And here is why women are so helpless in marriage issues and in their martial home.

Sharing an email. 

‘Is this love where you want to follow the society more than your children’s happiness?’

Hi IHM ,

I frequently visitor and replier on your post. Your posts have cleared my thought process a lot and seriously I think a lot on marriage. I have written a very long post.

I am not able to understand, why women are so helpless in marriage issues and in their martial home.

Sometimes I feel that seriously our parents love us or are we also a social responsibility to be completed? I am not a parent neither I am married so I cannot answer this question. But I am daughter and sometimes I really think that they are simply fulfilling their social responsibility.

In my family we are only two sisters and no brother. Never my parents tried for son. But their expectations are no different from us. My friend’s parents also think in similar ways.

Most of the parents educate their daughter because in their peer circle everybody is educating their daughters. Professionally unqualified daughter is a shame to them. They want us to do well in our careers. That’s it. Anything beyond this point is “tum hawa main udne lage ho, ladkyion ko jayda bolna nahi chahye, ladki ho ladki k tarah raho etc” (You have started flying in air. Girls should not talk too much. You are a girl, live like a girl.)

They want their daughter to be earning but not independent. They want the same thing which a parent who has not educated their daughter wants. They always want that we follow what we have been told on phone and no question should be asked. They will make all decisions- what we will do in future, when we will get married, to whom we will get married, the list goes on???

They will export you to another family. There also the same has to continue. They expect that you don’t reply back, never come back to them and be a good daughter. They are ready to cry in your pain if you have married as per their wish (this has been said by my parents and many of my friends parents).They will support you in case a martial problem and what is that support? That they will warn the groom/his family and send you back.

One of my friends is recently married and her husband started complaining within two days of marriage that I was not given watch in marriage, your brother doesn’t respect me, and marriage was so simple. Parents’ reply that this was not discussed during the marriage negotiations, why you are saying this thing. But nobody realizes what the girl is feeling right now. But parents have done their duty they married her, they are sad for her, they are helpless. Maybe one day they will fight with the guy and ask him to treat her properly job done. But how anyone can live with the person who doesn’t respect her and care her?

Another friend she is working was very close to guy from her college. They belonged to same city , so he use to accompany her and care for her during to and fro between college and city. Parents were aware of this and encouraged them to move together. This means that guy was nice and trustworthy. Now when the same guy went and asked parents about their marriage then they are saying that he is not trustworthy and he is a cheat. Isn’t it hypocrisy? Where is love for their daughter? Isn’t it using one person and insulting them when they have served their purpose? They want the daughter to go first way, marry their way, if she is unhappy then she is responsible for it as she is not able to adjust and forget her bf, they want her to laugh on her wedding even if she is feeling dying from inside. Is this parental love?

Another friend went ahead and had a court marriage. They are happy. She is continuing her job in another city and her husband is in another city. No demands from In-Law or husband. From day one she is living her life as she was living in PG. Still her parents are sad because she had an inter caste marriage. Where is love in this case? They are not happy seeing her happy? Isn’t all parental scarifies is a drama? Why they cannot say our daughter is happy, we are proud of her.

Coming to my situation, I too want to marry a person who is out of my community. He is well settled and loves me. I have met his parents and they have said yes without any drama. They encourage my bf to talk to my parents so that they can fix marriage. Now my parents want the same that is situation one. They don’t want to listen to anything. Is this love where you want to follow society more than your children happiness? And since I am living out of home city all the wrath have fallen on my sister. They have restricted her movement, don’t want her to pursue professional education otherwise she will also go out of hand. Is this the love and scarifies they always claim about?

I think its girls’ parent who have left them in such a helpless situation because this is the norm of society. Don’t they keep their daughter dependent so that she doesn’t start making her own decision? Can you tell me where is all this love everybody claim?

Thank You,

In Love

Related Posts:

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

“He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.”

When she says she no longer wishes to stay with him, why isn’t her word enough?

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

How would you react if you knew your son (or daughter) felt this way?

