Is infidelity a part of Indian culture? Is it one that is accepted? Is it something that women just turn a blind eye to because of economic dependence, desperation and / or lack of self-esteem? Are Indian men capable of apologising when they are wrong? These are the questions that have been occupying my mind lately, all because of one megalomaniac that I unfortunately knew. Let’s just call him M for the sake of ease (because I will no doubt make a spelling error if I keep trying to write megalomaniac for the rest of this post).

So this post is about some of my experiences with M.  Not because I wish to provide him with an ego boost, but because I have found his behaviour so disturbing and shocking, and it has raised so many questions for me, that I feel the need to put it out there.

The last time I wrote a post about Indian men here, it was (and continues to be) quite controversial. I stand by what I wrote, they are my observations, as are these.

So in a nutshell, I met this guy M a few months ago when I arrived in Mumbai.  He is a successful business man, divorced and now single (or so he told me), intelligent, well-travelled and interesting. He pursued me quite a bit in the first couple of months, sending me lovely messages each morning and going out for dinner.  He was always amused that I insisted on paying for every alternate time, given I was unemployed and he so wealthy (or so he told me, I don’t really think I know anything about him now), but I have never felt comfortable with succumbing economic independence to anyone and I won’t be doing it now just because that is the way women behave in India (or that was what he told me anyway, that women always expect men to pay).

Regardless, I was also quite ambivalent towards him.  I was happy to enjoy trying out new restaurants (I am a bit of a foodie after all), the conversation was always interesting, and being new to a city I appreciated some company, but there was always something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I was always clear with him that I was new to town and not interested in a relationship, but was happy to catch up occasionally. So we did every 3-4 weeks.

His intentions to me were very clear and he was not backwards in verbalising them.  He kept talking about us in the future, offered for me to use the services of his secretary and driver whenever I needed (something I never did) and even offered to father a child for me when I expressed my thoughts on children (I thought this was a very strange offer and politely declined). Our relationship never really progressed physically and this became a source of increasing frustration for him.

So last week when he essentially stood me up, then not only flat out denied it but refused to apologise for being so rude as to not even respond to a text message, and instead put me through a childish barrage of no less than 44 (yes 44) messages, I dumped him.  This I think just made him more furious, how dare I dump him!  I am not unfamiliar with the ego of many Indian men, and it really does fascinate me how it can manifest itself in purile and childish behaviour.  For heaven’s sake, just say “oops I made a mistake or misunderstood something” and move on.

When I did some research I found this great article in Tehelka  that talks about how little Indian men have progressed, regardless of social stature and wealth.  Interesting a lot of what was said here was familiar to me, not only in M but in several other middle to upper class Indian men I have come across.  The article talks about how they have been raised to not do anything or even think for themselves, not taught to appreciate others or even how to resolve conflict.  All of this was apparent to me in M’s behaviour, whilst I can never imagine him being violent, there was certainly a huge feeling that he could never be wrong, and how dare I, as a woman, even consider challenging him on it. The refusal to apologise was blatant and really quite ridiculous.  But not only did he refuse to apologise, he then sought to blame me in every way possible.

I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day about this, and got thinking about all the little things that I have observed in my last year here.  Yes, Indians do have a really hard time admitting when they are wrong, but tend to find it easy to blame others.  Why is that?  There is no shame in being wrong, in my opinion there is actually a lot more shame in refusing to admit your failings.

Anyway I digress from my story.

I went to a networking function the other night and met a woman who worked in his office.  When I mentioned I knew M she told me she was his partner.  I asked if she was his business partner, and she clarified she was both his business and romantic partner and they in fact lived together.  M had told me that he was building a house and was living temporarily with a friend.  I was shocked to say the least and made a rather swift exit.

