C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day
“The Indian in-laws,” this topic alone is the basis of many Bollywood movies, yet the western world has no idea the depth or power these South Asian parents have over their children.
I suppose I have avoided a post about it, because in all honesty, it doesn’t really pertain to me. I was accepted into Manny’s family quite easily. And, if there was any drama, he never let me know about it.
This post is because more than 90% of all emails I receive are directly related to the heartbreak caused by Indian parents.
I can’t begin to understand it, and I certainly don’t condone the manipulation or psychologically abusive behavior some Indian parents use to control their children.
Recently, a comment was posted on my article “Your Boyfriend is from India?” It was a link to a blog, written by an Indian man named Vishnu; titled “How to Win the hearts of Indian Parents and Marry your Indian Partner.”
Intrigued, I read on.
Ultimately, this article led me to become infuriated enough to contact the author and give him a piece of my mind.
I found it to be written from a VERY Indian mentality, one which advised the western partner to stoop so low as fight manipulation with manipulation. Which, completely disregarded the fact that CULTURALLY we come come from different planets. He was advising western partners to essentially “become Indian,” in order to be accepted.
Well, this Jersey Girl was irate.
Western women, tend to believe that “we should be accepted for who we are,” “not be fake,” “don’t change yourself to fit-in,”… and all kinds of other empowering messages we tell ourselves.
This mans articles, in my opinion, were basically saying… “learn our language, learn Indian culture, try to fit in, touch feet, be quiet, and remain as invisible as possible… ”
Also, upon first reading his articles, I was very upset that he was using scare tactics to make money by promoting a specific linear plan, “sure” to win over Indian parents… eventually.
While I advise my readers… Indian parents eventually DO come around ONLY IF your boyfriend stands up for you.
After a few brief emails back and forth with Vishnu, and a few conversations with other western women married to Indian men, I’ve decided that his articles are worth reading, with the disclaimer… I do not endorse “some” of his advise.
Without further ado, lets see what his article recommends when dealing with Indian parents accepting you. Here is the intro from “Win the Hearts of Indian Parents and Marry your Indian Partner,” by Vishnu
“You’re in a bit of an Indian parent masala.
Your boyfriend is Indian and you’re not. (Unfortunately, your partner’s parents are Indian as well!?)
You had dreamy hopes of marrying him and living happily ever after.
The only problem is that your partner hails from that part of the world known as South Asia: primarily India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan or Bhutan.
If you’ve fallen in love with an Indian guy or dating someone from one of these South Asian countries, your life is about to turn upside down.
You found a brilliant, well-educated, polite and devoted guy but…you had no idea this wonderful person came from an overly-protective, slightly judgmental, and hostile family.
In fact, your partner’s Indian parents are likely neurotic, hate the idea of their son dating you and will do everything in their power to sabotage this relationship.
Would Indian parents actually go to this extreme? You betcha!”
Now, up until this point, I have to agree that I have seen some crazy things that Indian parents will do to break off a relationship they deem unfit.
For some reason, many Indians have a negative and false opinion of western women. I honestly have NO IDEA why Indian parents wouldn’t approve of their children marrying us; I mean, I AM A DELIGHT. Damn it.
Normally, the two main concerns I hear about WHY Indian parents dislike us so much are: 1) western women will divorce you for no reason, and 2) they sleep around.
Neither, are exactly true.
Western women will divorce you if you treat them poorly. We don’t NEED to stick around an abusive, suffocating marriage, to appease ANYONE.
And, nope… a LARGE portion of us DON’T sleep around.
Sorry to burst that fantasy.
Although, the secrets I’ve heard from young Indian women would blow your mind, Auntie. Trust me.
So Vishnu continues on, and writes:
“You will face an emotionally manipulative and aggressive force like no other: the Indian mom and dad.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just that they didn’t work hard, come to this country with 15 cents in their pockets and put their kids through Ivy League schools for those kids to marry you!”
(What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck? I hope this is an attempt at sarcasm)
“You may have initially thought that Indian parents were slightly protective and uncertain of you but now that you’ve gotten to know them, you’re no longer naïve about what’s at stake.
Indian parents (and most South Asian parents) are against intercultural or interracial marriages. They will do whatever it takes to end the relationship between you and their son (including espionage, private investigators, blackmail and criminal threats).
