She doesn’t feel any attraction or liking or even friendliness for the guy. No ‘Connection’.

Sharing an email.
Dear IHM,

I’m mailing you with a lot of confusion in my mind and i hope to find a way through you,your blog and everyone’s advice based on their experiences with arranged marriage.
To cut a long story short, these are the pointers :
– My sister is 29 yrs old (30 in a few months), she stays with my parents, is well-qualified and has a job of her own. We are 2 sisters and we are proud of our parents the way they have brought us up. There has never been the feeling that there is no boy/son in the family.
– After long yrs of trial and errors finally there is this match. The boy’s family came, saw, and approved and the engagement was done in a day’s time.
– All is fine with the boy’s family and the boy himself is well-qualified and broad-minded.
– The problem is he is not ‘good-looking’ and most importantly my sister doesn’t feel free with him.
That may be understandable in an arranged marriage and so she has given her best efforts like talking to him, getting to know him etc. But even after 2 months now she doesn’t feel any attraction or liking or even friendliness for the guy. No ‘Connection’.
Now everyone in the family (joint family) is happy. Dates have been final and halls booked. Both families happy. The boy happy. But THE GIRL IS NOT HAPPY.
I believe that no one lives your life and in a marriage its important for both of them to feel some common ground and connected in some way. Mine is a love marriage. Though I don’t know how much difference that makes to ‘Marriage’ in itself because love or arranged it is the understanding and trust and friendship that is most vital.
Now my sister has shared her concerns with me. And all I want is her to be happy.
Please tell me what should be done in such a situation when everyone is happy and into the marriage except the girl.
She is not able to cope with his looks or his nature. The boy has a leg-pulling type jovial nature and his every response has a taunting undertone to it.
My sister feels tensed to talk to him. She feels ‘suffocated’ in this match.
She is not able to reach him/communicate to him/ be free with him. The boy on the other hand is very happy to have a beautiful wife but is concerned that he hasn’t seen any change in her wrt closeness or proximity.
He expects a kiss where as my sister can’t even think of spending time with him. That is the situation.
The concerns are :
The family is too much involved now. The boy is attached too.
If my sister backs out now :
– it would hurt the guy ( when she voiced her concerns in a subtle way he asked why did u get engaged then; but actually that was a quick decision bcz the boy had to move out and also every1 thought they would gel up well with time. Everyone did EXCEPT HER.)
– the family’s reputation is at stake. But we are mostly worried for our parents. With younger cousins getting married off and the probability of finding a right partner for my sister seeming less day by day.
– My sister is like she has been trying to give this relationship her best thinking that this is her only option and shaadi karni hi hai to kisise se bhi sahi.
( Lifestyle wise: my sister is veg and the boy non-veg. The boy drinks/smokes and my sister can’t even stand the smell of it)
Inspite of all this she has been trying to gel with the boy/ find a connection but she doesn’t feel anything for him.
I just want to know is this reason enough to call off a marriage ?
What should I advise her ?
Go ahead inspite of ur wishes, and give it some more time ( maybe get divorced after a year if things don’t work out ??? that’s really an option ??? ) for the sake  of the family. (Everyone is happy and satisfied and convinced about the match)
Or forget about everything else and take your stand and be prepared to face your life on your own. (maybe the chances of never getting married at all. I understand marriage doesn’t define someone’s life but there are obviously certain level of happiness and fulfillment that comes along with it and especially when the girl is keen on getting married. She wants to and dreams of having a sweet little happy family of her own like any other girl.)
Honestly, the second option feels right but is easier said than done.
Please help me help her. For me her happiness is most important.
Are such feelings common in arranged marriage and hence should we overlook it thinking that all would be fine after marriage etc etc. or should we respect her feelings and let her enter the uncertain world again where she may have to live her whole life alone.
I’m sure given our society,for a boy it doesn’t even take so much of a thought.
Thanks IHM and everyone who has taken time to read this and help us out. Thanks a lot.
Wishing you all love, light and peace.

