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

Sharing an email.

Hi there,
I can’t believe I am writing to you but I guess when you think the only way out it to kill yourself then you must make sure that you have checked all avenues before blaming yourself to be source of all pain (and therefore concluding that eliminating yourself is the only solution).

I am a female, 31 and (for my sins) single. I have been living in UK for 11 years. I studied in UK and now have a good job, circle of friends, my own flat and I am about to start studying for a second masters degree this year. My family lives in India (in one of the two big metro cities). I have not taken a single penny from my family since I have left India, in fact I have helped them when they needed it. We are three sisters and a brother ( I am the eldest).

My parents have made my life miserable for the last 6-7 years about getting married. My parents want me to marry a Brahmin Indian guy selected by them in an arrange marriage fashion (their source for guys is the TOI and HT matrimonial sections). I don’t believe in arrange marriage.

I was in an on and off relationship with a British Asian guy for 4.5 years. We broke up when I was 29 because of his commitment phobia (he is 37 now).  I partly blame them for my only ever relationship not working out. Even while I was with him, they kept asking me to meet the people they were selecting because my ex was one caste lower and therefore not acceptable to them. I wanted to please them (was too scared to let them down because they have taught us that if one upsets ones parents then one leads a horrible life and gets sent to hell by God) , was weak and was not feeling secure in my own relationship either, so I kept meeting other men they were suggesting on the side. I didn’t remotely like single one of them.

Parents have visited me once in UK (my sisters have been here a couple of times) but that makes them qualified (they think) to choose a suitable guy for me.  I, who has resided here for 11 years and made all the adult life decisions alone, am not qualified to choose my own life partner.

I thought if I tell them that I will no longer meet guys they are suggesting, then all this will stop. So I did that a year ago. But they did not listen. Recently they still insisted that I speak with another guy. I spoke with him reluctantly on the phone. As expected he was not my type, so I refused to see him. My mother has not spoken to me since because I did not meet the guy and said no after a phone conversation.

The emotional blackmail is relentless: younger sisters not getting married because of me, dad’s age (he believes he is very old at 65 and can die any moment), I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arrange marriage, I am the cause of everyone’s illness, I am selfish, I don’t care about anyone as I am use to being on my own and living an independent life, how can I be happy if I am not married,  “ladki haath se nikal gayi” when you left India, I trusted you but you betrayed us, you are ungrateful for everything we have done for you, people are talking all kinds of crap about you….the list of what I am apparently doing wrong by not having an arrange marriage is endless.

Dad today also said that I should give up everything in UK and come back to India. I asked him why do you want that and he said “So that we can marry you and show the world that you married a guys of our choice. There is nothing wrong with that, is there?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! It was as if a devil had taken over my dad! This has been the last straw for me.

I am tired of this now. I cannot think of a way out of this. I feel alone as I am ashamed to confide in people in the UK that my parents are forcing me to get married. I think that if I die then all this will die with me and they will not be upset anymore. Help me please. Is there anything I can do to change this.

Thanks.

Related Posts:

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

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

Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

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

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.

Are these the eight reasons you would give in support of Arranged Marriages?

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

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

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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

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

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A comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married.

I believe “working for someone I love more worthy than working for a stranger” (your boss in your office).

Another comment from ‘Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?’ in response to Mr GV’s comment. My response in red.

How would you respond to this comment?

Comment: Sir, first let me assure you, that you won’t get a ‘thumbs down ratings’, as views expressed here by ‘some’ women are not universal, they account to a very fewer section of society. Being a woman myself, I do feel for my rights, but at the same time I also do know my duties and so I don’t hold these views as held by some of the women here !

IHM: Getting Married and Staying Married is not a duty. Seeing it as a duty is what makes Indian parents and women agree to give dowry and stay in abusive marriages.

Not getting married unless one wants to get married and to the person one is marrying, is a duty mainly to the person one is marrying.

Being self reliant is a duty to oneself.

Comment: //Mr GV – But it is optional, isn’t it? Where is the legal compulsion to marry? The compulsions you and other readers are referring to are social compulsions and these can be resisted by those who are convinced that marriage is not for them. Every reader of this blog, I believe is sufficiently educated and empowered to resist any social or family compulsion to marry. By all means, stay unmarried, or get out of your unhappy marriages, but please do not berate this institution.//

This is one valid point, I don’t know, what stops these modern ( I say western) , well qualified, highly educated women to say no to the societal pressure of getting married. They can simply say NO.

IHM: Unfortunately, many in our society see Getting-Married and Staying-Married as a duty – which is why even though there is no legal compulsion to marry, women are pressurized to get married. 

Comment: Personally, I am 24 yet to get married, I am a post-grad and have a chosen not to pursue a career and be a homemaker after I get married (people around me are amused when I tell them about this decision, but getting up in the morning, getting ready for work and slogging for 9 hrs, coming home tired, sounds too exploitative to be true).

IHM: Often women (and men) do not have this choice. Men and women work for various reasons, the Henpecked Husband and Neeti felt women should work if they don’t bring a dowry.  

What do you think makes women work at home and outside ‘slogging 9 hours, coming home tired’?

Comment: Infact I sympathies with all my men folks who have no other option but to go out and slog for hours to make money. I don’t see any delight in this new empowering tool women have embraced.

IHM: Men should be able to have a say in whether or not they wish to be the sole earners in the family, many men might choose to be full time dads and homemakers.

Comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married.

IHM: This is a common situation for many Indian women…

I think everybody owes it to themselves to be able to support themselves – and marry only because they want to live with the person they are marrying.

Comment: But since I believe “working for someone I love more worthy than working for a stranger” (your boss in your office). And so I will get married.

 IHM: One problem here could be that housework is not really acknowledged as work, many homemakers struggle to prove they are needed. Do read the related posts below.

Comment: But what reason do these women who are opposing marriage but still getting married have ? Does it not sound more of hypocrisy ?

IHM: If one is not able to fight back against a wrong, or is not a victim, does not mean they should not acknowledge the wrong. The first step to any change is to acknowledge that there is a problem.

One benefit of such discussions is that women realise that they are not alone to notice the double standards and unfairness.

Also, today more and more women are able to choose to marry or not to marry.

Comment: Accepting something you don’t believe in only shows how weak one is !

IHM: If one is weak one needs strength. Strength and support can be found through learning that one is not alone.

Related Posts:

The traditional arrangement is equal in distributing the responsibilities?

Were Indian Women Better Off As Homemakers?

People tend to put down home-makers or view them in a rather poor light. The way the elite view the proletariat.

How much are you needed? – starsinmeyes

The ‘home maker’ stereotype – Sangitha

Never! I don’t want his money! – Preethi  (Women’s Web)

Of Housewives, Beggars and Prostitutes.