Fight the fight that is worth it

Edited to add a photo at the bottom of the post

The OA doesn’t usually bother to argue with me. It’s either below his dignity or he’d much rather be doing something else. But a few days ago he caught me giving someone unsolicited advice and was most vehement in his disagreement.

I was telling my cousin, who is dating a girl whose parents are against their relationship, that this kind of relationship is not worth pursuing. No doubt it broke his heart, but I love him too much to not warn him of the heart ache and sorrow he is setting himself up for.

‘What?’ the OA exclaimed. You think it wasn’t worth it to marry me? I sighed. There is no easy way to say this to the person you love but sometimes you are too weary to prevaricate or pacify.

You are worth it, I tell him… worth every tear, every sleepless night. And yet, did I need to suffer so much for love? Must I pay for my love with being dragged through the streets in the dust? Did I have to go through that torment, the abuse, the heartache, the insecurity, the rejection, the pain, the self doubt, the humiliation? As a man who loved me – did he think it necessary for me to go through all that to prove my love for him?

It’s not easy to be the one whose parents are objecting  – you have to deal with your own feelings of being torn. But there is some value to it because they’re your own parents. For every harsh thing they say, you have a lifetime of their love and memories to fall back on and forgive.

For the other – its a bit of a slap in the face. There you are, tripping down life’s path, whistling merrily. You meet someone, the heart does a flip, you fall in love, you go home to your family’s welcoming arms and take home said person to be welcomed with much fanfare. And then when your turn comes you are treated with such extreme disgust and disdain that you can’t handle it. Aren’t you lovable? And bright? And isn’t your nose tiptilted just the cutest way possible? Was mamma wrong after all to bring you up feeling so secure and loved and worthy of love?

It’s been 32 years since my parents eloped. Literally. My father came to marry my mother, in only the clothes he wore. When he reached my mom’s house he had to wear my grandfather’s lungi and wait for his clothes to be washed and dried and returned to him and then new clothes were purchased for him. Really. And since it was all really sudden, the magistrate was accosted on his morning walk to sign the papers, an family friend’s house was commandeered for the reception and my mom wore a simple bengali laal paad saree. I look at the pictures and as I look at my young parents smile briliantly out of the sepia toned picture, I feel tears rush to my eyes. Not just because it’s an beautiful moment, but because a 24 year old boy and a 20 year old girl shouldn’t have to go through what they did to do this.

The adrenaline rush shouldn’t come partly from the feeling of sheer relief, that you finally have the one you love. It should be pure, unadulterated joy. Period.  Untouched by any other emotion.

I look at pictures of my own wedding and I see myself frowning in almost every second picture. Because my mind was not on the ceremony or the fanfare. I was terrified. Shitting-bricks-terrified that the OA’s parents would come with either police or goons or just themselves to take back their errant 27 year old by force or simply embarass us with a scene.

I wish it were different. I wish I could smile dewily out of a picture and be the blushing bride. But I wasn’t. I was shit-scared-bride. The one who broke out in a nervous rash days before the wedding because she was so scared of something else going wrong, of her engagement being broken.

It’s been 31 years for my mother and 6 for me and we’re still fighting perceptions that our inlaws have. Still doing the regressive saas bahu dramas that keep TRPs high – except that this is really our life. We’re still hoping that our children will be loved and accepted and treated right by their father’s families. The hope is fast fading. More so for my mother who is now a grandmother and still not given the respect she deserves as the eldest daughter in law of a family.

And frankly, I am sick of this shit. There is really no glory in fighting anybody’s family anymore. You don’t want me to marry your damn son – take him home and tie him to your apron strings. There are enough men out there, still queuing up to have me, mother though I might be. There are enough men out there who will bend backwards to have my mom in their life, graciously ageing as she is, brilliant businesswoman and someone whose warmth floods the room as she enters.

But this isn’t about us wanting out really. It’s just a realisation that it’s high time we stopped fighting these silly caste, creed and religion battles. Six years ago I fought to marry the man I wanted. I put up with ill treatment. I bowed, I was submissive, I was meek and then I snapped.

Today as my cousin extends himself and bends his youthful self backwards to accomodate a girl whose family is against him, I seethe. It makes me so mad to see an intelligent young man, who is gentle, kind, goodnatured and lovable, being rejected. Being made to feel less of a person. Being told he is not good enough.

I’ll support you, I said, but I’d do it with a heavy heart. Because I want my cousin to be appreciated by whichever family he becomes a part of. For all his wonderful qualities, for his quick wit, his ready smile and his helpful ways.

I hate that he has to sneak around, that he has to lie, that he has to do anything that goes against his nature because we were not brought up to be deceitful or to hide love.

If even 30 years after my parents eloped, people younger than them are still holding on to regressive notions, I wish them and their sons and daughters luck and I grab hold of my loved ones and draw them away from such negative people. WE deserve to be married and related to better families. That is all there is to it. We deserve a much better life than to have dementors sucking the joy out of our homes.

Our times are different. Our struggles so many more. Nuclear families, long distance relationships, money issues, lifestyle related health problems, ambitious careers that tear us apart and office environments that make it easy to stray. Do we really want to add toxic in-laws to this pot pourri? Do we need them?

At the very moment that you are called upon to make a choice, you can’t imagine life without that person. Your heart breaks and you are willing to convert, to compromise, to accept, to bow, to hide, to lie, to bend, to lose yourself – just to be with that special person.

But it’s not the end. You don’t have to lose yourself to love another. If he or she cannot cut off their toxic family like a limb ridden with gangrene and move on, don’t get into it at all. You haven’t missed the bus. Another will be along soon enough. If you don’t the poison will spread and soon destroy the entire body.

I was watching Love Aaj Kal (God, Deepika is lovely but its hard to move past the lack of expressions!) and as usual sniffling by the end of it. A young couple torn apart not by warring, feuding families but by choices and circumstances. Similar to Jab We Met or even Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Even the damn film industry is sick of feuding families. Laila and Majnu, Romeo and Juliet – they’re good for entertainment value. In our own lives, as we forge our own paths, either wait and get into an arranged marriage or have the sense to pick a partner whose family doesn’t store their brains and heart at the bottom of a scum filled pond.

No doubt, half our country still lives and functions by caste, creed and religion, but today I choose to opt out of it. To stop caring. To stop wasting my love, my time and my energy on those who don’t deserve it. Who don’t deserve a minute of my time, my children’s time or my brother’s time.

Those who want us will come and get us and if not, there is a world out there that loves, wants and needs us – and if not – we’re still here for each other. A tight knit family, the warmth of which carries us through dark days. 

——————–

My dear little baby brother…

You’re a wonderful person. And any family that doesn’t see that and allows their backwardness, their uneducated ways and their prejudices to colour their vision of you, doesn’t deserve you. They deserve what they are asking for  – a man who treats them like shit because they’re the girl’s people, demands dowry and kicks them in the face when they walk in the door (Well why not?! Apparently the Supreme Court has ruled that kicking a daughter in law is not cruelty so I’m guessing this should be okay too! I need to move out of this country.). Seriously. Move on. Your heart will break and I know it will and all I can offer is to pick up the pieces and help you put your life back together. I’m the last person to dismiss young love. But I am the first to tell you that fighting awful inlaws is JUST NOT WORTH IT.

It’s erosive; it eats into your life, into your happiness, into your Kodak moments and makes everything shine just that teeny little bit less.

I love you so much that I will not stand by and watch you ache,

Your youngest mamma…

Phew!! Breathe MM, breathe… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…

127

Yes, that is a picture of the young man, sitting in my lap, sandwiched behind the other little baby cousin.

PS: This post is dedicated to someone who knows I am talking to her. Move on, babe. Neither he nor his family is worth it. You’ve made the best decision of your life, even if it was made for you. Turn your face to the sun, to hope, to light and to more happiness than you’ve ever known. I see it coming. Will you trust me on this one?

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180 thoughts on “Fight the fight that is worth it

  1. hugs to you MM.

    i am sure this was not an easy post for you to write. It is indeed sad that even in this day and age two people who love each other need to have the same religion and caste rather than same values in life.

    recently a friend married her boyfriend of 7 years without having her father by her side. they tried convincing him in every way possible, but he would rather consider his daughter dead than face the “shame” in the society… its heartbreaking.

    I now know how difficult it must have been for M to accept that he is not completely accepted (though nothing of not wanting us to marry level. just a bit of obvious discomfort and unhappiness from my parents part)

    but then rest of family gave him the unconditional acceptance and my parents came around really soon. today they both love each other lots, but i cant imagine it if things were otherwise…

    i hope your cousin makes the right decision and finds happiness in whatever she does!

    hugs yet again…

  2. I too am being made to feel feel less of a person. It is being suggested that I am not good enough, I somehow never happen to be good enough. And none of it is coming from my in-laws, who are really far away, in most ways.

    Today is a bad day for me. And to read what you have just said… this world has so much pain, one way or the other. How much can one fight? And how much can one bend?

    I am crying inside and outside. i just want strength from God, and i want the energy to be able to get along in life. Just basic minimum would do. I just want to lead a life in which I can draw from my own stamina, physical, mental and emotional.

    Me: oh 😦 you poor baby. I hate to see you upset. you made the most beautiful bride ever and now I hate to see you cry. You wanna talk? I’ll call you when you’re free.

  3. so Im not the only one crying at the end of Love Aaj Kal (no more long distance love!! sniffle..sniffle)
    Bus M Maa tussee great ho really life is difficult as it is one shouldnt complicate it further as I keep on saying. Sad fact but really we are all battle weary.

  4. sometimes the non-acceptance is so subtle, that the outside world has no clue what is happening. the poor boy or girl is left to fight their own demons and the other halfs wonder what the hell is wrong.
    i guess most of the parents even now finds it really difficult to accept that their son/daughter has chosen someone on their own. this is especially so from the boy’s side of the family.

    • Yes, absolutely.

      Sometimes, it’s just very subtle disrespect and a very subtle but persistent undermining of the partner by the parents when she is not around.

      I say “she” because post-marriage, I have seen such hostile behavior coming more from the man’s parents than the woman’s.

      In a few years’ time, the spouse begins to silently think that maybe his parents were right after all.

      “Maybe, I’ve made a mistake,” he asks himself silently.

      Even if he is strong enough to stand by his wife despite listening to/witnessing endless criticism from his parents, the marital relationship loses its warmth and begins to fray slowly.

  5. This really made me run to the washroom and cry my heavy heart out. Its been a long time since I’ve let the tears flow. Reading this just opened the floodgates. I just wanted someone to tell me its okay to let go, even if it was the love of my life. Even if feels like the worst decision made. Even if, I wanted to give all up and make it work. I just wanted someone to tell me, that I will make it. Someday.

    I cannot thankyou enough. This post is closest to my broken heart.

    Me: I did speak to you soon after.. and I do know its still hurting. I wish I had some other way to prove this to you but a better man WILL come along. You just HAVE to let him in to your heart. Thats is the hardst part

  6. I hear ya MM. Hugs to you and I know what it feels like…not enjoying the wedding and everything else after that 100% because of the in-laws. Surprisingly, mine was an arranged marriage.

    MM, it’s not really always about caste, religion and socio-economic strata. Hubby and I are very much ‘matched’ with regard to all…but my in-laws sensed right at the beginning that he was as good as marying a ‘foreigner’.

    Every line of your post resonated with me. Toxic is not the word. Abusive isn’t either, though they never laid a finger on anyone of us. A much milder word…unkind.

    Eleven years of bullshit, rejection, casting us out, a total lack of support, cheating my hubby and kids out of ther rights, talking crap about us to our faces and behind our backs, and SH is just begining to realise we need to get them out of our lives.

    We’re happier for it.

    Good luck to your cousin and whomever you dedicated this post to.

    And this para of yours is really frigtheningly true…”You don’t have to lose yourself to love another. If he or she cannot cut off their toxic family like a limb ridden with gangrene and move on, don’t get into it at all. You haven’t missed the bus. Another will be along soon enough. If you don’t the poison will spread and soon destroy the entire body.”

    Me: I’m so sorry to hear this 😦 Doesnt it seem like the world moved on and some people got left behind – still dividing on the basis of barriers they created? btw – i have been meaning to tell you – your name is what my mom wanted to name me! but my dad just couldn’t get it right. So we’re bound in many ways…!

  7. Do you know that my mom has threatened to disown me if I marry the guy I’m currently dating? She actually told me that she would have to leave everything behind and move places if I were to marry this guy cos’ people are going to talk.

    And while I do understand the school of thought my mom belongs to, I don’t understand why its such a big issue if the guy is an intelligent, sweet, loving and respectful fellow. I tried to reason with my mom about it but she won’t listen. Once I locked myself in my room and cried for hours. Because everytime I got into a discussion about this with my mom, it would turn into this ugly fight.

    At the end of the day all I am left with is questions. And more questions. No answers. And I still don’t know what to do. I think I’ve been fighitng so much that it is sucking all the energy out of me.

    Me: 😦 I have nothing to offer but a hug. Its not easy to be on your side of the coin either…

  8. Oh wow…this is so ironic! I had a friend who asked me for advice regarding the same topic you have written about and I asked her to read your blog….and told her everything will be ok if she loves that person. This post mustn’t have been easy for you. My friend had to go through initial hiccups but things got easier once her baby came along. All the best to your brother!

  9. I think I want to draw a small distinction here..if the guy or girl (I guess more often the guy) is willing to back the unwelcomed partner full and full (like the OA), then its totally worth putting up with shit, if eventually you can be sure of getting more happiness and love than the shit.

    Where it is extremely tragic is when at the point of the wedding the guy or girl swears undying love and post happily ever after, when reality kicks in, he/she is unable to stand up to parental pressure and gets sucked into “the balancing act”,translating into total horror for the girl.
    This has happened to my best friend and I tried telling her to lay off the guy…he didnt seem trust worthy enough. And sure enough post the wedding he felt the need to keep his nasty parents also happy. At the wedding, they were nasty even to me, a rank outsider. They still remain married but I really don’t know what happiness they are getting out of it.

    I feel that’s where you draw the line..not (from what I’ve read) in your case.

    And though I was the “accepted” daughter in law, my in laws did some really horrible stuff to us on the day of my wedding and I cried my heart out in the car on the way to the reception and had to reapply my make up on the way. That was the day I decided I was not going to compromise on anything in life with respect to them and I live on my own terms, refusing to do anything that I don’t believe in and my husband back me.

    Thing is where do you say its worth the trouble and how much shit is too much shit?

