Friday, February 20, 2015

Ask Firangi Bahu: "If I don't marry him in 6 months they will force him to marry his cousin!"

Sharing a letter from a reader...

"Dear Madh Mama,

I'm a Northern-European girl and I've been reading your blog ever since I started dating my South Indian boyfriend 2.5 years ago and now I'm in desperate need for advice and have no one else to turn to - as this is a problem my friends nor family have never faced.

We met on the internet and chatted for about a year on and off before meeting face to face for the first time, even though we only lived two hours apart. Back then I was very depressed, distrusting and didn't think I deserved anything good, so he actually had to keep begging me for another date for weeks. Somehow he managed to convince me (thank God) and after a rocky start, we started our relationship, and within the first three months I had basically moved in with him. He helped me get my confidence back and come out of the depression and I was happier than I had ever been before. We talked about marriage, but he was a bit apprehensive because of my age, since I am eight years younger than him and had only recently begun my studies and he was already finishing up his. 

About a year and a half into the relationship I noticed he was spending a lot of time with a certain girl, and after a couple of fights he admitted he had been feeling neglected by me and he liked how the other girl was more outgoing and cared for him, but he said he had not physically cheated on me with her, because he loved me and had only wanted me to pay more attention to him. He said he would not see the girl again and I promised I would try to be more affectionate. A month passed and I thought everything was fine, until I found out he had been at the girl's party. I confronted him, and he denied it and kept lying to me, which made me completely lose trust in him. I tried to forgive him, but after three months of me being unable to trust him again and questioning his every word I had had enough and decided to leave him. But...we still chatted every day, and after a lot of convincing on his part, I decided to give him another chance, whilst making it very clear that it would take time for me to trust him again and that I could not promise him I would marry him in the future. 

Now we have been back together for three months...and this is where the real trouble begins...

He recently got back from a month-long trip to India. Previously, his family had said he could choose his wife, but as he is already in his thirties his parents were growing concerned about him and had tried to force him to marry his cousin. He had to argue with them for weeks to cancel the wedding. I do not think I need to expand on how difficult this was... Now his cousin's family is furious and does not want anything to do with his family members, and his parents told him he has to get married by August!!! His parents are all alone and suffering, my boyfriend is suffering and I feel like it is all my fault. I know it was his decision to stand up to his family, but I do not think he had fully comprehended how many people it would affect. If it was not for me, he would not have said no to the marriage and he and his family could have lived happily ever after...

I am extremely touched that he would do that for me but I feel so guilty, because I still can not say I trust him and I still have not decided whether I want to spend the rest of my life with him. It is hurting me so much to see him and his family suffer and I can not help but feel all the suffering might be for nothing. What if I decide I do not want to marry him? Then all of this suffering would be in vain... I do not want to lead him on. All of this has made me feel like maybe I should just let him go, even though he says he does not want me to do so. And even though I do not really want it either. 

I am feeling very conflicted, because I do feel like we could be happy together, but it would take a lot of time and effort. He does not have the time, and I can not marry someone I do not trust completely...

Should I stay with him, basically making him and his family sacrifice their happiness, or should I leave and tell him to marry another girl?"


Dear readers, what advice do you have for her?
Have you ever felt rushed by your family to get married?
Have you ever had trust issues with your partner? If so, how did you resolve them?



  1. Wow, sounds complicated. She is right to not jump into marrying him, as he has shown that he may have dishonest tendencies and if it were me I would need some time to determine if I could trust him enough to marry him (after all, in marriage you are basically trusting someone with your life and well being... your spouse will make decisions for you should you become seriously/terminally ill or injured).

    His family is trying to force him to marry his cousin? i don't think she should let this be the reason for pushing him away. That is not her problem. She has every right to continue a relationship with him *if she wants to* if that is also what he wants. She should not feel guilty if his family is feuding because he won't marry his cousin, it is not her fault (nor his fault) that they suggested it and started the fight in the first place.