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

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

“I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.”

“I don’t see the point of forcing parents to give birth to unwanted girl children.”

40% of rape charges were filed by parents of girls who had eloped consensually with a boy

When a daughter refuses to go back…

“My suspicions were correct. He contacted me yesterday and asked me to get back together!”

***
More drama has happened since my last message to you and your readers. We broke up about two months ago and haven’t spoken to each other since. Recently a friend of my ex bf contacted me and I found out my ex is “torn from within” and has been working on changing his parents stance against our marriage. He said that things are finally looking good and that my ex will be calling me as soon as it’s finalized in his family home. He said he did not do so yet because he doesn’t want to keep hurting me by getting my hopes up if they end up standing firm against us. This is all news to me! I thought he was done fighting and done with me! I’ve since tried moving on in whatever ways I could. I’ve been reading your blog’s history religiously to gain more insight and have seen a therapist. Now that my ex bf may come back with a proposal I’m suddenly really nervous!!! When we first met I was naive, he was naive, and we both thought we would all live as one happy family. The hell that they have put us through has shown me who they really are. The stories I’ve read here on IHM have also shown me what life likely would look like if we were to marry. My question to you all is, if you were in my shoes, what would your new demands and/or compromises be? If you are married now, what do you wish you would have voiced from the beginning? Is there a way we could make this work if he does come back?
My first request would be that I do not agree to live with his parents… at least not in the beginning of our marriage. I think given their ill treatment of me in the past and his inability to totally put me first, I am completely nervous about that sort of living arrangement. Also, I now think we should have, and deserve, time alone together to be as a couple before inviting anyone else into our home. If he can’t agree to this then there is NO DEAL.
What other suggestions would you give to me?
And then: 
My suspicions were correct. He contacted me yesterday and asked me to get back together! I told him I would take some time to consider it. When we speak next we will discuss what our expectations are, what we are willing and not willing to compromise, and if it’s possible at all to move forward together.
I would like it to be shared on the blog to get everyone’s perspective on what my reasonable expectations could be. Or any warnings for my possible future if I continue. Honestly, after reading your blog (and, of course, my experiences with his family) I’m very nervous to marry him!! How can I be sure he would put me first? If I were viewing this situation as a friend I would tell my friend to be very cautious. That her demands (whatever they are) must be met or else walk away. 😦

‘My parents will be ignored and ridiculed. No one will let them forget my so called shameful behaviour.’

“… It will be like throwing them to the wolves.”

Why do we need family (or a community or a society)? What is the purpose? What is the least that you expect from a Society or a Community or Family that you belong to? 

How much would you be willing to compromise on your expectations? Would you permit blackmail or threats in return of whatever the community provides for you? 

(An average Indian is raised to understand all about what the more powerful members in a society/community expect from it’s members)

Sharing an email from a young Indian woman.

Hi,

I read your blog and I was able to relate to a lot of articles. You see I am also going through the same issue of convincing my parents for intercaste marriage.  I am a *** and the guy I love is a ****, from a lower caste. Personally I don’t believe in all this but my family does. They are opposed to the entire idea of marrying a non *** and that too lower caste. I am in a big fix.

Ours is a 8 year relationship. I tried everything to convince them but to no avail. It’s been more than a year now that I disclosed about my wish to marry that guy. All my family members, cousins, extended family are trying to discourage from my decision. Cousins who are only in their early 30s and may be even younger are against intercaste marriage. Its either choose that guy or your family.

My dad has taken an oath he will never accept me nor let my mom accept me. And I have seen examples where he has broken ties with a certain relative over small issues. I fear he will stand true to his oath. **** are a conservative community. Such cases are seen as very humiliating for the parents who then stop socialising and going out.

If at all my parents accept me, my family will not allow them. They say they will cut ties with my parents as well, if they support me. At this juncture I stand to lose the safety and security of my family. My parents will be ignored and ridiculed constantly by not just community but family members as well cos my decision will affect them also somewhere.  No one will let them forget my so called shameful behaviour. I can’t bear to see them like that.

