Til Death Us Do Part

I’ve written before that some Turkish men prefer to wed, rather than just bed western women. Not all the Shirley Valentines who come ashore end up as VOMITs. Some lucky lasses marry their handsome hunk, learn the lingo and settle down. I can see the attraction to a modern, progressive Turk. Our girls do have their advantages – a can do attitude, a stronger sense of sex equality and a more open mind. This is something that some of the local po-faced princesses would do well to emulate. The trouble is that we don’t just marry our partners. We marry their families too. This can work once the village in-laws get used to the idea that their darling Ahmed has got hitched to a foreign infidel who can’t cook, can’t clean, answers back, expects fidelity and demands an orgasm. It’s not always a square peg in a round hole.

Pity the poor wife whose in-laws descend to scrub and whinge, colonise the kitchen, move furniture around, re-press the laundry and re-arrange the larder. It takes a strong woman to grin and bear it. There can be a dark side to this cross-cultural tale when the families simply refuse to accept the yabancı wife and make her life a living Hell. Some men are too weak or too stupid to resist the pressure and buckle under the strain. Strong, butch Ahmed will always be his mother’s little boy and do as he’s told. The moral of this story? Meet the in-laws first before he slips a ring on your finger. This doesn’t mean you can’t sleep with him though.

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24 thoughts on “Til Death Us Do Part

  1. Ah…sometimes it works better in reverse. Get married and put off meeting the in-laws for as long as possible. It worked for me. By the time I met mine I already had my husband well trained and firmly on my side.


  2. Has no one explained ‘train the husband, then train the in-laws’?? They’re welcome to descend and clean as long as I choose date and time. I was going to say that seriously, this is a possible issue with expat marriages/relationships, but then again, I realized it rings true for just about anyone. I know of ‘domestic-bounds’ who snap to for in-laws and don’t sneeze unless it’s approved. At least Ahmed is sexy, no?
    P.S. – You had me worried with this post title. No fair. And I’ve made my case to Cosmo. Not sure whether it will carry any weight, or if I’ll be called up for IRS audit instead. Sigh…


    1. Ah, never underestimate the power of a Turkish matriarch. There can be serious issues about cross-cultural marriage and the challenges. Turkish men do better in the UK than British women do here. Perhaps the subject of your next book? Thanks for the nomination. I won’t win, of course. It is Cosmo after all. x


  3. Love love love my in-laws. They feed me, come and look after me when I’m sick and even though I don’t spring clean my house every day, they love me anyway. Could not have wished for better ones….lucky me!


  4. Interesting post and commentary…my guy’s parents are deceased – so we deal with Teyze Matriarch and Brother Patriarch. I’ll leave it at that, and let my blog tell the rest! I agree that Turkish men outside of Turkey seems to work best – in our US experience, this is the case. Our annual extended trips home to Turkey, however, always have some interesting elements. Again, I’ll leave it at that for now! 🙂


  5. Ha ha Jack.. Happily I will never fall foul of this plight, I do however have 2 girlfrinds who suffer unmercifully at the hands of Mother in Law. *A* had both Mother and Granny arrive on the doorstep to stay for 6 weeks, in their tiny house. Mother spent 23 hours a day in her bedroom on FB while *A* was left to deal with sofa ridden Granny. Neither speak any English and *A* doesn’t speak Turkish. Husbands reaction? “Is that all the breakfast you are making?” He asked once and was given a sharp reponse. He kept out of it after that. Frankly I don’t know how she kept sane! *W* had Mother and best friend turn up un announced to stay for undefined time. Neither speak English but Mother is clearly in love with daughter in law and tells everyone how wonderful she is. Daughter in law in unimpressed! I am so glad I don’t want to get married……LOL


  6. You do have to be strong to withstand some of the traditional in-law behavior and knowing the culture will eventually be essential. I nursed my husband’s Father before he passed away and as I was the yabance daughter in- law many times he was not too pleased with me. Looking back I can now see all he taught me and his last words to me were ‘You are a good woman’ it broke my heart. I have learnt so much about the human condition here but it has taken a long time. My husband is a Greek/Turk (Mother was Greek/ Father Turk) who spent his last year of high school in LA so I have been lucky to have a man who understands I am a free thinker. I have seen many mixed culture marriages and some of the most promising seem to go down the drain through a total lack of understanding of the culture on both sides. What I would advise anyone who is contemplating going into a union of any mixed culture is be patient and when you do that you will realize you will need more patience but don’t be down hearted as this will give you more back than you could ever believe. Of course stand up for your rights but seeing the other point of view is not suppressing your rights it is in many cases enhancing the way you see things. Living as far away as possible from your in-laws is the best solution, even a Turk/Turk relationship can get strained by this one unless you are lucky enough to have On The Edge ones of course.


  7. Careful Jack, you are becoming Turkish by the day. There is a proverb in Turkish “Anasına bak , kızını al” (roughly=~ look at her mother, pick up the daughter, meaning girls will take after their moms) in a way, it suugest to look at the family before wedding. 🙂

    I did my part with Cosmo too. Good luck!


  8. Some of the less worldly Turkish Bodrumite men who have wed the EU passport and relocated do undergo their own traumas. Rent? Mortgage? Time sheets at work? No hot lunches? No fags? Surely my workplace serves Turkish cay? Fill the car with gasoline by mySELF? When is the resting season in Europe? My buddies….where are my mates….Turkish football….why has this dopey broad changed since our days in Gumbet…sob!


  9. early days of living here we made the mistake of getting deeply drawn in to conversation by the market trader – a few days later they turned up at our house with the rest of the extended family, took over the kitchen and prepared a meal. J and I were stunned into accepting the situation, not knowing how to deal with it. We went for the quickie divorce!


    1. Our neighbours are constantly popping by with goodles and invites though they’ve learned that an Englishman’s home is his castle and only step across the threshold when invited. Being two men, they think we’re funny away so we get away with it.


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