The three-tiered plan to change my life.
April 22, 2010 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Looking for advice on how to deal with my mother, who's gotten it into her head that I should completely change my life in every way by the end of 2010 (including getting an arranged marriage.) Novella-length details inside.

Sorry in advance for a long and convoluted question.

I'm an Indian-American guy in my late 20's, born and raised in the US. I'm pretty much a typical MeFite, with far-left views, a stress-free and healthy attitude towards life and work, non-mainstream interests and sense of humor, etc. I think my job is pretty relaxed and interesting and looks impressive on my resume, with the only negative being a rather low salary. I live in a medium-sized town where I have lots of friends, play in gigging bands, go on dates from time to time, and have lots of things to do. Bottom line, I've worked to find a life I'm happy with on my own terms, and I'm reasonably content for the time being while continuing to improve my life and looking forward to some future plans. My mother, though, seems to constantly have different ideas for my happiness, justified or not.

She's turning 60 in June, and will get monthly social security benefits starting in January if she retires. So she's looking to retire and move to India in January to take care of my grandmother (who is not deeply ill, just rather old) for 4-5 years, collecting the social security from abroad. She currently has a mortgage on a house in the suburb I grew up in, which complicates things. She doesn't think she can get a good price on the house in this market, and doesn't want to rent it out to someone else, because it would be hell for her to move all her stuff out and keep it somewhere while she's out of the country for a few years (though she admits the option is there). And if she sells the house, she has to buy another one when she comes back in a few years.

Yesterday she sprung a plan on me which I'll lay out in three steps: she thinks I should 1) find a job in Big City (a few hours from where I'm living now), 2) move into her house and pay the $600/mo mortgage while I'm there, instead of or in addition to getting an apartment in the city, and 3) have her help me find a wife through an arranged marriage setup before she leaves for India. And all of this should happen in around 6 months. I was sort of stunned and noncommittal when she told me, just trying to process it all and figure out how to respond without her threatening to disown me or screaming that her sons don't care about her (there seems to be drama, intensity and guilt trips on her part whenever these kinds of things are discussed.) Then this morning she wrote an email to my brother and uncles, characterizing me as being open to and accepting of these plans. I told her I'd call her after work today. I need to find a delicate way so her feelings aren't hurt and/or she loses it and refuses to listen to any reason, which has happened almost every time we've had conversations like this, no matter how calm and soothing I try to be.

1) The job thing - I do want to move to the city and get a job there - it's been my plan for some time now, especially because these smaller towns have jobs with rather low salaries - but this is a REALLY difficult market for everyone and even moreso in a competitive city. I have good credentials but I'm not confident that I can find something I'll be happy with in a short time, and I feel like the axe of a deadline will just cause unneeded stress and hamper my job search. Also, if I stick around for a few more months I'll be able to say I have at least 3 years of experience in my profession, which seems to be a requirement for many of the jobs I want.

2) Moving into her house - I grew up in those suburbs, they're really boring and soulless and hardly any of my friends live there anymore, and it's generally an hour or more commute to the city. And for a while now I've fantasized about living in the city and having easy access to my friends, indie shows and movies and great things to do, more options in dating and making friends with cool people, etc. - I think I'm just a young guy who belongs in the heart of a city for many reasons. I also don't see why her mortgage and her possessions should be my responsibility. I'm sympathetic to her plight, but she can just rent the place out with my help, right? And does she HAVE to move to India immediately?

3) Arranged marriage. I've always been bewildered by it. Not to go off on a tangent, but much of it seems like a way to continue some racist, sexist, and materialistic traditions. At a more visceral level I would find it embarrassing to be a part of, and it's frankly terrifying to jump into marriage concerns before I even really know someone. Yet it's the norm in my parents' culture, I guess? I'm comfortable with striking it out on my own and just dating like everyone else in America, and I've told my mother this consistently, but she doesn't want to hear it. I also have doubts that the traditional-minded women who post on marriage sites like would have anything remotely in common with me.

So, just looking for any advice for this situation. Is her plan completely nuts and unfair? How can I handle letting her down on all of these issues, or should I? Am I being selfish? I try to respect her wishes like any caring son should, but all of this strikes me as outlandish and I'm suddenly feeling intensely trapped, like all of the good and carefree aspects of my life are in danger. If I answer honestly, she will shut down, threaten to disown me, and maybe even go into a full-on depression (or pretend to as a guilt trip? I've never been clear on that one.) Throwaway email is (Again, sorry for the long and convoluted question!)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is her plan completely nuts and unfair? How can I handle letting her down on all of these issues, or should I? Am I being selfish?

