Friday, February 27, 2015

Ask Firangi Bahu: "My Tamil mother has threatened to commit suicide because I want to marry a white woman"

Sharing a letter from a reader...

Hi,

I am currently dealing with a very big dilemma. I am from Canada and of Tamil Sri Lankan origin. I'm 26 and I am still living with my parents because they are getting older and need my help with things. For about a year now, I have been in a relationship with a woman who is white. We are very much in love and talked about our future together including marriage and kids. 

I kept this relationship a secret from my family for about 10 months and then told my sister. However, 2 weeks ago, my parents found out and completely forbid me from continuing this relationship. They talked about all the nightmares they were having, my mom threatened that she felt like committing suicide and my dad said he was having chest pains. They said I would be a disgrace, what would people think, how can I be so selfish, she's just going to find someone once she is bored with you, you are going to run off with her and just forget about us. After going through a lot of emotional blackmail I decided it might be best if I just ended it even though it hurt. When it was time to tell my girlfriend, she was devastated and said that if I really loved her I shouldn't give up that easily. When I explained the whole situation and asked if she wanted to have that in her life, she said that she didn't care and that she wants to help me work this out and that she will be there for me because she knows that she wants to spend the rest of her life with me. The fact that she did not just run away scared and still wants to be with me reassured me that I would regret it the rest of my life if I ended it. 

As it stands, my family thinks we are currently broken up. They are not interested in meeting her and when she tried calling my mom to explain, my mom's response to her was "we don't want white people in our culture". However, I have told them that I will not stop loving her and am not planning on doing an arranged marriage just to make them happy. We are still seeing each other but more discreetly. She said she will wait for me to try and work it out. I know I want to marry this person and plan on asking her in about 6 months to a year. I plan on telling my parents that I've decided that I can't let her go and I know I want to be with her. 

However, I really want to make sure my parents aren't going to do anything stupid once I tell them. Ideally I would want their approval but even if they don't, I want to make sure that I don't cause them to hurt themselves. Recently, my father got so stressed that he assaulted someone at work and got suspended from his job. 

My girlfriend has told me that if the situation gets really bad, that I can stay with her. I also feel horrible for my girlfriend because I'm putting her in a position where she knows that I'm being honest when I say I want to be with her, but in the back of her mind she has the feeling that as much as I love her, my parents will put me in a position where I would choose them over her. However, she says that regardless, she wants to wait and go through this because she will regret not trying. I don't have anyone on my side right now or anyone to talk to who can talk to my parents. Any advice anyone can provide me will be great on how to go about this situation."

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Dear readers, what advice can you give to this brave young man?
How would you handle this difficult situation, if you are facing such extreme emotional blackmail?
Has your family ever forced you to choose between your loved one and your parents?


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29 comments

  1. It makes me wince to hear immigrants say they don't want their child to mix with people from the land that welcomed them. It's shocking. Young man, in the west also we face emotional blackmail and the way to go is respect your parents but respect yourself too. Do your own thing and if you feel guilty then see a shrink who will help you disantangle yourself from toxic relationships. Being miserable helps nobody. Take care.

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  2. Oh my! This is such a stressful situation and really bad. I don't know why parents do stuff like this.

    There are a couple of points to note -
    - Your parents are apprehensive and prejudiced against white people though they live in Canada. You could try to dig these out and discuss with them. Surely, every single marriage and family on your side is not perfectly happy. Point out hypocrisies in the Asian culture. Do all Asian children really look after their parents etc.
    - You are in NO WAY responsible for the actions of your parents or anyone for that matter, even if you love them very much.
    - Most parents threaten suicide and immediately fall sick because this is used to guilt trip kids. I doubt most of them will really follow through.
    - The first thing for you to do it gain financial independence and move out of your house.
    - I cannot decide which is worse - hiding from your parents because that would make them think that you can be controlled and manipulated easily or facing emotional drama daily if you were open.
    - I think your parents may stop the drama if they felt you will not budge and remain strong.
    - As much as it hurts, you need to move out and away from your family, even if you love them very much and detach yourself from them until they stop this kind of abuse.
    - How would things be if you started threatening to commit suicide if you cannot get married to your girlfriend?
    - You need to set boundaries between yourself and your family and between your gf + you and your family. I do not think your gf should be subject to abuse from your parents.
    - I feel you should be doing the talking, not your gf explaining stuff to your parents.
    - If your father assaulted someone, that is on him, not on you. Stop blaming yourself for everything. That is one of the problems which worsens your situation. I mean everybody is stressed at some point. Do we all go about assaulting people?

