Moving to Our Own Apartment 77


After over a year of living in a joint family, we’re moving out. I came to India fully prepared to live out the rest of my days sharing a home with my in-laws, but it seems I was too optimistic. The things I thought would get easier, got worse as my need for personal space and control grew. People warned me that joint family living is hard, no matter how lovely your in-laws are. I carried on without taking much notice, assuming it would be different for me, and I could make it work. I was going to be with my husband and that’s all that mattered, right?

Wrong.

I have found joint family life extremely hard, this way of life doesn’t suit me. I came to India to be with the man I love, not to be a perfect Indian daughter-in-law. I gladly embraced many of the  traditions and customs, but I’m just not cut out to do this 24/7, I want to be able to spend some alone time with my husband without moaning about how isolated I feel.

As a couple, we need our own space and I need to feel at home in India, at the moment I still feel like a lodger in someone else’s house. Unfortunately, I’m not built for joint family life. we all feel this is the best move for us as a family. I’m not against maybe returning to joint family life at some point in the future, but we are newly weds who jumped straight into marriage. We haven’t experienced time alone yet.

I hope that having our own space will improve my relationship with my new family and just give us all the breathing space we all need! Proximity breeds contempt, living in a joint family has taught me that. I feel certain that a little bit of distance (less than 1km) will nurture my relationship with my new family as I am absolutely determined for it to blossom!


About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren fell in love on the internet, took a one way flight from England, got married & started a new life & bicultural family in India. She writes about finding happiness & balance between two very different worlds, when her baby takes a nap.


Comment

77 thoughts on “Moving to Our Own Apartment

  • rohit

    Really its very hard. But its Also Indian tradition that, if all brother cann’t leave together peacefully, then separate them. Old generation always said, divided all your children much before of clash. If anyone opt to leave independently, then separate peacefully and happily, becz if you do it happily then love between brother will not die. …..
    Best of luck for your future….

  • Bhagirathi

    Family is a mix of sweet-salty-butter and bland. I hope you are happy in your new house and make up with your in laws. They are your new family and sometime or the other ur husband will miss his parents.

  • monicast

    It’s not a bad thing – some people are cut out for it and others aren’t. I commend you on trying but don’t feel like you failed. Couple time is extremely important and when family members are around, although it can be nice, it feels invasive sometimes. I hope your new home gives you the peace and independence you need!

  • MiaMusings

    Well Indian joint families can be daunting. I grew up in one but its very different for a daughter than it is for a daughter-in-law. WHile there are always pros and cons, sometimes the cons are more! I understand where you are coming from. It’s great that you tried but it’s better to move away. It helps preserve relationships. Wish you all the very best in your new house!

  • Kelly

    Good for you. I hope your husband is extremely supportive in your need for personal space and respectful of your decision. I think it’s incredible how accommodating you’ve been so far and I wonder if he realizes the extent of your efforts and appreciates how difficult that would be for any western woman. Best of luck in your new home.

  • tabibitosoul

    Dear Lauren, I am glad for this new stage that is coming to your life. I am sure you will enjoy a lot the privacy of being at your very own place. I understand that we are really not built to be part of a joint-family as per Indian standards. I also believe that even Indian girls are not, but they have to. Anyway, enjoy a lot and lots of happiness in this new place!

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Thank you so much!! 😀
      We’ve never had our own space before. I think that it’s really hard for the daughter-in-law, no matter where they are from! I think it’s quite rare to live in complete harmony (from what I have heard from people who contact me!)

      I hope you are well! xx

  • madhmama

    Great news!!!!! And a brave choice. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and demanding your own space.
    I have mused about living with my in laws when they come to Canada, but ultimately think I’d like them nearby instead. They are not that old yet, so it works out.

  • journeyofmythoughts

    Congrats on the new move.
    It is okay to wish for personal space and a life independent of others. For some reason, i sense a small guilt in your words and may be that is bcoz you are dealing with Indian In-Laws. But i personally think it is totally okay to want to live separately. Glad that you choose to do what you really want to. Be happy and take care.