1) yes.
2) you can handle it by sticking to your guns and finding your own happiness.
3) no. you're only responsible for your happiness, not your mother's.

you know she's wrong, and that you should be doing what you feel is the right thing for you to do, for your own personal growth. i give you permission to do it. be free! be happy! be yourself.
posted by lia at 12:07 PM on April 22, 2010

She can put her stuff in storage and rent out the house. She can hire someone to collect the rent and supervise repairs.

Do your uncles live near her? They could take care of her house/tenants. What about your brother? Has she arranged a marriage for him?

Do not, repeat, do not, let her guilt trip you into an arranged marriage!
posted by mareli at 12:15 PM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

I am not Indian, I am Italian, but I too have dealt with the perils of a child whose parents have one foot in the old country. Some of our cultural traditions are also archaic, sexist and materialistic by my standards.
Your mom sounds like my mom, to a certain extent, if you remain silent on a subject, she will assume your failure to respond to be a tacit acceptance of whatever she has said. Furthermore, should you raise any resistance whatsoever, you are a bad and unfaithful child, with your loyalty called into question. Yes yes yes, a thousand times yes, I think many of us can relate to that.
Based upon how you have phrased your inquiry, I do think your mother is being unfair, and to turn the tables around (two can play this game), she is the one who is being disloyal to you, by being so goddamn selfish. Yes, she is being selfish. She is trying to foist her lifestyle and responsibilities onto you, and you have no obligation whatsoever - legally, morally or otherwise - to shoulder that burden.
Let her go on that guilt trip, it may suck for you to see your mother suffering, because you seem like a compassionate person, but she herself is the cause of it, not you. I am a bit older than you, I have been through a similar rift with my parents, and it wasn't pleasant. I stuck to my guns, though, and I am happier for it, no regrets. Had I followed my parents' lifeplan for me, I would have been filled up with regret.
posted by msali at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2010 [7 favorites]

Yikes. You and your mother may be looking at this quite differently, because you probably have different cultural norms in terms of family obligations. Or maybe she does have mental health issues that affect how she looks at this situation.

But I don't think you're being selfish at all to refuse to take responsibility for the mortgage payments or to refuse to comply with her proposed arrangement of your marriage.

What I might do in this situation is firmly refuse to do those things, but agree to do what I reasonably could to accommodate her needs and wishes. So, for instance, you say you do want to move to the city where she lives and get a job. So far so good. You can tell her you're willing to do that, but it can only happen so fast given the economy. Then you tell her you don't want to live in the house or take on the mortgage BUT you say you're willing to help put the furniture in storage and/or help find excellent tenants and/or being the effective landlord while she's away. (Only say this if you're willing to do those things of course — I'm not trying to saddle you with responsibilities!)

And as for the arranged marriage, well, an Canadian-born Indian friend of mine has parents who want to arrange her marriage. She has made it clear to them that she is willing to *meet* any eligible young men they find for her, but it won't be going any farther unless she and he have a mutual romantic interest in one another. So you might do that, because hey, dating services can cost a lot and your mom might come up with someone wonderful.

About the disowning threats if it should come to that... you may just have to stand firm (but again, remain reasonably accomodating and helpful) and hope she gives in when she finds out she has to.

Good luck!
posted by orange swan at 12:19 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

i've said it before on metafilter - here is the question that i always ask myself: near the end of my life, when i am looking back on my years, what will i want it to have looked like? how will i have wanted to live my life?

answer, always: with integrity, honesty, truth. i want to have lived it in the way that is most honest and true to me, because that is the way in which i can be the most honest, authentic, and loving to those people around me.

family, friends, community, government, they all try to tell us how to live our lives. ultimately it is up to you to make those decisions for yourself.

challenging/painful decisions, sometimes? yes. deal with the consequences of those decisions? yes. i have friends who have "lost" family (temporarily, permanently, a mix) because of their choices. but living their own lives has led to an honesty in their lives. an ability to breathe and not feel trapped.

you worry about your mom disowning you or perhaps being depressed (authentically or not). those are real potentials and i do not dismiss that it can hurt you to see those unfold. i do not dismiss that they are challenges.

but this is your life. so make the choices that feel right to you. you can always change your mind, or move to a new space in which different decisions are the right answer/choice for you.