    I would recommend that she follow her heart on this one. Don't get scared and push him away because of his family issues. She should really be talking to him about this. Continuing the relationship w/o marriage is not "leading him on." She needs to determine if he is the right fit for her. The fact that he has stood up to his family already is a good thing. I don't think she should leave him now but they definitely need to talk about this together and determine what each of them want.

    Also, maybe she can ask herself :

    What do I need from him to prove that he can be trustworthy in marriage?

  2. My two cents to the letter writer: Why are YOU feeling guilty? How do you know that he is not marrying his cousin because of his relationship with you? It could well be because he himself does not fancy his cousin as his wife. If he could be as shallow as to run after another girl while he was in a relationship with you, do you think he would be deterred if another prospective partner came by who seemed more favorable than you (sorry, I know these are harsh words)? So stop feeling guilty and let HIM decide what he wants to do. Whether he values you enough to wait until he has gained your trust for him or whether he would rather get hitched to the first favorable person that comes along.

  3. I have no idea what is happening in your relationship since I am not in it, but from an outsiders perspective I saw red flags all over the place-

    This man has already demonstrated that he is not to be trusted and that he is immature (instead of running to someone else for "comfort", he should try communicating his feelings- like an adult)- why would you want to get hitched to someone like this? On top of that, there is now a deadline. Marriage is a life altering decision- I would say let him go and find someone more suited to you.


  4. I am the one that wrote the letter and I wanted to first of all thank you all for your responses, you've certainly given me a lot to think about.
    I also wanted to clarify some things.

    Firstly, when we were having problems he did come to me first (several times, actually) but somehow I did not realise how big of an issue it was and did not fix the problem. So initially he asked the other girl, whom he had known for at least a year before that, for advice and then later he developed some sort of feelings for her.
    Secondly, it doesn't necessarily have to be his cousin that he marries, his parents just want to see him get married, so it would actually be easier for him to just get his parents to find him a more suitable girl, yet he chooses to be with me. So I'm fairly certain he isn't just with me so he won't have to marry his cousin.

    Also, we have talked about this, but I felt it's best to get some fresh perspective, which is why I wrote to Madh Mama.

    1. I wish I had known the advice I read in a book just a few months ago when I was in my twenties. It is this: "Don't do anything because someone else wants you to. Only do what you want to do." If you really want to be with this guy, if you are already working at building a life together and you know you're headed in the same direction, then it really doesn't matter if you marry now or in two years. But if you aren't sure about that, then you shouldn't be guilted into a wedding that you're not sure you want.

      Timing has to be right on both sides. If not, then there's certainly someone else better out there for you. It's better to wait for the right person than to hastily pick the wrong one, or do it out of pressure, and be stuck. I understand that he's under pressure to marry (and if that's the case, you may be expected to become a mother pretty much right away...) but is your relationship in the place where marriage is the logical next step, or not?

      From his point of view, he'd probably rather marry you than his cousin or another stranger, but is he willing to leave you and marry Someone, Anyone, by August if there's a chance you might be ready in October? Trust lost takes a long time to rebuild. Maybe years. Is he *that* willing to wait?

  5. Red flag I see is all in the fact that he is interested in other women. From personal experience, my husband has been seeking attention from other women for years in our relationship and up to the past few months in our marriage. If I had known in the beginning I wouldn't have married until he was 100% on board for just us! He has been battling this "addiction" for years and is now getting help for it but it's not easy. I feel your pain, but your BF is not admitting he has a problem with this other girl, he is lying to you and it has resulted in not trusting him. Not a situation to marry into. (not to scare you but there may be other attractions/distractions too! Just a warning). I suggest you stay out of the fact that his parents want him arranged. Honestly that is not something you should worry about. Try and see if you can work on your relationship (without any time limits) and see how it works out for you. But I say if you can't trust someone, follow your gut and move on. Don't move on because of his family pressure. I wish you all the confidence in the world do to what's right for YOU! Because at the end of the day, that is all that matters! Hugs!

