Friday, February 21, 2014

Cold-hearted is the New Buzz Phrase

*Note: This post was written approximately 1 year ago. This is not a current issue in my relationship. It's simply a reflection of my feelings at the time I journaled this. Please continue to follow my story for all the drama, updates, highs and lows to see how things turn out. 

I'm not in India anymore but damn if I'm not having an I hate India moment right now. I wrote last week about 2 failed NRI arranged marriages and I'm still a little irritated by some things that I keep hearing.

One such thing is hubby's use of the term "cold-hearted." He seems to think this applies to way too many people. Both those NRI wives were cold-hearted. They just couldn't love those poor Punjabi boys enough. They couldn't make them happy. After all, those boys traveled half the way around the world, they should have gotten some special treatment and a lot more love since they moved away from family? Are you f*cking kidding me? What am I? Chopped liver? Sorry, I will try to save the rant on double standards for another post. It's a huge subject in itself.

Back to this ugly term. Hubby is saying more and more that people are cold-hearted. He's insinuated that all Americans are cold-hearted since they don't adhere to Indian standards of relationships. Apparently, and I get this directly from my spoiled Punjabi husband, regardless of what else is going on in life, a woman should adhere to standards, do her duty, and pour love over her husband as if she's a fountain. *barf* (Where do Indian men get this image of women????)

Apparently after working a 70 hour work week I should still come home and cook him dinner. After all, he hasn't eaten all day waiting for me to do so. Too bad for him I don't feel the same way. I let him know it too. I'm not capable of doing all of the work in this relationship while he surfs the internet and chats all day.

I took on the tough love attitude. I'm not someone's doormat. I refuse to be. He has no right to lay in bed all day long every day then chastise me for not cooking him 3 meals a day? This is NOT the man I married. I didn't get to play by American rules when I lived in Amritsar and I'm not even going to entertain Punjabi rules while I'm in the US. Hell, we didn't even live by such patriarchal rules while I was in India!

We do have our fair share of nasty arguments. Anyway, I've noticed this term, cold-hearted, creep into just about everything he had to say about anyone from anywhere outside of India. Anyone not raised in India, and that includes NRI's, were obviously cold-hearted and didn't love each other the way Indians did. I do actually agree. We learn a much deeper, less fleeting type of love here in the states. Love is not based on duty, obligation or a cumulative collection of work done for you.

Here in the states you can have love and still be a couch (or bed) potato who never does anything. Otherwise I probably would have kicked his butt a lot harder by now. We simply define love by a very different set of standards. We do not see love as an altruistic servitude, nor do we see it is a contractual affair. Love is not lost the first time your spouse doesn't cook, wash your underwear or take you out to expensive restaurants on a whim.

Of course, I digress. As it would seem, even contractual love doesn't always work out. Do I think hubby and I will get through this and work out just fine? Most likely. I'm much too stubborn to give up easily. I can adjust just fine and deal with his moods because I do sympathize with him. However, I will not turn into the sappy, over-zealous, doting spouse he seems to have imagined I would turn into after 2 years of marriage. Not sure where that image came from to begin with.

On days he's rational, he's just fine. He's back to being the man I adore, so we will see how it goes. Either way I will be at peace knowing all the things that have happened and all that I have done. I've done far more than my share. I am only one person and I cannot and will not do everything all the time.If he needs me to do the 'woman's work,' then he needs to step up and do the 'man's work' as well.


  1. Looking after each other is also very much a part of love. Duty and obligation are also as much part of love. I do not agree with your statement that you can be a couch potato doing nothing and still be loved. That cannot be a definition of love any culture anywhere in the world. I would prefer a duty/obligation love anytime over this.

    I am not supposed to comment on you life but I believe that your husband should get out of your house, find and job and try to be responsible for himself. This way he will assimilate with the American way of life gradually and find his feet in this foreign land. May be he will develop a friend circle of his own. He will be a better position to understand you that way. I know the culture clash is not helping matters. At least, that is what I have understood from your various posts. No offense meant.

  2. I'm not offended. Some of what I post here does not apply to my relationship. I actually write about things I see collectively as well. In this instance, the couch potato thing was collective somewhat. There actually is a lot of this going on in some areas of the US. I'm like you, I prefer the duty/obligation side of things. It takes more than one person to make a relationship work. I personally don't feel like a one-sided love could work out long term. Both people must contribute.

    I'm also not offended by your comment. I feel like hubby can't know his own value if he's not working. It emasculates a man to not work most of the time. For him, work is a standard and he feels worthless without it. Culture shock complicated so much for him and he's had to relearn how to live completely. Things are a lot better now. I wrote this post not too long after his arrival here and he was fighting then to get all he had dreamed America would be. It wasn't an easy road for him but he did manage to find his old self again.

    In the instance of those people he was calling cold-hearted, the men worked jobs but didn't feel a need to contribute to the household bills, work, etc. I got the distinct impression they felt like they were going to get here to the US, get rich quick and then spend money on whatever they wanted. When they couldn't do that, they got upset. These men couldn't go out drinking and partying and head to clubs and live the wild life they saw on TV because their wives wanted to keep the bills paid and save money. It was sick to hear the stories and the way they talked about their wives simply because those boys hadn't gotten their way. It made me very angry. As if anyone should ever expect to be pampered this way and have someone else do everything for them while they act like a spoiled brat. ugh. It's making me mad just thinking about it now!

  3. "In the instance of those people he was calling cold-hearted, the men worked jobs but didn't feel a need to contribute to the household bills, work, etc. "

    They didn't feel a need to contribute to the household bills?
    Is this a Punjabi thing?

