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Inlaw Relations/Trouble in Marriage


My husband and I had causally known each other for last 13 years before getting married. Now is the 4th year of our marriage.  I was never in favor of getting married because I dread the complexities that arise from staying together with a man for such a long time.  I have been raised by my maternal grandparents and never shared a deep connection with my biological parents. My own parents were rather close to my brother. I felt hurt, irritated, hatred and sad with parentís non-acceptance rather distant behavior for quite a long time before my brother died in 2008.  My maternal grandmother who was a working lady played the pivotal role in raising me. My mother did a love marriage and the temperament of my grandmother and father never worked out smoothly. Result: Frequent fights at home (My grandparents and parents stay together in the same house belonging to my grandmom). I always supported my granny and acted as a buffer and pacifier after every quarrel. Again, when things turned out smooth temporarily, granny used to criticize me if I behaved badly/ bluntly with my parents for their ignorance or hurtful behavior. My childhood days was like a ping pong ball Ė thrown from one court to another. I grew as a people pleaser always acting / pretending to make things run smoothly. However, no one except my grandmother stood beside me during my darkest days. I fall in love with an alcoholic abusive man much older than me in search of freedom from the tyrannies of home. At last things didnít work out. I was shocked, lonely, confused after breaking free from the abusive relationship. Well after few more one-sided relationships, I eventually settled for a career and my grandma was staying with me. After my brother died, I was being burdened with the responsibility of looking after my grieving parents who never cared for my enough. Suddenly, they were falling onto me for support of every kind. I ran away far from my hometown with job offer in a new city and settled alone without my grandmother.

Later, I grew unhappy with the job and asked for support from my present husband. I could never get back home as my parents would tear me apart with their nagging criticisms and more. I started staying with my husband as a friend. My grandma was aware of the fact.  Well later she became so sensitive and afraid about my live-in status (in our culture it is badly looked down) she confided with my parents. Drama started. They wanted us to get married immediately but both of us said ďNoĒ to all stupid emotional blackmailing stuffs. I was not in love with my husband. He was my emotional and financial pillar then. My loud grandma denied that she knew about my living status as my parents always questioned her liberal parenting style. She went ahead and spoke harshly to my in-laws trying to convince them that they should request us to get married. Well, my in-laws are very polite and soft people. They always tolerated the grudged expressed by my family.  Even when they felt hurt, they never expressed their feelings to my folks just to avoid bad confrontations.

Eventually, we married. I tried to gel up with my in-laws as my own parents. My husband gave me the hint that I am their own daughter. Automatically, I developed so much of expectations. I started believing that they would happily tolerate all my behaviors even negative tantrums, dislikings, emotional setbacks just as my grandma or my husband do. Well, things turned out opposite. Since they are very gentle people, they prefer household affairs to be always calm and smooth. Quarrels or unpleasantness is badly looked upon. I believe intimate relationship means whatever one dos, the other person will accept it and let it go. But in this case, they never utter anything but keep the unhappiness in their minds and hearts. They always demonstrate the role models of ďtoo good parentsĒ. I feel so much guilt that my own folks are so ugly in front of them. My in-laws are so perfect that they go on pardoning me and my folks who behaves so badly with them without uttering a word. I started feeling so much suffocated living with all their softness and goodness. Since my husband is my best friend, I never hide any of the negative issues/complaints I have against my in-laws in my mind. Infact, he wanted me to share everything in detail. The comfort I feel when my grandma visits us and stay for longer duration is awesome. She takes care of all my household stuffs from cooking to cleaning. I hate household stuffs. But when my in-laws visit, I am under tremendous pressure to manage the household. They never demand anything but I donít know why I no longer feel good with them. My ma-in-law will sweetly share about her ailments and then insist on helping me. As a sane person, how could I ask for domestic help knowing her health conditions? Additional to these, my husbandís family as good parents always pour their suggestions for our betterment. Well, I hate advices when not asked. I grew up with an independent outlook. I did what I wanted to do. If I failed, I learnt a lesson. Thatís it! Well, at my in-laws place, they are a close knit family always sharing things, guidance, and warmth etc.etc. I love my space. So obviously when my my in-laws visit, I am overwhelmed with mental pressure and could not manage but display a tensed, sad face. I am always honest with my feelings. After 2 days, I get adjusted with them. One more thing haunts me too much. Financial help that my husband offer to his parents. They have a divorced elder son who is now working. Earlier, he was sick and out of job. Elder son supports them financially yet they would either save the amount for his future and never disclose about their financial requirements. They have a readymade answer ďWe will manage, donít worry. You guys stay happyĒ. Yet, they will live in shabby conditions in miserly state. This pains my husband and asks for my permission to help them financially. All this time, my husband has taken care of them and isnít it now the turn of the elder son to take care? For him, they have all the sympathies because he had a very bad marriage that caused him legal consequence, he lost his jobs, he underwent spinal cord surgery, he is now medically depressed etc etc etc. This annoys me too much.  I am never tactful in my conversation with my husband. So I have always openly expressed my unhappiness on these fact too.

