My Parents Divorced Over My Marriage
This post has been republished with permission. Written by Monica @www.blissfullyblindian.com and edited by Nikita Gupta, Growing Up Gupta.
Punjabi-Indians Marry Punjabi-Indians
Growing up Punjabi-Indian, the expectation from a young age was that I would marry a Punjabi man. However, I always knew that I would not. I’m not saying they are all the same, but I had seen too many relatives and my father be controlling and abusive.
Patriarchy-I’m Not Marrying An Indian
Like many other cultures, it is a very patriarchal society. I had made it clear when I was little and had a serious talk with my dad and uncle (I used to have sit-down interventions thinking I was so grown) regarding their outrageous behavior. One evening, while out to dinner, I told them that I would not marry an Indian because of what I had witnessed many nights out. They thought it was cute because I was no more than 10-11 years old. However they knew there was a seriousness to my statement.
For years, I felt as though I had seen enough in my family and my parents’ social circle to know in my heart that I would not find myself in the same situation as the women in my life. Again, I am not saying all Punjabi/Indian men are the same – but when it was all I had experienced, it was all I knew. I have many uncles and cousins who are amazing men, husbands, and fathers. They love and treat their wives the way any woman wants to be treated. I am merely speaking on my personal experience growing up.
Meeting My Husband And Never Telling My Dad I Was Dating
Fast-forward to 2013. My husband and I had been together for five years. We graduated from college together, and eight months later, he joined the Navy. During one of my visits to see him, he proposed to me one night on the beach by writing “Will You Marry Me” in the sand. I was thrilled and on top of the world. The man I love just asked me to be his wife and did it in my most favorite place, the beach! Talk about cloud 9!
On my travels back home, reality set in, and I knew it was time to tell my Dad. You see, I didn’t tell my Dad about my relationship at all. Dating is still pretty frowned upon in our culture. I needed to be sure that we were heading down the road to forever before breaking the news. Yes – you read that correctly, my relationship of 5 years was a secret!
Telling My Dad I Was Engaged Via Letter
I decided to tell my Dad in a letter. History has proven that face-to-face conversations between us can escalate instantly. And sadly, a few times, they have turned physical (not from my end). This way, I can say all that needs to be said without interruption, and he could have time to think about it before reacting or responding.
While I was visiting home one weekend, and I can’t lie, I was sick to my stomach the whole time, knowing I was about to tell him. I will share with you all that I had chickened out 3-4 times before that over the prior year and kept putting it off. Before I left to go back to my place, I left the letter on his steering wheel, and I said goodbye and gave him what would be the last hug I’ve given him as of today.
Finally Talking To My Dad
A few weeks went by, and I still don’t remember which one of us made that first call, but we agreed that we needed to talk. I went home, sat outside, and had the most mature and first father/daughter talk we had ever had. He swore up and down that he had no problem that I was marrying a Black man but that he wished I told him sooner. I understood but explained that considering our relationship, I needed to know my husband and I were heading towards marriage first, that this was the real deal. However, I would later hear from family and family friends that he did have things to say about my husband being Black.
Blaming My Mom For Not Stopping Me
Now, this is how the shocker was dropped. Around the same time, my Dad called my sister home to talk as well. He was upset that she didn’t tell him. She made it clear that it wasn’t her place to tell him about my relationship.
While they went back and forth for a while, he was blaming my Mom for not “stopping” me, for not teaching me “better.” Then suddenly, he says, “Yea, well, your Mom and I are separating.” My sister and my mom (who overheard) were utterly shocked. That is how my mother found out about her own divorce.
My Parents Marriage Was Not A Healthy Marriage
My parents’ marriage was not a good one. There were good days and good times, but overall, it was not a healthy marriage. They should’ve divorced when we were children, but whatever the reason, they did not. Maybe it was for the best since my sister, and I were little kids.
However, this time we knew it was for real. I think my Mom felt it too, but she had no fight left in her. If he wanted to use my marriage as an excuse to end their marriage, then so be it. She also said to me once that she wasn’t going to listen to him blaming her for the rest of their lives because of who I chose to marry.
Watching My Parents Divorce Because I Decided To Marry Outside Of My Culture
Within 3 months, divorce papers were filed and served. It’s sometimes hard knowing my parents divorced because I decided to marry outside of my culture. I struggled with it for a while and my wonderful Mom reminded me that I am an adult with the right to choose how and who I spend the rest of my life with.
She reminded me that it wasn’t the only reason. My parents walked down this divorce road before for many other reasons but never went through with it. It was just the excuse my Dad needed to finally have an out. She also told me the biggest advice that has stayed with me: not everyone has to agree with every decision someone makes, but out of love, you can at least respect those decisions.
Healing From My Parents Divorce
These words have helped me heal and stop blaming myself for their divorce. It took me a few months to finally understand and believe the message behind her words. I’m the one who will be building a life with my spouse. Waking up and going to bed next to this person. Sharing my heart and vulnerabilities and making life’s greatest and biggest decisions together.
Therefore it is my right to choose who that person is. Every day I stand stronger and more confident in my decision. I love my husband, and I love the life we have created together. I know that the best is yet to come!
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