FIL to be is staying with me for six weeks post-wedding. Help!
October 10, 2015 11:33 AM   Subscribe

This November, my fiancé and I will finally be getting married. His family will be flying in from India, for the wedding. While his mother and sister will be leaving shortly after, his father will be spending an additional six weeks with us ... and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle such an extended stay. Talking to my fiance hasn't been very successful; he accused me of not wanting him to spend time with his dad. How do I deal with such a long visit? Help! (Additional important details below.)

This wedding has been a long time coming thanks to general family crazymaking. There's a lot of bad blood between our two families, who know each other well back in India. The wedding will be taking place in New Jersey.

I'm Indian-American (born in the US and have spent my whole life here), and he's Indian, which accounts for a lot of this dissonance. Back in the motherland, it's pretty much a given that the in-laws get to stay on demand for basically as long as they want. Thankfully, it can't work out that way since they're very attached to his sister's child, and the sister has no plans on leaving India. So I always thought I'd have time to manage and plan their future visits. I was completely blindsided by this.

I guess I expected to have the time immediately after the wedding in order to spend it as newlyweds. Now, the current plan is for Fiancé's dad to stay with us for a month, then Fiancé and I will go to India to meet the rest of his family and have some sort of quasi-reception thing there. This stay will be for two weeks. When we return, my father-in-law will spend another two weeks with us before flying out. As far as how he is as a guest -- Fiancé claims he's low-maintanence, but I've observed him: as a daughter-in-law, I will have to get stuff done.

There are additional complications: I have untreated ADHD and anxiety issues. Growing up, my family has hostile views towards therapy and medication. One of my big plans after the wedding was to take care of my mental health and enter some sort of treatment program. My ADHD has interfered with my ability to hold down a paying job, and we need my income. (Even though I've lived away from my controlling family for the past four years, thanks to the lack of good insurance, a crazy work schedule, the stress that comes with having an ill parent, and no executive function, it's taken me this long to come up with an actionable treatment strategy/plan. I want to start fixing things ASAP.)

My FIL shares the same negative views on mental health my parents have; Fiancé has admitted as much. Also, the family Skypes for hours every day when they're apart. I know that my treatment/progress will be subject to a referendum over there. This doesn't bode well for my anxiety. I don't know what to do.

So all in all, my plans will be derailed by at least sixty days, because Fiancé wants also me to go to India in January. That's another issue altogether. I will have to deal with his overwhelming family there for two or three weeks before returning home to an extra week with FIL.

I'm not saying that Fiancé's position is unreasonable. Fiancé says that since his father spent an awful lot of money to come here, he'd like to stay for as long as possible. We're having a traditional wedding at my parents' request. (My father is extremely ill and I found it difficult to say no to an hour-long traditional ceremony. I am his only daughter.) Fiancé says that we had a registered marriage we'd originally wanted, his family would have no reason to come here. This is very true. His family is only coming here because we're having a traditional ceremony.

His mother and sister work so they can't stay for so long. But his father is retired and Fiancé hasn't hasn't seen him in a couple of years. Given this, I want to try to be supportive. Fiancé and his dad are close. I want them to spend some quality time together.

Another thing that bothers me is that nobody informs me about their plans. Fiancé says it's because I call them so rarely. That's true. Talking to them causes me so much anxiety I've been pretty bad about keeping in contact with them which, again, is my fault. (English is my first language, and until a few years ago, my in-laws claimed not to understand what I was saying.) I just somehow feel that after the insane years-long stress of having to deal with fading away at work on top of this crazy wedding and family drama, I'm just not going to catch a break until much later.

How can I deal with this impending visit? How can I manage it in such a way that'll keep me sane? I love Fiancé and want to make this work, but every time I think about all of this, I just want to throw up. Thank you so much, in advance, for your help.
posted by orangutan to Human Relations (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You need to talk to your future husband about what set of cultural norms are going to govern your marriage. From my American POV, you are an equal partner in your relationship, and it is 100% his job to deal with his family, keep you in the loop, and be on your team to make sure that your needs are being met. Do you want to be in a more traditional marriage where it's your job to talk to his family? Do you want to be in a marriage where you aren't given an opportunity to protect your boundaries or weigh in on plans that affect you?