What do you think of romanticization of men buying jewelry for women?

Sharing a conversation with a non-blogging friend 🙂
IHM: What happens when a blogger’s friends visit them?

Anita Rao: They are grilled and interrogated about their attitude concerning those issues which you happen to be blogging about at that time…. 🙂 First we pester you and ask you what you are typing, and then you return the favor… 🙂

IHM: 😯 ???

Anita Rao: …when you are trying to do a post, we interfere and then you turn the table on the hapless victims. 🙂

Anita Rao with the handsomest cat in the world.

IHM: What do you think of this ad?

Anita Rao: The jewelery purchase is being touted as an incentive by the husbands for the semblance of a happy marriage, whereas all along, before they saw the bill they were dreading with utmost chagrin and even the wives are being touted as good wives if they are not crossing the imaginary monetary line… “I hope it is not too much”, they have earned their brownie points by not seeking beyond what the husbands can afford.

The other message, it is not a joint decision, and that husbands’ sanction has to be sought.

IHM: What do you think of the two wives in the video? Do you blame them for wanting diamonds that the husbands have no idea they can afford or not?

Anita Rao: They are not over weight, they are good looking, low back blouse to convey femininity, so they are immaculate, their expressions are of innocence and approval seeking. The approval seeking is so much that had there been the slightest disapproval on the husband’s behalf, she would have been very prompt in her assent to abandon it, the good wife that she is. Showing that she has no actual interest in that piece of jewelery, that particular piece of jewelery, the deciding factor is solely his sanction.

The ad wants to convey that the prices are surprisingly low but they are also promoting a social more that husband’s sanction is tantamount…

IHM: What do you think of romanticization of men buying jewelry for women?

Anita Rao: Instead of romanticization of jewelry purchase and instead of letting the husband appear to have the sole discretion. The ad should have depicted a jointly arrived at sound decision, while these portrayals make women appear more frivolous instead of promoting sensible sensibilities. I am reminded of Uma Thruman’s belief that her parents had reared her like she had a head on her shoulders which caused her to behave like she did.

IHM: Anita I think you should be blogging!! 🙂

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions.

To truly understand girl baby hatred, please read Scaredy Cat’s email and his seemingly blasé responses to comments. This is how Patriarchy empowers the Parents of Sons. This Indian son (like millions of others) believes he is trying to be fair and gender neutral as he lays out clearly biased terms for a Prospective Bride and chances are his parents will find someone who is not able to refuse these terms.

Think about what exactly is this Indian son (like millions others) offering his life partner.  And exactly what Scaredy Cat gets out of this ‘marriage’.

Why doesn’t the skewed gender ratio enable Indian women to refuse such ‘marriages’? Because most Indian parents believe that an Indian daughter’s main goal in life is to Get Married and Stay Married.

Parents of little girls are heard saying, “Let her sleep/play/study/dress/have fun/avoid chores in her parents’ home because once she gets married and goes to her sasural (marital home) she will have to do as her in laws demand.”

Many parents also feel they must train their daughters for this tough destiny, some think it is their responsibility and dharma to get their daughters married. Nearly all Indian parents (and many women) accept marriage as a woman’s goal in life.

Once marriage is made her life’s sole purpose for one partner, but what Scaredy Cat has described for the other partner – it is easy to imagine why most Indian families don’t want to have daughters. For those who hold the traditional view, having a daughter means being prepared to raise a child whose chances of happiness are in control of families of Indian Scaredy Cats (or Shravan Kumars).

So if there was no way to selectively abort girl babies, India and China will still have a skewed sex ratio. Girl-child hatred is not new to these cultures.   Babies have been killed and buried in fields, left to die near garbage heaps, wrapped in wet blankets to cause pneumonia, drowned in milk or killed with neglect for centuries.

