Keep­ing it in the fam­ily

Liv­ing in a joint fam­ily may be an im­por­tant fac­tor that women con­sider while eval­u­at­ing po­ten­tial part­ners, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey. Re­la­tion­ship ex­perts ex­plain the pros and cons of liv­ing in such a fam­ily sys­tem

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Collin Ro­drigues­drigues@hin­dus­tan­ ■

Sto­ries of fights be­tween in-laws and newly mar­ried women are so wide­spread in our so­ci­ety and in soap op­eras that it has be­come more or less a stereo­type that a woman will never get along with her in-laws or vice versa. But it seems such sto­ries may af­fect what peo­ple look for in their po­ten­tial part­ners. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by mar­riage por­tal, shaadi. com, nearly 36% of the 6,800 women, who were polled, said they would ask their po­ten­tial hus­bands if they would con­tinue to live in a joint fam­ily or move out to form a nu­clear one.

The re­sults of the sur­vey leads one to ask why would some­one be so cau­tious as far as stay­ing with a part­ner’s fam­ily. Ac­cord­ing to clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, Tanushree Bhar­gava, one of the rea­sons could be a fear of re­stric­tions. “Liv­ing in a joint fam­ily setup can lead to in­ter­fer­ence by the in-laws or other fam­ily mem­bers in a woman’s life. This means fac­ing a lot of lim­i­ta­tions. In joint fam­i­lies, there is less free­dom for a woman,” she says. She adds that women are in­de­pen­dent, make their own choices and pre­fer liv­ing on their own terms, which they may not be able to do freely in a joint fam­ily.

Bhar­gava says that an­other rea­son could be the fact that in many In­dian fam­i­lies, women are not treated the same way as men, and there is al­ways a fear that this could hap­pen in their hus­band’s house as well. She says, “The trend of women be­ing cau­tious as far as their part­ner’s fam­ily mem­bers are con­cerned will con­tinue un­til our so­ci­ety changes its be­hav­iour to­wards women.”

Re­la­tion­ship counsellor Vishnu Modi says, “Many men are used to stay­ing with their fam­i­lies. So, even af­ter mar­riage, they want to con­tinue with the ar­range­ment. They don’t re­alise that their de­ci­sion to stay with their fam­ily mem­bers can in­con­ve­nience their wife. Men should re­alise that even they would feel in­con­ve­nienced if they were asked to stay with their wife’s fam­ily mem­bers. Mar­riage is a two-way ticket, and both part­ners need to think about what’s good for each other.”

How­ever, it may not be just com­fort and fa­mil­iar­ity that holds men from mov­ing out. There may be im­por­tant prob­lems — in­ad­e­quate fi­nances, for ex­am­ple — that may make a man not want to move out af­ter mar­riage. Modi says that in such cases, it’s up to both peo­ple to make sure that things don’t take an ugly turn. “First, a man should make sure that he helps build bridges be­tween his wife and his fam­ily mem­bers post a mar­riage. In fact, this ap­plies to both the part­ners ir­re­spec­tive of whether a woman lives in a joint or nu­clear fam­ily. Com­pro­mise from both part­ners is the key here,” he says.

Fi­nally, one should also re­alise that stay­ing in a joint fam­ily may be a good deal for ev­ery­one con­cerned. Bhar­gava says, “By stay­ing in a joint fam­ily, you will learn to ad­just and be pa­tient. Even when you are at work, you can be as­sured that your chil­dren are in safe hands. And your kids will al­ways have com­pany and won’t feel the need to be with their par­ents all the time.”


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