I don’t know if she knew he was (or had made repeated attempts to be) unfaithful, but after a little digging, it has become apparent to me that he has a reputation for infidelity.  What shocks me is not that a man can be unfaithful, men and women are unfaithful the world over, but the level of his arrogance and behaviour.  If he works in the same office as her, then imagine the position that it would put his secretary and driver in if I had availed of their services per his offer.  Even worse, the man (ridiculously) offered to father a child for me whilst he lives with another woman, that is borderline psychopathic behaviour in my opinion. Is he so delusional about his own self-worth? Does he have so little respect for this woman he supposedly shares a life with?

I remember he had made a comment in conversation with me about how many Indian marriages have infidelity.   Due to a strong sense of responsibility towards their families, and the need to save face, people choose to show a blind eye to affairs and keep their marriage together.  I have seen this happen in a few instances, but I have also seen it implode on others as well.  I can’t imagine one partner can be happy knowing that the other is behaving in such a way, but then again I come from a western perspective where monogamy is still valued and divorce is not a social taboo.

Several interesting posts have been written about infidelity and sexual morality in India such as this one The Concept of Sexual Morality in India and this one Infidelity in the West and In India. In the first post it talks about affairs being common in Indian marriages and accepted, with Indian marriages staying together regardless of the infidelity. In the second, it discusses this concept and how infidelity in India is kept under wraps even by the media.

I do understand the many social pressures for families to stay together for the sake of “name”, but if M isn’t married to his partner, then there is no “name” to save here, so I still don’t understand his behaviour.  You never know what happens in another couple’s relationship, so perhaps she does know and is happy to accept his behaviour.

A part of me feels sorry for her, because my morals would not allow me to accept this kind of behaviour.  Even though my relationship with M did not progress, I still feel horribly guilty even though I have done nothing wrong. His behaviour has offended my morals.

Even if she does know and tacitly or explicitly accepts his behaviour, perhaps even indulges in it herself, I still feel sorry for her.  Is she economically dependent on him? Is so much of her personal well-being attached to being with a man that she will sacrifice her own self-esteem?  These are of course not issues confined to India, but in a country where woman are not respected (see my post on my feelings about the treatment of women in India here), is the acceptance of infidelity just another way for men to keep women down?

What do you think?

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42 thoughts on “Decoding the Indian Man Part 2: Infidelity and Apologies

  • July 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm
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    Ha, as an indian man i think i know an example of M myself, but i digress not all are like that most of the guys who are better people generally tend to suck at picking up girls or if fact getting a date at all. I would never claim that i am acatch or something but I at least tend to put my future agead of romance. Arranged marriage for me and hopefully I can make it work with my partner in the future. All i can say is I feel sorry for the Mr. M I know and the girl he is going to marry. Both of them will not be happy. On that happy note happy monsoon. Don’t be surprised if the streets flood with wedding marches. Monsoon is a great time to get married. 🙂

    Reply
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  • June 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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    Monogamy doesn’t come naturally to most of us, or so I’ve seen around me. And hence I think that should be a deciding factor whether to marry or not to marry? It’s making a choice, like all other essential choices in life. And you stick to it. Like all other essential choices in life. However, the lies to someone you want to be with and not accept it wholly is something I fail to understand. This righteous attitude of Indian men (and otherwise) too, I don’t understand. Not only as cheaters, but as monogamists, the superiority men have are appalling. And if you question that, as a woman, there must be something extremely wrong with you.

    Reply
    • June 9, 2015 at 11:48 am
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      Yes sadly I agree with you, but women are not faultless either. In this particular situation, I’ve since been contacted by the woman involved and am well aware that she’s made the choice to not only stay with him but also to procreate with him. He on the other hand, I’m well aware has continued to pursue almost every woman he comes across, including those that have tried to block him (including me). I don’t understand either of them.