    In your case from what I got - you need to come clean with your parents, be firm and make them realise they will lose you if they object any further. And you need to decide if you have the guts to stand up even if your parents blackmail you and not fall for it.

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  3. What a terrible situation.

    As an adult, this reader has a responsibility to himself to take charge of his own life and make decisions that he can live with; decisions that fulfill him and add his life. At some point, we're all in charge of our own lives and our own happiness. The reader is not responsible for his parents' behavior. As such, he cannot bow to this totally unreasonable behavior. And, I would argue that he really needs to distance himself from it. Hopefully they will not assault people or commit suicide, but if they do something like that...well, sorry to be completely harsh, but that is THEIR choice. Our reader gets to decide who to love and marry, and his parents get to decide how to react. That's the beauty of life: that we all get to make decisions that are best for us.

    I'm a woman married to an American guy whose parents are Indian btw. My husband's parents are nowhere near this extreme, however I do sympathize with the reader as my husband's parents are quite controlling as well and have a hard time recognizing that their son is American. (He was born and raised here).

    Reader, remember: this is YOUR life, and only YOU are responsible for your own happiness. Not your parents or anyone else.

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  4. Been there, lived through that. My advice, wait. My husband told his parents about me and then immediately had to fly to India because his mother was having "a heart attack." Then he came back to the US and proceeded to spend a year waiting on them. He spoke to them every weekend. They continued to send pictures of girls they wanted to arrange marriages with. They continued to oppose our marriage. After about a year, they gave up. They got our horoscope done, the priest said it was a good match...and we were married in India a month later. We now all have a very good relationship. I also believe that Indians settled outside of India are much more conservative than Indians in India at the moment. Lots of mixed marriages in India these days!

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    1. It's interesting that you view Indians settled outside of India are more conservative than Indians in India. I've also experienced this to an extent. My in laws moved to the US in the early 80's, and their perception of Indian culture, tradition, etc... is still from India in the 60's and 70's. They haven't progressed their views, since living abroad.

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  5. I agree with the other people posting here, as I'm a western woman (Germany). on the other side I know as well, that it is definitely NOT so easy for an Indian to follow the western advices.
    I am in a very similar situation, but my BF even lives in India in a joint family, and they don't even know yet. Sooner or later he has to tell them and I think I might face exactly the same drama like you - if not worse. If you and your GF want to be in touch and talk to someone who is 100% understanding you (as i can also totally get your side in the position of an Indian guy), then comment below, how we can communicate. Maybe we can help and support each other. Good luck to the both of you.

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  6. I've been in this situation before. Honestly, tell your parents the truth - tell them you're still with her (don't let your love suffer). Of course, they will freak out - don't let it get to you. Honestly, let everything they say roll off your back (this is really really really tough but worth it). They WILL stop freaking out. They will EVENTUALLY accept her.

    The hardest part is not letting them get to you. Behave with them as if they are not freaking out. Always keep a calm low tone of voice and speak slowly when they're freaking, stay level headed. Small lies are no fun. Fess up and deal with the consequences. Good luck, you're in my thoughts.

