Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ask Firangi Bahu: "Will moving in with my Indian boyfriend hurt my chances of being accepted?"



Sharing a letter from a reader...


"Hi,

I stumbled on your blog as a westerner dating a Muslim Desi man. We are both late 20's. We have been in a long distance relationship for nearly a year. Marriage has been brought up. We are both very much in love. 

His parents have no idea that he's dating anyone. This slightly bothers me because it does make me feel like he's ashamed of me but I know from your blog and elsewhere, that it's mostly cultural. He does not have a stable job yet. I know it would not go over well. He's trying to better himself and I'm trying to move passed the secrecy and am not pressuring him to announce me (even though it does make me sad). I am trying to think long term. 

This said, he has asked me to move in with him. I would love to. My question is this though: how much do you think this will hurt my future chances to be an accepted DIL? I'd prefer not to hide anytime they come to visit, which is not often currently but still. I am thinking to tell him that I will relocate to his city but out of respect for his family that I will live alone until he is ready to tell them. Or does that sound like an ultimatum, which I am truly not trying to impose upon him. Monetarily it would make most sense for me to live with him but I really don't want to start off on the wrong foot if it would be irreparable..."


What advice can we give to our fellow masala reader?
Did you live with your Indian partner before marriage?
 Did it help/hurt your relationship with your future inlaws?

Please comment below....


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33 comments

  1. It may impact the early days but long term it is about your boyfriend (maybe husband) standing up and presenting you positively and having your side when the going gets tough

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  2. My punjabi husband and I met in college and only dated 6 months before marriage. We lived down the street from each other. We did not live together before marriage. Actually we didnt even live togrther the first month after marriage because of lease commitments. It was a very unique situation. My inlaws really didnt care I dont think but it never came up. Our relationship was a whirlwind no one really had a chance to think too far into it

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  3. Also there are Indian couples who cohabitate now so keep that in mind. What is your boyfriend's family background? Mostly love marriages? Do the women work? Are they from an urban area? These will impact how it begins... but long term they need to see that HE asked you... you didn't trick him into being together! If there is an issue it likely won't be just because you lived together.

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  4. I lived with my Indian boyfriend in India together with his mother for a few months in one house but we stayed in seperate rooms so I guess it won't help much.

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  5. Aha, I love the idea of giving ideas for masala couples now lol. You haven't given your advice though!

    Did you live with your Indian partner before marriage? - I am the Indian partner and Yes.

    Did it help/hurt your relationship with your future inlaws? - Nope. I am answering it for the western partner's side in term to relationship with Indian in laws.

    My view -

    I believe every couple and the challenges they face are different and there is no blanket advice to give. You would need to consider a couple of things and discuss with your partner -

    - Why do you want to move in? Is it a natural progress of your relationship or you have other reasons?

    - Are you in another city? If yes, do you have a job or found something in the city you will be moving to?

    - Has your partner considered moving to the city you live in? Which city has more opportunities for both of you and is a good base for the future for you as a couple?

    - The woman need not be the one to always move, you know?

    - How conservative is your partner? How religious? Because you did mention his religion?

    - Once you move in, there is absolutely no need to move out when they come to town. That is ridiculous. So, that will speed up the time when your existence is revealed.

    - The tricky part is you are the girl. Parents of guys do not mind if their son dated and feel they can easily make him marry some other girl.

    - I feel living with someone reveals a lot - you can check if they help around the house, they demand you to change, if they control you etc. At the same time, do it if it feels like a natural progression, instead
    of something you should be doing.

    - You can always reach an agreeable mutual decision but under no circumstances must you be forced to do something which you do not like.

    - I do not believe living in will hurt your chances with your in laws. Your partner should be able to protect you from his/her parents and step in whenever necessary. I do not think you should be taking the heat for his parents beliefs. He should.