just as you would never want your mother to make choices that were harmful to her, i hope you can do the same for yourself.

good luck.
posted by anya32 at 12:21 PM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

I don't know how anonymous posting and mefimail work, but feel free to mefimail me should you feel the need.
I'm an Indian American male (born in Indya, but came to the US when I was 5) and know intimately well how this cultural divide can affect the parent/offspring relationship.
In a nutshell, if you choose to stand your ground (and it is totally your choice), you'll have to come to grips with the fact that this WILL initially hurt your mother.
It took several months for my parents to come to grips with the fact that their son did not want to be arranged, did not care to be told what was "right" and "wrong," and was an adult capable of making his own decisions.
Throughout it all, though, reiterate over and over again that the decisions you make which would go against your mother's wishes are not out of spite for her, the culture, your family, but they are decisions which have been shaped only by the environment in which you were brought up. At this point your mother, if she's anything like my parents will blame herself for coming to the US, yadda yadda yadda, but at this point you need to continue to be supportive.
I'm rambling, but there's no getting around the fact that you need to do what is right for you, and if it doesn't gel with what your mother wants from you, she will be hurt, and you need to be okay with supporting her through what will no doubt be a stressful time for both of you.
I can go on, but I'll stop.
I am married to a non-Indian whom my parents adore. My wife has some really wild stories of arguments, shouting matches, etc with my parents over the phone, and other really dramatic times, they were horrible times, but we made it through, and we're all better for it.
The bottom line is that your mother (sooner or later) should realize that you're her son, and your happiness and involvement in her (and your family's) life is more important that strict adherence to custom.
Good luck, and feel free to mefimail me.
posted by lonemantis at 12:22 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Let her go crazy. Tell her you love and can help her in many ways, but changing your life is the ways she is asking for are impossible. Let her rant. Then ask how else you can help. Remain friendly even if she's going crazy. Don't give into the pressure.

Sheesh. Subcontinental parents can be insane.
posted by sid at 12:24 PM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

paavam or bechara, depending ... ;p

ok, been there done that, moved continents to escape. I take it your father has passed on and she is alone. wouldn't be surprised if that's why India is very attractive to her right now. mom's been going on about it for the past few years since she turned 60 but dad's busy and not keen. plus he's there. that doesn't change the emotional blackmail/controlling guilt trips/being the eldest (now divorced and childless thus at beck and call) etc daytime serials on ZEE are also getting worse adn worse and i suspect (at least in mom's case) they add to the mix.

at this point, I really don't know what advice I can give short of you having to decide what your non-negotiables are wrt to her plan *and* its timing. then be prepared for anything up to a couple of years of strained phone calls and the usual maa ki mamta drama etc

I know i don't have a relationship in any meaningful way left with mom. this is not and will not be easy.

I can offer you email advice (use my gmail in profile) or if you'd like to set up a skype call or something. if it helps, I'm in my mid forties so just call me didi ;p

oy vey as they say back in calcutta.
posted by infini at 12:24 PM on April 22, 2010

Your name doesn't happen to be Gogol does it?

Is her plan unfair and nuts? Yes. Welcome to the second generation immigrant conundrum, the clash between your American self and your traditional homeland self. There's been many many folks that have faced this before you. Some retreat into one side or the other. A few find a nice balance. Giving in to crazy plans or arranged marriage to please your mom is not a nice balance.

Are you being selfish? Sure you are. That's not always a bad thing. This being one of those times when it's ok.

She's your mother. She clearly loves you and worries about you. She came up with this plan for your sake right? She moved half way around the world to give you every advantage in this world, right? Do you really think she is going to disown you?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:25 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have personal experience in this area, but rather than write an enormously long post, I will simply say this:

Memail lonemantis & infini.

I'm the non-Indian in my personal equation, so their insight is probably going to be more useful to you. Um, condolences?

Really though, talk to those two.
posted by aramaic at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2010

A good friend disowned by her parents over her marriage. The disownership was firm for about three years, began to breakdown after that and completely disappeared soon after. "I disown you" is pretty easy to say like a five year old saying: "I hate you."
posted by leafwoman at 12:36 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

So you know where I'm coming from, I am supportive of arranged marriage and wish it were still practiced in my family's culture, and I'm not a fan of the modern American view that family members have no responsibility for or to each other.