You are realizing the full emotional and psychological battle facing you.”
OK, this is true for “some,” sadly… I guess I take issue with “the way,” he writes?
I believe in one thing, and one thing only:
My advise to my subscribers is “ALWAYS LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR BOYFRIEND TELLS YOU ABOUT WHAT HE IS “WILLING” TO GO THROUGH.”
Only he knows if HE has the BALLS to stand up to them, or not.
If he tells you he can’t upset them; he is breaking up with you… BELIEVE HIM!
Walk away, he is a coward.
My husband, and countless others, fought for (and won) the woman they love. Contrary to the way Vishnu describes Indian parents, only a percentage behave so childishly.
Yes, some old fashioned Indian parents manipulate, cause drama, create “health issues,” guilt trips etc… but ultimately, it is up to your partner to decide if YOU are worth it. Indian parents almost always give-in eventually. (It may take a year… but they do give-in)
Vishnu then promotes his book:
“Luckily for you, a guide is available to help. Today, I’m releasing a book called, How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal.
It’s a basic, straightforward guide to understanding the mindset of Indian parents – and to outmaneuvering and outsmarting them so you can have your big, fat Indian wedding.”
Outmaneuvering them? Outsmarting them?
Does this sound like a good “healthy” way to start a relationship with the future grandparents of your children? Eeeek.
I’ve thought long and hard if I should promote the articles/ blog/ book written by Vishnu. Ultimately, I decided he is a nice enough guy with good intentions.
MANY women ask me for advise on a daily basis, and maybe an Indian man, with Indian mentality, might know a thing or two more than this Jersey Girl?
An excerpt from another article he wrote: “How to Talk to Indian Parents About Marrying Someone From a Different Culture.”
“Talking to Indian parents about love and marriage is different than it is in other cultures.
You don’t simply approach your parents and tell them you’ve fallen for the love of your life and the love of your life is…white or Asian or Latino.
The way to put your life in further jeopardy is to claim your undying love for your long-term American beau, insist you’ve made up your mind and boldly proclaim that you will marry only this man of your dreams!
If you’ve fallen in love with someone from a culture outside of your Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or South Asian family, your relatives will quickly respond.
This response will likely range from complete silence to utter anger and disgust.”
“Put your life in jeopardy?” Sounds like someone needs a hug. I also kind of take issue with the word “DISGUST,” which makes me feel as if we western women are seen as less than the garbage which litters their “beloved” motherland.
Although Vishnu is giving advise from his own experience, I reiterate that some of his “wording” may be hard to swallow, even if his intentions are good.
For instance, he says, “Indian people do not believe in marrying for love. Also, they do not believe in marrying non-Indian people.” This statement is clearly worded wrong, and I would hope he chooses to edit it. Such a sweeping generalization is appalling to say, and terribly scary for an outsider looking for advise. Even my husbands elder family members have had successful “love marriages.”
He has a plan, of course. Outlined below:
A 16-point plan to talk to your parents and get them to accept your non-Indian boyfriend of girlfriend follows.
1. Break the news slowly and over several conversations to help your parents deal with it. This might be the most devastating news they hear in their lives, so understand that they need some time to process it. Give them a few details at a time; limit your revelations when you first break the news to them.
2. Prime them for the conversation. Slowly introduce the topic of your getting serious with someone else or marrying someone who is non-Indian. Do not speak assertively or with certainty. Bring it up as a concept first; introduce the idea as if you are contemplating it with them. See how much they push back each time. If the situation quickly gets hot and intense, change topics and bring it up another day.
3. Do not react as emotionally as your parents do. These initial conversations will likely be intense and hard for your parents, and they will likely say hurtful things. Be aware of what’s coming up. Do not use this time to fight back with the same negativity or insults.
4. In the first conversation, do not die for love. This means do not say this relationship is “do or die.” Do not say you’re going to die for love: “It’s this man or woman or no one else.” Do not make bold and outlandish statements about your love for this person. Do not come across as a lovesick puppy or withering Romeo who will put his life on the line for this non-Indian woman. Tone down your declarations of love and keep things fluid. Take the attitude that anything can happen in life. This marriage may or may not be in your future. Give your parents some time to take it all in and cope.
