Canadian immigrant trapped between two cultures


Mina and her husband are a ordinary Canadian immigrant family with a male dominated structure.  Husband is the provider, and works to support the family.  Mina stayed home to look after the two children.  Mina gets a good allowance to buy groceries and pay for the home expenses.  Husband paid for everything, and the children always have whatever they want.  Things went smoothly under this set up until the kids have all grown up, went to universities and left home.

Mina gets a very comfortable allowance,  approximately the salary of a clerk, which she used to buy groceries and still manage to have some money left, enough to put into her own savings account.   However, life becomes monotonous once the kids left home as Mina do not have the children to fuss about.  Mina would like to do things, and finds herself always asking for extra money from her husband, which her husband resents.

Over the years,  her husband has accumulated wealth, but Mina is kept out of the loop and does not know anything about her husband’s  finances.  She could see the local Canadian women having equal participation in family’s finances, and she begins to resent the family set-up.

There began to be a lot of fighting, her husband thinks she only love him for his money and began to be even tighter with his money.  Mina thinks that the husband is unfairly selfish with her.

Worst of all, Mina discovered that her husband was having an affair.  After being confronted, the husband left the mistress primarily because it will hurt the family’s honor in their own community.

Mina never worked outside the home after marrying her husband and has no marketable skills.  She has no chance of employment and cannot be independent from her husband.  She is very unhappy and feels trapped in her marriage.

Were she in her home country, this would be a normal situation, and she’d just manage along.  But this is Canada, and she has all the right to live a fulfilling life.  If she leaves her husband now,  she might not get her proper share of the family wealth, as her husband can hide the family money.  If she does nothing, she’d continue to be unhappy.  So she is in a dilemma as to what to do.

18 comments on “Canadian immigrant trapped between two cultures

  1. This is not just a problem with immigrants. This is a modern problem with today’s society, and this can happen now to both men and women. Mina should try and do something to add meaning to her life. If she can live with the allowance she has, then she may consider volunteering. This can be a very rewarding experience. She can gain confidence and self-esteem, which can contribute to her happiness. Don’t let any unkind thoughts of her husband poison her mind.

  2. That was very private problem. We can’t generalize all immigrant and all husband mostly do the same thing like mina’s husband. And I believe this is not only some cultures do like this…it could be happen to everyone and every gender, not woman only maybe man too. Mina should ask women protection comission suggestion, so she can decide what steps she needs to take. The point here, she cannot solve this alone, she needs mediation…..Nice posting…

  3. WHAT? I can’t believe this. Mina, surely you must see that truly you have been blessed. A lot of people, and I mean A LOT (as in “more than 80% of the people of the world”) would gladly change places with you.

    Just think about it:

    - you have a steady income
    - you aren’t concerned about paying bills
    - you can do virtually ANYTHING you want

    Most people say “Oh how I’d love to start my own business but I don’t have time, I’m at my job all day long and then I have the kids to take care of. If I quit my job, how will I pay my bills?”

    Now this is really a great opportunity for you. Step out of your comfort zone. Explore. Volunteer. Set a goal for yourself, a relatively easy (but not that easy) goal at first and channel your energy towards it.

    Good luck!

  4. You go lady! This is your chance to do LITERALLY what you want.

    Seems like you’ve been contributing so far (raising kids), but now the kids grew and you ain’t contributing no more. We all need to contribute, otherwise we get bored, depressed and in long term sick/ill.

    As Ginger said, volunteer your time, you’ll feel much better. After a while when you get the hang of it, get more seriously involved in charity stuff.

    Get yourself together, channel your energies and create something.

    Oh and @Alex: how many businesses have you started mate?

  5. Well, @Gina, apparently not as many as you :) And btw charity is not business, volunteering won’t pay the rent, money from businesses will.

    Besides if you have a business and make lots of money, you can then donate to charity a lot more than you could contribute by simply volunteering. Just my 2c. Stand on your own two solid feet first, then take care of the others, “mate” ;).