But I still think your mother's plan is completely nuts and unfair. It is not your job to give up your entire life and change everything for her convenience. You're supposed to be a glorified housesitter for several years, just so she doesn't have to deal with the inconveniences of moving? After having uprooted yourself and found a new job, taken on a long commute, and acquired a wife? Especially since you are willing to help her with renting the house out -- you're not just being an unhelpful, selfish son -- she's asking for way too much.

If I were in your shoes I'd tell her I'd thought about it and I cannot go through with her plan. I'd tell her I intended to move to city when possible, but could not do it on her timeline, and that I'd be happy to help her rent out the house while she was in India. If she then loses it, shuts down, or acts hurt, that's really her problem. You are responsible for being kind and respectful to her, but you are not responsible for her feelings. Can you recruit your brother and uncles to your point of view? Their support might be helpful if and when she loses it, and especially if she starts talking about it to them.

As far as the arranged marriage thing goes -- I've known several women who have entered into arranged marriages who would have a great deal in common with you. Intelligent, modern career women who saw the arranged marriage process as an easy way to find men who were looking for marriage (as opposed to just dating for fun), who shared a culture, and who had similar outlooks on life. They met men and were perfectly free to refuse them at any point in the process; they mostly ended up dating for a few months, being engaged for several more, then marrying. They are traditional-minded in that they are looking for marriage, children, and someone who will understand and be comfortable with their culture, but you can't safely assume that they are traditional-minded in any other way.

And while I respect your objections to arranged marriage on the racist/materialist/sexist front, having culture in common can make life much easier in a marriage. This question itself raises a HUGE issue for a non-Indian woman -- does she want to marry a man whose mother makes plans like this without consulting them? Would she even understand where the mother was coming from, or would you be caught between your wife and your mother forever, trying to appease one or the other? A woman who shares your cultural background (whether Indian or another culture with a strong tradition of filial responsibility) might have an easier time understanding your mother's attitudes and behaviors. Seeking out someone with whom you have a base level of things in common makes absolute sense to me.

On the other hand, if you don't want to get married now, then there's no reason to participate in any talk of marriage either way -- just tell your mother you're not ready/not interested.

On a more light-hearted note, you might want to watch What's Your Raashee?, available streaming on Netflix. It's silly and lightweight, but it does address some of the issues of an NRI man whose family wants him to participate in an arranged marriage to help the family.
posted by katemonster at 12:45 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is something I've said before on the Green, but you're really only going to get advice that's helpful from other people in your cultural tradition. There are apparently some subcontinentals here on MeFi, and definitely listen to them, but I think you'll get a lot more mileage out of talking to other people in your cultural community whom you trust.

Even more importantly, you're going to want to talk to people that know you, not random strangers on the internet.

Still, your situation sounds decidedly unpleasant, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Good luck.
posted by valkyryn at 1:02 PM on April 22, 2010

Let me see if I can put it mildly. Do not engage with her on this matter. I get no sense from the description above that it is about you. She is using you to fulfil her selfish desire to connect back to her culture which she may have missed for all these years. Like many people from her culture she wrongly thinks that you belong to the same culture as her.

Dont sacrafice your happiness for hers. You have a whole life ahead of you.
posted by london302 at 1:09 PM on April 22, 2010

both aramaic adn valkryn make good points - you need to talk to people who know the whole concept/culture/baggage/transgeographic etc *and* the "strangers on the internet" bit.

otoh, most indian communities tend to be tightly knit and hyper involved - peers might get it, but you'll still have to deal with being the black sheep, bad boy, kya beta its your mother bit that NOBODY gets... unless they've had to face it themselves. So if you know cultural peers who have gone through this and dealt with it, then that is certainly your first bet. otoh, strangers who don't know your family might be better at giving you moral support instead of trying to talk you into stuff. I found having a cousin within phone call reach HELPED a lot through the divorce.
posted by infini at 1:23 PM on April 22, 2010

Okay, as an Indian myself, I'm going to tell you that nothing someone says outside of the culture is going to help you deal with her. I don't have any great answers, but there's a way of dealing with your mother that will calm her down.

I know everybody thinks Indian mothers are nuts, and yes, they are, but there's some genius way of talking to/dealing with them that I personally haven't mastered, but I know it's out there.

Basically, she isn't going to listen to what you're going to say or take it seriously, so you can't listen to what she says or take it seriously. If you have to tease her gently, do it. Talk to your dad and uncle and be honest about your feelings with them, and ask them how to cope. If she starts screaming and crying and the old histrionics, just do what you do with a toddler. Because that is how she's acting.