5. Listen intently to what your parents say. Without a doubt, your parents will have much to say. Instead of coming up with defenses against each response they make, hear them out. Spend more time listening instead of convincing. By speaking, your parents are processing. By listening, you are gathering information.
6. Use every argument as a means of collecting strategic information. Take notes if you must. One day, you can use everything your parents say. They may sound angry and disappointed but they are essentially scared, so use the first few conversations to fully understand where they are coming from and what their fears are. Gather strategic information so you can formulate a plan of attack with your partner!
7. Be on a fact-finding mission to discover what each of your parents is worried about. Each parent will speak a different language and use different words to tell you what lies behind his or her fears. Like a reporter, collect as much information as you can. Then spend the next few months formulating a strategy for convincing them. Reporters don’t yell back or challenge their subjects. They give their interview subjects plenty of time to relax and vent their true feelings and fears.
8. Treat each parent as an individual. Speak to each parent separately. Each will have his or her own quirks, opinions and fears. The more you can divide them and have separate conversations with them, the better your chance of understanding what each one fears.
9. Make strides to address each of their concerns. Over the coming weeks and months, you will know what to focus on. If they are afraid of religious or food incompatibility, make the case to them. If they are afraid of what other people will think, let them know about people who approve of your relationship. Discover their concerns so you can address them.
10. Look for allies within the family and community. Your parents may want to keep the news within your immediate family because of their shame and embarrassment; however, you will benefit by sharing your relationship with people outside your immediate family. You will help the extended family cope and possibly find supporters outside of your parents. You may also find other people in the community whose children married non-Indian people. Definitely bring them into the picture and get them involved. Your parents win in silence and secrecy. The more people who know, the more you’re helping break the taboo and discomfort over sharing this news with others.
11. Help your non-Indian partner educate himself or herself about Indian culture. The more your partner molds himself or herself to the culture, including learning your scriptures and language, the better. What does your family value and prioritize in the Indian culture? Food? Religion? Parenting? Language? Education? Whatever it is, get your partner up to speed. This will help alleviate your parents’ fears. Your parents want to feel as comfortable as possible with your partner because they believe they might be living with you in their older age, and they don’t want to live with a foreigner who doesn’t understand them.
12. Be prepared for psychological and emotional warfare. If you’re expecting it, your parents’ reaction won’t traumatize or shock you. Your parents will try every conceivable method to scare you, hurt you and blackmail you into submission. They will feign health issues, threaten you, disown you, never speak to you again. If you realize they are using these tactics out of fear, you can better cope with the emotional warfare.
13. Use time to your advantage. The more time you have and the longer you drag this out, the better. Your parents will need time to process the news. You are changing generations of a thought process they have believed their entire lives. This is all they know. Give them time to process and to learn about other people and families that have gone through the same thing. They may be going through a grieving process, so expect them to experience all the steps of grief before they arrive in a rational place to accept your decision.
14. Highlight the practical advantages of this particular partner. Indian parents care about respect of their family, religion and culture, as well as about financial stability. You know this, so your task over the next few months is to provide rational reasons why this relationship makes sense. Try to show how Indian-like – or “Indian-lite” – your partner is, even if your partner is not Indian. If your partner is well-educated and has educational or career plans, highlight that fact. If he or she come from a traditional culture or a stable family background (i.e., parents who are still married), highlight that fact. If your partner’s parents are wealthy and have family property, definitely highlight that fact! If your partner has attended church his or her whole life and comes from a religious family, highlight that fact as long as your partner is open to participating in your religious traditions, too.
15. Use compassion and kindness to alleviate your parents’ fears. Your parents will act irrationally out of anger and fear. Responding to them the same way will not help. You must speak with kindness and listen with compassion despite their every tantrum, hurtful statement and blackmail attempt. If you want to make this work, you must find that inner strength to be rational, kind and reasonable. Essentially, you must be the opposite of your parents; you must show them that you have thought this through and that you are not being irrational or disrespectful. This is a case in which kindness and understanding (of what they are experiencing) can help you all get to marital bliss – ok, at least acceptance.
16. Clearly state your intentions and desires. After some time has passed, you can let your parents know that you are serious about this relationship. Now that they have had time to digest and process the news, you can state unequivocally that you are interested in this person as your life partner – and not only are you interested in this person, you’re going to marry him or her. Say this calmly, with certainty and confidence. You stand on the strength of your relationship and the confidence of your partner. More than that, you stand in your own power of knowing what you want and what’s right for you.