    Me: true – that is your own line to draw, na? To me – if anyone asks me today – instead of giving myself as a shining example of love prevailing over all, i tell them to dump the person and move on. you can love again if you let yourself. but you can never go back to the stage of innocence you were at. you just become a more bitter person and a more suspicious person and that is the worst thing you can ever say about yourself.

    i tell you, its not easy to watch your children being rejected for your choices.

  10. Oh Oh Oh!!! I need to breathe too.. Long and hard. ‘Coz you just seem to have narrated my own story here, with some differences of course. But it brought back sour memories and salty tears. Why, why do silly things come in between people, the way they see each other? Why are there only certain criteria to think good about someone? Why can’t we just chuck everything and be happy? Only if some things had happened differently, only if some people had more patience and love. Only if there were some happy memories.
    Don’t say the person isn’t worth the effort and love MM. They are. The one you love will always be worth your love. But the other relations tied to them, which reject you are not worth. But then again, if things were all so simple, wouldn’t everybody’s lives be as soft as flower-beds?

    Me: 😦 they are yaar. people who love you are worth your love. but the bitterness and the way it changes the person you are for life, is not worth it. i’d be a nicer person today if i hadnt had to fight fight fight and become so guarded. its not worth what it does to your personality and your ability to love, trust and accept

  11. My folks knew I was dating the brat two years ago. Now, his name hasn’t been mentioned to them over two years.
    I wish I could honestly say I don’t give a flying fuck. But, before I marry, I’ll tell them. Not ask their permission, but tell them.

    Me: sensible child.

  12. This post hits very close home, MM. I faced the same situation with my ex – my folks were thrilled, his folks frowned big time. And sense prevailed and we decided not to go ahead. And a couple of years later here I am, met the love of my life who my family loves and whose family loves me and we got married earlier this year. And when I see how wonderfully warm and accepting they are (and how incredibly stressful things can be at a wedding even though all parties are on board :P), I wonder why I wanted it any other way. That lack of respect you face and the pleading and the tears…all that seems so…ridiculous. So when my best friend was in a similar situation last year I found myself telling her pretty much the same things you did in this post, and that the negativeness, the toxicity is simply not worth it when you will find a family that will welcome you with open arms in the long run.

    Funny how this is all in hindsight, though. When we’re madly in love, such logic very rarely appeals to us 🙂

    Me: wow – you’re one of those smarter women the rest of us need to look to for better sense. God bless 🙂

  13. life is complicated as is, all we can do is make choices that even though will break the heart for a moment or maybe little longer, but make things in life less complicated in a long run.

    There was a time I thought someone was THE BEST person for me and if not that one, then no one could be, for me. But the realization came early on that I wont be accepted well by the family for some small sick reasons. So holding my heart firmly i made a choice, a tough one at that time but today I can smile and say that those are sad, emotional, weak moments and are momentary. Life does have better things in store. The man i am with today, I couldn’t have been more comfortable and carefree and guess what, its me who is loved more than him by his family :), they make me feel like this. Life is stress free at least on that front.

    I think it is equally or maybe more difficult for the person who, for no fault of his had to part ways, just because his family was objecting.. Maybe he even thought that i lacked the determination to stand strong and fight the battle but I couldn’t foresee much happiness amidst such fighting. I am hopeful, he is happy about that choice too, today.

    all the best to you cousin!

    MM, your writing has a beauty and strength that I dearly look forward to reading.

    I am sure your mom is happy and so are you(even after having married to someone without their family’s total acceptance), but do we really deserve to pay the price so painful is the question.. What you said and the way you said it, makes so much sense… It worked for me few years back.. and I am so glad!!! 🙂

    i didn’t realize but this ended up being a long comment. hope you do not mind.

  14. Its almost like I was talking to myself when I read this post!!

    My husband’s family have found fault with everything that I do or I am.. My physical appearance, my mother-tongue, my attitude, my talents etc… I sacrificed so much and through all I kept telling myself that I could not let the love of my life; of 12 years to go because I was full of pride..

    But in retrospect, NO ONE and I mean no one, including the love of my life should have ever spoken to me in that derogatory manner, insulted my parents and sister, accused me of some disgusting things.. Now, though I give as good as I get, I cannot help feeling embarrassed for being THAT weak woman, who gave up a lot, just for a man…

    Thank you for writing this post.. It felt good, knowing that someone had been there and done that, like me 🙂

  15. Is it the same story in every marriage – mutual choice or arranged? Seems like it is, after reading your post and the numerous comments! Atleast am not alone…

    My case was slightly different though, my in-laws were not too keen on the wedding to start with but once they decided that it was going to happen they accepted me with open arms and hearts…Though our relationship has ups and downs (like any other) they have accepted me with all my craziness..

    But the entire marriage process and 5 days post it was the most stressful period of my life. I was subjected to taunts, jibes,insults and rude comments by some people who were not even a part of the family. The reason of this behaviour was a reason which makes me laugh now. But those days were so painful and even today when I remember it it hurts me, the remarks and insults creep back and am so helpless against my own memories….Those five days which were supposed to be the beginning of my married life I spent crying my heart out every damned night! And I was taken aback by the hostility that I never fought back. But that one incident made me realise that never again will I take humiliation and insult lying down. Never will I compromise on my self respect.

    Your post touched a cord, it’s just that sometimes it is difficult to react…because till what level should you be silent to maintain harmony! It is a difficult decision 🙂

    I wish your cousin all the luck.

  16. what you said about being a changed person beacuse of all the bitterness is so true. sometimes i wonder if the person that i’ve become was worth it. and the answer is frightening even though we are happy with our kids.
    the worst part is when the kids are used to get back at or look down upon you.
    you have opened up a lot of bottled up emotions.

  17. You know MM? You’re inspirational.

    If someone asks me who I want to be when I grow up, can I say you?
    (Nevermind that I should’ve grown up a decade ago :D)

    Me: I am not sweetheart. I’ve made a bunch of mistakes that I fortunately shamelessly blog about and hope that others will learn from. When you grow up (!) please do the opposite of all I’ve done.

  18. I think it all goes back to the title of your post- the answer is within you after all. It really depends on the person who is involved in it and who takes the decision whether that particular battle is worth it.
    The way you hav described what love does to you- you are bang on as usual. One loses innocence, becomes more guarded, reads into hidden meanings and forever lives in fear of censure.. if u cross your legs and sit u r mannerless, if u raise a point, u are arguing, if u wish that your place is kept cleaner, you are nitpicking- even normal conversation becomes a chore.
    coming to the point of the post- life does not ocme with a guarantee certificate- u might empirically decide on a very good person based on the good family but no guarantee on whether the faily is going to be nice to you later. known evil is better naa!!
    Somewhere I read- think everytime u want to get into an issue- will it matter 5 years from now/ I was reflecting on it a few days and really I am glad of the few battles I fought and I am extremely ashamed of most of the battles I fought. Lifeis a ruthless teacher. The moment you start thinking that this is the max trouble you can bear, it draws a bigger line for you and without even touching the previous line, makes it seem shorter and insignificant.
    Just my thoughts. Your cousin has to decide by himself. dont discourage him help him sort his thoughts out rather than giving a verdict

  19. How I wish you were wrong, MM, but you aren’t. It’s not nice to feel rejected, and I still haven’t been able to come to terms with that. Why? I’m such a failure, such a failure not to have been able to accept their rejection.

  20. A deep soul baring post. Common friends of ours got married against the wishes of the boy’s parents and 4 years later, they filed for divorce. Same thing, her parents were supportive, his parents were toxic. She remarried almost immediately and has two children now and is happy. Wish she’d had the sense to do it first.

    But in their case, he was to blame too, after leaving his parents, he threw it in his face every available opportunity that I left my parents for you, now what? It was as if he didn’t have to put any more effort into the marriage anymore.

    I wonder what his parents felt (they’ve patched up with him and gotten an arranged marriage for him now) after he got divorced. Was it “I told you so?” If it was, shame on them.

  21. What can I say? Except been there, done that. I never celebrate my anniv because it only has bad memories attached to it. Its been 7 years and far from over. In this case its my dad who still cant can’t come to terms with my marriage.I think about it every night and feel miserable, rejected and helpless. But as I grow older and see more life, I realize that every person has a battle to fight. Life is not perfect for anyone. And then I think I’m far better off. I’d rather fight with my dad than my spouse for the rest of my life.
    Enough said *draws long breaths*

  22. Whoa! Cathartic. I’m sure parts of tthis post has resonated with just about every woman who’s read it. It’s something about in laws- a sort of sinister power that they exude. And in the begining u don’t have the heart to fight- u give in, bend believe deep inside that things will change..soon u r so bitter, that even if things were working out, u are no
    More in a mood to be good. It’s such a blessing to be in another country. But u know it’s such a tough thing to let go of your love…but then I like what u wrote- if u let yourself you will be loved again. U made a thousand women cry today mm. :))

  23. Woah! Great post! On a lighter note, we’re giving away one of the kurtas that Deepika wore in the film, through an on-air contest. I got a look at the thing, and it won’t even fit my stick thin little sister. How thin can a human being be??!!

    Me: I WANT!!!!!!!!! Can I bribe you mister RJ?

  24. It’s easier when you’re in a loving family who accepts you for who you are.
    I belong to a family where my mum and dad are only together for convenience. They hate each other and don’t bother hiding it. I’ve had an abusive childhood, where my father would beat up my mother and me and my sis.

    The family (not just mum and dad, the rest of the khandaan as well) has been trying to force me to get married for years now. I’ll be 28 on the 20th of this month. I can expect no support from my own family when it comes to ANYthing, forget relationships! My boyfriend’s parents are against him getting married to me. This is my 2nd serious relationship. The first time i fell in love, with a christian, he ended up asking me to change religions, besides other things.

    This time round, his folks simply won’t have me. they’ve not even met me, but they are against any girl from the south of kerala (they’re from the north!). Pretty stupid huh?! What I’m worried abt is… they’re against me now for this… if they come to know of my family… they’ll just have more ammo against me.
    I’ve been fighting against everything all my life, and i’m tired. I’m tired of fighting my family for the freedom that i deserve. Tired of being considered the black sheep ONLY cos i’m not married. Tired of fighting for love. I wonder what the purpose of my life is… what I’m meant to learn from it.

    Anyway.. would appreciate it if you don’t post this comment. I just wanted you to know… things are just not the same for everyone. Some decisions are easier for some people, difficult though they may be.

    Me: I’m sorry babe.. sorry for that last line. and this is what i mean. why should you be so tired? and why should they make you doubt your purpose in life? i’m very sorry you feel this way and i hope you dont mind but i removed your name and published it

  25. Look, i have a slightly different thing to say. The person you love may or may not be from the same cultural background. Even if they are from the same cultural background, you may face toxic inlaws because they are generally possessive about their child and generally resentful of you. Hell, even friends of spouse give you the impression that you hve “stolen our friend” – so where that negative input comes from is random.

    Marrying in the same culture is not an insurance against toxic in laws. Also, sweetie pie at the wedding is no guarantee that they will not change later on.

    The one thing I would advise is, Will this person walk into the sunset with you? leaving everything behind? If the answer is Y, then the second question has to be asked to yourself – will YOU walk into the sunset with them, leaving everything behind.. will you make the kind of changes it takes to live with someone from another cultural background.. it takes a lot to get past the everyday differences – you can’t eat your own food, your own special celebrations that you’ve had all your life.. nothing. zilch. Can you do that?

    If you can’t, its much more sensible to let the love remain in your heart.. and only there. My advice to everyone in relationship matters is this:
    Love should be purely from the heart. Marriage should be purely from the head. Because in marriage, initially, love sustains everything else. In a while, everything else sustains love.. dont know if that made sense, but there it is.

  26. Hi 🙂

    What works for me is to bullshit everything anybody says, as long as the person i am in love with and me are in agreement and want to be together as a self contained unit.

    Bcoz love shouldnt have to pay the price for what kind of families we have… if, God forbid, the family of the guy i am in love with doesnt accept me.. I wouldnt punish either me or him by saying “lets end it”… I would just whisk him off and live by ourselves 🙂

  27. I was gently shaking my head until I came to this: “If he or she cannot cut off their toxic family like a limb ridden with gangrene and move on…” Yes. I totally agree. If the other person is not ready to dump their toxic family and start a new life with you, move on by all means. It’s not worth it. Not because the in-laws weren’t accepting enough, but because the partner isn’t strong enough.

  28. sigh… i’m gonna have to face all this soon.. n that coming from my own family isnt gonna be easy… i just dont understand y they hang on to the damned caste and make life miserable for themselves and everyone else. everything changes over nite when they realize i’m not gonna marry someone of the same caaste.

    i’m no more the fav grandchild. no more the adored cousin, no more the pride and joy of the family, (i’m no more the grandchild! forget about the fav one or the loved and adored one!)my parents are no more their daughter and sil.

    a couple of years back, we were the shining glory of the family, whom everyone depended on and loved and cared for and gave their all. but today we’re d ones who’re not worth mentioning, d ones whose pic from the family photographs are missing, d ones who dont exist anymore.

    if they’ve decided to disown their own flesh and blood, i’ve got no business expecting anything from them .. have i

    the extremes that ppl go to because of caste and religion amuses me.

  29. Why does my heart break reading this, MM?
    Coming from you makes it even more sad.
    Sadly, even the best matches have toxic elements around who do their best to corrode innocence.

  30. Geez MM, could sense your pain and disappointment in this post. I’m so sorry you have had to go through this – and by the looks of it – are still going through this. No-one deserves what you have been through – esp. that account of your wedding day???? Sheesh!

    I am going to have to disagree with your “cutting off the gangrene limb” thesis though – only because I have seen many cases in my own family, where initially there was opposition, and then they came around and woah! before you knew it – a “favourite” daughter-in-law/son-in law was in place. (yeah FAVOURITE cos my family is INTENSELY wierd like that;-)

    I do believe in giving people a chance to change, a chance to come around and reclaim their relationship (though 6 years or 32 is maybe time for giving up!)

    And I do get the OA’s reaction as well.Everyone needs to know that their love, their presence in your life is worth fighting for. If the OA has stood by your side 100%, like Gooddaysunshine said, its definitely worth abiding for, isn’t it? In the balance scale of things, you come off weighing in wwaaay more on the side of love and happiness – inspite of toxic assholes.

    With that said though, 6 years???? And if even the two kids so adorable can’t mend it, its time to move away from the toxicity!

  31. MMness
    Yet another awesome post.. I so so agree with this.. Awful inlaws are like the silver fish that eat up books.. the print and the story is still there.. yet tattered..