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! It’s sad that it didn’t work out but I do feel I did everything to the best of my ability and my husband and I should stay in an environment which isn’t healthy for us. Thank you so much again, take care and lots of love xx

  • AmritaLiterature

    Oh man this one was of a whole lot of personal relevance to me. I equate it with serving a jail sentence – you have done your time and now your out! Haha all the best to you. Unfortunately I have the life sentence as I work with my inlaws in our family business so no independence or breaking free for me! It’s basically a life of being a adult child under someone else’s roof. Best of luck to you xox. – http://www.amritaliterature.com

  • beena

    Hi! Lauren. I have been following your blog for quite some time and i have discovered what a wonderful and lovely person you are! All your articles are well written and very interesting as well. After your marriage you have moved to India and adopted it’s culture and traditions as your own. This is definitely not very easy as it seems to be. This shows that you have definitely made a lot of sacrifices and compromises on your part. i really appreciate you for that. But at the same time it is equally important for each one to have their own personal space. It is very true that proximity breeds contempt. Therefore I am very happy that you are moving into your new apartment. A place where you can be yourself without any restrictions or expectations. I hope Alphonso likes his new home. Do keep us updated with the latest pics. Looking forward to your next blog. Take care.

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey Beena,
      Thank you so so so much for your kind and lovely words, they’ve brought such a smile to my face! Alfonso has visited the apartment and already loves it!! Sending you lots of love and hugs xx

  • Kali Jantra

    Well done! I’ve already told my husband, that if we ever going to move to India, there’s no way we’re going to live with his family. Maybe at the beginning for a couple of months to get settled, that’s it. I don’t think I could live permanently with my own parents, let alone someone else’s 😉

  • DTIngole

    Congratulations on your new home!! Wishing you all the very best settling in and making it your own.
    We hope that now you can put your feet up as you settle into your new place. It’s gonna be great!!

  • Shraddha

    Hey Lauren, Happy to hear that you took that decision soon enough. I am sure that your husband is very supportive and that is what matters most. Well,its not a new thing that in-laws are painful for someone. I am also from Nagpur and my in-laws are also from Nagpur, so I am familiar with the nature and thinking of the people over there. I also had a very tough time dealing with my in-laws. Specially Maharashtian in-laws are very interfering and also very possessive about their son,especially mother -in laws. Try to join some groups or get membership of some activity group and you will be able to engage yourself in Nagpur. I live in Europe now,but I will be happy to get in touch with you. I will send you a request on facebook. Please accept it. My name is Shraddha Shukla. Get in touch. And all the best for your time in new house 🙂

  • kreacherspeaks

    I am glad you have got the much needed space that (I feel) every couple needs and deserves. Wishing you all the best for a new phase and no, you need to give an explanation for not being able to put up with it for the rest of your life. You will be surprised at how many Indian girls feel the same way you do. However, a word of caution…if you put your life so much in public space, it is bound to create its own share of pressures for you. I feel that this post could have come after you moved so you don’t offend the sensibilities of the one person for whom you have turned your own world upside down. Just my point of view 🙂

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey honey,

      Thank you so much for your support. We had already started the process of moving out when I published this post, also my husband always reads my blogs and I alway say the truth so there is no issue in that. I haven’t tried to shame anyone or said nasty things. I am just telling the truth.

      I hope you are well! xx

  • VK

    I read an article about you the other day on BBC and to be honest I felt really sorry for you. I imagined a naive young woman falling for some imaginary romantic dreams only to repent later. I am an Indian . I have also lived in first world countries. I can imagine how incredibly difficult it is in living in a chaotic and brutal country like India and that too in a conservative joint family.
    However I am so happy that you have the courage to recognize your problems and are assertive enough to take the decision to move to your own home. I am even more happy that most importantly you and your husband love each other and are compatible.
    On the positive side – Believe me , after you lived in India , you can survive ANY place in the world. If your kids grow up in India , they will find life elsewhere a piece of cake.
    But most importantly always remember – YOU have to be happy first before you can give others happiness. Never hesitate and forget to care for yourself . No one will. Expect unconditional love only from your parents and if you are lucky , your husband.
    In future f you feel you cannot sustain the heat and dust of India , do not hesitate to talk to your husband about moving somewhere else. It is okay to consider if you feel that way. Life in India is not for the faint hearted or meek.
    Good luck.Wish you love and happiness.

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey VK,

      Thanks for your comment. There is no need to feel sorry for me, over two years after meeting my husband online we are still so in love and I am very happy here (especially now we live in our own apartment and have our own space). Thank you for your encouraging words, I agree that happiness is paramount.

      I hope you are well!

      Take care, Lauren

      • VK

        Hi Lauren – Nice to hear such a cheerful response from you. You and your husband make a very beautiful couple and I am sure your love for each other will only increase with time.