    - Also, you are not an Indian and you do not have to become an Indian overnight. Adjust a bit here and there when you feel like. That does not mean you have become a stepford wifey kinda person. If you are not comfortable covering your head in the presence of his parents, don't. Anyways you are a foreigner! Use it to your full advantage.

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    1. - Why do you want to move in? Is it a natural progress of your relationship or you have other reasons? I want to move in because I love him more than anything. We are long distance right now. We only get blocks of 5 days at a time together currently. It is the natural progression in our relationship.

      - Are you in another city? If yes, do you have a job or found something in the city you will be moving to? - I live in another state entirely in a different time zone. I would be moving early next year and look for a job/interview before my move.

      - Has your partner considered moving to the city you live in? Which city has more opportunities for both of you and is a good base for the future for you as a couple? We talked about him moving here, but really I never wanted to stay where I am now anyway. His city is a little bigger but we are both in heavily populated areas. We both want to move eventually to an entirely different area, but that probably won't be for a couple of years. Though if we had to stay in one of the cities we are currently in, his would be better. Better schools and such.

      - The woman need not be the one to always move, you know? - I do know. Plus, his family is nearby. I have nothing tying me here. (Not to mention, I don't want to be the hated person who steals their son away)

      - How conservative is your partner? How religious? Because you did mention his religion? - My partner is not at all religious. His family, however, is. His mom does not even want him to date. His dad does not care as much.

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    2. From your response here to me and others, I feel -

      - It would be great if both of you move to a third city entirely. It helps when there is no pressure from his family living in the same city.

      - Anyways, they will villainize you. You will be the hated person who took their pure son away from his culture blah blah. So, it really does not matter. What matters is if your guy wants to move and live independently or he want's to be the pampered son. I think that is the most important factor which will tell you if
      a) he is independent
      b) will stand up for you in front of his family.

      - I would not really consider him keeping you a secret a big red flag. I did, for 3 years until things came to a head and I dropped the bomb.

      - It is a different thing to learn about islam out of interest and love, it is another to completely convert to his religion. If he is not religious at all, I do not see a single reason to convert to please anyone. You can't change political ideologies/ religion to please your in laws.

      - At the end of the day, however much you feel you can compromise and adjust, you both must come to a conclusion that living with either of your parents long term is out of the question because his family is conservative. So better live away from parents in a separate house.

      If not, there will be constant undermining of you as a person and that will lead to more fights between you guys. And he will become tired of being pulled between wife and parents. Too much emotional drama.

      - Don't give up who you are completely just to impress your in laws. If you really look around, even Indian DIL who were chosen through arranged marriage complain that they are not treated well.

      Arranged marriage - check
      Never lived in - check
      same religion/caste/blah blah - check
      gave dowry - check

      Still people create problems because it is the DIL and they know their son will not stand up to them. At the end of the day, I think, this will depend on the decision of the parents on how they choose to treat you.

      If they understand that they risk alienating their only son, if they piss you off, of course, they will be nice and accommodating. Most in laws will be nasty because they are sure their son will not stand up to them and will put up with any amount of unreasonable behavior. Like, kids often test their parents limits by throwing tantrums.

      - And, I may absolutely be politically incorrect but the truth is as it is muslims are often perceived negatively. In the current political situation, I would not advocate you to convert. Believe if you want to. But getting a full on conversion brings more trouble than it is worth. I know people who are absolute liberals but the name and passport means they are put in a box immediately.

      Also, if your bf is not religious, there is absolutely no reason for you to convert to please other people.

      There are some things you need to stand for as a couple.

      To sum up
      - Move in if you both want to and it seems like a natural progression.
      - Move to a third city where neither of your family is.
      - One of you has to find a job in that city and both of you need to be sure that both of you have opportunities. If both of you do not have jobs, it can be stressful.
      - No living with parents.
      - Let him handle his parents. Don't interfere.
      - Don't completely change yourself to accommodate his parents. A bit here and there is enough. If you completely change, are you the same person he fell in love with? Also, people will stop bothering you if they know you will not yield. If you yield a bit, they will start piling up more on you and will assume you are a pushover and have to pay for falling in love with an Indian and thus have to put up with constant emotional abuse.
      - Maybe, his parents are not that bad after all. Often, we assume the worst given our society but maybe they will love you. Who knows?
      - No moving out when his parents are in town.

