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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Question Brother intends to get married soon - March 7th 2021, 10:12 PM

Some context...

My brother met a woman through an online dating site last June. They were going back and forth chatting for about 2-3 weeks and decided to start up in a relationship. Once the lockdown was over, she came up from London to see him and kept doing so for a few months.

October rolls on by and right when I'm in the middle of work, he messages me talking about marriage and that he loves her. Naturally my head is like... 'What?' and, 'So soon..?' along with a great deal of other things. I tried to remain supportive of him because he obviously seems quite happy with her.

My brother's birthday is on the first week of December, so a few days earlier, I receive a random message from somebody who turned out to be his girlfriend. She wanted to organise a surprise birthday party at his house and wanted to see if I could join in on it. Naturally I wanted to be supportive of both so agreed. Then I found out from her that he already gave her a spare key to his house. Ok no problem, his home, his life.

My brother went down to London to see his girlfriend and to spend a couple of weeks over with her and her family for Christmas and New Year. The UK lockdown came and he ended up getting stuck down there. He's still there now, nearly 3 months in.

Tonight he messages me saying he's emailed our mum letting her know that he and his girlfriend are planning on getting married either at the end of this year, or at the beginning of next year. I don't think she's read his email yet because normally I end up turning into what's basically her personal counsellor as she offloads her thoughts and feelings. I end up just sitting/standing there nodding in the right places and listening to her for 30-40 minutes at a time whilst she goes on and on. She has yet to do that yet, but I'm bracing myself for it, and to let her know I already knew he was intending to marry.

So.. some additional information...

My brother's girlfriend is Indian. According to him, in Indian culture, 3 months is a long time to wait until marriage, and the fact they're still not married is kind of a bad thing. Due to her culture, she can't move in with him until they're married and must remain separate until then. He said he's ok with an Indian marriage and intends to go to India to get married because that's where most of his girlfriend's family are. Her mother included (she lives with her father and one of her brothers).

I don't care what race his girlfriend is. I don't care what skin colour she is, nor her cultural background. None of that matters to me. I want to be supportive of my brother and whatever choice he makes.

However... I have my own personal thoughts and feelings. I apologise if this offends anyone, but to me, it's so terribly quick. Having been in a few relationships myself, it's quite clear this woman is my brother's first ever serious relationship and he seems like he's over the moon in love with her, so is making all kinds of irrational decisions because he's so happy to be with her.

After meeting her online and talking to her for 2-3 weeks suddenly they were together. Then 4 months later, marriage is discussed. If he intends to marry her at the end of the year, he will have been with her a total of 18 months.

I know these things can work out, but I've read and heard so many stories of it not working out. Normally I like to see the positive in any situation, but with this one, I can't help but feel like he's seriously rushed into things because he's super into her. He wants me to attend his wedding in India, but I'm seriously conflicted.

Maybe it's just how media has portrayed India for women, but it never seems like a safe place to me. I'm a redheaded female who already ends up getting so much unwanted male attention because of my personality and looks. I worry of how it would be if I were to come to India for his wedding. Even if it were safe, I don't know if I could just drop my work and go over there to see him get married. If he were to marry here in the UK it would be different due to less travel.

I want to support my brother, and have done my very best to. I haven't given him any of my own thoughts or opinions. I haven't been a naysayer and put a downer on his relationship. I've ensured to keep conversations with him positive.

I don't know how to feel about the whole situation. Thoughts? Words of wisdom?


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 7th 2021, 10:49 PM

These types of situations can be really difficult. Ultimately, your brother's choices are his own, and you understand that, so this may just be one of those things where he has to learn on his own - whether that turns out for the best or not.

If you have a close relationship with your brother and are often open with your feelings, then you may be able to voice some of your thoughts on the situation in a delicate, compassionate way. If you have that type of relationship, voicing your concern for him as long as you make it clear that it's not you objecting or interfering with his decisions should be okay.

Ultimately, just try to be the supportive, positive sister that you already seem to be, especially if he's going to have to deal with the opposite from your mother. He's going to need someone in his corner.

While it can be hard to sit back and watch people make decisions like this, if they're adults they're going to need to make their own choices (and possibly mistakes) and learn from them.

