Red Flags

Dear daughter SP,

If you date an Indian guy and are engaged to him, and the seemingly nice parents (esp the mom) of his use the following expressions, expect tremendous interference in your life from them unless you do some work of bringing them on the same page as you and your fiance:

  • I am bringing a daughter-in-law to my house: They feel your marriage is about them, not about their son and you. They don’t realize that you and your husband are building your own nest. You are as much an extension to their family as your husband is to our family. Will they be okay if I say “I am bringing a son-in-law to my house”? Some work needs to be done to put them in the right mindset.
  •  You are like my daughter: When there is a conflict between you and your husband (about chores or vacation or just opinions), sympathy (or even tears) will be expressed in favor of your husband but not you.  I don’t blame her, she’s the mom. But why make a show of mother-daughter relation that is impossible to acheive? What happens if there is a divorce? Is the mother-daughter relation intact?  Plus, a mother could be a term to exercise control.  It’s very easy  for her to get away with a nasty comment saying, “I would say the same to my daughter! She wouldn’t mind it”. Some work needs to be done to keep expectations realistic.
  •  In our family, this is how it’s done: If you come across statements like this, the hidden intent of which is to ‘advise’ you to do it in the same way, remember that from your perspective, the advice is an option. The person (or rather the relation) giving the advice does not put any weight on the soundness of the advice. You could choose it or reject it as you deem appropriate. Some work needs to be done to manage egos.

If your fiance feels there is no need to put them in the right mindset or make their expectations realistic or manage their egos, consider them RED FLAGS. You are not trying to change his relationship with them, you are just trying to start your relationship with them on the right note. He has to do the homework to ensure harmony between his parents and his spouse. You are not demeaning what they have done for him; you respect his relationship with his parents. You just want to make sure they respect his relationship with you.

And yes, I would love to engage in the level-setting exercise you conduct between your fiance and his in-laws 😉

You loving mom,

Small Town Feminist…it’s no joke!

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3 Responses to Red Flags

  1. Well said! I read a post about how difficult it is for a man to ‘balance’ his relations with his mother and his wife.The fact is, if the man didn’t interfere at all, the wife would have the socially forbidden options of ignoring the criticism (really ignoring does not mean doing as one is told) and/or expressing her opinion, or disagreeing or asking the other person to agree to disagree, or asking for personal space etc, as an equal family member.
    Women now have more choices than ever before and must refuse to marry into such families, or to such men.

  2. khaane mein kya hai? says:

    Hi, I hopped across from IHM’s blog. I like the way you write. I hope you’ve got more posts coming. But back to your post – #1 & #2 really struck a nerve. Here’s a couple of things I’d like to tell my MIL (who btw is the nicest lady ever and her strange MIL mmts are brought on by spending an afternoon with a certain Aunty S!)
    #1. I respect you, I care for you, I will always be there for you, I will never interfere in your relationship with your son, I will live within a 1 km radius of where you do regardless of expense/rent/savings,…..but I will not stay IN your house. I’ve a right to build my own nest and your slightly smiling yet sad resignation makes me feel guilty which I don’t like at all. So cut it out please.
    #2. You brought up the man I adore and who is the centre of my universe. But lets face it – we’re bound together by this one special man. You’re not my mother, and I’m not your daughter. It takes years for such a bond to form. Give it time – eventually we might learn to love each other like moms and daughters. Till then lets treat each other with respect and acknowledge we’re both adults with a view of the world.

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