It's fine if that's what you decide you want, but it sounds a lot like you don't want that but you don't know how to talk about it except in apologizing for even having needs in the first place. Talk. Talk talk talk.
posted by Andrhia at 11:47 AM on October 10, 2015 [26 favorites]

Wow. You know that this is not a solitary problem. How it starts is how it's going to continue. So you'll have to do the extra work at the beginning to make sure it starts in a way you can live with. If you're not ready to dump him, which I'd sorely be tempted to do.
But am not Indian.
So my advice would be to get him to make some compromises, if you agree to this visit. Marriage involves compromises all the time. He should not get to run roughshod over your mental health.
You should be able to explain to him that if he values your mental health and wants to continue being in your life, you need him to compromise in the following ways:
(Other mefites will be better able to advise you what things in particular will make such an extended in law visit more endurable. I'm imagining some division of labor to handle FIL plus regular time off for you.)
posted by Omnomnom at 11:48 AM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Frankly, your fiance needs to step up to the plate waaaaay more. All I read from your question is your fiance siding with his family on every issue that has come up so far. Is this how you want to live your life after you get married? This is "only" an extended stay, but how the two of your react to this will set patterns that are only going to become more entrenched over time - pretty soon they will start the "Where are the grandchildren routine?" and you need to ensure that your fiance absolutely has your back.

I'm Indian, my entire family is in India (apart from me and my husband, who's not Indian). I know how these family guilt trips go. Still, there's a lot that can be accomplished if you and your fiance present a united front. My mother told me how some years after she married my father (7 or 8 years), her in-laws came to live with them for an indefinite period of time, which is really not that unusual in India, as you know. Now my grandparents are actually really lovely people and my mother never has anything but good things to say about them. Still I believe she lasted about six months and then told my father that she couldn't live with the arrangement anymore. My dad did all the dirty work himself, helping them to move into a separate apartment, taking care of the financial stuff and making it clear that it was he who was initiating the move.

Now that was six months, this is six weeks, but the principle is the same. If you're going to enter into a marriage with this man, he needs to understand that your marriage and you must come before his parents. You will do everything you can to be gracious, and he must trust that you will do that, but if you put your foot down, he needs to understand that this is a bright line for you. Please sit down and have a general discussion with him about what his expectations are. Don't allow him to guilt trip you about not wanting to spend time with his father. It's much better to get this stuff out in the open now rather than wait until you're married.
posted by peacheater at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2015 [32 favorites]

Another thing that bothers me is that nobody informs me about their plans. Fiancé says it's because I call them so rarely.

This, more than anything else, is what makes me question your fiance's commitment to making you a priority in your relationship. It is not your responsibility to keep yourself informed of plans he makes on your behalf with his family. It is his responsibility to consult with you before acquiescing to those plans in the first damned place. Nobody should be "informing" you that you're going to have a houseguest for 6 weeks. Rather, he should be discussing with you whether it is okay, especially keeping in mind your mental health issues and personal stresses.

If he can't see how important it is for the two of you to view these sorts of things as a team, instead of as his family vs you, then this whole marriage is doomed even before it starts.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:54 AM on October 10, 2015 [61 favorites]

Just say no. This will not be possible. They cannot stay with you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:55 AM on October 10, 2015

It saddens me that your husband-to-be looks to blame you for things you find concerning rather than supporting you or working with you to find solutions. It's not your fault your future father in law is coming for so long. Just as it's not your fault they don't keep you in the loop about their plans. That kind of blame game is so undermining to you and your self-esteem and frankly is Lesson 1 in the Controlling Spouse Handbook.

My hope is that you forget your plan to address your mental health list after the wedding and do it right now. If nothing else, you will have more tools in your toolbox to deal with your father in law's visit, but hopefully you will also get some support from a therapist for setting your marriage off on a more equitable foot. You deserve a marriage where your wants and needs and opinions are as valued as your husband's and his family's.
posted by cecic at 12:07 PM on October 10, 2015 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not saying that Fiancé's position is unreasonable

I am. I'm saying it. Your fiancé's position is unreasonable.

It is unreasonable that he makes big, long-term plans for your shared family without consulting you or taking your feelings into account.

It is unreasonable that you can't trust him to keep your private medical information, such as whether or not you seek treatment for mental health issues, private from people whom you both know are going to be judgmental and mean about it.

It is unreasonable that he is making you the bad guy with his family and then blaming you for all of the issues.

