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Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met Me.

JollyGoat

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
Messages
1
OK, I hope I can get some great responses here.

I am an American woman who married a wonderful man from southern India. To make a long story short (and in-between details aren't really important), my husband married me for love and his parents disapproved. He hasn't been to India in seven years, but still keeps in contact with his folks via telephone. I've never spoken with his parents, we've never met, and they never even mention me. (I do speak off and on with his sister, though, who seems like a swell gal!).

Anyhoo...his parents are talking about flying out here for a visit. And, I know how long Indian visits can last. Three, four, five weeks, right? I am not happy about this at all. My husband works 5 days a week, 10-12 hour days. I am a homemaker (Ok, I technically am a children's writer who works from home, mmkay?). We have one car, which hubby uses to take to work. I would be stuck in this apartment 10 or so hours a day, five days a week, for several weeks with in-laws who do not approve of me. For a first-time meeting, and considering the circumstances, I am extremely, extremely uncomfortable with this. I know, I can show them how to make American foods, bla bla bla...but realistically, come on. I'm actually considering flying out to my own parents' home just to avoid it all, ha. And I refuse to cook three meals a day, too, especially when I NEED to write and meet deadlines.

The second issue I have, which is actually the part bugging me the most is, I just KNOW my husband will want to pay for EVERYTHING, including plane tickets! This is going to drain our bank account royally, after we worked hard to save up. I have NO problem taking them out to dinner once in a while, or even taking them to one or two places, but I just know hubby will want to foot the bill for everything because his parents are in a financial rut, etc. Well, we also don't have an unlimited money pit, so why should we have to spend thousands, and thousands in plane tickets, dinner, shows, etc? Why should our bank account drain on account of them?

I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but I'm just so angry because I can forsee all sorts of issues. If our bank account drains, I am so scared I will start feeling resentment. I'm just so pissed and emotional right now.

What do I do? Naturally, I'll talk to hubby, of course. But I just needed to hear comments from total strangers. Anyone in a similar position?
 

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JGator

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
1,422
Re: Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met

Well, I don't totally know your situation, but I have Indian in laws too. They are not South Indian, and they met me many times before we got married.

I think you are in for a rude awakening. They will likely take over your kitchen and do all the cooking if they are like my in laws. And, they are not going to be interested in learning to cook American food from you. Are they vegetarian and are you vegetarian? My in laws are and will do all the cooking for that reason. It is fun for a while to have someone else do the cooking and to try new things.

I don't know what to tell you about the financial stuff as my in laws pay for everything when they come.

They will likely come for 3-4 weeks. I would ask your husband to take time off work as much as possible so it's not just you and them. Maybe you can make up some excuse to leave the house daily to go to the library to work or something - can you drop your husband off at work so that you have the car?

I think it's a good sign that they want to come visit you, but I also think you are in for a culture clash. And, it concerns me that they don't talk to you when they talk to your husband. My MIL likes to talk to me on the phone. I have heard that some Indian mother in laws treat their daughter in laws poorly - do you think they are very traditional, old-school?
 

hippi_pixi

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
630
Re: Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met

i think its possible to compromise but not win on all fronts.

I've been with my husband for 9 years, married for 2, his parents have only known i existed for 3. He would have had an arranged marriage and is from Hyderabad, South India, we are both Australian. When he first told his parents about me his mother was devastated and we fully expected he would be cast out, I wasn't even a topic of conversation for 6 months. after 6 months we said its time for our 2 families to meet. The first meeting is very important as it can set the tone for the entire future relationship with your inlaws. my parents and i visited my inlaws house in a different state. I wore a Sari and was quiet and respectful, they liked me and our fathers were discussing who pays for the wedding by the end of the night. Now we get along really well.

My suggestions if it were me. Sit Hubby down and impress on him the importance of this going well and the huge amount of stress its causing you already, and what you both can do to influence it. talk about every aspect as much as possible before hand and once they arrive just try to relax and go with the flow. definitely start talking to them on the phone now. Put the phone on speaker and have hubby translate/mediate/referee. do this as much as possible before meeting in person.

It is natural for the host to pay for EVERYTHING in indian culture so this is hard to avoid and i think one of the points you will lose on. Be upfront that you have equal say over how your savings are spent and you will resent him if he spends it all.

Have you considering visiting them in India? i think it will end up being cheaper, you control the duration of the visit, hubby is with you the whole time, parents may appreciate the initiative?

if the visit is at your house i would be informing my husband that it is his responsibility to be home to host his own parents so they do not become a burden on me. He will need to stand up for you and limit the visit to the amount of time he can take off work. bare minimum he needs to be home for the first half of the visit to help you get used to having them in your house.

If hubby must work could he drop you off at a public library and you work there during business hours?

Don't expect to teach them american food and don't expect to be cooking at all! in indian culture you are still a child! He is still a baby. my MIL stayed with me for 2 weeks last year and she walked straight into my house and started rearranging my kitchen, organising my house and filling the fridge with curry, before her bags hit the floor. it was extremely stressful! but resistance if futile! resisting will only make you upset and confuse her. she will consider her sons house as an extension of her own. property (and money) is more communal in indian family. she won't want to feel like a guest in her sons house she will want to feel like it is her house, because, to her, it probably is. Don't panic though! It doesn't take long to reverse it all once they leave. my MIL even put up a photo of their Guru to be a permanent part of our household which made me feel sick to my stomach (due to my beliefs) but it went straight in the bin when she left. no harm no foul.

In the end none of the short term things matter, the money, the kitchen, the reorganising of your house, its all temporary. be friendly and go with the flow because this first meeting will set the tone for your relationship with them for the rest of your lives!
 

Dee*Jay

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Messages
12,891
Re: Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met

Jolly, you said you talk to your sister in law. Can you get her on the line for some guidance on all this? I hate the idea of putting someone "in between" but is there any chance she can kind of "liaise" between you and the in-laws? Maybe give both you and them some advice or help in setting some expectations (even some ground rules) that will make the visit go more smoothly?

The most concerning part to me is that your in-laws don't seem too keen on even the *idea* of you (let alone YOU yourself). My biggest fear is a lack of respect (for lack of a better work) from them. They may not have chosen you as their son's wife, but you ARE their son's wife and everyone is entitled to be treated well, especially when you host them in your home. This part isn't coming across as well as I would like, but *for me* it would be critical for them to be informed, preferably by your husband, that you are an equal partner in the household and even if they don't like you, they will indeed respect you as a person and as the wife of their son. Does that make ANY sense? Otherwise I have a sad vision of them completely ignoring you in your own home, similarly to the way they have over the past many years by not even having a phone conversation with you.

A large part of how successful this will all be rests on your husband's shoulders. Can you give us some indication of his stance on all this and whether he has the fortitude to be an American husband in the face of Indian parents?
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,652
Re: Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met

I would seriously consider renting a car for their stay with you. You will need to get away, go shopping, take them out of the apartment, etc. You should not be left alone for 3-5 weeks with in-laws you have never met without some form of transportation.
 

hippi_pixi

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
630
Re: Indian In-Laws May Come to Visit Without Ever Having Met

check out posts on the topic on this blog Madh Mama. she is a canadian woman with an indian husband. you can even write in for advice and get useful comments from ppl with similar experiences. Ive done a search and linked to a posts that might be helpful

http://madh-mama.blogspot.ca/2014/04/the-foreign-daughter-in-law-decoded.html

http://madh-mama.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/the-psychology-of-indian-mother-in-law.html

http://madh-mama.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/that-happy-place-with-mother-in-law.html

http://madh-mama.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/the-indian-mother-in-law-decoded-fears.html
 
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