Butler County Times Gazette
  • The Guy’s Perspective: Dating across cultures

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  • I am in a relationship with a man from a different culture. We’ve been going out for a year now and I still haven’t met his family. He says he loves me, but I’m pretty sure his family does not approve of our relationship. I don’t know what to do. Should I break up with him now and save myself some pain? Or should I insist that he introduce me to his family? And does this relationship even have a chance long term? He keeps saying he wants to marry me, but honestly, I’m not sure if he’ll be able to counter the wishes of his parents. Please help.
    Marie
    Dear Marie,
    Thanks for your question. You don’t say which two cultures you are from so I’ll do my best to help you sort this out.
    In some cultures, and in some families within those cultures, parents are deeply involved in choosing a spouse. (Arranged marriage is still very present and common.) Westerners might not understand this since we believe marriage should only be about love, but some cultures believe that love grows from common backgrounds and values.
    My guess is your boyfriend comes from a culture where parents typically have a lot of influence in their child’s decisions, especially when it comes to marriage. Clearly they’re not happy with his choice, otherwise you would have already met them. And the fact that he’s avoiding this introduction says that he’s being pulled in two directions and he’s stressed by it.
    If you truly believe he’s committed to you, then you need to have a heart-to-heart with him, and explain to him how his actions are affecting you. Explain to him how difficult it is, feeling that he’s choosing his parents’ wishes over your relationship. Acknowledge the stress he may be feeling, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to assert your needs as well.
    In order for this relationship to have a future, your boyfriend needs to become more independent and stand up to his parents. (Without alienating them of course.) This won’t be easy, but it’s necessary. Otherwise you’ll be in a holding pattern until he finally capitulates to them, and then one day he’ll come to you and say, “I’ve met someone else. I’m sorry.” Which translates to: “My parents have made the decision for me.”
    Hopefully it won’t get to that point. But if it does, well, then it might be for the best. Otherwise you’ll be in a relationship with not just this man, but his parents as well. And frankly, four’s a crowd.
    All the best,
    Saelen
    Page 2 of 2 - Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guy’s Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasn’t solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email tgpadvice@gmail.com. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guy’s Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.
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