Dear Straight Up! My Fiance is Demanding a Dowry

dowry

Dear Straight Up!

I am a girl whose grandparents hail from the north of Ceylon and we are settled overseas. I am recently engaged to a Sri Lankan man out of love with both families’ knowledge. However, my in-laws are demanding a big dowry and my fiancé is supporting them. He has never once stood up for me and has harassed my emotions so much that I am near depression.

I am an educated professional and self-supporting. My parents want him to marry me for the love that we have and not for money so they are refusing to give a dowry. Since then, I have been shunned and humiliated by him. He says that because I am a girl who was brought up outside Sri Lanka, I don’t understand this and it is easy for me to move on with my life. He is thinking of leaving me to marry another girl for a big dowry. What should I do?

Distressed Soul

Dear Distressed Soul,

I used to tell my parents that if anyone ever came and asked for a dowry, I would throw rocks at them and chase them out. It is a barbaric practice that cheapens an individual’s worth to an exchange of money for services.

The dowry system is not legal in India or Sri Lanka. However, those who have strong ties to tradition may still practice it. In regards to your situation, I have only one thing to ask. What is wrong with you? You are clearly aware that what he is doing is not making you happy and he is putting you down. So why are you continuing to bother with it?

And so what if he decides to marry someone else? Let him. You are an educated woman who is more than capable of standing on your own two feet. Why are you weighing your life and happiness on someone who clearly only sees your monetary worth? If that is the only reason he is marrying you, then it is not love – the term “gold digger” doesn’t just apply to women.

If you think your life will end if he leaves you, it won’t. Sure, you will be sad for a few weeks or even a few months. But eventually it will get better. And as you slowly get yourself out of this belief that he loved you, you will realize that in truth he never did. Once this realization hits, you’ll see that you escaped a really bad situation. Respect yourself enough to not allow anyone to treat you in a way where you feel shunned or humiliated.

* * * * *

Dear Straight Up!

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for the past 5 months and I already feel as if he’s started seeing someone else. He is showing a lack of interest when we’re together and he is always on his phone. I’ve fallen in love with him and I want to be with him but his behavior is very hurtful. I don’t know what to do?

Shattered Heart

Dear Shattered Heart,

Pay attention to your gut feeling. If you’re sensing that something isn’t right then it usually isn’t. However, take into consideration that you’ve only known him for 5 months. That is not enough time to really know a person’s behavior and character unless you are with them 24/7. If he is acting completely out of character then something has likely gone wrong in your relationship. You need to figure out whether or not you want to move forward with it and how he feels about it.

If he is cheating on you, do you want to stay and work it out or do you want to move on? Again, you have only known him for 5 months. You also need to figure out if you are really in love with him or just the idea of being in love with him. Instead of playing detective, I would suggest taking the straightforward approach and asking him. See how he reacts and what he says. If he denies it, tell him what you want from him. If he doesn’t comply and continues to act the way he currently is, then you need to make a strong decision for yourself and go from there.

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Check out our previous Straight Up! advice columns:
 
Dear Straight Up! I Met Someone Online but Don’t Want to Give Him My Number
Dear Straight Up! I’m Liberal, He’s Conservative: Will It Work Out?
Dear Straight Up! Should I Be Open About My Past?
Dear Straight Up! Should I Look for a Tamil Girl on My Own or Get an Arranged Marriage?
Dear Straight Up! My Best Friends are Dating and I Feel Like a Third Wheel
Dear Straight Up! My Fiance is Demanding a Dowry
Dear Straight Up! My Parents Don’t Approve of My Interracial Relationship
Dear Straight Up! I Cheated on My Girlfriend
Dear Straight Up! I Have Feelings for My Best Friend’s Ex
Dear Straight Up! I’m Not Attracted to My Boyfriend

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Author

Tasha Nathan

Tasha Nathan

Born in the Middle East and having come to Canada when she was 7, Tasha spent most of her life growing up in Scarborough. She completed her BA in Sociology from York University and did her Diploma in Assaulted Women and Children's Counselling.. She is an avid reader, with interests ranging from various genre of fiction to politics. Along with being an avid reader,she is also an artist and an author, having published her first children's book just this year. Her focus lies more within women's empowerment and gender equity, particularly within the Tamil Community.

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