Above all, man, don't take her seriously. I've been where you are, and looking back, I honestly should not have taken anything she said seriously. Just laugh and be lighthearted, and tell her you love her. Indian mothers forgive their darling Indian boys everything, so long as said darling Indian boy is attentive. Just act confident in your path, don't go to her for advice or let her think you're mixed up or confused.

Also, arranged marriages aren't that bad. If you're not ready, you're not ready, but don't worry that someone will force you into it. Your family loves you and will appreciate your loving them back. It's not dependent on what you do, even though it seems like it is.
posted by anniecat at 1:28 PM on April 22, 2010

I'm Indian. I spent years avoiding crazy arranged marriage schemes, mostly by leaving to places where I was hard to get hold of, but I guess this option may not work for you. The only trick/technique I used to was to delay, always pleasantly, or making a joke of it. I kept delaying it, saying, oh let me finish my phd, oh let me get a good job etc etc. These are solid reasons, especially the job, because you are expected to support your wife. Whenever the topic came up, I would defuse the situation, not committing to anything, till finally I met someone far removed from an arranged marriage setup, and married her. btw, I'm not totally anit-arranged marriages, when it works it works, but I think that these days especially with the diaspora, it's probably less likely to work.
posted by dhruva at 1:28 PM on April 22, 2010

First of all, my condolences. This sounds rough. You are absolutely not being selfish or unfair in any way.

On the arranged marriage front, I once had an opportunity to speak extensively with a woman who was in an arranged marriage. (I was fixing her laptop, she observed my engagement ring and asked about my plans, and when talking about it, asked "Is it a love marriage? I hear most marriages in America are.") She was very intelligent, very well educated -- she had a masters or a doctorate in biochemistry -- although she was currently unemployable because she was in the country on a dependent spouse visa.

Her experience of being arranged was that her parents presented her with about 40 profiles of various young men. Based on the dossiers, she chose 20 of them to meet. She went on a couple of dates with 12 of them, had some very long and intense talks by email, phone, and in person with three of them, and chose one to marry, "because he was funny and kind and made my heart quicken."

I asked if she loved him when she married him, and she said "I'm not sure. I respected him, and I felt very confident that he respected me. In my culture, we believe that with respect and compassion, love will grow." She also said that she was very happy to have her parents choose young men for her to meet, because that way their wisdom could be brought to bear and the men's families could be spoken to, and there was some assurance that they weren't crazy drama fiends or shysters or horrible domineering assholes or whatever.

It really changed my perspectives on arranged marriage, I tell you. Don't be so quick to write off the women who would participate in such a thing -- they might be exactly the kind of folks you're looking for. I say this NOT to tell you to jump in, but that if you want to make a concession to your mom to keep the peace, you could probably do worse than agreeing to meet ladies that she picked for you. (Just make sure that she understands that you're not bringing a ring to the third date no matter what.)
posted by KathrynT at 1:35 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think it is sweet that your mother wants to make sure your life is all wrapped up in a tidy little package before she moves. However, you are only responsible for your own happiness, and it has been a long time since it has been appropriate for her to choose the life you'll lead. I don't think you're being unreasonable in the slightest.

Having said that: there's no reason to reject everything she says outright. In fact, as a thought experiment, try to shrug off the shackles of "she can't tell me what to do" (legitimate as that feeling is) and consider them suggestions/opportunities. Then accept or reject them as you see fit, having made up your own mind, and expressing your gratitude at her caring, concern and willingness to offer you opportunities to consider.

Ultimately, just make sure the decision is yours, and what you feel is best for you, without feeling pushed into anything you don't want or rejecting something good out of hand because of the source.
posted by davejay at 1:50 PM on April 22, 2010

Oh, and for the three things specifically:

1. You're correct. Apply for jobs in the big city, interview if you get something, but don't move there without a written job offer and a strong desire to live there.

2. Where you live has a huge impact on your quality of life. If it's a great financial deal, it might make sense, but it might also be oppressive to live in the house you grew up in/your mom's current house/the neighborhood you grew up in/your mom's current neighborhood. Only you can judge this effectively.