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  7. I also think you should wait it out. I went through something similar where my future MIL threatened to commit suicide, and it did cause quite a bumpy part in our relationship because my fiance felt honor bound to respect his parent's wishes over his happiness if he really felt it would go that far. However, he held firm, arranged for them to meet me, and once his parents saw how I was not like what they expected an American girl to be like at all, they warmed up to me pretty quickly. Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing, and it has obviously affected your parents pretty strongly. I would definitely agree with the other commenters and wait it out. Do your thing, let your parents do theirs, and try to get them to meet your lovely gf. I am sure once they meet her a few times, and understand what she is prepared to go through for your sake, they will love her as much as you do. One last piece of advice, give your gf an extra hug from me the next time you see her, because she is probably feeling a little isolated too. And remember that there is a whole community on this blog (and others) who support and wish nothing but the best for you. Whenever I get stressed about the situation with my family that always makes me feel better. :)

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  8. I feel the pain as we are going through something similar currently, I am white and he is Gujarati. He's told his parents and his mother was very dramatic about it. She's not speaking to him, Wants to know nothing about me and says she will never accept me, I believe she's still sending bio data about other girls and has sent some videos on respecting your parents and doing what they say, but not actually talking to him. His father is not happy about it but basically said what can I do you are my son. Says he understands but still doesn't like it. The one big difference is he moved out of his parents house before telling them. He is now independent from them and we are fortunate to both have good careers etc. Now we just wait... it really is a waiting game in these situations. My big suggestion is not to hide it anymore. If you've made the decision to stay with the woman you love then tell them and let you're parents process. I feel like Indian parents (maybe all parents really) go through 5 stages of grief when their children tell them things they never envisioned for them. Eventually though if you've stood your ground they will come around. Also for people in this situation cut your parents some slack. By no means let them control you, but try to understand this is inconceivable to them and they need to wrap their minds around it. My boyfriend went in with knowing they possibly might not come around, but he has faith they love him enough to eventually choose their child over their racism. I wish you the best of luck and hope everything works out in your favor.

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  9. I agree with the first commentator that it is shocking that immigrants would treat the people that welcomed them to their country with such disdain.

    My advice to you is to marry the woman you love.

    Unfortunately this is not the first time I have heard of this happening. I know an Indian man whose mother did the same thing when he told his parents he wanted to marry a non-Indian woman. He was a coward and broke his five year relationship with his girlfriend. Then we went to India and married the Indian woman his mommy and daddy chose that he had never met. Surprise, surprise today he is an alcoholic miserable man, he and his wife seem to hate each other. I think that merely being in my husband's presence who is a REAL man who married the woman he loves upsets the cowardly man. So he made his mom and dad happy but he is unhappy, his wife is unhappy, and they are providing a terrible example of marriage to their children. The sad thing is that his mom would likely not have gone through with the suicide but if she did that would have rid the world of one less bigot.

    I also know two Indian women whose parents permanently disowned them after they married white men. Pathetic.

    One of the Indian women was born and raised in the US yet her parents expected her to have an arranged marriage to a man from India. So when she married her fellow American who happens to be white they disowned her and the last I heard had not spoken to her in six years. If her racist parents wanted her to marry only an Indian then they should not have chose to raise their daughter in America.

    This type of behavior unfortunately seems to be fairly prevalent among Indian parents. The other Indian woman I knew married an American man about 25 years ago and her parents disowned her, they never even met her husband and children.
    - Rebecca (part 1)

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  10. Your mom's threat is probably idle but if she does kill herself than frankly the world has one less racist. I am a mother and cannot comprehend that a mother would inflict such pain just so that she can get what she wants and perpetuate a backward and racist ideology. Suicide is a very selfish choice. A mother should always love her child unconditionally. I would continue to love my children even if they became criminals. Marrying a person who has a different color skin is NOT a crime.

    Every individual is responsible for his/her choices and it is NOT your responsibility if your mother kills yourself or that your father assaulted some one.

    Not all Indian parents are like yours. My husband immigrated to the US in his early 20s but his parents have lived in India their entire lives. After a brief period of reluctance accepted me with open arms and love me like their own daughter. I look forward to our visits to India and they visit us in America for months at a time and we get along well.

    I think that parents who behave like yours simply do not love their children. If you love your child you could not treat him/her this way. They are so egotistical that they do not think their children are independent human beings but extensions of themselves who can be controlled and dominated. Parents like that do not deserve respect.