Now I am thinking of giving up for the sake of my parents but the thought of life without that guy and with someone else of my parents’ choice is equally frightening. Here I stand to lose all my dreams and hopes for a future and life of my choice and liking. The guy has always been supportive and understanding. It not his fault to suffer so much. Thoughts of leaving him is tearing me apart. There is a lot of emotional upheaval going on with me.

I am out of my depth here trying to decide what to do. Please advice.

Second email:

They say with time you will forget him and get on with your life. Their argument is a woman whose spouse dies that women also moves on and marries somewhere down the line. She doesn’t die with him or stay unhappy for life.

The new development since 2 days is that they have already started alienating my parents. they have cut all contact and gradually breaking ties with them. Just because their daughter is maligning their name as well.

My parents, who don’t support me, blame me for their suffering. At a time like this it’s like throwing them to the wolves.

Related Posts:

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

“When the time comes to support them, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.”

Why do we hear concerned voices about ‘misuse of freedom’ the moment we talk about Freedom?

‘We grew up in a very liberal family. We knew what our limits were and our focus was our education. We never betrayed our parents.’

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

“When the time comes to support them, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.”

What exactly is Misuse of Freedom and Trust? Why is choosing one’s life partner seen as a ‘betrayal’ by many Indian families/parents?

Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I am back again asking for your help regarding a problem. Would be grateful if you could post this on your blog – I would like to know what people who have been in such situations have to say.

My husband and me had a love marriage – we are from different religions/caste/language and different states. We waited and fought for 3 years for approval from his side – which never came. He was given an ultimatum to go and lead his life or forget me and stay in the family. My husband chose the former and we have been so happy ever since. His folks (mom and 3 sisters & their husbands) gave more importance to society and relatives approval and “what will people say” rather than his happiness. But within a few months they back tracked and accepted him back into the household because his mom couldn’t be without seeing him. He lost his father a few years before we even became good friends… (and that also was brought in as a reason to oppose our union). His 3 elder sisters and family are cordial and warm to him. It’s going to be 10 yrs since we’ve been married, but I have not been accepted into the family. His nieces had not been told about his marriage, but as 4 of them grew into adults, they came to know of of the matter. But no one talks about it and the family prefers to brush anything regarding us under the carpet. “We” are never talked about, but assumptions are made by them on how we lead our life. We are more than happy to be away from all this family politics and orthodox values, superstitious beliefs etc.

Now coming to the real issue – his 1st niece is in the USA. She went there 3 yrs back to do her MS and is now working there. She is in love with her good friend there. He is of a different caste-and that is the only difference. She has known him for the last 3 years and they have been going steady for the past 1 year. He is a good boy, with equal education, a great job and from a good family. The last couple of months her parents have been pressurizing her with proposals and when she could take it no more, informed her mom about her love last month. The nightmares have started since then, her mom doing the crying, lamenting, not talking phases, emotional blackmail, threatens and everything else.

They are playing the caste card, the boy being a non-Brahmin. They claim that relatives will desert them, no one will talk to them, marriages of the other 5 girls (her own sister and 4 cousins) will be a problem, how will they face the world etc etc. Another important fact – “how can we agree for this when we opposed your Uncle’s marriage?”. The same accusations and reasons and fights that took place 13 yrs ago is repeating itself. Horoscope, society, caste and everything else matters more. None of them have changed even a bit. It’s like living through all that emotional abuse all over again. She has tried in all her conversations to explain that he will keep her happy and her happiness should be important for them and how their interests, goals and likes match and how they will make a good couple. But none of this matters – the parents say “our happiness should be more important to you than yours”!!!!