      Reply
  • June 29, 2014 at 1:18 am
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    India and it’s men are disgusting. I met an Indian man on vacation here who already had a girlfriend in America. I am in Germany. His name is “Anmol Chandan” or “Nikka Anmol”. He cheats lies and is a lying piece of shite who is abusive with words. He took photos of our visit to show his friends and used me. He uses online dating sites to find women all over the world and con them and spread disease to them. He uses them to stay or have sex until they see him in person……. He is disgusting with bad hygiene, very small, and clogged pores all over. Dirty spreading disease to innocents. He is doesn’t deserve any woman or a nice girlfriend and all need to beware.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm
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    People apologise when they believe they did something wrong and are guilty about it. From the looks of the scenario you posted, it is apparent that the man believed he is entitled to sleep with you AND didn’t feel an iota of guilt about cheating on his partner (assuming of course, that the relationship was exclusive). This kind of behaviour runs very common in India – not just amongst men, but women as well.

    As a former pilot, I knew a flight stewardess who married her college boyfriend but had an affair with the captain. I met her husband on a couple of occasions and it was quite apparent that not only was the husband completely unaware of it, but he adored her like some sort of a goddess.

    Having said that, I don’t have a moral issue with multiple partners or open relationships, if there is no active deception involved (that they are exclusive). I don’t know your views on this, but in my experience, such a perspective is still a little too liberal for conservative Anglo-American tastes (which, like the Hindu culture, puts a strict emphasis on institutional monogamy).

    Reply
    • December 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm
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      Thanks for your thoughts. I also don’t have an issue with open relationships or multiple partners if everyone is consenting and happy about it. Deception is the issue for me here.

      Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 6:04 am
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    Nicely detailed post. Just a couple of comments –
    IMO it’s just a power thing, his ability to woo girls, its a huge high. And yes he does seem to think highly of himself and hence this constant persuit. He seems to have all the money, and seems quite bored, so this is definitely a v challenging activity.
    Wrt the relationship between the couple, why can’t it just be an open relationship. Why do we need to feel sorry for anybody here. From what you have described she seems more than financially & emotionally independent. And it’s impossible to keep these things hidden in a very social and über shrinking world.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2013 at 7:28 am
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      Thanks.

      I certainly don’t disagree with your thoughts about his boredom and power issues.

      With regards to her and the open relationship, it has been made clear to me that she wasn’t aware and certainly did not condone the behaviour. But yes others do have open relationships, and what they choose to do in their personal lives is up to them.

      Reply
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  • January 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm
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    Rakhee, unfortunately these guys probably put themselves out a lot more than your average guy. I know the type and they are very blatant about it. Saddens me everytime though when I read about their antics.

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    • January 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm
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      Yes unfortunately this one in particular just keeps on at it from what I hear. I feel sorry for him and the women and children he drags along in this mess.

      Reply
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  • December 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm
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    I think you’re having a really bad run when it comes to finding decent Indian men. However gathering all your unpleasant experiences to form your own version of the archetypal Indian man is not the answer.

    Reply
    • December 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm
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      These are just my observations and experience. If you don’t want to hear about them, then you can simply refrain from reading my blog.

      Reply
  • October 17, 2012 at 5:23 am
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    I just want to underline your entry with what I read on Sharells blog today about Chow Mein and Rape. To me, it is an underlying theme: wasn’t me. Shirk responsibility of action. It amazes me how much ownership we take on as Indian women and the men are writing about chow mein!?!

    Reply
    • March 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm
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      Yes exactly. Indian men are supposed to be little angels with hearts of gold, its the women who mess everything up. Its the controlling, overpossesive mothers, the selfish, grasping wives bent on driving a wedge between momma and her son, the little slut who tempts him with her short skirts. Its always the women. Indian men have a serious problem with a huge sense of entitlement.

      Reply
  • October 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm
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    This is shocking. I don’t understand how and why people feel the need to cheat. “M” doesn’t sound like he is from one of those orthodox families where people are forced to marry or be with someone they don’t know or love. This is someone who had the ability to choose. Inspite of having a choice, he chose wrong. It’s sad that educated, intelligent people choose to pretend about who they actually are.

    Reply
    • October 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm
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      Yes it is sad that people feel the need to lie about who they are, but clearly they know they would not be accepted for who they are by the people they want to accept them.