    I have an Indian friend whose parents are emotionally and verbally abusive and extremely manipulative and he has been brainwashed from birth to think that he and his wife should just meekly submit to this barbaric behavior. I have lost respect for him because not only does he allow himself to be abused he also lets his parents mistreat his wife.

    I think the best way to deal with such people is estrangement. If they refuse to treat you with respect then they should not be a part of your life.

    Given that your father has already demonstrated violent behavior you should be aware that murder is not unprecedented in these situations. Several years ago in the US there was an Indian-American man named Ricky Rai who was so scared of his racist immigrant Indian parents that he lied to wife African-American wife, Sparkle Rai, and told her that his parents were dead. After his father Chimran Rai found out about his black daughter-in-law he hired thugs to murder her in front of her infant daughter, his granddaughter. Ricky Rai then abandoned his daughter and gave her to his murdered wife's parents and had an arranged marriage to an Indian woman. It took the police a long time to solve the case but eventually Chimran Rai was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

    So you might want to move out as soon possible and file a restraining order against your parents.

    If you really love your girlfriend you will stand by her and protect her.

    - Rebecca (part 2)

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    1. You're last story made me speechless.. Oh my.

      I can't even comprehend.. What!?

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    2. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/tears-relief-as-sparkle-rais-killer-gets-death-sen/nQHc6/

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  11. I am a white woman in a 18+ year relationship with a Tamil Indian man, and my advice to you is this: if you feel that in the future you might choose your parents over your girlfriend (like if they continue to threaten to commit suicide, as you mentioned) then I think you should go ahead and do her a favor and end the relationship.

    If you decide to be with her, you have to be 100% clear in your own mind that this is your choice and you are not going to back down on it due to any kind of parental manipulation. From your letter I don't know if you feel like that. Your parents sound like the kind of people who will try anything to get you to do what they want. Ultimately, the western mentality is that this is your life, not theirs, but that is not how your parents think. They are from an older culture where children do what their parents want, and they will not understand your decision -- at least not for a while, and maybe not ever. If you move forward with this relationship you have to be prepared for that.

    Also, if you stay with your girlfriend long term, this type of drama may be just the tip of the iceberg for your future family, especially if your parents live close to where you plan on settling. Imagine holidays together, having and raising children, etc. Living in a multi-cultural family is difficult enough without having parents who don't agree with your decisions weighing in at every moment. For the relationship to work long-term you will need to set up mental barriers where your parents are your parents, but they can not make decisions for you and your future wife and children's home life. This may be difficult for you depending on how Westernized you are. If it feels impossible, I don't think this relationship is for you.

    Just my .02

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    1. You said it much better than me! I very much agree with your wife and future children will be your family and your parents are your parents. Great point.

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  12. It is sad that your parents live in Canada and yet don't want to integrate with Canadians. I think you need to think about what you want from life. You say that you live with your parents because they are getting older and need your help. Is your plan to live with them after you get married too? Is your girlfriend ok with that? Maybe you need to prepare them mentally, by moving out first. And then they would know that you are your own person and they can't control you anymore. If I were you, I would move out and live on my own for a while (not with your girlfriend) - it's a great way to figure out who you are and what you really want. Good luck!

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  13. I usually don’t write on blogs but I felt the need to say something.
    First you need to stop the cycle of madness or if you are not willing to do this then you need to let this girl go. I know she said she wants to wait it out but I think deep down she thinks you will fight for her and I hope she is right when push comes to shove. If you are willing to stop the manipulation then keep on with her and stand tall and proud and tell your parents what is what. It is your life and you are an adult that should be able to make responsible decisions. If you are not confident in yourself and the decision you make then your parents will easily be able to manipulate the situation. If you allow their manipulation to continue this is what you will teach any future children if you have any. Just think of yourself as a parent. Could you really demand such things of your child?
    Your parents are responsible for the actions and reactions they choose. You need to stop feeling that what you tell them or decide will set them off. Your father’s anger is something he should get help with and it is not what you do that causes it. If you comply with this surely next time you do something they don’t like the same charade will happen again.
    As some others have mentioned it you need to be independent as staying in their home you a reliant on them. You need to show them you are your own person and you are setting boundaries on how it will be. People can control us only as much as we allow them to.
    I am white married to an Indian. My husband even before meeting me had boundaries set in place on how he will be treated and if they expected something of him that he did not want he was sure to let them know that or just ignore what they have told him and eventually they get the message.
    Don’t let your parents put you in the position of choosing and if they do you need to firmly tell them no it is you who has to choose as I will continue. Really hope to hear a good outcome or at least happiness for you and your girlfriend.

