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Every Thursday, the Women’s Web expert panel with the support of Healtheminds, answers questions from readers facing relationships issues, emotional and mental challenges and other such issues.
In this edition of #ReachOutThursday, 26 year old woman talks about her fear of arranged marriage and another woman about an abusive marriage where her husband hits her 10 month old baby, because her in-laws don’t want a girl child.
I have a certain phobia towards arranged marriage. I saw a lot of cases of domestic abuse when I was a child and that has stuck in my mind because of which I don’t prefer arranged marriages. Every time my parents get me a match, I always freak out and find some excuse to not let it go forward.
What I have noticed is I don’t have any such issues with love marriage. I generally don’t open with people quickly and take a lot of time to even talk comfortably. And because of this, I feel a love marriage is the only thing I can do because that gradually builds up, but currently I am not in any relationship. I went through a bad breakup 8 months back and I am still not ready to be in a relationship because I am trying to work on myself and be a better person first.
I am 26 now and my parents are forcing me to get married. They have now started to say, what exactly do I need to know about the guy that I can’t get married in just a couple of months of getting to know the guy. They are telling me not to talk about the tours I made, my past relationships etc but I feel transparency is needed if I am going to start something new.
I am so confused. My parents say that I am torturing them, but I don’t want to torture myself by committing to a guy in just 2 months.
More so, every time I think of getting married to a total stranger, it freaks me out. I need some guidance in this matter from open and like-minded people. Please help.
We understand your inner trauma. It may help to know that many girls of your age are going through this particular peculiar dilemma in this age and stage – parental pressure, societal queries and fear of the unknown – in terms of relationships.
Well , I have a few suggestions to make.
Instead, wait for things to happen on their own. You may find somebody in the meantime or your parents may also find some guy they want you to meet with.
Remain open minded at all times for your own happiness. If your parents DO find a “good” guy, there is no harm in meeting him. You are not being forced to marry him then.
Just politely ask your parents, then, that you want some time to think about the “case”. Meanwhile, you can interact with him, meet him later too, and get to know more about him – using technology. (These days it’s fairly easy to dig out information about any person); get to know his reputation professionally and otherwise.
Now with all these inputs, you may decide whether you wish to continue with this person or not. The same things, you may discuss with your parents then. Why confront them now on hypothetical issues?
From my experience of more than 25 years in this field, I can say with conviction that these days, the score is equal in case of both love and arranged marriages i.e. in love marriages too there are cases of domestic violence and all sorts of emotional, social torture.
Many love marriages too flounder (across the country) because they may not be having the blessings of the elders in the beginning of the relationship. After marriage, even small issues get magnified and the elders (read boy’s side) either add fuel to the fire or shrug their shoulders and tell the boy,”We told you so”, nonchalantly, thus making him more furious, illogical and unreasonable.
Given the above scenario, I feel one should not be resistant. Just go with the flow. Do not dissuade your parents and argue on hypothetical things unnecessarily. Wait for the “right” boy to come along – irrespective of the fact whether you have met him first or your parents have asked him to meet you.
Meet and interact with the guy and reflect on your gut feeling.
If and when still in doubt or dilemma, meet a counselor.
Good luck to you.
AmitaPuri, Clinical Psychologist
I recently gave birth to a baby girl much to the chagrin of my in-laws and hubby who wanted a boy. Problems started from then. My hubby started beating my child I protested and came home My family patched us up again. It has been the same ever since. We fight and make up. Recently my mother-in -law called me and suddenly started scolding me (not the first time). I lost control and I defended myself. Now I am at my house I don’t know what is going to happen but I have lost all hope. My hubby does not have a stable job and confessed recently that he is a porn addict. He always tortures me mentally and physically .This is one of the main reasons why I lost my temper. I did not use any bad words. But I just demanded for her to give answer to my problems. I am feeling low. My daughter is ten months old. Please help. I feel suicidal.
It is indeed heartening to see that you’ve taken the first step to help yourself out of this situation, by writing about it and seeking help. That to me indicates that you’re ready to empower yourself, and that you feel optimistic there is a way out of your situation. You are right in doing so – there is always help available, if you just know where to look.
To address your query, it sounds like you are dealing with multiple issues at the moment and it must be quite overwhelming to handle them all by yourself. Let’s look at them one by one.
I would like to first address your suicidal thoughts – if your thoughts involve harming your self, your child or ending your life, you need to get immediate help and support, which cannot be provided through this column. I would recommend you get in immediate touch with a suicide helpline (like Sahai: 08025497777, http://www.sahaihelpline.org) to get the right kind of support. They will guide you by helping you talk through your situation and connect you with resources (counsellors/psychiatrists/doctors) who will further support you. I hope you will take this step to take care of yourself and your child.
You mentioned that your husband beats your 10 month-old child. Please be aware that this constitutes abuse and there can be serious legal consequences for his behavior. You were right in moving away from the abuse and moving to your parents home to protect your child. As a mother, you must take definitive measures to protect your child – if you need to once again physically remove yourself and your child from the home, please do so immediately. Is it possible for you to stay with your parents/a close relative/a trusted friend till you feel stronger to handle the situation at home? If you don’t have anywhere to turn to, there are a number of women’s shelters that can also provide support.
I would also like to bring to your awareness that the period following the birth of a child can be quite stressful for a mother and you need to get plenty of support during this time. Apart from the physical exhaustion, you are probably also feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted as well. There is no reason you should handle all this on your own – reach out your family, friends, close relatives who will stand by you during this time. Build a support system around yourself – people who care for your well being and will stand by you without question.
Can you spend few hours with your parents/a relative/friend who will take care of the baby while you get your rest? Is there a friend who can babysit your baby for a couple of hours each day? Or perhaps you can build a support system through other new mothers in your locality who you can talk to or visit periodically? Try not to let the situation at home isolate you, but make an effort to stay connected with those who are important to you and lean on them in your time of need.
With regard to your marital/family issues, trust your instincts to protect yourself and your child. Be polite but assertive when you must. There is no reason why you should be at the receiving end of unfavorable comments/behavior just because you’ve had a girl child. As a mother, it is your role to keep your child safe and you need to believe that you are doing the right thing in doing so.
I would need to know a lot more about your situation (a history of your marriage, issues with your in laws and so on) to help you in the best way possible. My suggestion to you for getting further help would be to please reach out to a counsellor who will help you through this difficult time. A counsellor is someone who will understand your situation, who you can talk to in complete confidence without judgment and who will help you find the best way out of your situation. Use your time with the counselor to address your marital and family issues.
Take care and keep believing in yourself.
Krithika Akkaraju, Counsellor
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