Meeting the Parents

Mera dil bhi kitna pagal hai ye pyar to tumse karta hai
Par saamne jab tum aate ho kuch bhi kehne se darta hai…

(My silly hearts loves you, but is afraid to confess it in your presence)

What I’m about to say might not be in the same context as this song, but comes closest to it. Normally A’s the perfect husband; considerate, caring, helping. I’ve happily confessed many times on my blog that I feel blessed to be married to a gem like him. He’s more resilient than I ever can be and can tolerate my insanity and temper with surprising ease. He showers me with endless ‘I Love You’s , random pecks and hugs are aplenty, making me feel like a very desirable queen! 🙂

Having said that, there’s another side to this story in which the queen magically gets converted into a make-shift stranger. And it does not feel good! 😦

Let me elaborate a bit on this. One thing that me and A end up arguing most when at my in-laws’ place is his indifference towards me. When we’re on our own I’m at liberty to voice my opinion and behave according to my wish and will. But in front of his parents I’m expected to blindly follow their rules, no matter how demeaning and chauvinistic they are. The usual excuse is, ‘Follow them for as long as you’re here. You’re free to do what you want at our place’. Is there really the need to have such double standards, especially when I detest it from the core?

Forget about the cute mushy habits, I know they are tough to follow (the concept of stolen moments is lost on him) when there’s people just about everywhere. But aren’t there simple things that can convey love too? Or is it a taboo to express your feelings when your parents are around? The MIL doesn’t mind claiming full right on her son for as long as we’re there while I’m left sulking and grimacing for not being able to get through to him. Tricky situation, and my loss all the way.

This setting is bearable when the number of days is limited to single digits. When it starts getting longer than that, it becomes a pain and I can’t wait to come back home and get my normal husband back. It is not at all exciting to have to endure all this. I’ve not been able to figure out where exactly the problem lies. Is it the mother who still can’t let go of her son? Or the son who thinks ignoring his wife would make his mother feel better? Or the stupid belief that we need to bow down to our elders’ wishes at all times?

Whatever the case, I don’t see myself being freed from this maze anytime soon.

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14 thoughts on “Meeting the Parents

  1. Hmm common problem seen everywhere in every case..be it showing love in anywhich way or doing something or the other…I know what it's like better than you given that I live with my MIL..but that's all set and understood between us all now and we're kind of accustomed to the situations …I guess it's okay to follow their rules and beliefs..I won't call it as double standards since you still believe in what you want to do..not that you change your beliefs totally,right ? Also,matter of few days..if you can do this little bit to keep them happy..too less a cost,ya ?After all don't we say that 'When in Rome do what Romans do' ?HUGS sweetie !

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  2. hmm its all to do with the way we are brought up I think.. like in some houses, parents show love in front of their kids, they are not ashamed of it, nor do they think its a taboo… when these kids grow up and get married, showing love for their partners comes naturally to them and is turned a blind eye to by the parents…but in homes where parents did not express their love in front of others, for any reason, be it fear of their elders, being shy or thinking about 'what will people say', its difficult for the next generation to change the convention…I understand what you mean by 'double standards' and I have questioned myself the same thing many times, even if it means a single visit to his parents' would mean turning the wardrobe upside down for a salwar-kameez, but I console myself saying a battle avoided better than a war won! You can always express love though, I think, not sure how, never been in that position 🙂

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  3. I'm with Celestial…probably depends on the way one is brought up. If one's parents displayed affection openly, then one is more likely to display it with their own partner. But…I also would like to add…I think this thing about sons behaving one way in front of their mothers as against when it's just the wife and kids is something that can become a huge problem later…my dad is the perfect example. My mum pretty much ran the house and did her thing even though dad is the breadwinner. Then 10 years ago, my grandma i.e. dad's mum, moved in with us. Dad has never said boo to her and has always given in to her whims and fancies. Since she moved in, she has always criticised what my mum does or how my mum will eat dinner before dad gets home some nights (dad can get home at 10) or how my sister and I would go out, or how mum would go to the gym! And yet, my dad wouldn't say anything to her resulting in conflict between him and my mum. To this day, my grandma makes life a misery for them and I'm the only one who has escaped…

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  4. @Nu: Yupp…honestly first! :)Honestly, having to live with her for more than a few days sends shivers down my spine. I commend your ability to do that.Someone else told me the same thing, the Rome example. I agree with it but the thing is that even if we do behave like a Roman we're not taken as one! They know in reality we are not that and think our submittance to them as an act of disguise or show-off.It is the expectation to surrender to them that I have a problem with. Aren't we entitled to a life and world of our own?

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  5. @Swaram: The genuineness of our acts are not even a concern sometimes, liked a programmed robot we follow them, no matter what. I find that insulting in some ways, still I oblige, only to invite even more criticism.Trust me dear, I had to wait 10 full days to get some time with my husband alone. That happened only when I came home. Sad?

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  6. @Celly: Right right…childhood plays a big role in this matter and I know where this attitude of A has come from. Lets just say apart for parental love he never saw any other 'bonding' kind of thing in his family, ever! Not just about not being expressive, on some occasions I've seen husbands being downright rude and bossy with their wives. May be the subtle and respectful behaviour of this generation is new to them!The need to fit in, or to please them becomes irritating sometimes, don't you think? even after all your efforts you can't be sure of what might come your way. But giving in is the only solution. 😦

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  7. @PB: I can totally identify with your Mom's situation right now. There are many Moms who're happy to be on their own after their kids grow up, but there are many who just wouldn't let go. They're stuck in a time-frame in which they constitute the kid's whole world. In such a case, even his wife becomes a hindrance, a competition. They crave for more time, favouritism, etc etc.Knowingly or unknowingly to them, this is bound to create clashes between the husband and wife. Even if he wants he wouldn't side with her. For someone who hasn't ever taken such silent beating this is unbearable. Hope you Grandma sees through what's right and what's not and leaves your parents alone.

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  8. @PB: same pinch with the grandma stuff…though I don't mean to talk bad about her here 🙂 Just could relate so much with your family set up!

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  9. It is such a bad situation to be in. I don't know if there is any suggestion that I can give. But I can understand your frustration and see why you get so upset. If only the husband and MIL tried to make you feel comfortable around the house, things would be so much better. When you are treated like an outsider you feel like an outsider..not part of the family and I think that is where you anger is coming from.Loads of Hugs.. since that is all I can do from now 😐

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  10. @Comfy: The one who's worst affected in this whole situation is the husband, and I feel bad about it sometimes. He's caught between his love for his wife and his duty towards his mother. He's tried to reason with me many times that she's past the age where anyone else's opinion matters to her. Isn't oldage a kind of revisited childhood? Same stubbornness and unreasonable behaviour. I do get his point and agree with him most of the times, when the patience wears out a post like this comes up! I'm fine now dear…thanks…got it out of my system….Hugs to you too (and they mean a lot)!! 🙂

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  11. i would most certainly say that it is the insecurity of the older woman that prompts such behaviour on the part of the husband towards his wife. but i don't agree with the view that those who have seen their parents show affection towards each other would do so later with their spouses. I come from a very traditional conservative family but am very expressive and so are my children, one of whom is married with a kid! I delight in it when they show affection to each other. It makes me feel so warm and good to see them happy!

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  12. @zephyr: I seriously wish there were more people like you around! Is it so difficult to understand that the love for a mother and for a wife cannot be compared? While kids are closest to their mothers, with age and time a maturity sets in where your companion means a lot to you too. Displays of love comes still later, isn't it irritating when you can't even get some time alone? This insecurity is beyond me, honestly.

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