Another problem – this girl’s younger sister just got her visa for her MS and will be going to the same city that her sister stays. The parents and aunts (mother’s sisters) have started to blackmail and brainwash the younger one asking her how is she going to stay with her sister because she has fallen in love, she will not take care of you. Why can’t you not go there now, do your PG here in India”, etc etc. They are trying to turn the younger one against the older stating that “she is doing a favour by spending for you, because she wants our approval in return. She has become rude because she in earning in $’s in the USA” etc etc. The sisters are very close to each other and are stunned by this divide and rule and lies and twisting of stories from the parents side.

Both of them are not putting up their views very strongly fearing that their parents will not allow the younger one to travel. It’s another torture to listen to all the arguments and emotional abuse and blackmail and not voice their opinions.

A few days back the parents laid down conditions to the younger one – that if they send her to the USA

1. You have to go and try change your sister’s mind
2. You have to come back after 2 years of studies
3. You have to work and repay your study loan yourself (as in not take money from the elder one)
4. You cannot think of having a love marriage.

The parents are in a fix because the elder one will not be coming down to India anytime soon, because she just had her visa status changed. They feel she is so far away and is out of their hands, so they are trying to guilt trip her into accepting that because of what she did (falling in love) she is responsible for spoiling her sister’s future if her parents decide not to send her to the USA.

They are definitely not going to accept this and I fear the boy’s situation would become the same as mine – a son-law who’s not accepted though they might accept the daughter back, in case they go ahead and get married by themselves.

All the years of growing up, achieving in studies, being a good child – all this apparently becomes of no use because you fall in love and choose your own partner. Why is it that parents think that their happiness lies in only whom their children marry whom they are told to marry? They do everything for their children, but when the real time comes to support them in their happiness, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.

I want your readers to please advice on what they should do and how should they react to all this emotional drama and assumptions and mental torture. There might be many who have been through such situations…..I need their expert advice.

Note –
1. These are not some illiterate, from the village type parents. These are educated and young parents in their 50’s.
2. The boy’s side is very liberal and broad minded. His sister also had a love marriage and there is no problem from the boy’s side.

Thanks in advance to you IHM and all your readers.

Related Posts:

LOVE – Is it a Crime?

Against your child’s happiness

An email: I want my parents to know the real me, why do I have to lie?

Why do we hear concerned voices about ‘misuse of freedom’ the moment we talk about Freedom?

‘We grew up in a very liberal family. We knew what our limits were and our focus was our education. We never betrayed our parents.’

Dad knifes girl for speaking to lover

What kind of society tolerates the idea that a 23 year old is not capable of knowing what and who makes her happy, and somehow another adult – and this is someone who is capable of inflicting grievous violence, is seen to have ‘her best interest’ (or anybody’s best interest) in mind? This violent person also finds sympathisers – including in the TOI comment section.

What makes so many non violent and seemingly civilised people excuse violence under certain circumstances? Is it just that we are so used to seeing violence being justified that we see it as a normal (or practical) method of coping with disagreements?

We also know that more than half of young Indians believe it’s okay for a man to beat his wife. [53% Indian boys and 57% Indian girls believe it’s okay for a husband to beat his wife]

And we tolerate educated fathers openly threatening their daughters with honor killing. (link)

It seems many Indians believe:

1. It is necessary to control other (mainly young) people’s personal lives, happiness and liberties to save Honor, ‘Society’, Patriarchy, the Institution of Marriage etc (i.e. the status quo).

2. Use of violence to save culture, religion, tradition, family values, honor etc has to be tolerated.

On Wednesday, Suma had gone to her father’s weaving unit in Dommasandra where she also works. Chinnaswamy came to meet her defying Reddy. When he saw them talking, an enraged Reddy ru8sh8ed at Chinnaswamy, chopper in hand. A shocked Suma tried to save her lover but received the brunt of her father’s fury. She received grievous blows from the weapon. 

And here is a comment explaining the circumstances under which violence is tolerable to many Indians.

It could also be because this Chinnaswamy is a vagrant, a no good, unemployed married looser with bad hygiene. We don’t know.. if this “lover boy” is indeed unemployed and belongs to an underprivileged family he could very well be seducing the girl in the hope to one day usurp the business and improve his financial conditions… The hatred that Ashok Reddy displayed against the lover boy could be because he wanted to protect his innocent, gullible daughter against the well thought out, sinister plans of Chinnaswamy.

