November 24, 2011

What’s it Like to Marry an NRI and Move to the USA?

Did you know there are some Indian women who resent the fact they had to marry an NRI because they did not want to move abroad or they were misled about the situations abroad?

This is certainly a touchy topic, but it must be discussed. Of late, I have come across many articles or comments on blogs from NRI women who after their arranged marriage, moved to the USA and after the initial euphoria of ‘America’ has worn off, resented the fact that they had to move out of India away from their friends and family. Life in America was not what they expected and they wish their parents and family did not force them to marry and move abroad. Often these commenters are anonymous; they suffer in silence for fear of disappointing their families. They don’t want to be seen as the ‘odd one out’ or the complainer. Compounded to that is the fact that those who move abroad for marriage are in a majority of cases, women, women from many cultures are less likely to break the family harmony then the men.

I want to create awareness about this topic. I understand there are many sides to this issue. It is not so clear cut as marry and live in India or abroad (though for some there is no doubt). Of course there are many questions one can ask in preparation for this life changing event; however they are rarely asked as the idea of marrying and immediately moving abroad may seem normal to a certain subset of Indians. Families and parents should keep in mind that compounding two major life changes – marriage and a move – that, too a move abroad will be fraught with emotions and stress should be taken with consideration. Understanding the individual coping mechanisms of the to-be bride is imperative as the mental, emotional, physical and social stress of moving abroad (culture shock) is not easy for everyone to cope with.

Since many Indians do this, marry and move away to numerous countries around the globe, many may think it’s not a big deal. So many before me have done this; maybe even my parents have done this or my siblings or my best friend; so can I. They never complained. So, they must have enjoyed being abroad. They probably didn’t have any problems; so neither will I.

Possibly some of these thoughts stem from being raised in a collectivist or group culture. To question these things that seem normal and no one has objected to before may mark one as disrespectful or ‘going against the family’ (group). This has been termed ‘herd mentality’ by some Indians I have talked with in US. This herd mentality forces people to stay silent out of respect for their elders and the group. This herd mentality suppresses the individual needs of a particular person – the positive and the negative.

So, to break the silence on some of these issues, I would like to YOU TO SHARE a few things related to this topic.

NRI brides: Share you misconceptions before leaving, realities after arriving and what you wish you knew ahead of time. Would you have done anything differently?

Parents of to-be or already married NRI brides: What factors did you consider in marrying your daughter to someone abroad? What were the main reasons for this choice? Were factors of marriage adjustment and cross-cultural adjustment factored in? Was it considered or assumed it would be ok? What did you learn after your daughter’s marriage you wish you knew before hand?


Related Posts:
Questions to Ask Before Marrying and Moving Abroad (Self-Help)
An Exercise in Coping with Culture Shock
What's it like to live abroad?

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