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    3. Thanks again for your response.

      I was never going to convert. I just wanted to read up on Islam more. He has also told told me that he wouldn't even ask me to convert to pacify his parents. I do want to learn more about the culture and such but just to be more prepared for what I'm about to walk into...not to change myself.

      He does have a job currently but it is not one using his advanced degree. It's just an "I needed a job" job. I will start applying and flying out to interview when I am closer to the moving date. I have still been keeping an eye out for things that may have a long application process. But I do know that I will be able to find a job there.

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  6. I would recommend you DEFINITELY NOT move in with your boyfriend if you have any wish to ever marry him or be respected by his family.
    I have been married to a Muslim Desi man for 14 yrs.
    We did not live together before marriage & I still struggled for the first 2 years of our marriage for to be 'an accepted DIL' by some of my husband's family.
    The fact that your Muslim Desi man has not told his family about you should be a HUGE RED FLAG.
    As a 'gori' (white woman) you have a few things going against you as far as your Desi inlaws are concerned-
    1) Your Desi inlaws did not choose you as a wife for their precious Desi son.
    The Desi son is therefore being DISOBEDIENT & therefore DISRESPECTFUL to his Desi family.
    I don't care how 'modern' , 'educated' or 'liberal' your Desi Muslim inlaws claim to be 'love marriages' are still a bit shameful & suspect.
    2) Please be aware of the negative stereotypical view Desi's have of white women-
    All Desi inlaws know all gori's are slutty & promiscuous (because they saw it on TV & all their Desi neighbors say so).
    They also know gori's make horrible wives & don't take care of their children/families.
    Why?
    Because all gori's do is fornicate, shop, & get divorced.
    In fact, gori's don't even know how to cook or keep house because they are so busy shopping & fornicating. (Apparently white people mostly eat food out of tins or at 'fast food' restaurants).
    Now that may sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.
    I've lived in India & Nepal for the last 12 yrs & continuously hear Indians spew these ridiculous & negative assertions about western culture repeatedly (either that or they will assert that westerners have no culture).
    Now if you want to really impress your future Desi Muslim inlaws here's what you do-
    1) Learn to cook Desi food. Especially Desi food from whatever part of India your Desi boyfriend is from. Nothing will show your Desi inlaws you know how to care for their precious Desi son than cooking him their food.
    2) Learn about Islam as it is practiced in India. Is your Desi boyfriend Sunni or Shia? Is he a Dawoodi Bohra Shia or a Kashmiri Sunni Sufist? Read books on the Quran, Muslim practices in India (IE how to pray, what to eat, festivals & celebrations, customs & etiquette) Is Islam a religion you can live with?
    It will impress your inlaws if you at least know something about Islam.
    (Also, if you choose to convert to Islam- Be forewarned, you won't find many Muslims to help guide you on your spiritual journey in Islam. Indian Muslims don't have Quran study groups like Christians have Bible study groups. You will also most likely be looked down upon by your Desi Muslim inlaws because you were not BORN a Muslim - even if you convert.)
    3) Deny any sexual involvement with anybody before marriage - even with your Desi boyfriend. Deny any romantic relationships prior to your Desi boyfriend also. You don't have to necessarily outright lie, lying by omission is ok too. Your future Desi inlaws already think you're practically a prostitute anyway (simply because you're a firang), so don't add fuel to the fire.

