Friday, May 15, 2015

Ask Firangi Bahu: “How can we expect his parents to come around if even HE doesn't think it’s possible?”



Sharing a letter from a long-time reader....

“I am an avid reader of your blog. It has given me advice and hope for the past year or so. I have been in a relationship with a Telugu Brahmin man for the past two and a half years. We met while we were both working at a school program and slowly became friends and fell in love with each other. 

He told his parents about me a year ago when he went to India during winter break. They are from a small town in Andhra Pradesh and his mom is very traditional. His dad was apprehensive and said the family will not accept it, while his mother was just silent. His sister accidentally found out before then, and has been very negative, telling him “you know how THEY are, and telling him not to hurt their parents, etc. Since then, he has talked to them about it occasionally, and they either refuse to talk about it or get indignant and say that he should just forget about them and not talk to them. Basically letting him know that they will stop talking to him if he tries to continue this relationship with me. They are constantly worried that he will elope with me even though he tells them he wouldn't ever do that.

His parents are coming here at the end of this month, because his older sister is due to have her second child in July. She is living in the US with her arranged-marriage husband. I won't meet them until at least September though, as I am going to Germany for two months.

My boyfriend doesn't want his parents to become sick from worry, and he’s afraid they will stop talking to him or treat him like a stranger because of our relationship. I keep telling him that they will be uneasy at first, and maybe even stop talking to him for a little while, but that if we just keep trying they will come around. 

He doesn't seem willing to even cause them a little discomfort at the cost of our relationship. He loves them more than anything and doesn't want to hurt them. I keep telling him that I believe that we can make this work, but he says that he doesn’t know if he does. I just wish he would believe in our relationship too…How can we expect his parents to come around if even HE doesn't think it’s possible? It breaks my heart that even he doesn't even believe in our relationship....

He feels guilty that I want a future with him that he doesn't know is possible. He thinks that my future is dependent on him, and while I really want to be with him and will be very, very distraught if we break up, I will survive. It’s like he doesn't want to continue this relationship and lead me on saying it’s possible when he doesn't believe it is, thus it is ruining my career.

We are currently in a long distance relationship and only get to see each other for a few days every 2 months or so at best. The distance is taking its toll on our relationship and I want to move in with him after I've graduated in August, but he says his parents will freak out and probably force him to go back to India. My thinking is that if we live together, then his parents can come visit us and get to know me and realize that I won’t be a bad daughter-in-law. I feel like I'm not real to them; that they think if they ignore “the problem” - me - I will just go away eventually. I told him we'll compromise and I'll live near him despite the horrid amount or rent it’s going to cost us to have two separate apartments when we'll basically be living in one.

I really don't know what I can to do convince him that his parents will come around. I've told him about this blog and all the success stories despite the odds, but he believes that his situation is completely different and more difficult. How can I convince him our relationship is possible? And how can we get his parents to accept us without them completely abandoning him, or worse, them becoming ill from worry? I'm at my wits end....”

-------

Dear readers, what advice can we give this fellow Bahu?
Do you think the boyfriend is being subtly blackmailed and/or controlled by his parents?
How do you handle traditional parents when they still oppose the match after you have told them?
How can you make a relationship work if one partner is losing faith in it?
Going forward, WHAT should they do to avoid heartache?

SHARE:

33 comments

  1. Dear Reader,

    A couple of line items in your letter jumped out at me:
    "I keep telling him that I believe that we can make this work, but he says that he doesn’t know if he does."
    "He feels guilty that I want a future with him that he doesn't know is possible. He thinks that my future is dependent on him."
    "I want to move in with him after I've graduated in August, but he says his parents will freak out and probably force him to go back to India"

    I don't think that your boyfriend is willing to stand up to his parents, but he hasn't truly been forced to choose between your relationship and his parents...yet.

    To answer Alexandra's questions:
    I do think that your boyfriend is being emotionally blackmailed by his parents - and not in a subtle way! Seems that this is sadly a common parenting technique amongst Indian parents. I say sad because it doesn't serve their children's interests OR their interests if they care about having a truly close relationship to their children.

