Let me begin by telling you all that there is absolutely nothing wrong in staying with your in-laws. It does have a lot of pros, you know. Also, let me establish that I share an amazing relationship with my in-laws and in the four years that I’ve been married, we’ve rarely ever had any major arguments. They are great people who do not interfere in my life and living with them is not such a big challenge. We mutually respect each other and have come to accept each other the way we are. But all this has got nothing to do with the fact that ‘living with in-laws’ being the accepted as the ‘societal way of life’ that I completely disagree with.
Sahil and I had been dating for six years before we decide to get married. I had always lived with my parents and couldn’t wait to start living alone, with just my husband. I wanted to do the whole house hunt, decorate it my way, go through the maid hassles, pay my own bills and build a beautiful life with him. Sahil had moved out of his Delhi home right after school for his further studies and then for his job. He was now back in Delhi and the family wanted everyone to stay together after the wedding. Fair enough. Sahil convinced me that it’ll be for the first few months until a year at max. I was okay with it. It would not only help in bonding with my in-laws but also give us time to set up our new home once we plan to move out. Except that, it never really happened!
Neither did I get to have my own house, nor did I get to greet my husband with a welcome kiss once he got home. We never got a chance to arrange for a crazy house party, or spend the entire weekend in bed in sleeping shorts. I could never plan a kinky surprise or have my parents over for the long weekend. Moreover, I could never build a life that was just for us. We were in different cities during our courtship, so the urge of staying together after marriage, in our own home, was even more intense. But well, living with in-laws is the expected way of our society. Not alone, not with the girls parents, only with the in-laws. The girl’s are always conditioned to be satisfied with occasional visits while the boys parents are happy to have their son and daughter-in-law with them. Their life goes on, in fact a new member gets added to the family with more to come. Sometimes when I look at my parents, I wonder what do they really do look forward to everyday.
On birthdays and festivals, I’m torn between both set of parents. I have to be home with my in-laws while I long to meet my parents too. Invariably, the time I spend with my in-laws is always greater. I live with them after all. How nice would it be if I could live alone and have both set of parents come by and spend such holidays with us. After all, to me they are both important and it’s not easy to prioritize it.
Four years later I still ask my husband if we can move out. But of course, he finds it awkward to bring this up with his parents. “They never say anything to you.” “We are both out most of the day. We live our lives to the fullest.” “You have no restrictions,” those are his typical replies. And the same man gets awkward when he comes to stay with my parents even for 3 days. Because he can’t be in his vest all day or probably because he can’t goof around as much. Well, I too want to go back home after a long tiring day and free my breasts off the straps of my bra. I too want to go home after work and flock down on the bed. No, my mom-in-law does not ask me to cook or clean, but in our three bedroom apartment, I’m not left with much privacy.
As much as I love my husband and my mother and father-in-law, I feel it’s wrong for me to not have a say in where I want to stay after marriage. I feel it’s my husband's responsibility to take this issue up with his parents or that of his parents to understand this in due course of time. Or throw us an offer of staying either with them or on our own. Assuming that your son and his wife should stay with you is absolutely wrong. In no way am I of the impression that parents should be left alone once children become adults. As children, we must be fully aware of their needs and must stay with them if they are not self sufficient. But I do feel that every couple must be given the choice of living their lives, as per their own will and be able to choose it accordingly after marriage too.