    Your mom’s warmth floods a room.. thats a lovely thing to say 🙂
    thats a lovely kinda mom to have:)

  32. You are absolutely right MM, but you know what else? Our society accepts the son-in-law they opposed more readily after marriage than the daughter-in-law. Basically, women get very little respect and appreciation. Prejudices, double-standards, petty politics at EVERY level!

  33. If I were as eloquent as you, this is THE post I would right. I too was once truly and completely madly in love a guy whose parents hated me before they even met me. This a guy my parents immediately adopted as son. I begged, I pleaded, I cried for 7 long years. Then one morning I woke up feeling like my heart was made of stone and dumped him. And guess what? I found a man who loves me more than I ever thought possible. More importantly, his parents accepted and loved me from the word go – language, state, cultural and age (I’m a year older) difference notwithstanding. 4 years and a beautiful baby later, like commenter 13 says, in hindsight it all seems so simple. But its excruciating when one’s going through it, and it all seems so uncertain. But I tell everyone who is in that unfortunate situation (and there are so many :() – make like the shoe company and JUST DO IT. Dump him/her and their family. You WILL find love again, and its going to be better than you ever imagined.

  34. This is one among related reasons why I’m currently on the threshold, unsure about what to do, unable to foresee the kind of problems my family will need to face, not convinced that its all worth it..
    Your post reaffirms things I’ve been wondering about these days. As you say our loved ones -parents today and children tomorrow- surely do not deserve to suffer for our choices.

  35. I know it must have taken a lot to write this post MM. So many parts resonated with me.

    There are times when I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I’d been practical and waited, rather than blind and in love…

    I guess we’ll never know…

  36. I havent experienced the pain expressed by the others who have commented. Just wanted to say that this is a beautiful post and should i meet someone who is in this situation, will definitely guide them here.
    Also loved the title, it certainly applies to the silliness i’m fighting at the moment so i’ve decided to grow up and not fight it anymore.
    Glad to hear the babies are back to normal

  37. Hi MM…I understand what you mean when you say some arguments you’re tired of even before they start. The ones that dont have a solution, the ones that remain a pain. I get the weariness. Hugs.

    I totally agree with you that getting into a relationship that means nastiness from family is not worth it at all.
    I hope you truly CAN stay with the decision of not letting their approval or acceptance be of any importance to you anymore and move on. I hope you can reclaim the full joy of your spirit and your relationship. The Kodak moments in all their entirety with no niggling dull pain.

  38. How is it that all the Mr.Studlys & Miss.Studly-equivalents have everything (wit, charm, warmth, brains, smile etc. with a cherry on top) but lack the confidence, strength, perseverence, smarts etc. to deal with such, supposedly “unexpected”, situations!!!
    “Follow the heart, use the head” type of approach.
    Aren’t there any offspring-in-law/parent-in-law (just to cover all combos) serials nowadays, where the offspring-in-law just kills with kindness and wins over everyone in the parent-in-law household???

  39. I hear ya…

    I am the bride that didn’t smile on her wedding day..because I was just too afraid that MY parents would do something to insult my now-husband…! Sometimes I think like you…it was not worth it…But since I live thousands of miles away from both sets of parents, it helps me cope with this a lot better!

  40. What a difficult situation to be in.
    It must be so painful to be in that spot. Chose the love of your life or your family.

    In Singapore, my gen of Singaporean Indians marry Chinese/Muslim/Whites and their parents happily distribute the wedding cards and everyone does talk behind thier back. But then they attend the reception and bless everyone.And these are people who moved from rural India back in 1940s. They werent educated much and didnt speak English. They came as labourers and yet they have now reached a spot in life where they are comfortable with their kid’s choices. Is it because everyone else here has done the same, so no one would care unlike India, where it is still shameful?

    I guess I should thank my inlaws and touch their feet more when I see how welcoming they are of me. Me, who didnt even speak Hindi. 🙂

    PS:I am hailed as such a filial daughter because I married someone from India. That is like the ultimate good beti, Doesnt matter caste/religion. India say shadi kiya bas bahut hai rofl

  41. I may be too young to comment on a topic such as this for I haven’t still crossed the bridge of a marriage. I must say it is admirable advice.

    I wonder if it would be any different it was the girl’s parents who were unwilling of the boy and the boys parents were always welcoming. Would that have changed the way you look at it? Would marrying someone else have guaranteed that you eliminate the element of toxicity coming from the in-laws in a marriage? If not, then would it not be better to at least have a spouse you once loved than one who you never loved?

    Me: not at all 🙂 no one is too young to have an opinion unless they’re still in diapers 😉 well i’ve seen both – disapproving girls’ side and boys’ side. sick of both! no,there is no guarantee of not getting toxicity in a marriage – but then life offers no guarantees, does it? but if you’re facing opposition from parents its because you’re from a different community/caste/religion. which by itself is something you have to learn to deal with. you may as well eliminate all those factors and live in peace. and have less issues to fight over. this just gives inlaws more ammunition. any disagreement ends in how your community itself is cheating/lying/shameless/yaada yaada.
    and over the years i have seen many happy arranged marriages…

    i guess i am not saying dont fall in love – i am saying know when you’ve lost the fight.

  42. I cried my eyes out for the same reason yesterday. And, I decided to watch love aj kal to ge my mind off of things. HOWEVER, it was no good. I cried throughout the movie. I disagree with you a little here, partly because I don’t have the selfishness to tear ‘him’ off of his family, and snatch his parents only son away. Partly cause I’m still in the process of getting accepted. It’s not working, and it hurts SO much to not get a reply of even a hello. But then I think, what if my only brother started dating someone my parents disapproved off.I obviously will be against my parents but at this time, would I want that girl to also hate my parents or try harder to get their approval. What if it was my son. Would I like to be disrespected by my son’s girlfriend no matter how much I hate her. I think those who fight the war rather than give up and elope do get what the want in the end… Sometimes. I don’t know, I’m too confused right now myself. After feeling numb the whole day I came to read this post. and I’m not sure if I want to think that way.

    Me: You’ve not understood my post. I’m sorry you are going through this. but the entire point of my post is to not bother with people or a family that is caught up in notions of wanting to pick their child’s mate. that is very 18th century. i wish i had realised it earlier.

    i also think its conditioning. We’re taught that it is selfish to want anything for ourselves. why? who are we living for? career and spouse is somethign parents should never interfere in because they dont have to live with the consequences. finally – you missed the point of my post which is DONT elope. its not worth the shit you deal with later. but i guess you’re too distraught … i wish you love and luck

  43. I disagree partly with your post. Though I understand where your thoughts stem from. You are right, sometimes we need to let go, and we have to patient till we can be happy, sunny again…

    But if we dump the partner at a mere whiff of being disapproved by his/her family, its better we don’t get into it at all. We can not have a designer love, customized to suit all our needs. If we trust the partner, and if indeed it is love, we MUST take that chance. For every love marriage with warring in-laws, I know at least two couples who after few initial awkward, also warring situations have buried their differences and are happy with each other. Actually family has come to love the person.

    As your title says fight the fight that is worth it, usually it is. But then I agree with yo this is a call one has to take himself/herself.

    Wish my best to your brother.

  44. Ohhh. I don’t know what to say.
    I think the fight is worth it. Eventually u are spending your life with the person you love….and that should help you tide over bad inlaws etc. Or maybe I am too romantic in my ideas?

    Me: you are too romantic 😉
    well its like this – it depends on how much the inlaws interfere or how much they reject your kids. thats the thing – sometimes the repercussions are longlasting.

  45. MM, I too believe that after saying NO to an unwelcoming family, you find some one who loves and respects and welcomes you with open arms. I guarantee that part too. But do you think that you can easily forget some thing that once felt so real? That if you had married a nice guy chosen by ur parents, you would not be writing a post wondering if it was worth giving up on OA just because of his parents.

    I know what toxic inlaws can do. I have seen guys getting brainwashed and couples getting divorced because of a slow poisoning about how disrespectful/mean.ungrateful their wives are.
    Fighting then does make you a bitter person. Takes away the innocence. And like you said every kodak moment has a shadow on it.
    Yet, I am not sure about what you are saying. Its a very hard thing to do but what I have seen working is to cut them off. Even if ur husband can’t. Go through the motions if he wants you to call them every week. Treat them like colleagues who you have to live with but who do not matter one bit. Always keep you head held high. No matter what they say about you, you don’t have to defend, explain or fight. Sounds very hard to do, but its the Gandhi way. The moment you retaliate, it will justify all their meanness. So fight them with your silence. Let them reject ur children. Who cares. Really, stop caring. Repeat to urself, I DO NOT CARE. THEY DO NOT MATTER. They are like trolls on a blog- laugh on them inwardly. Don’t let them disturb you.
    Love of your life is not worth giving up. Isn’t that what love aajkal is saying too? That you can snap the ties but something remains. And that’s a heartache of a different kind.
    I guess we all regret our decisions at some point. And at those times, its best to imagine how your life would have been otherwise. And though it doesn’t have this set of problems, it has some others.
    How long can be run away from them? So I say wrong advice. The guy will catch hold of u in 10 years and say, there is something missing and he thinks its Meira(or whatever the girl’s name is) and you are to blame.
    I say whatever you do at some point, you will regret it. Knowing that, do whatever feels right, right now 🙂

    Me: 🙂 you’re a wise woman. but here’s the thing. its never the end. before i met the OA i loved someone deeply. and then when that ended i met the OA. if I’d broken up with him i’m willing to bet that once I healed and moved on I’d eventually find someone who loved me and had a nice family too!

  46. ahem…well “nice family” is a very relative term. Sure, they will not insult you for being from a different caste. But they still might tell you how you are not raising ur children right because you let them have ice cream once a weak. Or that, they never had maids when they were rasing ur husband and that you should pack lunch for ur husband every morning even though you are working too …etc etc etc..the superiority race, you know. How would you know then, that there is another set of inlaws that would have been worse?
    All you would remember then is the OA.
    See you fell out of love the first time. But you are talking of cutting love short here. Very slippery slope full of possibilities of affair(or just FB flirting) with the ex 10 yrs down the line when u are sick of ur current set of inlaws.
    If you think about ur life with a guy whose biodata is the only thing u ever saw, do u think u will never think of a life with OA?

    Me: we’re defining abuse here really. and it depends on one’s ability to tolerate. what you mentioned are small instances. some of us are ashamed of putting up with much worse. things that should be reported really. why – the damn SC says its okay to kick your DIL, so where do you go now?

    and no – I dont recommend settling for a biodata match. i just feel that love will come again. it will. and never mind the reasons i broke up with the ex – the point is that it ended na? and i found love again – i am sure it would happen again. i guess at some point we all get tired of breaking up and dig our heels in and say – eff it, i am not breaking up and going through heart ache again. i’ll deal with anything they dish out. its sad that we dont imagine the depths people will fall to…

  47. oh then I am with you….
    Abuse of any form even when its mental is not okay. No one is worth that. Oh, now I see what you are saying…people who call u up in the middle of the night and threaten u will consequences if u don’t leave their son/daughter…yes they should be reported and locked and then the divine powers should be summoned to bestow them with a DIL of their choice who likes to fight that way.

    Me: yes babe 😦 those people. people who call you and abuse you and tell you to stay away from their child.

  48. Sometimes its not so much outright rejection as there is gradual chipping away at you, until you become their vision of the ideal bahu/damaad and even then its not simply good enough. Super damaging to relationships and a general sense of esteem.

    Not to treat love casually, but I comepletely agree with you on that the sense of self, the wonderful, soft heart that you lose in that battle is irreplacable. I think we are all just happy to believe in this perfect idea of soul-mates and being together against all odds, no matter what toll it takes on us.
    Maybe you will meet another guy with a loving family, maybe you won’t…but the fear shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

    To the person you dedicated this post to. Chin up…look what tremendous friends you have!

    Me: YOU HIT THE NAIL on the bleddy head! you’re right. we’re being sold true love via archies, films and books. we’re told its about walkign through hell fire, taking on the world and riding into the sunset. but no one tells you what happens after the damn credits roll.

  49. Hi MM,
    Very beautifully written post and totally agree with you. However I thought it was easier for Guys to be accepted (if the girls side was opposing). Atleast thats what has been going in my family. A cousin married a christian guy and they live in the USA, while her parents werent too happy they came around and even conducted the wedding christian style (the guy and his side wanted her to convert which she did) in church et al in Madurai no less and invited all our relatives to the wedding, so it was not a hush hush thing. They’ve visited them here etc etc. The guys side is also cool because all they really wanted was that she convert, have the wedding in church, their kids be raised christian (they have a girl now and they are raising her christian), and everyone goes to chruch on Sunday aka no more Hindu stuff. She atleast knows for sure how to keep the in laws side happy, no vague stuff. Its been a pattern in other cases as well. Ofcourse with DILs totally different game – but I just figured anyway its a DIL, there is always some amount tension there, more so in these kind of marriages.
    Guess its the same irrespective of whether its the boy/girl…
    Good luck to your cousin…

    Me: Well I havent seen you around in a looooooong time 🙂
    Haan – so that is my point. If she’s changed everything about herself – is she happy? I know I wouldnt be – to change my religion, my kids, my habits, everything. why should you have to change everything about you when you love? didnt they fall in love with you for the person you are? and how conflicted must you be to have to live with all this ? 😦

  50. I have tears streaming down my face. I hadnt logged in all day and happened to read this only now…
    I can’t thank you enough, MM. I’ve been a mess the past few days, hoping for a sign, anything at all, to let me know i am doing the right thing. I’ve heard the kind of things that i ought to have never had anyone say to me and i’ve only been feeling shattered, the last few days. Your mail and now this post – thank you. You’re a blessing and you dont begin to know how much. Hugs.

    Me: yep- this was for you sweetheart… hang in there and dont let them get you down. i want you to go out there adn live such a full life that he regrets the day he let you go, to HIS dying day. go on. prove me right. you’re too strong to let him ruin your life. i promise you. this is MY guarantee – you will get SO much better. you just dont know it yet because you’ve let their nastiness erode your own image of yourself. you’ll be so much more of a person once you get out of their negativity. i knwo what its like to lose your self esteem. and i know what its like to get it back. 🙂

  51. Looks like very few people actually had a wedding that was totally all happiness and no tension! I had a few (many?) hiccups along the way before I finally got to marry K. And yes, the “opposition” was from his side. But once my parents realized that their daughter may not be welcome with open arms, they turned skeptical too and now we had 2 sets of parents to deal with. When I see weddings now and the planning people put into it, I just wish I had more time and peace of mind to decide how mine went. It was all so hurried…as if, if we missed that window, everyone may not be in agreement ever again.

