An open letter to the mother of my ex-husband

Dear Ex Mom-in-Law

From the very first day when you asked me to love you like a true daughter, I did it with all my heart and soul. For me, you were my mother. Your daughters became my sisters. Your son, my knight in shining armor.

My world revolved around him and he was the love of my life.

I knew that you had looked after him for a good 29 years. I knew my love could never equal yours, but we were never in competition, were we? At least I thought not. From my side, I never entered his life to make him forget about you. In fact, if you remember, YOU selected me for him yourself so that I could complete him. Not compete with you for him.

I had a lot of dreams to be a good bahu and to be a good wife. I truly wanted you to be my guide.

Me and my knight in shining armor had just started our lives. We needed some space to understand and love each other and for us to build a life together. If he listened to me or did something for me, I  felt proud that you raised a man who knew his responsibilities and knew how to take care of his wife. I thought you would be proud of him as well. But I was disappointed when you thought he was a “joru ka ghulam” or I was dominating when ever he did something nice for me.

I know you had a hard time when you stepped into a new family and began a new life, but why did you want me to have the same difficult life? Couldn’t it have been different? Couldn’t you have been like a mother to me and helped me start a better life?

I thought we are all one big happy family. If I accidentally misunderstood one of your daughters, and if I had a disagreement for the very first time, why treat me as an outcast? Don’t sisters argue and fight and make up? Why throw me out of your family? If your daughters fight will you throw one out of the family for other? Will you ask your son to side with one and kick the other out of his life? Wasn’t I your daughter as well? Wasn’t that the deal we made with each other?

Then why did you ask your son to divorce me over a small argument with your daughter?

It broke me into a million pieces when he insulted me and divorced me just to prove his love for you.

I remember how you said to me I will nip it in the bud. I remember when your son on the speakerphone asked you what to do with me. Should he divorce me or keep me? And you answered him – “Leave her!”

Those words still echo in my ears and my mind. Sometimes they even wake me up in the middle of the night and send shivers down my spine.

I know you are proud of him that he loved his sisters and you so much that he left his wife for you. But remember this: breaking a marriage doesn’t make your daughter a good sister or you a good mother. God knows this. You will too someday.

I know you were scared that you would probably have to spend your life like your parents who were thrown out of the house by your brother’s wife. But your insecurities were unjustified, every bahu and beta are not the same. Then why did you generalize? Why did you judge me or punish me for other people’s doings in just two months of my married life?

I was also somebody’s daughter and somebody’s pride. Somebody had brought me up with a lot of care and affection and trusted you and given me off to you, hoping you would love me and not break me.

How would you feel if your daughter was in my place? Do you know the pain of that mother and father who give their daughter hope to live one more day and move on and fight this world and survive and later silently cry at night?

It’s painful. Very painful. More than you can fathom.

Do you know how much it hurts a woman when she loses everything she has? When her world collapses? When her knight in shining armor kills her with his own hands? When the mother and sister she loved stab her in the back?

You made your son curse me. Abuse me verbally and emotionally. You felt proud when he screamed and yelled at me. You celebrated when he closed the door on me when I went to see him for one last time. In all those moments I wanted you to help me and tell your son this wasn’t right!

And then you took him away from me and what came back were just divorce papers.

That day was the end of my life.

But I don’t blame you entirely. I know it’s not completely your fault or even your daughters. A 29 year old man should know how to stand for himself and to differentiate between what’s wrong and right.

Lastly, not just you, but I want to tell every mother-in-law and sister-in-law in this entire world: Don’t interfere in somebody’s married life. Learn to forgive and forget. Your daughter-in-law is often the same woman you chose for your son yourself. Then why do you end up drawing daggers at her if she makes a mistake or if her husband showers more love and attention over her than you? Isn’t that what you would want for your daughter? For her husband to love her and for her in-laws to overlook her minor flaws and accept her as a part of the family? Then why can’t we do the same for our own daughter-in-law?

I hope next time when your son gets married you realize one small argument with your daughter doesn’t make your bahu a home breaker. Please don’t judge too soon. Please give her some time. Even when you start a new job they give you a three months probation time. Let me tell you that two months is too short a time to destroy somebody’s life.

I hope you will read this someday and realize. But for me, it’s already too late.

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