Simi: I’m Bengali. I’ve been dating a guy for a few months now and recently introduced him to my parents. They loved him!!!! It was so awesome!! We talked about meeting his parents and sometimes they’re outta town or they’re busy so finally we got to meet and it was really awkward. They were “nice” but it didn’t seem “genuine.”…if that makes sense. Then a few weeks later my boyfriend told me that they don’t like me because I’m not Christian-Indian. That’s what his religion is. And they want him to have nothing to do with me. He says he loves me and he will fight for us to be together, but his family is very important to him. I don’t want them to think I am influencing him in the wrong way or making him go against them, because at the end of the day, we’ve talked about a future together and I am ready to treat his parents as my own, but I def want to make sure they love me as much as I would love them. What is a girl to do?
Dear Ms. Clashing Cultures,
This is quite a dilemma that arises way more often than you think in our Eastern cultures. Personally, coming from an Indian-Christian family, I know exactly how hard it is to bring home someone that is not from my exact same background. It took your boyfriend some courage to make that huge step, but it’s definitely comforting to know that he cares about you enough to do that. As for the awkward parents, their main concern is that their son’s love for you will cause him to leave his family and religion behind to be with you, which is by far their biggest fear. There’s a decision that you’re going to have to make on your own- are you willing to convert to his religion just to be able to stay with him? Because at the end of the day, that is quite possibly the only way is parents will go along with a future between you two. Another option (if he is willing to fight for it, of course) is to meet halfway by having a non-denominational wedding… meaning you wouldn’t convert to Christianity, nor would he convert to your side- you would both stay neutral. Not sure if his parents will be so understanding with that decision, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re not willing to convert. If you can stay open-minded about that idea, show his parents that you’re willing to make the effort. Attend church events, possibly show up to a church service on Sunday, just to get a feel of how you like it and let the parents know you are willing to try. Don’t convert just merely for the fact that that’s the only way your future with him will be secured-make sure you’re not going to be miserable and that you can actually see yourself attending church with him and being comfortable with the change. Good luck and keep us updated!
I am desperately seeking advice from someone who’s Indian and can understand my dilemma. I’m a 28 year old grad student, who’s engaged to be married in another year. My fiance and I have been living together for almost three years now. Our fams know each other and things have always been great. I found out I was pregnant last week and I am freaking out. It’s an amazing feeling because this is something that my fiance and I talked about for a while — but it wasn’t supposed to happen till we were married and really ready. He’s still finishing his residency and I have my grad school classes to complete. That’s why we even pushed the wedding back. I don’t believe in abortion and of course every single auntie and uncle is going to think I’m such a horrible person for getting pregnant before we were married. I have not told anyone, not even my fiance or best friend. We were always so careful and yes things happen, but what is someone to do? At this point anything can really guide me towards the right direction. Please!!
I’m so sorry to hear how worried you are at this point- take a breath, and calm down at all times, your baby deserves better :]. Although this wasn’t on schedule to happen so soon, everything happens for a reason, and there’s not much to be done to go back: all you can do is look forward. Ultimately, this is an ethical decision that has to be made entirely by your own beliefs, but like you, I don’t believe in abortion either. Just because you or your fiancé may have been a little careless doesn’t mean that your fetus deserves to suffer because of it. First things first, (if you haven’t already), you’re going to have to break the news to your loved ones: starting with your fiancé. Make sure you talk things through entirely with him before making any sudden decisions. Next, approach your family with the news. Seeing how successful you and your fiancé are, with him being in his residency and you doing your grad school classes, this may come as quite a shock to them, but they are your parents and although it may take a while to get there, they will be supportive with your choices when the time comes. You are always free to choose what you want to do, but you must be willing to live with the consequences of your choices, so never forget that thought. I wouldn’t tell too many people outside of your fiancé, his family, and your intermediate family. People tend to change how they act or feel about certain issues when events like this occur, so make sure you can entirely trust whoever you plan on telling. Keeping this a secret will do you or anyone around you no good- it is stressing you out, raising your fetus’s blood pressure, and ultimately hurting your soul. Be honest and don’t dwell on the past, think of the good of the future. Instead of focusing on the 50% that can go wrong, think about the rest of the events that will go right with the situation. Good luck!