    My parents loved K from the start, and once they were convinced I would be happy, they just picked up from where they had left off. And my ILs, I have to say that once the deed was done they came into acceptance and treat me with the utmost care and respect. Well, I may never agree with my FIL on some issues, but knowing that he respects me and considers me an important part of the family makes the relationship so much more workable.

    I guess in the sea of comments, this was one happy ending. But looking back, do we ever know if it will work out? I did not know how my story would turn out. All I knew was K was with me 100%. In retrospect, I am still confused about what I would have done when I look at it from your point of view.

    Me: Key takeaway (comes from marrying an MBA type!) – find a family that respects you even if it doesnt agree with you. that is the bottomline. i think that is a fair enough line to draw if at all. so when one asks – how much do you tolerate? i say tolerate differences. not disrespect.

  52. an admirable post MM…it echoed sentiments of quite a few readers.
    this post makes me realize yet again, how blessed and lucky i am to have a wonderful set of IL’s. yes we do have our differences and conflicting opinions but there is deep respect and fondness that make the relationship tick.
    Its important to take a stand…and you too are blessed to have your family right behind you, with their unconditionally support and love.

  53. My dad chose my mom to marry who is from a different sect and class. My dad’s father is a rich businessman whereas my mom’s father was a police officer. He fought with his whole family. He took his stand, and in the end he convinced them. In the beggining my mom had a lot of problems adjusting. Gossping about her was my 3 aunts older than her’s fav hobby and whatever she did just did not seem right to her mom in law. She kept on fighting to prove them wrong. She changed herself COMPLETELY. Her clothing, her lifestyle, everything. From extra liberal she became extra orthodox. And now, after 20 years of marriage (by the grace of God), my grandfather said she is his favorite daughter in law. Imagine how happy she must have felt.

    And for her, all those years of struggle and all those sacrifices were worth it. Sometimes you HAVE to take a stand in life. there HAS to be something you live for, to prove. and it can bloody well be just proving yourself.

    I feel better writing this. haha.

    Me: we’ll just agree to disagree – if it takes you 20 years and changing everything that makes you the person you are – then its definitely not the thing to do. there is no graciousness in accepting a person who has changed to fit into your family. the graciousness lies in accepting them for who they are, their background, and for the good qualities they inherently have. thats just my opinion. no point converting, changing your clothes, your opinions and your ideas to fit in. no spouse is worth that. thats not adjusting – its surgery. i appreciate that your mom did it. but i dont see any woman with today doing it. or any man.

  54. This post had me in tears throughout. I have been married for 3 yrs in front of everyone my inlaws act as if they love me a lot but once alone they are forever insulting me and my family. My husband and I are living in different countries and all this was causing so much trouble in our marriage that since 8 months I have stopped all communication with inlaws. Get so worried when I think future with babies.

  55. I have read your blog{ and love it)but have never commented.This is the first time and the reason is that I have been in a similar situation. My mom was a single mother and she always has an open view that her kids frnds are always nice kids coz her kids are smart. I dated my ex for 4 yrs . The first two yrs she was nice to me but then she got to know my date of birth and realised am 3 months older to him. That was it!! Her attitue changed..she became like an evil woman, not acknowledging me ever. The only sad part at that time was her son didnt have the balls to say anything. I realised that if she doesnt like, he will never stand up for me my life will be torturous thurout which was unacceptable to me. Cut him outta my life, its been two yrs am single but am happy and loved by all. Noone should be given a right to make me feel unloved, not good for them.
    All the best to your cousin:)

  56. Hi MM,
    Hehehe – I am so very flattered you still remember me though I am not regular with comments.. Regarding her, well I would’ve had a strong opinion had the guy opposed this silly conversion thing. He didnt have a spine and stand up for his then girlfriend. What do you say to a person who married willingly into this – like she got a boon from the gods or something? Didnt the guy know that she was hindu when they were dating (and this is in thirunelveli, not hot spots like Mumbai or something…), but frankly I think they were looking for approval they got that first from the guy’s side with all these conditions. For them that approval was all that mattered me thinks. I got this perspective from a neighbor who is a Hindu brahmin married a Muslim. They eloped right after college, so they were really struggling and the guys side came first again with the whole religion thing and she did convert. When they were living next to us she had just gone back to being normal (no 5 times praying etc) It was easy for her because her husband was not into it right from the begining and the in laws where in b’lore and she in chennai, but not so in my cousin’s case. The sad part is (the neighbours) the guy cheated on her ..man did i see hearbreak.. it was unbearable to watch. Its one thing to grow up seeing bitter parents fighting..but to have loved so much and being cheated on…and surprisingly the in laws side were all with her this time and stopped talking to their son. That to me showed the kind of people they were inspite of all that religion conversion requisite…She has found love since and is happily remarried now. She was the sole reason I didnt accept my ex-mallu bf’s whole ‘If you convert atleast from my side there wont be problems..’ argument and broke up with him right then and there. She was still with her first husband that time – but she spoke a lot about how she had to compromise with the in laws. In any case, this is what I want to tell to so many of my cousins that are going through the same thing – but I cant because I had a arranged marriage and therefor dont know what I am talking about..hopefully you have better luck convincing your cousin..

  57. I saw Love aaj Kal too and I was looking in your archives for the post on the “one that got away” …too many people live in regret and wish they had not let themselves be pressured into marrying the guy/girl that society/family picked out for them …I think that is the saddest part …not fair to the one your with or to yourself !

    I disagree MM …I say follow your heart and leave for yourself and not for anybody else 🙂 !

  58. I see the comments that say everyone has in-law problems, so I want to speak up and say I don’t! Even though the Guy and I are from opposite ends of the country, our relatives find it difficult to communicate with each other, even though the family is from a small town: I was treated with respect and accepted right from the beginning. Sure, we don’t live together and don’t have to deal with each other’s quirks. But – as you say above, MM – they respect me even if they don’t agree with me. And while this is to some extent due to the Guy always treating me with respect and love, I must give my in-laws their due for being as nice as they are.

  59. Why did I not read this 8 yrs ago, before I broke my heart, got rejected by a ‘ toxic family’ felt like shit, cried for years, got dragged through court and had to rebuild myself from scratch! Was it worth it? Nope. I don’t believe in the I-am-stronger-wiser category of thinking, this is life, not the olympics! Damage limitation is a good concept. Life is too short to test out your strength etc.

  60. Came back to read the post and the comments again. I don’t know how true this, but I think 100% support from the other person, makes a world of difference. And a lot of times, this support needs to be the ‘silently standing behind you like a rock’ kinds than the oh-so-obvious, ‘we’ll fight it out, come what way’ kinds.
    With my boyfriend (now definitely relegated to Ex status), that is what I ended up not getting. We always knew my parents would not be okay with this. We always knew it was going to be a tougher fight than it seemingly usually is. But all through these 4 years, it was the smaller issues – being told that my skin color would be an issue with his family, being told that his sister, after meeting me, (1 of the 3) had gone home and reported in a shocked state to his mum, that she better start preparing herself for a chocolate skinned bahu. The comments that his parents ought to stay with us cos well, ‘your folks aren’t going be around and support us anyway, so we may as well have mine live with us’ – and not, ‘oh they are old and need us’. ‘But I think it’s wonderful that my mum has come around to accepting you’. To hear his oldest sister ask me (in spite of knowing we had been together for 4 long years), ‘Are you sure you want to marry my brother? Because in such cases, in the end, a number of times, the girl ends up taking the father’s side and walking away’ – this, after we told her that we plan to marry only if both families came around and have no plans to elope – which was her idea!
    And yet, while my parents had issues with religion and would probably not have come around easily, they treated the Boy with so much respect and not once did they question my choice. Given his background, my father explained why it was so hard for him to accept a boy of another religion – but not once did I hear them raise a word against me or tell me I’d made a mistake.
    Like Manasi said, it is the slow chipping away at your self-esteem that you don’t even stop to notice. And then suddenly one day, you can’t recognize the face in the mirror and what you have been reduced to. The fear of the unknown is a big one – it made me stay on for a long time in the relationship, even after I knew I did not want to be in it. ‘What if I end up with much worse?’ haunted me for days.
    But I am glad now, of the decision I made. I may not know what lies ahead, but at least I can choose to have it my way.
    It broke my heart to read your account of your wedding day – its unacceptable and no one ought to have to go through it. Hugs to you, MM.
    And once again, thank you for this post.

  61. Hey MM,
    I agree with all that you say. Having been in a similar situation (where honestly, things were made easier for me because the guy didn’t give me a choice. He told me his parents didn’t want me and that was the end), I believed then that I would find love again. And thankfully, I have now.

    But the period in between where I didn’t know when it was all going to become all right once again, I was terribly scared that I’d be alone for the rest of my life. I don’t think anything anyone says can make that fear go away, you’ve got to muster that faith from somewhere within you. Unfortunately I feel that the older you get, the more difficult that becomes – part of the result of having lost your innocence and building up barriers around you to make sure you aren’t hurt again.

    I don’t know how I remained sane through that period, but I’m glad I did. Touch wood.

  62. Beautiful post. It touches a cord with most women – I say women because we tend to take take it upon ourselves to make a relationship work, but I’m sure that there are lots of men who have experienced this too.

    I would however like to make a point though. This whole “abuse” thing does not happen only with inter-caste, inter-religion or inter-region/race marriages. It happens with all kinds of setup. Abuse does not even have to be in the form of harsh words or rude behavior, it just can be with attitudes, perceptions and completely ignoring you as a person. Mine was an arranged marriage 10 years ago. In society, my in-laws are considered “educated” and “cultured”. They don’t beat me or scold me. But they ignore me – my thoughts, my opinions, my values, my education and even my family. Everything about me is wrong. Whenever I visit them, they make me feel like an outsider(I’m just a nanny to their grand kids & their son’s sleeping partner!). They dote on my children, but make it a point to tell me how they have taken after their side of the family (unless they find something disagreeable, then it must be my genes, I was basically the oven that carried the kids for 9 months. Ingredients are all theirs). They would say how hard it was for their son to be sole bread winner when I did not have a job. Now that I have one, I’m a bad mom. When I have household help, then I’m lazy and I’m wasting husband’s money. When I do the chores, I’m ignoring the kids. The list goes on and on. First 2 years were really bad that I considered divorce very seriously as the man I married seemed to believe his mom more than me. We fought bitterly every single day for sometime. It was a very unhappy time in my life as I came from a very loving and jovial family. But things eventually changed for the better with my husband and he has come to recognize his family’s duplicity. But it is very hard for me to erase the memory of those days even after 10 years. I still remember each taunt, each lie like it was yesterday. It changed my personality – the soft spoken and loving girl changed into into a rude and a cynical woman. I completely agree with you that nothing is worth the pain or the humiliation to be accepted and appreciated by in-laws. It is better to live your life alone than go through a complete erosion of your self-worth.

  63. Although mine was a traditional marriage,and I married a relative, by the end of our engagement and towards the time of our marriage our families whoi had old grouses against each other were at each others throats! the wisdom of fixing such an alliance in the first place fails me!So, by the time we did get married we were busy justifying and fighting for each other, and still do do even after 21 years of life togethr! And yes it is so no worth it, despite of the love and the promise of a better future! I hear you loud and clear on this one! you took the words right out of my heart!!!!!

  64. What would one do.. if it’s an “arranged” marriage and one set of parents wants their kid to leave the spose and marry someone else instead??Just coz they are not getting along well with their child’s spouse….

    Any which way you get married,it’s always tough if ur in-laws are not accepting of you.

  65. Hi Cluelesschick, You’ve found your soul sister here…same bumpy start but happy ending story. Even as they pine for a grandchild, four years into our marriage, my in-laws are super careful not to hurt my feelings and know when to back off. The husband and me vowed to each other we would take complete responsibility for our own parents and keep them in check…its working.

  66. well…like a lot of people we had big time opposition too…what ws the best that came of it? i knew how much this man loved me…because i proposed to him while still in college and he took his time to say yes to me..i always wondered if he really loved me that much..that i didnt have him chasing me to make me accept ..but it was the other way around..i didnt chase him..but i sure as hell waited for him to say “yes”….and finally when my parents began to look for alliances for me, it was time to tell them ..and his parents and then there was hell!!! my mom who has never raised a hand on me hit me….my love for my parents should not have been questioned because i chose someone on my own and that hurt me the most…it was like choosing my then-BF-now-hubby or my parents…and i cant blame my parents, because after initial dismissal, they began accepting us and went to my hubby’s parents place to settle out marriage and his parents werent very kind…we fought over this for long..i always told him that i could take any shit, but cant let my parents take shit….i dont know what he did but finally his dad came around, called my dad on the phone and apologised and finally settled our marriage…. it was a tough time..but i came to know how much this man loves me.. and how high he thinks of me.. of how he broke down to me on the phone because our marriage was just not happening…of how he cried when one of my firends committed suicide[so called love failure, Stupid i know..till day i feel for her] and held my hand and told me that come what may, i should never do that….tough days..but worth it..because i realised how much i loved him and more so, how much he loved me…. to cut a really long story short, we are now happily settled with a 16 month old son and i stay with my in-laws..they are pretty nice to me..i know MIL will not be/can no tbe my MOM, but still, they are nice and much better than my sis’s arranged marriage in-laws…so like the post title says, fight only if it is worth it..and if you feel like giving up , then you know that you never really loved him that much…..to each his/her own

  67. it doesnt look that easy from wat i see. i know of two couples who went separate ways because of parental opposition. in each case, the guy got married to some other gal, unable to forget the old love, divorced and got married to their former love!! This isnt cinema. I am telling the truth.

    In the process, two other gals got affected.

    In any case, mostly nobody is happy. spouse trouble, parent trouble…

  68. You have put it so well… but a die-hard romantic like me feels like not agreeing to it(maybe because I havn’t experienced it yet)… a friend of mine recently got married and none of her family attented the ceremony…and she is so happy in her new home that I can’t imagine her marrying anyone else…and there are so many arranged weddings in which differences crop up over the time… its sort of better to know what one’s getting into… isn’t it?

  69. Ok not many comments and points from the sperm donor side here..so let me put my two pence in..

    Forget all the honey-dewey romantic part during the dating period..what exactly were the sperm donors aka the male of the species doing in the relationships above during your mental hardship? Sure there maybe extenuating circumstances but if the s.d. was being nonchalant or noncomital when his bride to be was hurting, that only makes him out to be a douchebag..so the question is what exactly were you doing with someone like him ? Indeed it is possible that the predominant sex of the commenters above is female and there might be stories from the other side of the fence as well, but somehow I dont think that is the case.