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  14. I've heard so much about situations like this.
    Wait for a year. Your parents will not kill themselves. Indian parents love emotional blackmail. If you make it clear that you won't give in, but remain patient, it will all work out.

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  15. I'm sorry to hear this reader is dealing with such an extreme situation. I think that you must be very honest with your girlfriend and yourself in this situation. If you plan to eventually just back down and give into your parents wishes, I would do your girlfriend a big favor and let the relationship go. Let her find someone who will stand up for her and will have a family who is more welcoming. While a lot of people say to wait, I would say it may depend on how old your girlfriend is. Also, if she is desiring to start a family sooner rather than later, it would be VERY unfair to make her wait around on your parents to stop being ridiculous. Please keep in mind I am non-Indian married to an Indian man, but I am a woman and a mother. If you do decide that you are willing to fight for her so you can go onto have a life with her, I would say it would be best to stand your ground and be MATURE about it when speaking to your parents. Your mom will not commit suicide...that is just a threat. I think your parents are honestly pretty terrified of the unknown and what other people will think. My husband and I were met with initial resistance to our union when we first go together, but he actually stood his ground with his parents from the very beginning. Now that I know the culture better I can see this was actually a pretty big deal and it makes me admire him so much more.

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  16. I am European married to Tamil guy.
    I feel very sorry for that girl (alrhought not the guy)
    He already put his parents above her, his parents are selfish, like most of indian parents-let's face the trutg.
    They care much more about their happines , than happines if their son.
    If he would be really in love, he would not hide the relationship, would stand up agaunst parents.
    While, just after one blacmail, he gave up.
    And I myself dont belive dear parents would hurt themselves, not mention suicide.
    He didnt defense her when they told she "wil get bored"
    Actually he didnt do anything.
    Just let the poor girl involve into relation, and after first word of his "mommy" he obeyed her.
    I also think he should let her go, and take all blame for himself.
    What he is doing now is childlish and not fair.
    He is "planning"from a year, but so far didnt made anything, just letting his gf suffer.
    Sorry for harsh words, but what ge should do is stay"mama's boy", do as mommy says and not bother europen girls.
    If he is not able live in western habits, then after marrying western girl, things will go only worse.If now situation is bad, will continously get worse.His parents will have excpectations about her, as they would towards Indian girl.
    I think you both dont realise it.
    I am telling from my experience.
    He must decide stay Indian mama's boy or be adult man.

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  17. Your parents will not kill themselves. They are just being super dramatic. Thanks Bollywood.

    I am going through a similar issue except we are both Indian but I am Hindu and my bf is Christian. My mum pulled the same thing, but my parents finally met them and are slowly opening up to the idea.

    You can give it some time (took 6 months from the time I told my mum until she met him) and they will probably agree to this. They need to think about it, let it sink and they will most likely start accepting it. Is it their ideal situation? Probably not, but at the end of the day your happiness is their happiness. Ask them if they want you to be happy - let them think.

    Also you're 26 so you have some time. why the rush?

    Also I suggest moving out and showing your parents that you are independent and ready to live your life. I think that really hurts us indian people is the fact that we stay at home with our parents and allow them to control some aspects of our lives. Let it go and start fresh. Sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder and relationships blossom even more.

    Hope this helps, good luck. Our parents moved here for a better life and must understand that we live in a melting pot and it's not a bad thing, it's amazing and what makes our country so unique!