    If traditional parents continue to oppose the relationship after you've told them, then you really only have two choices: 1) Accept that they disapprove but continue living your life the way YOU want or 2) Bow to the parents' desires and change your life to meet their wishes. Unfortunately for you, your boyfriend has found another path: 3) Don't make a choice; stay in the relationship until someone else makes the choice for you (ie, wait for you to break up with him or wait for his parents to "force" him back to India).

    That third choice that your boyfriend is making is really unfair to you because it puts all the onus of decision making on you. He's not taking any responsibility in this; he's not owning his true thoughts and feelings on this.

    Finally, as far as what you can do if your boyfriend doesn't believe in the relationship: you can't do anything. You said yourself that you will be okay if this relationship ends. End it. You'll be fine, and if your boyfriend realizes that he can't live without you, and that he can't make his life decisions based on his parents, then he'll come back. But right now it doesn't sound like he's truly in this with you.

    One last thing: guilt. Your boyfriend seems to have an issue with handling guilt. He can't break up with you because he feels guilty that you're supposedly dependent upon him, he can't move in with you because he feels guilty not doing what his parents want, etc. That's unfortunate but it's his issue; you deserve to be with someone who can feel guilt but make a decision anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very good analysis:
      3) Don't make a choice; stay in the relationship until someone else makes the choice for you (ie, wait for you to break up with him or wait for his parents to "force" him back to India).

      That third choice that your boyfriend is making is really unfair to you because it puts all the onus of decision making on you. He's not taking any responsibility in this; he's not owning his true thoughts and feelings on this.

      I so agree to it!!!!

      Delete
  2. Run as fast as you can. I made the mistake of falling in love with an Indian man. His mother took one look at my black skin (I am African) and came to the conclusion that I must be some sort of drug addict who will destroy her son's life (no matter that I have a PhD, graduated top of my class, and have never even smoked a cigarette in my life, let alone, drugs). Now I am in more pain than I ever thought imaginable, and the man who is supposed to love me is only concerned about hurting his parents, and doesn't seem to care that I am hurting too.

    Run now, while you can. At least now, you will only hurt a little bit in comparison to how much you will hurt if you stick around and in the end he doesn't stand up for you. The fact that he is telling you that he doesn't think they will come around is his way of saying I don't plan on doing what it takes to convince them so we can be together.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You cannot make anyone do anything and that includes your bf. show him this blog and all the intercultural love series + other intercultural couples' blogs. If he still does not believe, his family will come around, he is making a choice about his family over your relationship.

    Why would you wanna be with someone who prioritises others over your relationship?

    ReplyDelete
  4. In my opnion if he is not going to put you first now then I highly doubt he will in the future even if married. Can you handle this? Me personally no, I cannot and would not come second to my husband's family. I am a firm believer in once you marry then you have a family and they come first, not saying forget your parents but I am saying wife (and kids) is your new family that should be his focus.

    I am married to and Andhra man but he is the type that does what he feels is right for him not what his parents think and honestly if he was not of person and always looking out for his parents thoughts then it would have never worked.

    You deserve more than what he is now giving you, if he wants to be with you then he will make it happen if not he will continue on. Do you always want to chasing his attention? I can’t imagine you would be happy trying to do this in every step of your relationship or marriage. While there is a cultural differences would you accept this from another man who is not south Asian?

    I am not trying to be a downer but just wouldn't want you continuing on and being more invested if it does not work in your favor. Now it is possible or can work as you can see many success stories here even us married to Andhra men but the change will have to come from him. Like other reader said show him this blog tell him he needs to bet on you if he loves you and his family will come around. I think with most not all south Asian families even if they cut their children from their lives usally it is only temporary or at least one of the parents and or family members will come around again.

    I wish you much success and hopefully you will have a story in future to share on here. I hope he chooses you and realizes you are his family first and foremost.

