Post # 17
I do think a lot of it is that I came in with totall different expectations about how family *is,* as my family is so utterly different. I see how my family accepts my sister-in-law as a surrogate daughter, realizing that she, like everybody, is not perfect. They treat my fiancee the same way. We’re also all very open and talk freely about our feelings, etc. I actually get more of a bad vibe from my Future Father-In-Law, as he is pretty much the decision-maker in the family, and my Future Mother-In-Law is pretty passive (i.e. he orders for her, makes all decisions, etc). I would never want to be like that, so I don’t know why it’s so important to me to have their approval. Also, it would be so nice if the siblings liked me, but they didn’t really give me much of a chance. When we all met it was xmas time and they hadn’t seen each other and were very clique-y- understandable, but I also feel that when a new guest enters the situation, you kinda shoud reach out to them a little. Like I said, the argument I had with one of the sisters did perhaps irrepairable harm, but I just couldn’t hold my tongue any longer after feeling so slighted by her. I hope the other siblings start to realize that I made a mistake, but their sister did too, but they don’t seem to willing to consider it. It makes me really scared to spend time with the family, but if I opt out or make excuses not to, that would just be giving them more fodder.
Thank you all for all your suggestion- it’s been so therapeutic. Katze- I have read Jhumpa Lahiri, (first two books), and they do give me some insightm and also make me realize how very differently I was brought up.
Post # 18
- Wedding: September 2022 - The Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA
I know I’m late to this, but I just wanted to chime in a little….
I agree that if your Fiance hasn’t already sat down and talked to his family about how they’re treating you, that is imperative and might make a big difference. It sounds like his father is the threatening type, but if his son stands up to him and won’t back down, maybe they’ll all see how serious he is, and that they risk losing him if they won’t accept you. They don’t have to be your best friend, but they have to respect you and accept you as his wife. If they expect to be respected as elders, you and their son deserve some respect in return.
Would it also be possible for you to plan any one-on-one time with his family members? When they’re all a united front standing against you, of course it can be intimidating. But if you have the opportunity to sit down with each one of them individually, explain to them how much you love their brother/son, and how much you want to be accepted by them and learn about their culture, they might have a bit more sympathy and understanding for your situation. They might also have a newfound respect for you for going out of your way to face each one of them individually, as they’re obviously trying to intimidate you.
Also, out of curiosity, are any of your FI’s siblings married yet? If he is the first to get married, that might have a lot to do with it.
Post # 19
I am going through a similar situation myself, and my advice to you is: be the best person you know how to be. Know that you walk away from every encounter with them (or as many encounters as humanly possible) believing that you said and did the best you could. After that, if they don’t like you, there’s nothing else left to be done. The only person you can control is you.
For me, I found a lot of peace when I reconciled myself with the idea that no matter what I do, they will never love me and I will never please them. If it sounds depressing, that’s not how I think about it – in fact, its sort of freeing. When they annoy and frustrate me, I try to think positively (along the lines of ‘everyone has something to teach you’) and when I can’t take it anymore my Fiance sees to it that I can get some space. It made me less afraid to walk out of the room (as politely as possible) when their criticism or attitude is too much to take; it also meant that I could be a lot more relaxed since I didn’t have to try so hard to stay within their lines. Having an understanding and supportive Fiance is crucial to this, and I’m so glad you have his whole-hearted support.
So my advice, in a nutshell is: do your best, and be proud of the way you behave. That’s the best you can do – and some people are simply impossible to please.
Good luck. 🙂
Post # 20
A lot of good advice here! I was in a similar situation, though a little better than yours. My now Future In-Laws absolutely hated me when I started dating FH — while we’re the same nationality (Chinese), we came from two very different backgrounds which they immediately judged me for. Also he is the oldest son, and they viewed me as very aggressive and taking their boy away from there. There was about 1-2 years of bad blood and frustration during college. Finally his mother cracked and decided that if were still together after all this time then we must be serious and she’d try her best to give me a shot. His father was still very cold towards me. But after a lot of emotional struggle, I knew I couldn’t do anything about how they felt, I could only control the way I was and whether they liked me or not, I was going to put my best face forward and be as kind to them as I could. Finally about a year ago (at our 4 yr mark), I felt a pretty significant change in their behavior towards me. More welcoming, attempting to be more inclusive, etc. I think they were finally able to put aside their preconceived notions about the person they thought I was, and actually see who I was — a woman that cared deeply for their son, supportive and encouraging and someone who would be by his side for the rest of his life!
Anyway, now we’re engaged and while I’m still a little uncertain as to how his dad REALLY feels about me (I think a little part of him still wishes I were someone else), his mom loves me and my family and is as excited as I am for this wedding. Since we had thought it would take kids for them to like me, I am extremely glad it didn’t have to get dragged out til then =P. But I do hope that gives you a bit of hope for the future. You sound like a wonderful person and hopefully with time, they will start singing a different tune — they’d be foolish not to!