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  18. I am an Indian girl (first generation immigrant) married to American guy. When I first told my parents about us they freaked out but finally four years later in 2014 they gave us their approval. We went ahead and did the court wedding immediately and this year June we are doing the whole traditional wedding thing. Most of my relatives are flying from India. They are very excited and happy for us.I always dreamed of a wedding like this but never thought it could happen.
    They have resisted for the longest time but we persisted. There were times I felt they will never approve but we never gave up fighting for us. I told them they can take all the time they want but finally they have to come around. I told them I wasn't going to marry without their approval but that doesn't mean I was going to marry someone of their choice. My husband wrote an old fashioned letter telling them he will not steal their daughter and we will not marry without their approval. He wrote "I am not going to build my family from the rubble of yours". It is one of the most matured and sweetest letters. They took over two years to talk him after reading it. We tried everything to make them feel they are in control. This kept them at ease and they came to terms with it in their own time. We cannot present this alien concept of marrying outside the caste/ religion and expect them to jump on board with it. They need time and we need patience. We need them to feel secure and let them know they are gaining son/daughter not losing one. I never told any of my relatives. I was living two lives but I wanted to give space to my parents. That made my parents feel respected and when they were ready they told everyone themselves. I know it feels like hell (excuse my language) but at the end its all worth it. My family loves my hubby and he loves them back. My mom watsapp him everyday and brags about him to her friends and family. My husband says this is the reason he wanted to wait for their approval.Throughout this me and my husband were always a team (hope we could do the same with our kids ;)) and never for a second wavered from our goal. We may be old fashioned but we prefer having a big happy family rather than a small broken one. PATIENCE is the key at least that's what worked for us. And please don't all for the EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL its just a tactic.You need to remember even though you love your parents its a war. Its a war of wits who could last longer. You need to be a one step ahead of them. If they emotionally blackmail you do it back them to them eventually they will realize its not working and give up. I know I might be contradicting myself but they say "war brings peace". You have two choices and which you choose is up to you.
    Choice 1- Be patient, give them time, they will eventually come around. Drama will last few years and you will have peaceful life after that. Less strain on your relationship as your parents will eventually cheer for your relationship.
    Choice 2- Defy them and they will never come to terms with it. Drama will last a life time but you will get what you want. More strain on your relationship as your parents will always try to pull you apart.

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  19. I agree with a lot of comments here about dealing with it patiently and firmly by giving it time . It may also be a good test for you and your girlfriend's love and commitment towards each other and will help in convincing your parents about her good intentions as time goes by.
    So start thinking in terms of years rather than months , your parents gave you those years of unconditional love and care , you can surely give them some by waiting for them to come around. It will also be a good test for your love because you want it to last and not fizzle out at the smallest problem it faces. So explain to your girlfriend and let her make a choice whether she wants to wait it out or not , don't abandon your parents , give it more time and be firm about what you want in life. You will never be able to have a happy , guilt free life by abandoning your parents !

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  20. I dont have an advice, but i am amaze about what this people think they are, the family of the guy, they think they are superior to canadians but went to Canada to live the good life WHITE canadians made for themselves and others. So they are racist parasites that think are superior to whites, then they should have stay in India to live with people like them in the same culture. If i was the girl i will call migration offices to make deport his mother and father for racist comments againts native canadians.

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  21. I agree that your parents will likely come around. I am a American woman married to a first generation American born Indian. My husband's immediate and extended family have had generations of interracial marriages. It's tough to hear about families that immigrate and then have problems when their children easily integrate into the new country.

    With that said, you undoubtably will be carrying some of your Indian traditions into your eventual marriage. It sounds like you may plan on living with your parents in their old age. You need to really make sure that your girlfriend is prepared for this and understands what is it is expected of her during this time. You should be exposing her to as much Indian culture as you can to make sure that she's comfortable with it and understands as much as possible. Assuming that your parents do you eventually come around, the transition of bringing her into the family will be much easier if she's able to relate and participate in cultural events. If she shows signs of not understanding or liking your culture you should really consider whether this is a good fit for your life long partner.

    As I said, my husband's family has many many intercultural marriages. All of the partners love and respect Indian culture. This is an absolute must for a successful partnership. If your girlfriend isn't already reading this blog or something like it she should start immediately.

