, and even though I didn’t want to, I agreed thinking that’s what you do for people you love. His father is sick and they need financial support. I did tell him that that’s not what I want long term, so maybe few years down the line we should get our own place. He agreed at that time. This is before marriage. Initially, everything was great. I used to think that I lucked out with the in-laws if I marry this guy. Things changed quickly.

His parents, as I’m realizing since the wedding, are the typical patriarchal type. Neither completed school. MIL won’t live in jamai‘s house; a bahu is solely responsible for the entire family’s happiness; bahu is also at the bottom of the ladder in the family and has to prove herself; bahu has to respect no matter what; after marriage sasural is where the bahu belongs etc. etc. My MIL made sure to tell me that she’s not like typical Indian MIL because she doesn’t expect me to cook for the whole family or give her foot massage (what decade is she from?!)

There was a LOT of drama from his mother, sister, brother-in-law even before our engagement. This led to huge fights with by husband (boyfriend at the time) because he saw just their point of view. Fights that involved name-calling, yelling and basically making me feel like I’m a horrible person. His family never tried to even ask what the matter was, nothing. Assumption and judgment. And everything was my fault.

I tried to break up, but I was weak to not stand by that decision when he begged me to not break up. Red flag ignored.

Anyway, we ended up getting through and getting engaged. I had already started resenting his family but kept thinking that if he stands by me, then I’ll be ok. I need my partner to be my rock.

The drama didn’t end there. Things like my MIL getting angry that I texted her about my mum’s birthday outing just a day before (and she couldn’t make it. Her opinion is that if I respected her then I would have let her know a week ahead on the phone) leading her to yell at my mom (who was visiting at that time for our Roka ceremony) on the phone, and us having a show down at my place. My husband supported me during that time, somewhat. He still validated his mom’s opinion and actions, which is where it started to go downhill. I agree that I should have been more mindful, maybe I should have called her as soon as the plan was made. I apologized for it. But how is it ok for a MIL to yell over the phone at my mother and tell her that she hadn’t taught her daughter anything? Who gave her the right to yell? And she left telling my mom that I had “issues” and that she has none. So, her actions were justified and it was because of my behavior that she acted that way. See the trend here?

You must be thinking why I didn’t break it up? Indecision. Thinking it would get better after marriage. The many stories from my mother about how much crap she had to deal with. I just figured I could deal with it and I’m strong. My parents basically left it to me. I wish they had put their feet down, but they didn’t. I try not to put any blame on them. Ultimately, it was my decision making or lack thereof.

My husband isn’t a bad person. He helps around the house, kitchen, around the home. He is supportive of my career up to a point, he doesn’t think I should move away if I got a good job offer because he might not be able to shift (because of his family) and he should be my first priority always.  I found this out post-marriage. Different things were assured before.  Name calling and yelling has always been an issue with him during arguments. I have given him many chances thinking don’t abandon the ship just because there is choppy water. But I think I’ve had enough.

Fast forward to wedding planning, his mother hardly contacted my parents for any wedding discussion. Even getting back on dates was an issue, and my husband would just let it be saying “My mom is like that only”. Red flag ignored.

They wanted us to show them “respect” by giving the close relatives tokens of welcome. And, I’m sad to say my parents did. Even when I tried my best to stop them. In return, there was no show of respect for us. We don’t expect gifts, but my MIL’s behavior throughout the wedding was that of her attending the destruction of her world (son). No appreciation for the effort my parents put in to find a place for them to live in, checking in on them when we could, sending them homecooked food etc. etc. All we heard all the time were complaints. They didn’t show much respect for our culture but expected 110% so that they wouldn’t have to hear anything from their relatives! They expected the ladki wale to be at their feet, serving them because they are ladkewale?

On the day of the wedding, immediately after the pheras, my MIL forced me to put on the lehenga she had picked out for me (mind you, didn’t even pack the chunni). When my mom asked her if it was necessary since she had bought my benarasi with great love and would like me to keep it on, she snapped at my mom in front of her relatives saying “Do what you want! No respect for us”. Everyone in the hall noticed it. She made my mom cry, on my wedding day for a stupid lehenga. Rest of the night my MIL acted as if it was the saddest day of her life. My parents had also bought our traditional groom wear for my husband, but his mom didn’t let him wear all of it. Just the kurta under the “designer” sherwani they had got made. So is that not disrespectful towards us? My mom then has full rights to create a scene too like my MIL? But she didn’t. Were my parents sad about it, yes; did they lash out? No.

And what I’m about to write about is probably the day it solidified in my mind that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. My parents, husband and I had gone to visit my dadi since she could not attend the wedding. My dad developed a fever on the way back, so we dropped off my husband at his maasi’s house (he didn’t even want to come to his “sasural” because his parents weren’t with him) and we came back to my house. My dad went to the doctor to get medicine. Within the hour, my MIL calls yelling at my mom that I had disrespected her, I had hurt her by not stopping by (ok, I agree maybe I could have taken 2 minutes to do that and that’s my mistake), how embarrassing it was to find her “married” son come home without bahu, that people have been talking about how I’m not very bahu like, my mom had not taught me anything, and on and on she went. And then she also dared to ask my mom why she was so attached to me especially since I had been living abroad for the last 12 years. What mother asks that of another mother?? Do you love your child less because she lives somewhere else? Or is my mother to prepare mentally that I’m to go away and serve another’s family so she shouldn’t be attached to her child?

I called my husband and demanded to know why his mother thought she could yell at my mother, and he simply defended her.
Later I came to find out he was there the entire time that his mother was yelling at my mother and he lied to me saying he wasn’t there. He justified her behavior, he defended her act. They both blamed it on me and my parents.

No apologies, nothing. And, now I’m living with them. To see them every day is a reminder of everything my parents and I have tolerated. My parents don’t even want to come visit anymore because of my MIL’s actions. I have been called names during fights with my husband, labeled as “selfish”, that I don’t like his family etc. etc.

I have tried to forgive and forget, but I have been unable to. I’m still hurt and my parents are too. I keep thinking that something is wrong with me that I can’t forgive yet. I have been made to feel bad that I can’t forgive, by my husband, who says it’s a mental choice, if one really wants to forgive then they can in a snap. I don’t think so, but I have no one to back me up.

My parents still try to maintain good relations with my husband, and he thinks it’s because he is a great son-in-law. In his family, I have realized that they believe they are wonderful people with perfect manners, and if they act rudely then it’s another’s fault. His mother and sister make decisions for him and don’t even communicate with me. He lets them and if I protest, then he doesn’t understand why it’s wrong because it’s his family. I literally feel like he’s married to his family.

I have ruined my life. The person I thought I was marrying turned out be another family puppet. He has no backbone to call out the wrong when his family does wrong. He will defend them for everything. And sadly I got to see the worst after the wedding not before.