  6. Definitely do not get married out of pressure. That is a recipe for regret and resentment.

  7. Please don't be pressured to get married. Marriage is hard. That is true when you are ready, in love, trust the other person, and have no baggage going in. I imagine that it is even harder when those things are not true. Is it possible he is facing immense pressure to get married. Absolutely. It is possible that he really upset many family members because he refused to marry his cousin. Yup. Seen it before. However, YOU are not the reason. He does not WANT those marriages. That is his choice. If you do not see a long term relationship here...time for you to move on. He will find someone to marry, or he will give in to his family, or he will remain single. NONE of it is your responsibility. Best of luck!

  8. It is very common for guys to get married once they hit 30. In fact, it is expected. So I doubt this is coming out of the blue for him. Is he the first or only son? In some families they place higher hopes on them, then the rest of the siblings.
    Also, when you marry him, you also will marry the rest of family. Did he tell them about you? What do they think?
    It comes across as if he wouldn't tell them about you until after the wedding and everything is all said and done.
    Recipe for BIG drama, especially in the current situation and if he is a first or only son.
    The cousins family will probably still feel slighted and lots of feelings would be hurt.
    I'm sorry to say this but there really is nothing you can do.
    The ball is in your boyfriends court. Either he mans up and explains the situation to first his parents, then his cousin ( s family) or he caves in and marries her.
    Like I said if you marry him now, big drama will follow. He is trying to hid behind you, I'm order to justify not marrying the cousin."look I can't marry her, I am already married to this western girl" maybe he will make you scape goat to his parents, maybe not.
    But really he needs to decide not you.

  9. Dear letter writer,
    2 points-
    1) The tone of this letter is so negative & frankly depressive I am concerned for you. Do not make any 'life altering decisions (such as to marry) until you get to a better space mentally. You deserve to be happy & healthy, please take care of yourself FIRST. Get therapy, 'head meds', proper diet & exercise or whatever you need to help get you to that 'positive, happy & healthy' place.'
    2) You said yourself you don't trust him and you really haven't told us much else about him that is positive. He's blamed you for his philanderings & he's blaming you for 'not marrying him & the entire family's unhappiness. You really don't sound like a woman truly in love but a woman in desperation & or need. Do not marry anyone you can't trust.
    3) Is there some hidden reason why he all of the sudden wants to get married? Not just that his parents are pressuring him but perhaps he'd like to get citizenship or a work visa in your country?

    1. Oops! That was 3 points. I need COFFEE!!!
      Anyway the long & short of it is....
      The best friendships are built on mutual respect and trust. The best marriages are built on the best friendships. This guy doesn't seem capable of either.
      Marry into an Indian family this sort of 'guilt' & drama will be a big part of your married life.

  10. Another thing: this guilt tripping is giving you a good taste about how your life after wedding will continue. It may even get worse. Because family this, family that. So think long and hard.

  11. Hello,

    I am extremely happy that you are not giving in to his demands and getting ready for a wedding. Fundamentally a man who goes after another girl just because his GF is not giving him time is an a*****e. So this basically means that if in future you are not able to give him attention for whatever reason he will again find another girl? I mean, a marriage is not like dating, there will be times when due to various reasons, one partner cannot and will not be able to give time, and it's during these times that the other patner should try and understand what is wrong instead of running away with someone and then happily come back when you are all sorted. So if a partner is not able to stand with you when you are feeling low for whatever reason, what kind of a companion will he make in future.
    My ex-bf was exactly like this. On the day of his birthday I could not get out of home as I was having suffering from food poisoning and also someone at home was also unwell. When I called him and told him that I cannot go out, he happily went out with another girl who was his friend without even an iota of guilt. And guess, what next, after 3 years of dating, I was undergoing some personal family problem and he was pressing for marriage. I told him and so did my family that it was not a right time and I also told him that I would not be able to give him attention for some days. And I come to know that he was seeing someone in the period I was not around. Today he is married to someone else. So men who have a wandering eye seldom stay loyal. Why do you even want this person in your life? You are young, study well, get a job enjoy life and you will find someone who will not go looking for another girl simply because you did not give him time.
    You clearly deserve better!!!!