    Me:LOL! precisely my point. he’s not worth it. move on. no glory in fighting for someone who cant stand up for you. and there are cases of men being rejected too – my cousin who i have written this post for, for instance. more than that i think its also that few men will be open enough to come and pour their heart out on an open forum like this

  70. hmm… nice in-laws sound like the Higgs Boson – their existence is required, but not yet observed 🙂

    Here’s an idea – get the guy to tell his folks he’s marrying an ex-drug dealer with 4 kids from 5 guys who’s like 25 years older and has a gambling problem. And snores. Real loud.
    Might put the caste issue into perspective, yes?

  71. I agree completely with Nowhere Man above! If the partner is not supporting you, it’s not worth it, and not because the in-laws aren’t good enough.

  72. a thought-

    *most women seem to have in-law problems
    *we are also someone’s in-laws

    how does it add up?

    Me: true. we try though. which is why you have people like unmana and a couple of others who DO have good inlaws. its the whole boys’ people angle with traditional families. they expect you to roll over in gratitude. although there are plenty of men who werent accepted initially like in Rim’s case – but then again – indian society is such that the man is eventually accepted.

  73. I guess she’s old enough to make her own mistakes. And if she thinks your choices could have been better, well, she can always choose better. Personally, I wonder if I can tell somebody that something is not worth fighting for. Not my fight, innit? However much I care for the outcome?

    Me: its a him susie Q! and i disagree. if its a loved one – its my fight. because i ache as i watch idiots make the mistakes i’ve made. once you’re married you tend to stick on and put up with whatever shit is dished out because you’e taken vows na? better not to get married to anyone who is likely to drag you through excess shit. that is, shit other than the regular ups and downs that any couple will go through. i REALLY wish someone had warned me instead of giving me bullshit about love being above all! just doing my duty by passing on my story to others who it might help.

  74. Hi MM,

    My case is simply the opposite. We are being forced to get married by his side since the past 2 yrs. He’s 25 and I am 23. The main reason is because his mother is 75yrs of age and wants him to get married ‘right away’. He lost his father at 17 and since then he’s been ‘the man’ of the family.
    We’ve been dating since 3.5yrs now and are not ready one bit. I am still studying (and working since a month now)and he’s struggling with his job. Also we live in different states.
    My parents have met and accept him and are willing to wait until ‘we’ are ready. His side aren’t even considering the fact that I am still studying and he’s yet to get a foot hold. They don’t want him to move elsewere where there is more opportunity and a bright possiblity of getting the job he wants as ‘they’ don’t want him leaving his mother home alone and she isnt willing to shift with him for some time atleast.
    He’s my pillar of strength. I appreciate the fact that he’s atleast tried to convince his mom see ‘sense’ and has been pushing days since 2yrs now. He’s very patient and calm while dealing this issue with his mother. Not once has he lost his temper.
    I can’t even fathom to imagine what he might be going through emotionally. It breaks my heart to see him working his butt off (since 17) to make ends meet without complaining. He’s handling issues like emotional blackmail, drama, pressure from family, bad job with elan.
    He’s setting the right example for me. A very supportive boyfriend,kind, responsible, generous with his time and money.
    I saddens me that they aren’t seeing what a great son they have. Istead of supporting him they are trying to break him with the same reasons he’s giving up his days and nights for!
    All this since 17! I’m truly blessed 🙂

  75. I don’t want to rush into marriage because I am 23, as they say. I want to get married because I ‘want’ to get married and so does he. We have the freedom to explore and move about now. I don’t think that’s possible after marriage because it is us who wil be facing the future, not them.
    We don’t want to regret our move to marry after we get married. We are young not ignorant!

  76. i am reading this in one of my best moods but yes it still reminds me the pain, the anger, the helplessness that i suffered when i was fighting with my family. i still remember my wedding, the pain that was there and a faint hope that maybe someone from my family will turn up. everytime i see a would-be-bride shopping for her trousseau my heart aches remembering how i did for my own.
    but MM, at the end of the day, my family did realised that this was the best man and the best family that their pampered girl can have. they love my husband.
    yes there was pain, but there is happiness now, don’t you think it was worth it? let your cousin fight it. i am sure he will win their hearts, its not easy, but when u have your love at your side, its worth every tear.don’t dishearten him, support him like you do always.

  77. The more certain you are of your boyfriend’s love for you, the less precise you are of your chances of being accepted in his family.

    That, dear people, is The Uncenrtainty Principle of Marriages.

  78. @MM: So what exactly is the stance of the girl in your cousin’s case ? Is she adopting the parents-know-best-especially-with-the-inheritance-in-the-offing stance or the till-death-or-a-hunky-neighbour-do-us-apart one ?

    Me: she’s young. so is he. its a while before it becomes serious so it doesnt matter right now. but yes, right now she’s saying, lets not upset my parents, lets not tell them we’re still together — which to my mind is very humiliating.

    I know , I know there are no “easy” options . Are they both financially indepedent with or without each other ? That, along with cognitive dissonance,abominable chick flicks ,extreme ennui and fear of loneliness usually plays a huge role in people making “decisions for life” .

    me: brilliant. i agree.

    I, personally, think the greatest practical joke which Nature pulled on us , is in letting survive the meme of “monogamy” and “soul mate”. Mostly , I think people stick on with each other ( atleast till the hunky neighbor part ) because of the cost benefit issue. By “dating” someone for more than 5 years, each of the partners has not only successfully ensured that they are taken out of the available pool ( unless both were smart enought to hump the rump in the sly . No,Not your partners o englightened commenters! Your partner is different! ( Except they are most likely arent . )) but also marriage is a sort of comeuppance ( No pun intended ) .

    Anyway , if any of the partners is douchy enough to pander to the irrational whims of the parents or ineffective enough not to do anything about it, and you still want to hump the rump with that partner, then frankly you both deserve each other. But do everyone a favor ; dont procreate and spoil the gene pool.

    Me:ROFL. I should have met you before I got married, huh?!

  79. Hi MM,
    Dropping by your blog after quite some time! If I may add my twopenny worth, it is: Its the miyan and biwi who need to decide things. If the guy is such a Mamma’s boy and doesn’t stand by the girl, then she really mustn’t have to try so hard! If he backs her up, then its worth every effort!
    Hope it all works out well.
    Rgds,
    Pal

  80. my comment was first! :p

    bit its been eye opening reading even the comments in this space. we have to fight just too much for acceptance! and its from both sides! i mean god forbid you are basically a nice person who gets along with her in laws wo too much trouble then they call you “the good bahu” types very condescendingly!

    and i have seen DILs torture in-laws too. right in our family too where my SiL uses her son (their grandson) as a weapon to get back. considering i have same set of in laws they defi dont deserve this.

    i think we twist relationships a bit too much and complicate matters that ideally should be giving just happiness.

    so i have learnt to ignore other people’s pettiness. and if i have to shame them, i shame them with my good behaviour! :p

    plus knowing that I have M by my side and knowing that his family KNOWS it too is a really super!

    i really hope no one has to go through so much heartache for something thats just meant to be a way of life…

    cheers!

  81. Totally loving Nowhere Man and his brilliance 😀

    But yes, I agree that bitterness from the family and rejection is not something anyone needs to put up with… no matter how great the “connection” or the “love”.. Self esteem comes first.

    The one thing that strikes hard when I hear of disrespect from in-laws is exactly what Nowhere Man commented on. What the hell are the spouses doing when their partner is being treated badly? Would they sit back and watch silently if their partner was being treated shoddily by a stranger on the road? I dont think so. Why then do they feel that ill words from their parents are acceptable?

    I have a lovely MIL who I get along with fantastically.. but is that something I need to be overly grateful for because its so rare? Shouldnt it be a given that if my partner likes me, then his family will (in the least) respect his choice and treat me as they would any other person – with courtesy?

    Me: Well spouses range from caring and supportive to spineless. as one with a supportive spouse i must say that short of cutting the parents off there is little else a person can do to protect their spouse. because you can yell back at your parent for abusing your spouse but its too late – spouse is already hurt and abused.

    and apparently simple courtesy is also too much to expect with certain parents! I am most envious of all those of you who have good spouses – you are the people that manisha is asking after…

  82. What kind of people reject kids??? I really dont understand this funda of men always telling women to just ignore and live with what is good in life. C’mon, give me a break. Not to generalize but is it not true that we women easily tell off our own parents when they dish out crap. I know I do. The generation is different and when they do or say things that dont gell with today’s times is it not ok for us offsprings to tell them so? And hopefully change their attitude? Is it again a gender thing?
    Impulsive that I am, I would simply take one last stance, plonk the adorable kiddos in front of them and in highly vocal manner tell them to decide once and for all how they want to behave. List out all the unacceptable crap they dish (not wishing a grandkid on their birthday,not being nice to your side of the family…pretending as if they dont exist… if it has ever happened to you, is CRAP) and see if they accept they were wrong. If they do, TELL them to change. If they dont, walk away from that relationship. Maintain the life with the spouse as long as there is no condition about being nice to mean people. As for kids missing out on Grandparents, dont sweat much on that. They have nice nana-nani, doosi nani and perhaps teesi and chauthi as well. Lots of love and warmth in the world.

    Just in case it appears otherwise from what I wrote above, I lucked out in the in-laws department. They are matured adults who accept and respect me. I cannot help feel frustrated when I read accounts of people who dont have it that way. Plus the part about rejecting kids really got to me. WTF!

    p.s. Who is this Nowhere Man? I love him already.

  83. I can see a 1.37 miles long Q of interesting women outta ‘Nowhere Man’s’ house…..:P

    ..Shi

    Me : LMAO. I bet he said all this just to get that queue 😉

  84. Yeah just saw the response to my comment. Who the hell rejects children? That is so vile.

    The problem is some people have high tolerance for nonsense, they believe its their lot to take it, not realising that they can choose to walk away. I married the only guy I was in a relationship with. So I often wonder how I would have dealt with heart break. But if I did not have the full support of my guy, I’m sure I’d walk away, that’s a turn off enough for me.

    After seeing my mother being walked all over, I knew that was something that was never going to happen to me, never would have allowed it.

    Me: oh great. rub my face in my foolishness. good friend you are 😉

  85. This post leaves me with increased respect for my parents and in-laws. We come from different states (and hence different languages, cultural background etc). Their only question was, if we two are in it for real. Not whether they can get along or not.

    I still complain about how he wants rotis everyday and I am a rice eater, but I bet every couple has their own set of quirks.

    That said, I need to mention about my ex (from college days) who was much similar in background but from a different caste. He once broke up with me because “he didnt want to hurt his parents who are already suffering from his sister’s intercaste marriage”. I actually respected that, because he atleast knew what his parents wanted. I literally cried myself to bed everyday because of the heartbreak (hey I was only 20 then!) But a year later, he came back saying he has “chosen” me over his family. I was deliriously happy then, but soon realized that this is not gonna work. I didnt want him to choose between me adn his family. I wanted to be a part of his family. What is the guarantee that he will not “choose” his parents over me the next time around..? This time I broke up. It hurt but I was sure this is what is needed for my own wellness.

    3 years later I met my current husband and now we’ve been married for 5 years. My MIL wants me to learn their language but she’ll never fail to mention that my husband must learn mine. They praise me for how quickly I’ve learnt to make rotis. But for every meal, they’ll make sure there is rice also.

    Was there a guarantee that this one will turn out ok? No, but there were lot of signs. Like the phone call my FIL made, that put my parents’ fears to rest. Or his grandfather (!) remarking that our kids will know 1 more language than the rest of the family 🙂

    So yes, dont hang onto your current BF because you are afraid of the uncertainity of the future.

    To R, who recently broke up, my words are: Time heals the heart. Your current bad experience will help you recognize and value the right one when it arrives.

    Me: I think what you said, said it better than me. you want to be part of a family. i didnt want this choice to have to be made either. nobody does. not unless you’re vamp version 2.0. you want a little peace, a little harmony, a little love, a little respect and a little compassion – a family to be a part of. i didnt know that was too much to ask for

  86. Very touching and true post.

    My ex was from a diff religion and I was all ready to change as it was the norm in his. But still his parents were not convinced, of course my parents were dead against it and he chickened out. So, we just broke up. May be that was for good. But yes, then we did part ways on a friendly note.

    Then came my hubby who mend my broken heart, he was/is the kindest person I can think of. Very understanding and helpful at home. My parents were still opposed to it as they wanted an ‘Iyer Boy’. Good part was his Mom and his brothers was very supportive and still are 🙂 Touch wood!!

    I kept my foot down and even chose the date I wanted to be married and got the paperwork done. My brothers were supportive, my Mom was on the wall and my Dad dead against this. After all the drama, Dad came to senses and we got married. He is happy to see that his son-in-law is a caring person.

    So looks like this is the story of many lives in India now ,but in different forms.

    Bring them on…!!!

  87. n’ I thought all that bollywood shit was true ): Although I gotta say this post is kinda shocking. You see, we can’t picture you saying all these things. Love conquers all, doesn’t it? And if it doesnt there’s always hope rely on. So we’d really like you to declare your love for “your other half”

  88. I came back to comment MM. I have been thinking a lot about this. In most cases a daughter in law will get grief from the ILs no matter the back ground or even if she is chosen by them. I still believe it is worth marrying the person you love, irrespective of the family, provided that the person will be with you 110%, because 100% is just not enough. You both must be willing to give up the parents if they are hurting the relationship and refuse to budge.

    Me: so i had this chat with Sunayana (sue) and she said what kind of person gives up their parents. you want to answer that? because to my mind, you should give up any toxic person who is ruining your life. simple. be it your spouse or your parent or a bad relationship

  89. OMG I can’t believe I am still here commenting.

    Me: why cant you believe you are here?

    My parents had a love marriage and had to fight both parents for it. My mother’s parents eventually accepted gladly but by father’s mom was against it even though they had to get them married. Till she died my grandmother never said a good word about my mom, and that removed all respect we could have had for her. Things could have been different, and I know you are not supposed to speak ill of dead people but my grandmother would have been a bigger person had she behaved well with my mom. My mom never raised her voice but that was because my dad did it for her.

    Me: ah – a different generation. and yet – can you imagine the tension for your mom? its great that your dad stood up her – but it must be so sad to be constantly cursed and have to hear it even if you are supported. its just very very sad. and i’m quite okay with speaking ill of the dead who had no compassion. with you on that all the way.

  90. I can understand the bitterness you have MM. But just imagine if things had gotten better after your marriage and after having the brat and bean your in laws had wholeheartedly accepted you as the mother of their grand kids and wife of their son or more so as their own daughter then would take this extreme stance?