Now I’m at a point where I want to take the control of my life back. I want live by myself, with or without the husband, I don’t want to serve his family or even call them my family. I used to take pride in being a feminist, always fighting for equal treatment. I’m not sure who I am anymore. Every point I feel selfish because it’s not aligned with what my husband/in-laws might want.

Mentally I have decided to separate in a year’s time (my parents are supportive of this decision) and do my best until then. I don’t see myself ever fitting into their mentality, lifestyle etc. I don’t want to have kids and have them grow around my husband’s family. And I don’t want to stay in this family because of kids.

I’m not asking if I’m right or wrong. I know this might not be as bad as what some of you have experienced. I simply ask for support. I don’t think it’s right for my parents and me to have to tolerate and put up this kind of family for the rest of my life. There is no point in counseling because (1) I don’t want to waste my energy and time and time (2) he had made it clear, it’s him and his family together or nothing.

I think I have chosen, but not acted upon it yet.

Like I’ve said, I just ask for support. Please do not judge me. I can’t find that kind of support here because Americans don’t know what it is like to be an Indian DIL.

Am I crazy? Am I really self-serving? Is name calling verbal abuse?
Why do I constantly feel like I’m a horrible person for not being able to forgive?

Just wanted to clarify/add some things.

– I wasn’t fully aware of the extents of the traditional mentality my in-laws have until and after the wedding. I’m sure I must have had seen signs that I ignored, but it didn’t hit home until those words were spoken.

– After coming from the wedding, I had told my husband that I could not live with in-laws who disrespected my family. It really upset him and he called me “selfish” and walked out of the apartment where we were living (moved in with my in-laws after a few months). We had a huge fight where he involved his family and threatened me that if I did not come and settle the matter with his family, then we will end it. I regret not having the guts to end it then. I regret that I let him treat me like that and I went to apologize. I regret sitting and listening to their patriarchal view. I have so many regrets and I feel helpless. 

They complained about my parents not being attentive to them post the pheras (even though it’s not true and I have witnesses), about the bloody lehenga, how in general we didn’t show them sufficient respect etc. etc. I just sat there listening like a coward and did not do anything. I did not stand up for myself or my family. I am so ashamed of myself. All through this my husband just sat there. In his silence, he showed whose side he was on. I did not tell my parents about this until months later after keeping it to myself. I blamed myself for all of it and still do.

– I wonder if I’m in an abusive marriage. It’s not explicit with physical/verbal abuse so it’s so hard to gauge for me. But there is always an undercurrent of tension I feel at all times. Fights almost always involve name calling and yelling especially if it’s about his family. I don’t respond well to yelling at all, so I shut down which makes him further angry. I’m not an angel, I have yelled back too when I reached my limits. Almost anything I say where I don’t want to do something with his family, results in “you just don’t like my family”, “you never want to do… for my family”, “are you telling your mother how depressed you are here?” “if you love me unconditionally, then you should do/accept/act…” “you’re selfish” etc.

And, then comes a honeymoon phase, where I have given into his/their thoughts/opinions, and he showers me with hugs, kisses, and care.

Is it somewhat bipolar in nature?

He doesn’t expect me to cook, clean or wash for him. I can dress as I want, go where I want, meet whoever I want. Yet I have to conform to how he and his family wants to live.

– Even though I said I will wait for a year. I’m not sure why I would do that. I tend to dilly dally a lot. Sometimes I think this year, before the 1 yr anniversary. This is significant because it will bring me no joy. I don’t even want to look at my wedding photos/videos. They only bring back bad memories. Why would I celebrate, esp with his family, 1 yr of the day I wish never took place

Am I beyond help? I’m scared of what his family will do… make me pay for things/rent (since we are renting a house right now) / insult my family and me some more.

From,

Your blog is my support group.

“I am tempted to ask- does she mean girls who have no brothers should send money to their parents as well?”

“I am tempted to ask- does she mean girls who have no brothers should send money to their parents as well?”

But why just girls who have no brothers? That implies that brothers are the primary budhape ka sahara, while married daughters might be allowed to contribute if there is no male child. (also implies that, unlike a married son, whatever a married daughter earns rightfully belongs to her in laws, and the only way for a daughter to support her parents is to not get married.)

Only when all the children – sons or daughters are provided equal opportunities for self reliance and are expected to be equally responsible for care giving (etc), would Indian parents (and hence the society and the legal system) begin to view girl children as individuals and equal citizens with rights and responsibilities. 

Sharing an email. 

To Move Out or Not to Move Out

Dear IHM,

I am a young, urban Indian woman, married to the man of her dreams and living in a big city at his parents’ home.

My husband and I are well settled in our careers, having got our education from the best institutes in the country.

My in-laws are nice people. They never tell me what to wear & what not to. If I tell them I’m going to meet a friend, they never ask me which friend. They have no problems with my husband & me partying late into the night on weekends, sleeping in till late the next day etc. My MIL doesn’t expect me to enter the kitchen as she herself hates to cook. They have no problem with me visiting my parents’ house (they too live in the same city and my visits are not too frequent- probably once a month for 3-4 days of stay).

When I got married, I had been living in an apartment in a big city for 3 years. My flat mates & I used to run the house like our own. We were in-charge of things- grocery, bills, maids, daily menu, having friends over, house parties etc.

We were both very clear that we do not want to stay with his parents. But as luck would have it, we had to move to his parents’ city soon after our marriage.

Though everything seems picture perfect and easy, there’s something amiss.

My wavelength doesn’t match with my in-laws. They are preachy; they hail boys who send money to their parents and sons & daughters-in-law who live with their parents.

An incident which someone may deem small has changed the way I look at my mother-in-law. Soon after our marriage, my husband and I told my in-laws that we will split all the household bills with them.

To which, my mum-in-law said that my husband can transfer her the monthly HRA component of his salary for which she would give him slips and he can claim tax benefit. And let me assure you, that is a LOT of money. A lot more than what we would be spending if we had simply split the bill. We could easily live in a rented apartment & pay bills in that much money.

She added, “Children should have the habit of giving some part of their salary to their parents”, something which she has repeated several times after that.

I was disgusted more than hurt at her asking for that much money. We had just started our life together.

My in-laws are financially sound people- the sorts who take foreign trips every year.

We are two daughters- me and my sister and I know my parents don’t expect any sort of monetary support from us until and unless in case of an emergency. They have never asked me what I make or what my husband makes- it is if we have told them that they got to know. My sister & I have been raised as ferociously independent and free-thinking women.

My MIL is very keen on knowing our (and the entire neighborhood’s) salary packages- keeps asking us when we receive our hikes & what’s our ‘salary package’ now. Whenever my salary gets revised, she wants to see the salary breakup. In our initial days of marriage, she had told us to open a joint account with her so she can control our spending. I was appalled!