It is unreasonable that your fiancé is not taking on a role in your impending marriage in which you mutually take care of each other when you're in need, such as protecting each other from difficult family members and safeguarding each other's feelings.

Seek therapy right now. Seek out a therapist who shares some of your cultural background, or at least is familiar with the cultural values involved. Insist that your fiancé not subject your medical decisions to a referendum from his family, and that he not tell his family your private health information without your permission. And do not marry this person until you can trust him to take care of you as he is expecting you to take care of him. It is 100% better to postpone or cancel the wedding now than to be miserable for years and/or go through a divorce later.
posted by decathecting at 12:11 PM on October 10, 2015 [55 favorites]

Best answer: American married to an Indian here. My own parents diverged greatly on whether they preferred to stay with us/me or not (they were divorced; my dad and his wife, or even when he would visit solo, would stay at a hotel or with other friends, every time while my mom is currently crashing on the couch of our NYC junior one bedroom as I reply).

My indian mother in law teaches elementary school and this means she has summers of to travel and visit her kids in North America. It also usually means we have a (living room based) house guest for a month each summer, so I can really empathize with you.

In my experience the anticipation is always worse than the actual experience - overall she's a good house guest and genuine try's to minimize her impact (but it's a sub 700 square foot apartment without any real doors/walls so it's impossible to not notice her and her massive suitcases). Two things that I've noticed really helped over the several years we have all been doing this:
- side trips for her. Does your future fil have any other friends or family he could visit on his own for a weekend or coupe of days? Sometimes it's just incredibly nice to sit on your sofa in your underwear or walk around and not worry about bumping into someone who "shouldn't" be there, and that's enough to recharge me for another week or two of a visit.
-acknowledging that you cannot play host/tour guide for a visit of that length. This one can be tough as my mother in law has a pretty comfortable life in Delhi with a driver and cook and in our house I cook and we get around by subway and walking. Her inclination can be towards just staying shut in watching our cable and while that's not what I would do in her situation it makes her happy and I realized I didn't need to worry about planning to or trying to keep her entertained all the time, nor could I force her into a level of independence she was uncomfortable with - she generally refuses to take the subway alone for her first few days/a week and that's just how it is.

I have zero clue how different this dynamic might be given the flip flopping of genders between my case and yours - it also helps somewhat that although my mother in law has never lived in the us that she traveled and worked outside of India and isn't terribly traditionally on the whole.

Honesty, six weeks isnt a visit with you it's just a long stay for him - Id start whatever treatment you are considering and let your fil or whomever think or say what they will about it. Or you could let it stress you out and allow it to be the reason you don't move forward with you life plans, it's really up to you.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:12 PM on October 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

I.... Are you sure you want to go through with all of this?

Your future husband sounds like he is expecting a traditional wife and that your needs come waaaaaay down the list. Are you sure loving him will make all of this OK? Longterm?

You don't sound like you have a voice, and every avenue of resolution is cut off. Surely this can't be true, but that's the picture you paint.

What happens if you put yourself first? How does that look?
posted by jbenben at 12:14 PM on October 10, 2015 [36 favorites]

The first thing you need to deal with is the accusations from your fiancé. He doesn't get to go on the attack every time he isn't given what he wants. He also doesn't get to blame you for his lack of communication to you. That is not acceptable behavior.

Are you sure that the two of you are ready to marry? Your mental health and self care isn't where you want it. Your fiancé still skyping for hours with his family and not communicating the outcomes to you. Have you discussed his plans to move his family here or to return to India? I get that you have a sick parent and there's a huge ramp up to the wedding, but this is the rest of your life we're talking about here.

Apparently his dad is staying at your house for 2 weeks while you go to India. Why isn't he going to that reception and are you okay with that? You and your fiancé need to negotiate family boundaries and the midst of wedding planning frenzy isn't a great time to do this. (Not to mention, you need to get your mental health stabilized before you do that.)

Marriage doesn't fix anything and it makes many long buried disagreements boil to the surface. It looks like you were envisioning a halcyon honeymoon period (including improved self care and mental health care.) Marriage is not a universal fix-all.