  4. I think it's a spoiled jerk thing. I know my husband was raised that he was supposed to be the one working, providing, etc. and has traditional views on the subject. I had to stand up for my right to work because I wanted to and he didn't really argue much but told me that my working would embarrass him. So I can only imagine these knuckleheads just wanted to go out and waste their money and didn't realize upon coming here that life is expensive and they would have to also pay for it (via living expenses). It seems to me more like a childish, immature, butthead kind of thing. :P

  5. Why did u settle for an spoilt indian punjabi jerk ?

  6. I understand the cold heart part. We have been brought up by loving and doting mothers. We associate women with this image of loving, sacrificing type. We are kind of spoilt. We try to find the same with our wives which is not always fair to them.

    Many Indians think that America is a prosperous country. When we look at the American houses with sprawling lawns and white fences, houses with halls, separate rooms for family members etc, we think they are rich because such facilities are available only to some super rich people etc (American serials). Once a while we see people living in apartments and working class neighborhoods, they kind of place where character of Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky" grew up. But that image of that big house with wide pavements remain in our memory.

    Then there are anecdotes. "You know even a sweeper comes in a car in America". Quiet unthinkable in India. "You know american farmers have big houses and spray insecticides with aircraft". That is the kind of stories Indians grow up with. It is only now when more people are traveling to America, there is better understanding of America. America, Singapore and Canada were the places where some cousin/uncle or ours went and got imported goods for everyone. Water., electricity and good roads are still things which if you are lucky to get in India.

  7. Parent some times do not realize the damage they cause their children by spoiling them too much and doing everything for them. Independence is something that is not really taught or encouraged in Indian culture or my culture, Latin. I really think that it takes a really strong person to break away somewhat from their parent's grasp. Hovering parents do no favors to their children by been this way.

    Children also don't do any favors to themselves by encouraging such high levels of dependency. But to be blunt, some of these kids have no intentions of breaking away and become independent.

    We have a 25+ old Indian cousin that moved to Australia and the thing he misses the most is not having his laundry done, his room cleaned and no food on the table when he comes from work. He cries that now he has to do everything. Ridiculous for a grown ass man to behave this way. Needless to say he is having a lot of problems adjusting and making friends; no one really wants to hear his ridiculous rants and complains you know.

    For me, the deepest love is when there is compassion, respect, boundaries and understanding. The ability to have fun together and face problems together head on. Duty and obligation are fine but there is a limit. I have a wonderful husband. We both work and have demanding jobs. He never walks in the house, drops his crap on the floor an expect for dinner to be ready and served for him. He has no problem eating a tuna sandwich or picking take out. I usually get home before him but sometimes I am so tired that i don't feel like doing anything at all; just veg out and watch tv. We have been blasted with tons of snow in NYC and while he takes care of the shoveling I go outside and shovel as well. I cannot sit in the house especially on a day off and expect my husband to come home and do the shoveling when I have been home all day.

    Compromise is key.

    Millie B

  8. I agree with you. I don't understand the mentality behind spoiling children so much. Learning to hear and accept the word 'no' is a valuable skill. The rest of the world isn't going to give into your baby like you will and then later in life they have hardship accepting when they get turned down for a job or can't pay their bills when they spent all of their money on the latest iPhone, etc. No doesn't have to be an evil word and you can say it with love.

    Children are so accepting of different viewpoints and it just gets wasted when you only teach them one way of life, one that revolves around their current whims and desires.

    I like how you mention that some have no intention of ever becoming independent. I hadn't thought of that angle but you're right. Some actually prefer this or could be scared of changing. I really appreciate your comment. It was thought provoking in many ways for me. :)

  9. This was true of India few years ago. Today Indians move out of their parents houses looking for job or education. I see hundreds of young people in Delhi living on rent pursuing jobs and education. Delhi being the capital city of India attracts people from all over India especially people of norther states of Bihar, UP, Punjab, Rajasthan etc. These people are street smart and intelligent.

    I think our country was not secure for a variety or reasons. Women safety is a big issue. Therefore, it was natural for parents to be overprotective of their children. I think we have moved away from the laundry and bills phase. Our dependence comes from emotional attachments to our families. Children are raised as extensions of their families. Today they have moved out of the shadow of their parents for better or worse.

  10. Alexandra MadhavanMarch 1, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Ugh, it is hard when such behaviours are deeply they say, "the only way you can change a man is in the nursery"! Relationships are give and take.....maybe you can sign him up for some cooking classes?

  11. Alexandra MadhavanMarch 1, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    My hubby was also raised that men are supposed to be the ones working and providing, and that they should provide so that women are not FORCED to work. But in our Indian family, many women are very educated and choose to work after marriage and after children because they want careers, and that is fine with most of the men.
    I think Indian men have a much greater pressure than American men to be the provider. But that doesn't mean that women can't work too!

  12. I put him through APPI's cooking boot camp. :P Jk. He started taking lessons from cooking shows and how to videos online. It's been good and things have very much improved since this post thankfully.

  13. This actually reminds me of an aunt and uncle (actually longtime friends of the family, not blood). They were Sicilians (Italian). My Mom used to say that my aunt was chained to the kitchen table like all Sicilian men liked their wives, waiting on them hand and foot.

  14. That's so true. I asked my Punjabi husband once if he wanted me to pack him food to take to his office (others do it) and he said NO. But when his mom just gave him the lunchbox, he simply took it and now takes for 2 weeks. I was furious. I asked why did he say no when I asked him and now he takes the lunchbox that his mom gives him. He said he took it because it was there anyway. That makes me feel like I'm such a BAD WIFE. I decided to ignore this but I don't know if I can take this any longer.

  15. I'm sure that is very frustrating. It doesn't make you a bad wife, I'm sure he hasn't thought this through at all. I would talk to him about it more while you're both calm and let him know how you felt about it. He may not understand but maybe you can come to a peaceful resolution.