I have realized that I just don’t get along well with my MIL and never will, as we are so different. Her patriarchal views infuriate me. I can’t have a long conversation with her, as things she says make no sense to my rational mind. After work, I avoid talking to them and hence sit in my room, pretending to work or go for yoga/ run. It’s like I am a guest in this house- how can I feel at home and completely happy when there are two people in the house I would rather not talk to.

I also feel my MIL is abnormally curious about how much we make.

All things said, I miss being on my own. Something as simple as deciding the menu when guests come over to no one questioning me the amount of shopping I do with my money. Having a glass of wine after a long day at work, to deciding to skip family dinners just because I’m in no mood for it!

My husband understands my feelings. He agrees that the way his mom thinks is pathetic at times.

He also knows I will never get along well with her and doesn’t expect me to. The thing is, we feel we can’t even separate from them because, well, there is nothing wrong! It’s not like we had an argument or a clash with his parents.

I just wrote this piece as I am sure there would be more women out there who feel the same way and I would love to hear what they have to say.

Related Posts:

An email from a Mother in law’

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

“When my first pay check came, my MIL made a huge drama about how I am not informing them about my finances…”

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.<

Some basic questions on joint family finances and daughters in law.

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

Reply from the Indian mother in law.

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

Should women be given a share in residential property of the husband, including inherited and inheritable property?

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

Should couples’ assets be treated as joint property?

Cabinet clears bill: Equal rights in Marital property, Easier divorce.

“My wife often rakes up property issues, or rues the expenses on my father’s ill-health.”

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

“My husband would tell me to stay with my in laws for some more time and that he didn’t want any discussions.”

Here is a heart breaking example of how Patriarchy enables abuse.

What made it possible for this husband to demand that the wife lives with his parents and helps them with their business – against her wishes? How common are such expectations? 

What do you think should the email writer do?

Also – shouldn’t there be legal assurance of financial support for every child, whether or not the parents live together? 

Hi..

I am sharing my story here. I am really distressed and I wish you could post my story in your blog.

so here it is..

So I stay with my husband in South India and my in laws ( ILs) stay in Haryana. When I was pregnant, my husband forced me to stay with ILs. I was treated very badly by them, specially by my MIL. They were never very nice to me in the past, but I never, in my worst dreams, imagined the things I had to go through. I used to tell my husband everything on phone and he would just say that he’d talk to his parents and that I should also adjust. I cried/ pleaded/begged him lots of times to let me come back to him but he was like a stone. He told me once that if I only complain all the time then he would stop calling me or picking up my calls.

He promised me that when the baby is 2-3 months old I’d move back with him. But he betrayed me even then. He is doing a course which is 3 years long. Now he asked me to stay with ILs for all these years. For the sake of baby’s care and that his father needed me for family business.

All these plans and decisions were taken after discussions between my husband and my fil. I wasn’t even asked. Only when I used to ask if I could come back he would tell me to stay for some more time and that he didn’t want any discussions. Finally one evening my ILs crossed the line and my patience ran off. I couldn’t take their constant abuse so I left and went to my parents’ place in Delhi. My husband told me that this meant separation. that now I can never come back to him. I said okay. I was prepared. although I messaged him after a week or so asking if we could find a middle way.. that I would never live with his parents but may be we can live in the same building on different floors… and that he also has some responsibility towards his own 3 month old son and wife, his reply was cold and he just said that he wished I knew what I was doing while leaving his parents’ house.

We didn’t speak for one month. And I was taking all this very well. After a month he started calling. Then he and his family came to get me back and apologised.

As a fool I agreed but asked him to make a few promises. He made me resign from the job I had got in Delhi without even serving the notice period as he said that he had suffered a lot in the previous one month and now he can’t even stay away from me for one more day.

We came back to South India and started living normally. However his behaviour started changing again. He started breaking all the promises that he made. He again started taking me and my feelings for granted.

His family again started interfering and bothering us by complaining on small silly things. By bad mouthing me about me to him on phone and making issues about every small thing.

After 3 months we went back to ILs place for some function. I was again treated very badly by my MIL and just one night before we were supposed to come back my FIL said that all the things that they said when they came to get me back and their apologies etc was all a drama. They didn’t mean a thing. It was all just to get me back. and that now I should apologise for doing this bad deed of leaving the family. My husband was there when all this was going on and his dad kept on abusing me. How I wasn’t brought up properly and I had no values or I don’t know the way to be a good dil. etc etc.

I went into depression and had to take therapy after coming back. That too without letting my husband know.

Now I have developed serious trust issues with my husband. We are supposed to go back to stay with ILs coz of family business after 2 years and I feel my husband is again going to throw me under the bus when the time comes. I am scared to go back to that place. I have been harassed there very badly. Everyone gets on one side and attack me. That’s the kind of emotional abuse that I just have no tolerance for anymore. And I used to be very strong before.

I don’t know what to do.

Should I leave him right now?

Should I wait for 2 years and see what happens.. In this case my baby will become emotionally attached to his father and it’ll be difficult for me to separate them then. Also, I’ll have no savings of my own as I am spending every penny of what I am earning right now on us. My husband is still studying and it’ll be another betrayal..  I am not sure how I’ll take it then.

How foolish is it to trust a person who has always betrayed me?
He gets emotional about our relation only when he wants to. The times when I need him he is always cold and unavailable.

I feel lonely most of the time even in his presence. He hardly ever wants to spend time with me. He calls someone or the other everytime he is free.
We have a very sad sex life and I know for sure that he watches porn to satisfy himself.

He never helps out with the baby. only plays with him for sometime but doesn’t help me out for anything.
He is extremely selfish.
He says he loves me but it doesn’t show in his actions.
Should I consider divorce? Are all men like this? Are my expectations too high if I want a partner who truly is a partner and not just a person living with you without any real feelings?

I want to live my life happily. Is it possible with this person? We had a love marriage and now I can’t find the person I loved. it was all fake.

Related email:

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

Other related posts:

Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?

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

Indian women and their Easy Wealth.

‘Last month, my sister’s husband picked a fight with her as he felt she was not doing enough for his parents.’

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

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

An email: “You have almost saved my marriage, in a weird way.”

Sharing an email. 

EVERY PASSING DAY MAKES A LIFE. EVERYDAY ABUSE RUINS LIFE.

Hi, 

You have almost saved my marriage, in a weird way. I thought I was the only one fighting it off everyday but when I read these stories I feel at least consoled but sad too . Domestic Violence has too many traits, it always does not have to be physically abusive. It could be as bad without it .

The email continues: 

Dear IHM,

Marital issues are sometimes so tricky, there are times that we really can’t pinpoint whose mistake it is. I really don’t know if I say that to console myself or to console others. I have been married for 8 months and No it has not been a smooth ride to shift from a nuclear family in to a joint family. To shift from a family that is broad minded, to a family that thinks it is ‘broad minded’.

