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 a sense of 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?
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!