Monday, December 19, 2011

You Changed After Marriage

This is one of those phrases that just irks my last nerve! I never heard anything about this in the US and I don't understand the mentality behind it at all.

From very early on in our marriage hubby would say that his friends would taunt him about not changing who he was after he got married. He would make comments himself about how he didn't want his family to think he had changed after marriage.

So the first month we were married he was still going out with his friends. This drove me crazy and I know I said a few choice words on the topic. Mostly because here I was new to a foreign country and he was leaving me alone. He always countered that I was with his family so I wasn't alone. To which my response usually was something along the lines of how when we get to the US I'm dumping his ass with my family and going out with the girls and let's see how he likes that. Of course he was not receptive to that idea even then lol. I know that was mean of me but I don't believe in double standards and if he can do it, then so can I. End of discussion. I did at least remind him that in the US he can speak English while I had pretty much no knowledge of Punjabi. So he still went out and gave a party to all his friends because he was married now and was socially obligated to (I don't buy that either lol.). After a few weeks I started getting really pissed off and tired of being sick with no way of getting what I needed with him out several days a week with his boys so I went off about it.

Then of course his friends had a reason to taunt him. Now, I know this isn't an American perspective so I have no guilt at all in posting what I'm about to say. -- It's utter stupidity to think a man will still go out and party with his friends and leave his newlywed wife at home alone. Hello - it was the honeymoon period and most women are not turned on by a drunken husband who was out all night with someone else. Thank you! I also don't feel wrong saying that a newlywed couple should be more interested in being naughty than going out with friends - that concept is also universal even in Punjab. I guess I can't speak for arranged marriages where the couple may be nervous and apprehensive about getting close in the beginning but in a love marriage things don't work that way.

After a while he got tired of his friends taunting and stopped talking to them. They were single and just couldn't understand he now had a wife and his family to take care of and (he admitted to me) he had more fun going out with me because unlike the guys I gave him the freedom to relax. Now that could also be translated as we purchased more expensive alcohol and it tasted better so he drank more and I didn't complain or it could be that we weren't sitting in a room with a bunch of men and I made for much better scenery. I like either example so you can choose whichever you want lol.

Of course there were also the friends who just wanted to see and meet the white girl. I think this is what pushed him away from them the most. Here in this world (whichever one hubby seems to live in) it is not acceptable for you to introduce your wife to your friends. Wives are well guarded secrets and he felt like they were being disrespectful by always trying to come up with sneaky underhanded ways to meet me. They would stop by his house at abnormal times and try to catch me on the terrace waiting for him to come home or show up at places they expected him to be then call when they didn't find us there. I can't tell you how many times one of them called from the temple and asked why we weren't there yet (and it's not their normal temple) or called from Alpha One to see what store we were in.

Months later he decided, under my encouragement, to answer a call from a lifelong friend only to find the friends up to the same tricks. Another old friend was going around telling people he had seen us at the mall and that I was a fat, ugly old woman. Hubby was pissed off so then he decided that I should meet one or two of his friends. One friend that he trusted was a cousin to the rumor spreader and so we planned a trip to Alpha One so the friend could see I was indeed not a troll. Another friend we met with because hubby genuinely missed him and the guy was bringing his wife so it was more like a couples date which seemed to be at least a little acceptable though still not the norm.

I think I'm getting a little off track lol. What I'm trying to say is that it is unreasonable that someone will not change after marriage. People do change even when they don't want to. All of a sudden having free and easy sex around when you spent your whole life a virgin will realign your priorities even if your friends miss you. Having a new person come into your life who cooks, cleans and cares for you and brings out new emotions will change you. Marriage is a major life change. You not only get to experience love but you also have the adventure (nicest word I could find) of learning to live with someone who is different from you (even in same culture marriages). In India a man is considered in a different stage of life when he marries so there should be even more of a concept that he has/will change after marriage.

For my husband in particular he went from being an unrespected kid with absolutely no say in the house or family matters to be consulted and making the final decision for all family matters. He essentially became the head of the house and his dad started stepping back and took on the role of top supporting family member. This was a huge change for him as well. I can't say it was all easy for him though most of this seems good. He took on stress about learning all this new stuff and how to live this new way even though he says he enjoys most of it. He can now get and have all the things he ever wanted in life.

So the next time you hear someone say that their friend changed after marriage, please explain to them that the change is not always bad and they shouldn't be so negative about it. Life is all about changing and growing as a person. If we stayed the same our whole lives the world would not survive, thrive or advance. Life is good after the change....life IS good!

13 comments:

  1. I knew all of DH's IIM friends from before we got married, so we still used to hang out after the wedding, but less often indeed, and DH was less into going out on guy nights, he still has an occasional one here and there, but that is it. Most of his friends are married now, so there is even less of these happening than in the begining.
    The only time we got something about how things change was when a friend who left for US about 4-5 months before we got married returned for a holiday 6-7 months after we got married, before tying the knot DH and I used to live in bachelor pad crappy furnitures : plastic chairs, no TV stand, no furniture aside from the computer desk and just 2 mattresses on the ground, and when he saw us again we had a fully furnished place (thanks to cash gifts from my family), a dog and even a glass table on the terrace with nice chairs and everything, and he was like "Wow look at you guys" and then I broughts some snack in a wooden multicompartment tray and he joked "Marriage does make people change, you guys really upgraded yourself" but it was meant as a friendly tease :)

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  2. creepy friends ... yuck !