A very typical arranged marriage was fixed to a really nice guy, I said yes after meeting him and talking for a few minutes (mistake 1) , why I said Yes – other than him being a nice and a humble guy, what really stood out was that he gave his family a better life than they already had. He made a house with a little help from his father. The family had too many financial issues and he pulled them out of it at quite a young age. I was of the thought that if this man could do so much then may be we could be together and make a better life and a beautiful living for us (mistake 2).

In our community girls are not allowed to see the boy’s house till marriage, the parents check that out. I was told that it was not all that fancy but the family was really nice (mistake 3 ). We got engaged soon and 5 months after that we got married.

I knew that there was going to be a change but never knew that the change would be so drastic.

My husband was really sick and diagnosed with dengue a week before marriage, and a series of other major accidents and occasions (that could be avoidable with some common sense) happened. I was blamed for all this by my MIL, she would do all this only if I was alone.

Our first festival together, where traditionally the couple sits together, I was asked to sit separately in a different room with others and not with my husband. The first time I wanted to go home, I was told to get married to someone from my City if I had to go home. When my parents came home to pick me they were embarrassed in front of many people by my in laws. My FIL said that he never knew that I was going home and I had not asked him. My father was insulted in front of many people. I had, infact, spoken to everyone in the house that I was going for a few days, less than a week actually.

Anything that I prepared for my husband my MIL would say he will not like that, as its not according to his taste. My FIL is of the mentality that a woman once married is the property of the in laws family and they have more rights over her, her parents are not that important in her life anymore. All this even when his own daughter and son in law and grandson stay upstairs. I belong to a well off family compared to my in laws and I might have lived a slightly better lifestyle earlier, I was asked to forget that life and that living as I have to adjust here. This is going to be my life hereafter. A women is supposed to be like that. I was not allowed to meet my friends unless I get a permission from everyone. Infact I was asked to not make plans with my friends.

I am a spiritual person and not overly religious, I was asked to be more religious keep fasts for my husband, to keep going to temples as much as possible.

All this went on and the only reply I got from my husband was ‘IGNORE’. All this ignoring piled up when I once replied back to my FIL for yelling at me. He was screaming at me because I had not had lunch that day. He constanly calls my mother and complains to her and tells her not to inform me that. This time when he yelled at me my mountain of ignoring shook off and I replied back. It went on to a situation where I spoke to a man in a raised voice, women should not be talking like that.

I had severe panic attacks and felt suicidal after this, every time I saw my FIL I would have attacks, I am also working and while going back home I would have those attacks. Had to be taken to the psychiatrist after this. It somehow worked, he asked to speak out to my in laws and I would have to face my fear.

My husband supported me here (consoled me ), but could not let go off the fact that his parents were right and he could not let go of them. His father had shifted upstairs because I had panic attacks around him, he could not let go of that too. That was a big change my FIL did for me apparently.

My parents came down to meet me and tackle the situation.

I spoke out that day and my parents were also there. My parents clearly told them that they are very much a part of my life and not going to go away because I am married off. They don’t like my mom too because my mom spoke to my father in law in a certain ‘manner’ , even if she is a women.

The environment has changed but in a different way my MIL still finds ways to suppress me. A constant comparison is done between me and many (her amazing daughter). She has not stopped reminding me of the fact that she is the one that has to see all the pain in her son’s life. Her son’s life has become a mess and he has so much tension. The difference is that now she never directly talks to me about all this but a constant nagging.

My Husband’s take on this is to look at the positive side and well he still does not think there is much of a problem and of course his parents are well wishers. There are a few moments that are really nice too  I cant say that it’s like this 24 hours. Me and my husband if left with each other are perfectly fine.

However on an everyday basis it pulls me down I feel claustrophobic in his house, It does not feel like home. What do I do?

Please help me out here, I would like to know about what are things I need to know to deal with this.

How do I Convince my husband he is married and we need our space without interference. He has told me to be patient, but it’s frustrating everyday.

Thank You

‘It’s true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.’

Sharing a comment by Cultural Amalgamation in response to this post – An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law.

Cultural Amalgamation: All the above replies reflect the current Young Gen society where the rate of separation with better half is more than that of bonding with love and affection as earlier times.

IHM:  Did the women in the earlier times have the option of separating without being boycotted, stigmatised or honor killed? Only if both the partners had the option of separating and they still chose to stay together, can we comment on the earlier ‘rate of separation’.

Cultural Amalgamation: Being individually separate and gardening your identities isn’t all life is about. Its just a notion begun by some liberal women and followed as a trend by the rest like the fashion sale at stores!

 

IHM: And being denied education and self reliance and being married off to live with strangers is what life is about? 

The concept of marriage is not well identified with everyone. The Love marriages husbands have no choice for they already have landed in soup. So they leave their parents behaving like cowards. Arrange marriages also have girls who have radical views. Google-ing such articles and hoping to change minds with family-dismantling views is really a disappointing and a pathetic situation for the present youth to be in.

 

IHM: Why is the children (only male children) moving out of the house (only if are married, because moving out for work is acceptable) a dismantling of family?  

Someday the gals who talk about liberty are going to be in their mother-in-laws shoes and they would realize when their Son moves out of house with some girl who he likes and doesn’t even know if he loves for the duration a quarter of the entire love and affection showered by his parents who always have been looking after his well being.

IHM: We really need to recognise that parental love for sons (And for daughters, because we seem to forget that Indian daughters have parents too.) is not the same as the love that couples have for each other. The spouse is a partner, not a parent. The spouse’s job is not to ‘look after’ the partner. 

Parents raise their children to become independent adults and teaching him (or her) to look after their own well being is a parent’s biggest responsibility. 

Somehow we seem to think that male children are required to somehow repay the love that the parents have showered on them. The girl children are expected to repay it too – with life long obedience to patriarchal rules. 

Cultural Amalgamation: Its true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.

IHM: This idea is the reason why Indian parents pray, fast and sex-select for male children. Patrilocality favours the parens of male children.

It also keeps women and girl children in dependence, without which ‘has to get along with a new family’ would be difficult to enforce. 

Cultural Amalgamation: It is difficult to absorb but then it is equally difficult for the other side (family) too.

IHM: When it is ‘equally difficult’ for both the sides, then why do we hear misogynists fighting for Patriarchy, and Patrilocality?

Is it surprising that many women today prefer less difficult choices? 

Cultural Amalgamation: In modern days not all families have mother in laws/father in laws as showcased (cruel/orthodox) in classical drama movies.

IHM: If they are not orthodox they probably understand that modern young women (and men) should have the right to choose who they marry, where they live, what they wear, how they spend or save their money etc.

Cultural Amalgamation: Its all about beginning a new life and being absorbed and getting absorbed.

IHM: How do women benefit from being ‘absorbed’ in a new family?

They don’t.

Infact it makes them ‘paraya dhan’ in their own parents’ homes. We know the system has not worked, but many of us still wish to preserve it.

