“My story is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless.”

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM,

I have admired your blog posts for over 2 years now and the fact that you have taken up the issue of gender discrimination especially post marriage which is a very under talked, under debated, swept under the carpet kind of issue.

I wanted to share my story which is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless. I am fed up of being told that I have a perfect life compared to many others, that I am making a mountain of a molehill and fed up of the low expectations from the boy and his parents.

Mine is a love marriage and we met 5 years back and tied the knot this year. My husband is a really great guy who was always respectful and and had great regard for a person’s private space and agency. But,like most indian guys he’s devoted to his parents in an illogical manner i.e. everything they say must be carried out and he cannot make them unhappy by arguing, debating even if they are wrong.

I was aware that his parents are a lot more conservative than mine, but was not bothered that much as we are staying in a different city from them. But, what happened during the 3 days we stayed after marriage with them makes me very resentful and incapable of having a decent relationship with them.

For innocuous comments like ‘I don’t know the tv in your house, I am only familiar with the tv in my house’, I was given 18th century replies like ‘This is your house now, you have to sit, eat and drink here’. It made me feel like a bought slave whereas I am as educated as my husband and doing very well in life financially and otherwise. I consider myself strong, confident and independent and was not used to this kind of humiliation.

I went outside their house to bid goodbye to their relatives and was shooed inside by my MIL like cattle because I was not wearing the customary wedding bangles(chooda) and so what will the neighbours say!

I chose to ignore all this ,but the breaking point came when I was going to go to my parents house the last night(they live in the same city) and my MIL demanded that I return to their house the next day and go the airport for my honeymoon from their place as supposedly this is my place now. I just nodded and made an excuse the next day that I am not feeling well and hence going to airport from my place only. Usually, I do not take this kind of approach and I am direct and frank, but decided not to take any chances of any fight erupting.But it still did. Not giving a damn that their son is going on his honeymoon and that it is the best time of our lives, they scolded,cursed him on the way to the airport and for the first time in our relationship he used abusive language with me and behaved like a typical MCP, momma’s boy that I never dreamed he could be. I fought back and asserted that this is not the person I married and if he continues like this, our marriage will be in serious trouble. Since then, he has not behaved like that again. He actively participates in all household chores, in fact does a bit more than me,he’s being the model husband. But, his parents will not get off my back. His dad started talking aggressively to me on that the phone, dictating when and on what occasions i ‘have to’ come to visit them. They have the typical boy’s parents attitude that what they say, I have to do, no choice and it makes me crazy angry and determined not to do listen to even the basic requests.

My parents were planning to visit us this month. When they came to know, they started a crazy race out of the blue to book their tickets for a week prior to my parents’ visit as they are the boy’s parents, they have to come first to our place.

All this has made me disgusted and my husband knows this. Even though he doesn’t say anything, I wonder if resents my attitude to his parents. Also, I have no idea how to deal with his parents when they visit us. Normally people who I don’t like, I totally ignore and feel no obligation to interact with them. But I can’t do it in this case. I also have a very short temper and very less tolerance towards medieval attitudes like women must change their name, personality, parents blah blah blah after marriage. Please advice me on how to deal with such regressive people who are supposed to be your family but do not treat you like a human being but like an acquired property. I do not want to hurt my husband too and I am getting sucked into a web of resentment and anger day by day.

Thanks for caring about the lives of anonymous people.

Regards,

A

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“I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

1. If a challenging situation can’t be changed, then one of the positive things to do would be to find constructive ways to deal with it. Agree?

2. At the same time, hopefully, and even more positively, never giving up and still continuing to look for ways to change the situation – because change won’t happen unless we consciously work to bring it.

How does this email writer achieve both?

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I am an avid reader of your blog. It is only because of your blog I know what feminism is and how patriarchal I was though I considered myself modern. I wish I had discovered this blog before marriage.

I have mailed you in the past and your blog has changed me and helped a lot.

I’m not sure if its okay for you that I am mailing so many times. If so, please let me know.