Are you sure this marriage to this man is what you want?
posted by 26.2 at 12:16 PM on October 10, 2015 [14 favorites]

Best answer: as someone who is part of a cross-cultural relationship, your post really worries me. this kind of problem, related to different cultures, is going to recur again and again in your relationship. you need to find a way, between you, to address (1) how you answer issues like this when they happen again (were you consulted? should you have been? could you have said no?) and (2) how you handle this kind of cultural conflict (the FIL staying) while it is "in progress" (how much "emotional labour" can you expect from your husband, how much is he going to do to defend your joint way of life). also, (3) it sounds like you need to address privacy for you own issues with ADHD etc.

for us, this has meant talking. arguing. fighting. talking some more. again and again. that has required two people deeply committed to the idea that you can discuss things, share feelings, negotiate, and change. for you, it may mean something else. i can't really tell you what. but i suspect that, whatever it is, you will follow a similar pattern in the future. so i would be very careful to not "roll over and agree" unless you are happy doing the same down the line. because, in my experience, these cross-cultural problems recur.

i don't want to give you any particular solution. there are already plenty here that are likely just as clueless as anything i could give. but i do know about the general problem, that it will recur, and that you need to think of the long term when working out how you two, as a couple, resolve this. good luck.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:17 PM on October 10, 2015 [12 favorites]

Best answer: How it starts is how it's going to continue, you know. Only more so.

Your fiance sounds like he railroads, blames and disregards you. Strongly suggest a come-to-Jesus with him, if you're not ready to call off the wedding. And, while everyone above seems to be suggesting a talky, rational kind of discussion, I'd suggest the opposite. I'd suggest screaming and throwing some plates. I think it'd get his attention a lot better than talking and asking and being nice. It's going to take a major wake-up call for him to understand that he does not get to treat you this way, and he sounds like if you make it easy to ignore you, he'll continue doing it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:32 PM on October 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: This situation you're experiencing right now? This side of your fiancé that you're seeing? This is your real future husband and your real future marriage, one with a man who isn't going to be your teammate and wherein you will not get your needs met. Your mental health needs trump tradition and unless your fiancé is 100% on board with that, you will never have him on your side and he will thwart your progress and success as a couple from here on out. This is the time to establish the baseline that will be the real foundation of your relationship with your future husband and his family. How do you deal? By getting ready to fight. Your fiancé is your first battle. His family and their expectations are next. In my experience, he will probably retreat even further into his insistence that you are the unreasonable bad guy idea, so be ready for that, because it's gonna suck.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:33 PM on October 10, 2015 [35 favorites]

I know that my treatment/progress will be subject to a referendum over there.

This is absolutely not okay, and a good reason to not delay treatment another week. You are being beaten into submission by this family- and of course they don't want you to be stronger! That would screw up their plan.
Get help now, and pick some boundaries. Tell husband to be to get on team you or get out.
posted by TenaciousB at 12:46 PM on October 10, 2015 [15 favorites]

Another thing that bothers me is that nobody informs me about their plans. Fiancé says it's because I call them so rarely. That's true. Talking to them causes me so much anxiety I've been pretty bad about keeping in contact with them which, again, is my fault.

Forgive me if I'm not understanding because I'm a.)single and b.)not Indian, but why is it your responsibility to call your fiance's family regularly? You're not even related to them yet. He should be keeping you in the loop, and standing up for your needs, and generally supporting you when you need it.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:59 PM on October 10, 2015 [15 favorites]

What's worse in terms of your culture - going through with the wedding and getting divorced later, or ending the engagement now?

Your fiancé has a big say in whether or not he will support you, created a third outcome where the marriage is happy, and you are happy in it, but I truly do not know how or why he would take this position. He doesn't seem at all acclimated to a marriage between equals, so like, I don't know how that third option miraculously comes about.

A fourth option is that you stop caring what other people think and entirely remake your life a and folks who use or abuse you no longer take priority in any way. But that's Jedi-level thinking, and it's not the easiest path.

Just throwing that fourth option out there so you know you DO have options, and any combination can potentially work.
posted by jbenben at 1:37 PM on October 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

Are you worried that they'll be judging you? Be nice, be cheerful, be kind, and you're blameless because you've done your best. If they say bitchy or unkind stuff, that makes them look bad. (And I'm basing this on how rude AF some of my idiot relatives/pot stirrers are---they just look like shitty people when I hear them say asshole things.)

Also, if I were you, I would hope I would tell my fiance to stop criticizing me about what I do and don't do. And I would say, hopefully, that if it bothers him that much, then maybe he should reconsider if he really does love me and want to marry me.