When it comes to the travel part, I'm not sure on the safety overall, but from friends and family that have travelled there, certain major cities are completely safe for travellers. Just like anywhere new, brush up on common customs and do your best to be respectful to them. If you can't make it work to travel for his wedding, I'm sure that's something he's considered, it's a big ask. If you're unable to make it, perhaps suggest organizing a get-together with him, his then wife, and maybe other family/friends in the UK so you're all able to celebrate their marriage when they return.


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 7th 2021, 11:21 PM

I completely understand your reservations as 18 months is a very short space of time to go from being strangers to being married. And of course you care about your brother and want him to be happy, so your worries are completely logical and justfied. I'd probably feel the same in your position too. I think you've done really well to be so supportive so far. As you say, he clearly really likes this person and you've been very open to that.

I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with opening up a conversation with your brother to be sure he's 100% about this as long as it's done in a supportive way. But I agree with the post above in that your brother may need a person on his side when it comes to the reaction from other family members. I know that with lockdown, seeing your brother and meeting his girlfriend is difficult, but is there a way you can maybe get to know her more yourself so that you are in a better position to understand the speed of their relationship? Maybe you could arrange some video calls or something just to get to know each other a little bit, and then that way when it comes to other family finding out, she won't feel so alone either?

In terms of the travel, I've heard similar things safety-wise about India but I don't know a huge amount about it, but I think being honest with your brother about your anxiety could be helpful as it's a completely rational way to feel. If you do choose to go, perhaps you can get recommendations from your brothers girlfriend on the safest places to stay so that you can feel more reassured. It might also help do do some research into the areas you're likely to be spending your time so that it's somewhat familiar when you're there. On the other hand, it's a huge amount of travelling and I can see why that in itself could be a problem. If it's not a practical journey for you, maybe there will be a way for you to join some of the event via zoom or skype? You may even be able to arrange a wedding 2.0 when they arrive back in the UK, or a get together like Stacey has said. It's not the same, of course, but that way you get to celebrate with him regardless of where in the world he goes to marry.

I think ultimately, whether a person has been with someone for 18 months or 18 years, there's always a posibility that it might go wrong. The best thing you can do is share your concerns in ways in which it is coming from a place of kindness and family worry, and keep being as supportive as you have been so far. Relationships and marriage will either work or they won't, but right now it sounds like they're in a good place. Living so close to each other for the last 3 months may have just sped up how quickly they got to know each other. Timelines have changed a bit I think, perhaps this is part of it!

Either way, I hope it works out for them and they're happy, and I hope you manage to find a way to be open about your concerns too as they make a lot of sense and obviously come from a good place.



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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 8th 2021, 12:08 AM

Thank you both very much for your responses, I really appreciate them. Especially right now.

I'm not too sure on where they intend to have their wedding. I don't know what kind of wealth her family have, but her father is apparently struggling for money and has debts to pay. I'm not too sure on Indian customs, but apparently parents are the ones who pay for their child's wedding. I don't know how they're going to pay for it.

My brother (he's 32) intends to get married at a registry office here in the UK, then have a much larger marriage over in India. I have said to him that I'm not too sure I'd be able to make going to India because of work commitments, but I have yet to air my concerns on anything deeper than that. My brother and I have had a very strained relationship growing up, and while he and I have become closer as we've got older, there is now family tension between he and the rest of the family. I want to continue to support him and his decisions regardless of my personal thoughts and feelings. I want to see him happy, but I haven't yet figured out a way to explain to him that deep down, I would rather not go to India for my own safety. It's not as though all areas of India are dangerous. I think every country has its danger spots. I worry about unwanted male attention and any reactions they may give if I were to reject their advances. I understand this is likely me overthinking it, but I can't get those thoughts out of my head and I can't help but feel unsafe. I know there will come a time when I'll have to speak to him and be open with him about it, but at least for now, I have a fair few months to think of how to approach the situation.

I think setting up a skype or zoom call would be a good idea. When the time comes, I think I'll mention it to him and see what he thinks.

As for him marrying at a registry office here in the UK, I think I'd be ok doing that. I do want to show my support for him, and I've met his girlfriend and her family. They're very nice, and I especially want to support the person who would eventually become my sister-in-law.

Thinking about it, I suppose I'm just a bit overwhelmed at the thought of marriage and how short a time they've been together, yet seem to move so quickly. Regardless of this, I definitely want to support him.


