International Relations


I am really at a roadblock here. I am American and my fiancé is Indian, however, he spent most of his life in England & the US, so he’s not very “Indian”. His parents live in India. Earlier this year, they came to stay with us for two months. It was the hardest two months of my life!!!  Now, he is talking about bringing them to the US so he can be near them once they are retired. This is becoming a cause for concern to me.

The entire time they were here, I felt suffocated. I know that I need to speak to my fiancé about this, but I can’t quite pinpoint what the issue is, so I don’t know how to talk to him about it. Basically, they were stuck in the house when they were here, so they were around ALL the time, which in and of itself was difficult. His mother took over the kitchen, and I was expected to eat everything she cooked (which was all vegetarian – I am a meat eater – and I am not really crazy about Indian food to begin with). I felt like I had no choice. His parents said to him how happy they were that I, unlike “most Americans”, ate their food without question. Yet, I felt like his mother would have been severely offended if I didn’t eat it. SHE refused to eat any American food aside from pizza the entire time she was here.

We ate when they wanted to eat, which is about 2-3 hours later than our normal dinner time. They constantly questioned me about where I was going. They got offended if I forgot to tell them that I wouldn’t be home for dinner. They did some sightseeing but weren’t overly excited about it. His father made some comments about one or two of my outfits and it was requested that I not show my legs. They gave us no time to ourselves and no time alone.

I don’t know if this is truly what I’m feeling but it almost feels like I am to respect their culture by eating their food on their time frame and wearing clothes that make them comfortable, yet they won’t try any new American food, and they refuse to learn more about my culture and instead focus on the things I do that are acceptable in their culture (which are things I’m only doing to make them happy). I just found out today that they went home singing my praises not because I’m a good person or I take good care of their son or I have a lot of great skills, but because I’m learning to speak Hindi (stretching the truth) and because I know how to tie a Sari (because apparently that makes me more “Indian”). It’s like all that matters is that I’m more like them – like they don’t respect any part of me that’s different – or more like they don’t even care to learn about it. I’m an avid dancer – east coast swing, country two step, line dancing – and I’m decent – and not once did they ask me about it. I’m a writer – not once did they ask about my writing. It was all about finding ways that I’m Indian to make me less American.

There are some people that come to America from other countries only to wish that America were just like the country they came from. If my future in-laws come over here to live, they are going to be those people. They are going to act like they do in India regardless of its acceptability and I feel like this is going to be a major infringement our future lives. Basically, I have this gut feeling that they are only moving here because it means so much to my fiancé. In India, people drop by and visit. When they move here, they will not know one but us. I cannot deal with coming home to my in-laws at my house for the rest of my life. But for the life of me, I can’t put my finger on why.

Any idea on how to discuss this with my fiancé and what it may be that is driving me up a wall about his parents?
 

Jamie,
First, if you are unable to talk to your fiancée about this then you for sure need to be postponing the wedding. You are not ready to marry if you cannot talk about this with him.
Second, Dating is a time in which you get information that lets you know if you are making a right choice. So I ask you, are you making a right choice. This choice includes your fiancés family whether you like it or not. What may be driving you up the wall is the fact the you got a brief glimpse of what life will be like when they move here. Only it will be more intense because they will not be going back. Now you may say to yourself my love will carry me through….I can handle it….Those may be true the first few years. It’s the longevity of it that will get to you. SOOOO I suggest you sit with your fiancée and be VERY clear with him about your above experience. I would even suggest possibly waiting or not marrying because unless he is willing to put aside the family traditions, that will be difficult to put aside, there will be struggles in the future. He may tell you that things won’t change between you and him. You can only know this from what he was like when his parents were here, but is that a risk you want to take?

One thought on “International Relations

  1. Hello there. I was sent a link to your blog by a friend a while ago. I have been reading a long for a while now. Just wanted to say HI. Thanks for putting in all the hard work.

    Jennifer Lancey

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