Take a look at some of the reasons these societies give for saving baby girls. Who would men marry if all the women are killed as babies. Sounds like a good reason to not kill daughters? When they can be wives of Scaredy Cats and Shravan Kumars why wouldn’t parents want to have daughters in these societies?

Another reason might appeal more to Indian parents, daughters can also be raised to be Shravan Kumars and Scaredy Cats.

Two news articles about skewed sex ratio which are (as usual) not talking about the real issue at all.

Dowry pours cold water on Chinese men’s hopes

By 2020, China will have as many as 24 million men of marriageable age who will not be able to find a bride

For generations, anxious parents in rural China, like those in India’s villages, prayed to the heavens for a son, reflecting the strong traditional preference for boys over girls.

In some Chinese villages, however, having a daughter is slowly becoming the rage, at least according to recent accounts of families having to shell out tens of thousands of yuan to find brides because of an alarming shortage of women.

The primary reason for this trend, scholars said, was an increasingly skewed sex ratio in China, with 118 boys born for every 100 girls last year — an imbalance that had been exacerbated by sex-selective abortions on account of the one-child policy that came into force in the late 1970s.

In India two couples fight over a boy baby.

Baby girl abandoned as couples fight for boy

A seven-day-old baby girl lies abandoned at the Umaid hospital in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, as two couples fight over their claims for a boy who was born on the same night.

But in a Patriarchal society you need a ‘heart’ to have a baby girl 😦

Gurgaon doesn’t have a heart for baby girls

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions. It is caused by an unwillingness of the society to start seeing daughters (women) as real people with real feelings.

Related Posts:

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

Do you think this video can make Indian parents want to have daughters?

Can you be equal if you are not allowed to make equal contribution?

Glimpses of how our social norms reinforce the benefits of having male children.

This Monday in Kaun Banega Crorepati, a young man from Haryana was on the hot seat. A decent, well meaning, ambitious, caring, responsible and sensitive man.

Disclaimer:This post is not about him, but about our social norms. Getting married to have someone to cook and clean, or for providing elder care is common in all parts of India.

This contestant says he married earlier than he had planned because his mother was almost paralyzed, and needed full time care. Only a woman could take care of another bedridden woman, but since they had married his sister off, there was no woman at home.

1. Now it is taken as understood that his sister couldn’t take care of her own family once she was married. Legally all children are equal, but in real, married daughters generally have no responsibility towards their family even when they are really needed. Why be surprised that sons are preferred?

Any campaign to ‘save the girl child’ should stress that it’s okay (not just okay but expected) of daughters to take responsibility for caring for their own parents/families.

And women  should not have to stay unmarried to do that.

So this man got married to provide his mother a full time care giver and someone to run the house smoothly (‘make tea, make roti‘). His sister is probably doing the same thing in her marital home. Everybody does their allocated tasks in this flawed system. But he is the budhape ka sahara and she a paraya dhan.

Think about it, if marriages are between families, shouldn’t his sister’s in laws have pitched in with support? It does happen, but it isn’t common.

2. Please note what he wins in this show also goes to provide for his sister’s son’s education, not to be saved for his own children. Maybe his wife’s brothers are expected to provide for his children? This too is common enough.

Senior Bachchan did say this reason for marrying was not good (kaaran achcha naheen hai), but the intentions were good. The next question he is asked is about two role models for Indian sons – Shravan Kumar and Ram. Coincidence?

It’s easy to be a good Indian son, easier than being a good Indian daughter in law definitely. (Or maybe not so easy in Haryana anymore,  with a shortage of women and skewed gender ratio.)

3. Now he is planning to graduate. Not sure if the wife is educated or has the time to pursue  any dreams, but such questions are not even asked. An Indian woman’s goal is expected to be, to Get Married and Stay Married. Then we wonder about self reliance and financial empowerment of women.

