By you desk
Tue, 01, 21

My mother-in-law advised me to bear everything. She said I should win my husband’s heart, and if I did that, I would be happy.....

Dear Professor,

I am a 32-year-old woman. I got married when I was 23. I had completed my BBA when this proposal came and my parents were dazzled by the U.S. citizenship of my husband, T. They happily accepted the proposal which came from my father’s friend who is distantly related to T. The initial three to four months were kind of all right. My husband and his parents had their apartments in the same building, across from each other. My parents-in-law and the unmarried sister-in-law welcomed me very warmly and I was happy with my married life, but the honeymoon period did not even last three months. I caught my husband talking on his cell to some woman many times and when I asked him about her, he started beating me. I was new in U.S. and did not know anyone besides my in-laws. I did not even know the system of my new country at that time, so was totally dependent on my husband. In short, I had a horrible time for two years; my in-laws knew how he was treating me, but did not support me. Actually, my husband was in love with a married woman, and had illicit relationship with her. He asked her to get a divorce and marry him, but her husband was a rich guy and she did not want to leave him. His parents thought he would get over her if he got married, and they asked their relatives to find a girl in Pakistan. T was angry at her at that time and agreed to marry me because he liked my picture. My good looks and bad kismet doomed me; my parents did not make any inquiries. Had they done so, they would have found out that before my husband’s family got their Green Card, he was married to another unfortunate girl for two years.

My mother-in-law advised me to bear everything. She said I should win my husband’s heart, and if I did that, I would be happy. I told her he was talking to some woman but she told me to be a good eastern wife and wait for him to come back to me. I was so naïve that I would have done that, too. He was so abusive that I did not want to wait for him to change, but I had no support. I was financially dependent on him and he had my passport. I could talk to my parents only in front of him. He even kept my cell phone under lock and key. Then, my married sister-in-law came to visit us from another state. When she saw how her brother was treating me, she tried to talk to him, but they ended up fighting. My husband told her to mind her own business and my parents-in-law remained quiet. It was during that time I lost my baby. I wasn’t even aware that I was pregnant. My husband had become angry with me because of my sister-in-law’s ‘meddling’. He thought I had asked her to speak to him. He beat me so badly that I became unconscious. He called my mother-in-law and they had to take me to ER, and I ended up losing the baby. I was too scared to tell the police what really happened but my sister-in-law convinced me to stand up for myself and helped me financially till my divorce was finalised. She helped me find a job and get my life together.

When I got divorced, I was 25 only. I made new friends, and a new life, thanks to the wonderful ex-sister-in-law. Then, after two years, a Pakistani guy, F, I came across through a friend, became interested in me. We became close and he asked me to marry him, and I was so happy that I immediately said yes. F is also 32, and has not been married before. When I said yes, he spoke to his mother, but she refused to give him permission to marry a divorcee. F told me he would persuade her, but also said he would not marry me against his mother’s wishes. We have been trying to win over his mother, and I went to Pakistan to meet her two times. But she is adamant, and I am now desperate. F says I should remain steadfast and eventually his mom would relent. I have another good proposal, but I really care for F. I also want a family of my own. I want to become a mother. What should I do?

Desperate Woman

Dear Desperate Woman,

You are brave girl. You had a bad marriage, but you pulled yourself together with the help of T’s sister, and made a new life for yourself. You are now a mature person who has been living independently for five years. You are entitled to a family of your own, but it seems not with F. I don’t doubt F’s intentions; he has taken you to meet his mother twice, and has shown he is willing to wait for his mother to come around. However, there is no guarantee that his mother would relent. You are 32 and cannot wait indefinitely for him to marry you. You have a good proposal now, but if you let time slip through your fingers, you may not get a good one again. F’s mother is holding out because she knows her son still has time to settle down. But if you want children you will have to get married soon. So talk to F and tell him that he should not keep you dangling. He should either marry you – with or without his mama’s permission - or end it. Good luck!