A Question: Is there any way this can change without media campaigns creating awareness about women being ‘people’, capable and deserving of making their own decisions –  right and wrong, and learning, unlearning and moving on?

Related Posts:

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

Haryana killing : Here is a father A P Singh might want to defend.

For some Indians the Indian culture can be saved in only one way – by ensuring that young Indians do not choose their own partners, which is why they claim, that Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

They believe the present ‘social order’ creates  harmony, happiness, contentment, safe environment for all and hence must be protected with stabbings and lynching of the less powerful and/or dependent members.

And this is the culture that claims to respect women.

Haryana killing: I did it for honour, girl’s remorseless father says

(Link shared by Madhavi Kaivalya K)

CHANDIGARH: A day after butchering his daughter and her lover in full public view at Garnauthi village in Haryana’s Rohtak district,Narender alias Billu, a canine farm owner and a wrestler, on Thursday showed scant regard for the law of the land and declared, “Whatever I did was right and for honour. If others also follow the same path, then such things (love marriages in violation of social norms) won’t take place.”

Parents of 18-year-old Nidhi, who was killed in cold blood along with her lover, and her uncle were remanded in police custody on Thursday. In front of the Rohtak court, Billu did not show any remorse and told the local media that his daughter had brought disgrace to the family.

Police said Nidhi’s parents confessed to killing their daughter and her lover Dharmender since their affair had insulted the family in the society

….

Which is why I think –

What Khaps India need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

Related Posts:

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

BJP and Trinamool are objecting to a lower age of consent on the ground that this is in conflict with “conservative norms” of Indian society.

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

‘I still want to support my decision of getting married to him. I need your help’.

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

My husband and I have been living in an open European country for the past few years now and we (rather me more) had been trying to get a local job just to gain more security and employment privileges that usually Indian IT companies cannot offer.
After a long struggle (euro zone crisis to blame) I succeeded in getting one but my husband is still with the same IT company. His project is ending soon and we (again rather me) have been trying vigorously for him either to get a job elsewhere or another project within the same company to buy us some time.
Initially I thought both of us wanted the same thing but gradually my husband’s mind seems to be drifting. His family also pressurizes him to get back to India which is not possible for me right now ‘coz firstly I have changed my job and secondly I don’t even wish to work there.
I have a friend circle here both Indian and Local people, my husband if i m not being too harsh doesn’t have any friend circle at all. He usually hangs out with my friends and the local ones he always tries to make fun of.
He says he is fed up of this country and when i ask him which is the perfect country for him then he has no answer. I simply don’t understand sometimes what he wants out of his life. Ours was a love marriage we met here only 2 years back and got married last year but i feel i have not known him enough even now, nor does he know me.
I have advised him time and again whatever the situation, we would face it together; and we can still stay together even if he doesn’t have a project here or a job he desires or even study masters (which he always wanted) but it’s all unacceptable for him. He says he can’t live on my money. Yes, till now i used to think its all OUR money that we earn but suddenly it has become my money. He is ready to go back and live with his beloved family. I no longer form his family coz i still have my maiden name.
I never get such hypocrisy and idiocy citing the excuse of so called Indian culture and customs. F**k the rules that states this and f**k the people who abide by those. (sorry for my language but i don’t know how to control my anger right now).
There are  innumerable reasons to fight and argue over the same rules but only one reason to stay together love and respect for each other  and i prefer the latter one coz i still want to support my decision of getting married to him. The only thing i need now is how to do that. I need your help.
2.