Do you think gender ratios can change without daughters being able to contribute to the family that raises them? (i.e. stop being paraya dhan and family honor, and become equal members)

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

This email by The Liberated, is for those who wonder how women agree to marry abusers and why they don’t just walk out when he slaps them the first time. Also for those who wonder why women don’t value their marriages enough to adjust-some-more. And for those who think there is no hope for happiness after a divorce, specially for women.

I met him in 2004 and left him in 2009

How would I not trust a man who was appreciated and trusted, liked and respected by the Society I was born and grew up in?

Besides he seemed to have all the qualities I wanted in a man. He was hard working, intelligent, confident, well spoken, well mannered, respected women, and loved me deeply too. In fact it was he , who called up home to ask for my hand in marriage….and everyone at home rejoiced at this. I thought, I must have done something right.

Whenever I looked into his eyes, they looked so calm, gentle and loving! ( Whoever said eyes are the windows to one’s soul!!?? )

I fell in love with him instantly, and married him a few months later when I was 20.

My hands trembled while I signed the marriage register, and they were trembling while I got ready to go out for the wedding function.
” Do you want to run away?”, asked my best friend just minutes before I was to step out.
“What are you saying?”
“The same thing you are thinking!”
“I’m just scared…That’s it!”
“Whatever it is gal! Whatever you want to do, remember I’m here for you!”, We smiled, hugged and stepped out of the room , both of us hoping that things will be just fine!

A few months into the marriage, and I so wished I had given a thought to what my best friend had said. all that would take us was to run out from the back door of the room, of the marriage hall! Everything else could have been handled later….but alas!

He seemed to be a busy man always. In the day, and in the nights as well.
Every time I asked why he was late or where he got busy, he always told me those are things of high secrecy (related to his job) and I shouldn’t question him about it.
After a few months I realized that he had some sort of a mental block on sex, probably some sort of impotency.
I tried talking to him, wrote letters, SMS’s , but my every attempt was falling on deaf ears!

This is roughly my ex husband’s behaviour with me:

1st–> Very sweet, understanding, mature, approachable, caring and loving—————->> When I started questioning over his unavailability, he chose to go into a silent zone. Where he would not talk to me for as long as 4 months at a stretch, not look at me or look through me, not let me touch him in bed etc————>>>Anger. He was always angry with me. Nothing i ever did made him happy. As I tried harder and harder to please him, I felt I was letting go of myself.———-NEXT——>>> Doubt my character. After I had asked him several times to accompany me with my friends for outings and he never came, so i stopped asking him and went alone. So he spied on me, hacked my e mail account,

I was not allowed to take internet service at home. And when he did allow the service, he installed a spyware that noted down my password and every other key I tapped on the keyboard. Later on, he entered my email account without my permission or without me knowing it, and sent out dirty emails to my male friends, and thereafter took printouts of such e mails and showed it to my family as a proof to their daughter’s unreasonable, unchaste behaviour.

—–>>> Criticise me: I never remember him saying anything positive to me after we got married!!———>>> When he got too angry with me, he started beating up my dog, who for me was like my baby….when I tried to stop him, he started beating me…with this we entered a new phase of our relationship, physical abuse!! I studied about Domestic Violence in college ( I was a law student), gave wonderful presentations over the same topic to score high marks ( I was always a ranker throughout my education years), and at home I took beatings from my husband for asking him what was his source of income!!

———>>> I was so tactfully kept under some fear of him, that he told me not to speak about what went on in the bedroom to anybody and i listened to him. Probably it was the result of him slapping me in my face. If you observe closely, even kids, who do not know anything about social norms or ego, feel very insulted if they are slapped across the face. Slapping in the face has something very primitive about it, its not learnt behaviour because of which we don’t like being slapped in the face, it has a much deeper meaning . When he slapped me for the very 1st time, I went into such a shock, i couldn’t sleep for 4 nights, I almost stopped eating, thereafter I started taking sleeping pills to help me go to sleep. Even that did not help! In utter desperation, I consumed 9 pills and slept for 3 days.

