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

Sharing an anonymous email.

Dear IHM,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please should I do?

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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

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

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM,

I really wanted to bring up an issue I have been facing since a few months as a topic/post on your so that I get some tips/perspectives on how to handle this messed up situation.

I had an intercaste love mariage 5 years ago and at that time agreed to stay with my in laws. It seemed like an ok thing to do as I had little interest in domestic chores and my FIL had just recovered from cancer. Me & my hubby are only children and hence both sets of parents depend on us for thier emotional fulfillment. My MIL is an educated woman who has been a science teacher all her life. She loves to wear western clothes and even enjoys an occassional glass of wine and beer. I thought that it will be a modern, liberal family. My husband too openly communicates with them. I thought it would indeed be wonderful to live with them. My parents stay in the same city and I see them every fortnight. We had proposed for them to move close to our place, but they have a good social circle where they live and may move closeby only when the need arises. Life seemed pretty sorted.

Then the reality struck. And hard.

My MIL began telling me how bad my dressing sense is and that I should wear brighter colours like her, doll up with jewellery like her and ensure I am the best dressed at every family get together. I laughed it off for a couple of years, sometimes playing along. Then it was about the cooking. ‘This is how it is done’. Then housekeeping ‘Not a speck of dust, not even a handkershcief out of place’. Then the way I interact with people ‘Touch feet, say namaste.’  It was still ok. I did most of it on most days, although it didnt come naturally to me. Then the issues got deeper and the complaints serious. Right from lifestyle choices, to me meeting my parents, to do keeping the house well, to not cooking reguarly,to not respecting them enough (displays of respect) to not spending time with them. If I tried to tell her that I have different views or that maybe her percpetion is misplaces, I was accused of being bad at taking feedback and being too stubborn. Everything we, especially I did was wrong, bad, immature and not perfect. I wish I could get into details and give situations but honestly it is exhausting to even think about it. Lets just say most of the MIL-DIL typical  issues discussed on this blog.And like most modern day DILs, I felt like a badly behaving unwanted guest,who was suffocating every single day.

But that is not the issue I wanted to discuss.

Around 4 months back, my husband and I took the decision to move out of thier house and live close by (precisely 3.5 kms away). This would give us our independence and space as also be close enough to meet them every week and take care of them. I had first discussed this with my husband around 2-3 years back but he wasnt ready emotionally then and we thought things will improve if we just let them be. But the point is, they werent letting us “be”. Moreso me. Because I was the bahu they wanted respect and seva from me, something which didnt appeal to my sensibilities and not sustainable for the long term. My husband and I thought the move will make my relationship with them better as the everyday nitty grittys go out of the way and we can actually spend quality time with them when we do, without a list of complaints. When we first discussed it, they let thier dejection be known, but also said that since you are turning dependent on us, so you should experience living alone.Exact words were’ Wait till you live alone with each other, you will know each other’s bad side. Because of us being around, there was a check.’

But the absolute very next day, the silent treatment began. No eye contact, no words being spoke by my MIL. A frown on face for days. She even gave up eating for a couple of days. FIL stayed glued to TV but at least spoke when spoken ti. This went on for a month. My hubby and I didnt budge and engaged them in conversations to open them up. There were accusations of how insensitively we are abandoning them at oldage (they are 62, active and healthy),how ungrateful we are, ‘humse parvarish mein kya galti ho gayi’ ‘ to all sorts of statements one often hears in TV serials. The most oft repeated one was ‘Log kya kahenge”soceity mein log kya sochenge’ ‘ I dont want to be seen as  a bad MIL’. There were times when we felt incredibly guilty, but then realised that it is only emotional blackmail as when we felt bad and remorseful, they felt better and came back to normalcy immediately. Anything that made us happy,brought back the behaviour. Anyhow, a couple of weekend vacations and many dinners and movies with them later, they seemed to be coming to terms with it. But none of the relatives knew yet that we had moved. My in laws were against telling anyone in the extended family as joint families are the norm in the community, and their izzat would be at risk.