        However I still feel tempted to give you some unsolicited advice (hopefully much of it should be something you already know ) – I cannot help doing so for a young woman coming to live in my

        1)Do not feel obliged to follow the customs of your husband’s joint family. If you do not feel comfortable , do NOT feel guilty if you refuse to follow suit. In India often there is a lot of emotional blackmailing in situations like yours leading to women feeling guilty. Do not be a victim of it.There is absolutely no reason to compromise on of your basic values just because you moved to a different country and culture. Indian women in general (especially in families like your husbands’ ) are expected to be subservient to men but it is up to you not to be.

        2)Try to be thick skinned – Without it you will find it difficult in India. My own hunch you are more sensitive and try to please others – which is fine so long as it does not affect your health or happiness. It does take compromises to keep a marriage stable but do not tolerate nonsense from anyone indefinitely without good reasons.

        3)Be very careful when you are alone in India. India is NOT a country for women. Be skeptical whenever you are alone outside. It does not hurt. Unfortunately people are racist though you being a white woman might face much less of it than Africans. But do not be shocked at nasty racist talk.

        4)You and your husband should keep all options open including moving to a different place/country. Just because his family is in Nagpur does not mean that you endure 45 degree summers for the next 45 years. You may not feel that now but you never know how you will ten years down the line. India definitely offers you spiritual wisdom and knowledge (the one thing I am really proud of my country) but again in this connected world it does not matter. There are plenty of temples in Southhall, Birmingham in any case.

        Don’t misunderstand me – Not trying to scare you or intrude in your personal life and I really hope you do not have to face too many such situations. – I just wish you well. And I hope I did not offend you in any manner.

        Take care and may goddess Durga’s blessings be with you.

        • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

          Hey VK,

          I am very much accustomed to receiving unsolicited advice these days, but thank you.

          I am very much someone who will not do something unless I know the reason behind doing it. You’ll find me asking ‘why?’ about every tradition. Things I don’t like/understand why I tend to avoid.

          I love living in India, especially now we have our own place! Lots of lovely experiences I have had, and some bad ones too but no place is perfect. After living here for 14 months I have overcome a lot of the “culture shock”.

          I hope you are well and thank you again.

          Happy Maha Shivratri!!

          Lauren

          • VK

            Hello kreacherspeaks,
            Thank you for responding to me.
            Good or bad is a very relative term . When you say India isn’t that bad it depends on what you consider as bad or what do you consider as ideal or less than ideal.
            I do not think I hate India – It is quite the opposite. I really wish India will be better in so many ways – one of them is its treatment of women in general.
            If you think I said something which is untrue or factually wrong , please let me know, I would be more than happy to hear alternative points of view.

          • kreacherspeaks

            Not hurtful or factually wrong, but I do believe that there is always a dark side to every society and unfortunately disrespect is one of ours. This doesn’t justify or support the disrespect. Just that I feel your statements have a very doomsday propehcy-ish feel to it. What I believe is, surrounded by the right kind of people, anyone’s life can be made into paradise and luckily all the men in my life are the kind to push me off my comfort zone and go explore my skills. I recognise that many don’t have this support and I feel for them but I do really believe this will (and has started) changing. I certainly hope you have better experiences when you come back and are not compelled to turn to another country just for comfort. Take care…

    • Ko

      kv-I am European and married an Indiam guy, how it showed later-from conservative family, typical mama’s boy.
      I just feel like your post is about me, lol , now my.marriage is on crossroad, as u may gusss coz of MIL.
      Unfortunately my husban put his mom high above me, unlike Lauren (lucky girl:) )
      Anyway just wanted to say its nice to know someone understands my point of view .
      Best regards.

      • VK

        Hey Ko – sorry to know about your situation. I hope things work out for you. I do ot know you . But still I can tell you from my experience
        It is difficult but never remain in denial about your problems or decisions. If you realize you made a wrong decision (we all make ) , face it head on and decide what best you can do in a calm manner whatever that may be.
        I have wasted 20 years of my life living in denial – Do not do that.
        Whenever you realize that cut your losses and decide what is best for YOU. Do not compromise on your happiness in the long run – You must be happy before u can give others happiness. Do not feel guilty about caring for yourself.
        Take care – and wish you the best

        • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

          Hey VK,

          Thank you for your great advice to Ko. Denial is such a persistent beast, we have to be honest and open with the ones we love and most importantly, honest with ourselves. I can relate!

          Take care!!

      • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

        Hey Ko,

        I’m sorry that you are going through this. The family dynamics in India are very different to the ones we are familiar with in Europe, very different. It can be devastating when we assume something will happen the way it would in Europe, our brains cannot fathom it!