Dear IHM,

Thanx for your response. All this time i tried to talk to him and ask his views about marriage and the reason why he got married to me.
I kind of understand that he is going through professional turmoil. He works with similar Indian minded people who kind of make fun of him now that he will not be having any project and his wife will be working. He will have to apply for a dependent visa if things turns out good. I try to pacify him and make him understand that this is just temporary and people will always have something to say no matter what you do.
He loves me a lot i know and also listens to me sometimes but he himself confessed to me lately that he feels he is a deterrant in my progress. If he continues to be with me I will not achieve what i deserve which i feel is not correct. I draw alot of strength from his support and love as well that’s the very reason i married him.
I like to go out, try out new things meet a lot of different people but he has become more reserved and demotivated now. He wants to achieve big things in  life but even he doesn’t know where to start.
I have somehow convinced him to stay here and fight until he gets something but looking at the situation i also fear…  till what time am i going to support him (mentally) to fight and struggle to stay here?
One thing i know for sure that if we stay separate even for a few months our relationship will not survive. I know him he is very possessive about me.
– I need your help

“His parents had already found a girl from his community who they feel is ‘perfect’ for him.”

Sharing an email.

HI IHM!

I have been a fan of your blog since long. The comments and the discussion that happens on each post it truly a very eye-opening. The point of view of the commentators are so different and unique that really helps the readers in similar situation.

Of late, I have been in treading in similar waters and would like to share my problem with you and your readers for solutions.

I am in a relationship with a guy from different community since two years. We came in touch during our masters, we did our post graduation from the same college. He helped me through some difficult times and now, we live in different cities, but the relationship is still strong.

Now, we have decided to take the relationship to next level and get married. Personlly I cant wait to get married and I know this sounds cheezy, but I have this weird vision of both of us being 80 year olds and still being happily married. 🙂

His parents had been already searching for a girl in his community since even before we had met. But we did not want to enter into a marriage just because of this, so we took our time to get to know each other and understand each other.

Meanwhile his parents had already found a girl from his community whom they feel is ‘perfect’ for him. His family is quite traditional so they expect him to meet her once and decide if he wants to marry her or not.

So, he decided to tell about me at his place. On hearing about me, his dad started crying and stopped talking to him. He said that my guy (lets call him ‘L’) had hurt him. L went to his native and tried to convince his family in every way possible. He gave examples of couples who had previously gotten married outside caste and are happy, his family believes a lot in religion, so he gave examples from Gita, Guru Nanak, Radha Krishna etc all that said love marriages were ok.

We even surfed various blogs on this and pointed it out to his dad.
But nomatter what points L put in front of his dad, his dad only said one thing: ‘ All you say is fine but she is not from our caste.  She will not fit into our lifestyle. She will make you go away from us. Marry the girl we choose for you and you will forget her as the girl we have choosen is from our caste and can easily mix with our family” All this even without meeting me!

Now, L lives alone in another city, and I will be joining him there after marriage. Currently his mom used to live with him as she suffers from dipression and his dad visits him once a month for couple of days.

He even said that I have lived with people of various castes and creed and got on well with everyone. And that I will most definately get on well with the family, provided ofcourse, that the family will also make an effort to be cordial to me.

L even said that he does not want to be tied down in a marriage with a stranger and face all things that his parents and grandparents had to face. To which his dad replied that he was being selfish for seeing only his happiness.

Even I tried talking to his dad yesterday, but no matter what I said his answer remaind the same. “Beta we have to stay in samaaj. I cant go against Samaaj. If you get married than samaaj will make fun of me and I dont want to face that.”

Now finally he has told L, “Do whatever you want. You will have my blessings. But if you marry her, I will have to break all contacts with you, and next time you come back, we will ask the girl that we have choosen for you to come and decide everything for final time”

Now L and I do not want to get married against the parents wishes. We want them to be with us on our big day.

What we want from IHM’s readers is that if someone had faced a similar issue that how they tackled it? How they convinced the parents?

We really tried everything we could think of but still we whatever we say, the answer always is the same: Caste. How to solve it.

IHM, please post this on your blog, we really are at a wit’s end here.

Regards

D.

Related Posts:

An email: He will be one of those 40 year old men lving in parents basement with a wife he never really wanted.