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 8th 2021, 12:30 AM

That's great Sarah.
When it comes down to it about the wedding in India (if that happens), your comfort level is important. If you're not comfortable travelling for any reason at all, I'm sure that would be respected. Especially if you're showing your support and interest in being involved in any celebrations that happen in the UK. The zoom or live stream is also a great idea, that's been more common in the last year for obvious reasons and it would allow everyone that cannot attend to celebrate with them.
Ultimately, given your history and his connection to the rest of the family, just knowing you're supporting this and want him to be happy probably means the world to him regardless of whether you travel for the wedding, etc.


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 8th 2021, 08:15 AM

Hi Sarah,

I think it's wonderful that you are being so supportive of your brother and his fiancée. It's natural to feel anxious about the whole situation...I would to if I were in your position. I think the only thing that can be done is to be as supportive as you can which you are already doing.


   
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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 14th 2021, 06:06 AM

Hi Sarah,

Thanks so much for reaching out regarding this. Your concern on this matter is very genuine. I happen to be Indian, so I might be able to give you some insights from the cultural point of view.

Firstly, while I am happy for your brother as he seems to have found love, I do agree that their decision to get married is a little too quick. Personally, I'd feel the same way as you if my sibling or close friend decided to get married so quickly after knowing someone. I know many Indian people who have dated for quite a long time (years, even) before getting married. My own parents got to know each other for a year before getting married. So it might be that your brother's girlfriend comes from a traditional family that prefers that they get married rather than date. At this point, I want to mention that getting married soon after meeting someone is not uncommon in Indian culture, and many couples get married in 2-3 months after meeting. You can see a spectrum here. Indian families vary in how traditional they can be - some are more progressive than others. Assuming they are pretty traditional, it's good that her family has agreed to their relationship, because many Indian parents are not in favour of interracial marriages. Another thing I can tell you is that marriages are taken SUPER seriously in Indian culture (and there is a huge taboo around marriages breaking up), so if the girl has agreed to marry your brother, I would assume that she's pretty serious about the relationship.

One thing I would advise, just as the others have said here, is having a chat with your brother about this. That way, you'd be able to openly clarify matters with him.

Regarding your concern on travelling to India, I completely understand from the safety point of view. India is not safe for women at all. The struggles faced by women in India is not too different from other cities where sexual assault against women is prevalent - given the humongous population, the incidence of crime is very high.

That being said, it really depends on where you're visiting. Some cities are safer than others. In India, cities are classified as metropolises, tier-2 cities, tier-3 cities, etc. based on their population size, development, etc. I originally come from Mumbai, which is a lot safer compared to a city like Delhi, for example, though both are large metropolises. Regardless, if you're part of a group of travellers, I wouldn't think you have too much to worry about, so long as you always stay with your friends/family and don't venture out by yourself. The concern is for women travelling by themselves, especially at night in aloof areas. I've travelled quite a bit around India (the central, southern and northern states), and the same rules apply about safety. Every time I visit India, my parents insist me and my sister go out only with company of family (i.e. never by ourselves).

However, most importantly, your comfort level is of utmost importance. If you're not comfortable travelling there, you don't have to feel like you have to There's always Zoom, like others have said, and besides, you can always mention COVID as a concern (which is not going to die down anytime soon anyway). Also, you have your work -I think that's a very genuine reason not to travel.

If you have any questions or would like to chat about anything (especially if it has anything to do with a cultural aspect relating to this), feel free to PM me and I'll be very happy to talk.


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 14th 2021, 12:42 PM

Thank you all very much for your support! And thank you Mallika, that was extremely helpful!

According to my brother, his girlfriend's family are quite traditional in that they expect marriage after 3 months. Apparently when she told her father of her relationship with my brother, he was actually ok with it, and said that as much as he'd expect marriage, he hasn't the money right now and suggested waiting a year, which was nice of him. Her mother on the other hand, instantly got annoyed and blocked her (her parents are separated and her mother lives in India) for a while. She seemed to come around after a while, but continued to push for marriage as soon as possible.

I've asked for more details on my brother's marriage, and he stated that it'll be in an ashram in Bangalore. Apparently his girlfriend owns a house there which her mother is living in so they will have a place to stay as well rather than being in a hotel.

Since there's a fair few months left before he intends to marry, it gives me time to think. I've decided that I'd definitely try and attend his marriage in a registration office though since it's in the UK and I won't have to travel far.


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Re: Brother intends to get married soon - March 14th 2021, 05:12 PM

That's great to hear Sarah!


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