Cultural Amalgamation: It is an opportunity for every woman to help prosper her husband’s family and its also equally a responsibility that every family (parents) takes care of the daughter in law as they would do if she were their daughter.

IHM: Because daughters are viewed as those who help the husband’s family prosper, they remain unwanted by the parents. Since (traditionally) the daughters have not been permitted to prosper themselves, they remain dependent. 

‘And if you are unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law.’

Do you think Indians would value sons the way they do now – praying, fasting and sex selecting to avoid having girl children, if there was no expectation of living with and being cared for by a future daughter in law?

What if the parents knew that they could not control or choose who the son would marry or live with? What would change? 

Sharing an email from an American woman.

Dear IHM,

I have been reading your blog for quite sometime now, ever since I have been dating (now engaged to) an awesome and caring Indian man. Even though I am American, I find some of the topics mentioned on here to be universally relevant and interesting, nonetheless.

I am writing to ask if you could share my story on your blog as soon as you get a chance with your readers so that I can get their opinions/truthful advice.

My situation is as follow:

I am engaged to an Indian man who has been residing here in the US for the last 6 years. He has lived here since he was 24, now he is 30. I am 26. We are getting married in less than a year, and he is honestly an awesome and caring person, whom I care for very much, no doubt! 🙂 I have only met his siblings thus far, and they are awesome and all living outside of India now. His parents are living in India, and I have yet to meet them, but speak to them often on the phone. They seem very sweet, kind, and non intrusive. Everyone, including him, is actually very westernized and liberal-minded, and mostly not very traditional at all, as they reside in a big city. They also have several other family members around them, like their own siblings, nieces and nephews.

Awhile back, we were speaking about different things in life, and a topic came up. He mentioned/asked me how I would feel about his parents living with us when they become old, or maybe even before then, I do not quite remember the conversation to be honest. All I remember responding is how I truly feel about it, which is basically that I do not feel comfortable living like that and am not a believer in that sort of family set up. I believe you marry your spouse and share a home with your spouse, and that’s it. Marriage can be hard enough as it is, never mind adding in other family members into the equation. I am marrying one person, not 3 people, simply put. He is not insisting that this happen, he is simply asking because while no discussion in the family has been spoken yet on this topic, there is a possibility they may just stay where they are or live with his older brother. (He has 1 brother living in the Middle East not far from India and 1 sister here in the US.) I think he basically wants to be able to welcome them into their home if they need it, not necessarily that he is demanding it. He just wants to know they’ll  be taken care of later on, which I suppose is fair.

Now I know this is seen as a “cultural difference”. Indians live with their sons in their old age. My genuine question is why? In my European culture, daughters are actually the ones to care for their aging parents, as they feel more comfortable with daughters versus daughters-in-laws. Americans hire full time care takers for their elders but people remain in separate house from their kids, or in some cases, the same house to cut expenses. In my personal experience, my grandmother lived until 95 years old with a full time care taker and in a house of her own. My mom stopped by everyday for an hour, but lived within 5 minutes of her so that as relatively easy. We do not “abandon” our elders like some people think we do.

Now since I am my parents’ only daughter, I would technically be the one responsible for them in their old age, but simply put, I do not want them living with me either, and that is not to sound cold or callus, but everyone, including elderly, need their own personal space, and mostly, their own privacy. I have already discussed this with my parents and they agree. While they want to be nearby to me, they themselves do NOT want to share a house with my and my future husband, as they know they can be just as well taken care of in a separate house than in the same house.

I genuinely would like to hear people’s thoughts on this and how to handle this with my fiancé in a fair manner. I definitely cannot live with them on a full time permanent basis for the rest of my adult life. As I said earlier, I do not even want my own parents living with me. I just want it to be me, my spouse, and my future children hopefully. My future in laws have been to the US once on a vacation and will come for our wedding in less than a year. So they have not been here very much. Logically, it does not make much sense. We are of 2 different cultures, and things may be uncomfortable for us both. Financially, it definitely doesn’t make sense, as a non US senior citizen is not entitled to medical care or any medical benefits.

I believe this arrangement would cause a big strain on our marriage. My fiancé knows how I feel and that I am uncomfortable with it. He laughs at me and doesn’t really understand where I am coming from, he is a man after all, and they just don’t understand certain things, especially if this is a cultural phenomenon. This just worries me slightly and this is really not an issue you can force on someone. I just wish he understood where I was coming from a bit better and had a but more common sense for all things considered. I do not see many elderly Indian people living in the US permanently anyway, and I am not sure he has even thought all of these logistical issues through.

The bottom line is this: how can I handle this fairly, so that he is not very upset and at the same time, I’m not living in misery? And second, why would people in their 60s (by that time they would be) want to live in a foreign country permanently in their old age? If they wanted to live here, I guess they would have done it long ago. And 3rd, why he is discussing this with me when he has not even discussed this with his siblings or parents? Lastly, please do not misunderstand me to be cold or heartless. I hope they are well taken care of also. They may just have more things in common with their other daughter in law, who is also Indian and also has her own relatives residing there also.

Any advice is appreciated and respected. Please reply.  Thanks so much!!

D.M.

Related Posts:

This email reminded me of  – “If you are lucky you will get an American son-in-law, and if unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law!’

American Woman’s response to comments on her email.

An email: Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

A marriage arranged by the parents is better because they have experience.

Brave new Indian family or no Indian family? Why Indians resist social changes.

Arranged Marriage Market: “Oh! then our son has to take care of you and your wife too”!

100 per cent of the elderly surveyed stated that their daughters-in-law abused them the most.

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

A Guest Post by an Anonymous Indian Family Vamp.

Dear IHM,

Just saw this comment in one of your blogs:

“People think that girls in love marriages do not pay due respect to in laws. My cousin had a love marriage in Jain’s and she is living a great life.(Our family is liberal). She was a non vegetarian and Kayastha by caste. She is an IITian but knows and has accepted every element of Jainism now (by choice). Her In laws boast about her in their community. Her daadi in law does’nt go anywhere without her. She is an ideal Bahu and loved by all.”

 I am sure the writer did not really intend to offend; I can understand that growing up in largely patriarchal and sexist social conditioning changes one’s perception of normalcy.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist commenting. “Love marriage” or “arranged marriage” hardly affects the life of a woman after marriage (read after honeymoon). Results can be quite surprising.

I had a “love marriage”. Incidentally, my ILs also had a “love marriage”. More interestingly, my MIL’s parents had a “love marriage” too. So, the concept of “love marriage” wasn’t alien to the family and since my ILs themselves did it, they were a lot more accepting of me than they would rather be.

Now, many people would think my ILs are a liberal sort. No. They found my “love marriage” normal because they did it themselves. For all other things, they are as much a typical orthodox patriarchal family.