An email: My brother leaves it to my mother to decide if the families’ minds will match.

An email from an Indian Husband… and a Good Indian Son.

An Email: “I really like this guy, but I’m not sure I can handle his parents’ hatred or begrudging approval.”

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

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

Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC

An email: Would you see this as an example of ‘Irresponsible Feminism’?

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

Where is the opportunity for Indian men to learn the most natural thing in the world – finding a mate??

A Guest Post by priya.

Finding a Life Partner  – do we need a book on dating written for Indians?

My company has a branch in India and we sometimes get people from India to come and train in the US.  These are mostly young men and women in their twenties, almost all of them single.  Sometimes I take the ‘India team’ out for lunch or coffee, and invariably the conversation goes from work to more personal stuff.

There is this young man ‘Ravi’ (name changed) in the group.  His parents are ‘looking for matches’ for him.  He recently went to India to ‘see a girl’.  So everyone asked him how it went.  He shared that he was shocked that the girl confessed to him that she had dated another guy and it hadn’t worked out. (This was done in private, without parents around.)  So he asked her why she is agreeing to an arranged marriage. The girl said she is doing it to keep things smooth with her parents, but intends to eventually meet someone and marry by her own choice.

So ‘Ravi’ just told his parents he didn’t like the girl and to keep looking.  When he shared this with the group, everyone ( 5 women, 2 men) burst out laughing.  Apparently, everyone in the group already had a steady bf/gf or were getting engaged to someone they had been dating.  Everyone told ‘Ravi’ to ‘stop being ridiculous’, to ‘come out of the Middle Ages’, to ‘be an adult and go find a life partner on his own.’

Ever since, I’ve seen ‘Ravi’ talking more to the women colleagues.  He is extremely awkward (like the guy in your recent post).  He doesn’t know how to strike up a conversation with a woman – for example he could discuss her work and be interested in role in the project.  Instead he talks about her looks or something she’s wearing – with someone he barely knows.  The women sometimes joke about him behind his back.  The interesting thing is that these women are perfectly comfortable striking up conversations, making friends, asking people out, etc.  Some of them complain that ‘liberated men’ are in minority.  ‘My bf wants to get a flat in Bangalore and live with his parents!’ complained one of the women.  It seems to me as if out of the pool of educated/middle class/professional/worldly/sophisticated group of Indians, the women are changing, but the men are clinging to the past?  I do know a few progressive men and don’t want to over-generalize here – this is not meant to stereotype men – but I was just wondering, is this true of the majority??.

I feel like men like ‘Ravi’ will go back to having an arranged marriage because they haven’t been raised to become adults.  They are like children all their life – their parents will make decisions for them, and in a way that must be comforting because it takes away the responsibility of having to make your own mistakes, facing the consequences, learning, and making your relationship work.  On the other hand, it must be so frustrating when things don’t work out in your marriage.  You never had a say in it, in the first place.  Then you ‘have to make it work’ even if you hate to.

Isn’t this a problem for many young Indian urban professional men?  Even when they want to find a life partner of their own choice, they don’t know where to begin.  How do you talk to a girl in a away that is not condescending, not creepy, not patronizing?  How can these young men learn how to do this?  There are no role models in their family (can’t talk to dad!).  Friendship between boys and girls is discouraged in schools.  The movies have such a creepy version of boy meets girl (except for some of the newer ones).  So where is the opportunity to learn the most natural thing in the world – finding a mate??

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Indian culture today is against young people choosing their own partners. Dowry, segregation, traditions, family values, Indian values, horoscope, caste, community, gotra etc are used to control their choices:

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

“Why didn’t these women find life partners by dating?”

“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty…”

Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

Some young Indian men seek not love but a good daughter in law for their parents:

An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

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

Some young (and old) Indian men believe girls who have boyfriends are not ‘good Indian girls’:

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

The kind of videos young Indians need to watch.

Teaching school children that getting married without ‘a bad name’ is a dream of every young girl.