    Me: those stories are rarer than a blue moon. most people who are accepted are accepted only after they wipe out all traces of their own community and life. which is why i have great respect for inlaws who will accept you the way you aer. what glory is there in saying I accepted her because she adopted my ways? wheres the greatness there?

    We hear both type of cases. One where the situation never improves and other where there is acceptance from the inlaws a little bit later.

    The real test for your cousin would be to judge how much does he/she think is the possibility of a better tomorrow and is he/she really ready to give it a shot.

  91. Actually this particular post of yours was quite interesting. I agree with the fact that one has to know when the fight is just worth it and when the fight is lost! But the point here is would one be happy by marrying the person being recommended by their parents instead of marrying their love? The moving on part is not always easy is it! And my next question might be silly or even stupid but whats the point of falling in love with the person of your choice when you do not even know if the parents on both sides are going to accept both of you being together? 😛

  92. @MM : So guess this was more of an anticipatory warning blog post for the inevitable baggage to follow?:) though one
    might wonder how “young” is young anyway and whether that even matters . After all, any sense of clarity related to the tenuous topic of “love” is usually obtained only in hindsight. And that delusion remarkably seems to be oblivious of the age factor.
    Oh the humanity!

    At the risk of sounding like a smug,cynical bastard who probably doesn’t get any ( not all the things are true ) ,I
    cant help wondering :
    Why do reasonably,smart educated women continually go and fall in “love” with these Neanderthals who are still wet
    behind their ears?
    I repeat. Seriously Why O why ?

    Me: good question. is there any other type? we could of course all turn lesbian but that is not the solution for those who arent that way inclined

    I recollect a conversation with a friend some months back :
    : He is very affectionate. This might go somewhere…
    NowhereMan: Anybody who shows even a remote interest in your life/existence is “sweet” eh? Sounds baloney to me..
    : Is this your funny or the the truth part?
    NowhereMan: He : But the guy you are in love with is a total dick,massmurderer,rude,dumb and a loser.
    She : Maybe so. But he is sweet to me and he loves me .
    He : You both deserve each other.
    is offline.

    Ya nothing worked out between them and neither was I thanked for my prescience.

    Me: and you expected thanks for telling someone her choice was crap. ROFL. you’re a bright man, nowhere man, but you dont get women yet 😉 we dont like to be told we’re making a mistake.

    I think it’s time the whole equation of “marriage”,”relationships”,”love” etc is revisited ( No , you don’t have
    to burn those Twilight Series books and your Mills and Boons. Yet. ).

    Me: nahiiiii *puts fingers in ears and refuses to listen any further – never mind that she possess neither.

    Talking about “toxic” in-laws, isn’t the relationship parasitic both ways? Neither the parents nor the children are willing to let go of each other. Each seek a “meaning for life’s existence” and a sense of validation from each other ( Not that there is anything wrong with that perse ) but I ,personally, think both should “let go” of each other after a certain age and not develop a sense of co-dependency. ( What is it you say? You need them to baby sit? Ok fine that is ok. You are sleeping with their progeny ( hopefully) so they probably owe you as a sense of evolutionary gratitude)

    Me: good lord you refreshing cynic! look sharp – the rescue brigade (SIFers!) will soon come in and take you away to a padded room

    As many have pointed out, what is the point if it is going to erode your sense of self esteem ? And that erosion will inevitably happen if one seeks validation from other “loved ones” as well. All for what ? Better sex? ( Not that I would know about it…you are the species with the fake orgasms ) .
    Ok granted so describing love as a matter of pheromones and hormones, and the fact that it worked out with someone is just a matter of serendipity of being “at the right place at the right time” does not make a good narrative. Not to forget how a sense of belief in “soulmate” is a self-fulfilling prophesy in itself. And you know it’s all “exaggerated” and a sham anyway.After all you did vigorously nod your head at some of the episodes of Sex and the City and did regretfully admit the truth in that aphorism which captures the hypocrisy of both our sexes,
    “Yes,Virginia all men want to bang you and no Harry,frankly there really is no magic in your wand !”

    But surely “sticking to one person even though he/she is a douchebag” is nothing but self persecution ? Dump him/her really. After you are little bit financially secure ,of course. Given a choice between alimony and no money always go with the former.

    I hear you say , that’s all very well , O pontificating anonymous person on the internet with the pretentious
    handle “NowhereMan” , but “my” personal situation is different…”my story” is unique…my..

    Ok fair enough. But actually it isn’t. Think of the “bigger picture” and our evolutionary role.
    We are born. We eventually die. In between , we might propagate our genes but thankfully no compulsion on that .
    So as fleeting as our life is anyway, why mire yourself in schmaltzy, emotional fuckwittedness? Enough of the
    nonsense really. You know you don’t deserve it. In the randomness of the universe, most of the things are beyond
    our control but one can most of the time “choose” to be happy or sad. Forget your parents. Forget your kids. You owe it yourself and your ephemeral existence. That’s all there is to it really.

    Me: And how easy is it to forget your parents and kids?

    Exeunt.Stage Left.

    Me: no come on – this isnt the time to exit

  93. I dont quite approve of the guy my sis is seeing….and I have my own reasons. My parents have already said no to their relationship. My sis is holding out…..for acceptance from my folks. I understand that his guys are okay.

    I dont like the guy – but who am I in this to like or dislike my sister’s choice? Being one protective ‘akka’, I tried to “in my opinion” not let her make any bad choice. It has taken some time but am really okay now. I want to just stand by her side, be there for her, because I just cannot let one guy ruin my relationship with my kid sister.

    I am kind of silently also advocating to my parents that – all that parents need to do is just let their sons/daughters do what they want. And, god forbid, if they fail, not say “I told you so”. If parents turn as mature, I guess acceptance, respect, will all come by naturally.

    But I dont think I was a bad sis when I didnt approve of her choice at first go, like I said, I have had my reasons. Maybe some benefit of doubt needs to be given to parents, if they take their time to come to terms with things.

  94. MM.. I have this question for you..
    If someone had told you all this way back then, would you have listened?

    Me: I dont know Saya. It would depend on what I was told. If anyone told me not to marry a man from a different religion, I may not have listened. but if someone had told me it would erode my self worth and ruin the person I was – maybe I would have. I dont know. I just wish someone had given it a shot. Sadly we tend to romanticise sacrifice and romeo and juliet – bloody hell, they ended up dead!

  95. MM,

    From whatever you have written about OA here, I think he is totally worth fighting for. Really he is. You don’t want to fight na, then don’t. Why link his worth to that?

    Ofcourse if he is the one making you fight, then he is not worth it.

  96. Yes, him, sorry. Came back to comment much after reading the post and confused your cousin with the dedicatee(?). 🙂

    I don’t mean we can’t support, but that’s all one actually can provide.

    See, I don’t face this kind of trouble in this relationship but I faced a version of this earlier and I gave up and I still know giving up was a mistake. Does that mean I’m not happy now? No, I am. But does that mean that earlier fight wasn’t worth it? It damn well was. Each person needs to figure it out for themselves to be at peace with their decision.

    I will also say I don’t believe in putting up with crap for love. I haven’t, depite appearances to the contrary, and I have never told anybody they should. In all fairness, I have also told people to get out of relationships that I felt eroded their belief in themselves. With that part of your post I have no problems. But when you start questioning your own faith I want to know why. *looks militant*

    Me: I questioned my own faith in what, babe? Myself? Ah that – yeah – you cant go unscathed if for years you are told you are not worth it and have no redeeming qualities yaada yaada. no? Most of us start off young and impressionable. Will I let it happen to me today? doubtful. did it shake me up when it happened? you bet.

  97. *Each person needs to figure it out for themselves to be at peace with their decision.*

    Absolutely.
    I totally agree with the Sue, including the last line.
    Hugs.

    Me: well i agree with sue because that is understood – obviously people need to be at peace. and our family more than any other, will let people make their own decisions without putting up a fight.

    but dont we ever offer opinions to our loved ones? friends, children, family? dont we tell them whether we approve or disapprove of what they are doing, and give them reasons as to why we think so?

  98. So.. I was not the only one who stopped breathing while reading your post today.. Everything that you have written here tells story of so many of us, just change names of people and places.
    It was too painful and too true..It was hurting at the softest spot somewhere inside that I could not finish reading in one go and even now have this choking feeling in my throat..

    I am hoping to make my DH read this post even if he has very less patience for any long articles/posts. You have put down the same thoughts I have on the matter but ofcourse in so much more articulate way. Especially the thing about how it takes away your innocence and how it turns you into a bitter, suspicious person….
    And then you can never be what you were 10 years back again.

    *hugs*

  99. Hey MM,this post is soo close to my heart,you know that,right?
    9 years together,6 years married and still there,still doing the same thing..But,the good thing,just like you,I tried,I tried,I bent,backwards and forward and I tried somemore and then,some and then,I snapped.Now I dont care..I mean Really dont care..I am still nice to them,talk to them-just think of them as some acquaintances..
    The guy-he is worth it..but,do I deserve what i went thru?NO!I know it now.
    I look at my wedding pics,and I see a picture perfect wedding..just what I wanted..But,I REMEMBER my anguish of all those months,of wedding preps..and I remember feeling tensed in the moments before the cermony.
    So,given a chance I will marry the same guy..but No way will I put up with the same crap..thats just not worth it.
    Hugs..and thanks for writing.

  100. MM,
    Sometimes, hard though this may sound to you as a loving sister, we have to let people we love learn their own lessons. It’s hard to watch, believe me, I know – but until they realize it for themselves, they won’t completely be at peace with their life.

    Priya.
    p.s.
    “….It’s been 31 years for my mother and 6 for me and we’re still fighting perceptions that our inlaws have. Still doing the regressive saas bahu dramas that keep TRPs high – except that this is really our life. We’re still hoping that our children will be loved and accepted and treated right by their father’s families. …”

    Why ? If your DH supports you, honestly, just stop doing this. It will only end up hurting you. And life’s too short. *hugs*

    Me: Yeah of course – I’d not be with a man who didnt support me this far. But the point is, that by the time you finally draw the line, too much has already been destroyed 😦

  101. You know MM, after reading all these comments, I think that its never guaranteed that things will be 100% okay in love or arranged marriages. Somethings do go wrong, but in love marriages and toxic in laws staring at your face, it just stops making sense after a while. And you start thinkign about that phase where you had rose tinted glasses on. And in some case the love disappears. Most of my friends are talking about the love disappearing in thier love marriages. And they fought and got married for love. It makes me rethink, Is it REALLY worth it? Infact, is marriage really worth it?I am probably become bitter, but it is keeping me happy, at least keeping me away from heartaches. I am at such a point in my life, that I dont have any understanding/care/ concern/ space/ patience or love(?) to give anymore. So, moreorless I am done.

    Me: i’ll address one part of your Q – I dont think love disappears from every marriage but it does disappear from some, regardless of whether they are arranged or not. as others have said – there are no guarantees in marriage – but it does make me think that since there are no guarantees it only makes sense to get into something that atleast has a fighting chance. marriages is hard even with both sides agreeable and girl and boy happy. so why bloody take on more headache? why didnt anyone tell me this? I dunno…. people love living their romantic dreams vicariously.. through others.

  102. I thought a while before i put this comment down..:)

    I have been there- Like a lot of the folks here I walked away from a relationship of 7 yrs when i realised that the future promises were not worth the past, present and future pain.
    My ex would have supported me, he may have been worth it, but I was too tired to go on putting him and myself through what I knew will be years of pain and humuiliation.

    In some ways I have not moved on. Atleast I have not yet found that next guy and his family who will love me , warts and all 🙂 But do I regret the choice I made 4 years ago? – NO!
    On certain gloomy blue days the romantic in me wonders abt the what could have been, but almost 90% of the time I am at peace with my choices.
    And that may be all anyone can ask for.

  103. ok, this is totally off the post but I am really glad to know that most people have been stressed during their weddings.
    My friend just got married and she was totally excited and happy through it all and I kept wondering if it was weird that I was mostly stressed out and unable to enjoy my wedding. which lead me to think that maybe I just wasn’t ready to get married because if I was, then I’d be happy and excited too instead of feeling low.

  104. MM,
    Your post is wonderful. I’ve had a love marriage but not been through anything of what you and many others in the comments have been thru. My hugs to all and I cried.
    There have been minor hiccups but I’ve taken it in my stride – a daughter-in-law can never be a daughter but a son-in-law becomes a son within no time. I’ve seen that and experienced it. It’s a tricky tricky relation – this in-laws one.

    Would we’ve fought our parents? I think not. As you said at times it’s not worth it and better to move on. To adjust to a lifetime of unhappiness for one love is not worth it.

    I’ve seen my best friend go through her marriage with parents disinterested. All she did was cry when she was inviting me for her wedding and I felt like asking her parents – Can’t you all give up your egos and your stupid beliefs to make the one person who is your own happy? Is it really that difficult? Now she is well settled, had a baby and now her parents rave abt her husband? How can you? Now you’ve come around why could you not on that one day which will matter to her for entire lifetime. I don’t understand. I simply don’t!!

    You write beautifully and will be keeping you on my blogroll!

    Take care

  105. i can relate to this at this time cz this is something i am experiencing and i made the decision to just cut him off (i dont know the coincidence but i was just crying that i felt used and thrown and saw your post), a decision i took that was the toughest and most painful ofr me 😦 havent ben able to come over it but i know its something i should have done long back but do not have courage to face this.

    me: I’m sorry you had to go through this and I do hope you realise in the years to come that you made a good decision. all the best and God bless…

  106. v thought provoking post. i guess this is the wisdom we get only much later in life – love or rather the hormones surely do leave us blind n deaf!
    as i read the comments, many of them v as interesting n soul baring as this post, i get the feeling how times have changed. how selfishness has become a virtue! am not being judgemental on this generation – we felt the same when we were young – tht we shld be given the freedom to choose partners n careers regardless of the agony n heartbreak it caused to our parents. we felt our partners shld stand by us completely in case of a love marriage n cut off his/her resentful family. we questioned n fought off the expectations on a newly married girl to change n merge completely with her husband’s new family. but u know we felt terribly guilty!! i guess we were always made to feel guilty for every independent choice we made, for every norm tht we broke!
    the guilt made us forgive our spine less husbands the guilt made us tolerate the insults from in laws n in general we accepted all tht as part of the parcel n moved on. in the long run may be bcoz our submissiveness got better off us, the inlaws came around n families were not broken or cast off.
    ofcourse much of our own individuality was compromised in the process but our children had a better extended family around.
    i still cant say whether i would’ve had it other way around though i admire you MM for the clear cut stands you take.
    may b my generation will never feel so much guts – like u said we were conditioned differently. i would still feel terribly guilty if i’ve to take my husband away from the family tht nurtured him.
    reading ur blog n comments have enlightened me much about today’s young women n hopefully i will be a supportive open minded M-I-L when my time comes shortly.
    thks for this post – really enjoyed it.

