Respecting others says more about you than them

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Many people have issues with their in-laws that cause them tremendous frustration. There are ego issues, turf war issues, kitchen control issues, personality clashes and also a lot of expectations on what “good in-laws” should be like. There are two categories of in-laws. Ones that you stay with, and ones that you spend time with. In both the situations, the respect you give them, says less about them and more about you. If you are staying with your in-laws you need to respect the fact that you are in their home, and in their space and face. They choose to share with you what they have worked for and earned all their life. It’s so unfair to march into their lives and dictate your terms and conditions. Many say, “I left my family to be a part of this family, so what I want should matter too”. Fair enough! It’s great to incorporate your likes and dislikes into their environment but not to put your personal preferences above theirs or to make them miserable, compromised and uncomfortable in their cocoon. If what you want conflicts greatly with their way of life, simply get your own place and move out. To fight with and disrespect them in their own home is simply bad manners and character. Valuing what you want for yourself and earning a new home and life so your dreams bear fruition shows your strength of character. If you don’t live with them, and have a strained relationship, simply bow to the robe as we do for example with pandits and priests. We overlook who they are as people and show respect to their robe. Remember, being respectful and allowing yourself to be trampled on are two different things. Don’t confuse the two. But be very clear, that being respectful speaks volumes about who you are, your upbringing, your character and your strength. Being disrespectful also speaks about the same.

I was married for approximately five years and then separated from my husband. It has been two years since we have been living separately. His parents however insist that they would like to live with me and not their son. I have tried explaining to them that this would hold me back from starting my life afresh, but they aren’t willing to listen. Please help.

If you would like to start life afresh that will only happen when you are officially divorced. As long as you are still legally married they will feel you’re still his wife and that they have access to you and your home and personal space. Till such time you will have to put on your tough hat and say, “things are already complicated and I do not wish to complicate them further.”

My parents got divorced when I was 10. I am now 18 and my mother wants to settle down with a colleague of hers. I am close to both my parents and do understand that my father still loves my mother and tries his best to get back with her. However, my mother is not willing to give him a chance. I have also tried speaking to her but she says that I am too young to understand the gimmicks of marriage and divorce. What should I do?

Nobody ends a marriage especially when there is a child involved, unless there was very good reason to do so. I appreciate your feelings as a child who wants to see the family together again, but if in 8 years he hasn’t been able to win her back, it seems highly improbable. It would be disastrous if they reunited and there was negativity and anger. Let adults make adult decisions.

I am a 45-year-old man and have been seeing a woman who is a decade younger to me. Though she wants to settle down with me, her parents and brothers has objections and have also threatened her with severe consequences if she carries on this relationship with me. We have also considered eloping and getting married. What should we do?

Just because they are family does not mean they own her or have any right to dictate or threaten a 35-year-old grown adult woman. You both have every personal and legal right to lead the life you want together, whether it’s with their blessings or without. If family loves you, they will want what makes you happy, not what makes them happy at the cost of your happiness.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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