Recently my husband grew tired of leading this dual life and told his parents to tell the relatives about the ground situation so that we dont have to pretend to be living in thier house anymore. We didnt expect support from the relatives, but the least they could do is make my in laws feel better. But my MILs own sister has actually ignited her further and aggravated the situation further. She spoke to us about how bad this decision is. She rubs it in with my MIL every second day as to how her son would never do something like this. How her DIL will never move away (in a seperate one to one discussion her DIL told me that if they had financial independence, they would have probably done it too!Of course this was told to me in confidence so cant disclose it during the family discussions). This has made my in laws feel like they have lost a battle, and moreso my MIL feels she has totally lost her son to me and has turned against us fully. Now every meeting is an emotional episode and a taunt and guilt spree. My MIL even spoke to my Mom and accused her of hatching the whole idea. She was upset with my parents for not ‘stopping us’. I dont know what to talk to them independently anymore and dont feel like it either. But I realise that will end the relationship, so i make some small talks. They only drive guilt in my hubby about being the disappointing son, whereas he is a very loving and kind person.Just that he also loves his wife and ‘gets’ the MIL-DIL conflicts and their implications. He is very supportive towards me and is patient in dealing with his parents, but I know it is hurting and stressing him to hear extremely hurtful and manipulative comments from his own parents everytime they speak. He wants us to make extra efforts to make them feel better about it but it only backfires.

Its gotten extremely messy with relatives calling us and doing the same in the name of love and concern. What could have been simple has gotten very complicated and messy.

So some questions/perspectives i need at this point to tide over this  are:
— Is there anything different my hubby and I need to do to assuage the situation?At the very core of it, is it even required?

— Has someone lived or know someone having in laws in the same city but living in different houses? How has the experience been? Did the relations improve?

— What does a son do when the parents are, to put it crudely, mean to him and use guilt as a weapon? Any tips on how to deal with it?

— Does the cycle of in laws appeasement for a DIL ever end? Can she ever make choices which are truly independent without the burden of guilt or the disapproval of people around her…

– AP

Related Posts:

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

Why do Nuclear Families face so much criticism?

It is easy to walk out and wish for a nucleated system, for petty squabbles like this.

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

An email: ‘My subconscious mind keeps reminding me of the initial nastiness, and fears that he is capable of that kind of behaviour.’

Sharing an email.

Dear readers and IHM,

I am sure EVERYONE will be able to relate to my story. (at least some part of it). I will keep it as short as possible . I got married like any other girl with lot of dreams in her eyes : NOT of materialistic wealth in her married life, but dreams if being treated lovingly by her husband (mine was a love marriage, why wouldn’t I expect the same love that made us choose each other to continue and keep building exponentially in our married life ).

May be I was naive .

Got married.

Mother in law came in the picture .

She single handedly DESTROYED our relation .

I do not feel the need to go into much details about what all drama happened, cause my question and the advice I seek is not about how to handle that drama.

So mother in law/ monster in law had a two step process.

One: she was brainwashing/ putting words in my husband s mouth : and he would constantly fight with me in the first three months of our marriage.

It’s worth mentioning that the first three months we were apart ( hubby and me) cause of visa issues. So I was in sasuraal without hubby.

Second trick that my monster in law used was : she would never tell my hubby about anything good I do, but she would twist and manipulate the tiniest thing that can be used against me into a huge melodrama .

My hubby used to call his parents twice daily and talk about every minor and major thing going on.

Like I said may be I was v naive and thought he knew everything that is going on in his house. ( he knew the twisted manipulated version and not the truth)

It was after one and a half years of marriage that we had a huge fight and everything came out in the open ( this was at a time when just him n me were living together in uk away from the monster in law):- he was totally BLANK. He had no clue about the events that transpired at his parents’ house.

And only then I got to know the BIGGEST game monster in law had played all this time.

After that our relation improved tremendously.

He never asked me to call his mother, ask her how she is; never asked me to visit her when we travel to India, basically never expected anything from me in regard to his mother cause he saw through the EVIL game she played.

So things are realllly goooood.

But it took one and a half years for the truth to come out.

Which led to two damages :- before he knew the truth we used to fight a lot cause he knew a twisted version of events ( LIES ABSOLUTE LIES) : which would make him feel d need to call me and yell at me and fight with me and say super nasty things . He would also call my mom and my Masi ( mom’s sister ): and say super nasty things about me every other day and complain about me.

