Arrange marriages are still the norm in many cultures. People didn’t marry for love until the 1700s.
Now, getting married in your early twenties is not as common. But, many families still want people to follow that traditional trajectory.
Redditor kweenllama encountered this very issue with her grandparents. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not apologizing for being blunt with my grandparents?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Cultural context: I’m Indian. Arranged marriages are very common, and preferred. Once people hit the 25yo mark, their families start looking for potential suitors and if everyone’s willing, people get married.”
“Personal context: Everyone in my close family has had an arranged marriage, but almost everyone (except one couple) has been stuck in an unhappy marriage pretty much all their life, since divorce is culturally frowned upon.”
Now, on to the story.
“I (26F) visited my grandparents (who live with my aunt and uncle) after almost two years and they brought up the fact that I am single and that my family isn’t looking for potential suitors. I told everyone that I don’t want to get married anytime soon.”
“My grandmother started lecturing me on how getting married is an important milestone in life, and how I will be happier if I find a compatible guy to spend my life with. I made jokes about everything because I really did not want to stay on the topic, but it only kept getting more intense, with everyone (including my parents) pitching in and saying how marriage is a beautiful thing and that I shouldn’t be so against it.”
“My parents want me to get into an arranged marriage as well, but they respect my choices. But in situations where people discuss the topic, they side against me because they think I’m being unreasonable.”
“It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that I’m not ready for it yet. Especially not an arranged marriage. And I stated the same.”
OP’s family was not happy about it.
“Cue more ‘advice’ on how I’m wasting my youthful years and how there won’t be enough single people once I’m 30+ years old. And how this is part of our culture and that people would judge me for living the way I do now.”
“At this point, I’m pretty done, and I calmly just looked at everyone and said – ‘None of you are in a happy marriage, so you really shouldn’t be the flag bearers of marriage, or force it upon those that are unwilling. I don’t want to get married for the sole reason of being able to have sex that’s ‘approved by elders’. I could never spend my life with someone that doesn’t bring me joy, unlike you guys. I’d rather be unmarried and happy, than married and miserable. I don’t give a fuck what everyone, including you guys, think about my life choices.'”
“At this point pretty much everyone had gone quiet, and were just staring at me. I excused myself and went home.”
“My parents were soon cornered by everyone saying how extremely rude I was, and how they are fault for raising me to be so insolent. Eventually my parents called me up and asked me to apologize for being rude to my grandparents and uncle/aunt, and I refused.”
“This resulted in more indignant comments from everyone and my parents think I was being an asshole for not apologizing and getting this over with.”
“I think I might be an a**hole because I was pretty rude in my response, and it could be seen as disrespectful as well. And not respecting your elders in our culture is a huge no-no. I could have probably phrased it more delicately than I did.”
OP added some context.
“My family is very vocal about how they hate their marriages, so I wasn’t drawing conclusions. Everyone knows it.”
“My parents want me to apologize to keep the peace, not because they think I was wrong in saying what I did. They do think it was slightly rude, but understand why I said what I did.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“They aren’t respecting your choice. They’re waiting until they can gang up on you and pressure you with more people. NTA.” ~ Opia_lunaris
“We don’t really meet with our relatives a lot (maybe once every couple of months) and they never bring up this topic at home because I’ve asked them not to. This is honestly pretty good, considering they’re conservative Indian parents haha.”
“I added that just to showcase why they weren’t defending me at the time. I’d take this over them pestering me all the time any day.” ~ kweenllama
Some Redditors wanted to help, but talked about cultural differences.
“Honestly, this point about Indian culture is why this might not be very helpful to you.”
“Because a lot of users are from “western” culture like me, and they will have the same reaction of “WTF grandparents”. Which isn’t wrong per se, but, well… it’s an opinion formed in ignorance of the context. What if you score this win for feminism, but it makes the rounds and even your local baker now gives you the stink eye every time you go there?”
“As a bit of as-culture-free-as-possible advice, and I’m gonna go all out with a fire metaphor: Turning the heat up slower might help. Right now, seems to me, you joked lightly until you couldn’t take it anymore, and then immediately roasted them at full power. Socially, the ‘explosion’ ends it, you’ve seen it yourself.”
“So it’s important to stay with the joking tone all the way (also showing them they’re not making any progress with you), but make the content hurtful. Let them burn their hands first.”
“My grandmother started lecturing me on how […] I will be happier – ‘Haha, are you telling me you’re doing marriage wrong?'”
“Marriage is a beautiful thing – ‘If it’s not like yours, you mean? Or auntie Julia’s? Or uncle John’s? [you can make a point of listing them all here, or not]'”
“You’re wasting your youthful years – ‘Oh gran-gran, to ME, spending them with someone I don’t like IS wasting. [extra heat: You aren’t jealous, are you?]'”
“This is part of our culture – ‘yeah that’s a bit shitty about our culture, isn’t it? I hate to see what it did to you guys.'”
“But as I said, context matters – and you know that better than internet strangers.” ~ roughstylez
“I did answer without joking, as stated in the third paragraph (of the main text), before entering full roast mode.” ~ kweenllama
This is part of a longer conversation.