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xx some guidance please
« Thread started on: Jul 19th, 2010, 4:15pm »

July 5, 2010

I got married 2 years ago after dating my husband for 4 years. I'm Gujarati and my husband is Tamil. About a year into the relationship, I told my family (parents, older sister, and 2 younger brothers) that there was someone in my life. The normal indian drama ensued. I was disowned and when things blew over they were very hesitant to accept my husband. My parents finally agreed to the wedding because they felt like they had
"lost". The wedding planning was a mess. The wedding was beautiful. But what it took to get there was a knock down drag out fight! As soon as we got married, my parents turned a new leaf. They are caring and accepting of my husband. The problem is now my husband wants nothing to do with them and is very very bitter (initally just with my family and now with me). I understand him and what he feels. But definitely feel like I am constantly in impossible situations. I feel guilty and sad all the time. I'm so tired of discussing this with friends. I need some help/resources. Any advice would be helpful.

Hi! I wanted to leave an update. Thanks Vijay Uncle. When I wrote that email I was miserable. I wasn't sleeping and I was so mired in my problems that I just couldn't see a way out. I am ashamed to admit it but I was so lost and depressed that I considered ending my life. But, your advice was spot on. The message was hard to read because I didn't want to admit to myself that I had made a mistake or go down the road of the divorce. I just wanted my husband to change. I read your message and then just looked away. It was tough to read. But, I did walk away with the idea that I can only change and control myself. And I went to town with that. I stopped worrying about what I wasn't getting from the relationship, how I had given up my family for this man who turned out to be such a bad choice. And how this marraige wasn't what I had signed up for and how miserable I felt all the time. Instead, I started going to therapy, reading self help books, keeping a journal, watching youtube vidoes about marriage, stopped talking to friends about it and really worked hard on being the best 50% of this relationship I could be. I did EVERYTHING I COULD POSSIBLY THINK OF. The thought was that if my marriage was ending then I had no choice then to throw everything at it.

It was SOO hard and often I felt like I was making so many positive changes and he just got to be a jackass. I watched the way I used my words and really worked to change the dynamic of our arguments. I wouldn't get caught up in a 6 hour shouting match. If things got heated, I asked for a time out to consider his side, started journaling, and made plenty of emergency appointments for the therapist. For a good while, my efforts were going unnoticed. I kept reminding myself that the problem didn't happen overnight and the solution wouldn't come overnight either. Things even got worse before they got better. Then slowly, conversation started to open up again.

I express myself in written form a lot better than I do verbally so I started writing emails to open up the discussion and then follow up in person. Or I would just write down what I would like to talk about and use that as a way to get my thoughts across, work through my own logic and question myself. That way by the time I was speaking with him, I wasn't inserting random things into our conversation or getting so emotionally worked up that I stopped being able to communicate.

So in the last 6 months, we have definitely turned a new leaf. The fighting has significantly decreased. My husband has much more respect for me. Since I've put in the "work" I have earned the right to bring up issues in our marraige versus before he felt like I just complained all the time but, never really worked on anything. And I see that now that I was spoiled - not financially but emotionally. I just wanted him to fix everything and be everything.

We don't have a perfect marriage and I don't know how we will work out all of our issues but, we are definitely in a much more productive place and on a positive trajectory. And I continue to work on myself and work out our issues.

I was vehemently against arranged marriage before. I wanted to be loved for who I was and not because my father was so and so or that I was from the US. It seemed like a life sentence to have an arranged marriage. At 31 and after a few years of marriage, I get it now. I understand why it does work.

My advice to all the single ladies:
- Be open and aware of the energy and expectations you bring to the table.
- Have your top 3 or 5 non negotiable things that you look for and not be so hell bent about everything else. Let some of it go.
- Don't let other people (i.e. friends, cousins) into your marriage. It's fine to talk and share but, there are and should be boundaries. Eventually your friends gradually start resenting/hating your husband because you've been bashing him constantly. And when things turn around and it's happy time again for the two of you, your loyal friends still hate him if all they have heard for the past year is how much of an asshole your husband is. That makes it incredibly difficult to have a long term friendships and a supportive infrastructure. Now you have added another source of tension into the relationship.
- And finally - Marriage is most definitely between two families (even is your partner has only 1 other relative). The families have to be committed to your success and be a support system for you. The most ideal couple can be thrown off without it.

Thanks so much Vijay Uncle and I look forward to your continued advice. I still have a lot of growing up to do smiley
« Last Edit: Dec 7th, 2010, 4:45pm by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

Vijay Mehta

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xx You ask for it and you got it!
« Reply #1 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 4:48pm »

Hi Guiltygirl,

Unfortunately your story was absolutely predictable. Guy meets the girl - they fall in love - girl's parents object thinking that she could do much better - more villainous the parents more the couple come closer - finally parents give up -marriage takes place - parents realize nothing can change accept the son in law.

Once the villain is removed from their life - the most important thing that was bringing them to gather is no more. Suddenly, the man and woman have to take a good look at themselves. Add to this, the resentment that were built up over the years of humiliation and rejection that guy went through. So now disintegrating factors are much stronger than uniting factors.

One thing you must not do is to bring one more life to this complicated drama. Use double contraceptives, just in case one were to fail. Knowing fully well that sex life now may not be existing.

Ideally, I would have advised husband to factor all these at the front end so he does not become as bitter. I would have counseled him before the drama began.

But all these is in the past. Both of you need to ask a simple question. If i had known everything I know now, back four years ago, would I still marry him/her? If the answer from both of you is a clear 'No' - consider counseling and possible divorce. You might be still young enough to find someone else.

However, if one or both of you answer it in affirmative - it it time to cool down and revisit what was about each other that you loved in the first place. What was about him/her that you as a couple went against the strong headwinds and got married. Both of you need to write it down in details. When you are in a good mood read what the other person wrote about you.

Next, make up your mind weather you as a couple are willing to forgive all the villains in your life in order to live a happy life.

I suspect the your husband is so occupied with getting even with your parents that he is willing to sacrifice his own and your happiness.

Forgiveness is a virtue. But the question is - did you fall in love with and did you fight the whole world for a man who is mature enough to have it?

I hope your husband reads this and decides to post the 'rest of the story' anonymously.

One thing I would caution is a misconception that 'time heals everything.' Time does not heal anything but what you do in time does heal things. So, whatever you do have a game plan to resolve this issue.

Good luck

Do keep us posted.

Another home work for you to reflect upon what specifically you can do to be a better wife? Sometimes we are so busy expressing our pain that we do not see the pain of others. Only person whose behavior is under your control is - YOU! So let us start from our end.

This also points to a trap you fall into when you are madly in love (specially against your family and friends). So much of your energy is spent on getting to the 'mandap' that not enough is invested in what to do after marriage. Once you achieve your goal and become the husband and the wife, the reality sets in. That is one of the most important reasons the so called 'love marriages' have performed poorly over the ages against so called no drama (boring) marriages. ~Vijay Uncle
« Last Edit: Jul 20th, 2010, 10:05am by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

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