I am a 30-year-old married woman. I was forced to marry my cousin S when I was 18 because he was the only male available in the community. Since everyone knew S was a lazy, good-for-nothing sort of a person, S was still unmarried at the age of 37. I was only able to complete my HSC when I got married. My father gave me an apartment so we could rent it out and live on the money as S was broke and lived with his parents. My parents-in-law made it clear that as his wife it was my duty to reform S. Living with S and his family wasn’t easy at all. I was taunted by my sisters-in-law because their brother did not work! The rent I got was taken from me by my mother-in-law because I was living in their house. I had to rely on my parents for my personal needs, which was extremely humiliating. They had given me the apartment so I would have money to make ends meet, but it did not happen. And let me tell you that the rent I was getting was more than what many men earn, so I was not happy asking my mother to lend me money!
In the first four years, God blessed me with two sons and my position changed somewhat for the better as far as my husband was concerned. At least he demanded and started getting 50 percent of the rent which he let me have. He also started working - he is highly qualified - and is getting good money. Then, at the advice of a friend, I did a computer course and got a job. I continued my studies as a private candidate and along with graduation I took a couple of very useful courses and got promoted. My salary became very good so I decided to shift to my apartment. My husband was okay with the idea and we asked our tenants to find another place. When they vacated the apartment, my husband told his parents about our decision to move out, as we only had one room. There was a great hue and cry and we were called ungrateful and some very bad names. My husband didn’t say anything but remained firm and we shifted to my four-bed apartment. Finally, I felt settled and happy. The last year was a dream, but it seems that my good luck is running out. My parents-in-law wants us to move back and have been blackmailing my husband emotionally. He has brought up this topic tentatively a couple of times. He said they are willing to give us two rooms and miss us very much. I am not convinced. I think it’s the income from my apartment they lost that they are missing, as they are not alone. My two married brothers-in-law live with them, but have their separate portions and give some money to my parents-in-law, but just as a token. I don’t want to move back with them. What should I do?
Dear Worried Woman,
You are a very courageous young woman who made things work against all odds. It’s because of your hard work and sacrifices that your husband sided with you and also started working. It means he is basically a good person who needed a push which he did not get from his parents. I am happy that you feel finally settled and understand why you don’t want to go back. You need to convince your husband that you all are set and happy in your new home, and going back might not work out. If you think it’s money that they want, ask your husband to talk to them, and find out about their financial position. If they need money, your husband should give them a suitable amount regularly. They are, after all, his parents and he should do what he can for them. It’s possible that your parents-in-law are genuinely missing their son and his children. So may be you should also think about your situation. You have young children and both of you work. If you can get an independent portion in your parents-in-law’s house it would be beneficial for you, too. Think about the situation with a cool head, and then decide what you think is best for you. Good luck!