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Ayushi Agarwal

JWB Blogger

#SheSays: My Sister-In-Law, A Modern-Day Surpanakha, Is The Reason I Want A Divorce

  • JWB Post
  •  October 22, 2015


This is the story of a woman, whose sister-in-law is creating differences between the used-to-be happy couple. The husband is blinded by love for his sister, exactly like Raavan was. This is a modern day story about how unconditional love between a brother and sister could harm the wife. In this case, his own wife.

JWB’s latest campaign “Censored” features notoriously contentious stories revolving around taboo topics, which are generally suppressed by our society. Censored is a platform where women can open up about their personal issues, reach epiphanies, inspire women all around the world, and seek expert advice. Read on, and realize that you are not alone.


“I am a married, working woman, with two kids and five years of marriage. It was an arranged marriage, and so, I got to fall in love after getting hitched. We are a close-knit joint family, where personal space was considered as important, at one point of time. My husband was open-minded and pretty laid back. I used to be able to juggle work and home affairs smoothly. Even after 5 years of marriage, my husband and I used to have our date nights once a month, when we would leave the kids with their grand-parents, and have some time to ourselves. Life was good.

Yes, ‘Was’.

If I had to describe my present life in one word, I would say: Disaster. Thoughts about getting a divorce often cloud my mind. My life is nothing but a vessel of torment, anguish and agony, and the reason of my misery is – My sister-in-law from hell. She recently divorced her cheating husband, and got a house and a pretty fat alimony check in return. But, instead of living in the house she got, she chose to move in with us. After all, it used to be her house too. We tried providing her with all the emotional support we could, but the divorce had sadly, turned her into a bitter person. She no longer believed in love or could stand the sight of two people in love.

I used to think, time would heal her wounds too but, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After a month or two, whenever my husband and I would have an argument, she would come into our room and meddle in our affairs. My husband loved his sister dearly, and never had the heart to ask her to leave. Why would he? She always took his side, even when he was the one at fault. Every argument, small or big, was always two against one. Somehow, she always found a way to brand her brother as the victim.

Once, out of sheer anger, I bluntly told her that it was between me and my husband, and that she had no right to say anything. As if on cue, her eyes glossed over and she ran out crying to her mommy. And just like that, I became the bad guy for the entire household. My husband refused to even speak to me for days, my in-laws would give me death-stares, and suddenly, I was all alone.

However, that was not it. She became nosier each passing day, and my husband could not see her evil antics through the thick veil of love hanging in front of his eyes. Our date-nights had gone extinct because she too wanted to come along, since her social life had come to a stand-still. Every outing became a family outing, and the distance between me and my husband kept on increasing.

Little did I know, my misery had just started to take shape. She started overhearing my private phone conversations with my mother, and an edited version of the same was duly reported to my husband, who instead of scolding her for breaching my privacy, would berate me at night. He would yell at me, and accuse me of bad-mouthing his sister and his parents. I had lost my freedom of speech too.

Whenever she liked any piece of clothing or jewelry I own, she would find a way to make my husband aware of it. Within a second, they would raid my cupboards, and she would take whatever she liked without even asking me first. When I confronted my husband about it, he called me a ‘miser’ and brushed it off.  He made it very clear to me that his sister’s needs would always come before mine.

It wasn’t long until my mother-in-law (more like monster-in-law) and my sister-in-law joined forces, and  created their own little group where would find new ways to trouble me. I was eventually demoted, and my sister-in-law was made in-charge of handling the household. With each passing day, I felt more and more like an outsider. I had no say in any part of my life.

Soon, she completely turned my husband against me, and the sad part was that he would always believe her over me.

The tension between me and my husband kept on growing, all because of my sister-in-law. She did not have an ounce of control over her life, so she needed to control mine. I don’t have a crying shoulder or any sort of support at my in-law’s house. I could only cry my heart to my parents when I would be at work. But that was just making my parents worry, so I eventually stopped telling them everything. I have started to pretend that everything is fine, but I am secretly dying inside. I feel like a prisoner, and I can do nothing to make it better. My husband’s unconditional love for his sister will be my doom.”

Expert Says:

JWB invited a renowned psychologist Dr. Anamika Papriwal, founder director of Psychological Counselling Center, Jaipur.

Matters relating to blood relations are very sensitive in nature, and need to be dealt in a smart way. You can’t change your husband, since she is his sister after all. You need to start forging a friendship with your sister-in-law, by being positive and supporting. Gradually with time, try to make her independent, after which she will automatically start having a personal life, with new friends. She won’t have time for petty feuds then. Be patient, and try to be a friend to her. She might have the courage to start over then. Your husband is blinded by brotherly love, the same kind Raavan had for Surpanakha in Ramayana. Getting a divorce should be your last option. Do everything in your power to show your family that you care for your sister-in-law, even though you might have to pretend.

Start giving more attention to your husband’s sister, rather than your husband. Plan a family outing yourself, and every time take an initiative to include her in everything. Beat your family to it, and start becoming the good-guy. Your husband would start feeling ignored, like you do right now, and start feeling your absence. His focus would automatically shift from his sister to you. Undertake reverse psychology, and give more attention to his sister’s needs, than his. It is going to be very hard in the beginning, and you’ll feel frustrated, but in the long run it will help you maintain your relationships with the entire family.

Sometimes a woman needs to sacrifice her short-term happiness, for long term gains.”


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