LOVE-ARRANGED MARRIAGE culture shock indian marriageI in laws from hell independent woman

My In-Laws Can't Tolerate That I'm An Independent Wife...

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

I got married 11 years ago. It was a typical arranged marriage set-up. Boy meets girl over a cup of coffee, and their fates are sealed in the next two meetings. 

He was a well-settled NRI man with good family values. He ticked all the boxes in my parents’ checklist, which got them even more excited than me to find their perfect match. 

Like most parents here, they were in a hurry to get me married since I had just turned 28. An age where those in our society start raising eyebrows. All the more, I was a well-educated, working woman and was living life independently, on my own terms. 

We got engaged quickly. Everything was heading in the right direction. By this time, even I was excited about getting married and settling abroad with him. Planning our new life and setting up our new home, a whole new world was opening up for me. 

Soon, my in-laws started to realise that I wasn’t their average Indian bahu (daughter-in-law). I wasn’t shy or oppressed. I wasn’t going to start working any magic on my in-laws.

I wasn’t going to try to earn their love by bending down to their demands either. I expected to be deserving of this love because their son and I had chosen each other as life partners. 

I was expected to leave my job soon after so I could sit at home and learn how to cook and take care of the house. Weekends went in going and staying with them so I could learn the ways of the family - it didn't matter that the man I was going to marry was not even in the country at that time. Differences started coming up when I dared to refuse, putting my foot down to quitting my job. 

Complaints went to my fiance, who in turn used to call me and coax me to give in, saying it is only till we get married and move abroad. I believed in him and thought everything would work out once we got married, and I used to give in. But after we got married, things started worsening over a period of time.

Small disagreements were stretched into conflicts and periods of silent treatment by the husband, who would refuse to speak to me until I would apologize for putting up a fight and give in to his various wishes.

Matters that were so important between a husband and wife - finances, home, etc. were never discussed with me but with his elder brothers as it is not a girl's business as put in their family. 

I was not allowed to work again as I was expected to just sit at home, take care of the house, and raise my daughter. At every point in my life, I was made to feel like an outsider - like it was not my home - my way of cooking, raising my daughter, and even the way I used to talk was pointed out.

To the extent that my mother-in-law once even told my husband in front of me that I don't have any sanskar and that I could never be a part of their family because he never let me stay with them and learn their ways. 

My husband could not take this, and he started blaming me for the growing divide between the family - what used to start as arguments turned into verbal abuses on a personal level to target my friends and family. 

The fights turned ugly where I was called names, things were thrown in fits of rage and days of not talking to each other, followed up by him being apologetic and begging for forgiveness, promising me it would never be repeated.

If I voiced my opinion or asked for anything that would be against his thoughts or ideas, I was put down and degraded until I learned to be quiet and stopped asking or expecting anything. I began feeling like I was living on a roller coaster where I could never know how the next turn was going to be - like I was living someone else's life as if nothing felt real. 

I turned into a maid for his house and his child and a sex toy for himself all these years. My in-laws cut off all relations with me - they don't care whether my daughter or I are living or dead and then came to a stage where my husband and I were also not on talking terms.

To the outside world, ours is an ideal marriage - a small family of 3- A husband in a good position earning in foreign currency, living in skyscrapers, driving a fancy car. But inside, it is a hollow shell - one that I am unable to crawl out of - for the sheer fear of how I would manage alone with a daughter to think maybe this is what I deserve. 

Today, no one would trust me if I say he's a manipulative, narcissistic man, as he's cultivated his image so well with his friends, colleagues, and relatives.

Maybe one day I will get the courage to get up and walk away with my head held high till then, I live this life, struggling to get up each day, face my fears and answer my innocent child why me and her father don't get along.

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