Ask Bhabi Jii: My Punjabi Partner's Sister Will Disown Us If We Marry
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.
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
I have been dating a Punjabi guy for a year now. In the third week he proposed to me, without telling his family about me. I accepted because I was completely sure he was the one. His mom lives with him and he convinced her to finally meet me after several unsuccessful attempts. Since then she has invited me for dinner a couple of times and even gifted me a Punjabi Suit. So it seems she has accepted me as family.
However he was hoping that his sister will be okay with him marrying me, but she is not. After months of knowing about my existence, she doesn't even want to hear about me or meet me at least once. He didn't want me to know that she gave him an ultimatum; if he marry's me, she will be done with him, and he will not be her brother anymore.
I have been talking with my boyfriend about the situation since then trying to know where he stands if the situation worsens. He assures me he will fight to the end and that is all he says. Though I feel that I have already lost. How can he choose me over his family? But the heart wants what it wants and I am willing to try despite this.
Our wedding plans are currently paused until the situation improves. But how can I convince somebody that I am worthy of their brothers hand in marriage if they won't give me a chance to prove myself? I also worry that he may leave me after all the promises he has made to me. It makes me sad to think that after I have given my all and made so many sacrifices that in the end they won't matter for external reasons.
Can you help shed some light on the situation?
It's lovely to hear from you.
Sorry to hear about your situation.
Relationships are already challenging enough without having external pressures placed on you. I can only imagine how difficult this situation is for you both. More often than not it's the parents or grandparents who are disapproving of interracial love marriages. So it is interesting to hear that it is actually his sister of all people who is making your lives miserable.
Although it might be challenging, you are probably more likely to win over a sibling than a parent who has dreams of their child marrying a good Indian boy/girl from a good family. Did your partner explain the reasons why his sister feels so strongly about him marrying you? There might be an underlying reason why she feels the way she feels if his parents are accepting of your love but she is not.
Or it might simply be because she feels that anyone from another culture is inferior and not good enough for her brother. Especially if she married into the culture and expects the same of her brother. This may also be exacerbated if she feels that your marriage may reflect poorly on the family's social standing in the community. Once you know why she feels the way she does it might give you somewhere to start with.
It might be difficult to win over his sister if she isn't giving you a chance however it isn't impossible. Sometimes it just takes a lot of time and patience. Simply just being their for your partner and embracing his culture is a good start as many people's perception of others comes from what they hear about you. Rather than making a judgement based on meeting that person themselves.
So if your partner or even his mother speaks often to his sister they will be giving her an impression of who you are without you ever having met her. This is one reason why I love my in laws because despite my husband venting to them when we may have an argument, they will always draw their own conclusion rather than taking what my husband has said at face value.
It's difficult to say if any relationship is worth fighting for, this is something that you need to decide. It may ultimately lead to heartbreak or it might not. Just be sure to listen to your intuition as you know your partner better than anyone else. Although his sister has given him an ultimatum this does not mean that you have lost. Your partner is most likely hoping that he can salvage his relationship with his sister with time and marry the love of his life. However that might depend on how close their relationship is as siblings.
Time is usually a great healer of most wounds, although that might not be what you are hoping for with your wedding plans currently on hold. If you continue to show just how much you both love one another and you continue to embrace your partners culture, then with time there's a chance you can win her over.
If you currently don't participate in many cultural events with your partner and his family this is a great starting point. It's a reason to get the family together and spend time with them celebrating their culture. Such as Diwali or Holi which are very commonly celebrated Indian celebrations. Albeit my in laws all accepted me when we first started dating many of them still had doubts in their minds. It was only with time that they no longer doubted my intentions as I demonstrated that I embraced their culture and was in it for the long run.
What's important is that you continue to support your partner's relationship with his sister despite her not supporting your relationship. All you can really do is take a leap of faith that your partner will keep his promises and hopefully with time his sister will come around to the idea of your marriage. Though it is unlikely this will happen overnight and could take some time. So if you are really wanting her approval, your wedding day might be on hold for a while.
I hope it all turns out for you in the end.
All the best!
The White Punjabi Bride
What do you lovely readers think?
Have you been in a position where your partner's siblings haven't approved of your interracial marriage? How did you overcome the challenge?
Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences below in the comments field. Your experiences may not only help this reader out, but others in similar situations.
READ MORE IN THE SERIES