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Wondering.....

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by Karenm, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Karenm

    Karenm New IL'ite

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    Originally Posted by Karenm [​IMG]
    I am white, and my husband is Indian. We met in Canada, where my husband moved to from India when he was 9. A little while ago, we went to India to visit his family, and I was told that we were not allowed to sit beside each other, hold hands, no display of affection. I was ok with this, but was wondering if it was OK for him to be very affectionate with his cousin. Lots of hugging, and touching. One night at 5 AM, I walked in on them hugging in the kitchen. One day I walked in on them both laying in the bed talking to each other. It seemed to me that if he couldn't be affectionate with me, that this rule would apply to all females, family or not. Can I please get some perspectives on this situation?
     
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  2. Venonimiss

    Venonimiss Bronze IL'ite

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    Well Karen, don't go with the culture, norm...stuff in things like these.

    Family or not...rules apply to everyone. If husband and wife cannot sit together and hold hands, then your husband should not be holding hands..lying on the bed with anyone else too (Cousins..sisters ..etc).

    But rules apart..If you don't like it, you have to let him know. After all you are husband and wife, who must have clear communication for a happy life.
     
  3. iamsudha

    iamsudha Senior IL'ite

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    Karen,

    Not cool. If it looks fishy to you, it probably is.

    Sometimes when cousins are apart for a long time, it's possible that there are some spontaneous hugs and other shows of affection. But not the way you seem to describe.

    You can trust your woman's instincts and lay down how it should be.

    Good luck!
     
  4. tulipzz

    tulipzz Platinum IL'ite

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    Hugging at 5am in the Kitchen? It doesnt sound normal to me at all...

    Having grown up in India all through, I know how close cousins can be. But this 5am thing and laying in bed thing look fishy. not normal by any standards...

    I wont be surprised to see cousins stay up until late night to 'catch up' but, its most likely to be a group, lazing on the couch, or in the garden or on the terrace... with respectable physical distance from each other....

    Are you still in India or did you return to Canada?
     
  5. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello Karenm,
    Here's my 2 cents:
    Traditional Indian society is sexually repressed. How a culture that's home to exuberant erotica carved in stone, that produced the original manual of sex in the Kamasutra got to this point is another story. The thing to keep in mind is that the social strictures that dictate permissible behavior between men and women attempt to legislate sexuality, real, perceived or imagined, not mere affection.

    Relationships between siblings are viewed as inherently non-sexual. Cousins in India are often referred to as 'cousin-brother' or 'cousin-sister'. No sexual connotation is attached to any show of affection, although excessive displays would still be frowned upon, especially in public, where the relationship is not immediately obvious. It is a different matter entirely with a girlfriend or even wife .... there is a frisson of sexuality attached and that frightens the traditional Indian mind.

    Another example of this is that you will often find Indian men walking with their arm around a male friend, something that's uncommon in north-America or at least viewed as gay. In India the built-in assumption is the other way around - they are men! Of course there cannot be any sexual connotation! So it's OK.

    Between men and women, holding hands is not a problem these days (depending on where you are - village? small town? metro?), hugs hmmm maybe OK, but kissing will raise eyebrows even in many cities.

    Even in the US, where I live, when a couple is having a pretty heavy make-out session in public, I have heard my American friends remark jokingly, 'hey go get a room' - under their breath of course! The point to remember is that the threshold for the "go, get a room" feeling in India is much lower.

    Last but not least, the traditional Indian is always worried about the 'promiscuousness' of women in the west. The unstated assumption is often that you are in some sense more likely to run away with someone else, because 'that's what western-society is like'. So, to save you from judgements like that, even people who are fond of you, would advise you to be more discreet so that you come across as more demure, a more suitable match for their 'son'.

    In short, I am not quite inclined to panic yet about displays of affection between cousins. I would also suggest that you not worry too much about these rules - remember Indians are easy to win over - all it would take is for you to learn a couple of words in their language, say nice things to grandma, wear a sari once and get your picture taken ..... you know the sort of stuff that they can show their nosy neighbors to assure them that well, you may be Canadian, but you are really the sweetest Indian bahu (Daughter-in-Law) too!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  6. orion80

    orion80 Platinum IL'ite

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    Agree with Sudha and Tulipzz..

    If your inlaws are stirct about husband and wife holding hands and sitting together, then they would not allow cousins to hug each other also. Hugging in the kitchen at 5am and lying together on the bed and talking is a strict no-no in such households.

    I would suggest, just observe how other cousins and sisters are behaving with your husband. If this cousin is the only one getting the extra attention, then put your foot down and tell him that his behavior is not appropriate.

    -Lakshmi
     
  7. Karenm

    Karenm New IL'ite

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    Thanks for your perspectives! We are back in Canada, the visit was only a month, and it was awhile ago. But it still bothers me. My husband insist that this affection is normal with his cousins, and that I should not be concerned, even though I did ask him to stop a couple of times. He was affectionate with all his cousins, but more so with one. It was difficult for me, as I felt like I was pushed aside as a wife, and was watching this affection, and couldn't help but feel that it was wrong. I did find out later that many years earlier, my husband was in love with the one cousin that he was especially affectionate with. My husband says that I am over reacting, and looking at this with the wrong view. He says that he understands though how I can feel that way I do. Comments?
     
  8. Karenm

    Karenm New IL'ite

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    Oh, and also, my husband said that he was having a nap in his cousins bed, and his cousin joined him while he was sleeping, so the being in bed thing was not his fault.
     
  9. tulipzz

    tulipzz Platinum IL'ite

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    Oh please! That sounds very silly to me. If my cousin was sleeping on my bed, I'd NOT go and join him...I'd wake him up if I want to talk or find another bed if I want to sleep.
     
  10. sunitha

    sunitha Gold IL'ite

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    Karen,your husband is taking you for a good ride! Looks like that attraction between them is still there.Since he is married,no one will doubt him.They tell you something about culture and expect you to act blind towards their acts and that cousin sounds very shameless to me!
     

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