    That's just some of the 'cultural baggage' you have to live with marrying a Desi Muslim husband.
    On the other hand, my Desi Muslim husband is the most wonderful, amazing human being. He's worth every bit of all the BS & baloney we've gone through. Our marriage has been an absolutely fabulous adventure & pathway of spiritual growth. I could not imagine my life without him. My Desi MIL & FIL have treated me as their own daughter (not the oft maligned Desi DIL) & are the most FANTASTIC people. (Some of my other Desi inlaws I could really do without though. And I found out some of my Christian 'friends' could not handle me being married to a Muslim & converting to Islam, so adieu to them also.) Such is life.



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    1. I couldn't agree more. Being accepted by desi family is *challenging* enough but a desi Muslim family!? It is a double whammy!! Islam condemns premarital intimacy, and so do the Hindus/Christians living in India. The trend is changing in the metros but still, live in relationships and premarital intimacy are disapproved by majority of Indians. I don't think it is a really good idea to convert just for the sake of being accepted by your future spouse's family. Because religion is a very personal choice and how Islam works on the basis of voluntary declaration of faith in God, it just cannot be forced or something that can be done in haste for a different purpose. I know many people who initially converted for their own reasons but later chose to practice it by choice. It shouldn't be a problem if they are not extremists because from what I know it is not forbidden for Muslim men to marry women of other religions. That is Christians or Jews. And in their eyes Christians are only "proper protestants" who practice Christianity very seriously. The idea is very tempting but its gonna be one hell of a ride. And that's just an understatement!
      Sarah

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    2. Thank you for your response. This is pretty much what I worry about. I am mixed white and SE Asian, but I'm sure I would still be considered a white woman to his family as I was born/raised as a Westerner. He said he will not let his family "hate" me but I don't think it's preventable overall.

      His parents had an arranged marriage. My boyfriend is not a practicing Muslim but he was raised Sunni. I have been reading about Islam and I do want to read the Quran...I had wanted to before I had a Desi bf even. I like to learn about things that are unfamiliar to me but now I want to learn to be as respectful to his family and their beliefs as I can (aside from leaving their son alone).

      He is definitely their precious only son. Future MIL calls to make sure he's eating and every time he visits them I hear about how much he is being fed haha. I was thinking about learning to cook Desi food. I am pretty good in the kitchen. I would love to learn from future MIL but I think that will have to wait until the distant future. In the meanwhile, I will learn on my own. I was even considering learning a little bit of his family's language for extra points.

      A question for you - When you did get married, did you have a traditional wedding?

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    3. My Muslim Indian husband & I 'eloped' & therefore did not have a traditional marriage.
      The reason we eloped is because my husband was terrified his father would not give permission for him to marry me. (Islam & Sharia law requires the father's permission for the son to get married.)
      When I finally met my FIL he absolutely adored me & told my husband 'She is good, keep her, stay with her, if you ever leave her you will go to Hell forever" (that was a rough translation).
      I've been to a couple of traditional weddings & I am SOOO glad I never had to go through one myself. The traditional wedding goes on for 2 LONG weeks - I would not like to be the bride 'on display' 24 hrs a day for 2 very LONG weeks.
      Islam as it is practiced in India is quite different than what is practiced in other countries, like say Saudi Arabia or Morocco. There's quite a bit of Hinduism mixed in with Islam in India so don't expect what you read in the Quran to be what's actually practiced in India.
      I'm going to disagree with Sarah on this- don't expect your Desi inlaws to respect your Christian beliefs (if you have any). Yes, Muslim men can marry Christian & Jewish women. You will still be deemed inferior if you remain a Christian. Even if you convert to Islam you were not 'born' a Muslim to Muslim parents & are thus lesser. The Quran says a convert is just as good as a 'born' Muslim - but this NOT what is believed in India. This is one of the ways Islam has been 'Hinduized', in Hinduism you must be 'born' a Hindu & thus in Indian Islam you must be 'born' a Muslim. There are a lot of other practices in in Indian Islam that are not fundamentally 'Islamic', another example would be that Indian Muslims practice Hindu casteism (casteism is definitely NOT in the Quran.)
      Also SE Asians aren't well respected by Indians in general. I won't go into the reasons why because they are so stupid. So 'identify' as 'white' with your Desi inlaws.