“The most devastating news they may ever hear in their lives??” SIGH…. “Shame and embarrassment?”
Is that what we are?
While some of Vishnu’s advise is solid, I really wish he could write with a tad more sensitivity to his audience.
To MY dear subscribers reading this, I hope you can learn something about your boyfriends upbringing, and societal beliefs from reading “between the lines” of Vishnu’s advise.
Clearly, “some” Indians see us as garbage, less than; someone to be ashamed and embarrassed by, BUT NOT ALL Indians feel that way. You need not look any further than my own marriage.
So, I have mixed feelings about some of Vishnu’s advise… but ULTIMATELY he and I both want to see you happy! If his articles help you, then WONDERFUL.
Link to Vishnu’s article and blog page, How to Win the hearts of Indian Parents and Marry your Indian Partner.”
And, another article he wrote, “How to Talk to Indian Parents About Marrying Someone From a Different Culture.”
Good Luck, and much love.
Follow our story below:
Your Boyfriend is From India? pt1 —> HERE
Your Boyfriend is from India? pt 2 —> HERE
His Indian Parents Don’t Accept You? —> HERE
Jersey Girl and the Sikh—> HERE
My Indian Boyfriend pt 1—>HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Prelude —> HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Showtime —> HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE
Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE
Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE
Our Story, Retold —> HERE
Culture Shock: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly —> HERE
Culture Shock: What to Expect?-–> HERE
Culture Shock: Six Months in America —> HERE
Culture Shock: Manny’s First Christmas —> HERE
Culture Shock: The First Year—> HERE
Our Honeymoon: Rishikesh India—> HERE
K1 Fiance Visa: The Process—> HERE
K1 Fiance Visa: The Inteview —> HERE
Cr1 Spousal Visa: The Timeline —> HERE
Cr1 Spousal Visa: Interview Questions —>HERE
Green Card: Approved—> HERE
A Journey to: New Delhi—> HERE
A Journey to: Jaipur India —> HERE
A Journey to: Dubai UAE —> HERE
Our First Diwali—> HERE
Giving Thanks, Shukryia —> HERE
Being Sikh in America—> HERE
The Indian Grocery: Natural Products—> HERE
A Path to Happiness—> HERE
True Love Lives Quietly —> HERE
Buddhaful Britt: Most Interesting Travel Blogger —> HERE
Buddhaful Advise: As We Think, So We Become —> HERE
Buddhaful Advise: Inner Peace —> HERE
Buddhaful Advise: Everyday Stress —> HERE
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So I looked up Vishnu. Based on what he said about himself in his About page, he grew up in Northern California. Born in Malaysia, grew up in USA. Not India. But he’s got plenty of “insider” info. on how Indian parents work!
Here’s my 2 cents: take his “advice” with a pinch of salt. The personal insights in your blog is more meaningful and accurate than the psycho babble he is peddling. Maybe his intentions are good and it is all coming from a good place but it is harmful and not good advice in my opinion. Lying, deceit, trickery and manipulation should never be used as a solution for troublesome parents who basically need WD40 to pull their heads outta their rear ends.
Thankfully, the country is changing rapidly and these types of issues are becoming rarer. Unfortunately, for people like Vishnu, their entire upbringing is within a cocoon of Indian traditions frozen in time. Frozen in time as of when their parents landed here and promptly buried their heads in Northern California sand. I have seen this phenomenon play out with other second generation Indian kids as well. Their parents seem to be way more traditional, religious and stricter when compared to their same-age counterparts who stayed back in India. The ones back in the motherland modernized with time whereas these denizens of the first world took a trip backward in time in comparison. No wonder, with values of that sort burnt in their brains since childhood, second gen. Vishnus of the world tend to imagine all other parents as being similar to their own. The problem is when they start dispensing prescriptive remedies as candies to everyone.
I’m so happy for your response. I agree, as in the situation going on in the UK right now. It seems Sikhs in the UK will not let an outsider (like me) get married in a Gudwara, but New Delhi welcomed me with open arms. Thank you so much for taking the time to do some investigation. I’m your biggest fan. Lol
Btw, Where did you guys meet? online?