Many Indians understand rape as ‘sex outside marriage’ (consensual or not); interactions between ‘opposite sexes’ are seen as women ‘asking to be raped’. This also serves to prevent ‘choice marriages’.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Who benefits from criminalizing consensual teenage sex?

“Ninety percent rape victims go willingly, but later they meet criminal minded people…”

What Khaps need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty…”

So here’s a young man who thinks ‘Women have too much power in the system.’ He seems to believe that getting a man arrested for asking them out is empowering for women.
Do you agree with him? How does any action that makes it difficult for women to choose their own partners, empower them?
Who do you think is being empowered here? What is being reinforced? Who is controlling? Who is being controlled?
Anon User’s post on Quora, was in answer to : ‘Why is it difficult to date an Indian girl in general?’Please do take a look at, ‘I was arrested for talking to an Indian woman. (Link shared by Ashwathy) 
Anon User posted about his experience when he had gone, with his mother, to see a medical specialist. While he was waiting, he saw this doctor who he thought looked nice, he thought they had ‘a good eye contact’ and decided to approach her.
Now in his words,
“… she got out of her room and walked towards the stairs. I followed her, and basically asked her to stop.
Me: Stop
She: Yes?
Me: We should get together this weekend.
Her: Why?
Me: We’ll have fun. Maybe get a cup of coffee or something!
Her: Get lost…
I walked away and sat down on the sofa, waiting for my Mom to come back. In a few minutes, the chief of security asked me to step into his office. I went there. The woman had apparently complained that I had harassed her.
Her boss, the senior doctor (SD) was also there.
SD: What did you say to her?
Me: To who?
SD: To her… (pointing to her)
Me: What’s it to you?
SD: I’ll tell what it is to me you punk. I’ll call the cops.
Me: I merely asked her out, she said no, and I walked away.
SD: (To his security staff) Don’t let him go.
So I went back and sat on my chair.
In a couple minutes, my Mom stepped into the room, and signaled that she was ready to leave. We left, but since my knees were hurting, I didn’t walk fast. In less than 30 seconds, almost 30 security people surrounded me, four or five jumped me, and forcefully dragged me back in.”

His mother started crying and pleading. The police arrived. In his words:

“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty, and that I had been completely unethical. Moral policing is one of the hobbies of Delhi police anyway, and seemingly that of every Indian who can speak.

Finally, the husband arrived.”

[Please note: For many Indians, the offended party here is the husband.]

‘He walked up to me and slapped me right on my ear without hearing a word. The police didn’t do anything to stop him, and I had to reason with him with statements like, “Look, I didn’t touch her” and “I didn’t mean any disrespect” and “I didn’t know she was married.” He didn’t calm down.’

According to the anon user, an FIR was filed, and he was arrested and had to ‘pay a good amount of money to a lawyer to arrange bail’. His family, like everybody else, believes he has ‘a criminal mind’. He further says,

“I have decided never to approach women anymore… at least as long as I am in India… Even if it means that I don’t ever get laid again. Women have too much power in the system.”

And:

“…the husband of that woman slapped me in full public view and with cops looking but never interfering. That’s true.

What is also true is that the father of this woman issued a death threat to me, again in full public view, and in front of all these cops. He said, “I will cut your head into two pieces. I will slice your throat. I am saying this in front of the police, and I am not afraid.”

Yeah… so asking a woman out is a crime, but hitting a man, or issuing a death threat, in full public view, in front of the cops, with CCTV monitoring all around is not!

Understandable. NOT.” …

Anon User ends with:
“I am all for gender equality. But somewhere along the line, we (as a nation, or at least as a city) seem to have confused the abolishment of misogyny with promotion of misandry.This is pure misandry.”
Do you see this as ‘pure misandry’?
Or is this an example of how Patriarchy works?
Do you think Anon User was wrong to approach the woman?
Why do you think did the woman react the way she did?
Would you say it is really difficult to ask an Indian woman out? Why is that so? Who does this empower?
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