All this was mainly happening when I was in sasuraal without him, in other words the first three months of marriage.

Now my question dear readers is :- how to move on. Move on from the bitterness that remains somewhere in my subconscious for the NASTY things he said about me specially in the initial three months.

I know as of today he supports me immensely and would never let his mother treat me in a nasty way.

But I feel that the initial three months have caused a irreversible damage to our relation and now things can never be as lovey dovey as they were to begin with. I struggle with that daily . There is kind of a tug of war going on. A part of my brain says he is super nice now and has been ever since he saw through the games that were being played. So I also try to be extra loving towards him In action : but my subconscious mind keeps reminding me of the initial nastiness: n fears that he is capable of that kind of behaviour. What if he turns into the emotionally abusive husband that he was in the first three months of marriage again? What if his family/ monster in law manage to brain wash him again …. You know the kind of partly rational partly irrational fears remain. So does the anger and the negativity from those memories and the resentment .

I have a second question: which is again related to my first question : and on similar lines:- I have a lot of bitterness and anger towards my monster in law too. LOADS. I do not want a relation with her. I do not want to see her ever again in my life. I want to be at peace with the past. I do not want to keep feeling hurt over the things she did. She said innumerous nasty things to me too. And it’s not just bout saying nasty things, it’s also about her super nasty actions.

Our marriage came soooooo close to divorce because of the games she was playing . Me and my widow mother went through emotional hell cause of the broken dreams and heartache associated with loving  someone and them breaking your heart over and over again. I want to move on . By move on I do not mean forgive her and try to have a loving relation with her. By moving on I mean just letting go of the traumatic memories of the past and not let that interfere with me living a life of peace / inner peace !

But I do not know how to move on !

Kindly advise if you readers feel you have been in similar situations and from experience you have learnt ways to move on !

Related Posts:

Because we can still be honest WITHOUT saying, “Gosh woman what is wrong with you?”

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“I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

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.’

‘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.

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“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.

‘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.”

“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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Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile…

Nitya shared the video above with this message:

Dear IHM,

I came across this British Airways ad on my Facebook newsfeed. I believe it is widely circulated.

It is about a couple who get married the arranged married way, but don’t have the opportunity to spend time with each other because they live in a joint family. The wife says – “after marriage, everything changed. I had to wake up at 6 AM, do household work… anytime we went out there was always someone from the family with us…  I could not even sit next to him in the car.”

To bring them closer, (IHM: After three years.) the husband arranges for a surprise trip to London with his wife, thanks to British Airways. And they are shown to spend time, fall in love again and get closer over the trip.

But throughout the ad I was wondering – wouldn’t a much better way of showing support be to just stand up for their right to spend time together as a couple here in India? Wouldn’t that have been healthier for their marriage (and their individual lives) overall?

Why is it that this typical Indian couple needs to “go further to get closer”?

What troubles me is how this state of affairs is portrayed as de rigueur, a matter of course in Indian society, and how accepting the woman is of the fact that she cannot spend time with her husband in her own house, and how ‘sweet’ it is that the husband takes her to London to spend time. I don’t find it sweet at all in this context. It would be far sweeter to be able to share my life with my husband, not just a week-long vacation.

What do you think?

Nitya

Do try to watch the video, (and if possible read the comments ‘saluting’ the ‘cute, special’ video) but if you simply can’t, here are some quotes. My comments in italics:

Shravan Kumar’s wife:

“I don’t have any of the holidays, not even my birthday, anniversary… 365, 24 by 7, I am on work.”

“It hurts a lot, to love my husband, to be with my husband, yet not know him… ” (Didn’t know him but loved him? Is that love or the Dharma of a dutiful and  Pativrataa Aadarsh Bhartiya Naari?)

“I wanted to know him better to love him more…” (Didn’t want happiness and freedom for herself)

“We have experienced happiness… we have lived our life during that moment…” (Expects no more)

Shravan Kumar:

“It’s very frustrating, whenever we want to spend time with each other, there is somebody or the else with us… we are never alone.” (Didn’t think he should do something about it?)

