Dear Beth

Arranged marriage

Happiness is: gorgeous wild flowers adorn Ontario meadow

Dear Beth,
.... I would very much like your opinion on the following:
1. My family is of Chinese origin.
2. My nephew (...raised in [Canada] was married about 4-5 years to a girl who was born and raised in China, and it was basically an arranged marriage.
3. His wife now is in serious depression after the birth of her second child....
4. She has today confided to me and my wife that her parents forced her away from her old boyfriend in China in order to marry my nephew. There are quite a bit of resentment against her parents. Both my wife and I feel this is the root of her depression. But we have not told any of my nephew's parents (my sister and brother-in-law) nor her mental care doctor.
5. My nephew is a very caring person, and his wife has no complaints against him.
6. My wife and I feel it is better not tell anybody of this as we do not want to create unnecessary strains in the family relationship.

My question is whether my wife and I are doing the right thing by not telling anybody of this.

Your opinion and advice is greatly appreciated.

Beth answers:
This is a very sad story. Your nephew's wife was forced to begin her marriage by betraying her new husband, because she had to pretend to be available for a loving relationship when her heart belonged to someone else. I imagine that sadness and guilt about hurting her husband is part of the cause of her depression.

I think you are doing the right thing by not telling anyone without her permission. Perhaps telling you has helped her somewhat. However, it looks as though she will need professional help to resolve her conflicts about this and get past her depression, and I think that she should be talking to a good counsellor or psychotherapist for at least an hour a week. You could ask her if talking with her mental care doctor is helping. If she is not sure, she could see an experienced psychotherapist or psychologist for a second opinion.