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A woman writes about her unsupportive in-laws and another whose husband lacks emotional and physical connect with her. What would you suggest?
I was married 2 years ago and have faced the normal problems of an Indian ‘ideal’ daughter and daughter in law. It was exhausting for me earlier where my parents were abused in front of me by my in-laws and I was expected to keep silence (and many other things). I was not at all ready to let it happen to me. But it was happening and I went through a tremendous amount of trauma. Then one day I decided to be ‘bad’ and restrict myself from my in-laws. I reduced calling them (every time I called them, I had to hear something or the other which made my day a bad one). When my husband asked why I am not calling I cross-questioned him as to does he call my parents everyday. From that time, I feel a little relieved. But here I just want to make sure that I am doing the right thing. I must point out that I am very weak on nerves and I cannot easily say no to others. I dread the day when I am in a situation where I will have to face my in-laws with no other option out. I do not know what I will have to do when they come to live with us (the atmosphere becomes very tensed when we face each other). I am not doing a job at this moment and looking for one.
I would like to thank you for asking this question.Family relations can be very delicate and need to be handled with care. You must realize that good fences make good neighbors. Your in-laws need to be your neighbors and there need to be really good fences up. Set boundaries about when they are and are not invited into your lives. Once you’ve set boundaries, talk to your in-laws about them. They’re not as fragile as you may think.
You have a finite amount of physical and emotional energy. If your in-laws are draining you, you may need to change the boundaries. Reassure them that you are not closing them out; you are simply focusing on yourself. Also, simultaneously focus on finding a job for yourself. This will keep you busy. As we all know an idle mind is a devils workshop. Once we are occupied we will have less time to think about negative things and focus more on the positive things that are happening in our lives, this also will help us appreciate the little time we have left with us and enjoy the moments as they pass by.
Most importantly, you need to have clear communication with your husband and share your thoughts with him. This will not only reduce your tensions but may also earn you some support from your husband.
– Riddhika Bhandari, Psychologist, Healtheminds
I am 27 years old and I’m married for 3 years. My husband is 28. It was an arranged marriage. Before our honeymoon, everything was good, but during the honeymoon, I don’t know what went wrong, and things have completely changed between us. Nothing went wrong in our honeymoon. He just doesn’t connect with me. There is no one in his life, yet he doesn’t have that connection with me- emotionally or physically. He is a good person, he takes care of my needs (financial), his family is very good, but deep down, I feel he is not happy with me. I have tried to discuss this with him many times, but he himself doesn’t know what has gotten into him for such a major transformation. He does things as his duty, that’s it. I read somewhere in the article, if there is a lack of physical intimacy, sex eventually becomes monotonous. And that is exactly how sex has become. Our family really wants us to start with our family, and my husband is neutral about the same, while I just can’t think of bringing a new life into our lives until I feel this is sorted. He doesn’t enjoy my company, he gets bored with me and that’s the reason why he doesn’t want to go on holidays all alone with me. I really don’t know how to handle this problem. He is not ready for counseling, and he is pretty okay with the way things are going, but I feel suffocated sometimes. Every single place we go, there is no connection between us at all, and this takes a toll on me. The word divorce- it scares me. I don’t want to leave him; I just want a solution for the problem. It will be really helpful if you can shower some insight into the matter. I will be more than obliged to you.
Firstly I would like to thank you for asking this question.One of the things, which you can do, is to make sure that your husband is listening to you. Does he understand what you are saying and participating in the discussion? You can also try and overcome your feelings of this disconnect in your marriage. Ask yourself questions like what do you expect him to do? Is there anything you can do to help improve the situation? Since we all know we can’t change anyone (aka your husband), what can I change about myself?
Even after trying everything, your spouse is not willing to do anything about it and there is still remains a disconnect between the two of you, then one way to look at it will be to try and accept him the way he is.
You can also try and identify your needs and expectations from your spouse and this marriage. Can that be changed? If not, then does your spouse know this is about your expectations? Once this is clear, to you may be you will be able to improve communication between you and your spouse.
Another option could be try and stop pursuing your husband and try not to focus on how you feel so disconnected in your marriage. You can try and create emotional connection outside by strengthening other relations with friends, family, etc, working somewhere, pursuing hobbies, etc. This will help you build your own identity and generate positive energy. You need to start focusing on a personality beyond the bonds of marriage.
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HealthEminds provides a platform for online video consultation with psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, life coaches and
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