As for crossing heavens, my MIL is touted as the ideal DIL. She did B.Com. and a degree in music in a major city and lived a somewhat modern life (by the standards of her time). After marriage, she immediately got pregnant (my husband). She was hardly 21 or something. To this date, my grand MIL proudly proclaims (especially to irk me and make me retort and stir things up) that her DIL had just one period after marriage. Interestingly, my MIL was so madly in love and crazy about getting married (thanks to my FIL who is extremely manipulative and can easily convince people), she didn’t even bother to collect her degree certificate. Some achievement (sarcasm alert)!

I think from my previous post, it is evident that she has been suffering from domestic abuse and domination for about 30 years now. She is also severely Diabetic. Anyway, she is extremely timid, subservient and submissive and has sacrificed her happiness, job, health, freedom, and peace of mind and what not for this family.

Now, my ILs are quite impressed and they have a “good opinion on love marriage” because a DIL who came in through “love marriage” was the perfect DIL whom nobody could have found even through “arranged marriage”. In fact, she is considered the best of the three DILs there are (my FIL has two brothers).

In contrast, the youngest DIL, who hated their double standards and domination (like me), openly rebelled and seceded from the joint family. She was brought into the family through an “arranged marriage”. In contrast to MIL, she was from a village and had probably only done her matriculation or something. She insisted that she wanted to study. ILs nodded and got her married. After the marriage, they told her to get pregnant immediately and that she can study later. This, the pressures of a joint family, my typical villainous grand MIL, the abusive men of the household, the restrictions and everything and my FIL’s drinking habits (even on her marriage my FIL was inebriated to the point of going into a coma) drove her to openly rebel. She tried every trick in the book and aborted twice. Finally, they pressurized her so much, she had to relent and finally had two kids. But, she was so bitter by now, she managed to convince her husband and separated from the joint family. Then she did her 12th, BA, MA and now, she is doing her PhD.

This woman, who was “arranged married” by the entire joint family that “selected” her on her “girl-seeing” ceremony, is now the family vamp and all DILs after her (including me) are not-so-subtly warned of the consequences of defying this family. In fact, when I got married, my ILs even warned me to be careful of her (as if she were kidnapping me for ransom) as she would “poison” my mind. My husband has mixed feelings towards her; he knows in his heart that she was right, but being a product of patriarchy, is unable to openly acknowledge or support it.

Anyway, today, I am vamp number two (yay!). Number two because I did not actually openly fight like she did, but I did my share of convincing and peacefully moved out, leaving no quotable evidence in my wake. Vamp, I am, because “I split the family and separated the child from his parents” (as if I was automatically orphaned the moment the thaali came round my neck) even though my ILs still don’t have proof that it was my intention.

My husband, though the main orchestrator of this evil secession plan, is also secretly worried about my reputation. However he is getting more and more relaxed with the comparatively liberal and non-patriarchal living in our new house, albeit slowly.

Three women, two vamps, one “arranged married”.

Now, let’s compare what really happens to the children of women who “cross heavens” and the children of family vamps.

When I compare my MIL’s family and Vamp no. 1’s family, the latter is clearly happier, more well-adjusted and peaceful. Their kids are a lot happier, freer, less frustrated and more comfortable with their parents than my husband and BIL were at that age. In fact, vamp’s daughter recently spoke on a public forum. Her father is thinking of enrolling her for journalism, as that is what she wants to do (despite the fact that she has a “good score” and can actually do engineering or medicine). She is bold, outspoken and is the only kid in the family who is openly not on speaking terms with FIL and grand MIL.

My husband, in contrast, was prohibited from joining a medical college (even after passing the coveted medical entrance) by his controlling and emotional-blackmailing parents. He was put in a random college and course chosen by FIL.

In fact, when he joined, he did not even know what his course was about.

It didn’t stop after he successfully finished his graduation and got a job. He got selected in Infosys with a very good salary to which FIL objected and forced him to abandon.

He finally got a job in a **** company. But being extravagant and alcoholic at that, FIL forced him to send his salary home with hardly anything left for his personal expenses. Please note that my husband was working and living in an expensive city. To manage this, hubby often went hungry. But the family cared a hoot, as this was what eldest sons were supposed to do.

What hubby went through in name of tradition is so horrible to even hear, it brings tears to my eyes even today.

I believe that arranged or love married, only strong, stable and brave women can have well-adjusted and happy families (if they choose to). The rest merely pretend. Scratch the family’s pleasant exterior, and you find it all rotten.

Sincerely,

Family Vamp Number Two

Related Posts:

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

To an Anonymous DIL

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

‘I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?’