Also, I'd say if he wanted me to trust him with any more information, he'd keep his mouth shut. (In Hindu wedding vows, the holy relationship between couples is very much about taking on the sadnesses and happinesses of your spouse as your own (according to what was translated from Sanskrit to my mother tongue by the pandit doing the ceremony). I like to think it's a demand that empathy be a part of the whole situation.)

Demanding people change is incredibly childish and immature. It also maybe sounds like he freaking out about the wedding. Though he needs to figure out what's going on with him, or else he won't be able to take responsibility.
posted by discopolo at 1:49 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just a reminder, the OP is American and her culture is American culture. Indian American culture is still American culture ( and distinct from Indian culture), people aren't raised in a vacuum, which is why the OP signalled cultural dissonance in the question.

There are a lot of things that seem "normal" to Indian people from India that seem vaguely familiar to Indian Americans as part of a cultural link, but seem linked to the previous generation or Indians from India v us ( I am Indian American) and so there seems to be a difference in what's "normal." Even amongst people in India there are different ideas about how families should act, but in general the idea that "family is family" and there should necessarily be a lot of contact and influence especially from the older generation is a strong one, and while it does get integrated into the upbringing of Indians in the diaspora, it's not always as neat a fit as parents or Indian Indians might expect.

OP, can you find a way to make the father in law's visit more manageable? The side trips mentioned above for instance, or in the instance of things you might be expected to "do," can you hire a cleaner to help part of the time, or cook a batch of meals, or ask your husband to take turns with this?

As for the January trip, that's where I'd say you suggest you not go, since this is pretty last minute for something like that, especially with the holidays AND wedding coming up - all that will eat the rest of 2015.

Remind your husband of your idea that you'd be spending this time as newlyweds, and remind him that that's when you need to start your treatment. Not want to, need to. As for what the extended family thinks about the treatment, listen, they are going to think these things all day long and forever and you can do nothing about that. But getting started on treatment is going to make you feel incredible in a way no one can ever take from you.
posted by zutalors! at 2:01 PM on October 10, 2015 [9 favorites]

he accused me of not wanting him to spend time with his dad

That's ok. You don't want to spend time with his dad! It is OK. Let him accuse you. It is FINE to not want to do this.
posted by the webmistress at 2:21 PM on October 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: One of my big plans after the wedding was to take care of my mental health and enter some sort of treatment program.

Seconding cecic and others that, if you can, you should start this now. You are dealing with a huge number of stresses and it will be vastly better if you don't have to do it alone.

Also seconding everyone who is concerned that your fiancé is not supporting you, merely expecting you to put his wants before your needs, and using accusations and blame to get his way. Again, you shouldn't have to do this alone. He should respect things that are important to you, even when they are inconvenient to him.

If the wedding and the visit do happen:

--Say no to the January trip if you can. Maybe postpone it to next January.

-- If that trip happens, strongly suggest that FIL returns to India with you and fiancé at that point.

-- "Fiancé and his dad are close. I want them to spend some quality time together." This is good. Your fiancé can take his father on as many excursions and side trips as possible. He can also assume responsibility for entertaining his father in your home.

-- "I've observed him: as a daughter-in-law, I will have to get stuff done." This may be his expectation of a daughter-in-law, but you are not obliged to shoulder that burden. Your fiancé needs to agree in advance that FIL is his guest and he will be responsible for Getting Stuff Done, even if he's tired from work, even if doing "wifely" duties makes him self-conscious in front of his father.

I wish you the best of luck and strength.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:34 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

This might be completely inappropriate, but - I think you need to estrange yourself from all of these people. Especially when your mental health is fragile. That's a tragedy to me, that the people closest to you have disdain for you needing to look after your health. Your health. Imagine if you had a physical illness, still an illness, and you felt resented and criticised for seeking treatment. Abominable. I'm sorry if I'm being culturally insensitive, but as you've been brought up American, I just really feel for you.
posted by NatalieWood at 3:38 PM on October 10, 2015 [13 favorites]

There are some marriages that consist of two people, and some marriages that consist of two people plus one or more of their families. My marriage is very American in the sense that my husband and I have pretty strong boundaries with our families (they don't expect to visit without arranging it with us, their opinions about our healthcare choices don't impact our healthcare choices, etc.). It's something we both value. It sounds like the marriage you're about to enter will be different. It sounds like your inclination is somewhat more like mine--having boundaries, maintaining some distance from family (not rejecting them, but seeing your little family unit with your husband as separate from the extended family)--while your fiancé wants fewer boundaries with his family, and sees his family as part of the marriage.