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    4. Interesting response and a lot of good information. Thanks! :)

      As far as a wedding goes, he and I discussed eloping because neither of us like being the center of attention and traditional weddings are intimidating.

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    5. @bibi - fantastic points here

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  7. I did live with my BF for two years, in India, no less. His family had no idea we were living in together but probably suspected it. At the exception of my MIL everybody liked me from the start. When you are in a par desi/desi relationship, you need to accept the fact that telling white lies, or omitting certain aspect of the truth is cultural. it will alway be there, even after you are married, and out of the closet, this is how a lot of desi families function, and a lot of parents seem to prefer being told lies even if they know it than be blasted with an irrefutable truth. We are talking about fully grown up 30+ kids still hiding to smoke and drink and parents encouraging kids not to smoke and drink in their presence even if they know about the habit, just because if they haven't seen it, it can't be all that true.

    Living in India, we had to lie to landlords to be able to live in together, because it is not widely accepted, but we never really had a problem doing so.

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  8. I am in a long distance relationship with my Indian BF and I am planning to move to live with him in 8 months or so. In our case his family knows about me and I'll meet them for Christmas. The plan for us is to start to plan a wedding as soon as I'll move there. Every situation is different and I am very lucky because his family is very open minded (altough in christmas I'll be his "friend" LOL) but I think that before doing such a big move you'll have to ask him at least to tell his parents. You don't want to move, change job etc and then find out that they don't want him to do it. You can "ommit" the living together part, but not that you exist. Anyway I am the last person that can give a wise advice since I am dating my BF since 8 months. Good luck!

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  9. My husband and i didnt live together before marriage because he was in india and i waa in the U.S. ... but with that said we dis get married as soon as he landed in the US...

    Like the abocr comments my huaband ia 30+ and still liea to his parenta and sister about stuff. I think ita dumb stuff but to him.i guess is not. I didnt grow up lying to my parents we told them what we were doing and moved on. As an adult i dont feel the need to lie to my parents, this ia our life not there life.

    With that being said an indian son is a god in the family! He does no wrong! My huabands sister aais to me when we got married "dont corrupt my perfect brother!" ... ahahaha i about laughed in her face because as much as she want to claim ahe knows her brother ahe really only knows what he tells her. At least in my in law family everyone lies about a lot of stuff... i dont find that Healy but to each their own.

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  10. Really interesting reading! It was a good idea to do a discussion post!

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  11. My compromise with my boyfriend was that he had to tell his parents about me before we moved in together. I didn't have to meet them, and I would stay out of it, and they wouldn't know we lived together, but I decided that that is what I needed. So he told them, mom didn't have much to say (minus a fight when she found out I was visiting Europe with him...), and everything was a-ok.

    Of course later his mom showed up in the middle of the night (keep in mind she lives an hour or so away) to show him a nice Indian girl who lived nearby (knowing we were still together)...and found my cat, my car, my purse, and four framed pictures of him and I in the living room.

    Sigh.

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  12. I lived with my husband for two years before we got married, but I wasn’t a secret and his family was aware that we were in a relationship. While I think living together is important before marriage (I’m a Westerner), I think it is crucial that he tells his parents about you before you move in.

    My MIL’s attitude toward me changed a lot when my husband and I moved in together before marriage. She didn’t respect boundaries (or acknowledge them) and had a ‘what is yours is mine’ attitude, although it didn’t work the other way around. It caused a lot of tension and brought up a lot of topics like how we’d raise our kids, if parents would live with us, etc… that were very important for us to deal with before marriage.

    If you are serious enough with your partner to discuss marriage and cohabitate, I think its time to let the parents in on the secret. Their response, as well as how your significant other handles their response to your relationship, may give you a clear idea of what the best next step is. Good luck!