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  3. Lol. From what I hear most of Rohit's friends and family don't mean it that way. It just bugs me because he has one cousin that got married first and she stopped calling him very often when it was almost daily that she called. Then we got married and she started with the 'you've changed' stuff because he didn't keep calling her often enough. They were close but she of all people should have understood the new responsibilities of a marriage.

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  4. Lol, yeah a few are. But there is an overly childish mentality among young men here in Punjab (at least the ones I see). They still go out and act like teenage children well into their 20's and many of them will tell you they are still kids simply because they are not married yet. It's kind of hard to understand. They can have a masters degree but still be a kid....I just don't get it hahahaha.

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  5. what she answers yu ( Kristy ) is exactly the case in Bengal too - you can' t blame their childishness and they are totally harmless

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  6. cousins here are a much more delicate matter also than in the West but you learn quickly the ropes -- I know my husband' s maternal cousins greatly adore & admire me and you will manage you will see -  things take time

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  7.  coming to think of it ... several of my friends are married (I am not) and it is a big relief that most of them do not call as often. if they did, i would have to think of ways to stop them from doing so, as i have done for some of them. more than the talk of unmarried people, it is the talk of married people which is much more tedious and at the same time creepy ... i cannot imagine listening to somebody's wives/husband/kids coming up in every conversation .. such things should be kept strictly within the family under normal circumstances. i have had to severely curtail interaction with one of my friend after his gushing pap about his young son got to my nerves ... and this was after his marriage troubles (his was a marriage not approved by parents) had already grated me immensely. one may call it a childish behavior but for such "child", was the victorian aphorism invented - 'spare the rod and spoil the child'

    basically, one's social circle changes (and shd change) after marriage and they shd hang out with married people exclusively. those who do not realize this deserve a few rap on the knuckles.

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  8. Yeah, I try not to. It's just annoying lol.

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  9. I don't worry about this either. The same cousin that fusses about him not calling doesn't call him hardly ever. She stopped after she got married and she can't expect him to be the only one. He talks to her brother and he's always on the phone with someone so it would be easy for her to be one of them but they can't ever catch each other.

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  10. I agree with you on keeping marriage stuff inside of the family and hanging out with married people when you're married. There are so many differences between singles and married people and it just can't be helped. A married man can't go out and watch girls at the temple anymore and a single man really doesn't understand the details of being married and raising kids.

    I have to laugh sometimes because Rohit has this one single friend (it's one of his best friends) that calls about once a month and Rohit can't stand to hear about his girlfriend problems but the phone call seems to go on for an hour every time lol. There is so much drama over marriages here when the parents don't agree it's just not even funny.

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  11. lol...the friends seem quite creepy....maybe cs its punjab..i too belong to a small town of india jammu though am in delhi for many years now..things are diffrent here and the husbands not introducing wife to friends thankfully doesnt exist here..lol...not to sound biased but small towns have a diffrent culture a diffrent thinkng thats my personal opinion.yea true things do change after marriage i completely agree..but seems like u gotta nice guy..cos true friends dont taunt nor spread rumors:p

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  12. @alka - yeah they definitely have a different view here in Amritsar than they would in Delhi. Rohit is great. He's really different than a lot of people here. Sometimes reluctantly but he's open to new ways and not just sticking with what society says we should be doing. Before coming here I had no idea the extremes that some people try to stick to just to hold onto what they believe is culture.

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  13. Sorry for the slow response but I wanted to take some time and reflect on all you had to say. To some extent this family is traditional and has passed on some of the responsibilities of the house to Rohit and I. In other ways it is very modern and they are very protective of me so they have not passed on all of them. I am okay with most of it, but others can be difficult to adjust to. I do work very hard to try and adjust because this is a family and not a one woman enterprise. I am fortunate in that I grew up with a lot of the same thoughts and beliefs that most joint family systems encompass so that has surely helped me. One aspect I disagree with you on (and maybe it's only this family) but most people in the house are doing their own thing. It's something I had not expected to see. There is a higher degree of individuality and separation among the household members than I would have thought. Don't get me wrong, they work together on quite a bit and there is a lot of normal family togetherness but there is also an extreme amount of selfishness that goes on as well. It's very hard to accurately describe and I doubt I could do it in writing at all.

    I am sorry to hear of what happened with your spouse, it is very unfortunate. I think maybe I can understand some of what she may have been feeling but that does not mean she should not have been committed to finding a resolution rather than an alternative which it seems is what she did. I am determined (and very stubborn about not backing down) to find a resolution. I know in my heart and my mind that nothing here is as bad as it seems or feels and that my homesickness and emotions are getting the best of me. My mind knows that but my heart still aches for some comfort and familiarity. All of those things will work themselves out in time as I have seen and experienced as part of my journey here.

    Thank you for your comments, I appreciate your wisdom and insight and the chance to think about what you had to say. Have a great day!

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