    ReplyDelete
  5. if he does not stand up for you now what would be later after you marry...he does not love you...leave him now to not regret later. I know you think it is very easy for all of us to say that but later you will realize that was the best decision you made. Do not force yourself to convince you that he is the one and the only one. With his attitude I can not even consider him as man...childish behavior. Good luck, I hope you will make the best decision for yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This story brings back many many memories of my situation during my last year of college. My boyfriend and I had been together for 2 years before his parents found out. We were also living one state apart since he got a job after college and moved. He had a similar plan for me to move NEAR him after I graduated. There was no way I could afford my own place in his town. We were also having a tough time with the distance. I know how much he loved me and I loved him. It was crazy love, in the best way possible. His parents came to know about us and things started changing with him. I pushed the issue of meeting them. I wanted to meet them and show them that I 1) Understand Indian culture and want to learn more 2) Am an honest sweet girl 3) I really love and care for their son.
    During the meeting I was so unbelievably nervous, I was shaking. This was also a shifting point in my life as I didn't have a job yet, I was really overweight from college and had NO money.
    It was a bad situation, they thought I was nice and sweet. But not someone for their son to marry. I get it, everyone wants the absolute best for their son. I had already done so much to change for him. I stopped eating meat, I fasted with him on certain spiritual days, I learned how to cook his favorite Maharathi dishes, and I even dove into Hinduism, started reading the geeta and attending a temple weekly.
    My boyfriend and I went back and forth for about 6 months. His parents asked him to leave me and he honestly said he was split 50/50. He didnt know what to do. I was hurt and my family was very upset by all of this.
    I met an Indian friend who married an American girl, and his parents didn’t approve. But he married her anyway. At first I was jealous of this couple and wondered why couldn’t my ex-boyfriend do that? Stand up for what he wants and ask his parents to see that it’s his life and not theirs. But my feelings changed, when I met this couple, they were announcing their pregnancy and I felt heart broken that his parents were not willing to take part of his life and they wouldn’t even meet their grandchild.
    I realized this is not good and only brings more bad feelings into the family.
    It was extremely difficult for us to split up. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to be treated as the unwanted daughter-in-law. And I realized it would be a life-long challenge, not just getting through the marriage. It would be every single decision you and your husband make. The parents would be involved and express their disappointment. I didn’t deserve that. I didn’t want that for him either. We both agreed that picking a partner in life should be more like a selfish act. You have to be selfish as to what you want in a partner and in-laws.
    I was so incredibly lucky to have found another Indian man that was better for me. we enjoy a lot more of the same activities and have the same beliefs in spirituality. He took me to India to meet his family and I was extremely nervous because of what I had been through. And it wasn’t perfect, but there was no hostility. It was just new and unexpected for his family… but again, they kept an open mind as did I.
    I am happy to say that we are getting married in two weeks! My in-laws and I talk on what-app constantly. They seem to be very happy and I can’t believe the amount of acceptance and love they give to me. His family jokes around that they like me more than they like him… I don’t think they’re joking though. :P
    I hope you’re able to see the situation in a long term scenario. It was and IS very difficult to go through that. My situation turned out for the best. And my ex-boyfriend is very supportive and happy for me.
    I’m glad for the difficult time we had because it made me see without emotional foggy “love-goggles”. I wish the best for you sister.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear reader,
    ok first of all you might find my opinion a bit unqualificated. I am only 25 years old and in a mixed culture relationship since 3 years. So not that much of a long experience. BUT: We have been at the same stage you are in. Also I feel some of the comments above are making it worst then giving you an actually advice. Neither do you have to run away...( come on you are not a kid!) nor do you have only 2 Option of breaking up or shut up and accept everything!
    There is an other Option: work on it!
    My boyfriend told me almost exactly the same then yours. And we have been at a point of either breaking up or working on it! We decited we woud be much more hurt if we woud break up. His mum also wanted him to stop this relationship when she found out. Indian traditions and indian culture are a really sensitive topic. And I feel like that making a decision is hard for him. Specially in this blog people shoud understand why your boyfriend struggels to make a clear decision.
    Well my advice: talk about the compromisses that you both can do. Ask him what you coud do to make it easyer for him or his family. Obviously dont forget... Yourself have to feel comftible with the compromiss.
    One last thing that might change the way his family sees you: talk to them. My boyfriend family had to see that I am a "good Person". Sadly European girls have this image of beeing a slut, just wanne have fun, devorcing every time. Stuff like that. I asked them frankly what they are affraid of. And I always answered honestly. ( For example, his parents have been affraid my boyfriend woud start drinking alcohol, specially beer, cause I am german. I know sounds a bit funny. But I took it seriously. On the other site I told them that I dont wanne lie to them just to look better. I cant remember the last time when i was drinking. But I told them frankly that I do on special event. Thats just a small example... But just so you get an idea)
    Once they learned that my moral standard isnt that far away from there own, suddenly the fear of breaking with traditions was gone.
    Also...and thats something that my boyfriend told his mum is: she raised a her son to be a good person. So once she has trust in him, she can have the trust that he woudnt choose ANY girl. And that you still working on this relationship even if there is a long distance and so many problems because of the different culture truelly means you both take it serious. If you are ment to be then even an indian mum will see beside all the traditions that her son is happy. Like my future-mother-in law says it: Its kismet!
    I dont know if any of these comments here will help you both. At the end we dont know all the facts and how hard each of you is trying. I just wanted to give you a different point beside all these "run away" comments. Cause, even so its hard work: I wish you coud show them that you are different and you dont run away just because its easyer. A culture-mixed relationship can be so much fun and add so many great sites to each of your life!
    By the way: wellcome to germany...if you are in the North: we have great beaches and a big indian society! ;) :)
    Take care and all the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The key point in this situation is that the letter writer's boyfriend will not stand up for her. Every person deserves a partner who loves him/her enough to defend him/her. My advice to the letter writer is to leave and find a real man, not the spineless coward that she is currently in a relationship with.