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  13. I did. We Bought a house. Before I walked in the doors we got engaged... Our plan was just be engaged (forever) but when his parents and my one soon to be sister in law came to visit us for 6months, they weren't leaving without a wedding! I am the kind of person that goes with the flow- a non high maintenance wife. Having said that, since my then 69+year MIL and 77 year old father WERE NOT going to be changing their ways of any kind, I just mindfully surrender and let them get use to me.... So by the end of the six months, they saw me for me - wasn't threatening in anyway, and my MIL and FIL accepted me. These parents that come from India for temporary times and are of older generations are NOT going TO CHANGE.... They can but they need time. I would say they love me unconditionally now 6-7 years later!

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  14. When I visited my then boyfriend in India (he's Hindu btw) we stayed alone together in the hotel and his family knew it. He fought for it rather than leave me alone in a strange land to fend for myself. His parents had some reservations but still allowed it. When I went there to live we stayed together in the same room of his home from the time I arrived until our marriage approximately 1 week later. Obviously that time his whole family knew since it was a joint family home. The neighbors knew too. I do not know what anyone was thinking in the beginning but I know that neighbors later on came to my in-laws and praised me as a person because of my behavior there, etc. We lived in a part of India that is still pretty conservative. So you can gain community acceptance, it may take time and it may be difficult but it is possible.

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  15. When we decided to move on from platonic e-relationship to something more real, I came to hubby's town and was kept secretly in a hotel and then we went on a secret trip. Later, he came over to live a few months as a tourist in my country, to see if he liked it and how my kids would react. Later he came back to my country and we got married, no one came from his family because of visa issues. By then I had only met his mother briefly and no one else in the family. I met them all after 3 years of marriage. They are pretty cool people. I am really impressed to see how everyone takes care of everyone in my husband's family. Only one SIL annoyed me a little bit because she started bossing me around, but I know it must have been her way of welcoming me in the family, ha ! :) (Padparadscha)

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  16. There are so many ! My God! Is it a cultural invasion or what? I am shocked.

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    1. Absolute invasion, totally. Get ready, sweetie...it is only the beginning ;)

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  17. I lived with my husband for five years before marriage. My inlaws did not like it, but they couldn't exactly stop us. My MIL told us that "living together" means to elders that you are having premarital sex and that is "wrong", they didn't like the idea, thinking that I can get pregnant at any moment LOL.
    They allowed it, but they didn't tell anybody. However, one of my husband's gossipy cousins found out and told the ENTIRE family that we were living together. That did not go over well. It was a lot of drama. People acted like it was the end of the world. I wish it had been kept secret, but anyways everyone eventually got over it.
    It may help when he gets a job. And yes, he should be willing to assert himself and defend his choice IF it comes up that they disapprove.
    There is nothing wrong with moving in together. But I wouldn't let on about it to other family members other than your future inlaws. Keep it a private matter.

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    1. @alexendra

      Living together without marriage may be normal for your culture but not approved by Indians. Why does the word Drama keeps on cropping in these blogs whenever the Indian family does not approve of something. Are their feelings of no value? Any indian parent would object to their child living with someone without marriage. It is a cultural difference.

      I personally believe that if u love somebody u should marry and take the responsibility. Living in seems more like shying away from responsibilities. I don't know your case but in most cases the girl suffers. These relationships actually leave the girl more vulnerable. Well to each his own. Sorry if I had offended u in anyway just my personal opinion.

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    2. Re: the family's opinion..... I am not going to value the opinion if it is based on what *might* other people think. If their opinion is based on things like worrying about pregnancy and premarital sex, then of course I can understand that.
      Another difference is that in Indian families, even extended family like aunts and uncles look at my husband like their son because he grew up with many in a joint family. I on the other hand prioritise the relationship with my actual inlaws, and not so much the extended family.
      Re: suffering - it depends on many things, is the girl working/studying? Are they splitting household tasks like cooking, cleaning etc equally?
      I personally think living together is a great precursor to marriage. That way you can be certain if you really want to marry them and avoid divorce. For example, you can see if you are really compatible. If you are already living together then the transition to married life is easy breezy - no surprises.