        I hope you can be open and honest with you MIL and husband, I think it’s the only way forward, otherwise grudges are held for so long they become poisonous. I hope you can resolve things but you really must make your happiness and wellbeing priority, especially if no one else will.

        Sending you lots of love dear,

        Lauren xoxo

  • VK

    Happy Maha Shivaratri to you too . You are far more mature than I thought. A bit embarrassed by my “advice” to you earlier (I do not know anything about you so it was all based on my guess and perceptions) . But I am happy that you are able to take any negative experiences in your stride- You will be fine and if not you seem to be capable enough to take care of yourself which is great..
    Take care and enjoy

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Aww thank you so much, Hilary!
      Congrats on your move too!!! I hope everything is working out fine! We love our new place, its wonderful! How is yours?!
      Take care, lots of love xoxo

  • MK

    I SERIOUSLY applaud you… standing ovation for you.. that you made the leap to leave English life and live in India. I’m of Indian descent but have been born and brought up in America. I’m about to get married to my Marathi Indian fiance in a few months. Before the engagement was announced, I had my cousins and aunts in India telling me how easy life was in India and that I should get settled there. My parents and grandparents are very well off in India. Everytime we go back, everything is done for me because it’s so easy to have help for EVERY little thing. That all sounds great, but the expectations of Indian people in India.. I cannot. I seriously applaud you because it seems like it would take a lot of patience, heart, emotions, laughter, pain, sweat, and tears for me to adjust to being someone who, like you said, “floats blindly along behind [her] husband’s parents.” A year is a long time to be doing that. Congratulations and hope your new beginning has been nothing but amazing so far!

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Thank you so much, MK!
      Your kind word and understand means so much to me!

      Wishing you and your new husband all the best!! Lots of love

      P.S. Do tell us how your wedding goes!! xx

      • katrina

        Hi Lauren, Congrats on your move and by now you would settled down too… So rather I should ask hows life at new home? I can completely correlate with everything you said and these needs are the needs of modern woman and old generation does not understand expecially mother in laws. They don’t expect the same for their daughter but daughter in laws should adhere to every minute ritual/superstition. I have 3 sis in laws as if in laws were not doing their job for me. Wow. god help me…

        • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

          Thank you so much, Katrina!
          We are both loving our place, thank you!
          3 SIL’s, you might have your work cut out then 😀
          I hope everything works out well! Let us know how things develop!
          Lots of love xx

  • Vinay Joshi

    I think you did a great job staying with your parents-in-law for one whole year. Today’s modern Indian daughter-in-law wouldn’t stay for more than a week with her in-laws. I am sure this effort of yours will stand you in good stead for building good extended family relationship in the future years. Best wishes to you and your family.You will need help of your parents-in-laws in times to come and vice-versa. We used to leave our pet Spitz in my parents home whenever my wife and I went to distant places.My mother stayed with my wife during her pregnancy for a month at our house in the Haridwar from Dehradun.

  • Rashida

    So glad I found your blog. My husband is from India, and my Father -in law is here for six looonnnggggg months here in America. He and I have previous but heads in prior visits. The control was beyond insane! I finally had enough and to frankly put it, told him, whose home he was visiting!

    This time around it is not so bad! I still sense the urge for him to have control, but my husband has made it clear, that he would take care of himself.

    Anywho, glad to find your blog 🙂

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey Rashida,
      Lovely to hear from you!!
      I definitely think time is a great advantage when it comes to these things as everyone starts to understand everyone else! I am sure next time will be better still! 😀
      Thank you so much for connecting!! I hope you are well! Sending love xx

  • Sulakshana

    Hey even Indians find it difficult to live in joint families. And nowadays even parents prefer if their kids and their spouses live separately. I live in Mumbai with my husband and my in laws and parents prefer living life on their own in Kolkata. They visit us though which is wonderful. Can’t blame them though. They have a roaring social life back home. Here in Mumbai they miss their friends and relatives and basically living in their own home.

    I’ve an uncle here whose son also stays in the same city but in a different apartment. They lead separate lives but have impromptu dinner invites and stuffs. They even vacation separately. In fact, my uncle and aunt are rediscovering married life with just the two them.

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey Sulakshana,

      Lovely to hear from you again! This has been our experience too (almost a year on), my relationship with my husband’s family blossomed after we moved into a separate apartment! We are walking distance away and see each other every day but we all have our own space and don’t step on eachother’s toes! I call it a semi-joint family life! 😀

      I hope you are well!

      Take care xx