      Racism disguised as "culture" is still racism.
      - Rebecca

      Delete
    2. Racism disguised as "culture" is still racism -- very very true.

      I am an Indian lady married to an Indian man in an arranged match, still the MIL is hostile towards me, so its just the abusive behavior and they call it as "culture".

      Delete
    3. I am an Indian, and I'd say all the people telling you to run are giving you good advice. A man who cannot stand up to his parents about a decision about the rest of his life will always defer to them. Its just not worth it. When you've moved on, you will look back and think how lucky you were to get away. He will look back his whole life, knowing he made the wrong decision.

      Delete
  8. Dear reader,
    ok first of all you might find my opinion a bit unqualificated. I am only 25 years old and in a mixed culture relationship since 3 years. So not that much of a long experience. BUT: We have been at the same stage you are in. Also I feel some of the comments above are making it worst then giving you an actually advice. Neither do you have to run away...( come on you are not a kid!) nor do you have only 2 Option of breaking up or shut up and accept everything!
    There is an other Option: work on it!
    My boyfriend told me almost exactly the same then yours. And we have been at a point of either breaking up or working on it! We decited we woud be much more hurt if we woud break up. His mum also wanted him to stop this relationship when she found out. Indian traditions and indian culture are a really sensitive topic. And I feel like that making a decision is hard for him. Specially in this blog people shoud understand why your boyfriend struggels to make a clear decision.
    Well my advice: talk about the compromisses that you both can do. Ask him what you coud do to make it easyer for him or his family. Obviously dont forget... Yourself have to feel comftible with the compromiss.
    One last thing that might change the way his family sees you: talk to them. My boyfriend family had to see that I am a "good Person". Sadly European girls have this image of beeing a slut, just wanne have fun, devorcing every time. Stuff like that. I asked them frankly what they are affraid of. And I always answered honestly. ( For example, his parents have been affraid my boyfriend woud start drinking alcohol, specially beer, cause I am german. I know sounds a bit funny. But I took it seriously. On the other site I told them that I dont wanne lie to them just to look better. I cant remember the last time when i was drinking. But I told them frankly that I do on special event. Thats just a small example... But just so you get an idea)
    Once they learned that my moral standard isnt that far away from there own, suddenly the fear of breaking with traditions was gone.
    Also...and thats something that my boyfriend told his mum is: she raised a her son to be a good person. So once she has trust in him, she can have the trust that he woudnt choose ANY girl. And that you still working on this relationship even if there is a long distance and so many problems because of the different culture truelly means you both take it serious. If you are ment to be then even an indian mum will see beside all the traditions that her son is happy. Like my future-mother-in law says it: Its kismet!
    I dont know if any of these comments here will help you both. At the end we dont know all the facts and how hard each of you is trying. I just wanted to give you a different point beside all these "run away" comments. Cause, even so its hard work: I wish you coud show them that you are different and you dont run away just because its easyer. A culture-mixed relationship can be so much fun and add so many great sites to each of your life!
    By the way: wellcome to germany...if you are in the North: we have great beaches and a big indian society! ;) :)
    Take care and all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just to address that last paragraph- his situation is neither different nor more difficult than what many of the multicultural couples featured on this blog faced. From the outside, it looks to me as if your boyfriend has already made up his mind that he does not want to continue this relationship and this is being exhibited by him not even bothering to try. If he is unwilling to cause his parents any discomfort, I don't think he is thinking of the discomfort that he is causing you. If you do get married, his parents will start feeling uncomfortable with your, your culture, your religion, eating habits- is he going to ask you to change all those aspects so his parents are more comfortable?

