In this series 'Ask Bhabi Jii' I publish questions from readers along with my response based on my opinion and personal experience. I encourage fellow readers to reach out and share your experiences and opinions so that it may assist the writer and any future readers in similar circumstances. In the interest of privacy the writer's identity will always be kept anonymous. Therefore questions are edited to change any information that may be revealing. No nasty or distasteful comments will be accepted, this is a supportive community to share experiences with no judgement.
ASK BHABI JII:
Is My Indian Husband Now Showing His True Colours?
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
I happened to come across your blog as I was looking for advice on a bicultural relationship.
I have been with a Hindu man for close to three years now. I am from Canada and we met during our time working for a cruise ship. I always saw him on the ship and at crew events. He would just stare and stare at me. I had these eyes on me constantly but he never said anything to me. Others knew he liked me, they would tease him when we would play foosball together or they would try to get me to dance with him.
But like you, I had dated Indian men in the past and I was left heartbroken. So I thought no. Don't get sucked in again. But, I got sucked in! And we hit it off so well. Within a couple of weeks he was asking me to come to India with him to attend his cousins wedding. He wanted me to meet his family and see how they would react to a foreign girl. I brushed this off, like sorry, I'm not going to India with you after just two weeks. But he was persistent and asked again and again till I finally said yes. I thought to myself, why not?
I bought the ticket and that was that. Fast forward to two years later. His parents accept me. They added me on Facebook and we send messages here and there. All seemed good. I left the ships in 2016 however he remained working there whilst we figured out how to close that gap. We ended up getting married in 2017 and I applied to sponsor him for his Canadian Residency. You could say that we did it for the paperwork but it was the easiest way to get him to Canada and try land life together. Besides we were in love and crazy for one another.
I never got any red flags that he might be using me for a visa. Not once did that cross my mind. I had been to India three times and he had visited Canada twice. This seemed like a solid relationship that just needed a break from the distance as that can really put a strain on a relationship. Therefore it was only natural that we both then talked about our expectations of one another and our relationship goals. Again it all seemed great. I was even told his parents wouldn't mind coming to Canada and that they are fine with him marrying me. So it seemed like things were great.
Fast forward to now and we haven't seen each other since October 2017. Long distance truly is difficult. However the problems only now seem to be setting in. I have noticed lately that his family always comes first. I read on your blog to expect this but I also feel that my feelings should have value and matter!? If I'm struggling with something, I should feel like he supports me and is my rock. But he no longer does and just brushes it off. Though if his parents feel the exact same way, then the world is ending. This really bothers me because I feel like there needs to be a balance and he needs to make me feel like I matter as well.
He also now has stated that if his parents aren't happy with us being in Canada and want us to move to India in the next five years, we must do this. It went from Canada is the better choice to raise our family and his parents can visit every 4 to 6 months out of the year and we could make them feel so happy here. But now it's the opposite and they won't settle in Canada and they will only spend a month, no more than a month and a half. And we must go to India every six months. But when his parents say they want us home in India then we must jump and run. So again, I feel like their happiness is all that matters.
Maybe I am being self centred or selfish. But I can't agree to moving to India in this short amount of time. It was different when we first discussed our future plans but now everything has changed. I also know that these 'what ifs' and thinking too much about the future are getting in the way of the present. However it has now made me REALLY think about this relationship. I had NO issues with doing everything in his cultural way. I asked for simple things to be followed from my culture. But now it's always like I'm the one giving. So I'm beginning to wonder if my expectations will even be met. Right now it's a yes, but if his parents aren't happy with it then I'm sure it won't be followed.
Furthermore the distance isn't anything new to us. We have been in a long distance relationship since the beginning of our relationship. But something has really changed this time around. I live in a small town, I am new and I don't know anyone. So I often would be feeling so lonely, like I had no one to turn too. I would express this many times to him and how unhappy I was. And I would be met with anger for feeling this way as if he just didn't care. But the moment his dad said that they are lonely and want to move to a new place, he was so panicked and worried. That's when I really felt like my feelings and thoughts weren't ever going to matter.
I have done so much for him. Travel to India three times and he never helped me financially for those trips. They aren't cheap flights either. Not to mention I have always made him feel so loved. In the beginning he made me feel so much love and gave me sweet surprises. Now they have stopped. It makes me feel like he doesn't even hold love for me anymore. I just don't feel that support from him that I once had. He shouts at me for crying and never compliments me. Maybe I'm over thinking it, I really don't know. I just feel as though the control has taken over and he's starting to show his true colours.
Do you have advice for a girl that is also married to an Indian man? I love him truly. But I don't think I can be that wife he all of a sudden expects from me. I really was willing to give him and his family my all. But I don't want to be made to feel like I can't give him happiness. Only if his parents feel happy then he will be happy. It makes me feel useless. And because we didn't have a traditional Hindu wedding, his parents don't respect that we are married. He has even now decided to start saying we aren't married. He never was like this in the beginning. He used to call me his wife or call me Mrs Singh. Now he's saying we aren't married and he doesn't know if he loves me. I am so lost and nobody understands fully because they don't understand their culture. Obviously this is only a fraction of what has taken place. However the point is he has suddenly changed all of our future plans we agreed upon together and his attitude towards our marriage.
Please I need some advice!
Lovely to hear from you albeit if only under better circumstances.
I have found that it is a cultural characteristic of many Indian men to always feel pressured to put their family first especially over their wife. It is how they are raised; their parents care for them their whole life and later in life they then must return the favour and care for their parents. The whole family dynamics in India are vastly different to the Western Culture. Being a son means there is a whole lot more pressure as it is up to the eldest typically to care for his parents financially. Additionally as you may know Indian Parents can tend to be more dramatic than the laid back Western Parent. If they think the world is ending then the world is ending. Then take into consideration that women still aren't treated as equals even in modern India. Sexism is still deeply embedded into their society. Which means unfortunately there still are some Indian wives who are basically doormats to their husband. They tend to be submissive while the man is the head of the household and what he says goes. So it is understandable that many Indian men put their parents before their wife even in bicultural relationships. This doesn't mean it is right though.
I can wholly relate to how you feel and agree that everyone deserves to feel loved in a relationship. It is not just about one person. It may not necessarily be that your partner used you for a greencard if that thought crossed your mind. Though I would agree with you that it might be that his true colours are now finally showing. The behaviour that you have mentioned to me sounds all too familiar. I hear from many other women who have married or dated Indian men who are sweet as pie to begin with and once they are married finally let their true colours show. But then again there are many who defy the stereotype and are happily married.
However it is possible that the stress of a long distance relationship may just be too overwhelming and he doesn't know how to handle himself. Even if it never has been an issue before. I know my husband didn't handle long distance well during the latter days of our long distance relationship. All the stresses he had overwhelmed him that he just always lashed out at me. It wasn't until he made it to Australia that our relationship was back to normal. Sometimes when you are that emotionally overwhelmed and stressed out you don't even realise just how much you lash out at others. Even if someone tells you it just doesn't sink in until you are back to normalcy.
Not wanting to pack up your life and move to India for such a long time I can understand. It makes sense that you want to set yourselves up financially before making the move abroad. Especially if he hasn't been behaving like his usual self. If you did make the move, once there his expectations would most likely only increase. Being immersed within the culture would mean there would be more expectations to fit in. He would probably feel even more pressure to act the way society expects of him and of you. If he has changed his expectations before then there is nothing stopping him doing that again.
All I can say for certain is that you know your partner better than anyone else and you should trust your intuition.
The White Punjabi Bride
What do you lovely readers think?
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