Q My boyfriend’s a great guy, and we get along well—apart from his problem with my not telling my parents about him since he’s not Indian. How can I deal with this situation?
A Great question, as you are not alone. I’m sure there are other readers who are themselves, or know of others, also grappling with similar situations.
Since our matchmaking and dating coaching services focuses on South Asians, at times people are surprised to learn that we do have clients who have dated in the past, and/or are open to being matched, with non-South Asians. As such, your situation is one I am familiar with.
Given the limited space, I am not able to explore in any depth the possibility that your resistance to telling your parents about your boyfriend may potentially reflect at least some degree of mixed feelings on your part with respect to your boyfriend and/or relationship. I will address your question with the underlying premise that your assumption of your parents’ disapproval is the reason you have not told them about your boyfriend.
In my opinion, one of the greatest detractors from intimate relationships (between any two people, be they partners, or parent/adult child), consists of one or both persons unexpressed expectation(s) and/or assumption(s).Rather than continuing to act on the assumption that your parents will disapprove of your boyfriend not being Indian, why not openly and respectfully discuss the (potential) issue with your parents directly? A few possible outcomes of such a dialogue come to mind.
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your surmise of your parents’ disapproval (or the extent of their disapproval) is unfounded. I have come across people who are surprised to learn, in some cases years after they first presumed parental disapproval, that their parents were actually accepting of their relationship with a non-Indian.
Even if your assumption of your parents’ disapproval bears out, being open to learning the reason(s) behind your parents’ disapproval may bring up potential issues you and/or your boyfriend may not have thought about which may prompt well-serving discussions between the two of you.
The success of your relationship with your partner will likely depend to a large degree on your mutual willingness to listen to each other’s viewpoints even when different, as well as to honor each other’s relationship needs.
Not only will addressing this issue with your parents gift your parents with the opportunity to be heard, but it will demonstrate to your boyfriend that you are able to honor his need to not remain a secret from your parents.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show. www.IntersectionsMatch.com.Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.