    What your boyfriend can do is take a stance, pick what he wants to do, and then go ahead with that stance- be it with you or without you. At least that way the both of you will know what is going to happen next. Two, and I am really sorry I am saying this, do you really want to be with someone who is not even considerate toward you and who has shown time and again that he has no spine when it comes to his parents? Many of the Indian men I know cover their spinelessness by making a show of how "obedient" and "dutiful" and "unwilling to hurt" (cause discomfort- sounding familiar?) they are (toward their parents). Of course, I may just be particularly unlucky in that I know such spineless men, and I sincerely hope this is not the case with your boyfriend, but you have already hurt your career for this man. What next?

    Raina.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am the one who submitted this question. The line 'thus, it is ruining my career' was supposed to be 'thus, ruining my career'. He is not ruining my career, but thinks he may by leading me on. Also while I appreciate all the feed back, I would like to hear some constructive advice of how to handle the situation, not just be told to GTFO because it's easier. If I'm so weak that I will just run at the first sign of trouble, how strong is our relationship in the first place? How can he deal with his parents and sister so that they won't ostracize him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are not saying that you are weak. They are pointing to him being the weak side of the relationship. For this to work, he will have to work on his feelings of doubt and guilt, as his family will sense that he has these feelings about your relationship. They will use it against you as a weapon. As for ostracizing, it is a scare tactic that they use. My own boyfriend's sister in law went through a huge ordeal with her own family. They even forced her back home and limited her leaving the house so that they could end her relationship with his brother. I believe that there were mentions of suicide from her mother and herself. It was definitely dramatic from the stories that I heard from my boyfriend. Her stubborness and firm belief in the relationship is what allowed her to marry outside of her faith/culture/caste (she was from Kerala and a Catholic while my boyfriend’s family is Bengali Hindu).

      The doubt/guilt part of your letter has me siding with the others on ending the relationship. I had been in a relationship with someone before my current boyfriend for over four and a half years. I put up so many roadblocks to prevent us from going to the next step because I felt those two emotions. In all honesty, I felt both of those emotions for two years of that relationship. I kept telling myself that they would go away once we made it through all the horrible things going on around him, but they didn’t. Instead, it morphed into hostility towards him. My own sister went through something similar to what I did and her relationship with that guy dragged on for five years before she ended it when he proposed to her. I can’t say that his feelings of doubt/guilt are similar to what my sister and I felt, but it is definitely alarming. No healthy relationship should have these sorts of feelings in them. I know that whenever the doubt part pops up for me (I suffer from severe anxiety so I doubt a lot of decisions I make), I have a list of questions that I go to and start answering at that time. I find that it helps bring things back into focus for me. It might work for him, as he will see what it is that he is fighting for. I know Tiny Buddha has a really good article up with 30 questions on relationship doubt and I think that would be a good place to start. Here is the link: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/30-questions-to-help-if-you-have-doubts-about-your-relationship/

      Once those feelings are gone, he should then take the next step in the relationship of telling his family. He might have to introduce them to the idea slowly. If there is backlash, he will have to put his foot down. My Bengali boyfriend did that, and he is going through a divorce, so my relationship with him is extremely taboo. He still made it a point to mention me to his immediate family so that when the legal part of his divorce is done, he could move on without shocking everyone. He called it 'selling the idea' to them. He mentions as many positive 'Indian' like qualities that I have to them and crushes a bunch of the negative stereotypes circling White females.

      I wish you the best of luck.