  107. Mad Momma, you have hit the comments goldmine. An issue which so many of us can relate to. If everyone drew the line and did not try, how would change come to India?

    At the higher level, all these love marriages and all the head banging with silly/stupid/senseless people (parents) who cannot accept that their children have grown-up erodes the stupid senseless barriers that exist in our country – caste, religion, languauge etc.

    Funny word love marriage – one would think that love is integral to the concept of marriage

  108. Loved your honest post. I think for the first time I understood how unpleasant it really must have been for you. But your approach and attitude now is absolutely correct. I have also realized , that people who steal your sunshine, whether friends or family are totally not worth the effort.

    You have a beautiful family who loves you and cares for you and those who don’t ,don’t matter anyway.

    Hugs.

    • That was so well-put.

      I have been trying to articulate this nameless bad-taste-in-the-mouth feelings for years now.

      Unlike Momma’s in-laws who are openly negative and hostile, my in-laws chose to deliver their hostility in the form of sugar-coated pills.

      I could never explain to anyone why it drove me up the walls, because it was always done with a smile and laced with endearments.

      I would walk away from such conversations feeling about as worthy as an abandone, homless dog and convinced that I was so BAD for being such a disappointment.

      Yes, ‘sunshine’ captures that feeling so well.

      Sorry MadMomma, I’m a few years late to this discussion. :))

  109. @Vanita,Anamika (lovely name!),Anupa : Danke !

    @Shilpa : Curious…was the 1.37 figure just arbitrary? The inner film geek in me skipped a beat wondering whether you were referring to the academy film aspect ratio of old films. But as MM pointed out ( tut tut! such cynicism! where’s the love? ) I obviously don’t understand the inner working ( some people would say machinations but we won’t go into that ) of the female mind and frankly don’t understand your sex. (or au contraire only understand it too well which is even more dangerous! )

    @MM : I was making an “exit” because I think I have said what I wanted to say..some bluntly and some subtly ! Not that it would make any difference..once a marshmallow..always a…
    I feel quite strongly about this because have seen plenty of people I know who are post marriage, a plain shadow of their past selves. Am I in the naive minority to think that “marriage” should be something which should augment your personality and not transmogrify you into something out of a Sylvia Plath poem? What happened to all the idolization of Simone de Beauvoir and the claim to be “different” ? What happened to the audacious claims of “not putting up with any nonsense from the guy!” and “maintaining one’s individuality”? ( What is that? You are saying you don’t want all that but just a family to be part of and be “wanted”? Mmm. At what cost then ? )
    Oh well.

    ~Formerly The Forehead Slapper

    Me: achcha stop slapping your forehead and answer me this – are both mutually exclusive? Are you saying we’re asking for too much if we want a family to accept us for what we are, to respect us and to let us retain our individuality without the urge to squash us into mere excuses for a human being?

  110. Dear MM..felt so sad when reading about all the anxiousness you felt on your wedding day..it really is the most difficult decision..being a Bihari married to a Malayali..one decision we took when dating was that we would never marry against our parent’s wishes. My parents I was sure of..its his parents who we thought might have objections..but they all came around so beautifully that I think I have been twice blessed.

    I am so glad that you have such a beautiful family and I love your two little ones soo..for all the heart ache and hurt you went through God had to make up and you deserve all this and more..

    Lastly, I agree its better to move on then face soo much hurt and feel the pain for a lifetime..the hole in the heart..still hoping someppl will fill it with love..harsh as it may be at the time but in the larger view think of all the bad memories you just saved yourself from..

  111. @MM : In an ideal world ( or a fantasy world) where the guy you fell in love with is still the Prince charming ( kindly reverse gender where applicable..or not depending on your predilection ) and you still “adore” all the “cute things” about the person ( which would be the very things beginning to annoy you later in life ) yes it is not unreasonable to expect to be accepted for what one is,more importantly respected for one’s individual traits and demand a relationship to be on equal platform.

    Me: you awful cynic, you!! here I am, battered and bruised, STILL willing to believe that even in our not-so-ideal world there are families that will accept you for what you are, while you walk around putting off the light at the end of my tunnel!!

    But in that ideal world, we wouldnt have Karan Johar movies, the vapidity of Ekta kapoor serials and Beethoven would sell way more than Britney Spears.

    Me: LOL! Is there no in between – is it okay if i am into U2 and neither britney nor beethoven?

    In the real world, you know it’s not happening. Until smart,educated women start demanding more from their partner(s) ( I am using this subset because am realistic enough to know they have more options in terms of awareness, education,ability to obtain financial independence and network to “move on”. Ideally it should be available for all women but am a realist ) the status quo will not change.

    Me: But they are, arent they? read the comments. enough women have walked away from bad relationships. and financial independence and education will come – they are coming.

    If women dont walk away from neanderthal men ( howmuchsoever a “catch” you think he is and when his mommy says “Be a good Bharathiya naari” she only means for the “good of the family” ) nothing will change. But that’s easier said than done eh ?
    Sometimes I think the modern women want to not only eat the cake and keep it too but also demand that add no calories.

    Me: Is it Neanderthal to want to try and keep the relationship with your parents even as you choose the partner you want? No, I am not supporting it – as my post says! I think men/women who stand by and watch their family ill treat their partner, should be hung and quartered. and yet – if he or she does break away from their family – dont you get an incomplete person? how complete are you when you’ve lost a huge part of your life? how hard is it on them to walk away from a family that has ordered their wife and child out?

  112. @MM : My apologies..that probably came out more strident than I intended to . Sure indeed, we would be silly to make generalizations and tar everyone from the same brush but can hardly afford to live on “hope” alone when it comes to self and esteem issues 🙂 After a point you just say “fuck it!” and move on. Lets face it heart of heart you know the people are not worth it and it’s not as if you havent tried your best. ( Though I personally dont see why only you should be the one showing the white flag but that’s just me )

    Me: yes, yes, yes. Which is why I wrote that post. I am tired of being the official bloody flag hoister.

    U2 rocks! So all is good on a sunday bloody sunday with or without you.

    If they are happening, it’s one of the best kept secrets from me. Sure for every one woman walking away, there are ten still sticking on in terms of antiquated love and “social stigma”. ( I am not downplaying it…just asking the question..at what cost? After all ,we biped carbon lifeforms have only one conscious life. )

    As I commented before, both the parents and the children should let go of each other. It is one thing to “respect” them but quite another thing to have a sense of co-dependency. I think children should understand that parents need to have their own life ( yes I know it is “westernized” concept and this is still “India” But it is all the more reaosn why we ,presumably reasonably educated,financially secure middle class should “let them lead their life”. And importantly we lead our own if there is a conflict and not be overwrought if it doesn’t work out. But that calls for exceptional emotional maturity doesnt it ? )

    Me: co-dependency and emotional maturity. excellent

    It is definitely not easy to walk away from the parents if they are being unreasonable. But then again every participant in this affair needs to be treated like an adult and no one should be mollycoddled. There is a time and place for sentiment and time for some tough love. If I had to choose between unreasonable parents with whom I have lived some twenty odd years and with a partner to whom I have committed the rest of my life, you know where the numbers lie..the operative word is “reasonable” and “unreasonable” ofcourse.

    Again I am not trivializing the possible anguish the concerned parties would go through. But mostly it is due to their own obduracy and their own making. It “neednt be this way” but if you choose to walk the throny path,be prepared for the pain.

    Me: amen.

  113. Loks like i enetred the party late. I was lucky both sets of parents accepted both of us whole-heartedly into the respective families.

    But this is about two of my closest frnds from college – one a Hindu and the other a Muslim who dated for five years and were totally the ‘saath jeeyenge saath marenge’ type. They knew from day 1 that the parents would never agree and they would hve to elope. I was supposed to be one of the witnesses. When the girkl’s parents started making noises about marriage, she didn’t tell them from sometime but made excuses to keep the various men at bay and avoid the marriage issue.

    All plans to elope were made, tickets booked etc etc.But when it actually came to eloping, the girl realised she could not leave her parets and sisters like tht.Her family would become an outcaste in their society and so would her sisters. After seeing my marriage with all the blessings of the parents, she realised she wantd the same for herself. She spoke to her parent but they refused to even hear of her marrying a Hindu. She called things off the night before saying ‘I will meet another guy, but I won’t have another set of parents.’

    Maybe she waited too long to realise this. The guy was heart-broken, but 2 years down the line, she is happily married to a loving husband whom her parents totally love and the guy is also engaged to a girl whom his parents totally love.

    Eloping is tough and all the more so when its two different religions and the parents won’t even consider it.Yet I wonder if I had chosen to marry a guy whom my parents would not have liked, could I have gone ahead. I see my sister on tht line and I knw I will stand by her completely cuz the guy is a good man, yet I know she will ahve a tough time.

    I will also say that the age and maturity matter. A teenager or college student will not have the maturity to even think about forvere and ever, but once one is standing on their own two feet and has the maturity, it does make a diference.

    Well sry for hogging this comment space 🙂

  114. Loved the post, MM. Offers a feast for thought for the singles. Well, in an ideal world, for everyone. So…this Nowhere Man, is he for real? And if he is, do you know if he’s single? 😉
    Please delete this comment. 🙂

    Me: I deleted your name instead 😉

  115. “what kind of person gives up their parents”

    Well the kind of person who realizes that parents are causing more trouble in life than helping you.
    After all, MM, who said that parents are perfect human beings?

    Me: True. I post often that parents are not the demi-Gods we make them out to be

  116. What can I say? Been there done that. Regrets? Some, not too many. On the whole when I weigh what I got and what I lost, I realise that what I have is much better than what I think I could have had. Whats the guarantee that being a DIL in an arranged marriage would mean total acceptance. I’ve seen DILs in arranged marriages being treated like dirt. Thankfully, over the years we have reached a tenous level of acceptance and tolerance from both sides, and dare I even say, some fair degree of affection. And the spouse never interfered in the battle. And would never listen to any criticism from either party. That left us to fight our own battles and reach our own compromises. I dont think there are any guarantees in life, you just go with the flow and make the best of what you get. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  117. I see you have drawn quite a response as its something most of us can relate to… I have been through a similar situation and u r right one always wonders about all that was given up in order to get what you wanted … And however happy you might me you sometimes miss the things that are no longer there because of the choice that you made… Do check out my blog. I am new to the blogging world

  118. This wins post and comments section of the year. Hands down.

    May be jinxing it, but we’ve had no trolls on this one! Or have you become a stricter moderator?!

    Me: Nope – havent moderated anything today 😉 That maybe because even the trolls have inlaw trouble. Its something so many people can relate to. I think we should get a badge for our blogs and a campaign line – something about ‘Not standing for shit’ or ‘Don’t lose yourself to gain a spouse’ or something!!

  119. Great post MM! You striked the right string. I think it’s not about love or arranged, caste or religion,it’s all about ‘marriage’! Finally they can’t handle a girl with a sensitive heart whose gray cells work too! Someone who can feel, think and act too! It takes a lot of maturity and open-mindedness to appreciate this and proud to have her in the family.
    I too am one of the sufferer. Though our’s is a arranged marriage. My fil and mil are neutral or act to be so (they are ready for all the positives that I get home but seem to be too innocent to know it’s value or appreciate it atleast by words) and my sil is the one for whome I DON’T exist. Isn’t it a very sophisticated way of non-inclusion?
    I too convince myself that ONLY I am resposible for my happiness and noone can make me sad. I don’t care for people who don’t care for me and respect me as a person. But I do relive my past sometimes. 😦 I feel terribly down and that ends me being unnecessarily aggressive, which is not my nature actually and it all ends with a fight with my hubby.
    My heart pains, but I am proud of it that I have one and it’s rare!

  120. Ah MM..that’s quite a revelation! So you do have single,eligible women among your blog audience 😛 Who knew? ( ok so I was referred to this post by someone who would broadly fit those credentials but you know…)
    So , perhaps I can furnish my vital statistics?( such as it is).
    How shall we begin ? Lets see…here post’s an extremely, eligible bachelor in his mid twenties who is too old for a quarter life crisis and too young for a mid life one…
    One who is prudent enough to use a handle to air his views else be relegated to the loony bin. Someone , who only understands too well that humankind cant take too much reality.
    Someone who…
    Hey wait! Why is the queue outside my house dispersing? Hello ?

    ~The Man Who should have Shut up long back

    Me: midtwenties? damn – you should have shut up. now what about the older women? elder brother maybe?

  121. Wait I dont get this..we are talking about smart,educated,upwardly mobile,forward looking, progressive,”women of the 21st century”,acolytes of Simone de Beauvoir ( maybe), the quintessential “pudhumai penn” etc etc

    Now “age” is an issue and want only older men? Tut tut! Where are the Cougar Women when you need them? 🙂

    me: hello – if we’re still being illtreated its unlikely we’re very progressive! that said – you think we’re old enough to be cougars?! thats it. the queue outside your house just ran out! btw – at 30 most of us are still looking to be taken care of. at 45 we might be ready to take care. actually i speak for myself alone and I am already taken. 🙂

    And what kind of logic would make a younger person an “elder brother” 😉 Unless your name is Ms. Benjamin Button.

    Me: and I asked if you have an elder brother. same genes and brains and wit, just a little older. :p

  122. Kisi ko mukammal jahaan nahin milta
    Kisi ko zameen , kisi ko aasmaan nahin milta.

    Fact of life. None of us have it all.
    If we do, it’s transitory.
    Count your blessings.
    Pointing out pitfalls and offering advise to a dear one is absolutely fine, but our own dear MM seeming so disenchanted with love is disheartening.

    Don’t let anyone mess with your spirit.
    Please bounce back!

    Me: I am okay doosi nani. just wish more of us would stand up for our rights, our dignity, and not be pressurised by society to give in, give in, give in until we’ve given up our very souls… Wish someone would tell us that there is no glory in a love that extinguishes the very essence of you.

  123. Rather late I know but had to comment as I’ve “been there ,done that”
    Our wedding was a miserable time for my hubby(henceforth referred to as J) and therefore,also for me-we had waited 2 years for his remaining 2 sisters to get married(they refused thereby cutting their noses to spite their faces),his parents had threatened “suicide” and him being an only ,loving obedient son till then was emotionally tortured by his immediate family-so we had to get married without any of them present-our crime???apart from both being Syr. christ. mallu doctors,we still are not sure why!!
    It’s been 16 years,my parents and family gave us all the love we needed and more…now we’re “sort of” welcome to stay at the “tharavad” on the banks of the Pamba and my two teens don’t want anything to do with them!
    They lost out on their son,their grandkids and a whole lot more…
    Would I advise anyone to go through something like this??
    J and the kids make everything seem so worthwhile..being on different continents definitely helped…I don’t know the answer but thanks for making me think!