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    3. @Alexandra

      Living in is fairly well established in West but is slowly developing in India. In India, living in is largely not accepted except for the affluent sections of the society. Many a times when things don't work out, a man can walk out, but a women may end up with an unwanted pregnancy. Then it becomes a case of stuck between the "devil and the deep blue sea" for the women. In a conservative society like India, women are at a great disadvantage. Can't help it, that how the society is. That is why women are more vulnerable in India with these kinds of informal relationships.

      Sometimes it is the other way round. When things don't work, some women have also lodged rape charges on the live in partners. This happens mostly due to the fact that live in is not widely accepted by the society and if after a point you are not married to your partner, there is scandal. There is no way you can make the partner stick with you since it is an informal arrangement. Often women feel cheated and this is the only way to get back at the man.

      Sometimes, the intimate moments of the couple are leaked on the internet. Some people are foolish enough to film themselves without worrying about what could happen if it falls wrong hands. This is not entirely related to live in couples but to couples in general because such cases are on the rise.

      In my opinion, and it is just my humble opinion, that one should be extremely careful with man women in India. Our society is still not liberal enough. Physical relationships should be avoided. It is better not to complicate life.

      About compatibility, compatibility can be judged only after marriage because marriage is not just about living together. It is about living together with social responsibilities, parenting commitments etc and for the long haul. Live in I guess does not have such obligations.

      As they say: "Those who eat the ladoos of marriage regret and those who do not also regret"

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  18. OP here. Just as a follow up. I am moving with my boyfriend this month. We will deal with it as it comes. This is the right step for us and he will tell his family before the end of this year, once we are closer to being married. Though as an American, culturally, I'm sad that we can't shout it from the rooftops, but at the same time, as some comments here have said - you can't take it back once it's out there. We will just enjoy our time alone for now before getting the family involved.

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  19. I'm so lucky in that my boyfriend's parents are super accepting and accommodating. Their family moved to Canada from Pondicherry when my boyfriend was just 3. Culturally, he is both Tamil and Canadian, but as he was raised in a town with mostly western culture people (not many Indian immigrants)... as such he follows western cultural norms for the most part, and he is not religious. We have been dating for 2.5 years, and his parents have only just began gently hinting about marriage (he just turned 30, I am 27). We don't live together but I spend about 50% of my nights at his place. We have a dog together... I'm the "mom" and he's the "dad"...
    His parents truly love me. They knew I had been in some car accidents previously and invited me to stay with them in India for a month, so I did that last year. It was wonderful and they really took care of me and showed me the Ayurvedic places for massage. I am honestly so in love with their family. I can just be myself... that is the blessing of their family having lived in Canada for 25 years before meeting me. In India, I was surprised that even my boyfriend's paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather really liked me as well. In broken English, I was told by a toothless, smiling old man, "you can call me - GRANDPA!" I almost started crying because both my grandfathers have passed away. I was surprised also that "grandma" liked me as well... she doesn't really seem to like anyone, except for my boyfriend, who is her golden child. I feel like she probably just liked me because I was associated with her beloved grandson. To the older generation I was referred to as my boyfriend's "future wife"... and I had no problem with that. Worst case scenario we break up and they don't see me again, best case we get married and it ended up true after all!
    Wow this was a truly long post. Sorry! Good for you to anyone who got through this. I guess, moral of the story is... I am grateful to be accepted and loved so much by an Indian-Canadian family. Open hearts and open minds from both sides (I met them for the first time in their family temple and they were so overjoyed) go a long way.

    Love and light,
    M

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