You can't make your fiancé change his mind about what he wants, and he can't make you change yours about what you want. The tricky thing is that it's hard for a less-boundaried person to set limits when they don't want to. It's a lot easier for the more-boundaried person to give in--which is what you're finding as you think about this 6-week visit. There's no reason your future FIL needs to stay for 6 weeks. You and your fiancé could compromise and have your fiancé tell his father, "I'm so looking forward to your visit. Unfortunately we can only host you for three weeks, so when you book your tickets, keep that in mind." (And part of compromising would be that he doesn't blame you when his father asks why the visit needs to be shortened.) I think what I'm getting at is that it's fine for you to have your preferences about boundaries, and fine for your fiancé to have his own preferences, and if you're going to make a marriage work, you'll both need to work hard to compromise when you can live with your differences when compromise isn't possible. Your fiancé needs to act as your partner: you absolutely cannot do this on your own.

All that said, there are some things that you control here. You can seek therapy just because you want to. There's no reason your parents or your fiance's parents need to be involved in that decision. If your new FIL is staying with you, maybe you'll need to make up a coded phrase with your new husband ("I'm having coffee with Sharon at 3:00 today"), but there's no reason your FIL will need to know you're going to see your therapist, and no need for his approval.
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2015

Love is really not enough to overcome this kind of mismatch in expectations. Unless your fiancé is much less rigid than he sounds from your question, you are setting yourself up for a miserable marriage. Please take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health before making this kind of commitment.
posted by JenMarie at 4:36 PM on October 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Something I was taught in college in the 70s was that the 3 common problems in a marriage, in *decreasing* importance, are: family, money and sex. Over many years I have found this to be true of "average" marriages (similar husband/wife, same culture). So if you are having serious trouble with the most common problem *before* the wedding and have the additional complexity of culture clash, this should be a very big warning sign to you.

It also seems to me that you are (by way of analogy) in a tub of water where the temperature is going up 1 degree an hour and so can't decide when to scream. Each incremental step seems to have its pros and cons, but I sense that you already don't like the way this is headed.

This is just my opinion (from another NJ resident, BTW), but I think it aligns with a lot of other answers above.
posted by forthright at 5:53 PM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have three things to say, and the first one is going to sound harsh, so I apologize. (I'm Indian-American, too, so other readers get where I'm coming from)

1. You're Indian-American, from what sounds like a very traditional Indian family, so I feel like you should have known what you are getting yourself into immediately upon meeting and agreeing to marry your fiancé, especially since your families know each other. I'm not trying to put this all on you (see #2), but I'm really confused as to why this is such a big shock for you when it's such a huge part of Indian culture, that I'm sure you've been exposed to. I mean, didn't your grandparents come and visit you for months at a time or grandparents of your family friends? Hell, my mom comes to visit from the other side of the country and stays for at least a month. Sorry, I know that's harsh, but I really would've expected something like this with family that lives in a different part of the world. Also, you realize this is going to happen every year, right? So if you're not okay with your in-laws staying with you for an extended period of time, then this is not the right marriage for you.

2. You need to communicate with your fiancé, or rather HE needs to communicate with you. It shouldn't have been his family that told you dad was coming to stay for six weeks, it should have been HIM. That's his responsibility. He's living in America now (right?), he bills himself as a modern guy, he needs to live by those modern values, which includes treating you as his equal partner in the marriage and communicating with you.

3. I don't understand why you're waiting to get treated for ADHD? And why anyone else needs to know? Why can't you do it discreetly, and start it now?
posted by echo0720 at 8:49 PM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm really confused as to why this is such a big shock for you when it's such a huge part of Indian culture,

I'm Indian American and never had grandparents visit me for months. Also I don't know that the OP has necessarily "very traditional" family except that her parents wanted a traditional ceremony, which is, not such a huge thing really.