    PS this ‘nowhere man” has a real talent for writng..does he have a blog??and believe me,age is just a number…;)

  124. @MM : Ah mea culpa! The fault , in misinterpreting it, is entirely mine. As to answer the question, No I dont have an elder brother ( Not one I am aware of anyway 😛 ) .

    But on a serious note, I think , “modern relationships” is a pertinent and serious issue which I have often raised with my circle of friends,mostly met with a stubborn denial and a response ( “You are a man! You dont understand a woman’s mind!” which is apparently a cogent response and end of the argument .)

    But then once the rubicon is crossed, a perverse form of cognitive dissonance kicks in and next thing you know, they have to be asking the permission of their insecure hubby dear to “talk to an old male friend”.

    Me: LOL! well this is one I can lift my head up and proudly say the hubby dont care about. Its either immense self confidence or my apparent lack of appeal (!) but I often sit up nights with old male friends, chatting away on the balcony while the OA goes off to la la land. I know it shocks a lot of people. But who gives an eff, eh?!

    The cynic in me says this wont change unless more and more women start taking a stance on this. But no chance of that happening in anytime future , is there? Till then , the cake will be eaten..with cherry on top.

  125. Baby, no one has the right to mess with anyone’s soul. People who don’t understand love can go take a huge long walk.
    Society can dish out all the shit it wants to- one can refuse to accept it! They can keep for themselves whatever nonsense they generate, and end up losers because SUCH PEOPLE DO NOT LOVE AND RESPECT THEIR OWN CHILDREN. Cutting them off is painful to a sensitive soul, but ultimately they are the losers if they drive their children to this point.
    This is not to undermine the pain and angst so many have undergone. Not at all.
    The bond between the couple has to be true and fearless. Baaqi, many in-laws are out-laws anyway, whichever way they were acquired:)

  126. @MM : But that’s the point isnt it ? It shouldnt shock people and should be natural. I take it ,of course, you allow hubby dear to do the same with his female..( What was that? You would rather throw him over the balcony? Mmm. East is east, west is west and some twains never meet 😛 )

    Me: Naturally *raises one shocked eyebrow* What is sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander.

    Perhaps you should do another post on things a modern couple take for granted in a relationship and as long as women are suppliant, the “poor innocent male” would pretend to be caught between the rock and the hard place. Things you people let us get away with.

    Me: You dont want us to? More mind games? You want to ‘not be allowed to get away’? Men!

    @Shilpa : Soon.Soon. When polygamy is legalized…

    Me: Dream on!

  127. my interpretation…

    you are using this bhari bharkam angrejjii as a shield for your thoughts..?

    *batting eyelashes*

    ..Shi

  128. guess…MM would be fed up as we are using her comment space as a messenger….:P

    Me: yeah – get a room you guys! and kill each other there for all I care!

  129. @MM : I personally wouldnt..because that.is.too.easy.
    And gets mundane pretty quickly ( or in some people’s double speak “comfort” ) . Indeed,Indeed we always bring the goose analogy when our’s is being cooked:P:P

    @Shilpa : You have lost me there 🙂 Mind expatiaitng on it a bit? Are you saying I am being Machiavellian in employing Johnsonian language to obfuscate my “real thoughts” by wielding it as a shield? :p

    ( I could hardly resist..it was asking for it :))

    Me: 🙂 you’re a wicked child

  130. @MM: Child??child??

    Me: oh alright, I admit it. so I am ageist. sue me!

    @Shilpa :
    *zooming to get a room and a gun too…kya pata kab zaroorat pad jaaye….;)

    That’s suggestive..move over Cougar..we have a Dominat.. ( ouch! ).
    I am out of here 🙂

    Me: yes, getting out of here would be a smart move if you dared to call one of us cougar :p

    have fun, kids!

  131. Came back once again – a sea change in my mood from when i first read it on thursday. Thank you and to all the women who wished me luck – i am trying to move on and much as it sucks, i shall hopefully be out of this emotional quicksand soon.
    In the meantime, is a heartbroken 25 yr old, allowed to whistle at Nowhere Man? 😉

    Me: Go right ahead. I dont see why not. (btw – he seems to be from your part of the world :)) this post was written for you and he’s pretty much the knight in shining armour in a section of comments my usual male readers are scrupulously avoiding!

    I already see the light at the end of the tunnel

  132. Yeah, saw the Tamil references in one of the comments.. 🙂
    Writing you a mail…just had this Eureka moment today on this whole thing.
    Oh, and on the other post – well, what can i say but that any man who can carry off linen pants or a linen suit in white, is worth everything and more.. you are a lucky lady 🙂

  133. MM, thanks! This post really made me think about some stuff I’ve been putting on the backburner for a zillion, million yrs…and yes, made me actually ‘do something’ about it.

    When I started going out with my bf two yrs back, he had asked me if i was willing to convert (he’s a mallu christian and there was no way his parents were going to come around if i didn’t!). I (still all dewy-eyed and mush-stricken) said a ‘yes’ without even thinking for 2 seconds. I told myself that since I wasn’t really religious, converting won’t be an issue. And in the past two years, I have tried (reading up, going to the church etc), but naah…it’s just not working! It’s like as if I’m trying to morph into another person…from agnostic to devout believer. I feel like such a hypocrite. And conflicted, confused, sad, upset, and unsure. I did think about telling him that I’m having second thoughts but it didn’t seem fair to back out after agreeing. But honestly, I can’t just morph into another person, can I? He fell in love with the ‘born Hindu, now agnostic’ me, and not the post-conversion me? And anyways, it’s not that his parents are fine with only the conversion. They have a million objections (I’m 4 yrs older, Bengali, studying for PhD) and are convinced that I’m not good enough for their only son, and that the marriage is definitely destined for splitesville.

    And the worst thing is that he’s one of my closest and oldest friends (I’ve known him for almost a decade). So, I don’t want to give up but there are moments when I question how much should I (or rather, how much am I expected to) ‘adjust’ just so that we can be together.

    I wrote him an email today (to make things worse, we live in different continents) telling him that I am not comfortable with the conversion. I know he’ll say that in that case his parents will never agree etc etc etc. But I just had to do it…for myself.

  134. Nat — If we all remained the people we were when we were younger, we would be very boring people to be around now. I see friends who haven’t changed a bit and it makes me sigh. Not with envy either!

    MMest of MMs — You see yourself as a bitter old cynic. In truth, I look at you and see somebody with quite as much idealism as anybody can ever hope to have. As the inimitable Itchy said, it’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

    And LOL at Dipali looking militant. She wishes!

  135. @MM : Oh perhaps you meant anti-ageist 🙂 Though what’s three years or four between people eh ? There we go again about the knights and shining armour. Here I am shouting “Equality! Equality” and you are suggesting to give a “come hither!” look and play the damsel in distress. What’s the point? Ultimately you will make the equestrian Knight lament on the lines of La Belle Dame Sans Merci 🙂 ( Strictly not out of experience. No,really .)

    @R : Oh whistle all you want..as long as you dont expect a Pavlonian response from me. Yet 🙂 And if you are in chennai, there are plenty of things to do to mend a broken heart.

    Ok for the exasperated souls ,I promise this is one last thing am going to pontificate on this topic, but reading about how chutneysoul initially thought it was reasonable to “convert” from an agnostic to a theist(!) really is the strangest thing I have heard so far. I dont know the specifics of your situation, but not withstanding that, how is it even logical to contemplate such a thing is beyond me! Or for that matter for anyone to even have a that as a precondition for a relationship. I am an atheist and I know the mental gymnastics involved in being one. No “it is is all destiny” , “If I have to marry a douchebag, that’s because of my karma” , “Even Kareena Kapoor has a purpose…” kind of pseudo consolations .

    Oh well sometimes I wonder whether it is even worth the “fight for the fight to fight for the right! “. There is indeed “nothing to be done”.

    All I can say is good luck to you folks. Toodleoo.

  136. @Nowhere Man – You’re from Chennai??????? Now it ALL makes sense.. All sensible people have some connection with Chennai you see 😉 ..

    (*beaming with joy, hurries to share the awesomeness of the thoughts with others who ridicule when talks of Chennai folk commence!.. Oh and also sets off on a hunt for a house with a 1.37 mile long queue in front of it! Any chance of getting any hints for that quest??! ;))

    @R – You’re in the right place. Now you just need to get to know the right people! 🙂 Chin up!

  137. @Anupa : I am “hybrid”. Mix of Chennai and Bangalore almost evenly split. And apparently I dont “look” like a “typical southie” ( Whatever that means :)) .

    Me: you’re a hybrid! that explains it. hybrids are always very cool – this pretty much explains all your theories.

    So ,if at all anyone, I should have a genuine case for whining about being tetherless,anchorless and having no sense of “identity” . Oh where do you think the handle comes from?:P And people ridicule about chennai folks ?Really? No one has done that to me. Or perhaps you are referring to that moniker alluded to anyone south of vindhyas as a “Madrasi ” ?
    Ah didnt you hear the latest? No queue apparently. Women’s fickle mind being thy name, apparently I should have shut long back and no one is interested in a “toy boy” 😛 But perhaps if you are around in the land of perignar “Anna” and nagar..

    @R: Ok here’s a deal..if you are in chennai, would a dinner cheer you up or atleast make you stop whistling? If so my id is with MM.

    @MM: Maybe you should seriously considering making money out of your blog..you know starting a psychological counselling session ( which it partly is ), relationships issues, marriage issues, dating issues, partner swapping.. :p you know the works 😛

    And remember I gave you the idea. You are welcome.

    Me: men and their egos 😀 i’ve had the idea a while, I’ll have you know, young man! and I do it unofficially. you have NO idea how much counselling I do on my madmomma id!

    and dont think i didnt notice the partner swapping you slipped in slyly! menz!

  138. @MM : of course I know you already had the idea. That was written with my tongue firmly in cheek 🙂 But you are already a journalist..how difficult is it to “sell” your writing with your blog as the sample to get a column? Your writing is far far more sensible than(gasp!) Shobha De :p ( Dont kill me if you are her fan )

    Me: not a fan of her writing *shudder* but definitely a fan of the way she built herself up!

    I am/was a freelance writer myself and did pretty ok. But then again I was writing for a niche audience.

    Anyway we are divagating from the topic..will mail you in with my depressive state of mind about not being worried about anything…:)

    Me: oh to be young and carefree :p

    And in my defense it was merely partner swapping..not a menage a trois 🙂 (kidding!)

    Me: since we’ve turned my squeaky clean (!!) mommy blog into a forum for discussing swapping – why leave any stone unturned? i suggest we discuss acid and magic mushrooms too. just to keep up the tempo

  139. @ Nowhere Man: I am only from Chennai, but I live in Bangalore, so figuring out my options in Bangalore. There ARE quite a few, it seems! 🙂 And given I am not the kinds to wallow in my pitiful state, I am already trying to shake off the ‘oh you poor girl with the broken heart’ image – gah, I made the decision to walk out of this relationship, so what the hell am I crying over spilt milk for?
    The dinner invite, why, thank you again. Next time I am in Chennai, I shall reach out to MM 🙂

    @ Anupa: Thank you 🙂 ‘Chinning’ up, already…

  140. @Nowhere Man – Hybrid?? Even better! Although I am hybrid only by upbringing :).. And no, I wasnt referring to the usual “Madrasi” jibe. People from the north tend to stereotype Chennai-ites as boring and geeky. And ever since I have “adopted” chennai as my home, I have been dispel that illusion and get people to realise that lots of very interesting people are connected with Chennai! So you’re an addition to my list 😉

    @R – Well, atleast you can find out if all that whistling was worth the effort! 😉 Enjoy!

    @MM – Apologies for turning your comments section into a chit chat session!

  141. @MM : Acid and magic mushrooms are over rated. Just saying.

    Me: umm… I know. nuff said 😀

    Squeaky clean images are passe 🙂
    I am not “young”..just have rationalized the existential angst.

    @R: Bangalore is great to beat the blues too! thumbs up for not wallowing in self pity. Anyway am around in India for a month or so .

    @Anupa : Why thank you! But in this virtual world, the “place” hardly matters 🙂

  142. >>It’s erosive; it eats into your life, into your happiness, into your Kodak moments and makes everything shine just that teeny little bit less.

    Couldn’t agree more. Have seen it happen. It just kills your life totally. And even if the guy is Strong – it damages the relationship – coz he has to keep fighting his own people – all his life.

  143. I’m not sure if I agree. (Have we ever agreed immediately on anything?!)
    While it’s totally unacceptable to be treated like dirt by your inlaws, what should matter is how your spouse treats you. Does he/she accept what the parents are doing? Does he/she stand by you and protect you from the barbs and taunts? Does he/she insist that you bend over backwards to accommodate the parents?
    You are so happy with the OA (touch wood) and if you feel that it’s worth every tear and every fight, then maybe there will be others who will find that same joy.

    Me: LOL! no – if we agreed there’d be a problem i’m sure! and yes – the reason i am with the OA is because he stood up for me. but the truth is, it takes a long time before you can cut off from them. and up until then its just a constant hammering at your self esteem, watching your kids being treated as less… and more. stuff that no human should have to suffer.

  144. I got married earlier this year, to a guy i had known for 7 years. 7 Years he tried to convince his parents it was a good idea to marry me. They neither met me, nor attended our wedding, and i have yet to meet them. For the moment it is fine as we don’t have any children, so the heartbreak has not yet started…..but i can’t help but think all the time that there were so many people, so many famililes out there that would have loved to have had me as a daughter in law, and that they really are missing out. I know our children won’t be treated the same as their other grandchildren, and that is what really upsets me. I don’t know how people can be like that, honestly. Am absolutely dreading having to meet them, as my husband still goes there and is trying hard to get me assimilated/accepted by them. It may eventually happen but not until they have worn me down with their shit. I don’t want to moan too much because i married the person i wanted to marry, and yes i would go through it all again, but like you, if i saw anyone in a similar situation, i would advise them to cut their losses and run, and go to a family that want you, will love you and look after you. I evny my sister in law who is so well looked after by my mother fussing over her all the time, and particularly now that she is pregnant, as i know my in laws will never ever do the same.

  145. Pingback: Love and other bugs « In my own little world….

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