My issue is: we are planning to move into my laws house in few months. We had fights regarding this as their family is very orthodox. The main problem is his father doesn’t talk to me from the beginning. I feel it will be awkward when we move in there. Also silent treatment is something that hurts me the most and I have received it from many people including from my husband.

Do you think it will be fine after we move in there? I am confused. To be honest, I have no other option than to move in to in laws house. Do you think of any idea or tips I should follow to not get hurt.

One incident that happened: recently, we and his family along with his two sisters went to purchase dress for the house warming ceremony. I offered biscuits to them and when I gave it to him, he just looked away. Nobody said anything. I broke down. But no one saw me crying. Me and my husband were not in good terms so I didn’t tell him too..

I am scared to face any more incidents like this.

Can you suggest me ideas?

Thank you very much, IHM

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

“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?’

An email from a Newly Wed Wife. “Now they don’t like me.”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

“Can you people help me on this? I only want to convince my parents that is all.”

I knew one young girl – not yet 18 [read here], who ran away from her husband’s house and told her parents she would commit suicide if they even talked about trying to send her back. Basically she made it clear that there was to be no discussion – she was not changing her mind.

What do you think can this email writer say to her parents to convince them that it is okay for them to support her decision to end her marriage? 

The email:

I am 22 yr. Well you can think why this girl is writing in this. I am married 7 months back. My in laws are typical. My husband is never in my favour. I hate him. I have tried everything to change him. But I don’t sleep with him because I don’t want to sell myself for peace. He claims for sex and I say no. His mom tortures, waking me early, getting all work done. When I try telling him that he says it’s common. I can’t take it. I was a princess at my house. I have done all the work here. Still they keep extracting work from me. Even I am working . He does not spend one rupee for me. Clearly he does not love me just want to sleep with me. I am not ready. We went to a counsellor too. He didn’t change a bit. Day by day, so much work. Food also I manage my own food. My needs I manage. I have decided to break this marriage. I am moving to a far place as I have got job there. My parents are practical but now they are fearing asking me to stay back. I don’t know how to convince them. Can you people help me on this.? I only want to convince my parents that is all.  Only they mean the world to me. I am bold to live alone. Just my parents . Help me

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“I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”

“Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

“I don’t want such education… I want no career… I want to be loved.”

“I want to take my own time, get a job, then think whether or not to get married. But, I can’t tell my parents all this.”

Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court

Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer, ‘I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.’

Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer who wrote this email: My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

Dear Indian Homemaker,

 Thank you very much for publishing my email. I read the comments and found them very insightful. If it is possible I would like to have the following published as a reply to my earlier post.

First of all I want to thank everyone for their comments!!… I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.

Yes, like a lot of you have mentioned previously my so called sweet spot is actually a very difficult one because I am getting the worst of both worlds i.e deal with the challenges of a modern working woman & be treated like a bahu of the 1950s.  (It looks like a mighty sweet deal for them though L )

And although I have let my DH go scott free in most of the drama and he has taken on the role of a silent spectator, he is a different personality with me and an entirely different one in front of his folks (From what I have read on these blogs this is not an isolated case).

If I were unhappy with him even when we were alone it would be an entirely different matter, but since the problems only occur when his family meddles I was hoping that getting distance from them will help us forge a strong bond … Besides I wasn’t realistically expecting to change years of upbringing immediately.

Some of you have raised questions about why on earth would an independent person agree to such a set up in the first place… Alas, to this I don’t have any easy answers…. I guess I in my naivete imagined that people living abroad for such a long time would have changed with the times as well….. And while I wasn’t expecting a bed of roses, I never thought that inherent freedoms like when I wake up/how I dress would ever be under scrutiny. I like some of the comments about asking the right questions before getting betrothed and I guess we need to create more awareness about this… Its too late for me now, all I want now is to try my best to not ruin my marriage especially not for people who given the laws governing mortality will not factor in the rest of our lives.

I am a non confrontational person and I have no desire to change my MIL/FIL. I think that time could be better spent doing more productive things. I think the best course is to insist on staying separately and see what happens next.

Again, thanks a million for the virtual hugs!!!!

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The Young Indian Woman’s response.

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Response and a Question from the Anonymous Indian Liberated Wife