“All I wanted to do was to bring the smile back on her face….” (And this was the only way to do this?)

“I had made a promise to mom that I would never bring tear to your eyes…” (What about his wedding vows? Keeping promises made to his parents/elders is what makes Shravan Kumar Shravan Kumar)

“I just feel that this trip has given me a chance to reciprocate…” (If he doesn’t reciprocate, she must continue to live without a smile on her face)

“I was myself, and she was herself and we were not pretending… no… nobody looking over us…” (Sees that as wrong, but probably sees it as disrespectful to do something about it.)

“I really feel that sometimes you have to go really far to get close.” (Doesn’t see living somewhere close, but in their own house as an option)

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An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

“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.”

‘His family seems a bit traditional type.I googled “how to behave with in laws after marriage in India.’

“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

“When there are guests I don’t get to talk to them because I am in the kitchen all the time …even wearing a Nighty is considered indecent.”

Sharing an email. 

Hi
I am a housewife (I don’t like to use this word for myself) and a regular reader of your blog.
 
I don’t know if you would be able to help me in any way but if you would just read my entire mail with patience and also respond, it would just give me a feeling that there is someone who at least understands me.
 
I was born and brought up in Delhi/NCR and have decent educational background. My parents never had enough to spend on any kind of luxury not even eating out and during one phase we even struggled to manage two meals a day. But they have been the best parents because they kept us so bonded and taken care of during all ups and downs of life. Me, my siblings and my parents….we all were a so closely attached and knit up that we shared everything with each other. Even in our worst day we could laugh loudly with each other.
 
My mother has been the pillar of the family. She is traditional and yet open minded. Traditional with culture and family values and open minded about learning new things, adopting modern ways of living and doing things.
 
I have been a jolly and happy person with very strong positive attitude in life. I have faced some social evils personally that I am not discussing here because I want to forget them (I know it not possible….but I pretend to as long as it not haunting me). I believe in forgiving and forgetting because I feel that keeping things in heart obstructs your way to happiness and all I want in life is happiness. And my happiness is associated with just little things in everyday life that an average girl dream of.
 
I always believed that only good things happen to good people and so I tried to remain good and I believe that I succeeded in my efforts.
I have never intentionally hurt anyone, if I dont like someone I just keep a good distance from them and never pray bad or bitch about them.
 
I never had any boyfriend or even a thought of having one because I knew and believed that I will get true love from marriage and that had to be an arranged one as per my family tradition.
 
So i religiously preserved all my love for my future husband and waited for him to come in my life when it was destined.
 
As I was in a close knit family I always wanted to have all the relations in my in-laws. (ie. parents-in-law, sister-in law etc.)
 
Now I am in such a family for last seven years where there are all the relations that I  wanted but I don’t feel connected to anyone.
I love my husband and he loves me too….but it seems there is something lacking.
 
Our likes and dislikes are different, our tastes are different, our perspectives are different.
My in laws are too traditional and follow the rules too rigidly and sometimes stupidly. It seems they are doing something because it has to be done and not necessarily needed to be done.
 
They do Pooja (worship) like maniacs, when there are guest I dont get to talk to them because I am in the kitchen all the time.
I cant wear what I want…even wearing a Nighty is considered indecent by them. I cant have a friend circle of my own…I cant go out alone…at least not for my personal indulgence.
 
I dont get to watch TV as my FIL keeps the remote all the time and all he watches in news.
 
I don’t know if I am making any sense or not but the fact is that the family and nature of people I grew up with and the family and people that I am with now are so different that I am not being able to be at peace in my own home.
 
My husband is the only male child of his parents and thus it becomes my compulsion to take care of them. They are not independent enough in attitude that they could live on their own. And when I think of leaving them alone and live separately with my husband it give me a guilt felling as I feel it would be the worst thing to do to your parents.
 
But staying with them, following their style of living, taking care of their likes and dislike, accepting the restrictions on my freedom to do things my way is now driving me crazy. I have lost my confidence completely…I am ruining my physical appearance as I have no interest in taking care of myself and looking good.
 