Sharing an email.
Hi IHM
I’ve come across your site 2 days ago and wondered why I had never googled about the plight of Indian Brides before. It’s wonderful to know that lots of people are sharing their experiences and feelings and know that you are not alone in what you feel.
I am hoping that you post my story as I have not yet reached an end or a new beginning.
I am 30 years old, married for 3 years to a wonderful man who I had been seeing for 9 years and living in a joint family. I was born in India but brought up in the middleeast so I was fairly liberal and knew exactly what I wanted in life. I completed my Masters abroad after completing my Bachelors in India ( which is where I met my hubby) He completed his Masters too from the same Uni. We both got good jobs with fairly decent salaries, but my hubby was unhappy having to work for someone else and he missed home. So he set up his own business back home and which is now going very well. I on the other hand worked abroad a little while longer and decided to give it up as the next thing on the cards was marriage. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. Yes it would be a change, something new, which could not be predicted but hey sometimes change is good and a part of life.
We did have the talk before me moving back- actually me just telling him that I would not be suited to living in a joint family and I would rather we get our own place but somehow that was not acceptable as my in-laws live in the center of a metropolitan city and space was no issue. They expected us to move in with them and my husband doesn’t like to hurt them in any way. He could hurt me telling me that I should adjust. I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?
There were always little things – like my marriage for instance. Make note it was a love-cum-arranged marriage so it would seem they shouldn’t be any problems. However, every little ritual or circumstance was a struggle. Most things you can compromise but it’s your wedding day, supposedly the most important day of your life,- a new beginning and when you are forced to undergo things you don’t like or are uncomfortable with in the name of tradition and culture it sort of scares me now as to what sort of life was I agreeing into.
Don’t get me wrong my PILs are not horrible people they just worry too much about society and what they would think if they didn’t do something “the proper way”. So I did get married and moved in with my in-laws and their second son. (My husband is the eldest which makes me the eldest bahu).
Married life isn’t so bad. I mostly get to live the way I want because I choose not to heed every advice or good and proper thing that needs to be done now that I am married. My MIL is a very sweet and understanding lady but she is set in her own ways,does every thing that she can for her family and never complains. When I mean everything, it means everything, cooking, cleaning, sorting, arranging – everything other than actually feeding them! She herself says she spoon feeds them! God forbid if her sons need to do any work when she or I’m around.
I mentioned earlier I’m liberal. I think everyone must help in household work it is not the “duty” of only women in the house. Though my husband used to help out when we lived abroad (for a couple of months after we got married) at his parents’ house he is king. Meaning what so many other working DILs complain about. Both of them work but husband can come back and relax but the wife is expected to cook and clean even though she is equally tired. My MIL actually believes that to cook and serve your family is a duty from GOD! Seriously, this is 2014 for Godsakes! My FIL is also generally a nice man but he is very picky about what he eats and complains almost everyday that the food is not tasty, concluding that its not been fried in oil enough. If I wanted to make something I like it was always opposed saying so and so would not like it. My husband likes the food I like. So I make our food separately now – with less oil. Family traditions must be followed – no questions asked. Nothing should be done differently – there is only “one correct way”. I come from a different background and we did things differently but I can adjust to that as well. I have OCD. I like things to be in a certain way, extra clean and not to make a mess. Whereas everyone at my home is generally messy, don’t really care if it is messy and ignore it. I can’t ignore it. Seeing a mess makes me want to clean it and I hate cleaning! My MIL does clean after making a huge mess which in my mind is a waste of time and energy.
However, the main problem is after 3 years I still feel feel like a guest in my own home and I just have a room( like an other post I read on your blog recently). I try to be silent on things I do not agree with and have to obey blindly, but I feel I’m losing myself somewhere in this whole situation. There has never been any major argument or issue with my in-laws. but I fight almost everyday with my husband. All these issues seem petty to him. He says that I should not care about them too much, they are not life changing and it’s been three years you should have changed how you feel and adjusted by now. So is it my fault for “failing to adjust”?
I’ve always wanted to live on my own with my husband and my little family, make my own decisions even if it is what to have for dinner. The loss of freedom after living on my own for 11 years to this is what I can’t define in words. It makes me very unhappy and therefore the arguments with my husband.
I am not sure what to do as my husband refuses to talk about it as it always leads to an argument ending in telling me that I’m unreasonable to want what I want.
Am I being unreasonable and selfish to not want to live with his parents?
Sure Joint families can be great with regards to child support and child care and values but I am 30 and I have a dream of a certain kind of life. Life is too short I think to waste on things that make you unhappy. Again am I being selfish to want to be happy?
His parents expect us to stay with them. No one asks me what I want. My husband does like to be around people because he grew up in a joint family. I only want a place of my own to have the freedom one comes to expect in a marriage. It can be close to our in-laws. So he can visit anytime or they can visit anytime.
I am really at breaking point and do not know what to do or who to talk to. My husband refuses to listen. I can’t really talk to my in-laws. They would not understand why I am being the rebel when they treat me quite well. They would be hurt, generally view it negatively and worry about what the society would think. Somewhere inside I think like that too and worry I might upset them if I do tell them what I want.

But is this any way to live? Go about life like your in-laws and ending up like them? I definitely don’t want to end up like my MIL, my mom or my aunt who are basically housewives who have to put their family’s happiness before their own. I do not want to lose myself.

You can call me Maha.

And then I saw this on twitter this morning. IHM

Related Posts:

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

“My in-laws don’t hate me at all. But ‘love’ isn’t about all this. ‘Love’ is about letting your loved one ‘live’.”

“My Mother in law is very patient towards all the doings of the Males in the family.”

Display of respect to those in power, in Indian culture.

“About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.”

“They say that they don’t have any problem with the guy, but don’t like his family!”

It’s possible that the email writer’s parents believe that when an Indian woman marries a man, she marries his family. Do the email writer and the man she wishes to marry believe that too?

Sharing an email. Emphasis (in bold) is mine – I would not ignore any of these issues, specially since the email writer plans to live with this family. Why is a daughter in law in the family unhappy/unfriendly/unwelcoming? Why the lack of clarity about where she would be living with the family when she marries into this family? Why not meet all the family members she would be living with? How are the parents to be financially supported – who earns, invests and spends, and how much?

* * *

Hi,

I have just joined this group to have some emotional support. I am being asked to choose between my parents and the guy I love. But the twist here is that, neither of them are wrong. Then how do I choose who is right?

The situation: I met a guy in college (same engg batch), and have been with him since then (approx 2.5 yrs). He immediately made me meet his fun-loving family, who adored me and loved me madly! His parents are not educated, but are very loving, open-minded and modern. Over the time, I came to know their lifestyle. I was made aware that a long time back, uncle’s eatery business suffered, due to which they had to sell their house to support the finances and their children, but are recovering now. They already live a very good lifestyle.

My parents are educated and Himachali brahmins by caste. So naturally, when i told my mom about my guy, she was apprehensive and shocked (majorly due to caste difference as he is Punjabi, and scared of my father’s and extended family’s reaction). However, surprisingly, 3 months back, my parents met him, and liked him!

🙂 I even told my parents about the financial problem his family faced, and that they are living in a rented house at the moment, and will soon buy their new house by middle of this year. They did not have any problem, and decided to slowly and gently inform my extended family whenever the time was right. All seemed to be going fine then!

Now, 2 months back, my eldest mamuji (mother’s eldest bro) came to visit us. While I was in office in evening, my mom decided to inform her brother about us, and after listening to her, my mamuji decided to visit my guy’s parents the next morning. They went there, met his parents and came back. I and my guy were waiting with bated breaths about the decision. But, we were just not prepared for what was to follow!  😦

My mom and mamuji did not like his household at all! I’ll list down their opinions in short summaries –

1) They did not like the rented house his parents are currently staying in. Even though they know that they’ll shift into their own house mid-year, but still, their first impression was not good.

2) Due to the cultural and educational difference, my mother felt that the household and people are entirely different than what we are. She feels that she and my dad can never talk to them due to communication gap and different mentality level.

3) His mom, maybe in some nervousness or what (i don’t know), gave vague answers (maybe she did not want to share it before actually moving in there). Like when my mom asked about the family’s plans to shift to their own house, she said that they are still deciding on the place, and will shift mid year. My mom assumed, that the family has lied, and has no plans of shifting at all (infact at this point of time, they have already paid the down payment of their new house). In another instance, while being asked about household financial status, his parents replied in a way to show that now they have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons. My mom interpreted it to be that the parents have no money at all, and are dependent on children (which is not wrong, I would love my parents to be dependent on me as well). She feels that the family is under some financial trouble, despite my best attempts to expel and negate that thought!

4) His bhabhi (sister in law) created the max problem. She is very very VERY reserved, and even though coming from an extremely rich household and possessing a MDS degree, does not talk or smile much. They say its her nature, and that she was like this even at her own house. But I think she should have the brains to know what when there are guests at home, she ought to smile and greet them warmly, which she didn’t! She just kept quiet! My folks interpreted it that she is NOT happy about me coming in that household. My guy and his family are ready to apologize for her behavior, but my parents don’t want that now.

5) Last but not the least, I thought our horoscopes match (we already matched them on various authentic sites). We score 19/36. But now, my mamuji says that he has a very low mangal dosha, and that some other traits don’t match! I don’t believe in horoscopes. But he put the doubt in my family’s mind.