Now this time, they visited when my grandma was staying with us. I was so unhappy with few of their lifestyle activities that I shared with my grandmother. She was also annoyed observing their behaviors. She is always concerned that I am not under pressure due to my in-laws. However, things got really bitter. I was already angry when my MIL was finding that my husbandís diet is not adequate. I found this irritating. When he is at his parentís place, my MIL doesnít provide great food options for him. Moreover, my husband was so lean before I came in his life. He himself confesses his health has improved with my supervision. Later, my FIL concerned with his sonís health and work pressure, suggested me to visit a doctor. Well, they never visit their son when he is alone (while I am staying with my grandma in my hometown). They could take care of his diet and lifestyle in my absence. I feel they treat me like his caretaker so burden me with so many advices. When it comes to contribution, my grandma is the one who may be sharp tongue, ill-mannered (when depressed), quarrelsome, judgmental, loud mouth, bit controlling, and overtly dramatic (maybe itís because she lost 2 of her adult sons), always steps ahead and prepared meals for everyone and managed the domestic help. One day, when I was sick and my grandmother conveyed that my FIL was really concerned that his son is not taking ample care of his health and may fall sick, I lost my patience and protested to my in-laws and expressed my grudges to my husband openly. A bad fight occurred between me, in-laws and grandmother; my husband took my side and protested to his father. In the past too, my husband and FIL fought badly numerous times for family issues. But this time, it seems my grandmother is the culprit for provocation the fight.  This time, my FIL poured few grudges against my grandmother that he held in his heart for a long time. Few days later, in-laws left with a sad, heavy heart and decision to avoid visiting us.

Now, recently my husband broke his silence and told that I have problem with all family including him. Also, I am puppet in my grandmaís hand and she is using me to break me off from my new family. He is a wonderful sensitive soul to stand me in my darkest days. Now any issue goes back to the hurtful episode his parents experienced. Itís too much for me. It seems his parents and him have crossed the threshold of tolerance for our utter bitterness. He told that earlier I was sharing a daughter bond with my in-laws, now I hate to hear even about them because my grandma has brainwashed me.  My husband also told his parents never causes such a problem for which they deserve such a bad fight/ behavior whereas my grandma is much a troublemaker yet he tolerates. Thatís why I always avoid my bringing my grandmother into our house yet he insists. Now, he is repenting. He and his family (I spoke to his mother after the fight to smoothen things) has so much of blames for her. Reality she was too pissed off with the over-concerns my in-laws was having for their son. I distanced from my in-laws because I donít feel comfortable anymore. Yet I am always there to support when they need me. Emotionally, I am not close to them. They can never understand the complexities of my mind. I gave him the option of separating so that because of me he never has to distance from his parents. Yet he is not agreeing. Our relationship is going from bad to worse. I simply hate to stay with him when I have realized the grudge he holds for me and my horrible loud-mouth grandma. I don't want another pity of getting pardoned from him and his so-good parents.Please suggest

Hello Sharmistha,

I went through your query many a times and I just have one question -- why are you so afraid to be happy? I am sorry but I may sound harsh - your parents are no emotional support, your grandmother cannot live with you forever. But you are still ready to give up on your husband who seems like he is your soul mate. You think the only way out is to move away from him since you find him too good to be true? Your inlaws may be very different from your own family but they don't seem like cunning people. You can't tolerate free advice but there is nothing hard and fast that you have to follow it. Listen to them and forget it the next minute if you think it's bad suggestion. Most parents are possessive and can't accept that their son is an adult and can eat or drink as he wishes.  Guess your husband will have to convey that to them that he is capable enough to be healthy.  I would say hang on to this guy, he is the best for you. This major fiasco will continue to weigh on everybody's mind but time is a big healer.  It's time to grow up and face the world without having to lean on anybody for emotional support.  



Inlaw Relations

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Can tackle queries pertaining to relationship with in-laws especially in cases of love marriages, where both partners belong to different cultures or backgrounds or social strata or castes or countries.


20 years of married life, cross cultural experience, in India.

Masters in Business Administration

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