 I sometimes feel that I am falling into depression as I am loosing interest in everything that I liked…I have no friends…I avoid inviting people at home.
 
My husband hears me and agrees with the unjust behavior and expectations of his parents but I doubt if he actually understands my dilemma. I don’t want to hurt them and cant even please them. Don’t want to leave them alone and cant even live with them. Its like either they can have a life they want or I can have the life I want….both cant happen together.
 
My husband says that I should not bother too much about the likes and dislikes of my in-laws and should follow my aspirations. But I feel caught as all the household responsibilities from kitchen to market, from to kid to guests and everything small or big related to the house is done by me with occasional and minimal help from others.
 
I feel completely caught up and tangled..with no hope and no true happiness.
 
Sorry for all this blabbering but I still had so much to say.

– An Indian Bahu

 
 
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‘His family seems a bit traditional type.I googled “how to behave with in laws after marriage in India.’

“I seem to have a lot of similarities with the villainous daughters in law of India’s favourite serials.”

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

“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.”

“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

“I have to seek permission for visiting parents. My phone bill has to be reasonable. My expenses nominal. And my desires non-existent.”

An email: The last straw was her expecting me to practise 4 day period sit-out thingy.

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

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

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

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

Eleven questions the family elders ask women in unhappy marriages.

The Modern Sari: Some Facts and a Question.

Can’t end marriage over sari 😉

The way a woman dresses…

It is easy to walk out and wish for a nucleated system, for petty squabbles like this.

No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

To an Anonymous DIL

An email: “We dont want our sons to suffer because there will saas bahu drama in the house do we?”

An acquaintance was upset because, she said, her friend’s mother in law was ‘harassing her’. She described the situation in detail. The daughter in law seemed to be going through a difficult time, and it seemed that it was only going to get worse.
IHM: She could tell her, very politely ofcourse, to stop interfering?
The acquaintance: That would be disrespectful!!
IHM: But this would continue if she doesn’t.
The acquaintance: She can’t be rude to her mother in law – saying something to the mother in law is totally unacceptable in their family!!
IHM: But then how is she to deal with this? Spend days and nights plotting counter attacks in the same indirect ways, like in saas bahu serials!!?
The acquaintance: Her husband respects her because she is never rude to his mother. She has his support, she will have to show courage and fortitude.
IHM: She has his support? Is he going to talk to his mother then?
The acquaintance: He can’t discuss such matters, or talk back to his mother!
IHM: But you said that he does see that the wife is being harassed?
The acquaintance: Yes. He understands. She has earned his love and respect with her forbearance.
IHM: So she can’t talk to the mother in law because the husband would not allow that? And the husband also can’t talk to his mother?
The acquaintance He can’t get into women’s squabbles.
IHM: What if she decides not to ask for his help, and deals with the matter in her own way?
The acquaintance : That’s unthinkable!! He would not tolerate that.
That’s how Patriarchy works. 
I remembered the conversation when I read the email below. How can their be harmony, when those who supposed to create harmony are not permitted to choose who to harmonise with and how? 
How would you respond to this email?
 
Sorry I don’t know much about you or your website. Just know that it is a sort of advice center were some sensible people give solutions to Indian type problems.
I don’t have a problem just wanted to say I am getting married soon. To the person I love for the last 4 years. (I am 23) but I can see that my future mother in law will be hell with her attitude and other nonsense as well my sasurals constant nonsense but I don’t care about that since my would be husband is a very loving man and will get our own place soon after marriage in a few months.
All I wanted to see that we all ladies are going to be future mother in laws soon. (Well maybe in 30/40 years time)
Are we going to treat aur daughter in laws the same way that most MIls torture their DILs? I hope not…
We dont want them to be treated the way we have or will be treated…right?
We dont want our sons to suffer becuase there will saas bahu drama in the house do we?
I dont want them to be my bhuddape ka sahahary as I very well can support myself in coming 50 years. I will respect each and every decision of the future couple.
I will want to respect my dil and she will respect me back and I hope we will having a loving relationship.
I just want the opinions of your advisors to see how the the future generations of mother in laws will be like.
Can we expect a better future ahead with no constant bricking in each household?
A_K
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