      Reply
  • September 28, 2012 at 5:27 am
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    Love what you’ve said here. I am a coconut myself and always struggle with the same concept: why wouldn’t “he” just apologise and move on? Own It!
    Its the reason I googled this topic. I saw the same traits in my Dad, Brother, Cousins, Mates etc. There are exceptions to the rule but majority of Indian men do fit the mould. My hats off to you for exploring the country–I have always wanted to do that!!

    Reply
    • September 28, 2012 at 9:02 am
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      God forbid an Indian man may actually admit he was wrong. I find the ability to apologise and have humility an incredibly attractive quality, I hope I see more of it.

      Reply
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  • August 31, 2012 at 9:30 am
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    I feel like M disrespected this woman because she was giving him what she wanted. A live in sex partner he could dump on when convenient. She gave him nothing to respect. Of course, he was probably also spoiled and arrogant just like you described many Indian men. I really hate to sound cliche but I found an exception to the rule. My hubby comes from a nice, middle class family and does not act anything like the men you describe. I swear I’m not delusional on this and I’m not turning a blind eye to anything. I have serious trust issues and he’s the first man to ever pass my tests. But, I know he’s the exception. I saw affairs going on around me where I lived. While I didn’t see actual deeds, I saw all kinds of cheating by men and women alike.

    I am not sure it has as much to do with what is expected as it does the lack of intimacy between many couples. They marry for procreation and not happy relationships. Women are used as tools and nothing more so to a man raised to believe that a wife is the keeper of the home, he won’t treat them as an equal person. It’s sad but I have also seen Indian women standing up against this kind of oppression so let’s hope it will change the way such feminism has changed other countries.

    This was a great post, now I’m off to read the links you shared.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm
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    Doesn’t matter which country you are in, guys will be guys.
    Only divorce rates are low in India…

    btw whats your take on the adultery law in India, isn’t it hilarious?

    Reply
      • August 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm
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        Section 497 of IPC says that in case of a consensual intercourse between a man and someone else’s wife, the guy can be charged with a criminal offense and imprisoned. Nothing against the woman even if it was consensual. The law comes from the idiotic rule that considers the wife as the property of the husband. Make what you will of that

        Reply
        • August 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm
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          Very interesting. The whole concept that one human is the property of another is just ridiculous to me, but then I was raised in a different environment.

          Reply
  • August 28, 2012 at 8:03 am
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    I’m showing my age here, but in the late 60’s, here in Melbourne, when I was single and even after I married, I worked as a systems analyst designing systems for client companies. This meant working closely with senior managers and some of them had the impression that their marriages shouldn’t deter them from attempting to form intimate relations with a female consultant. The more honest ones mentioned (after a few drinks) that they were married, but the wife didn’t understand them! I did, though.

    Reply
    • August 28, 2012 at 8:20 am
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      Yes, I understand them very well indeed too.

      I think your reference to the 60’s in Australia is interesting, particularly as the workplace (and much else here) in India is decades (and in some cases centuries) behind western countries. Perhaps this is just another phase of evolution. If it is, it just tells me that these kind if men have a long way to go before they evolve into bring someone worthy.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm
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    You could be describing a Turkish man. Infidelity isn’t just glossed over in Turkey, it’s expected.

    Reply
    • August 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm
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      Oh that’s sad. Another country that publicly spouts wholesome values but where the people behave otherwise.

      Reply
    • August 27, 2012 at 12:27 am
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      Thanks Angela. I will definitely take a look at your post.

      Whilst I am not white (I am of Indian origin), I am western being born and raised in Australia.

      Reply
      • August 27, 2012 at 12:30 am
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        I just read your About page …. funny, all this time that I’ve been subscribed to your blog because of the title I have always just assumed you were “western” 🙂

        Reply
        • August 27, 2012 at 12:32 am
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          Haha I guess I am a strange mix. I have been called a coconut…. brown on the outside and white on the inside 🙂

          Reply
  • August 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm
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    Disgusted but not surprised. I have seen such men too, in fact I am sure everybody knows a few such men, there are plenty of them.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm
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    Fascinating reading!

    Reply

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