Take care and good luck!
Post # 21
You are definitely goign through a lot of hurt right now. But I think his parents are too. Indians have a very rich and ancient culture but in a country where you are absolutely the minority, it is something that can be very hard to hold on to. Maybe his parents are not just upset because of the usual reasons (eldest son getting married etc etc), but also because they feel by marrying you, he and their precious future grandchildren will be losing out on a culture that their wholes lives have been entiwined in. Not to mention, you fought with one of their children regardless of circumstances, which they probably took very badly.
I think you should of course remain very polite with the family, continue to be super sweet and I think one total home-run thing you can do is learn about the culture. This is very very important. Learn about their religion, learn about their food (how to make it, eat it etc). Learn about clothing, music, history. Learn about Indian wedding customs and try to incorporate them. Ask for their input!
Your kids are goign to get immersed in American traditions anyway if you stay here. It’s the Indian traditions that you (hopefully) want them to know about and it is probably the #1 concern of his parents. Show them you respect them and what they stand for and they will start to respect you, even if begrudgingly. And once they come over, the siblings will too. I have a feeling that the siblings are taking their cues from the parents and are resentful of you only because you are the reason their parents are upset. Once the parents start coming over to your side, the siblings will too.
GOOD LUCK! I know learning about a totally foreign culture and ingratiating yourself to hostile people is in no way easy but they are the ones who raised your wonderful Fiance and that is the culture he comes from so do it for his, and both of your sakes 🙂 I know you’ll win them all over!
Post # 22
My ‘rents actually went through this. As my mom tells me (she’s Filipino and my dad’s side is Caucasion…PA Dutch), my dad’s parents did not like my mother at all. They hadn’t even meet her yet when they wrote her a letter saying that "east and west don’t mix". My parents eloped and over time my grandparents grew to not only like my mom but totally love her (and her cooking). My uncle (dad’s brother) ended up also marrying an asian woman, but from Thailand.
Moral of the story, they will grow to love you. Once they see and realize how much love you and your Fiance have for each other, how happy you make him and how good you treat him they will come around. Trust me.
Post # 23
Bunette, I know exactly how you feel, since I’m going through a very similar situation with my Future In-Laws… my Fiance and I being from different cultures, my family being warm and welcoming, his not so much… I also fought with the Future Brother-In-Law after a week of him berating and mocking me to my face and I couldn’t be polite anymore and ignore it and I said something back to him… which might not have been the wisest of moves in terms of in-law harmony, but I had to say something for my own self esteem. (I suspect your fight with you Future Sister-In-Law was probably similarly motivated.)
Future Mother-In-Law hates me ever since I dared to say anything negative about her other (the eldest and obviously her favorite) son, I suspect Future Brother-In-Law always hated me, and they both now completely ignore my existence. It also leaves a very sour taste in my mouth though whenever I think of my wedding and them being there… which is childish and dramatic, I know, I can’t help it.
The way I’ve been handling the situation, like others have suggested, is to come to terms with how they will probably never like me no matter what I do and being okay with that. And really, you should feel sorry for your Future In-Laws because they are pushing away their son and you, a truly wonderful person. It really is them and not you!
Post # 24
Watch the movie, The Namesake, it might help give some of the cultural perspective that is making your situation hard. I am Indian, I also feel for you and I also see the other perspective (though there is not enough detail to know the particularities of your in-laws dislike for you on counts other than race and your job choice)
I also, even being Indian had the job issues you did even though I moved accross the country to be at my FI’s residency location at the expense of my first career location choice, but I still got dirty looks (like it was my fault) from my inlaws. It happens and their kid will always be their kid and you will always be the one taking him away (the diff is that with time you will become more a part of the family) – especially after you make your family.
I would let time take its course and do exactly what you are doing- be patient, be nice, do nice things for his family and focus on your great relationship with your Fiance. You can’t change your race, but you can change your attitude to how you will deal with it- be positive no matter what.
Post # 25
Sweetie, I know exactly how you feel. I’m Mexican and my fiancee is white. I’m 8 years OLDER than him. His parents have reservations, and his grandmother totally hates me. His sister is my "frenemy." As if getting married wasn’t stressful enough, right? I did have a hard time accepting this and sometimes I would cry, but then I figured – we love each other, we make each other happy, and no one else matters. You can’t live your life pleasing other people. You can only make yourself happy and if happiness for you is being in love w/ your fiancee and marrying him – so be it!!
You only get 1 life, and it’s a short one: enjoy what you have when you have it because you never know what tomorrow will bring.