      ~Kris

      Delete
    2. Here are my 2 cents as a non Indian woman married to an Indian man for almost 4 years (together for 6 1/2 years) and who have an almost 1 year old son together. I would not have put up with the situation that the reader describes. When I met my husband, I was completely clueless about Indian culture. When he first told his parents about me, they were resistant to the idea. His mom even tried to discourage him from the idea of me. But you know what he did? He defended me to his parents and essentially told his mom to cut it out and let him do what he thought was best. In hindsight, I can see that I was fortunate to have that support from him back then when he had to sell the idea of me to his family. If he behaved in the way the reader describes her boyfriend, I would have just ended things and just moved on as I would not have wanted to sell myself short. I believe every good woman deserves a partner who is her biggest supporter.

      Delete
    3. Hi Plaid Peacoat, I have been married to my Indian guy for 15 months now and we dated for almost six years before he told his parents about me. He grew up in the UK but his family his very traditional, all have had arranged marriages and are Brahmin. I am a mixed culture kid from the U.S. and we met randomly on a beach in England :). You can imagine his parents reaction when he dropped the bomb. It is only natural that your man's parents are going to resist. Indians are very slow to change and parents are used to controlling every move their children make. Not only has your man had the balls to think for himself, he's gone against everything they've taught him and worked for their entire life. From their perspective it's a loss for them. They hoped he would settle down with a nice Indian girl of their choosing who would be the subservient bahu of their dreams. Instead, their sweet little prince has basically said F You to everything they have worked towards and turned their world upside down by choosing you. Guilt trips are what Indian parents are made of so that's totally normal. Ignore the guilt trips. You will be highly emotional during this time, but keep things practical. Listen to their concerns (white people get divorced, they don't like their parents, they eat meat, etc.) and think about what family traditions and cultural values you have that align with theirs. This will help them see you aren't so different. If you are willing to make changes (go veg, learn Telegu, etc) have your man emphasise these things to his family. Don't bring love into the equation, Indian families don't care. Any concerns his family raise, you and your man should then discuss together how you will answer to them. This shows you are serious about the commitment and it's not a fleeting romance. My in-laws said we were blinded by love (really, 6 years together takes a lot more than just being horny!), they worried how we would raise bi-cultural kids, religion, language, food, etc. My husband and I had already discussed all of this so we had our responses ready and could prove to them we were serious and had really thought about the decision we were making. Be prepared to take a back seat during this time because your man will likely speak to his parents without you initially and it can be frustrating to not be directly involved in something that affects your life so directly! In our situation it was about six months of discussions (they are likely to ignore the situation and pretend it doesn't exist, your man has to keep bringing it up) and my husband said we had made our decision and wanted to move forward. He was going to marry me and hoped they would accept his decision. We then went to India together to meet the rest of his family and 9 months later we got married with everyone supporting our decision. We also have lived with his parents for the last 15 months, so there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel that things can all work out fine once they have their freak out and accept that their son is an adult capable of making his own decisions. I think it's normal for your boyfriend to have a wobble here and there and say he's not sure what will happen. He's caught in the middle and probably never thought his family's reaction would be so strong. He has probably been the dutiful son his whole life. The bottom line is he needs to be strong in his decision to be with you and firm with his parents that you have made your decision and would like their support/involvement in your life going forward. They will come around eventually. Good luck!

      Delete
    4. LW,

      Nobody is calling weak or asking you to GTFO at the first sign of trouble. You need to objectively look at the relationship and nothing is going to work out if your bf does not stand up for your relationship with his mom. He is not the only person who has had to go through this and you need to be aware that this situation can also be used as an excuse to break up conveniently by many men.

      Just because you made a decision does not mean you have to stick by it all the time. Changing your decision does not make one a weak person. It takes great strength and wisdom to admit to oneself that one made a mistake and to back off.

      When you are trying to salvage the relationship, are you doing it now because backing out now makes you look weak/of a poor character or you really want this to work despite the warning signs or you are really invested in this despite everything or is it a mix of everything?

      Constructive suggestions for dealing with the mom -
      Your BF not you has to have a long direct hard talk with his mom and set boundaries. Sometimes in life you have to make a tough choice and he has to choose the relationship if he really wants it. I know I would have even if it meant my family ostracized me. Refuse to move in with his mom. Why does 1 person need a 4 bedroom flat? Make her move into 1-2 bedroom flat.

