I am a 45-year-old widow, and I have three children. My husband died about six months back. Ours is a joint family set-up, where my mother-in-law was the unifying factor. She was a great lady who knew how to build and sustain relationships. Her death was a great loss in many ways for me, but mostly it affected my position in the house. After her death, my unmarried sister-in-law, who is older than my late husband, took over the management of the household. She has a bad temper, doesn't listen to anyone and just wants to have her way in everything. My husband, who was a very good man, always had stood in awe of her and as a result my children and I had to suffer a lot. I tried my best to get along with her, but there were times when she was extremely rude and obnoxious with my children and I resented this. I tried to talk to her about it, and she took it as an insult and started venting out her anger at me in front of visitors, neighbours and even servants. Her attitude is different with my brother-in-law's wife because he does not allow my sister-in-law to mistreat his wife.
My brother-in-law also tried to talk to his sister regarding her behaviour, which made her so mad that she told his wife that I was trying to lure him. As a result, the situation in our house has become very tensed. My son flared up at his aunt and told her that she was an ill-tempered witch. There was a big blow up after that. My children have stopped speaking to their aunt and she tells all the family members that I am poisoning their minds because my husband is dead. Since our kitchen is common and my sister-in-law supervises the meals, even eating what we want has become a problem. She tries to make stuff which she knows my children do not like. The house in which we live belongs to my husband and brother-in-law. It's a duplex, which the brothers bought together. It is built in such a way that one portion cannot be sold separately. My son, who is 22 years old, says that we must sell the house to escape my sister-in-law. My daughters, who are 20 and 18, are also of the same view. I don't want to do it because it is a good house, and we will not be able to get anything like it with the money we will get. Besides, my brother-in-law is a very decent person and I have a good relationship with his wife. She did not believe my sister-in-law's false allegation and has been very sweet and helpful to me. They are wonderful people and my brother-in-law has taken over so many responsibilities automatically and discreetly. I am sort of double minded, and don't quite know what to do. I have not spoken to my parents about this situation because they are old and sick, and I don't want to do anything to jeopardise their peace of mind. I have been thinking like mad about what I should do, and only end up getting a headache. Please tell me how to get out of this problem.
Dear Distressed Widow,
First of all, my condolences on your bereavement. It is most unfortunate that you have had to deal with such unpleasantness immediately after the death of your husband, but some people are so heartless that they don't care for anyone. Your sister-in-law, who should have supported you morally, seems bent on giving you and your children a very tough time. It is no wonder that your children want to move away from her influence, but since they are young they cannot appreciate that living independently will entail another set of problems for them. You have two young girls to think of, besides your son is also still very young. Another thing that you can do is to separate your kitchen, as this would limit your sister-in-law's interference in your life. I am sure your brother-in-law will understand and sympathise with your reasons for doing so, and it will be a great relief for your children as well. You just need to gather your courage and tell her either to behave or stop coming to your portion. Since your problem is limited to only your sister-in-law, you need not uproot your children who are lucky that they have a loving uncle. Your brother-in-law's influence and help can only benefit your children and you, so my advice will be not to split, not at least until your daughters are married. You need to be a little diplomatic for the time being, for very soon your sister-in-law will understand that she no longer has the power to bully you or your children. Best of luck!
I am an 18-year-old guy and I am in love with a cousin of mine who is 20 years old. I used to talk to her on my mobile phone. When my parents got to know this, they became angry and took my mobile phone from me and have ordered me not to go to her house. I am very disturbed, as I love her and want to maintain my relationship with her. Another problem is that she is older than me, which is considered bad in our society. Kindly suggest what I should do.
At 18, there is not a lot that you can really do, you know. You are no where at the moment and won't be anywhere even in future unless you apply yourself seriously to your academic pursuits. You need to establish yourself financially and only then will you be in a position to talk to your parents about getting married. Your cousin is 20 and very soon her parents will seriously start considering good proposals. You, on the other hand, need a lot of time to complete your studies and settle down. You cannot support a wife now or in the near future, and your parents are also not keen on this cousin, so you should make a concerted effort to break up with her. As she is your cousin you will keep bumping into her off and on. The best thing will be to talk to her in a friendly way, the way cousins do with each other. Her parents will not wait for another eight to ten years for you even if they disregard the discrepancy between your ages. Actually, being older should not be held against a girl and might not have been a problem had you been settled and opted for a girl a couple of years older than you. Here, the problem is that you are far too young to be married, and the girl is of marriageable age even now. So do the sensible thing, and concentrate on your studies and career. Good luck!
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