My guy and his family basically live as a joint family with other family members as well, who are in general very very rich. Its just that his parents wanted that my family know them first, before going on to meet the rest. Now the current status is that my parents are having second thoughts about my guy. They have asked me to take 6 months, and decide if indeed this is the family for me! At one point of time, my mom would tease me using my guy’s name, today she doesn’t like hearing his name! and then they say, that they don’t have any problem with the guy, but don’t like his family! His family is on the verge of giving the down-payment of their new house, and shift there in the next 2 months, but my mom is not having any of it!

I cannot dream of living without my guy, ‘cos he’s everything that any girl could ask for! And the fact that my parents liked him too, before having a biased opinion now, is not helping me either! I am not those sorts to run away with him, or hang a sword on my parents’ neck, ordering me to get married to him and no one else! But at the same time, my parents should understand that it is ME who’s going to stay with the family, and that I love the family! I understand their concerns, but they cannot ask me to leave the guy just ‘cos they think they cannot have a proper communication with his parents due to educational difference and mentality (both can speak awesome Punjabi though)! I love my parents, and cannot see them unhappy, but I love him too, and will have an extreeeeeemely miserable life if its not with him!

Please help! I am having a depression+nervous breakdown cos of this! Is it worth it to stand for my love, and argue this down with my parents? Will they ever forgive me? Will this decision of mine make them bow their heads down in front of society? (that’s what they tell me)! Or should I listen to my parents thinking that whatever they do will be for my benefit!?? Please please help me!

S

I request this email writer to take a look at these 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…

And, Please watch Queen.

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Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I came across your blog while doing a Google search on how to deal with problems with Indian MIL. Ever since I got married a lot of my searches have been along the lines of ‘arranged marriage nightmare’, ‘possessive mother in law’, ‘dominating mother in law’, ‘cure for depression’….It is not the best state of mind to be in and I cannot tell you how much better I felt when I read about women having similar experiences on your blog.

I wanted to share my story so that someone else out there may too feel better after reading it. I am in a moral dilemma about my future so I would be very grateful if you could post it so I may receive input from others here.

I am a 25 yr old Software Engineer working in the USA. I grew up in India but moved here for my studies, so I think I am in that sweet spot wherein I respect our values but having lived independently for so many years have a fairly liberal outlook.

I had an arranged marriage last year after which I moved into the house with my in laws. They seemed nice enough in the beginning, but once I started living there the problems started.

My mother in law never graduated beyond 5th grade in India so she worked on all other areas to make up for that. She is an excellent cook, really good at stitching and knitting. I on the other hand am an average cook at best and certainly don’t see myself cooking for 10 people. (She regularly does that on every other weekend). She likes to have complete control over everyone. She repeatedly tells my husband that we should not make any decisions whatsoever without consulting her and FIL.

They were expecting a subservient docile daughter in law and although I have tried my best to be one, my initial months with them were a prison because of her constant interference. Case in point:

1.       When I was taking a shower one time, she knocked on my door and said I should hurry up because in her words ‘ladies of the house should not shower for more than 10 minutes’

2.       When I asked my hubby for his laptop, she told me that we do not share electronics here and that we should get a separate one for myself.

3.       When she spotted my hubby making our bed one morning, she marched in our bedroom and yanked the bedsheet from him saying that ‘she should be able to do all this’

4.       They have a rule that everyone has to have breakfast together on weekends so I have to be out of my bed by 9 and have tea/snacks with the whole family. (Now granted some of you may think well is this a really big deal. It is not like I want to live like a slob, but being a working woman, I think I deserve some days when I just want to relax and do things on my own time)

5.       They absolutely do not like it if I talk to my parents, especially my mother. I cannot call my mother every day, even if I make a call I am supposed to talk only in front of them and only for a short while.

6.       I work 40 hours a week and so I obviously cannot cook for 4 people everyday. So she will keep a mound of dough ready for me so I have to make chapattis for all of them after coming from work. (around 30). The said chapattis must be made in a timely manner and be perfect concentric circles.

7.       One time me and my husband had just had a flight back from my family’s place. My husband knew I was tired so he suggested I take a nap. When my MIL heard this she said ‘No no no..It is not good to get tired so easily. Us Ladies have to face so many struggles and we have to take care of so many people in the future so this is not a good sign blah blah.’

8.       I am a shy introvert person by nature, so there are times when I am quiet. Both MIL and FIL are always complaining about this. They say things like ‘She needs to be more mixing with us… she looks very lost….” The way my MIL invites people over and cooks for 10-15 people , they expect me to do the same for my husband’s friends.

9.       When I went to visit my family, my FIL called me and yelled at me and my family because I had not called them for 4 days. He said that ‘when you are in trouble over here your family is not going to be there for you, we are the ones you need so you cannot forget us like that’. After that I had to make a phone call to my MIL every single day of my stay. Every evening I would call and say ‘how are you?’…..’how is everyone at home?’…

This continued for about 4 months. Luckily since their current home is small, I and my DH decided to move into an apartment. Once we made the move and had our own place, there was a remarkable change in the quality of our life. I started having fewer fights with my husband. There were no misunderstandings and we could resolve our disagreements with rational discussions and compromise. We got time to know each other. I was finally able to sleep peacefully after coping with months of insomnia.

However, my MIL was overcome with insecurity. She was afraid that we would have more autonomy of our lives and since then she has been insisting that we move into a bigger house with them.

When my hubby had to go away for a few days for work, my MIL said that I have to stay with them for that period. I was looking forward to spending some time by myself and fix things up in what I consider to be my own place.  So I said that I would like to stay by myself since I sleep better here. They took it as insult and came over to our place and had a big fight. They called up my parents and told them what an insolent bahu I was. They also brought up past issues that they have with me basically that I am not behaving as a married woman should and not shouldering my responsibilities. FYI both FIL and MIL have no health issues and I have never interfered in my husband’s relation with them. I never even ask him whether he gives any money to them and on top of that I shelled out money so that they could things fixed up in their house. My MIL wants me to call her up every single day ( I do so once a week). She wants us to come over to their place twice a week. (we go there once a weekend)

They feel so insulted that I refused to go stay over there when my hubby was not here that they have now told me that I am not allowed to go see my family again this year. I understand that they are trying to derive pleasure out of exacting retribution for what they perceive to be an affront. But I am an adult and I simply can’t digest the fact that as an adult I have to ask for their permission to see my family. When I talk to my husband about this, he gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

On top of this, they would like us to buy a bigger house and all live together like we used to before. Right now I cannot even stand to look at them let alone live with them. I have given us living together a shot in the past, but based on my experience I really don’t think I will be able to go through with it without losing my mind..

Please advise what should I do… For the sake of my sanity and in order to salvage my relationship with my husband,  I want to stand my ground and stay separately ….

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