      Delete
    5. There is no weakness in knowing something is not working. It requires an enromous amount of strength and self-belief not to stay in situation that is not working. When your boyfriend says that he can't decide between you and his parents, that is a bad sign. In love and marriage is about two people. Everyone else has to share in their happiness. This is as true of India as anywhere else. I am an Indian and all around me I see so-called marriages, approved of by families, in which two people live a live of accomodation. where familiarity rather than love makes domestic life run. where all lifes decisions are bound up in what the larger family/parents want. A social psychiatrist told me that we Indians (I live in India) are a really messed up people. Adults have no autonomy until their parents die, but wich time its too late to be an independent individual and so the cycle repeats itself. Why would anyone who has the freedom not to, tie themselves to such an arrangement? Ask yourself that!

      Delete
  11. The first thing that jumped out at me when I read your story is the fact that all the effort seems to be on your side. I agree with the others that your boyfriend is weak if he lets himself be emotionally blackmailed by his family. He should give the same consideration to you as to his family, if not more. I was born and raised in a traditional Tamil Brahmin family, so I can easily imagine the whole scenario. My circumstances were different and my parents didn't throw a fuss, but my mother still raised many concerns. I let my husband know what he was in for before he met them and we discussed how to approach my parents and make sure they felt respected. I discussed every one of my mother's concerns with her repeatedly and let her know that I was definitely marrying him. Despite all the emotional blackmail and drama, Indian parents want their children to be happy. It is up to your boyfriend to talk to them and convince them that his happiness lies with you. I don't see what you can do if he doesn't let you meet them. Many Indian men have a relationship with a woman from another culture and then cave in and have an arranged marriage. I know this is not what you want to hear, but if your boyfriend is really committed to you, he will not keep telling you that you don't have a future together. I knew my future was with my husband and I was determined to fight the world to be with him.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So here is my answer to this question, I have the exact same situation. On Saturday I showed my fiance this question and asked him to give me his thoughts on this, he merely said everyone said leave the guy basically. I said nothing. we fall asleep in a love embrace, the next morning we parted ways. he does not take my call or messages for 2 days. yesterday he finally responds back to my message: "I have decided i will not move ahead with our relationship as things are not as we had planned" to say I have been heartbroken is an understatement, Have I spent the last 24 hours in tears firing off messages to him to speak to me, yes. will it do any good? i dunno. I hope.My suggestion to you is do what you feel is best for your own heart and emotions, For as much as I do not like being a hidden secret and for me pushing for him to communicate with me about when he is going to tell his family and what hesitations he may feel, I miss that other part of me. I miss him. None of us can answer your question completely. all any of us can do is provide examples of our own experience and hope that something in those experiences can be of use to you. I am a black woman who was/is( i dunno) engaged to south indian telangu man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry :( *hugs* You definitely deserve to be more than just a hidden secret. I know you will find happiness with someone who is strong enough to stand beside you <3

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would really like to hear Madhmama's opinion on this letter.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am sorry to hear that this situation has gone downhill. I remember talking to you after he told his parents previously and it all sounded quite promising.
    I think the main problem is that he is actually buckling under the not-so-subtle emotional blackmail. Parents will feel uncomfortable, parents will oppose - it is up to HIM and HIM ONLY to really convince them otherwise. The fact that he is showing weakness means that his parents are winning. With anyone and especially with Indian parents, you have to put on a confident face. How will you convince others if you yourself are not convinced? He can't buckle under the first sign of pressure. Maybe he would be more satisfied with a life where nobody would question him - is it worth it for him to give up the one he loves just so that he can make everyone else happy? He kinda sounds like a big people pleaser.

    Also be careful of the ramifications of this - him showing a sign of weakness may subconsciously give parents permission to question you - even after you make it to the altar. Will he let his parents pick you apart and bully you? He has to stand strong, his decisions cannot be questioned, and that includes you. You have to give people no option but to respect your choice - and it sounds like he is giving them an option that this whole thing is up for discussion. He is giving them permission to disrespect you, which is an awful way to start a bahu relationship and a pattern that is very, very hard to break.