3. I have nothing to say about this, except open your mind and judge anyone you meet on their own merits, rather than the circumstances under which you've met.
posted by davejay at 1:52 PM on April 22, 2010

I am not Indian, so I can only empathize with you as I do not have the cultural background to deeply understand what's going on. I can offer however one tidbit that might help you put a framework around how you formulate your responses - many immigrants do not realize that an implicit part of the bargain for the blue passport is that your children will not grow up in your culture - if you can think of a way to help her understand that, it might make this whole thing easier to take emotionally. Good luck.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:44 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I have never seen a parent successfully carry through the old "I disown you!" threat - even in the face of much worse "outrages". They are just trying what worked when you were a kid and fair more emotionally dependent on them.

But - all the crazy threats in the world - they always crumble like cheap bread because they are now emotionally dependent on you, not vice versa. So don't be afraid to call the bluff, even if it sounds like the apocalypse; they always come back, they can't help themselves.
posted by smoke at 5:17 PM on April 22, 2010

Can she rent out the house as fully furnished? Less stuff to put in a storage unit, and no need for you to move in.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 6:29 PM on April 22, 2010

"Yesterday she sprung a plan on me which I'll lay out in three steps:..."

"She" sprung a plan on you....take no offense here..but it was "her" plan. By saying what you have said, you seem to view it from the eyes of the individualistic perspective yet feel guilt or confusion for seeing it that way..

Your points about your job, living in a big city, and life are being questioned by you because you seem to want to do those things but tend not to act on them so far. Since you have the credentials, view this as an opportunity to re-evaluate where you want to go in your life with your career and living situations. However, don't be too dependent on your mother about her brining up questioning moments.....besides shouldn't you move if and when you feel comfortable with it?

Mortgage and her possessions can be solved by getting someone to rent a furnished house for cheaper than the $600 mortgage and her paying the difference with the social security payments. Her going to India immediately is her issue, you need to tell her you are not responsible for it in a diplomatic friendly way.

Arranged marriage: you don't do it, you don't see any girls' photos period.
It seems like your mom wants to use you as a tool to get her life happier because that is the mental picture in her life. To her, a deviation from that means lack of convenience along with a fear you'll be american and hate her or something of that sort.

"Is her plan completely nuts and unfair?"
Isn't you questioning it enough of an answer? If you feel something off, it probably is....

"How can I handle letting her down on all of these issues, or should I? "
You wanna just please everyone at all times at the cost of yourself?

"Am I being selfish?"
Did you lose your right to be?

"I try to respect her wishes like any caring son should, but all of this strikes me as outlandish and I'm suddenly feeling intensely trapped, like all of the good and carefree aspects of my life are in danger. If I answer honestly, she will shut down, threaten to disown me, and maybe even go into a full-on depression (or pretend to as a guilt trip? I've never been clear on that one.) "
The definition of "caring son" varies. You can shape her behavior if you so choose by setting boundaries and letting her know what you can and cannot allow in your life. The question is will you do that?
posted by blueshok at 8:52 PM on April 22, 2010

Coming in late.

Ok, so you want to live your life. Your mom understands that too...thats why she has not bothered you about this stuff (in a serious manner) till now.

BUT, your mom is trying to get something out of you:
1. You take care of her house
2. You pay the mortgage
3. She is comforted by the fact that she can bone out of India anytime, and come back to the arrangement she had before...and she knows you'll take good care of everything.

She is trying to provide "consideration"(ie something of value to trade) for you to do this. She thinks that getting you a hookup4life would be a good trade.

Just view it as that. She KNOWS you aren't the type of guy who would be down with this...if you were, you would have never left her alone.

I'm not saying this to hurt you; more the opposite. Your mom knows...and your life is ok. But she will ALWAYS try to bring you back to the path she would take if she were you.

Thats all.

You should just view this as a business proposal and say "hmmm...I think it would be easier if you just left the house as is, had the SS checks arrive at the house, and I could pay the mortgage from the money that comes from those checks".

She'll understand soon enough that she will either have to sell the house "in this market", or just pay mortgage on a house she isn't living in.

The other option which she will never take is to put the house on the market at a price that is acceptable to her (whatever that price would be). Tell her you'll set the house up for viewing, get a good real estate agent, and give them open access to take clients through the long as they understand that there is very little room for negotiation. In that case, you can tell your mom that its best if nobody is living in the a lived in house will always sell for less.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:44 AM on April 26, 2010

You can either live your life the way you want to/think is right or you can live your life the way your parents envision. But at some point in your life, you will have to stand up and make that decision.
posted by xm at 8:45 AM on May 11, 2010

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