  12. Letter Writer,
    I am so sorry you are going through such a dilemma. I feel that there are so many separate issues going on here - 1) flirting with another woman/trust issues; 2)family pressure; 3)his lying - again, trust issues.

    At this point, I don't think you should concern himself with his family melodrama. He clearly does not want to marry his cousin, because if he did he would have agreed to the match. In India, there is such a pressure to get married at a certain age, regardless of whether that person is ready for it or not. For example, my MIL told me that people tend to worry about a man's sex drive if he is not married by a certain age, so they are trying to get him married to basically satisfy him sexually.

    It really seems to me that both of you are not ready for marriage right now - especially him. You are right to not want to get married at this point. Marriage means absolute monogamy for life. Despite the fact that it wasn't a physical affair, it may have been emotional affair and in my opinion, that is just as bad. Like the commenter said above, there will be times in your marriage where you WILL neglect your spouse (sue to external stress, job, etc) - and that certainly does not give them the right to look for affection outside it. If he expects you to marry him, he needs to build up that trust again, which will take time and effort, which is absolutely necessary before you enter marriage. It is because of his actions that you are even having trust issues - any girl would feel the same. I simply do not think that he sounds like he is ready to get married either. If he refuses to wait for your readiness; and put in the time/effort - it is best to let him go. Waiting a few years is nothing in the many years of life.

    The fact is that Indian guys - being men - can really do whatever they want. Being a male - has a lot more weight. They can call the shots. He can simply tell his family that he is not ready to get married and he will let them know when he is. Especially if he is going to continue your intercultural relationship, he has got to learn how to stand up for himself.

    Wishing you the best of luck & sending you good vibes and know in your heart what feels right to you. Trust your intuition and do things at your pace...

    1. Agree, what you have said.

      To the NorthEuropean girl;
      I also would'nt trust the guy.
      What are his real motivarion to marry you?
      I see few possilibities- maybe he wants visa/citizenship?
      For sure he is great manipulator uf its YOU who feels guilty!
      Why should you feel guilty about that?
      He already failed your trust, now manipulating you.

      DONT get married coz of that silly reasons, he presents , please!
      As Alexandra said, men in India has bigger rights than.women, that is sad truth.

      I am also North(middle)European, and I know women here (actually Western women generally) are raised in very romantic way to be about love.
      So they often blindly belive what "the beloved one" claims.
      Indians are not, Indian marriages is mostly made on quite practical reasons.Just diffrent culture.
      You seems in love, does he?…
      You said you were being depressed before, still that is not reason to consider marriage.

      If he wants marry you, think houndreds times before you do it.
      I married myself an Indian, I know he did it from love, against his parents wil, but it didnt solve any problems created aftee marriage due to cultural difrences.
      Guy doesnt seem responsible, caring so much about what his family says and blackmailing you .
      Dont let him put blame on you, he can decide about himself.
      Is he willing stay Europe?
      If so, then why he consider so much what his family says?

  13. 1. I would not really trust a guy like this no matter what country he is from. He cheats (emotionally or physically) and blames the partner instead of admitting his mistake.

    2. Don't rush into marriage no matter what. He is abroad. Not like the family will descend on him and get him married unless he goes back.

    3. It is a lot of pressure but you seem to be too young for marriage and your relationship seems rocky. Sort that out before you start looking at marriage.

  14. I think its NOT just ur decision to make, talk to him ask him to decide if he can give u time. Take ur time if anytime u both feel lke getting married do so else break up with him. Either ways dont feel guilty. He is old enough to decide for himself.
    Most imp thing right noe is CONCENTRATE on ur study.
    take care



  15. Marriage should not be rushed into. And you should take your decision only thinking about yourself. If being with him makes you feel positive and happy, then think about it. But please don't take a decision to make others happy!


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