My best friend tried calling me in those 3 days. And when I did not pick up the call, she feared the worst and called up my parents who rushed to my in laws home, where I lived. My in laws, too lived and still live in the fear of their son, and nobody dares to ask him anything. He was out, and when my parents broke open the door, they found me sleeping on the bed. They shook me and I woke up, all frail and tired and my parents and in laws all started firing questions at me as if I had committed some sort of a crime! By then my best friend also reached home, she pushed aside these sets of parents and just hugged me, and I started to cry! I cried so much, and I wanted to tell them to help me, to save me, to take me out of that hell, but just then my ex husband entered the room and I fell silent! He had with him the emails he always threatened me with, and showed it to my parents , adding that I was having multiple affairs with men and asked them to take me home and that he did not have anything to do with me.

But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back. I do not understand, how they never wondered, what had made their daughter consume those pills??
To which he agreed.
I was taken home for a few days and sent back to him.

Within a week, some sort of a Baba, a tantrik, was invited home. He did some sort of a puja and declared that now is the time for us to have children!
Overnight, my ex husband, who had not made any advances at me over the past 2 and a half years, wanted us to have an intercourse!
By this time, I did not even have the courage to say a no.
Why I stayed with him, I still do not know.
From then started the sexual abuse, every night he would want to have sex and i could not bear it.
I once again turned to sleeping pills as the only answer to all my worries in life. Every night, before he would to come into the room, i would pop in at least 4 pills and knock myself out!
This continued for 6 months, until 1 day when I met a man who worked for my husband, but who became my great friend.
Within 15 days of befriending this man, who was 15 years elder to me, I found my lost soul, I found my courage, and I took it in my hands to end the torturous relationship!
Yes, it was a man who gave me the courage to stand up for myself.
And no, we did not have any  relation, other than friendship.

In 2009, I just left home and arrived in this city to live with my sister and her friends and told them i was going to live there till i complete the course that I had registered for a few months back.
I told my parents not to give him my address or contact details. I told them straight that i wanted it to end. My sister supported me in my decision and also convinced my parents to support me.
He tried to reach me, tried to threaten me.
But thanks to all my sister’s friend’s support, I had the nerve to threaten to file a domestic violence case on him.
The only reason I did not, was because I did not then, and still don’t care to prove my point to the world, I just wanted to get out of the bad situation I was caught up so badly in.
In 2010, the court annulled the marriage and I breathed easily , perhaps for the 1st time in 5 years!

As soon as I landed up in this city, life changed!
The city. the young blood, the parties, studies, laughter filled my life with so much happiness…it did not take me more than a month to start believing, that what I always wanted, was indeed possible – to be able to live in peace and happiness wasn’t so difficult after all!

Back home, people still scorned and taunted me for LEAVING SUCH  A FINE MAN!
But I did not care a damn, slowly and steadily, my confidence was getting back, I was meeting new people and dating too!
An year later I met a nice guy who became my great friend. I realized being with him, that all men are not bad. He cared for me, more than my parents ever had!
I did not tell him about my past, because I wasn’t ready to. But had mentioned many times that I had a very hard past and that I wasn’t interested in any relationship.
But it happened too naturally that both of us fell in love with each other, and I told him then that I was married once before.
But he said that doesn’t bother him, and today he’s ready to make things work between us even while his entire family opposes this idea!

Today, I have a career to look forward to.
I always wanted to travel the world, and even though I don’t have the money today, I’m so damn sure that I can single handedly make things work for me!

It’s a great feeling to have the freedom to choose to be  want you want to be and do what you want to do!
And I consider my  freedom, my only luxury I would ever need!

The Liberated.

Related posts:

When she says she no longer wishes to stay with him, why isn’t her word enough?
Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?
Feminism has gone to women’s head. Divorce has become like selling onions.
When a daughter refuses to go back.