    As for the letter writer, it is torture but you can do nothing. His situation is not at all unique, in fact it is mild and quite simple, compared to the many people who write to me telling me that their parents are threatening them with serious emotional and physical violence. It is really a situation where you need to just let him figure it out, however I would absolutely NOT move in with him unless you have some kind of solid commitment (ie. before then, he needs to grow more of a spine, and not LET his parents question you - ever). In this situation, I would not risk moving in with him unless you have a wedding date set.

    A huge red flag is that you have sacrificed your career for him - no man is worth this. And it sounds like he feels guilty about this too. That in itself is a lose/lose situation. All the energy that you are spending worried about his parents, I would put back into your career - ASAP. His parents are his problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He hasn't really brought the topic of me up since he went to India last year, not directly atleasr. They know about me though and keep bringing up him getting married, basically probing him to see if I'm still around. His sister will try and vaguely bring me up, to try and get him to say something and start a fight about it. His sister just had her baby a couple hours ago, so he's been avoiding the subject as to not cause more drama with his sister and parents during this stressful time. Once things cool down he says he'll start talking to them. His mom told him she had a dream that he brought a girl home to marry, and he said 'what's wrong with that?' And she got all flustered, lol. He basically keeps telling them he wants to do what he wants regarding marriage, and he's very stubborn about it, so atleast there's that.

      I think you corrected the sentence about my career. I didn't mean that he is ruining my career, he for some reason thinks he's going to hurt my career if we're together and then he dumps me for whatever reason, which I've told him several times is not true. He wants to have us meet after I get back from Germany, but what can we even do if they flat out refuse? (his sister did this at his graduation; she just acted like I didn't exist and then left right after pictures were taken) I doubt just showing up to meet them anyway would go over well.

      The distance really isn't helping either. We both miss each other and it's a huge emotional strain on us both. Coupled with work stress and familial stress, one minute M is optimistic about the future, and the next he's short tempered and negative. Obviously I wrote the letter at a low point.

      Delete
  16. Update: M is in the hospital with leukemia. I flew back from Germany to be with him. His mom is not taking it well at all, and was even more distraught when I got there. I'm staying with them to help him and his parents. Well, I finally got to meet his mother under the worst circumstances possible. Please send positive thoughts his way. We really need them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness. My prayers are with you....get well soon. Lots of love

      Delete
  17. Thank you for your wonderful blog. It helps me to feel a little comforted in my situation. I am an American dating an Indian. We have been together for almost two years now, and although we have progressed as a couple, we have had no progression in terms of his Indian parents...particularly his mother. Him and his parents to the US about three years ago as he was attending college. I have never been formally introduced to his parents, but I have tried in my own way to somehow, just somehow, show them that I am a good person and wish to know them. He has told them that he has a girlfriend, and they reacted poorly, telling him that he was ruining his life by dating me (by the way, they do not even know me at all). His mother has seen pictures of me so I know she knows what I at least look like. Once, she came into my work and I assisted her but she acted like she didnt know who I was (I have a feeling she knew as she has seen pictures of me), she deleted and blocked me when I tried adding her on Facebook, and I have even given a gift which she never thanked me for. It seems as though she uses every small opportunity to treat me with disrespect. It hurts me greatly and especially hurts my mother, who wants me to be loved and respected because she feels I deserve that. My mother loves my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have talked marriage, potentially in the next couple of years, but I am unsure if this problem will ever be resolved. When will this woman ever act decent toward me? His mother has acted so poorly toward me that I do not even wish to have a wedding if we get married. An Indian wedding is all about bringing families together, but I have felt no sense of family by his parents and the fact that they do not even want to get to know me as a person speaks volumes. Not only does this show they do not care about me, but they do not care about their son as well because if they did, one would think that they would care to know if I am a nice, safe person for their son to spend his time with. Sorry if any of this sounds disrespectful, but being in my shoes, I feel very wronged and pained. Can you offer any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://madh-mama.blogspot.ca/2016/01/ask-firangi-bahu-my-future-indian.html

      Delete
  18. This bf & his family is totally not worth this trouble. Forget him. You will get better partner who will love and nuture you.
    Small episode of heartbreak is better than lifelong pain.
    - I am South Indian girl married to my North Indian college friend.

    ReplyDelete

Respectful comments only, please! (That means you, anonymous.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Madh Mama. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE DESIGNED BY pipdig