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  22. My MIL recently read this post and remarked to me, "Pfffft no big deal, these are all desi problems, my mother also said she would commit suicide and nothing ever happened" -- LOL!!! (My inlaws had an inter-regional marriage BTW)

    My husband's instructions: "Tell her to commit suicide and then she will surely come back saying 'Why should I die for you?' "...

    By Western standards, I feel what your parents are doing is severely abusive. However my desi counterparts recognize it as just typical emotional blackmail that they have all been through. I just wanted to say that if they threaten you or your girlfriend with violence - you should absolutely go to the police.

    What ever your parents choose to do - that is their choice. You need to separate yourself from their choices - they are pulling Guilt tripping 101. Whether your mother threatens to commit suicide, or your father assaults someone at work - that IS not your fault. Nobody is putting a bullet to their head and forcing them to behave in such a melodramatic manner. It is not YOUR fault how they behave. It is absolutely unwarranted and ridiculous since they haven`t even bothered to get to know your girlfriend.

    However, I think lying to them that you broke up with your girlfriend - worked against you and convinced them that they have some power over you, which is probably why they are pulling these stunts. In the future, or at least until you can move out (if that is what you want to do), I would just tell them that your personal life is none of their business, until they choose to behave in a mature, practical manner. Don't give them any details.

    BUT I would let them know that you lied, that you have been with your girlfriend this entire time, that you intend to get married, and that it will happen with or without their consent - because in Canada, over age 18, you do not need your parents' consent to get married. And also stand up for your girlfriend - say that you will absolutely not tolerate them speaking badly of her, just like you would not tolerate anyone speaking badly of your parents.

    If the abuse continues after setting up these boundaries, I think you would have to remove yourself from the situation. The ideal thing to do would be move out, on your own, and really think about what you want. I doubt your parents would ever abandon you, as you - as the son, are their life insurance policy in taking care of them in their old age. A daughter - yes, they may abandon, but never a son - IF they are that traditional, and I think they sure sound like they are. They won't abandon you - but they may make your life a living hell. So clear cut boundaries need to be set up. I know you love your parents, but control does not equal love, and they need to respect that you are your own person and that the relationship with your spouse will outlast the one with your parents. If you don`t set up these boundaries, they could behave worse to you AND even worse to your girlfriend in the future. You have to protect yourself emotionally. It is easier said than done.

    I would really think about what it is that YOU want to do - I know you must be feeling pulled in different directions. Take some quiet moments to yourself, strip yourself of the guilt, and envision your life. What would make YOU happy? Is it your girlfriend? Or is it making your parents happy and living your life the way they want? Think long and hard about it, and then move forward with confidence.

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  23. Im a tamilian living in India and so much in love with a tamil guy, but of a different caste. It has taken us 4 years to get my parents to accept us, but presently after being quiet for all these years, his mother has threatened to committ suicide if he chose me to be his wife...do I believe in all this drama?? Could that be real?? NO WAY! Im definitely not what they are imagining me to be -a selfish son stealer, and have and still willing to be a pleasing daughter-in-law, even after all her drama of calling up and harassing my entire family, because they are accepting of us. But if she still want to continue this behaviour, then I pity her..she could very well go ahead(suicide attempt laws have been relaxed since a month ago here in india..good for her if she survives). And as some commenter here said, the world wont miss out on just one of its racist/castiest bigots that there are. We have planned to wait it out, however long it takes...its not at all moral to wash your hands off someone you chose with all your heart...didnt we know it might come to all this earlier?? So, TIME HEALS, GIVE THE SITUATION SOME TIME!!

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  24. Years of experience (I am in my 50s and living in India) of observing how people make choices about love and marriage have taught me that if you truly love somone, you will not succum to threats (of suicide or whatever). The willingness to give in to family pressure is a sure sign that you don't know what you want, you don't understand the power of love and the importance of love in a relationship, and will never stand up for your family, whenver you marry and have one. You will constantly wonder what other people will say or respond. Your choice is to grow up and be your own person (you are thinking of having children, its time!) or to live your parents life for them.

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