The culture isn't a monolith, not at all. I wouldn't assume we all have the same experiences. And as for the ADHD treatment, it's a lot of work and effort to find the right kind of treatments and practitioners for mental health things so not surprised at all, regardless of culture, that OP wants to wait till wedding madness is behind her.
posted by zutalors! at 9:34 PM on October 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Back in the motherland, it's pretty much a given that the in-laws get to stay on demand for basically as long as they want. Thankfully, it can't work out that way since they're very attached to his sister's child, and the sister has no plans on leaving India.

This stood out to me.
Are you saying, if they wanted to stay with you the entire time, you'd have no way of preventing this? That you are counting on external circumstances to prevent them from being in your home 100% of the time?

I guess I expected to have the time immediately after the wedding in order to spend it as newlyweds. Now, the current plan is...

Who made the plan? Did you have any role in creating that plan?
Are you OK with having plans made for you for the rest of your life?

I read a lot of resignation and powerlessness in your question, and it breaks my heart.

Before you marry this man, you still have some traction - you have the power to walk away, or try to negotiate. If you marry your fiance in November, before you have had time to re-negotiate the terms of your relationship, you will lose a lot of your negotiating power. Once you have kids, you might be in a more difficult position still.

My advice to you:
- Do not be afraid to rock the boat. Now, before you are married, you have a lot of power. Ask hard questions, not only of your fiance, but also of yourself.
- Talk about your relationship with a therapist. You do not need anyone's permission, and you do not need to tell anyone you are seeing a therapist. It's no one else's business but yours.
- You have a right to have needs and expectations.
- Talk to your fiance and ask him how he sees the future decision-making in your marriage. Let him spell his expectations out to you in detail. Give yourself time to think about his answer.
- Talk to a trusted friend about your relationship.

Many hugs to you, OP.
posted by M. at 1:12 AM on October 11, 2015 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Hi, OP here.

Thank you all so much for your considerate replies and your sympathy. I'm definitely in a much better place after having been driving myself crazy about all this for hours. There is so much actionable advice in here. I'd also especially like to thank those from Indian and Indian-American backgrounds for answering, given the nature of my question.

So, I've spoken with my fiancé. It's been...weird.

Fiancé says that his father has already committed to being here for a while and he can't/won't change that. He claims that after this visit, his father won't be able to return for a few years. I'm skeptical.


My fiancé also promised to support me when it comes to my not doing any additional work for these guests. My fiancé's father is his responsibility. (No cooking, no cleaning, no expecting to take his dad anywhere or have to specially cater to his needs in any way at the expense of my own work/downtime.) He also said that he will make it clear that I am going to refuse to do most things that they want me to do, and that they'll have to be okay with that.

It seems to be a unanimous thing that I shouldn't go to India. I completely agree, and that part about those sixty days caused me a great deal of anxiety. So, I made it clear that I am NOT making the trip. I don't have the resources to deal with those people and they can hate me if they want to.

Zuitalors! has it correct -- because it's a lot of work for me to work out my going to the treatment program (planning is not really a strong suit of mine), I need a little bit of lead time. Someone else could do it MUCH more efficiently, but I'm not that person. So the current plan is that when he goes to India at the end of December/beginning of January, I check myself into the treatment program.

I have to do more work in convincing him that my consent needs to be obtained when it comes to visitors, which is a big thing. The problem is, I'm at my parents' this weekend and my father had a medical emergency, so it's been stewing around in my head for days. I'll see him tomorrow morning...and I hope things can improve further by then.

I know this sounds fairly dumb and naive to say, but I didn't anticipate this after ten years of peace between us. It's time to up my game.

Again, your help means so much more than I can ever express. Thank you all.
posted by orangutan at 8:50 PM on October 11, 2015 [6 favorites]

Thanks for the update! I hope you're feeling good about this - it seems like a pretty good outcome to me, including the fact that you know now you need to start working on these boundaries.
posted by zutalors! at 9:01 PM on October 11, 2015

i was thinking about how/why this could be the first time in 10 years, and it struck me that things get "worse" when parents age, and start to need care. so there's that to look forwards to.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:18 AM on October 12, 2015

Three days is the very longest I can handle house guests. Period. I informed Mr. Westridge of this prior to us getting married. He feels the same so that worked out well, but even if he hadn't that would have been a non negotiable item for me. Its OK to have a couple uncrossable lines in the sand. Its human. He should respect yours and you respect his. That too, is a form of compromise.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:28 PM on August 28, 2016

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