    If volunteering could pay the rent, everybody would be volunteering, heck, maybe my landlord would “volunteer” to forget about asking for rent every now and then. Maybe I’ll ask him about it heh? :)


  6. Well, excuse me, Mr CEO Alex, for my lack of business knowledge :p

    Obviously you don’t know the feeling, you don’t know what it means to just give something and expect nothing in return. All you talk about is business business business, like you’re Donald Trump or something.

    For your information, volunteering will open your mind to a lot of new opportunities, you will identify real needs of the society, you’ll open yourself up for fresh new ideas that could well be turned into businesses in time, but I think jumping straight into the real thing is too much for someone who’s just starting up on this path.

    I have an idea, why don’t you go check your voice mail, maybe Bill Gates left a message for you who knows ;)

  7. @Gina apologies accepted :p. And btw the CEO is not the OWNER of a business. The OWNER hires a CEO to do the work for him.

    Go check the Red Cross website maybe they need you to volunteer for something.

  8. Ah, that’s two things:

    1. cheap irony and
    2. copying me, repeating my joke (I’m glad you find it funny though)

    I just saw the picture: you have NO business, but you give people advice to start a business. I dare you to send us the website of your business, and if it IS real and it’s really yours, you’ll have my apology and more than this, I’ll buy products or services or whatever you sell worth $100 from you.

    BUT, if you have no business, then you have no business writing here (pun intended he he).

    As for our dear Mina, I’m sure she can make up her own mind regarding what she wants to do and how she’ll go about it. Maybe she’ll hire you as a consultant for her start-up, eh, mate?

  9. Hi guys,

    Alex and Gina: we got it, volunteering and starting a business are valid options. No need to emphasize that any more.

    What I think is a good advice for Mina is this: take it slowly. You are about to make big changes to your life, and too big a change might not have the desired effect.

    Give yourself two weeks of research, to try finding out what it is that you want to put your energy into. Start a journal (diary) – make sure that it is private, for your eyes only (you can create a “secret” google account and use Google docs) and write at least one sentence every day. It will have major benefits, it will help you clear your mind and give you courage.

    Have no fear of failure. Whatever you start, you can fail and that’s OK – you will have learned. The most successful people have a lot more failures than the average people. How else would they learn?

    Just give yourself time to think. Two continuous hours a day without TV, internet (except for journaling).

    Things to do:

    - get a gym subscription (it will improve your overall being)
    - find some local yoga / tai chi / reiki or the like group and seek spiritual development

    Good luck!

  10. Mike, you get it right. Mina needs to get a life of her own.

    Many people have a second life after their children left home.

    That “journal” idea is a great suggestion.

    Mina, your husband is not a “money machine”. I am sure that if you are desperately in need of money, he’ll give you more. But at the moment, you are not starving, he is not abusive, you are in heaven.

    Divorce is not the solution. You are opening a can of worms. You have been a caged bird all your life, being released into the jungle is not going to be an easy thing for me.

    Mina, count your blessings.

  11. I find your articles a very interesting and comprehensive read on life in Canada. I do a blog on retiring abroad with general articles on retiring overseas. But I have a blog resource page with blogs written by expats or locals that can help my readers get more detailed info on life overseas. I will be adding your blog to those resources and a short review. Keep up the good work!

  12. Thank you Gina for your vote of confidence. Unfortunately my business is not targeted to persons so I must pass on your offer.

  13. Oh then let me guess, Alex, it’s targeted to… err… mmmm… nothing??

    Anyway I don’t have time to argue with you, so, Christmas coming and all, I’m going to wish you a Merry Christmas and good luck with your “business” ;)

  14. Infidelity is a crushing problem in a marriage. The violation of trust is very difficult to overcome. However, I urge Mina to attempt reconciliation. Not because of the financial issues, but because it is the more biblical approach and because stats show that people are happier when they try to work things out rather than just calling it quits.

  15. As a women , we should not trust the man 100% , we don’t know what will be next day , maybe he looking for another spare ? or etc …

    Once you married , not mean you had to quit your job or no need to earn money .maybe you can do small business through internet or other earn money opportunities . You must make sure you have saving for yourself …..don’t ever trust the man ….

  16. This is same situation anywhere immigrant involve and culture clash. I think it just depends if you just let it happen. If you are an immigrant, there are things that you have to adopt and things to can stay culture wise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>