Ask Bhabi Jii: What Can I Do If My Indian In Laws Don’t Approve Of Me?
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.
What Can I Do If My Indian In Laws Don’t Approve Of Me?
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
First of all, I love your blog!
I would love to get your thoughts on my current situation.
My boyfriend and I are starting to entertain wedding plans after four years together. We have an amazing relationship and we really get one another. For the first three years I was kept a secret, and honestly I was perfectly fine with it, as I understood the repercussions. It didn’t seem worth it to put him in a difficult position if we were not sure we wanted to spend our lives together at the time. But now we are.
I recently asked him to tell his parents about us, so he agreed. I don’t believe they had the most positive attitude towards our relationship. So my questions are based on your experience:
What is the best approach with his family?
Is it possible to gain their respect, even if they don’t approve of me?
How can I help him not feel as though he is living in two differentttfA worlds, between his family and our relationship?
Last of all, it’s also really important for me that his extended family at least acknowledges my existence, do you consider this reasonable?
I really appreciate your comments.
It‘s lovely to hear from you.
Thanks for reaching out to me, you‘re definitely not alone.
When your in laws aren’t approving of your relationship it certainly makes life a lot more challenging. It’s also difficult to try not to take it personally and over time it can cause a lot of angst in your relationship. Usually, time and perseverance are the best ways to overcome such challenges. However, there are unfortunately some in laws who will just never come around. Though over time and with continued perseverance, many in laws do.
A good place to start would be asking your partner what are the reasons why they are against your relationship. He will know his parents and what their expectations are. Better yet he will know if they will be able to overcome their concerns. Albeit many parents are traditional, they will all have different concerns as to why they’re not accepting of your relationship.
Whether it’s simply because you’re not of the same culture, or possibly they’re just so set in their ways that you’ll simply never be good enough in their eyes. Once you determine what you’re up against, it should give you a better understanding.
Having a positive attitude towards your in laws despite their feelings towards you, and embracing their culture, goes a long way in demonstrating your compatibility. So just continue what you’re most likely already doing.
Over time, it’s possible for things to change. Sometimes, in-laws come around when grandchildren are born. Other times, hearts soften with age. Unpredictable moments in life can be milestones such as loved ones passing. More often than not time heals most of these wounds.
The biggest thing you can do to help prevent your partner feeling as though he is living two lives, is just continue to be supportive. Yet try to maintain a positive attitude towards your in laws when he talks about his family. Within reason attend family functions with him and don’t allow your in laws to bait you into any quarrels. You don’t want to give them anymore ammunition than they have. When you have to constantly listen to loved ones talk about one another nastily, it only causes more of a divide.
It‘s only natural to want your in laws to acknowledge your existence, which certainly isn’t unreasonable. If they are somewhat reasonable people, then they’ll most likely acknowledge that you’re apart of the family. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be extending you introductions to family friends or the community.
Just remember that this problem is more about them than it is about you. Stay focused on your relationship, and more often than not they’ll come around. But that does depend on your partners perspective on his parents and their concerns, as there unfortunately are some people who never change. When you focus on your relationship and continue to accept your partner’s culture, you exude your happiness which generally in turn will slowly but surely gain their acceptance.
All the best!
The White Punjabi Bride
Have you been in this situation before. What did you do to earn your in laws respect and gain their approval?